I can tell it’s almost Valentine’s day since Costco just put out the Halloween decorations. Speaking of Costco, its minimum wage is now $14 per hour. I recall reading that nearly one-third of our nation’s workforce, 41 million people, make less than $12 per hour. Jobless claims, ADP employment, and the employment statistics from the government continue to paint a rosy picture, but many now believe that the Fed may not raise rates in 2019 given the current economy.
Employment & personnel moves
Caliber Home Loans, Inc. is excited to announce James Hecht as its EVP, Head of Retail Production. A seasoned industry leader, Hecht will oversee all Retail Production responsibilities for Caliber. Leveraging his more than 20 years of experience and expertise in home lending, he’ll lead the future growth of this critical production channel and joins Caliber from Stearns Lending. Caliber finished 2018 as the #3 non-bank retail lender in the country, per IMF. “We are delighted to welcome James to the Caliber team and are confident his extensive sales and management experience will be a strong asset to our company as we head into 2019,” said Sanjiv Das, Caliber CEO. James said about joining Caliber, its “strategic vision and commitment to the Retail production channel provides me with an opportunity that is difficult to match anywhere in the industry.” Loan Consultants interested in joining Caliber can contact Jeremy DeRosa.
As the rest of the industry continues its march towards digital mortgages, Mid America Mortgage, Inc (MAM) has quietly garnered an incredible national eNote market share, accounting for 56% of all eNotes executed nationally as of June 2018. This is significant, particularly in light of BCG’s 2019 Industry White Paper report, which notes, “The next generation of homebuyers wants a digital-first experience from end to end.” As GNMA is expected to begin accepting eNotes in conjunction with government lending products in 2019, MAM is uniquely positioned to help its TPO partners take full advantage of industry-leading technology, including Blend’s digital mortgage platform, while also providing access to the most seasoned and experienced government underwriters in the industry. Ready to make a change? MAM is looking to hire the best AEs to cover larger territories across the U.S. Contact Chris Hartman, National Sales Manager (513-505-9282).
Here we GROW AGAIN!!! Towne Mortgage is pleased to welcome John Korch as its new Chief Production Officer. John has over 28 years of experience in mortgage banking. “I am super excited to be a part of the Towne team and working with people who truly understand this business. The knowledge level and service provided here is the best I’ve ever seen,” said Korch. Towne has a diversified, national business line including TPO, Retail, Consumer Direct including exclusive offerings to Financial Institutions and a robust suite of products including NO credit score overlays, manual underwrites for FHA/VA, Manufactured Homes, non-QM, and specializes in Renovation Lending, 203k (Full & Streamline) and FNMA Homestyle. From loan set-up to closing, Towne delivers big results with a small-Towne touch! Are you a TPO Account Executive, Branch Manager or Loan Officer with a strong desire to succeed and thrive in a supportive team environment? Please send confidential inquiries to John (248-247-1811).
Built Technologies announced the addition of two banking industry executives with Billy Olson joining as director of builder financial solutions and Natalie Myrick as director of mortgage solutions.
And New American Funding announced that Jim Bromwell (NMLS #447750) has joined the company as Area Manager for the Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. regions to further expand the team with new Loan Originators to continue the company’s surging growth.
Lender products and services
On the heels of success with the Single Close Construction program in 2018, GSF Mortgage Corp. (GSF) is kicking off the new year strong by attending the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, NV, through February 19-21. Highlights of our Single Close Construction program include, FHA 30 Year Fixed up to 96.5% LTV, VA 30 Year Fixed up to 100% LTV, USDA 30 Year Fixed up to 100% LTV and Conventional 30 year fixed up to 95% LTV. All loans are handled in-house the borrower does not need to requalify after the initial closing and make no interest payments during the build on most products. Eligible home types include: stick built, manufactured, modular. Originators and builders are welcome to stop by GSF’s booth (#SU3048) and discuss the program and partnership opportunities with our attending Construction Division team. Please reach out to VP of Retail Lending, Frank Papaleo.
