July 3: Sales jobs; digital and accounting products; lenders shifting tactics; loan closing technology & UCD news

While the Northeast swelters and California burns, remember that on July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. Builders in this country have been complaining about the cost of doing business for quite some time, and it is worsening. Aside from the declining number of skilled construction workers, “The nation’s largest nail manufacturer, Mid-Continent Nail, laid off 60 of its 500 workers because of increased steel costs,” and apparently eyeing moving to Mexico. With the tariffs, looks like prices of many things will be going up in the short term; the longer term benefit to our country is certainly the subject to debate.

Employment & recruiting

Phoenix Capital, Inc. (PHOENIX), the premier advisory firm for Trading, Mortgage Services and Analytics, is excited to announce varied career opportunities for talented candidates across all business lines, including within its Sales and Client Management team for immediate hire. After more than two decades of industry leadership, PHOENIX has successfully managed over $800 billion in MSR transactions since 2013 and provided analytic solutions to a majority of the top 20 banks and mortgage servicers. Diverse business lines offer high-touch trading advisory and valuations/analytics for mortgage servicing rights and whole loans, in addition to mortgage servicing oversight/QC and loan level due diligence. Our team members integrate a comprehensive understanding of tailored client objectives, accumulated market intelligence, policy insight and unwavering customer service to forge deep and durable relationships across the industry. Experience the PHOENIX difference and explore opportunities with us today. For more information, contact your PHOENIX representative or inquire at careers@phoenixtma.com.

Some companies have a $1 Billion Dollar Producer. Stearns Wholesale has 16. Introducing the Stearns Billion Dollar Club. The inductees of this Club include elite sales and operations team members that have distinguished themselves through their hard work, exceptional customer service and outstanding results at Stearns—helping us fund billions of dollars in loans and act as the catalyst to fulfilling many Americans dreams of homeownership. Why fund millions when you can fund billions with Stearns Wholesale. Congrats to our Billion Dollar Club Members: Dawn Martin, Eric Yang, Kriss Rico, Delfino Aguilar, Erin Futterer, Frank Burruel, Greg Simms, Joni Busskohl, Joy LaFreniere, Kelley Sweetin, Ken Hager, Laura Zakharin & Kerri McMurray (LZKM), Mary Porcari, Nichole Foster, & Steve Zabriskie.

The industry is on the move!  It’s vital to find the right producers for your organization – the first time. By becoming a strategic growth partner, Model Match can get you meetings with the right candidates, guaranteed!  If you’re looking to get in front of qualified candidates that are matched to your company profile and production requirements, we are the partner for you! Model Match is changing the way the industry recruits and providing visibility into the process like never before.  Ready to increase your production and bottom line? Model Match can help!  CLICK HERE and let us show you how. Model Match is at it again, sharing our headhunting secrets and creating value for the industry through our FREE monthly educational series.  Please join us Tuesday, July 17th at 12pm EST as we discuss, “How to fail at recruiting, and why you should. CLICK HERE to register.

Lender products

Since going live with Loan Vision in April 2018, Open Mortgage has experienced early gains in its finance department in the shape of streamlined accounting processes and enhanced loan level reporting. Jackie York, Controller at Open Mortgage shared, “Before Loan Vision, a margin report would take eight manual hours to create. With Loan Vision I’m able to hit refresh on the report anytime during the month. That is an amazing quick win.” Read the press release for more information on how to reduce manual workloads and gain business insights with Loan Vision or contact Carl Wooloff to schedule a demo.

The rapid pace of innovation in the industry has changed how modern lenders market to consumers. Yet, many lenders today are trying to build their marketing and sales growth engine on outdated technology and practices. To position your salespeople for success – and your company for growth – you need the right tools, processes and support. Prioritizing your marketing technology requires commitment across your organization. Join Total Expert, Movement Mortgage, and HW on July 11th for a live webinar, Leading Digital Transformation in Marketing: The Success PlaybookThese digital transformation leaders will explore the framework of the modern marketing stack and cover best practices for executing your marketing strategy across your entire organization at scale.


