In the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to visit Florida, Oregon, Colorado, Southern California (its own state), Arizona, Texas, and Florida again. Most are pretty optimistic about the biz but cautious about staffing up for refi business. Along those lines, what does “6 to 75” mean to you? If you’re a correspondent lender, it means the approximate number of correspondent investors there were in 2008 versus now. If you’re a warehouse lender, it means the approximate number of warehouse banks there were in 2008 versus now. This is nowhere near exact, but it is indeed interesting. What does it say about the industry? Darned if I know – but with plenty of higher net worth lenders dealing with the agencies directly, what does that leave for the scores of investors offering correspondent programs?
In the retail arena, iServe is adding to its retail branch and LO network. “This national mortgage lender is truly one who believes in providing their loan officers and branches with a comprehensive strategic partnership. A founder and Co-CEO Doug Wilson explains, ‘We believe our loan officers are our customers.’ Wilson goes on to state that iServe’s user friendly team environment and can-do attitude produce a culture which results in a much higher degree of success for every loan officer and branch. ‘Always mindful that there is a borrower and referral partner at the end of every transaction, iServe provides a support team that closes your loans on time and a philosophy that understands the importance of your referral partners,’ states Wilson. ‘With support such as a dedicated Marketing Department to increase your production and direct access to your personal Operations Team, including an underwriting hotline for loan scenarios, you can be confident that iServe will put you on the path for long term success with both increased and faster fundings’. In the Western U.S. contact Allen Friedman, and for the Eastern U.S. contact Dennis Phillips.
On the wholesale & correspondent side of things, Parkside Lending, a national wholesale and correspondent lender, is expanding. “We were named one of the Top Mortgage Employers in America for 2015 based on employee feedback per National Mortgage Professional Magazine, January 2015. Our Customers like us because we help them close more loans with our sensible approach to underwriting, innovative suite of mortgage products, and proprietary technology. Furthermore, because we don’t serve the retail channel, our clients can be confident that we will never compete for their customers. We are looking for AEs across the US and key operations staff. We are seeking an experienced head of national underwriting to fill a highly visible position, as well as other key openings for Underwriters, Client Service team members and Closing/Funding staff. Our operational personnel can work from our HQ in San Francisco or any one of our five satellite offices across the country.” Some positions can even be set up to work remotely from home. Interested parties should contact Rick@parksidelending.com or apply at Parkside Lending.
On the Ops side, PRMG is looking for experienced underwriters to help support its production volume and growth as management continues to expand their footprint across the country. “Growing nationwide and hiring, Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, Inc. (PRMG) has been a leading privately held mortgage banker ‘built by originators for originators’. With numerous accolades under their belt including being ranked no. 2 of the top 50 companies to work for in America they are actively hiring experienced Government and Conventional Underwriters to help support the continued growth and demands of their ever-expanding national Retail, Wholesale and Correspondent divisions ‘2015 is already off to a prosperous start for all of us here at PRMG.’ said, CEO, Paul Rozo. ‘We are a progressive company that supports underwriters working remotely from their home. We are confident that our national sales efforts, coupled with expanding our operational teams, will greatly help in supporting and serving our regions across the United States.’ PRMG has over 800 employees nationally and is licensed in 47 states with nearly 50 branches located throughout the country.” Contact HR@prmg.net for a complete job description or confidential inquiries.
On the flip side Bank of America has announced it is planning to lay off more than 200 employees from its legacy mortgage servicing operations in its Norfolk, Virginia, office that handles troubled mortgages. (Those targeted can post their resumes on www.LenderNews.com for free, by the way, and they can be viewed by employers.)
Speaking of banks, here in Florida last year the Seminole Tribe had expressed interest in buying Mackinac Savings Bank ($111 million in assets) but has now withdrawn its agreement. The Tribe did so reportedly because it would have faced expanded lending restrictions under banking regulations, and will instead look into setting up a credit union. By the way, the Seminole Tribe of Florida is a “Federally Recognized Indian Tribe” and is the only tribe in America who never signed a peace treaty!
And there is plenty of other banking news. Indiana’s Old National Bank ($11.0B) will sell 12 branches in Illinois to First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust ($1.6B, IL), and will also sell 5 other branches to MainSource Bank ($2.9B, IN). But management isn’t done, also announcing they will close or consolidate another 19 branch locations (which is in addition to the 17 branches it is selling above) in the coming months. Firstmerit Bank ($24.6B, OH) said it will close 16 branches in four states (4 in IL, 4 in MI, 7 in OH, 1 in WI) as it responds to changing customer trends and increased use of online and mobile banking. Ameris Bank ($4.0B, GA) will acquire Merchants & Southern Bank ($398mm, FL) for $50mm in cash. Ameris will also acquire 18 branches holding about $812mm in deposits in FL and GA from Bank of America for an undisclosed sum. Tri Counties Bank ($2.8B, CA) said it has closed 8 branches related to its acquisition of North Valley Bancorp, as it seeks to streamline business operations. In the Rocky Mountain High state, NBH Bank ($4.8B) will acquire Pine River Valley Bank ($142mm) for about $14mm in cash. In Georgia Community & Southern Bank ($3.6B) will acquire Community Business Bank ($146mm).
