Feb. 2: Subservicing product, LO & senior management jobs; CRA trends; homeowner’s insurance & title news

The total number of slot machines in Las Vegas is down 23 percent from its peak in 2001, partially because slot gambling never really clicked with younger generations. But the casino business derives most of its revenue from the machines, so it’s looking into ways to get millennials interested in slots. Some people really like statistics, lists, and rankings. I mention this because Quicken Loans Inc. announced that it surpassed Wells Fargo & Co. in volume of mortgage originations in the fourth quarter of 2017. Quicken Loans reported Thursday that it originated $25 billion in home loans in the last three months of 2017, while Wells Fargo reported $23 billion in residential mortgages for the quarter.

Jobs, partnerships, subservicing, rebranding

The Orange County, CA based wholesale lender Nations Direct Mortgage is excited to announce that it has combined forces with its DBA, Motive Lending. This unity between the Nations and Motive brands combines the best practices and talent from both brands to create a stronger, more dynamic platform for its broker partners while also positioning the company for robust growth in 2018. The company is forecasted to increase its market share by 50% this year alone, creating 63 new Account Executive positions to complement their highly recognized Operations staff. If you are an Account Executive interested in joining a driven and supportive team with $7 billion in production volume over the past two years, please contact Martin Warren, Director of Lending at martin@myndm.com. Nations Direct lends in 35 states plus D.C. and is an approved Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae direct seller/servicer.

The StoneHill Group, a veteran-owned company and one of the nation’s premier providers of quality control and fulfillment services, is seeking a President/COO to join its experienced senior management team in Atlanta, GA. “StoneHill has over 400 clients nationwide and delivers exceptional Quality Control, Underwriting, Fulfillment, MERS Reviews and Due Diligence services customized to our client’s needs. As President/COO, you will be responsible for all aspects of managing the Company. The position is geared for an exceptional individual with a depth of experience in mortgage lending and preferably in providing outsource solutions. Substantial knowledge and experience in technology development/deployment is a Plus-Plus. The position reports to the Chairman/CEO. The ideal candidate must possess senior management experience and be the ultimate team player. The position is in the company’s Atlanta headquarters (no remotes or virtual considered.) To review the full job description and to submit a resume, please visit The StoneHill Group, Inc. Careers’ Page.


The Vantage Production team recently released an enhanced open house flyer engine for their sales and marketing automation solution—VIP. With a dozen predefined templates, open house flyers that meet the users’ specific needs can be created exceptionally fast. The intuitive design tool automatically personalizes flyers with users’ photos, logos and color choices. Robust integrations to the major product and pricing engines help integrate loan products, rates, payment details and closing costs, which may be automatically added or input manually by users. To learn more, schedule a Discovery Call by clicking here or contacting Bill Bodnar at 732.526.1525.

Hallmark Home Mortgage, Fort Wayne, Indiana, announces a rebranding after a successful 10 years. “Our new look and website better aligns with serving our customers and sets the groundwork for the exciting growth initiatives we have in place for 2018 and beyond,” said Executive Vice President Mark Etchison. Hallmark Home Mortgage is an independent mortgage banker with the core of its footprint in the Midwest and Colorado. Hallmark is expanding within and outside of its footprint. For branch managers and loan officers that want to hear about exciting opportunities with Hallmark, please contact CEO Deborah Sturges, EVPs Mark Etchison, Rob Griffey or Dave Gallegos.

Caliber Home Loans, Inc. is a full-service national originator and servicer, and we reported a 22% year-over-year growth in 2017, via Inside Mortgage Finance. So how does one of the nation’s largest mortgage companies produce double-digit growth while the industry’s declining by 6%? Last year Caliber introduced new products, streamlined the mortgage process and delivered new technology solutions. Loan officers seeking to increase their purchase business and break sales records can learn more by contacting Jeremy DeRosa or visiting Caliber.

With the MBA servicing conference coming up, I got this response from TMS CEO Darius John Mirshahzadeh. “As the industry focuses on innovating the origination process which is a good thing, few people are concentrated on the relationship with borrowers — servicing. Even the closing has gone digital, so why is servicing so far behind? The industry is so focused on all the hubbub around stealing clients from brokers, but, in the end, the borrower ends up being sold in the servicing release process anyway. Companies, like TMS, who focus on digital servicing solutions, are the ones creating a long-term benefit to borrowers. Rather than sell their borrowers after originating the mortgage, TMS maintains a relationship with their customers through its servicing solution SIME, which proves real-time insight into every customer. There’s an extreme need for disruption in the servicing industry, and the result would benefit lenders, investors and borrowers.”

Thrilling & chilling CRA news

When I was running a capital markets department, there was always a scramble to find product that would “fit the bill” for banks to buy to satisfy their CRA requirements. And banks make a big deal out of it. For example, Fifth Third just achieved an “outstanding” rating.

Currently the Treasury is quietly looking at revamping the CRA. The Treasury Department is embarking on an effort to revise the implementation of the Community Reinvestment Act, a law many community groups say is out of step with modern banking practices and that institutions say has devolved into a compliance exercise.

Citibank Correspondent is offering Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) premiums on eligible loans. The premiums offered for the following MSAs will change effective with locks on/after Friday, January 26, 2018.  Refer to the updated Citi CRA Premium Schedule for complete details.

(Looking back a month, “Due to recent FFIEC revisions to 2017 Median Family Income limits, Citi is making updates to its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Premium Schedule, effective December 27, 2017. The updated CRA Premium Schedule became available on page 8 of the Best Efforts Rate Sheet and is also now available on Agentsite under the Resources tab here.”)

