Dec. 27: Advice for new folks in the biz; a sampling of vendor news, including a site that lists vendors

Private education pays well. There were 58 people making over $1,000,000 per year in total compensation as the presidents of private, non-profit colleges in 2015, up from 39 in 2014 and 32 in 2013, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s calculations. The average comp to run a school was $570k, up 9% from 2014. At the other end of the scale, President Trump’s Department of Labor has proposed a rule that would allow restaurants to take the tips from servers and redistribute them among un-tipped staff such as dishwashers. But it doesn’t require that those tips be redistributed among un-tipped staff. So legally, if the tipped employees are paid minimum wage, the restaurants can just keep the confiscated money. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that under the new rule, employers would pocket about $6.1 billion in employees’ tips annually, or some 16.9 percent of all annual tips.

The deadline is quickly approaching for National Mortgage Professional Magazine’s list of America’s Top Mortgage Employers, appearing in the January 2018 edition. Nominate your company for Top Mortgage Employers in Three Easy Steps: 1 – Create an account; 2 – Complete your company employer profile; 3 – Share your company employer profile with your staff to boost your chances of making it on the 2018 Top Mortgage Employers. Click here to answer the survey by this Friday, December 29th and make sure your company is well represented.

Advice for those in the industry

I asked people of color and women in the industry about their early careers, and appreciate the time they spent responding. Others have chimed in as well. I will happily circulate more responses if you care to write, and have more already to publish. “What do you think the best advice you can give women starting out in the mortgage industry?” or “What is the boldest move you made that helped advance your career?” or “What do you wish someone would have told you about being successful in this industry?”

Susan Meitner, President and CEO of Centennial Lending Group, wrote, “Best advice you could give someone? The advice I would give a person starting out in this industry would be to believe in yourself. Throughout my mortgage career, I have found having a strong belief in yourself is vital in the business world. I can tell you that this is especially true for women. We all must face challenges, but when you believe in yourself, you learn your own value and that shows. Be authentic, act with integrity, and trust your instincts. Then you will find that others do too. Of course, you do your research so you are knowledgeable. But then the key is to make decisions based on your honed instincts and, communicate your decisions with confidence. This will allow you to develop relationships where people trust you and your abilities.

“Believing in yourself allows you to conquer the impossible, and yes, it takes time and energy to develop this level of confidence.  But, once you do and you believe in yourself, it is very hard for anyone to take that away from you. You can climb mountains! You understand no matter how hard you’ve been knocked down, you will get up, put a smile on your face, and walk out the door knowing you will make today a better day! This is the advice I would give to my younger self about being successful in a difficult industry as a woman.”

Anne E James with Reliance Mortgage Service sent, “I am approaching 65 and still working my own small brokerage; I do not regret my steps through the industry either. I’m sure I could make more money ‘working the phones’ at a big company but I’m happy using my Communications in new-journalism degree and skills in marketing learned from various businesses (Lighting, Alarm business, restaurant and corporate lending) in my own shop where I can be the ‘Captain of my own ship’ so to speak.


“On that note, my beautiful not-so-girly 28-year-old daughter is doing the final testing for the Anaheim Police Department where I hope she’ll doing what makes her happy. As a Realtor, Samantha Watkins put her all into it but found it didn’t make her happy or look forward to life in that field. I’m happy she chose something else, surprised a bit at the police department but see how much she fits in there. Here’s to jumping the 6-foot-wet-wall today, her personal essay and the interview! You can still see Samantha Watkins Realtor on Facebook but her personal page and Instagram have been down for over a month due to the police job applications.


And here’s to all the women and minorities (I work with a younger Hispanic, gay ‘partner’ going on 10 years now) making their own niche. Let’s keep mentoring them. You have a fantastic platform to do so.”

Vendor-mania, or vendor tidbits, take your pick

Vendors do other things besides dream up new words, and register & trademark names. There are scores of vendors offering a huge range of products, announcing news of partnering up with lenders or other vendors. Let’s play some catch up with vendor trends.

Vendor Surf, LLC, a mortgage industry technology company located in St. Louis, Missouri, announced the launch of a new search engine, VendorSurf encompasses the entire mortgage ecosystem – from originations through secondary markets – and features an industry-wide vendor directory that supports virtually all industry roles and departments. Vendor Surf has custom filters that span 75+ different vendor categories which can be used to narrow down the field to only those value-added partners that best answer the unique requirements of individuals. Searches, which are free, are comprehensive in that vendors are identified from all industry categories on a single site. The filters, in turn, pinpoint specific vendors based on a variety of qualifiers, such as loan type, product, service, location, etc.


CastleLine, provider of risk management and insurance solutions, announced that it is providing Plaza Home Mortgage, Inc. with a comprehensive risk management program, helping to protect the company from underwriting errors, fraud and other loan manufacturing defects. Plaza has been able to successfully grow its business by sharing the benefit of this program with its correspondent lenders, including Peoples Mortgage. Ultimately, through Plaza’s relationship with CastleLine, Peoples was recently able to: Save a total of $65,000 on one loan. Instead of incurring a $70,000 loss, the company only had to pay a small insurance deductible of $5,000 plus premium over par. As a member of the Lenders One® cooperative, Peoples also benefited from a lowered deductible. It also expanded its volume of business and realize potential savings through this new strategic approach. Peoples realized the value of Plaza’s offering and determine that investors could no longer be weighed solely on price, efficiency and ease when selling on the secondary market.


