Jan. 23: LO jobs, company wanted; sales products & webinars; Freedom joins FHA & VA pricing competition

The wholesale pricing wars continue, the latest salvo from Freedom Mortgage in the FHA & VA stadium (see below). Fans of FHA lending, who tend to bristle at the suggestion that the program is “subprime redux,” pay careful attention to what is going on in Washington with Freddie and Fannie. Last week House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters defended the GSEs against claims that they were the “cause of the financial crisis.” She is aware of the principles for legislative GSE reform (including the need for private capital, a smooth transition, and a level playing field for all institutions) and is a fan of active oversight of HUD which in turn could impact any moves by the Trump Administration regarding FHA policy. As the acronym world turns…

Jobs, business opportunities, & personnel moves

SCL Mortgage, based in Colorado, is looking to hire a Production Manager “along with several new Loan Officers in CO as well as well as Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, as it grows its footprint. “We are looking for Mortgage Originators that want to make a difference in people’s lives. If you are looking for a lender who can do all the conventional loan programs, as well as the new exploding NON-PRIME market, that’s SCL Mortgage. EXCLUSIVE Leads Provided! We generate quality leads in house with our marketing and advertising programs – we do NOT buy generic leads that waste your time! QualificationsHonesty, Integrity and hard work are the most important qualities to have. You must always do the right thing for the customer. You must possess the desire to make money. Successful Originators will make money at SCL Mortgage. You must have fun. If you are not having fun at what you do, then make a change. NMLS required. Contact us here or visit MySpecialMortgage.”

Join the best Brand in the business! BrandMortgage is fully independent and lending in AL, DC, FL, GA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TN and VA. Brand “is in search of seasoned and emergent loan officers across our entire footprint. Brand offers a digital loan platform with the full array of Fannie, Freddie and government lending products, and an extensive offering of portfolio programs including jumbo, super jumbo, construction perm, non-warrantable condo and bank statement programs, all in-house. BrandMortgage has a foundation of integrity, innovation and teamwork with a collaborative, results-driven approach, enabling originators to deliver exceptional service and successfully grow their business.” To learn more about joining the Best Brand in Mortgage, email Gabe Santiago, Corporate Recruiter, or call 678.226.7585.

An experienced mortgage banker is seeking to acquire a company with one or more agency lending approvals (FNMA, FHLMC, or GNMA). Ideally, the existing owners/shareholders would liquidate their equity through the transaction. Presently, the mortgage banker is engaged in retail and wholesale production and would be willing to negotiate to purchase technology and existing operations/production teams as part of the transaction. Interested parties should contact TalbotHillPartners@Outlook.com.

Informative Research (IR) recently announced Matthew Orlando as its new Head of Sales and Strategy. Orlando previously worked as Lenders One’s VP of National Programs and Sales. Prior to that, he held multiple leadership roles at Equifax over an 11-year period, most notably VP of Sales, Verification Solutions and Director of Strategic Solutions. In his new role, Orlando will be leading IR’s sales team and will also be involved in the company’s overall approach to partner engagement and product innovation, helping IR provide even more value to their clients. “I’m so excited to be with Informative Research. It’s a wonderful organization and I’m grateful to be a part of this team,” shared Orlando. “IR is already heading in a great direction and there’s a lot of great market opportunities with a company that offers so much.” Click here to connect with Orlando via LinkedIn.

Does anyone actually retire from this business? Blend announced that Tim Mayopoulos, former CEO of Fannie Mae, has joined as President to head up market strategy and “further drive efforts to simplify and improve the broader consumer lending ecosystem.” But that wasn’t enough for Blend which added Olivia Teich (Head of Product), Kallol Das (Head of Engineering), and Justin Schuster (Head of Marketing).

And congrats to Heather Clark whom Strategic Compliance Partners announced has joined the company as Vice President, overseeing the client consulting functions as well as product and business strategy.

Lender products and services

Momentifi CEO Gibran Nicholas just wrote a white paper called: Purpose-Driven Sales: How to Empower Your Team and CRUSH Your Competition in a Market Where You Are Uniquely Positioned to WinAccording to research conducted by STRATMOR and the MBA, loan originator sales productivity hasn’t changed in over a decade. This white paper illustrates how you can implement a purpose-driven sales process to level-up your team’s results and create immediate sales momentum. Topics include, how to improve LO productivity by 30%+ by helping them focus on sales opportunities that are hiding in plain sight; how to recruit and retain top producers in the age of margin compression and competitive pricing wars; and how retail loan originators can compete more effectively in the era of Digital Mortgages, iBuyers and Robo-Advisors. Click here to access the free white paper.

