Feb. 12: LO jobs; technology, closing cost scenario, non-QM, streamlined u/w tools; servicer lawsuit; bonds & inflation

Why should lenders and vendors care about servicing? (STRATMOR’s current blog is titled, “It’s 2024: Do You Know Where Your Servicing Is?”) Not only do servicing values fluctuate, which impacts the prices that borrowers see, but servicing is a huge touchpoint with consumers and therefore garners the attention of regulators like the CFPB, headlines, and the courts. The latest example is a California couple suing Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC for negligence that led to a “lost home and destroyed life.” Of course, anyone can sue anyone at any time, but the multi-count lawsuit against Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC alleges breach of contract, theft, and several other counts, accusing SLS of negligence as the mortgage servicer added a quarter of a million dollars to the couple’s mortgage, leading to their “financial and personal ruin.” (Today’s Commentary podcast can be found here and this week’s is sponsored by Lender Toolkit and its AI-powered AI Underwriter and Prism borrower income automation tools. By providing lightning-fast underwriting decisions, your market reputation with borrowers and Realtors will soar, which means more repeat and referral business. Hear an interview with Jeremy Potter and Marvin Chang on broader and more flexible tools for homeowners to navigate our fast-paced and modern economy.)

Jobs & transitions

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Hey, mortgage sales professionals DO NOT join radius financial group for our amazing culture, president club trips, best workplace accolades, 100 percent 401K match or because of our shared success program which grants phantom stock to ALL employees. Join radius to grow your business, mortgage team and wealth. Over the past 23 years, radius has become the best at what we do by caring intensely about the career growth of our team members and investing in technology that simplifies and automates our process. We are a world-class customer obsessed team focused on our loan officers’ growth and success. So, if you want real opportunities to grow, the ability to make a positive impact starting on day one and the freedom to chart the career you’ve always wanted, at radius, you can! For confidential inquires please contact Carla Herrera and visit us at radius financial group inc., Mortgage Lending Careers.

The Money Store has announced that Coleen Bogle has joined the mortgage lender as its Chief Marketing Officer. Bogle has more than 15 years of experience leading marketing departments in the home financing industry, and in her new role, she will focus on enhancing the brand, expanding marketing services, and attracting top-tier mortgage origination talent to the organization.

Private mortgage insurance companies are hiring: MGIC, National MI, Arch MI, Radian, Essent, and Enact (in no particular order). And while’s we’re at it, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And my cat Myrtle’s friend the CFPB has career opportunities.

Don’t forget that anyone can post a resume, for free, at www.lendernews.com for potential employers to view for a nominal charge of $75 for several months.

Lender and broker software, products, and services

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What’s better than a free consultation from a mortgage tech expert? Getting the advice of six. That’s what’s in store if you join “Strategies to Master the Market Now with the Right Mortgage Technology,” next Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 2 pm ET. This free webinar, co-sponsored by Floify and Truv, Christy Soukhamneut, chief lending officer at UFCU;  Raven Johnson, VP business systems at Legacy Mutual Mortgage; Craig Ungaro, COO AnnieMac Home Mortgage; features Jodi Hall, founder & CEO of DandaRoad, LLC; Richard Grieser, vice president of marketing at Truv; and Sofia Rossato, president & GM of Floify. Click here to register.

Shake it up + flashback to the 80s with Sagent at MBA Servicing! Be part of the most EPIC MBA Servicing party and shake it up with Sagent on Wed. 2/21 at 7PM ET at Jo Jo’s Shake Bar. Join the team and top industry players for some boozy milkshakes + throwback jams, where you’ll be dancing ‘All Night Long’… Don’t forget to pack your best 80s attire (think Member’s Only jackets, parachute pants) because this party is one you don’t want to miss. Click the link here reserve your spot and we’ll see you there!

