Feb. 4: MLO jobs; real estate, non-QM, vendor products; conventional conforming product shifts

Fitness instructor: “Have you ever done a marathon?” Me: “You mean like on Netflix?” Both take stamina (of some sort), as does merely looking at the U.S. Debt Clock website that Kim G. reminded me continues to click along. Originators and branch managers will tell you that recruiting MLOs and retaining customers are both marathons, and as mortgage rates have fallen (with the fear of the coronavirus negatively impacting economies), it didn’t take long for both to become difficult. LOs who were looking for other opportunities toward the end of 2019 are now busy tending their locked pipelines or contacting/protecting previous clients. I’ve heard from a few originators, “If I’m not mining my database, someone else is.” And CEOs are once again dealing with operational capacity issues. Lending is not for the faint of heart!

Employment & transitions

Gold Star Mortgage, an award-winning leader in process automation technology, announces the addition of proprietary artificial intelligence to its digital lending platform, ConnectGS. This AI identifies probable purchase and refinance opportunities within the MLOs own database and delivers MLO alerts as well as message-specific communications to their clients in real time. Additional game-changing opportunities unique to Gold Star include its Preferred Lender status with Craig Proctor Coaching, providing Gold Star MLOs with unlimited access to top-producing Realtor Teams from coast-to-coast, as well its popular FastPass Pre-Approval that levels the playing field against all-cash offers. Loan Officers tired of multi-layer, red-tape management structures will also love Gold Star’s refreshingly direct access to senior execs, and the leading regional margin they’re able to offer as a result. In Gold Star’s case, it appears the grass may truly be greener. For more information, go to www.JoinGoldStarMortgage.com.

Nationwide mortgage lender, NewRez, is thrilled to welcome Tammy Verani to the team as the Area Sales Manager of their newest JV opportunity in New Hampshire! As a long-time Londonderry resident, Tammy will focus on driving profitability and growing the sales team. She brings more than 16 years of experience in real estate finance and mortgage banking, as well as a stellar track record for growth. “We are very excited to have Tammy join the NewRez team. She is a great person and a proven leader in the industry who will lead our growth in the region,” says Vince Daino, VP of Recruiting and Business Development. Tammy adds, “The NewRez product offering and value proposition is second to none. I am anxious to share that with our real estate agents and loan originators!” If you are a producing loan officer or sales manager in New Hampshire or northern Massachusetts and want to join Tammy’s team, please contact Vince.

Stearns Lending, LLC announced that industry vet Dave Lowman has been appointed to the Stearns Holdings, LLC Board of Managers, effective February 1. Dave, a rookie with only 40 years in the biz, has held some very low-level, “off the radar screen” jobs like EVP with Freddie Mac (where he led the transformation of Freddie Mac’s Single-Family business to a client-centric, commercial enterprise), CEO of Chase Home Lending (overseeing $150 billion in annual production and a $1.2 trillion servicing portfolio), and leading several Citigroup businesses (where he led the growth and transformation of U.S. and global consumer lending businesses). Seriously, it is quite a feather in Stearns’ cap as Dave is an icon.

Lender products & services

AFR provides its business partners with unique products and value-added features, including no pricing add-ons for Manufactured Housing programs. AFR is also one of the few lenders that offers financing for MH singlewides! In addition to unique lending products, AFR provides partners with industry-leading technology like the AFR Loan Center iOS app, which supports both FaceID and TouchID for a smoother login experience, and the Android app, which will support fingerprint authentication this month. Both the iOS and Android Loan Center apps support Push Notifications for all Loan Activities, so you can receive convenient loan updates in real-time. Just a few more ways AFR helps you succeed! For more information on becoming an AFR partner, email sales@afrwholesale.com or call 1-800-375-6071.

Mortech, a Zillow Group business, will be hosting an upcoming webinar, Mortech Protection: Focus on Pre-Movers to Gain and Retain Purchase Customerson February 11th at 1:00 PM CST. Join Travis Eckhardt to discuss opportunities for mortgage growth using Mortech’s predictive analytics platform. Built on pre-mover data from Zillow, Mortech Protection identifies addresses within a lender’s database that are very likely to list for sale, of which 1 in 4 homes will list in the next 90 days. With the majority of buyers contacting only one lender before obtaining a mortgage, being informed earlier in the home selling process will better align you to be the first lender to reach out to these home sellers when they need financing for a new home. Register today to see how Mortech Protection can help you proactively target your outreach marketing to customers needing a new mortgage with the right message, at the right time.

