July 28: LO jobs; home equity, DPA, servicing, database mining, warehouse products; underwriting best practices

Mortgages are only part of our lives, right? I only know what I read online, although Abraham Lincoln once said, “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” Before you fly down the freeway on a summer vacation, I also know that I have received my fair share of speeding tickets. (For those of you who haven’t, it’s a “punch in the gut” feeling to see that red light in the rear-view mirror. I’ve been able to talk them out of… none.) In something that smacks of Big Brother watching all the data, apparently 9 percent of drivers had a speeding ticket in 2022. Those drivers probably knew the speed limits, but in case you’d like a map of worldwide speed limits, here you go. (Thank you to Carol K.!) The official FHFA 2024 loan limits won’t be out until around Thanksgiving, of course, but in terms of inventions there is no limit on innovation. Face it: there isn’t a lot of innovation in lending. Sure there are tweaks when it comes to programs and pricing, but in the builder world, printed homes continue to progress. Do you have a program for them, or are they no big deal? (Today’s podcast can be found here and sponsored by ReadyPrice, offering the industry’s most powerful universal delivery portal that gives brokers the edge they need. Shop, lock and deliver with multiple lenders, all in one place, for free! Hear an interview with Polunsky Beitel Green’s Marty Green on the latest Fed rate hike and what it means for mortgage rates and affordability going forward.)

 

Jobs

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Keith McKay, CEO of Prime Choice Funding, invites you to participate in reshaping the mortgage industry. Our mission for 2023 is to become the top mortgage broker in the nation. Join our team and expand your professional horizon with our diverse loan programs, flexible compensation plans, and a unique opportunity to earn extra by offering solar solutions to your clients. Backed by comprehensive marketing resources, cutting-edge platform, and robust operations support, your potential for growth is limitless. With a history dating back to 2007, Prime Choice represents stability and innovation in finance and sustainability. Register for our webinar today and explore these rewarding opportunities.”

“’One of the most exciting parts of my day as an LO was getting ‘CTC’, especially when it happens well before it is needed or expected,’ stated Randell Gillespie, EVP, National Sales Manager for Thrive Mortgage. ‘Why Thrive’ centers on the client experience, and it starts with delivering for our clients… ALWAYS! In tough markets, this also means you need additional options for your clients and referral sources, or as we say, “Always Options,” which is our way of delivering value through tailoring our offerings based on client needs. Recently we rolled out four new product options, including additional zero-down programs, payment-lowering options, and a ‘trigger lead eliminator.’ Our team will get through these tough times with more CTCs! At Thrive, CTC also means CommunicationTransparency, and Collaboration as we Thrive together. If you want to THRIVE in these times, visit us here. Let’s keep making this industry better than we found it!”

“At Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, customer service is a way of life. #FairwayNation mortgage loan officers are dedicated to finding great rates and loan options for our customers while offering some of the fastest turn times in the industry. Our goal is to act as a trusted mortgage advisor, providing highly personalized service and helping you through every step of the loan process, from application to closing and beyond.”

Lender and broker products, services, and software

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Making an impact with social media can be daunting. To succeed, you’ll need to narrow your scope. Your clients and prospects need information from you about changes in the market and tips about getting mortgages. Your Realtors need steady advice on what’s going on in the industry. Position yourself as a thought leader. By and large, you’ll find people who need what you offer on Facebook and LinkedIn. Then, as in Marketing 101, you need enough frequency and ongoing regularity when posting. At Usherpa, they know social media can become a full-time job. Which is why Usherpa has automated 100% of the writing of compelling content and posting regularly for you. Usherpa is designed to help you create social media impact automatically. Check it out here. Download 3 Tips for Social Media Success.

Are you a broker or lender seeking to help customers realize the dream of homeownership and grow your business? Partner with Ameris Bank for your warehouse lending needs, and we’ll ensure you receive the resources, support, and service you need to close loans and grow your business. In fact, our warehouse customers have one-on-one access to specialty treasury management professionals who offer tailored financial solutions for their business. With Warehouse lines of credit ranging from $1.5 million to $150 million, we offer competitive interest rates, low fees, and industry-leading technology to our customers. Contact Jill Gainer or Jessica Lapresi to learn why their clients trust Ameris Bank for their Warehouse lending needs and how we can help your business grow in today’s market.

