July 13: LO & appraisal jobs; lawsuit news; appraisal trends & compensation; builder’s virtual reality app for home viewing

As Abraham Lincoln said, “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” But I turned to the internet to find out how many languages there are in the world and it seems there are 6,909 “living” languages. How many are spoken in the United States? A quick web search shows 311. Remember that figure when you hear proposals by some that every mortgage document should be translated and available in every language for every borrower with every lender. Are we having fun yet?

Jobs, personnel moves, & product announcements

What does your button do? Start your car, help you shop online, stay connected on your phone… but did you know it could help your loan? Do you want to just push a button and have information at your fingertips? You can! Sierra Pacific Mortgage has launched FNMA Day 1 Certainty. Using this electronic asset, income and employment validation process will make your processing time shrink and hopefully your production rise. You should contact a local retail branch for more information about this.

George Mason Mortgage, LLC, a nationally ranked mortgage lender, is pleased to announce that Bill Landon has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer. Bill has over eighteen years of mortgage banking experience and has served as GMM’s Executive Vice President and Chief Production Officer for fourteen years. Bill has proven leadership skills that have enabled him to successfully oversee the growth of GMM while consistently providing positive business results. In addition, GMM has named Matt Fox as President. Matt will also continue to serve as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. Matt has over twenty-five years of industry experience and has been with GMM for five years. He has played a vital role with recruiting and branch growth, as well as company strategy and business opportunities. “We are excited about what the future holds for George Mason Mortgage. It is an honor to be part of such a reputable organization and the legacy being developed,” agreed Landon and Fox.

Considering acquiring or merging with another lender? Wondering whether your company qualifies for the expanded requirements of the research and development tax credits? Or, are you simply looking for a seasoned audit and tax firm with mortgage expertise who can share best practices that can help improve your bottom line and reduce your tax liabilities? Discuss these questions and others with Jeff Spiegel, CPA, Principal, at Spiegel Accountancy Corp., at the upcoming Western Secondary Market Conference. Email Jeff to schedule a meeting or go to www.spiegelcorp.com to learn more.

Western Bancorp is excited to welcome Donna Bledsoe Browne , SVP Northern California Regional Sales to the Western Bancorp Family. Donna brings more than 30 years of experience in the mortgage banking and residential lending Industry. Having spent her entire career as a mortgage professional, Donna is highly recognized for her in-depth understanding and management of wholesale and correspondent lending and business-to-business third party origination (TPO). Donna is a passionate leader who thrives on building high level teams and sales strategies to grow market share throughout Northern California. Please join me in welcoming Donna to the team! Contact Donna at (925)-324- 8061.

InHouseUSA brings a unique combination of in-depth understanding of the valuation industry and proprietary technology that constantly evolves to better serve our client needs. Would you like to be part of a fintech focused on managing and growing business in the mortgage industry? Do you have account management experience working with mortgage lenders, as well as the sales acumen and technical background? We are looking to add an Account Manager based in Irvine, CA who is responsible for prospecting, qualifying and generating new sales leads to support the sales team.To learn more about InHouseUSA, and this opportunity, contact Colleen Colman, HR Director.”

Are you a Branch Manager in Nashville? If so, one of the industry’s top recruiters, Jeff Mason, has been retained by a Fed-chartered mortgage company to find a Branch Manager to penetrate the Nashville market. Value proposition highlights include: Strong operations, portfolio products, in house one-time close, aggressive compensation that includes a base salary, overrides and healthy split of the bottom line. Benefits include: profit sharing and 401k match. For any Branch or Sales Manager with a team who is looking for a great environment with a stable bank owned entity, this could be your long-term home. Interested and qualified parties please email Jeff Mason (832-200-0821) or visit www.mtgrecruiter.com.”

As mentioned yesterday, “DocProbe will be attending the Western Secondary Market Conference next week to present our services. Come by booth #110 to learn about a new way to handle your Trailing Docs!” Please click here to schedule an appointment with a specialist.

And a correction/addition to a note I had yesterday regarding US Mortgage Corporation, “a national independent mortgage banker where this year management has successfully opened an additional 5 branches in 4 states (SC, FL, CA, and TN). US Mortgage Corporation is committed to opening new offices in any state. Whether you are an Area, Branch, or Sales Manager or an Originator looking to step up, they have the industry leading infrastructure to support you. Please send all inquiries to careers@usmortgage.com.”


The Royal Bank of Scotland will ante up $5.5 billion to settle claims it mis-sold billions of dollars-worth of toxic mortgage-backed bonds to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the run-up to the financial crisis. The lender agreed to pay $5.5bn to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which took control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008, over the $32 billion of residential mortgage-backed securities the bank sold to the pair between 2005 and 2007.

Anyone can sue anyone else for anything, right? I’m not saying that this falls under that scenario, but several Pimco investment funds are accusing the mortgage-backed securities trustee Wells Fargo of misusing noteholder money to pay its own legal expenses. In a newly filed complaint in Manhattan State Supreme Court, the Pimco funds are asking for a declaratory judgment that Wells Fargo is not entitled to use MBS trust money to fund its defense against noteholder claims that the bank breached its duties as an MBS trustee. Pimco’s lawyers at Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann allege that Wells Fargo has improperly reserved about $95 million across 20 MBS trusts.

Appraisal news & collateral changes

Depending on what area you’re in, it seems that the appraisal backlog that existed several months ago has vanished. But it left a bad taste in the mouth of many, and thus we have renewed press about robots replacing appraisers. Or analytics & “Big Data” replacing them. Will appraisers be replaced by artificial intelligence and / or algorithms like Zillow’s Z-estimates? Zillow has been tweaking its model to consider more than just the comps. For example, now it will include things like interior amenities. Freddie Mac is now willing to accept model-generated appraisals for some refis and is asking FHFA for permission to use more.

