Feb. 25: Ops, MLO jobs; cap. mkts., valuation, default, fulfillment tools; technology & processing notes

As hope for a recovery drawing nearer helps push rates higher, Carol K. writes, “I hate it when people ask me what I do for fun because there is no classy way to say, ‘Binge drink.’” The approaching 1003 form mandatory changes may cause some people to turn to drink… Is it going to “March Madness” at your shop with the new URLA? (The commentary has plenty of URLA and processing notes below.) Plenty of lenders who are “farther along technology curves” than others seem to be hiring lots of developers to accommodate change like incorporating a new application. But AEs and MLOs need to be aware of and use digital tools that they already have. DU and LP, for example, are great tools and in nearly every lender. Heck, I hear a lot about senior management reminding staff about the benefits of correctly filling out forms: it is important but overlooked. I’ve started telling everyone about the benefits of eating dried grapes. It’s all about raisin awareness! (To listen to the audio version of today’s commentary, please click here.)

Employment, hiring, and promotions

“Are you looking to join a fast-growing financial firm that is making a positive impact on the lives of millions of homeowners? Do you want to work with a diverse and dynamic group of individuals while taking home a highly competitive salary? (Oh, and did we mention all from the comfort of your home?) Great news: Lakeview Loan Servicing, the largest Ginnie Mae servicer and fourth largest servicer in the country, is hiring. Competitive compensation, signing bonuses, and benefits starting day one of employment are just a few of the many outstanding perks of joining the Lakeview team. (Read our employee testimonials here!) Even better, you’ll have the opportunity to make a direct and positive impact on more than 1.8 million customers across the country. Open positions include Underwriters, Processors, Closers, and Wholesale AEs in all regions. Head to our career page and read more about our openings, benefits, and company culture. We can’t wait to meet you!”

First Option Mortgage, a national residential mortgage lender is pleased to announce the newest member of our team, ARLA., an Automated Response Loan Assistant built into FOM’s new website. Alvin Shah, managing partner at First Option stated “ARLA will assist new customers in their mortgage journey, while also helping existing customers connect with their loan officer. ARLA’s email to the loan officer will alert them of their customer’s request. This ensures greater engagement between the loan officer and the consumer.” With the new website, adding AI technology was the logical way to go. But FOM wanted to go beyond the normal Q&A that bots are limited to. National Sales Manager Fobby Naghmi said “ARLA will become an integral part of providing a higher level of service to not only the FOM clients, but to the FOM employees in multiple areas.” To discover more about First Option Mortgage, contact Fobby.”

Caliber Home Loans is proud to employ a diverse group of VA-certified loan consultants and serve a broad military community. Bryan Bergjans, SVP, National Director of Military & Veteran Lending, was the featured guest of an important virtual webinar. “Ask the Expert: Lending to the Military and Veteran Community,” focused on a variety of subjects about the VA loan industry. One important topic was building trust within the military and veteran community. Bergjans noted that authenticity was key in developing strong relationships with military service members. That means hiring more retired military and military spouses who understand what it’s like transitioning back into civilian life. Along with educating the community on facts and details involving the VA loan process, these actions are imperative in sustaining a quality relationship with the community. Explore our redesigned military website and to be immediately considered for Operations or Sales positions, email Jonathan Stanley or Brian Miller.

Seroka, a brand development, digital and strategic communications agency, announced that John Seroka has been elected to the role of President.

Credit Plus, a leading provider of credit data and verification services, announced the executive promotions of Mike Hall to Chief Operating Officer, Don Clement to EVP, Marketing, Michael Crockett to EVP, Data Solutions, Judy Ryan to EVP, Sales, East, and Mike Allen to EVP, Sales, West.

Mortgage Connect LP has appointed Capital Markets veteran Brian Frye to the role of EVP, Servicing and Capital Markets Strategy. Brian’s headed up its Capital Markets division which provides title, collateral, and transaction support services that cater to the demanding needs of institutional investors, banks, and GSEs that trade and securitize whole loans in the secondary market.

Quontic, the adaptive digital bank, has hired Craig Schimelman as VP, National Wholesale Sales Manager to lead the wholesale mortgage division to grow the Non-QM market. Quontic’s wholesale mortgage funding has increased 600% since September 2020. Craig will also be responsible for hiring Regional Sales Managers and Wholesale AEs to drive the Non-QM market.

Lender services and products

I continue to hear how much of a pain employment and income verifications are becoming for lenders as they try to accelerate closings. That’s why Truework has become such a savior for so many of you. Truework automates income and employment verifications for loans, shortening time to close. I hear more and more lending teams using Truework in their verification work streams and I get it- it’s absurdly efficient and more cost-effective with higher volumes- especially now that their coverage has grown to over 35 million employees. Truework should be a go-to tool for any loan processor out there as verifications are ridiculously fast and Truework’s level of service is a breath of fresh air: the team actually cares about helping you close more business. Imagine that. Get started on Truework today. VOE/VOI done fast and accurate.