Last week, a Kentucky man discovered $1 million in Civil War-era gold coins buried in his cornfield. With TrustEngine’s Borrower Intelligence Platform, mortgage lenders can unearth hordes of buried loans from their databases. To give the industry insight into where lenders have been able to strike gold over the last quarter, TrustEngine has released its highly anticipated Q2 Mortgage Market Opportunities report. One striking report highlight is that New Listing Alerts, which signal when a contact has put their home on the market, were up 26.23% over Q1. Read TrustEngine’s Q2 MMO Report for more insights.

Servicing-centric products

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As lenders adapt to volatile mortgage rates, many are stopping to reconsider their servicing strategy. Do inconsistent mortgage origination volumes have you questioning what makes more sense: retaining servicing or selling servicing released? Seth Sprague, CMB, Richey May’s Director of Mortgage Banking Consulting Services (aka, resident servicing expert), outlines the 13 key trends and strategies in servicing including recommendations on how to make the right decisions for your business. Want more help defining the optimal strategy? You know where to find us: info@richeymay.com.

Is the size of your servicing portfolio or worries about your counterparty risk getting in the way of getting the best bulk MSR execution & pricing? With investor buyback demands increasing, Blue Water clients could benefit from additional protection that supports the purchase, sale, and onboarding of 1000’s of loans a month through our SuperTransfer™ platform. Reduce potential buybacks and solve issues around asset quality in purchase and or sale with an all-digital, all loan file solution! Our post close QC platform allows sellers or investors in bulk MSR and/or loans to review 100% of every loan file in a bulk package. It’s an all-digital solution that is efficient.  Finally, our process is insured1Connect with our Veteran Sales Team today and see how Blue Water can save you time, money, and headaches. (1)Policy Summary & pricing available on request. BWFTS is not an insurance provider, broker, or underwriter. The RWI policy is sold and underwritten by unaffiliated, licensed third party insurance providers for the benefit of Subscriber and all premiums are passed through to such licensed third-party insurance providers. 

TPO products

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California! Announcing the NEW Golden Opportunities Down Payment Assistance Program, now available from Golden State Finance Authority (GSFA). Featuring assistance up to 5% of the First Mortgage Loan to be used towards down payment and/or closing costs on a 30-year fixed-rate FHA, VA, or USDA mortgage in California. Borrowers don’t have to have perfect credit (FICOs as low as 620 are eligible) and DTIs up to 55% can qualify. Best of all, there is no first-time homebuyer requirement. Join us for a Lender Training on Golden Opportunities and start helping more homebuyers Achieve the Dream. For more info visit the website and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn or our YouTube channel.

Looking for great Home Equity Loan options for your clients? Rocket Pro TPO’s Home Equity Summer Sizzle provides significant savings for a limited time by waiving the $795 origination fee through August 6th! With home values still at historic highs, this limited-time offer can help your clients meet their financial goals without refinancing. Whether they’re looking to pay down expenses, consolidate debt or pay for home renovations, the choice is theirs. The best part about it? They can do it while maintaining the lower interest rate on their current mortgage. See the promotion disclaimer for more information here. Also, Rocket Pro TPO wants to see you at the biggest industry event of the year: Originator Connect in Las Vegas! EVP, Fawaz, will deliver an important keynote and you’ll hear from other industry pros. Register for free by using code ROCKETFREE. Interested in learning more about a Broker or Non-Delegated Correspondent partnership? Contact Rocket Pro TPO to learn more.

Lender and investor news morsels: who’s doing what

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Sometimes lender news doesn’t fall into buckets of conventional conforming, government, or non-Agency news. Let’s take a random look at who’s doing what.

SoFi was named “Best Lender for Saving Money” by CNBC Select in 2023, apparently in part due to its low down payment options, as little as 3-5 percent, but also its guaranteed “Close on time” program via a dedicated Mortgage Loan Officer. “Homebuyers can earn a $1,000 cash bonus, dropped into your SoFi Checking and Savings or SoFi Money® account to help with the housewarming party. Life is better when you’ve got a $1,000 cash bonus¹ to burn, contact SoFi for details.”

loanDepot, Inc. has delivered more than $1 million in cash-back rebates to customers through its mellohome Grand Slam program. The Grand Slam package was designed to simplify the home buying and selling experience, giving customers access to a suite of home transaction products in a single package that includes real estate and mortgage, all while making home ownership more affordable through a cash-back incentive. Grand Slam customers receive access to the dedicated mellohome concierge service team, who help customers navigate each step of the home buying or selling process, connecting customers with loanDepot loan officers for mortgage loan pre-approvals and reliable real estate agents to find a new home, sell their existing home, or both.

