Jan. 3: LO, production jobs; broker, digital products; Jan. events incl. ARM webinar; basic primer on how rate sheet pricing is set

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR, not the NRA), Americans 36 and younger represented the largest share of home buyers (34%) in 2016. It was the fourth straight year in which this age group paced the home buying landscape, and my guess is that it was that way in 2017 and 2018. (By the way, the two top areas for people in their 20s and 30s to buy a home were in The Beehive State.) Lenders have found that someone in their 20s may not want a loan officer fifty years older than them handling their loan, especially if the LO is grieving over the death yesterday of the Captain in the Captain & Tennille. Speaking of age, how old is your house? An estimated 50 percent of China’s housing stock is of such poor quality it will need to be demolished. That includes everything built before 1999.


Ameris Bank is rapidly expanding, closing out 2018 by announcing the acquisition of Atlanta-based Fidelity Southern/LION in December. Ameris Bank Mortgage is expanding across all its business channels and currently seeking seasoned independent or bank-affiliated loan officers, retail branches, and distributed retail mortgage companies throughout AL, AR, DC, FL, GA, KY, MD, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA, and WV. Ameris provides a diverse product offering to grow your business and a great culture of fun and success in which you and your team will thrive. Our products include true bank portfolio offering inclusive of Super Jumbo, Jumbo, Expanded Credit, Foreign National, Alternative Income, Construction-to-Permanent, and Non-QM purchase products. Ameris offers an excellent compensation package including 401K and health insurance, office set up with computers, phones, and iPad as well as lease takeover. To learn more contact Mark Puca, Ameris Bank Mortgage Recruiter.

A new year and a fresh landscape? 2019 will undoubtedly bring changes across the mortgage industry. Now is the time to take charge of your own changes! Take a look at Montana-based Mann Mortgage where Tried, Trusted, Proven is not only their tagline, but their foundation. With 29 years of success, Mann Mortgage is no stranger to weathering the storms. How? They stay true to who they are! Through experienced leadership, Mann is in great financial health and poised for growth. Highly coveted branch manager positions in new markets are available. Start this year off with a sales-first, entrepreneurial company where your input is valued. With the best backroom in the business, an ever-expanding product matrix and a direct line to the executives, YOU CAN make a difference for your customers and your team! If you’re ready to make a big impact in 2019, reach out to CEO Jason Mann.

Lender products and services

2018 was another strong year for Caliber Home Loans, Inc. All areas of the organization worked together to increase its production numbers and solidify its place in the market as the #3 non-bank lender in the country. Production at the leading lender rose by 2.5% in the first nine months, per IMF, while industry volume declined by 5.6% in the same time period. Caliber worked to maintain its competitive edge through a purchase-driven sales strategy and the introduction of innovative products and technology solutions. Since launching its jumbo non-Agency product in June, Elite Access, Caliber’s overall non-Agency volume has grown by 122%. And through the efficient management of operations and a suite of three mobile apps, loan fulfillment times were reduced significantly. Caliber is proud of the company’s performance in 2018 and looks forward to expanding its reach in the years to come.

In order to humanize complex financial transactions and create customers for life, it’s critical for banks and lenders to leverage their data and technology to deliver relevant, personalized content. Banks and mortgage lenders sit on mountains of customer data – but it’s often siloed in different departments. Data is the foundation for delivering a personalized experience throughout the customer journey, building trust and keeping customers coming back for life. The Total Expert team was recently on the road hosting Accelerate 2019 in San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Chicago and Boston. Hear from industry leaders in banking, mortgage lending and technology about the state of the industry and what it will take to “accelerate into 2019.”

2019 is the year for increased efficiency and improved profitability for independent lenders. Digital mortgage point-of-sale providers like Maxwell can be impactful tools to drive efficiency for your team. Maxwell is specifically designed for small- to mid-size lenders where customization is desired and personalization from the loan officer is critical to achieving a satisfied borrower. Today, the Maxwell team reports that lenders on their platform are closing loans 45% faster than the national average, collecting docs 73% faster, and driving NPS and satisfaction up 25%. These numbers highlight how Maxwell increases efficiency, drives agent referrals, and offers true ROI on technology. To see why top lenders across the country have chosen Maxwell, click here and set up time to learn more. Cheers to better lending in 2019!