Optimal Blue launched Enterprise Analytics, a powerful business intelligence and data visualization tool that provides secondary marketing leaders with full visibility into lock activity and change requests, including lock extensions. Transactional lock data can be monitored in near real-time, allowing users to understand trends and monitor activity at the product, channel, branch, and loan officer level. With captivating reports, interactive dashboards, and extensive drill-down features.


ALTA has formally launch the national ALTA Registry allowing title insurance agents and settlement companies to communicate with underwriters to confirm their company name and contact information providing mortgage lenders with a trusted industry utility to identify transaction partners. In addition to detailed title insurance underwriter confirmed information about the title agent, the national ALTA Registry also assigns a unique identification number, the ALTA ID, to each title agent office location for precise identification: this is a first of its kind for the industry. Find out more about the ALTA Registry on YouTube.

Credit Plus has integrated with Floify, an automation software provider. The integration enables loan officers that are using Floify to streamline their mortgage process and automatically collect a borrower’s credit report from Credit Plus upon submission of a loan application or on-demand directly from their Floify account. Credit Plus’ integration with Floify also eliminates the hassle of collecting credit reports for loans by empowering borrowers to digitally submit their consent directly to lenders with just a few clicks.

PathSoftware announced that Path is now fully integrated with DocMagic. The new web integration provides a direct, secure connection between users’ loan files and DocMagic’s family of products and services. This enables users to order, generate, manage, receive and deliver TRID-compliant documents, such as loan estimates, closing documents and disclosures This integration also enables users to access DocMagic’s Total eClose platform, a comprehensive digital mortgage solution that contains all the components needed to facilitate a completely paperless digital closing. In addition, the integration also accesses DocMagic’s eSign technology, so borrowers can electronically sign all documents in a secure, compliant manner.

Capital markets

The gap between yields for short- and long-term Treasury securities is narrowing, traditionally a warning sign that a recession is imminent, yet traders and the Federal Reserve are sanguine. Long-term yields are being suppressed by unusually low inflation given the US’ economic growth and low yields on global bonds, which increase demand for Treasurys/Treasuries and dampen yields. Put another way, “it is what it is.”

What one would expect to be a quiet week did indeed commence quietly. The US 10-year Treasury note finished Tuesday yielding 2.47% and the Treasury sold $26 billion 2-years notes yielding 1.922%, the highest auction yield since September 2008 – so the short end has definitely moved higher in rates. For the auction, the bid ratio was 2.52, the lowest in a year. (The “bid to cover ratio” compares the number of bids received in a Treasury security auction to the number of bids accepted. The bid-to-cover ratio is an indicator of the strength or demand for a Treasury offering relative to investor bids deemed suitable in the auction process.) The yield curve flattened amid the light post-holiday volume.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index reported a 6.2% annual gain in home prices for October, up from 6.1% in September. The hottest market in October? Seattle with a 12.7% year-over-year price increase. The report echoed other recent reports in attributing the gains to low inventories and increasing sales. The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond manufacturing survey dropped from 30 to 20, which is still a positive indication of continued growth in the district. (But does anyone really care?) Meanwhile, the Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey jumped to 32.8, its highest level in more than 11 years. All signs pointing to positive conditions in manufacturing.

In terms of items nudging rates this morning, or not, oil jumped 2.6% following reports of a pipeline explosion in Libya. The move above $60 a barrel put the price at June 2015 levels. The economic calendar today includes Consumer Confidence and Pending Home Sales at 10AM ET. With that in mind, we start Wednesday with the 10-year yielding 2.47% and agency MBS prices virtually unchanged from Tuesday night.

(Warning: Rated R.)

A couple was invited to a swanky New Year’s Eve costume party.

Unfortunately, the wife came down with a terrible headache and told her husband to go to the party alone.

He protested, but she said she was going to take some aspirin and go to bed and there was no need for his good time being spoiled by not going.

So, he took his costume and away he went.

The wife, after sleeping soundly for about an hour, awakened without pain and, as it was still early enough, decided to go to the party.

Since her husband did not know what her costume was, she thought she would have some fun by watching her husband to see how he acted when she was not with him.

She joined the party and soon spotted her husband cavorting around on the dance floor, dancing with every nice woman he could, and copping a little touch here and a little kiss there.

His wife sidled up to him and being a rather seductive babe herself, he left his current partner high and dry and devoted his time to the new babe that had just arrived.

She let him go as far as he wished…. Naturally, since he was her husband.

Finally, over the loud music he whispered a little proposition in her ear and she agreed.

So off they went to one of the cars and had a quickie.

Just before unmasking at midnight, she slipped away, went home, put the costume away and got into bed, wondering what kind of explanation he would make for his behavior.

She was sitting up reading when he came in, and she asked what kind of a time he had.

He said: “Oh, the same old thing. You know I never have a good time when you’re not there.”

“Did you dance much?”

“You know, I never even danced one dance. When I got there, I met Pete, Bill Browning, and some other guys, so we went into the den and played poker all evening. But you’re not going to believe what happened to the guy I loaned my costume to…”

Visit for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “Servicing: All It’s Cracked Up to Be?” If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.


(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. Currently there are over 300 mortgage professionals looking for operations, secondary and management roles. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to Copyright 2017 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)

Rob Chrisman