Citizens Correspondent National Bulletin 2023-14 provides information on Top Underwriting and Documentation Errors.

PHH released Announcement 2023-151: Underwriting Best Practices. “To reduce the Underwriting time frame and ensure a smooth process on your non-Delegated submissions, Sellers should review the Best Practices outlined below. Following these tips will lower the number of conditions on your loan and shorten the overall turn time. Ensure the required documents are included in your initial credit file: Loan registration reflects the correct property type and attachment type o Initial and signed URLA, most updated AUS findings, tri-merged credit report o FHA Case Number assignment (FHA only), income documentation as identified in the AUS, asset documentation as identified in the AUS – including all pages of statements or gift documentation, credit inquiry letter if the credit report shows inquiries within last 90 days, documentation of housing payment on any retained properties, and processor cert or explanation of any unique situation on the loan.

“Communicate your closing date or commitment/contingency date to your dedicated Correspondent Specialist. When submitting conditions or trailing documents, upload the documentation to the specific condition. Do not provide one PDF with all conditions. Allow sufficient time for conditions to be reviewed, at least 5 days prior to CTC (when possible). Review the comments from the Underwriter on Rejected conditions. Prior to purchase conditions should be sent within the Closed Loan file. Underwriters will not review Prior to Purchase conditions. As a reminder, the Non-Delegated Submission checklist can be found in the Resources section of the PHH Correspondent Lending Website under Tools and Forms.”

Capital markets: lots of talk of a “soft landing”

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We had a big day of selling in the bond markets yesterday after a much better than expected advance GDP report for Q2 (actual 2.4 percent, expected 1.6 percent), which gives the Fed another argument to hold rates in restrictive territory for longer. On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised its target range for the fed funds rate by 25 basis points to the highest level since 2001, as expected, and left the door open to additional increases. Accordingly, investors have once again wagered that the Fed has reached the end of its tightening campaign and market participants are once again calling the Fed’s bluff, unwinding bets that the FOMC will tighten further in 2023. The official inflation rate of 3 percent is artificially low because when omitting volatile food and fuel costs, the true rate remains closer to 5 percent.

Can the Fed continue to cool inflation without a big increase in unemployment? Supply chain snarls have eased, and the strong labor market, which helped drive up prices, seems to be cooling. Fed Chair Powell, in his post-hike press conference, remained tight-lipped, admitting that higher borrowing costs are starting to chip away at inflation, while reminding markets that core-inflation remains too high and that the Fed’s policy moving forward would continue to be data dependent. It’s a tough balancing act: the tight labor market has drawn more low- and moderate-income earners into work and helped them earn livings/raises, but inflation has had an outsized impact on their finances, making it relatively harder for them to purchase goods and services than upper class individuals. Persistently high spending could be a reason for future rate increases.

Yesterday’s batch of data, including the above-consensus Q2 GDP that showed the U.S. economy was a long way from a recession in the second quarter, also showed that June Durable Orders (actual 4.7 percent, expected 1.0 percent) increased beyond expectations, and there was an unexpected decrease in weekly jobless claims to 221k, the lowest level since February. The solid batch of data kept Treasuries under selling pressure throughout the day, while a soft $35 billion 7-year note offering provided some additional encouragement for the selling. We also learned that, per the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales increased 0.3 percent in June versus May, as contract signings increased in the Northeast and Midwest but decreased in the South and West.

Today’s economic calendar includes June personal income and spending (+.3 percent and +.5 percent, respectively) as well as Q2 employment costs (+1.0 percent). Expectations were for income and spending to increase 0.4 percent and 0.1 percent month-over-month, respectively, versus 0.4 percent and 0.1 percent previously. The Core PCE Price Index was +4.1 percent versus expectations of +4.2. Later this morning brings final July Michigan sentiment. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better about .125, the 10-year yielding 3.95 after closing yesterday at 4.01 percent, and the 2-year at 4.85: not a big reaction to the numbers.

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray:

“Take only ONE. God is watching.”

Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.

A child had written a note, “Take all you want. God is watching the apples.”

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. STRATMOR’s current blog is titled, “Interest Rates are Like the Weather? Or Like Signs of the Zodiac?” The Commentary’s podcast is live and at any place you obtain your podcasts (like Apple or Spotify).

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(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to www.robchrisman.com. Copyright 2023 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product 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