Feb. 17: Ops, MLO, management jobs; broker, non-QM, communication tools; AmeriHome/Western Alliance deal numbers

(To listen to the audio version of today’s commentary, please click here.) Time flies. President Biden extended FHA & VA mortgage relief and the ban on home foreclosures through June. Did you know that, at 46, Leonardo DiCaprio is now the same age as Steve Martin was when Steve made “Father of the Bride?” (Apparently, as my friend Jeff O. pointed out, time doesn’t fly for Leo’s girlfriends. Despite him now being 46: their maximum age is 25. But that is the subject of a different kind of commentary.) What do entertainers, sports stars, comedians, or people like Paula Abdul, Lindsay Lohan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Vanilla Ice have in common? “Cameo is the leading marketplace connecting fans directly with tens of thousands of pop culture personalities in the form of customized video messages, live video calls and direct messages.” Now you know how “celebrities” can make a couple hundred clams for a 3-minute call from their home. And while we’re totally off the mortgage track, hey, how cool is this? Listen to pretty much any radio station in the world.

Employment, new hires, and promotions

Brace is looking for a VP of Sales to join our high-growth team. We’re seeking a results-driven Sales Leader with start-up energy, an uncanny ability to build relationships, and a strong work ethic. Brace has built a SaaS platform that allows servicers to manage the entire loss mitigation lifecycle, all on one digital platform. The Company recently announced a $15.7 million Series B financing, totaling $30m in funding to date, to accelerate its mission of providing a new generation of mortgage servicing software. Brace is based in Los Angeles and New York City, but the position can be remote. Please apply online here: Job Posting.”

Join Evergreen Home Loans™ for the next installment of the Evergreen Leadership Advantage webinar series! This time, they’re excited to welcome Dave Savage, Founder of Mortgage Coach, and Todd Bookspan, Executive Coach and Win by Noon Creator, to discuss how to become a Modern Mortgage Originator. Learn how to deliver more value to clients, develop a personal brand that generates leads and referrals, and evolve to meet the demands of today’s consumers. Host Chuck Iverson, Executive Vice President of Loan Production at Evergreen, will lead the session on March 3rd at 8:30 a.m. (PST). Register here to reserve your spot and learn more about the webinar. Or mark your calendars and catch the livestream on the Evergreen Home Loans Facebook and YouTube pages. Either way, you’ll want to see this!

“Control Freaks Wanted. Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. (PRMI) is looking for control freaks. If you’re ready to take control of your own destiny and do things your own way, we want you. At PRMI, we respect your creativity and entrepreneurial instinct. You’ll have the support, resources, and freedom you need to do what you know is best for your market, your customers, your team, and your future. We’re always here to back you up, but you succeed on your own terms, and you realize the benefits of your success. Join PRMI today and take control of your future. Visit our website or contact Amy Gallow, VP of Business Development, to learn more.

Lennar Mortgage has an exciting opportunity for an experienced Operations leader to join our dedicated team. This (remote) role is responsibility for supporting and developing our East Coast Operations Managers & teams. Lennar Mortgage focuses on new construction (end loans only) purchase volume for the homebuilder Lennar. We are committed to delivering the best experience for our customers with the latest technology. Additionally, we are looking for experienced Underwriters and Processors. If you are passionate about being part of company which puts customers and associates first, please reach out to Doug Calabrese.”

Cherry Creek Mortgage announced that Katy Uhl has joined the company as Chief Human Resources Officer.

Joey Davidson has been promoted by Acopia LLC from EVP to President. A 28-year veteran in the industry, and veteran of Desert Storm, Davidson is known for his strength of leadership and character and he’ll use both to successfully lead the organization through its next phase of growth while maintaining its culture and values.

Top of Mind has promoted Nick Belenky to the role of chief revenue officer to lead Top of Mind’s marketing, sales, and customer experience teams. Belenky joined Top of Mind in January 2020 as EVP of sales and has grown the sales and marketing team and launched numerous multimedia customer success initiatives.

Jeff Pirhalla has joined Greystone has a Director for the firm’s Agency lending platform to focus on bank correspondent and lending relationships intended to drive volume for Greystone’s small loans and overall Agency lending platforms.

Lender services and products

Bring your unique loan scenarios to the Sprout Mortgage Non-QM Scenario Station today at noon ET (9AM PT) and listen to, Tips to Gain Success With Non-QM.