A special note for the mortgage brokers in Houston, Texas, and Irvine, California. One of the proven ways to succeed in almost any industry is to offer something your competitors do not. And when everyone offers similar rates, diversity in your product line is critical. REMN is teaming up with two other powerhouses in the wholesale space, Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions, and Liberty Home Equity Solutions, on the Diversify & Thrive Growth Summit series of events. These evening events will explore ways a diverse product portfolio, including renovation mortgages, non-QM products, and reverse mortgages, can help brokers. Attendees will learn how to explain these products better, generate leads, and overcome common obstacles to success. The first event in the complimentary series takes place on February 5thin both cities and will include an after-summit cocktail reception. Space is limited and can be reserved online at http://diversifyandthrive.com.
Heading to the California Mortgage Association’s Winter Seminar next week in Newport Beach? Don’t miss NotaryCam EVP of Marketing and Business Development (and E-Mortgage Maven) Kelly Purcell’s session on “E-Signing, E-Notes, E-Notary & E-Recordings” on Thursday, 2/7 from 2:30 – 3:30 pm PT. Moderated by Mortgage Vintage President Sandy MacDougall, the session will answer mortgage lenders’ burning questions regarding e-mortgage technology, including, “How close are we to a truly digital mortgage, and how can [lenders] use these emerging technologies to increase borrower satisfaction, reduce costs, and reduce fraud?” Looking for a more personal update on the current state of e-notary? Book a one-on-one session with Kelly at CMA here.
“We are excited to announce that the Mr. Cooper acquisition of Pacific Union Financial is complete! We are now ONE team and uniquely positioned to provide our clients with one of the strongest, most comprehensive offerings in the industry today – and in the future! Our clients can leverage our full menu of products and programs including Delegated, Non-Delegated, Comprehensive Capital Markets solutions to include Hybrid AOT, Expansive Credit Box, Non-QM, and Co-Issue to expand their reach and meet the needs of their valued customers. And there is more innovation on the way including Temporary Buydowns. Our dedicated sales and operations teams are staffed by some of the most experienced and knowledgeable industry professionals and are ready to share the full value of working with Mr. Cooper with our expanded client base. Mr. Cooper is a premier, full service Correspondent and Co-Issue investor and the largest non-bank servicer with a servicing portfolio exceeding $500B. Visit www.mrcoopercorrespondent.com to learn more.”
Word went out this week about Ginnie’s restriction on loanDepot’s activities. loanDepot issued a statement yesterday addressing the restriction.
Last November, FHA announced changes to its Electronic Appraisal Delivery (EAD) system Appraisal Logging screen and its Appraisal Case Transfer screen in FHA Connection. Those changes, as well as the beginning date for Business to Government (B2G) appraisal logging and transfer connections that were originally scheduled to become effective January 28, 2019, have been postponed due to the lapse in appropriations. The August 5, 2019, requirement date for XML Digital Signatures on all appraisals uploaded to the EAD portal has not changed at this time. New effective dates for the EAD system and other appraisal-related changes will be communicated as soon as possible.
Most know that Ginnie Mae canceled the 2019 Ginnie Mae Summit, scheduled for February 4-5 in Washington D.C., as a result of the government shutdown. Acting President Maren Kasper emphasized that the event remains an important vehicle for Ginnie Mae’s engagement with industry, and that the agency’s “firm intention” is to reschedule the 2019 installment for later in the year.
PRMG posted Product Update 19-10 which includes details on enhancements to several product profiles. Its VA fixed standard balance products now allow credit scores as low as 550. PRMG is now offering manual underwrites on VA high balance products (already allowed on VA standard balance). For FHA products, it is allowing the DE underwriter to extend the appraisal 30 days as an alternative to an appraisal update (when allowed by HUD). Additionally, two new MI partners have been added, Arch MI and National MI (NMI).
The third annual Altisource ® Default Servicing Survey was conducted online among 200 professionals in the U.S. mortgage default servicing industry. Based on 2018 survey results, recent economic indicators suggest that the housing market is approaching an inflection point. Therefore, servicers will expect to see growth and increased delinquencies in their FHA portfolios. Time for servicers to review their internal capabilities and ensure they are partnered with the best vendors to effectively prepare for a growing portfolio.