To be competitive in today’s marketplace, access to Non-QM products is a must. To be successful, the right tools are needed to navigate these products. LoanNEX is leading the industry in expanded eligibility, pricing, and decisioning tools with time-saving features, including ratio calculations on a per rate and product basis, program-specific questionnaires that reduce manual guideline searches, and helpful tool tips embedded throughout. The LoanNEX Qualifier is a must see, FREE solution for originators. For more information about LoanNEX, contact sales@loannex.comor request a demo. LoanNEX recently partnered with First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation® giving access to FGMC’s proprietary suite of Non-QM products known as, Maverick Solutions, available for their Correspondent and Wholesale channels within the LoanNEX Qualifier. Quick Tools powered by LoanNEX are available directly on the FGMC websites. Access FGMC’s Maverick products here: Correspondent (for questions reach out to Tom Davis), Wholesale (for questions reach out to Michael Massella).

“Tidal waves continue at Vendor Surf, the only search engine in the industry, with unmatched reach and credibility. Update: Over half of our traffic now comes from internet search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) via organic SEO. If they can trust Vendor Surf, we hope you will too. Now in its third year showcasing the most innovative solutions and recognized brands, taking countless days out of your initial due diligence, Vendor Surf is the premier destination for decision makers at banks, mortgage companies and credit unions. Sourcing committees, and operations leaders alike, rely on Vendor Surf as the digital hub that intelligently connects them to desired vendor partners. Searchers can ‘Find ’em Fast,’ on-screen and in real-time, via over 3,000 search filters. See WHO JOINED the revolution in 2019.”

Are you considering offering non-QM loans but don’t have the underwriting expertise or know where to start? The good news is you don’t need non-QM experience to succeed in this sector. Verus Mortgage Capital’s non-delegated platform allows sellers lacking non-QM underwriting specialists to leverage the Verus platform to underwrite and clear conditions for their loans, and utilize its bank statement review team. The truth is you likely have non-QM leads right in front of you – beginning with your FHA and conventional turn downs. Let Verus, the most experienced non-QM investor, help you transform your turn downs into closed loans. For more information, contact Jeff Schaefer, Executive Vice President – Correspondent Sales, or call 202-534-1821.

Spruce, a national platform for enabling online real estate transactions, has received its license to act as an underwritten title company in California, and opened a new west coast HQ in Sacramento. “We’re delighted to have expanded our offering into California, which is home to some of the most innovative real estate and mortgage companies in the country. With this in place, our license footprint covers well over 90% of the country.” Spruce’s Sacramento location joins existing offices in New York, Texas, and Nevada, and ensures best-in-class customer service for every consumer, lender, and real estate professional coast-to-coast. To learn more, check out the press release or schedule a demo with the Spruce team.

Lenders & investors’ conventional conforming changes

If you’d like to pen something over in the next 60 days, the FHFA is looking for comments after it published a proposed modification to the servicer eligibility standards to be approved to sell and service for the GSEs. As this article from Dave Stevens of Mountain Lake Consulting points out, most of the impact is on Ginnie servicers, but everyone should be aware of it.

In December, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac published a revised implementation timeline for the redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) and automated underwriting system (AUS) updates. Wells Fargo Funding does not anticipate additional requirements or overlays to the Agencies’ URLA and AUS standards. Unless otherwise notified, Sellers should continue to follow all existing policies and procedures to ensure Loans meet Wells Fargo Funding-specific requirements.

Wells Fargo Funding removed its overlay for delegated underwritten conventional Conforming Loans where the subject property is a condominium (condo), planned unit development (PUD), or cooperative (co-op) with mitigated environmental hazards. The policy has also been updated to allow these Loans for Prior Approval underwriting with additional review by Wells Fargo Funding. Additionally, a reminder has been issued that the taxpayer consent to use or disclose tax return information is required for all Loans, regardless of whether tax return information is required.