Homeowner insurance and title notes

Out of California comes news that more than 13,300 insurance claims totaling roughly $1.8 billion have been filed for the Thomas, Rye, Skirball and Lilac fires, according to the state Department of Insurance. The figures are the first official tallies since the fires tore through Ventura, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego counties in December. When combined with the October fires in Northern California, there have been 45,000 insurance claims filed totaling $11.79 billion, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said during a Wednesday morning news conference.

Yesterday First American Financial Corporation, a provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions, announced the completion of its acquisition of Bank of America’s lien release business. Bank of America’s lien release business and its employees are now part of First American’s Mortgage Solutions division, a leading provider of comprehensive solutions for residential lenders and servicers covering the entire loan spectrum. As part of the agreement, the group will continue to provide lien release services to Bank of America.

Effective Thursday, February 01, 2018, Flagstar Bank is modifying its current policy when taxes or insurance are due within 60 days of closing. When the closing occurs greater than 30 days from the next due date, Flagstar will collect the appropriate amount of escrows at closing needed to pay the upcoming bill. If the closing occurs within 30 days of the upcoming due date, we will require evidence that the tax or insurance amount has been paid.

The requirement for the age of the preliminary title policy/title commitment has been revised to no more than 90 days old at closing for all Franklin American Mortgage products. The previous requirement was no more than 60 days old at closing.

Integrating homeowner’s insurance into the mortgage origination process is a relatively new idea. Matic, an independent insurance agency that works with multiple insurance carriers, offers technology that enables mortgage lenders to provide homebuyers with real-time homeowner’s insurance quotes from top-rated national carriers as part of their mortgage origination process and works with mortgage servicers to help existing homeowners lower their escrow payments by switching homeowner’s insurance. Because Matic technology pulls borrower and property data directly from the mortgage lender or servicer, home-buying consumers can avoid manually entering data or guessing how much coverage they need. Another key benefit is automated quote comparison between multiple carriers.

ALTA has launched the national ALTA Registry of Title and Settlement Agents to provide mortgage lenders more accuracy and confidence in their settlement service providers. “The national ALTA Registry is a unique real estate utility created specifically for mortgage lenders,” said Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “The national ALTA Registry assigns a unique identification number, the ALTA ID, to a title agent for precise identification, which is a first of its kind for the real estate industry.” The national ALTA Registry provides mortgage lenders with direct access to centrally managed information that: Saves time and allows mortgage lenders to have direct access to centralized information about their service providers. Increases data quality with title insurance underwriter confirmed data points. Reduces errors and risk knowing a unique ALTA ID exists for individual title agents and their various branches to reduce confusion over similar or duplicate data across mortgage lender databases. Enhances third-party supplier oversight procedures.

Technology and ever-decreasing resources at the state and federal level make it even more difficult for regulators today. Let’s take a few examples. TechCrunch profiled Morty the online mortgage broker platform.  Innovation. Fast Co. Design profiled Hippo, the online home insurance platform. Interesting. Homie, the online real estate platform to assist sellers (and buyers) in Utah.  Potential game changer. The downside is that there is a cost to innovation and many regulators find interesting, threatening as well.

Wire fraud has hit epidemic levels, growing from 3% of payment fraud attempts in 2010, to a staggering 48% today. Last year alone, wire fraud in real estate transactions grew 480%.  In response to the epidemic, Thomas Cronkright II and Lawrence assembled a team of title and technology experts to develop a new wire fraud prevention platform. The result, CertifID, is designed to confirm the true identities of people and expose fraud so that all parties to the transaction are protected. CertifID’s proprietary technology verifies the identity of an individual (such as a participating escrow officer, buyer or seller) as well as bank account credentials, enabling those involved in a real estate transaction to transfer funds securely. In addition to its easy-to-use enterprise platform, CertifID’s system is backed by an unprecedented $500,000 guarantee. CertifID’s patent-pending technology harnesses billions of digital records and Internet metadata to confirm the identity of an individual and the device he or she is using during the transaction. Once the identity has been established, bank account information is shared, credentialed and confirmed by the person who will be receiving funds from a real estate transaction. The entire certification process takes less than two minutes.

Capital markets

Rates couldn’t bounce after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a decline in productivity of 0.1 percent and an increase in labor costs of 2.0 percent. The 10-year Treasury note saw its yield rise to 2.77 percent by the end of the session – pretty much the highest it’s been since 2014. Jobless claims were mostly unchanged, and the ISM manufacturing index declined slightly from 59.3 to 59.1, which still signals robust expansion. Construction spending also continues to grow at a slow pace. The data is in line with recent trends and the market is continuing is slow climb upward as there hasn’t been anything yet to change participants’ expectations of increased supply and higher rates.

This morning, the main headline is the Employment Situation Summary where a reading of +190,000 compared to last month’s +148,000, came in at +200k. Hourly Earnings were +.9%, +2.9% year over year, and the Unemployment Rate came in at 4.1%. If anyone cares, this employment data will be followed by consumer sentiment and factory orders at 10AM. After the unemployment numbers we find rates versus last night: the 10-year is yielding 2.83% and 30-year agency MBS prices are worse a solid .250. There is little disagreement that we have a steady, strong U.S. economy – despite the Fed having raised short term rates several times already.

Why did the physics teacher break up with the biology teacher?

There was no chemistry.

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. 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 www.robchrisman.com. Copyright 2018 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