Looking for ways to grow your business? Freddie Mac is collaborating with clients to deliver automation and insights that provide a competitive edge. Cut back on documentation and reduce time to close with Loan Product Advisor® automated income and asset assessment capabilities. Save borrowers time and money with ACE appraisal waivers, now available for certain condo unit loans. Grow your condo business with Freddie Mac’s unit-level condo exception tool, Condo Project AdvisorSM. Get greater efficiency with simpler collateral QC and underwriting in Loan Collateral Advisor® Get The Freddie EdgeSM.

Lender webinars

Mortech, a Zillow Group business, will be hosting an upcoming webinar, “Mortech Protection – Putting Big Data To Work For Mortgage Customer Retention” on January 30th at 1:00 PM CST. The webinar will discuss opportunities for mortgage growth using big data for customer retention. By combining real-time consumer data with historical data to assess opportunities, Big Data will have a huge impact in portfolio analysis to reduce mortgage loan portfolio attrition. As lenders face a competitive purchase environment, financial institutions will be faced with the challenge of building relationships with their most profitable customers to recapture mortgage business and create customers for life. Register today to get a first-hand look at how you can leverage Mortech Protection to identify new revenue generation opportunities with existing customers.

Join us for National Mortgage Professional Magazine’s complimentary webinar “The History of Non-QM: How to Sell and Package,” featuring Non-QM expert Robert Senko, President of ACC Mortgage on Thursday, January 24 at 2pm est.  During this informative webinar you will become more confident about the best ways to sell and package a Non-QM loan and make more money! You will learn the history of Non-QM loans, when to use a Non-QM loan, how to sell to your agents and borrowers, and what to expect during the Non-QM process. Discover how Dodd-Frank is your friend and how stated income almost ruined the world. Register for this complimentary webinar here.

XINNIX will elevate your business with their unique model of training, accountability and coaching, and they have the numbers to prove it!  Here’s their 2018 scorecard. Leaders looking to grow their teams hired an average of 1.5 LOs within 90 days of completing the XINNIX RECRUITING WORKSHOP. Over the course of an 8-week XINNIX Performance Program, Experienced LOs saw a 47% increase in loan applications. Officers averaged 4.76 loan applications in their first month of production with XINNIX. With results like these, it’s no wonder XINNIX is growing.  They have welcomed two new National Sales Executives, JoAnne Skerritt and Andy Van Wagnen, to serve the Northeast and the Midwest. And they’re not doing growing yet! XINNIX is looking to hire National Sales Executives in Texas and the Southeast. CLICK HERE to learn more!

Join Bill Bodnar, always on the ball, and me for Tabrasa’s free Industry Outlook 2019 webinar today, Jan 23 (11AM-12PM PST). We will be covering the following: the Trump Era – two years in, how the Fed closed the books for 2018, the low-down on the Digital Mortgage, and the housing market’s success and swings.

Wells Fargo Funding, in cooperation with Fannie Mae, is hosting a free first-time homebuyer & affordable product event in Phoenix, AZ on Tuesday, Feb. 5th. The event runs from 11:00 – 3:30 p.m. MT (including a networking lunch) – and is focused on helping lenders grow market share in the affordable/first-time homebuyer space. Presenters will cover strategies to connect with first-time homebuyers, including Fannie Mae’s HomeReady and in-depth insight into the Phoenix market. Approved and prospective Wells Fargo Funding clients are welcome. If interested, contact a member of your regional sales team or send an email to CorrespondentDiverseSegments@wellsfargo.com.

FHA & VA news around the biz

Looking at applications this product group accounts for 20% of overall volume. So it is certainly material and attracts attention. Ellie Mae, looking at data of the subset of the residential business that passes through its portals, noted that in November 26% of closed loans for borrowers in their 20s to mid-30s were for FHA loans, with an average loan size of $186,454, up from $178,862 in November 2017, and $170,167 in November 2016, according to the Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker. (Conventional loans accounted for 69 percent of closed loans made to Millennial borrowers during the same period, with an average loan amount of $211,268.) FHA loans were more likely to be used by borrowers to purchase a home (95 percent).

