Jan. 14: Marketing, referral, pricing, sales tools; FHA, VA, Ginnie changes around the biz

There are some clever people out there creating abbreviations and acronyms. Megxit? Yes: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exiting from certain royal duties. Remember when talking about the economic woes of PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain) was all the rage? Here’s a new acronym to tuck away that has nothing to do with mortgages: FANG. Analysts are wondering if the FANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet) will continue to lead the stock market in 2020. And there are some clever people, and computers, analyzing demographics. Every LO should know that owning a median-priced, three-bedroom home is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property in 455, or 53%, of the 855 U.S. counties.

Lender services and products

Imagine receiving your borrower’s entire underwriting package within minutes (instead of days) of a submitted loan application. With Maxwell’s digital mortgage platform, lenders are getting documents 73% faster with their FileFetch technology which connects to over 1,300 financial institutions for increased efficiency and a better borrower experience. This, matched with Maxwell’s already impressive, customizable loan app, borrower portal, task list, and integrations, drive real performance. Loans in Maxwell close more than 45% faster than the national average. To learn more and start using Maxwell today, visit www.himaxwell.com and request a demo today.

Volly awarded A.I.’s Most Innovative Marketing Automation Platform for Banking in 2020. “We are honored to be recognized with yet another distinguished award of the Volly technology” says Jerry Halbrook, CEO of Volly. “While the Volly Marketing Automation platform is only a single component of the available Volly fully integrated suite of technology products, we feel privileged to receive so great a distinction for the results we deliver to our clients every day.” Volly is the mortgage and banking industries most innovative component-based platform that seamlessly integrates marketing and customer engagement strategies with robust lending technologies for Marketing Automation, CRM, Point of Sale, portfolio retention and marketing, and is renowned for delivering exceptionally high lead conversion rates as well as providing fully customized customer journeys to personalize the customer experience and dramatically increase ROI. Click here to learn more about the Volly and schedule a demo today.

Single-family Rental or vacation rentalVisio Lending is the nation’s leader in Non-QM loans for buy and hold SFR rentals. A proven lender with over 6,000 closed loans. With direct access to Wall Street, having just completed our fifth securitization, we offer the most attractive terms and the fastest, simplest and most dependable process in the country. Check us out today and learn why thousands of satisfied customers and brokers choose Visio for all of their SFR rental needs.

Total Expert, the leading marketing and customer engagement technology platform for banks, lenders, and financial services, today announced a dramatic improvement in lead-to-application conversion rates for early adopters of a new feature designed to bridge the gap between marketing and sales teams and become more productive. The new sales enablement feature, “Focused View,” automatically identifies and surfaces the highest value opportunities to customer-facing advisors; allowing them to spend less time configuring their CRM and more time building relationships with prospects and customers. Learn more about Focused View and how it can change the game for your sales team.

Recently, Seroka Brand Development, PR specialists in the mortgage industry, shared information with a group of mortgage b2b companies about emerging trends in public relations. Amy Hansen, Seroka’s VP of Public Relations, revealed a number of ways her staff uses technology to develop creative story ideas that resonate with target audiences to build awareness and new business opportunities for its clients. Hansen stated, “Integrating PR activities with social and digital channels is critical combined with creating thought leadership content that makes readers want to learn more about your company and how you could become a resource for them.” She further pointed out that technology will continue to drive PR forward to create more efficiency and effectiveness in targeting and producing results. Want to learn more? Email Amy to discuss PR trends with any of our readers. Be sure to ask her about Seroka’s exclusive new Marketing Automation OptimizerSM service or visit Seroka Marketing Automation Optimizer.