On the legal front, Standard & Poor’s has agreed to pay $1.5 billion to the U.S. Department of Justice, 19 states, Washington, D.C., and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to resolve lawsuits over ratings of mortgage securities. S&P did not admit to violating any law but acknowledged that in 2005, executives delayed implementation of models that offered more negative ratings.
Allstate Insurance Co. agreed to settle a 2011 lawsuit accusing Morgan Stanley of fraud over more than $100 million worth of mortgage-backed securities in which the insurer invested.
Of course anyone can sue anyone. In this case, M&T Bank is being accused of promoting segregation by steering prospective homebuyers to specific neighborhoods and lending programs based on race, a shocking new lawsuit charges.
And under the “misery loves company” heading, stories continue to circulate about how U.S. prosecutors are turning their attention to Moody’s Investors Service to determine whether the firm inflated credit ratings on mortgage derivatives to gain business before the financial crisis. After a settlement with Standard & Poor’s regarding a similar allegation, the Connecticut and Mississippi attorneys general said they and other prosecutors are investigating Moody’s.
Switching gears to more forward-looking events, Ginger Bell writes, “In November last year I posted a link to take a survey on what your company is doing to manage your training. The results of the survey show that 90% of those surveyed see their budget increasing for training in 2015. Over 60% do not hire internal training staff which leaves a gap in providing training for the industry. Largest area for needing help with training is in the area of Rules and Regs with over 90% of those surveyed looking for assistance, followed by over 70% looking for help with policies and procedures. Your readers can read the results here.”
Nine of the nation’s top producing loan originators will be sharing their insights and best practices at the upcoming Top Producer Round Table event series that starts Feb. 12 in San Diego. The series goes on to Los Angeles, Irvine, San Ramon, Portland, Seattle, Scottsdale and Vegas in February, and then on to New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC in March. The events are from 10:00am – 1:00pm local time, and “feature a packed agenda with back-to-back presentations and live Q & A. Top Producer Round Table is designed to inspire originators with best practices from top producing loan originators from different parts of the country, and a 60-day plan of action to implement. Topics include how to save time and create more efficiency in your loan process, how to grow Realtor relationships in light of the CFPB’s recent rulings on MSAs, and how to diversify your sources of business to include CPAs attorneys and financial advisors.”
The Title Report is offering an in-depth 60-minute Webinar providing tips for building business relationships with lenders, real estate brokers and other partners. “This specialized training will provide the necessary insights and direction to give you an edge on your competition while remaining RESPA compliant. Noted compliance attorney Loretta Salzano of Franzén and Salzano, P.C., and Dr. Cynthia McGovern of Orange Leaf Consulting, will instruct on how to articulate your value in order to differentiate your services, what lenders look for and how to foster long-term, sustainable business relationships with your partners. It will be held February 11th from 2-3EST.”
Essent Guaranty offers “essentials training programs”. Many training topics are available throughout the month of February. Click the link to view the list of classes.
MGIC training webinars cover a variety of topics including: UAD training, evaluating income/assets, MI basics, and self-employed basics and advanced FHA changes and more. Click the link to view its training schedule.
Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association (WMBA) and the Home Buyers Round Table of Dane County are joining together to offer a valuable training for lenders. This lender’s down payment assistance training is designed to enhance awareness of the various products that are available for your buyers. Register by February 13th for this event. For details, click here.
Yesterday in a reference to Greystone achieving Program Plus status with Freddie Mac for multifamily lending, I misstated that this designation applied to the Greystone Healthcare Lending Group. Greystone’s overall multifamily platform will be tasked in using this program for financing all sizes of apartment buildings.
Speaking of Freddie, a judge rebuffed shareholders’ challenge of the U.S. government’s 2012 decision to transfer nearly all profit from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the Treasury Department. U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt dismissed a case against the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Treasury Department. Another case is pending in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
The markets didn’t do much yesterday after the non-sensational ISM and ADP figures. The more interesting news, however, was produced by the MBA in its application index. Sure, apps rose 1.3% last week (purchases were down 2.3% while refis were up 2.5%). As lock desks noticed, FHA purchases and refis shot up with the change in the FHA MIP cut going into effect. The FHA sub-index is viewed as a volatile series with a small sample size and “experts” hesitate to draw too many inferences on the magnitude of refi reaction based on that number. Analysts have seen non-bank, non-traditional lenders playing a larger role in FHA lending – and many of these lenders may not be a part of the index. The MIP cut effect is likely to be smaller than the previous MIP cut implemented in 2012 for pre-June 2009 borrowers. And the winter storm in the northeast soaked up a couple business days.
There has not been much volatility, and for numbers we closed out the 10-yr Wednesday at 1.75% and this morning we’re sitting around 1.77% with Initial Jobless Claims ahead of us. Agency MBS prices are roughly unchanged.
The lawyer says to the wealthy art collector tycoon, “I have some good news and, I have some bad news”.
The tycoon replies, “I’ve had an awful day, let’s hear the good news first”.
The lawyer says, “Your wife invested $5,000 in two pictures today that she figures are worth a minimum of $2 million”.
The tycoon replies enthusiastically, “Well done, very good news indeed! You’ve just made my day; now what’s the bad news?”
The lawyer answers, “The pictures are of you in bed with your secretary”.
(Copyright 2015 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.)