In builder news, Clayton has an “augmented reality app” that sites a home on any plot of land, lets users walk around the outside, and then into the house.

The stories prompted an appraiser to write, “We’ve heard this threat since computers came into being. Monitoring results of each method…not every doctor finished #1 in his/her class. A computer, Zillow, or an appraiser never walked into a house and the homeowner said, ‘My house is just like all others, this should be easy.’ I can accept change but you should see the ‘stuff’ I see inside of houses. The dome is an extreme example: the computer would never know if it is a dome or mini-mansion. It is intriguing that I must dot my I’s and cross my T’s while a computer can use unverified, unconfirmed sales data without an ORIGINAL photo. My belief is that we’ll know when artificial intelligence matures for the appraisal world when, asked for the value of a property, the algorithm responds by saying ‘I can only give you my opinion of value.’”

A la mode is out promoting its free mobile appraising app, TOTAL for Mobile, for appraisers. “If you want to ditch the clipboard, let me know. We’ve helped thousands of appraisers go paperless since the early 90s. 

If the government believes appraisers need so much education and apprenticeship time, why is it willing to accept modeled values? Developing new appraisers is a complex problem, with one of the issues being compensation. After obtaining a college degree, going through the apprenticeship period, and then the classes and testing, what’s their take home? From Northern California appraiser Niki Perotti (with Miller & Perotti) writes, “In my opinion, the lack of new appraisers coming into the industry has more to do with the lack of earning potential in comparison to the education and time requirements. In other professions with similar time/education/testing requirements, the earning potential is greater and in many cases more consistent. In addition, per OREA in 2008, the AR Certification test has a 38% pass rate.”

As noted by M&T, USDA recently made minor updates to its handbook, chapter 12 Property and Appraisal requirements. M&T’s USDA product pages have been updated to reflect accordingly.

Effective with MI applications received on or after June 27 MGIC has updated its guidelines. MGIC Go! Primary residence has expanded to include 3-4-unit primary residence as an eligible property type. Co-Op’s have been added as an eligible property type on HFA & Community Lending. Also, MGIC has expanded its 5/5 ARMs maximum caps to 6%/6%/6% (first adjustment cap/subsequent adjustment cap/lifetime cap) and Construction to Perm document age has been expanded from 120 days at time of MI activation to 180 days.

Wells Fargo Funding is removing its environmental property inspection requirements for Conventional Conforming Loans with properties exposed to sulfur-containing drywall. In addition, Wells is removing its relocation policy overlays for conventional Conforming loans to follow Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae requirements.

Las month ditech’s appraisal management service, Mercury, added new appraisal management companies (AMC) to its appraisal rotation: Dart Appraisal and GOT Appraisal.

American Financial Network has chosen Mercury Network for appraisal management operations. Mercury Network’s technology is used by more than 800 of the nation’s lenders and appraisal management companies (AMCs) to manage real estate valuation operations and collateral risk.

Pendo, a nationwide AMC, has partnered with The Mortgage Collaborative’s preferred partner network to provide appraisal management services to the organization’s 112 lender members.

Interest rates

“That expectation is based on our view that the federal funds rate remains somewhat below its neutral level–that is, the level of the federal funds rate that is neither expansionary nor contractionary and keeps the economy operating on an even keel. Because the neutral rate is currently quite low by historical standards, the federal funds rate would not have to rise all that much further to get to a neutral policy stance.” That statement from Janet Yellen caused a nice little rally yesterday, especially the long end of the yield curve. At this point we can skip thoughts of any Fed Funds increase in September, and the odds for December are about 50/50. The more important question for lenders is how and when the Federal Reserve stops purchasing newly-minted agency MBS using money from its portfolio paying off.

Some traders see an indication that Fed policymakers are less confident that sluggish inflation will soon move back higher. Given that the sell-off in government debt over the past two weeks that was driven mostly by expectations for a change in policy at the European Central Bank, it was nice to see a little bounce in our market and our rates: the 10-year improve almost .375 and the 5-year and agency MBS prices improved .125-.250, depending on coupon and security.

This morning we’ve had initial jobless claims (-3k to 247k) and a measure of inflation at the producer level with PPI (+.1% – inflation is quiet). Our Treasury will conduct its final leg of this week’s auction by selling $12 billion of 30-year bonds. We find the 10-year sitting around 2.33% a yield with agency MBS prices worse slightly versus last night’s close.

(Thank you to Jan M. for this one)

A lawyer had a wife and 12 children and needed to move as his rental agreement was coming to an end for the home where he lived.

When he said he had 12 children, no one would rent a home to him because they knew that the children would destroy the home.

But lawyers don’t lie.

He could not say that he had no children, he could not lie, after all, lawyers cannot and do Not lie.

So, he had an idea. He sent his wife for a walk to the cemetery with 11 children. He took the remaining one with him to see homes with the real estate agent.

He liked one of the homes and the agent asked, “How many children do you have?”

He answered, “12 children.”

The agent asked, “Where are the others?”

The lawyer answered, with a sad look, “They are in the cemetery with their Mother.”

And that’s the way he was able to rent a home for his family without lying.


It is not necessary to lie, one only must choose the right words.

Lawyers don’t lie …they are creative…and don’t forget: Most politicians are lawyers.

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, “Does Everyone Want a Job?” 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 over 300 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 2017 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