Freedom Mortgage Wholesale let its brokers know that, “We guarantee the best VA & FHA Price for fixed-rate purchase loans/ full doc refinance loans with a FICO >=640. If you find a better price, we’ll match it and reduce our Lender Fee by $150. “The Pricing Edge guarantee is effective for new Table Funded Broker & Freedom Flex (Wholesale Correspondent) Loans locked from December 13th until further notice. Eligible for all fixed-rate VA & FHA purchases/ full doc refinances with FICO >= 640. VA IRRRL transactions, FHA Streamlines, Premier Jumbo, Solutions Non- QM and Agency/GSE High Balance loans are ineligible. If our price isn’t the best for a fixed-rate VA & FHA purchase/full doc refinance with a FICO >=640, email the competitor’s rate sheet to your Lock Desk for review. After confirmation, the Lock Desk will adjust the price and the $150 Lender Fee Credit will be issued at the time of lock as a pricing concession. The competitor’s rate sheet must be dated the same day it is provided to Freedom Mortgage for review.”

Franklin American spread the word to brokers and TPO clients that it is offering aggressive price improvements to FHA & VA pricing. Price adjusters improve for FICOs from 620 to 679, by as much as 50 basis points depending on FICO range. Its online pricing engine has been updated, and these changes have been communicated to most of the major third-party pricing vendors. “If you utilize such an outside pricing service, please ensure the changes are reflected in your pricing. These improvements will also be integrated into our mandatory bid pricing.”

Citi Correspondent posted a general credit policy update regarding 2019 Loan Limit Changes for FHA and VA products.

On February 1st, Pacific Union will transfer all FHA and VA case numbers and appraisals to Mr. Cooper using existing Mr. Cooper institution IDs.

PRMG has made multiple enhancements to its product profiles. Improvements include: credit scores allowed to 550 for purchase and refinance transaction on FHA Standard and High Balance products. New construction now allowed on manufactured homes on FHA Standard and High Balance products. On all product that allow manufactured homes, credit Score and DTI restrictions for manufactured homes have been removed as well as multiple other overlays on manufactured homes. Stamped returns are now allowed on VA Standard and High Balance.

Credit scores as low as 580 are now allowed on VA IRRRL Standard Balance loans.

Newfi Lending, a technology-enabled residential mortgage lender and portfolio company of Warburg Pincus, announced the launch of Newfi’s new 2-1 Buydown program geared toward helping consumers, realtors, and brokers. This program is offered for 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed rate products through Fannie Mae and FHA (HUD). The 2-1 Buydown program is simple: At closing, the seller contributes an upfront fee, which will “buy” the rate “down” for the first two years of the loan. Newfi then places this upfront fee into an escrow account, where disbursements are made to make up the difference in monthly payments. The program will allow 2-1 buydowns where your payment is calculated at a rate reduction of 2% for the first year and 1% for the second year of the loan. This knocks down the new homeowner’s initial out-of-pocket mortgage payment, helping them to build equity. Visit the Newfi Lending website for more information.

Recall that in December Wells Fargo Funding updated its VA policy to remove the Wells Fargo-defined VA rate/term refinance. These transactions fall under VA’s policy for cash-out refinance which Wells limits to 90% LTV/CLTV.

Capital markets

Rates dropped yesterday (the U.S. 10-year closed yielding 2.73%) as we were all reminded about sluggish growth: China revealed the slowest quarterly growth rate since the financial crisis while the full-year growth rate (6.6%) was the weakest since 1990, and the IMF lowered its global GDP growth forecast for 2019 to 3.5% from 3.7%. Here in the U.S Existing Home Sales decreased 6.4% MoM in December, falling short of expectations as sales were 10.3% lower than the same period a year ago. The figures reflect a softening housing market, evidenced by the deceleration in the median selling price growth rate and sales declines across all regions despite a decline in rates versus November.

Turning to today, Day 33 of the partial shutdown, we’ve seen the MBA mortgage applications for the week ending January 18 (down 2.7% with refis at 45% of total apps). The FHFA Home Price Index is due out at 9AM ET before the Richmond Fed Manufacturing and Services Indices for January comes out an hour later. We begin today with Agency MBS worse .125 and the 10-year yielding 2.77%.

Here’s a short video on why men will never understand women, and vice versa.

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, “Home Financing Despite the Partial Shutdown.” 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 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 2019 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