PennyMac posted Announcement  20-02: Freddie Mac Bulletin 2019-20, 2019-25 and Fannie Mae SEL 2019-09.

United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), has dropped loan limits for its Conventional Elite borrowers offering its best rates to borrowers seeking loans anywhere from $125,000. “The Conventional Elite program combines great pricing for the borrower along with the fantastic service and technology that UWM has always been known to deliver to clients. Now borrowers with a 700+ FICO score and at least 20 percent down can take advantage of the great program on Elite Conventional.” UWM has always offered Elite programs down to $125,000 on its FHA Elite, VA Elite and USDA Elite programs and that will continue.

U.S. Bank Home Mortgage issued Seller Guide Update SEL 2020-002, providing information on Geographic Market Restrictions, VA’s Assisted Appraisal Processing Program (AAPP), and a reminder regarding Final Document Delivery and Penalties. Additionally, U.S. Bank issued Seller Guide Update SEL 2020-001 which includes Freddie Mac Bulletin 2019-25 changes, Compliance updates, Points and Fees reminder and a reminder that High Cost Loans are prohibited.

AmeriHome Mortgage issued a reminder that effective with new Bulk Trade and Bulk Assignment of Trade bid tapes submitted on and after Wednesday, January 15, 2020, loans utilizing an appraisal waiver (e.g. Fannie Mae Appraisal Waiver, or Freddie Mac Automated Collateral Evaluation (ACE)) that are not identified as such on the bid tape may be subject to a 25 basis points loan price adjustment.

loanDepot Wholesale/Correspondent posted information regarding Freddie Mac – HomeOne and the Veterans Information Portal (VIP). A recent announcement includes the Lowest Available MI Quotes and information on Freddie Mac guidelines on Student Loans Repayment.

Lakeview Correspondent posted Announcement C2020-03 covering multiple topics which include DSHA Conventional and TSAHC Conventional Program updates, IRS Tax Return & Transcript requirements and an enhancement to Springboard To Homeownership Program and to the My Place Mortgage Program.

Capital markets

Although the U.S. 10-year ended Monday unchanged, there were some factors that nudged rates up and down Monday: better-than-expected revisions to Manufacturing PMI readings for January in Germany, the Eurozone and the UK, the U.S. ISM Manufacturing Index for January marked the first reading in expansionary territory over the last six months (aided by a jump in new orders, production, and new export orders), the People’s Bank of China injecting liquidity into the market and lowered short term repurchase rates, U.S. total domestic construction spending decreasing in December when it was expected to increase, with new single-family construction driving the pickup in residential spending, and finally, the CDC stated that the coronavirus is being treated as if it was the next pandemic. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in China exceeded 17,000 with the death count climbing above 350.

The Federal Reserve released its Senior Loan Officer Survey for January, which noted that lending standards on commercial and industrial loans were unchanged during Q4, but demand weakened across the board. Standards for commercial real estate loans were also unchanged while demand for these loans weakened as well. Lending standards for residential real estate loans were unchanged while demand strengthened. Banks tightened their lending standards for credit card and auto loans. Demand for credit card loans was little changed while demand for auto loans decreased.

For today, a bunch of second-tier news, economically speaking: the Reserve Bank of Australia’s policy meeting results, Redbook same-store sales for the week ending February 1, ISM-New York Business Conditions Index for January, and December Factory Orders, and the State of the Union address. There is a GNII FedTrade operation which will target up to $407 million 2.5 percent ($144 million) and 3 percent ($263 million). We begin today with Agency MBS prices worse .250 and the 10-year yielding 1.58 percent on a little psychological bounce back after rates falling fast recently.

After a long day of shopping, my daughter and I stopped at a grocery store in a “transitional” neighborhood. I ran in to pick up a few things, leaving her in the car. As I approached the checkout, I was surprised to see my daughter there waiting for me.

“Honey,” I said, “what are you doing in here? I left the motor running.”

“It’s all right, Dad,” she replied reassuringly. “I locked the doors.”

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(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. Currently there are hundreds of 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 2020 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