Propelling from our annual Kick Off meeting (virtual this year), the Mr. Cooper Correspondent team is more energized than ever! The meeting theme “Know to Grow” illustrates our goals for 2021. Focused on mutual growth and partnership with our clients, we’re determined to Know Our Clients better than ever! We’re dedicated to making sure our clients Know Our Business and Solutions – Delegated, Non-Delegated, proven Operational Excellence, Flexible Delivery Options (Mandatory, Bulk, Best Efforts, Hybrid AOT, & More!), Co-issue, and Capital Markets Solutions. Through dedicated relationships, we’ll ensure the industry and our business partners Know Mr. Cooper fully to understand our expertise and how to leverage the value of working with Mr. Cooper, a Top 10 Correspondent investor and premier leader in the Co-issue space. Through this awareness, our clients will GROW and Mr. Cooper will GROW! If YOU want to KNOW more and are ready to GROW, please reach out to your Regional Sales team!”

The demand for high quality, experienced processing and underwriting talent has exploded in the past year, leaving lenders struggling to recruit and competing with a new high mark for salaries. Luckily for community lenders, high quality onshore outsourced processing and underwriting services (like Maxwell’s Fulfillment Platform) are accessible like never before. The Maxwell Fulfillment Platform enables lenders to scale their business with access to tech-empowered teams of experienced onshore processors and underwriters at offshore prices. The result is lending teams that are able to grow beyond the talent restrictions of their local markets. To learn more about the Maxwell Fulfillment Platform, schedule a call today or click here to see how this service can meet your underwriting and processing needs.

Are you experiencing prolonged payroll cycles and commission calculation errors? Are your incentive compensation plans multiplying like rabbits? If the tried-and-true spreadsheet system that worked for years has begun to hold you back, you’re not alone. These were the exact pain points Silverton Mortgage experienced before making the switch to CompenSafe by LBA WareDownload this case study to see what makes CompenSafe the most efficient and modern way to manage incentive compensation.

Does your year ahead look like Easy Street or Nightmare on Elm Street? Now that the forbearance moratorium has been extended, the risk of a default wave is heightened. Borrowers who need the extension are likely facing an uphill financial challenge and servicers unprepared to manage delinquent portfolios could be at risk once the moratorium ends. Computershare Loan Services (CLS) is a leading servicer with predictive analytics and borrower engagement solutions that help clients get ahead of default loan scenarios. CLS’ deep roots in default servicing support both clients and homeowners, at every step of the loan lifecycle. Prepare for the road ahead. Have a conversation with CLS about your servicing portfolio and how to best manage your EBOs, delinquencies, and defaults.

Stewart Title has continued to invest in innovative technology and scale through its acquisition of Pro Teck Valuation Intelligence. Pro Teck’s VALIDITY guided homeowner inspection app, originally developed to allow safe inspections during the health crisis, can provide faster turn times and a more in-depth inspection for products that typically rely on exterior Property Condition Reports. Contact us to learn about pairing a VALIDITY inspection with Pro Teck’s ValueFocus, CollateralPoint, Evaluation, or Desktop Appraisal for your home equity, servicing, or capital markets needs. Pair it with our automatic Product Selection Waterfall based on your risk criteria to match the most efficient product for your need.

Has your volume reached a point where it is time to make the move from best efforts to mandatory loan sales? Maybe you’ve already moved to mandatory and are looking for even more pickup and ways to mitigate risk? Join MCT®’s Moving to Mandatory Loan Sale Delivery webinar on March 10th at 10AM PT to learn how mandatory loan sales is helping lenders improve profitability while reducing risk. The webinar will also review current market trends and operational changes needed to make the switch to mandatory loan sales. As the industry leader in pull-through analytics and best execution with the highest staff-to-client ratio, lenders of every size trust MCT to manage risk and optimize profitability in their mortgage pipeline. To learn how MCT is helping clients of every size achieve their goals, try MCT’s new mortgage profitability calculator.

Big news out of FormFree: the company announced its expanded AccountChek 3n1’s VOIE network to cover more than 100 million working Americans. By partnering with 31 of the nation’s top payroll providers, FormFree can electronically verify income and employment via direct-source paystub data for 85% of Americans paid via payroll service. Guild Mortgage’s David Battany and Roostify’s Rajesh Bhat heralded the announcement as a welcome answer to the industry’s desire for more expansive VOIE coverage at a fair price point. If you’re one of the 3,000 lenders in the FormFree network, contact Gregg Palmer to get 3n1 turned on today.