Join Mitch Kider & Michael Dunn, CMB, on February 18th at 2pm EST for ActiveComply’s informational “Social Media Compliance Webinar”. In this series, we will discuss the social media lending landscape, examine the Biden Administration and what it means for the industry, evaluate fair lending & RESPA concerns, and explore other regulatory issues with social media compliance. Sign-up for the free webinar today! ActiveComply: Do you know what your LOs are saying online? Are you saying NO to social media because you don’t know the rules or feel protected? ActiveComply can bring you no-headache solutions to be regulatory compliant on social media. ActiveComply helps lenders meet responsibilities through our compliance system technology: automatically find all company and LO accounts related to your brand, examine profiles for NMLS IDs & Equal Housing information, and ensure posts are compliant (image scanning included). Download our Social Media Compliance Cheat Sheet to learn more!

Free eBook and Cost Analysis: Managing Origination Costs During An Uneven Recovery. Looking for ways to proactively manage market volatility and fuel cost-effective growth in your mortgage operations? Download the latest eBook from Promontory MortgagePath to learn how community lenders can control costs and improve customer service while positioning their mortgage operations for both immediate and long-term growth. Get the ebook here.

The first step in managing costs is understanding them. When you factor in LO comp, salaries and benefits, fulfillment, production support, tech, and administrative expenses, what are your fully loaded per-loan costs? Calculate your origination costs and get your custom cost analysis, including ways to reduce spend and increase profitability, here.

Has there ever been a more winning on-field duo than Brady and Gronk? The right team has the power to create championship-level output, and since 2003, Capital Markets Cooperative (CMC) has helped its nationwide network of lenders get the WIN. CMC’s preferred partner program gives lenders exclusive access and value through the industry’s leading investors and service providers. “CMC has always listened to us and created some very innovative products in response to our challenges,” said CMC Patron, Jesse Lehn, EVP Operations for Mortgage Investors Group. “They help us solve problems and increase efficiency, which adds to the bottom line.” Team up with CMC, the only mortgage cooperative with a co-issue servicing acquisition program that gives Agency-approved sellers greater liquidity. Contact CMC to learn more.

Sure, Connector by Velma® extends Ellie Mae’s Encompass™ Digital Lending Platform with exquisite communications and workflows. And Connector has a dynamite ECOA-Adverse Action compliance solution. But did you know Connector can send more than NOI letters?  Yep, let Connector take your print and mail headaches away too.  Automagically send one-off goodbye letters, insurance transfer notifications, statements, and more…straight from Encompass.  More info here.

Commerce Wholesale is still ‘Spreading the Love’ on Non-QM love for the month of February and crediting up to $700.00 on all Non—QM loans for appraisal fees at closing. In addition, we have reduced rates on our Non-QM programs and enhanced our credit guidelines across the board. To learn more about Commerce Wholesale please visit us or contact James Hooper, SVP of Wholesale. At Commerce Wholesale, we recognize that understanding Agency and even Non-QM guidelines related to forbearance can be confusing. Join us for a discussion around what to look for in borrowers’ credit and mortgage statements, broken down by agency, and what the guidelines and time frames look like to qualify your borrowers. The webinar is being held Wednesday, February 24th, from 12:30-1:30 PST. Space is limited.”

Stearns Wholesale is proud to have three women featured in this month’s Mortgage Women’s Magazine. Holly Strange, Allyson Foley, and Tammy Silver spoke about the virtual-only recruiting process and new career opportunities available at Stearns and the challenges brought on with hiring & training virtually. The move to recruitment and hiring virtually has opened doors to new talent, and Tammy states, “(It) has been a huge reason why Stearns has achieved so much growth this [past] year despite the pandemic.” Challenges when interviewing and hiring virtually? Holly states, “Be present and interactive with the candidate and show you are interested and fully engaged. Right now, it’s more important than ever to develop that relationship with the first interaction.” The biggest opportunity in recruiting talent in a growing market is to provide a vision for the future, demonstrate what makes your culture differ and show there is a pathway for career growth. Read the full interview in the January edition of Women’s Mortgage Magazine. If you’d like to partner with Stearns, click here click to be contacted.