LegacyTexas Bank, Warehouse Lending is eNote Ready!!  LTB is a national warehouse provider with unparalleled service and a staff of industry veterans. eNote readiness adds to our streamlined and paperless process for funding a full suite of residential loan programs.  If you need a warehouse lender who can fund your eNotes and provide competitive terms on warehouse lines up to $100 million, contact us today! Martha Reitz (972-801-5792) or Michelle Marrapodi (972-801-5781).

Upcoming events in January

Here’s one take on the “10 best conference cities.” And Ginger Bell writes, “If planning is on your to do list this week, you may want to check out the event calendar on The Mortgage List.”

Rates are rising! When was the last time you sold an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)? Now is the time to re-educate yourself and understand how the ARM works, but more importantly to learn how to have the appropriate conversation with your customer. Join Sierra Pacific Mortgage on January 10 at 10:00am PST for a free webinar on Selling in a Rising Rate Environment. Using a consultative approach when discussing ARMs may add more opportunities for sales and closings in 2019. Register now.

The December 20th US Bank Correspondent training opportunity in concert with Freddie Mac regarding HomeOne Mortgage is at full capacity. Register now for an added additional training on Tuesday, January 8th.

Join MBA St. Louis and distinguished speaker Mr. William Emmons at the January 10th Lunch Program for a discussion on the risks facing the U.S. economy in 2019 and how the St. Louis area economy may fair in the year ahead. Registration and networking begin at 11:00 at Orlando Gardens – Dorsett Location.

Franklin American rolled out its January 2019 Wholesale “Customer Training Calendar.” This month’s calendar offers a variety of training opportunities such as “Seizing Market  Share”, “Goal Setting”, “Self-Employed Borrowers”,  “Appraisal Review, Recent Changes and What’s Ahead”, and “Detecting and Avoiding Fraud in Loan Files” to name a few.

Join the MMA’s January 16th Breakfast Meeting for a panel discussion on the future of closing mortgages. The MMA will bring you three speakers who are experts in their fields. Jeff Carlson: speaking on Online Notary, Brandt Keefe: speaking on eClosing/Hybrid closing and Kevin Buechler: speaking on eNotes.

Register now for the 2019 New England Mortgage Expo at the Mohegan Sun Casino on Friday, Jan. 18th & 19th. Each year, the Expo stages an extraordinary event celebrating, advancing and supporting the men and women who finance residential and commercial real property with top speakers and great hands-on sessions and a wealth of opportunities from exhibitors and sponsors.

If you’re near Philly, buy your tickets now for the Women’s Leadership Workshop on January 15. Learn about effective communication, networking, work habits and general professional development, identifying and creating “your brand,” as well as refine the skills necessary to “tell your story”. Contact Dan Beam for details.

The Oklahoma Mortgage Bankers Association is set to facilitate and coordinate the inaugural Mortgage Leadership Program class of 2019. Registration is $600 and includes the OMBA annual expo, one night of accommodations for the expo at the Hard Rock Hotel in Tulsa, food, drinks & snacks, course materials & meetings, OMBA capitol days, networking opportunities throughout the metro and one free career coaching session. (If interested, worth a call despite expiration.)

National MI is offering the following four webinars in January. On the 9th, Oh, shift! Session #4 – Change. The fourth webinar in a powerful six-part series. Best-selling author and Executive Coach, Jennifer Powers, MCC’s “Change” helps you to identify the changes you deserve to make and gives you tools to make them. On the 10th is Meme, Myself, and I; Taking Instagram to the Next Level. Sarah Vita of Cultural Outreach will provide an in-depth look into building your Instagram following, and steps you can take to build strategic partnerships with influencers and brand ambassadors. On the 17th, Appraisal Review, Recent Changes, and What’s Ahead!. In this 90-minute session led by Luke Tomaszewski of the eValuation Zone and Diehl Mortgage Training and Compliance, participants will learn how to read and review an appraisal to spot issues that can affect mortgage financing. And on the 22nd How to Avoid the Email Delete Barrier and Get More Replies. Join Kendra Lee, founder of KLA Group, a sales and marketing agency, prospect attraction expert and email authority, and discover strategies you can use to increase your email response rates and make email work for you.