Join National Mortgage Professional Magazine and Darin Brooks, Regional Director of Sales with Podium on Thursday, January 16 at 1:00 PM Eastern/10:00 AM Pacific, to learn “How to Win Clients and Influence Word-of-Mouth” Any mortgage broker knows instinctively that they live and die by word-of-mouth. A recent study found that a staggering 90 percent of purchases are influenced by word-of-mouth. But how can you get people to talk spontaneously about your mortgage brokerage like this? The answer is surprisingly simple, yet profound: be remarkable. Come join this webinar and learn how to give your clients a remarkable experience, how to kickstart a word-of-mouth engine for your firm, and Simple steps and takeaways to take “give [your clients] somethin’ to talk about.” Click here to register.   

What will it take to be successful in 2020? XINNIX is hosting an event next week that will help you answer that question to help you finetune your 2020 plan. XINNIX CEO and Founder Casey Cunningham and mortgage industry thought leader Nicole Yung, Senior Partner at STRATMOR Group will tackle the subject in a live webinar next Wednesday, January 22 at NOON ETRegister today to hear these two industry leaders discuss what we need to learn from 2019 to make 2020 great, the role that technology will play in next year’s success, what to do to stay productive WHEN (not if) the market turns and MORE. Register now. Seating is limited.

With the ReadyPrice Mortgage.Exchange Non-Delegated Correspondents can deliver the product flexibility of mortgage broker while maintaining the independence and control of the mortgage banker. It’s the first and only platform designed specifically for NDC lenders equipped with all the tools to complete essential mortgage banking functions on a single platform. Whether you’re a veteran in the Non-Del space or just starting out, Mortgage.Exchange offers you the independence, control, compliance, & optionality with the simplicity of a success-based pricing structure. Getting started is easy! Schedule a demo today to learn more.

SimpleNexus retains over 99% of clients year after year. When asked how they do it, they say the key to their success is putting client profitability first. As one lender tells it, by speeding up the loan process, SimpleNexus helps lenders win more business from referral partners. SimpleNexus recently enabled the lender to complete a loan transaction in 4 days and then wait out the 10-day legal requirements to close compared to a standard 21- or 30-day close. The Realtor for the transaction, who normally worked with another lender, was beyond impressed. “We won that Realtor,” said the lender.  “She calls us first every time now.” Request a demo here. If you’re interested in achieving similar results, SimpleNexus would love to see you at its second annual SimpleNexus User Group (SNUG), which convenes February 9-12 at the Snowbird Ski Resort just outside Salt Lake City (current snow depth: 106”).

FHA, VA, and Ginnie changes

FHA has implemented its Defect Taxonomy Version 2, effective for loan reviews beginning Wednesday, January 1, 2020. The new version includes various updates to the Defect Taxonomy originally implemented through the Loan Review System (LRS) in 2017. The posting of Defect Taxonomy Version 2 on the Loan Review System webpage is one of several important milestone achievements in FHA’s efforts to provide greater clarity and consistency for lenders. Additionally, recent changes to LRS now allow lenders to submit optional responses to Tier 3 and 4 deficient findings, as well as Tier 1 and 2 findings that FHA has mitigated or remediated. FHA’s Defect Taxonomy Version 2 and an updated LRS User Manual can be accessed on the Loan Review System webpage.

Ginnie Mae has added “MyGinnieMae roll-out continues with January 14 webcast for Users”.

VA lenders know that the “Blue Water Act“, signed into law in 2019 and effective starting in January of 2020, created relief for veterans with medical conditions presumed to have been caused by Agent Orange or “herbicide exposure” during service in Vietnam. The Act makes significant changes to the VA home loan program. Some are alterations to help pay the measures required by the act, others are procedural changes, while still others are fundamental alterations to the basic structure of VA loans. The changes include: No upper loan limit on VA mortgages as of 1 January 2020*. An increase in the VA Loan Funding Fee for all non-exempt borrowers. Purple Heart recipients are now exempt from paying the VA loan funding fee the same as those who receive or are entitled to receive VA compensation.

FHA and VA Loan Limit Increase for 2020 is addressed by PennyMac Correspondent in Announcement 19-69

Effective January 15, 2020 Minimum Credit Score for Land Home Financial Services’ FHA Within Reach TM Program will be 640*. Contact your Account Executive and learn about its NEW Down Payment Assistance Programs allowing up to a 6% FHA Loans.