M&A alive and well

Many expect more deals in the near future, but for now you can now own a piece of AmeriHome! The folks at Apollo, Athene Holding, and AmeriHome were popping the champagne corks yesterday as Phoenix-based Western Alliance Bank (NYSE: WAL) announced its acquisition of privately held AmeriHome by buying its parent company Aris Mortgage Holding Company, LLC. AmeriHome is the nation’s third largest correspondent mortgage acquirer, and apparently is worth (all-cash) $1.0 billion, an easy number to remember. Western Alliance will pay cash consideration of $275 million plus adjusted tangible book value at closing, expected in the 2nd quarter.

We learned more about Arizona’s Western Alliance ($36 billion in assets) in October when it purchased Galton Funding, best known in the non-QM world. Recently Western Alliance posted net revenues of $1.2 billion and the strongest loan and deposit growth in company history, providing warehouse financing and MSR financing to the mortgage industry, and has no direct-to-consumer or retail mortgage operation.

For those who like numbers, from a financial perspective the transaction is estimated to produce accretion of over 30% to EPS and over 500 basis points to return on average tangible common equity in 2020. WAL expects to achieve annual after-tax funding cost synergies of roughly $50 million with total estimated after-tax merger and integration costs of approximately $27 million. The purchase price represents approximately 1.4x adjusted tangible book value based on December 31, 2020 financials and is estimated to create modest dilution to WAL’s tangible book value per share that it expects to earn back in less than a year. Before the end of the second quarter of 2021, WAL intends to raise approximately $275 million of primary capital through a registered public offering of common stock to support the transaction and future growth, and plans to optimize the acquired mortgage servicing rights assets for both ongoing operations and regulatory capital treatment.

California’s AmeriHome can hold its head high. It has relationships with over 700 independent correspondent mortgage originator clients, including independent mortgage bankers, community & regional banks, and credit unions of all sizes and is the nation’s third largest correspondent mortgage acquirer: it purchased $65 billion in conventional conforming and government insured originations during 2020 and has a $99 billion mortgage servicing portfolio.

Once the deal closes AmeriHome will operate under its current brand, AmeriHome, a Western Alliance Bank company, and will continue to be led by Jim Furash, its current President and CEO, and John Hedlund, COO. AmeriHome noted, “As part of Western Alliance Bank, we will have access to significant capital and a faster pathway to growth for Delegated and Non-Delegated Correspondent channels. We are confident this combination will be both seamless and highly beneficial for our clients. Our value proposition… is not changing, only strengthening… We also look forward to the potential for introducing new Non-Agency portfolio products.”

Capital markets

What a start to this holiday-shortened week! And I’m not even talking about Texans reminding the rest of the nation they have about as much knowledge of how to deal with snow as I do dealing with the live squirrel Myrtle brought into the house the other day. U.S. bond yields surged to their highest levels in a year, including the 10-year yield pulling back +10 bps yesterday due to optimism over the economic recovery.

Let’s look at a couple releases from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The MBA’s latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey revealed that the total number of loans now in forbearance decreased by 6 bps to 5.29 percent of servicers’ portfolio volume in the prior week as of February 7. According to the MBA’s estimate, 2.6 million homeowners are in forbearance plans. Separately, the MBA revealed this morning that mortgage applications decreased 5.1 percent from one week earlier per the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending February 12.

We’ve also had January Retail Sales (+5.3 percent, much stronger than expected) and the Producer Price Index (+1.3 percent, a significant move higher, ex-food & energy +1.2 percent). Later this morning brings January industrial production and capacity utilization, December business inventories, and the February NAHB Housing Market Index. There are at least three scheduled Fed president appearances (Richmond’s Barkin, Boston’s Rosengren, and Dallas’ Kaplan) in addition to the release of the minutes from the January 26/27 FOMC meeting. In terms of treasury supply, the Treasury will auction $27 billion new 20-year bonds in the afternoon. Today’s Desk MBS purchase schedule is the largest of the week at $7.6 billion over three operations, including over $6.2 billion in UMBS30s. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices down .250-.375 and the 10-year yielding 1.33 after closing yesterday at 1.30 percent after the retail sales and inflation numbers this morning.

How it starts (part 3 of 5).

When our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife kept hinting to me that I should get it fixed.

But somehow, I always had something else to take care of first, the shed, the boat, making beer… Always something more important to me. Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point.

When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched silently for a short time and then went into the house. I was gone only a minute, and when I came out, I handed her a toothbrush.

I said, “When you finish cutting the grass, you might as well sweep the driveway.”

The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.

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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 designed 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 2021 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