Secure Insight is sponsoring a FREE webinar on mortgage fraud on Mortgage Fraud Prevention Day, January 24. Lender may sign up for a free 30 min webinar on Mortgage Fraud issues sponsored by Secure Insight on Mortgage Fraud Prevention Day, Thursday, January 24. Contact alevy@secureinsight.com to register.

On January 30th, MBA Compliance Essentials is providing a new webinar focusing on State licensing requirements that impact both first-party and third-party servicers, owners of mortgage servicing rights (MSRs) and other activities that can trigger licensing.

Capital markets

Ever wonder how rate sheet pricing is set, and your price is never as good as everyone else’s seemingly is? Even if the common refrain is, “We look at ___ (fill in with Wells, Chase, AmeriHome, Penny, etc.) and add .125% to their pricing,” those larger banks and correspondent investors are basing rates on a variety of economic factors. Banks have a borrowing cost, and their spread is the difference between what the bank pays to borrow money and the interest the bank collects on a mortgage. Every company needs to make a margin on loans to pay the bills needed to run the company and turn a profit. Otherwise, when they sell the price, or rate, to the borrower, that company will not make any money on the loan.

When you hear that the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates, that means the base borrowing cost for banks borrowing from the Federal Reserve has increased, and non-depository mortgage banks are faced with higher warehouse costs. As the pricing is marked up through the supply chain, each part of that chain needs to add their profit to the price. Servicing value fluctuations are included (hopefully).

Today, most mortgage companies have pricing engines that make the process of building in margins simple. The secondary market team will work with accounting and look at their cost to produce a loan, decide on their requisite margins, and add those to the pricing engine while trying to be competitive. When the pricing engine pulls in raw pricing for the day, it adds those margins and then displays the rate and price with the margins already built in. Because prices in the secondary market are highly liquid, those making pricing decisions are constantly provided with the exact price they can sell a loan for, and thus bake in their margin and set rates accordingly.

Is your lock desk busy? Good for you because the MBA reports that mortgage applications decreased nearly 10% from two weeks earlier for the week ending December 28. (The results include adjustments to account for the Christmas holiday. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 46 percent compared with two weeks ago.) This despite the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declining to 4.84 percent, its lowest since September 2018. Refis are still about 43% of apps, ARMs account for nearly 8%, and FHA/VA is roughly 20%.

These rates must be helping lenders somewhat. The U.S. 10-year closed Wednesday yielding 2.66% as U.S. fixed-income security prices were helped by another reminder of slowing growth in China, President Xi Jinping’s remarks stating no one can change the fact that Taiwan is a part of China and that independence activities will not be tolerated. (Remember, geopolitical uncertainty will usually depress U.S. rates. Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen responded, saying that Taiwan will never accept a “one country, two systems” solution. Across the Atlantic, the European Central Bank appointed three temporary administrators to Banca Carige, Italy’s tenth largest lender, after the majority of the bank’s board resigned after failing to win shareholder approval for a capital raise. Separately, but also of note, Bloomberg reported that December was the first month in at least a decade without high-yield debt issuance in the United States.

Today’s employment indicators started with job cuts from Challenger for December (44k cuts, -17% for the month but +11% for the year, with the construction biz making the lion’s share of cuts) and the ADP Employment report (the addition of 271k workers versus expectations of 190k, very strong), and weekly initial jobless claims for the week ending December 29 (+10k to 231k). ISM-New York Business Conditions Index December is next up at 9:45am and precedes December ISM manufacturing PMI and November construction spending 15 minutes later. We begin today with the 10-year yielding 2.65% and Agency MBS prices worse .125.

(Thanks to Stephen G. for this “gem.”)

Heard at the police station:

“I will not say a word without my lawyer present.”

“But you are a lawyer.”

“So where’s my present?”

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, “Low Down Payments Can Help Borrowers AND Lenders.” 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