Technology and processing changes

While COVID devastated many industries, it had the opposite effect on ours. Lenders have ramped up with more people and pushed harder on technology, buying and installing at a maddening pace. Even though technology deployment is up, according to a new article by STRATMOR Senior Partner Garth Graham adoption by users has not kept pace. “Only about half of the eligible users, internal and consumer, are adopting the tools they are provided,” says Graham. “My message to lenders and vendors? You can roll out new tools, but you have to drive adoption of those tools to have the digital technology success you want.” In his article in the February Insights Report, “Digital Rising: The Mortgage World According to Garth,” Graham draws on data from STRATMOR’s 2020 Technology Insight® Study and other STRATMOR data sources to show the adoption gap in the industry’s digital journey. Don’t miss the new issue of STRATMOR’s Insights Report.

FAMC revised the system implementation date communicated in Correspondent National Bulletin 2021-05. FAMC’s system began accepting the redesigned URLA this week for all products.

First State Mortgage sent out a URLA reminder.

Effective March 1, PRMG’s TPO Portal will support and require the MISMO file format 3.4 version to accommodate the newly designed URLA and updated AUS systems.

Flagstar Bank posted information on VVOE Form Update and COVID Reminder for Self-Employed Borrowers in memo 21023.

In Compliance News, First American Docutech posted information regarding FNMA AUS messages Concerning Legacy URLA and USDA Forms Updates.

Wells Fargo Funding clarified that Sellers submitting Loans using the new Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) during the Open Production Period are not required to include taxpayer consent documentation in the closed Loan Package. The redesigned URLA includes language that meets Wells Fargo Funding’s taxpayer consent documentation requirement for all Loan types (conventional Conforming, Non-Conforming, FHA, VA, and Guaranteed Rural Housing).

Flagstar Bank posted Memo 21012 on February 4th with updated information on 4506-C Authorization.

FCM Wholesale posted a 4506-C guideline update in Announcement 2021-3.

Capital markets

Join MIAC on Thursday, March 4 at 2:00 PM EST for its latest webinar: Whole Loan Market Update. MIAC’s Whole Loan Trading Desk will recount the events of 2020 and their effects on the residential whole loan market. Topics include ways to capitalize on the turmoil in the residential market and how to protect against future economic events while taking advantage of new opportunities in 2021. This webinar will feature presentations and discussions by MIAC’s experts: Brendan Teeley, Senior Vice President, Whole Loan Sales & Trading, and Dick Kazarian, Managing Director, Borrower Analytics Group. Hosted by MIAC Analytics. Webinar registration is complimentary: reserve your spot today!

The bond market, trading in part off of actual data and part off of hope, has been selling off, and selling off some more, recently. Yesterday’s likely culprit was likely the headline that the FDA has endorsed Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine. Some of the selloff could have been due to new home sales in January increasing 4.3 percent month-over-month and 19.3 percent year-over-year, both above expectations, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 923k. Demand for signed contracts remains robust despite higher prices. It certainly wasn’t due to the greatest weekly decline in mortgage applications in nearly a year. If mortgage rates continue to creep up, we will see continued pressure on TBA and pool volumes that are coming off record levels.

In Washington, Fed Chairman Powell delivered an uneventful appearance to conclude his semiannual testimony on monetary policy before the House Financial Services Committee. I’ll spare you the details and say the Fed is unlikely to change course for some time, but will do its best to alert us of any changes as far in advance as possible. The day’s $61 billion 5-year note auction was met with weak demand. By the end of the day Treasury yields had pulled back a couple bps across the curve and the MBS basis closed the volatile session mixed.

Today’s economic calendar is out of the gate with a bang. January Durable Goods Orders (+3.4 percent, much stronger than forecast), the second look at Q4 GDP (+4.1 percent) and weekly jobless claims (730k, -111k from the previous week but are impacted by the storms; continuing claims 4.2 million). Later this morning brings January Pending Home Sales, the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending February 25, KC Fed manufacturing for February and a $62 billion Treasury auction of 7-year notes. Three Fed speakers are on the docket: Atlanta’s Bostic, Vice Chair of Supervision Quarles, and New York’s Williams. Today’s schedule sees the NY Fed Desk conducting three operations, one in each class, for up to $6.6 billion, in what we’re reminded is “artificial” demand. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices worse/down .5-.750 and the 10-year yielding 1.46 after closing yesterday at 1.39 percent on continued hope for the pandemic recovery.

During the beginning of the pandemic I worked at a cheap pizza shop to get by. I kneaded the dough.

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Rob Chrisman