HMDA & compliance
Jonathan Foxx, PhD, MBA of Lenders Compliance Group has published a timely magazine article, entitled HMDA Highlights: New Rules for 2018 and Beyond. Published in the National Mortgage Professional Magazine, the article details the many new rules for HMDA data collection and filing. He believes it is critical to be adequately prepared to file an accurate submission of 2018 activity by the March 1, 2019 deadline. Jonathan has written extensively on HMDA and says the new HMDA filing requirements must be carefully implemented for calendar years 2018, 2019, and 2020. Financial institutions will need to be particularly proactive in implementing the new HMDA mandates. Jonathan suggests that readers should not become complaisant by over-reliance on their LOS nor place all their bets on any HMDA software solution. The article provides helpful guidance for regulatory scrutiny. Visit Lenders Compliance Group’s website to download HMDA Highlights: New Rules for 2018 and Beyond.
And remember that in December the CFPB launched a beta release of the platform financial institutions will utilize in2019 to report data collected pursuant to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) in 2018. Financial institutions were able to use the beta version of the platform to create log-in credentials, upload sample 2018 HMDA data files, validate data submitted, receive a sample submission confirmation, and conclude the filing process. All test data from the beta period was removed from the system when the filing period opens in January 2019. The beta platform also includes the following instructions: If an institution has a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI), and that LEI is not currently recognized by the HMDA platform, use and submit this form to have the information added to the HMDA Platform.
CLA reminds us that Regulation Z requires that certain loan documents include the financial institution’s National Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLSR) ID information. Regulation Z, 12 CFR 1026.36(g), a financial institution’s name and NMLSR ID must appear on the following loan documents: the credit application, TRID documents, the note or loan contract, and the security instrument.
Remember that Fifth Third Mortgage Company issued a reminder that it merged with its parent company, Fifth Third Bank, effective January 1, 2019. The Seller Guide was updated on January 1st for items impacted by this change, including: Updated MERS Servicer and Investor ID to 1000142, Updated FHA ID holder and servicer number to 3700909999, Updated HMDA Type of Purchaser to 6 – “Commercial Bank, Savings Bank or Savings Association” for loans purchased on or after 1/1/19, Notes should be endorsed to Fifth Third Bank and Any payment remittance (e.g. extended lock fees, pair offs, EPOs) should be made out to Fifth Third Bank.
The U.S. 10-year closed Thursday down at 2.64% as markets digested the diminished likelihood of future rate hikes following a dovish FOMC Statement and press conference. But new home sales in November jumped 16.9% MoM to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 657k, vastly outpacing 555k expectations. Still, on a YoY basis, new home sales were down 7.7%. While higher interest rates made some buyers hesitant, builders are offering larger discounts, as we saw a noticeable drop in both median (-$41k) and average selling prices. The YoY figure can be slightly misleading, not only was the 657k figure the most robust since last March, but year-to-date sales are up 2.7%. The South region posted a 20.6% rise, while sales fell 5.9% in the West.
In world news China’s Vice Premier Liu He met with President Trump to conclude the second day of trade talks. President Trump tweeted earlier that China will need to open its markets to U.S. manufacturing, farming, and other industries in order to reach a deal. That came as both over 400 Chinese companies warned on Wednesday that their financial results for 2018 have weakened, and China’s Manufacturing PMI indicated continued contraction.
This morning January’s payrolls report came out. Non-farm payrolls, expected to increase 155k versus 312k and 301k in the prior month, were 304k. The unemployment rate, expected to tick up 0.1% to 4.0%, was indeed 4%. And average hourly earnings, expected to increase 0.2% MoM and 3.1% YoY versus 0.4% and 3.2% in December, were +.1% and +2.1% year over year. Final January Markit Manufacturing PMI will be released at 9:45am and is expected to decline, while ISM manufacturing, at 10:00am, is seen rising. Other releases at 10:00am include November construction spending (expected -0.1%) and wholesale inventories and sales where the prior releases were mixed at +0.8% and -0.2% MoM. Today also sees the first post-FOMC Fed speaker when Dallas Fed President Kaplan participates in a moderated Q&A session in Austin. After the employment data we begin today with Agency MBS worse nearly .125 and the 10-year yielding 2.64%.
Thanks to Julie C. for this flashback to this rap song from the L.A. Rams.
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