“Tired of messy or late closings? LOs know that even if they provide the most amazing customer service, it won’t mean anything if there are delays in getting their borrower’s mortgage approved and closed. The biggest lenders are offering same-day approvals, and so can you. Lender Toolkit’s AI-powered AI Underwriter™ and Prism™ income automation help streamline underwriting so that you can get loans approved faster than ever. By providing almost-instantaneous underwriting decisions, your market reputation with borrowers and Realtors will soar, which means more repeat and referral business. Notes Mark Workens, CEO Mortgage 1: “My company’s ability to be profitable in any market condition is largely due to Lender Toolkit’s Maas™ Platform, including AI Underwriter and Prism.” So why get left behind? Schedule a demo here, or meet us in person for a live demo at EXP24 next month by booking here. We can’t wait to show you what’s possible with our high-tech solutions.”

New: Maxwell’s Q4 2023 Mortgage Lending Report Shows Signs of Market Recovery. Wondering what to expect from 2024’s market? Maxwell’s brand new Q4 2023 Lending Report shows powerful signs of market recovery. In a major reversal, loan volume in Q4 grew year-over-year for the first time since 2021. Plus, the report reveals areas where lenders are finding opportunity, such as through outside-the-box offerings like HELOCs. To gain exclusive data, charts, and advice on how to get ahead of the market reset, click here to download Maxwell’s Q4 2023 Mortgage Lending Report.

Get a Sweetheart Deal with Loan Stream’s February Specials on FHA/VA and Non-QM Price Improvements! Get 37.5 BPS Price Improvement on all FHA and VA, Low Balance, and High Balance >=680 FICO, excludes DPA and 25 BPS Price Improvement on FHA Streamlines/IRRRLS. Plus, a Non-QM Price improvement of 50 BPS on all Non-QM, not including Closed End Seconds and Select Programs. Valid for loans locked 2/1/2024 through 2/29/2024. Terms/Conditions apply see our site and talk with your Account Executive. Don’t miss this month’s webinar on Closed End Seconds and how to Prepare for the CalHFA Dream for All. Register now!

Lenders and borrowers deserve technology that improves the mortgage process, saves time and money, and is intuitive. As both a startup and a company with decades of technology experience, Dark Matter Technologies (DMT) has a unique vantage point for identifying how to improve value for customers, and how to work with an ecosystem of like-minded partners to bring many of those ideas to fruition. In its latest podcast episode, The Spotlight, we meet Chief Product Officer Stephanie Durflinger, the 15-year industry veteran now guiding DMT’s product development team. Stephanie formerly held key positions at both ICE Mortgage Technology and Ellie Mae and brings her unique perspective and discerning eye to guiding the future of Empower and other DMT products. The podcast is hosted by DMT Vice President of Marketing Wes Horbatuck. Listen to the interview now.

Picture this… it’s Saturday afternoon and your borrower finds out they were out-bid and have a small window to decide if they want to offer more on their dream home. You’re at your kid’s soccer game and they’re in panic mode… how much does the payment increase? How much more cash will I need? When can I get an updated pre-approval letter? Fortunately, it’s 2024 and lenders using QuickQual never have to worry about this. Borrowers AND Realtors AND Loan Officers can run accurate payment and closing cost scenarios from their phones and they can generate updated pre-approval letters within guardrails set by the loan officer. Crisis averted with QuickQual.

Technology and operations leaders who care about making sure their technology and operations are competitive for today’s market, as well as learning what’s possible when you push the limits, you don’t want to miss this live event! On February 15, at 1PM CT come join Jonathan Spinetto, COO and Co-Founder of NFTYDoor, Janelle Lindseth, Senior Product Manager of Docutech, and Richard Grieser, Vice President of Marketing of TRUV, as they unpack how Jonathan and his team launched the business with zero loan volume, and in just 2 years, NFTYDoor debuted its digital home equity loan platform, was acquired by Homebridge, and is now on track to reach 3,000 loans per month in 2024, making them a major player in the market. Their technology is built from the ground up and processes everything from credit, KYC, valuations, disclosures, closing (RON), and payments, and all in full regulatory compliance. This is a success story as Jonathan and his team pushed the limits and accepted the risk, but those lessons learned can be immediately applied by you. Come and see the future of lending technology.

Capital markets: inflation has settled… now what?