Company news around the industry

Recently Blue Lion Capital asked HomeStreet to reduce its mortgage business.

And Philip Timyan, an activist investor, reportedly pressed Franklin Financial to enter into a sale or merger “as promptly as possible.”

“In a company-wide call Monday morning, TMS CEO Darius Mirshahzadeh announced a new customer-centric structure to fuel its fintech growth. “This year has been a defining year as we position ourselves as a total homeownership fintech company. The changes in leadership align with our goal to have the customer at the center of everything we do – from buying and selling their home through their final mortgage payment and everywhere in between.” With the new leadership structure, TMS promoted Barbara Yolles to chief strategy officer and Pete Sokolovic to president of originations, where he will oversee both retail and wholesale business channels. The newly created positions ensure TMS will continue to grow even amid marketplace trends, as the company is on track to exceed its 2017 volumes for every line of business in 2018.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP is to pay $625.3 million in damages to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for failing to uncover the fraudulent scheme that resulted in failure of Colonial Bank.

Yesterday the commentary mentioned a deal between Stearns Lending and Certainty Home Loans. Although the description in my commentary was correct, the original subject line was incorrect. Readers should realize that the Stearns/Certainty deal is a partnership bringing together two like-minded companies. Stearns Lending has agreed to acquire an equity interest in Certainty Home Loans. Certainty’s current ownership will continue to hold a significant share of the equity. And as noted yesterday, Certainty will continue to operate under the same name after closing. “We are excited that Certainty Home Loans is joining forces with Stearns through a unique equity partnership arrangement,” said Jim Clapp President of Certainty Home Loans. This partnership allows Certainty Home Loans to further accelerate its growth plans by leveraging Stearns’ best-in-class technology platform to streamline and improve interactions with partners, customers and team members while staying true to the brand promise of providing confident closings.

e-Notes, loan closing, and UCD news

Georgetown Mortgage, LLC, headquartered north of Austin, TX, made Texas history when it closed the state’s first loan that used both an eNote and was notarized with a remote online notary in Katy, TX. Recently, Texas passed legislation that allows for the use of remote online notaries whereby the transaction is closed electronically with the use of webcams and recording software which eliminates the need for a notary to be physically present. This type of service enables a borrower to close anywhere, anytime, and with few limitations. The transaction was closed with zero paper and no physical signatures via an eClosing portal. The eNote is Fannie Mae eligible and will be serviced by Georgetown Mortgage, LLC. CFO Michael Jones noted, “We allow our borrowers to close their home loan from work, the comfort of their own home, or even on vacation and have it fund immediately…with Georgetown Mortgage, the application is electronic, the process is electronic, and now the closing is 100% electronic and remote.”

Lenders must react to state-level restrictions. United Wholesale Mortgage has expanded the reach of its virtual e-closing capabilities, as borrowers in 16 states cannot utilize the industry’s first end-to-end online mortgage without wet signing any documents. The virtual process can also be applied to purchase transactions. UWM has partnered with Boston-based Notarize to make this enhancement possible through the Notarize for Mortgage platform. Participating 16 states include Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the GSEs) have reduced the Seller data requirements from those communicated in its December 12th, 2017 announcement and will now limit the requirements to the Seller data that is contained only on the Borrower Closing Disclosure. These revised requirements will become effective on June 24, 2019.

The Uniform Closing Dataset (UCD) mandate is in full effect. Loans must now be delivered to Loan Delivery with a UCD XML file along with a Borrower Closing Disclosure (CD) embedded within the XML file for a successful submission. Loan Delivery will fire fatal edits if UCD requirements are not met. To continue supporting your UCD adoption, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) have finalized the Seller data requirements by reducing the seller data elements located on the Borrower CD form. In addition, the GSEs have also outlined the impacts to UCD based on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB/BCFP) TRID Amendment. Visit the UCD page and the UCD Collection Solution page for more info.