Click here to view Lakeview Correspondent announcement for updates to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and VA guidelines and an important bailee letter reminder for the Lakeview No MI With Community Second program.

Lakeview Wholesale announcement W2020-01 announces updates to FHLMC and VA.

PRMG’s Product Profile Update 20-01 includes information on the addition of a link to access TCF Taxpayer Consent Form and updated 2020 max loan limits on CHFA FHA and Conventional Products.

Veterans United published its 2020 funding fee calculator, making “life a lot easier for service members that are wanting to calculate the new funding fee that went into effect January 1, 2020. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 makes several key changes to the VA Funding Fee, some temporary and others permanent. The VA Funding Fee jumped from 2.15% to 2.30 percent for first use and from 3.30 to 3.60 percent for subsequent use, followed by a return to the new equalized rates for almost eight years.”

Plaza has revised its Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) program guidelines to incorporate the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which includes changes that are effective for VA loans closed on or after January 1, 2020. Plaza’s updated guidelines will be effective on January 1, 2020. For more information, refer to Plaza’s January 1 effective VA program guidelines.

Don’t forget that Plaza’s FHA Limited 203(k) program now allows for increased renovation amounts in Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs). Refer to Plaza’s updated FHA 203(k) program guidelines and FHA Mortgagee Letter 2019-18 for more information.

Land Home Financial Services, Inc is now offering FHA Within Reach™ 2.0 Down Payment Assistance Program (DAP). This product is a competitively priced government loan program that does not require a borrower minimum down payment. Exclusively offered by Land Home Financial Services, Inc., Within Reach™ 2.0 provides a choice of a 3%, 4% 5% or 6% Down Payment Assistance. Manual Underwriting is allowed. Must meet FHA Manual Underwriting Requirements along with Land Home Financial Services, Inc guidelines.

Did you know that the FHA’s recent announcement about single unit condo approvals also applies to reverse mortgages? Now, even if your borrower’s condominium is not in an FHA-approved project they may still qualify for FHA-backed financing, like a HECM. Additionally, the 2020 lending limit for federally backed reverse mortgages has been increased to $765,600 in all US counties. If you have a borrower looking for a HECM for their condominium or want to learn more about the new reverse lending limits, Contact the Plaza Home Mortgage reverse mortgage division.

Capital markets

AmeriHome requires that when submitting bid tapes, Sellers identify all Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans utilizing an appraisal waiver. Effective with new Bulk Trade and Bulk Assignment of Trade bid tapes submitted on and after Wednesday, January 15, 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.

Looking at bond prices, which create interest rates, U.S. Treasuries began the week pulling back slightly +2 bps across the curve after the weekend did not see a further escalation in tension between the U.S. and Iran. Aiding sentiment was the White House reporting it will end the designation of China as a currency manipulator, removing an obstacle to an overall deal that will partially end the trade war begun by President Trump. The Phase One trade deal is expected to be signed tomorrow, as China’s Vice Premier He arrived in Washington over the weekend.


Today’s calendar is already underway with the NFIB Small Business Activity Index for December (dropping, but the takeaway is that the 4th quarter matched the 3rd quarter), the December CPI report (+.2%, core +.1%), and real average weekly earnings (-.1% after being +.1% in November). Out later in the day will be Redbook same store sales for the week ending Jan 11. We also have some Fed speak, with NY Fed President Williams and Kansas City’s George both opining on the podium. We begin today with Agency MBS prices better a tick or two and the 10-year sitting around 1.84 percent (1.85 close yesterday) after the tame inflation numbers.

When I worked in the post office, a lady barged in and started complaining that she’d got home to find a note from the postman – he’d tried to deliver a package but nobody was in.

“My husband was home all day!” she fumed.

After I gave her the package, she said, “Oh, I’m so excited – it’s my husband’s new hearing aid!”

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, “Politics do Indeed Impact Interest Rates and Borrowers” If you have the 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 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