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The link between interest rates, mortgage rates, and borrower behavior is always changing. Although the Federal Reserve is apparently “on hold” until its May meeting, it is still important to see and understand what will cause interest rates to move higher and lower over time. Mortgage rates have stayed close to where they started the year, despite swings in Treasury yields because of slowing inflation offset by stronger than expected readings on the job and the housing markets.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is keenly aware of inflation. No news was good news when it came to inflation revision data to close last week, with the Consumer Price Index revised downward slightly in December and the fourth quarter left unchanged at 3.3 percent. A year ago, revisions to the November and December 2022 reports showed higher core inflation than what was initially reported, sending bond yields higher as investors prepared for a “higher for longer” interest rate environment. Dallas Fed President Logan said that disinflation progress has been “tremendous,” but the central bank is in no rush to start lowering interest rates.

The CPI revisions likely give the Federal Reserve further breathing room while allaying any concerns traders might have had about progress on inflation. The revisions were also in sharp contrast to last year’s, in which CPI was revised significantly higher. It’s not at the “magic” 2 percent level, but there is progress. Easing inflation data, a resilient economy and a solid earnings season so far have sparked this year’s stock market rally, which has seen the three major averages tallying their fifth straight weekly gains, and this adds to consumer confidence.

The narrative of late has been a resilient U.S. economy, with low unemployment, inflation largely under control, and the Fed’s fabled soft landing very much in sight. Focus now shifts to January’s CPI tomorrow and if price pressures continue to recede, it may pave the way for the Fed to begin cutting interest rates sooner rather than later.

We also learned last week that January’s ISM Services Index rose to 53.4 from 50.5 in December. The expansion in the services sector of the economy exceeded economists’ expectations as consumers return to pre-pandemic spending behaviors. The prices paid subindex jumped from 56.7 to 64.0, a sign that inflationary pressures remain. This was the largest monthly percentage gain since August 2012.

Consumer spending remains strong and despite higher interest rates, expanded to a record $5.1 trillion in December, although the pace of consumer credit expansion declined from 7.6 percent in 2022 to 2.4 percent in 2023. Rising incomes due to a strong labor market are expected to support the pace of consumer spending as a meaningful slowdown in the job market has yet to materialize. Jobless claims fell to 218,000 during the week ending February 3 and continuing claims declined to 1.87 million, suggesting that those who do find themselves in the job market do not remain there for long.

This week sees the return of “first tier” data including updates on CPI, retail sales, industrial production / capacity utilization, PPI, and Michigan sentiment. Other data includes regional Fed surveys, import prices, factory orders, NAHB HMI, and housing starts. Fed speakers are currently limited to a few Fed presidents, while Treasury supply will consist of just bills. Regarding MBS, Class B and C 48-hours are tomorrow and Thursday, respectively.

Today’s lone data point is the January budget statement, due out this afternoon, with the CBO forecasting a deficit of $21 billion, compared with $38.8 billion in the prior fiscal year. Markets will also receive remarks from Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari. We begin Monday with Agency MBS prices a few 32nds (ticks) better than Friday afternoon, the 10-year yielding 4.16 after closing last week at 4.19 percent, and the 2-year is at 4.46.

During the weekend prior to Valentine’s Day, a husband had finished reading a new book entitled, “You Can Be THE Man of Your House.”

Finding new courage that he never knew he had, he strode purposefully into the kitchen and announced to his wife, “From now on, you need to know that I am the man of this house, and my word is the ‘Law’. You will prepare me a gourmet meal tonight, bring it to me, and when I am done eating my meal, you will clear the dishes and serve me a scrumptious dessert. After dinner, you are going to go upstairs with me and we will make love the way I want! Afterwards, you are going to draw me a bath so I can relax. You will put on soothing music, wash my back, towel me dry, and bring me my robe. You will massage my feet and hands to relieve any last bit of tension so that I can sleep like a baby. Then tomorrow, guess who’s going to dress me and comb my hair?”

The wife replied, “The funeral director would be my first guess, unless I have your butt cremated.”

Visit www.robchrisman.com 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. STRATMOR’s current blog is titled, “It’s 2024: Do You Know Where Your Servicing Is?” The Commentary’s podcast is live and at any place you obtain your podcasts (like Apple or Spotify).

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(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to www.robchrisman.com. Copyright 2024 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product 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