Ditech is now accepting Hybrid E-Closed on conventional conforming loans. To be eligible for purchase, the Note, Mortgage, and Non-MERS loans-original assignment (if applicable) and the SSA 89 must contain a wet signature. All other documents in the closing package can be e-signed. Proof of E-Consent for all borrowers, and non-borrowing spouses signing closing documents, must be included in the loan file when submitting to Ditech for purchase. Ditech will not allow E-closings on loans closed with Power of Attorney, Texas Equity Section 50 (a)(6), New York Consolidation, Extension and Modification Agreement or loans closed in Trust (e.g., Living Trust or an Illinois Land Trust).

Ditech will require evidence of successful submissions of Uniform Closing Dataset (UCD) data to both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac prior to purchase. This includes the requirement of embedding the Closing Disclosure PDF in the UCD data file. In addition, additional UCD warning messages will transition to fatal edits in June. We encourage our Clients to evaluate their UCD submissions to identify all “warning to fatal” messages and take appropriate action.

During the UCD adoption phase, FAMC has not suspended loans from funding when the UCD requirements were not met. The most common trend identified is the omission of the embedded Borrower’s Closing Disclosure PDF from the XML file submission. It should be noted that as of June 25, 2018, any conventional conforming loan not meeting all UCD requirements will be suspended from funding.

Guaranteed Rate has branded the solution FlashClose, which allows customers to opt-in, review and complete most documents in advance of the notary arriving, saving an hour or more at the closing table with some averaging a mere 10-minute appointment to provide inked signatures.

Homeowners Financial Group is one of the first Arizona based mortgage lenders to complete an eClosing with Pavaso, a leading eClosing technology provider. With Pavaso Digital Close, HFG can now continue to offer a more convenient digital process to their clients from start to finish.

Flagstar Bank’s delegated correspondents can now enter the ULI in Paperless File Manager when submitting the loan documents for purchase. The ULI may be entered utilizing the Delegated or CAD Post Closing Single or Multi Doc Upload types. When inputting the ULI in Paperless File Manager, a document must be uploaded for the input to be saved.

The mortgage industry is ripe with innovation as digital mortgages, eNotes, and eMortgages are changing home loans. On July 17, 2018, Dykema will be holding a webinar to answer these questions and more. Industry leaders, Laura Baucus, Erin Fonte, Joseph Hickey, and Luke Sonicki will speak at the event on a number of topics that will exhibit the future of home loans (you can see the full list of topics here).

Capital markets

Rates were up to start the week, including the 10-year closing +2bps at 2.87% as investors looked past potentially rising global trade tensions to focus on tech strength ahead of the July 4 holiday. Tariffs literally cannot be modeled, so expect to see a lot of back-and-forth as investors play a guessing game the rest of the year. In China, weaker-than-expected manufacturing data for June added to concern that the country’s growth is softening. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank to its lowest level since in 10 months, a worry for investors as is the decline of the British Pound in yet another big week for Brexit, and pressure on the Euro as tensions deepen in the German coalition.

The strong U.S. news is starting to wane. As far as economic releases went, total construction spending increased 0.4% in May, falling short of expectations on the heels of a revised 0.9% increase in April. Combined with the downward revision for April, construction spending will make a smaller contribution to Q2 GDP forecasts than what was originally anticipated. But the ISM Manufacturing Index increased in June, marking the 22nd consecutive month the index has been above 50.0 and reflecting continued strength in the manufacturing sector.

Today’s economic calendar is pure 2nd tier numbers: the Redbook Same-Store Sales Index for the week ending June 30, ISM-New York, and May factory orders. Little stands in the way of MBS traders heading out early. The Treasury market will close at 2:00pm ET, 8AM Hawai’i time, ahead of tomorrow’s holiday. If anyone cares about locking in a loan, we start with the 10-year yielding 2.88% and agency MBS prices are better .125.

Yesterday’s cutting-edge humor mentioned, “I was offered a free trip to Giza in Egypt, but I had to get five people underneath me to sign up first. I said no thanks, it sounds like a pyramid scheme.”

This prompted Marc E. to fling, “I was involved in that pyramid scheme to Giza. The guy who sold me the trip said it was all legit. It wasn’t until later that I found out Egypt me.”

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, “With Regulations, Be Careful What You Wish For.” 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 2018 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