July 5: LO jobs, wholesaler available; profitability analysis, closed-end 2nd products; Ginnie Ticket primer for government program lenders

Hey, I’ve got news for you: 2023 is half over. Sometimes reality bites, and vendors and lenders can’t sit there, wringing their hands, waiting for things to get better on their own. Are lenders suddenly going to make huge margins on lots of volume in the second half? Are LOs who were doing 2-3 loans a month in the first half suddenly going to do 4-6? Are vendor reps suddenly going to double their clients? Are rates going to plummet? Is the number of houses for sale going to skyrocket? Banks, credit unions, and depositories are certainly doing something. An analysis of call reports shows that mortgage banking income at banks and thrifts increased by 36 percent on a sequential basis. JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo individually more than doubled their MB income from the fourth quarter to the first. Others, like Truist and PNC followed, as Inside Mortgage Finance points out. That said, to the surprise of no one, mortgage-banking income at banks and thrifts was down 38 percent from the first quarter of 2022. (Today’s podcast can be found here and this week’s is sponsored by Gallus, the premier business intelligence tool for the mortgage industry. With hassle-free insights and user-friendly functionality, Gallus empowers you to make faster, data-driven decisions for enhanced profitability. Hear an interview with Gallus Insights’ Augie Del Rio on how mortgage companies are best leveraging data in a high-rate environment.)

Jobs, and a wholesale opportunity

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In our most recent Chrisman post, MWF announced our Growth Strategy into the mid-west and Southeast markets. Most recently, we are pleased to announce the addition of Jeff Hemm RVP in Idaho and the Pacific NW, and the expansion of our new Branch in North Carolina. Jeff is a well-known leader in our industry and will bring a strong leadership presence in our new markets. MWF is excited to have TJ Powell on our team and the entire North Carolina team as we grow in new markets and expand in Florida. “I’m proud of our Team and the efforts to expand the MWF family in new areas. This is part of our written growth strategy and an important part of our overall company expansion,” Ed Adams, SVP Production. For information about our growth plans and career opportunities, contact Ed Adams.”

Is your firm interested in launching a wholesale mortgage enterprise that’s mission-driven? Our group has a combined 100-year history in mortgage banking (operations, sales, underwriting, and capital markets) with a proven track record of generating over $2 billion annually over the last three decades. There are two participation opportunities: investment or joint venture. Our team includes an experienced and trusted sales force, operators, tech stack, warehouse lines, and take-out investors. Although we are currently based in California, we are actively working towards expanding to the East Coast and Southeast regions. Our expertise lies in Non-QM; however, we offer conventional and will offer government loans as well. Our focus is on serving underserved communities, and our long-term goal is to become a CDFI to ensure fair lending practices. If interested, please reach out to Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt to forward your note.

Lender and broker software, services, and products

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is here, and as everyone works to determine how AI can enhance business processes, many are also scratching their heads over the new challenges. If you’re attending the American Legal and Financial Network (ALFN) Answers 2023, don’t miss the panel on Tuesday, July 18, “AI: Like It or Not, It’s Here. Are You Ready? Ethical and Business Challenges to the Utilization of Technology in a Default World.” This lunch session will cover current and future AI uses for industry law firms, service providers and others. Black Knight SVP of Servicing Technologies & Product Innovation Dana Federspiel will participate in this informative discussion to share her expertise in default processing within the mortgage industry. Take advantage of this opportunity to gain a better understanding of the intersection between AI and its potential uses in our industry. Contact Black Knight to learn more about solutions for today’s market challenges.

“I love chasing borrowers down for appraisal fees” said no one ever. With Fee Chaser by LenderLogix, you definitely won’t be saying that. Give your borrowers an easy, secure way to pay their appraisal, lock-in and condo doc fees with Fee Chaser’s seamless integration into Encompass® by ICE Mortgage Technology™. It can even handle first mortgage payments. Head over to LenderLogix and get a demo texted to your phone.

“Did you know that by yearend 2022, a remarkable 82 percent of homeowners enjoyed an interest rate below 5 percent, and an impressive 92 percent of homeowners had an interest rate below 6 percent? Consequently, there has been a decline in the demand for traditional cash-out refinancing. This is exactly where Vista Point’s Closed-End Second loan proves valuable! Rather than discarding the original low interest rate, a second loan creates a blended rate giving your borrower a lower payment solution while tapping their built-up equity. Discover the potential savings for your specific situation by visiting here and see how much your borrower can reduce their monthly mortgage payment by using our Closed-End Second Cash-Out Equity Solution. Give your borrower access to the cash they need without sacrificing their advantageous interest rate, with second line amounts up to $550K and combined lien amounts up to $2.5M. For more information, please contact us.”

Does your mortgage accounting team dream about having the ability to analyze the profitability of each loan the company originates? For Smartfi Home Loans, this dream came true with its new, industry-focused finance system, Loan Vision. Smartfi found they were able to gain efficiency and improve their processes with the help of Loan Vision’s immense drill down capabilities. “With Loan Vision, there is this wealth of information at your fingertips,” says Bill Berg, Finance, Technology, and Servicing Leader at Smartfi®. “To understand the ins and outs at the loan level, there’s a tremendous amount of analytical power there. I’m not sure how you would be able to successfully understand your business without it.” Interested in learning more about how your General Ledger should be helping you maximize efficiencies in your accounting department and gain access to financials faster? Contact Carl Wooloff to schedule a call today.

So, you wanna originate and service FHA & VA loans?

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Traditionally FHA and VA loans have a higher profit margin than other loan types. But originating them is not a walk in the park. James Hedvall, Chief Capital Markets Officer with Doorway Home Loans, put down some notes he titled a, “GNMA Primer.”

“I’ve been in this business for many years and have seen things done well and things done poorly. And I receive a fair number of questions regarding secondary execution. One typical question is whether a lender should pursue obtaining their ‘Ginnie Ticket,’ or to become a GNMA Approved Issuer.

“Having the ability to take FHA, VA, and USDA loans, turn them into securities, is a powerful tool for well-equipped secondary groups. Why? Well, first it allows you to underwrite straight to AUS findings, manual underwrites and originating loans that are outside correspondent overlays, provide competitive pricing and service to underserved communities, as well as allowing for efficient execution into the capital markets. However, there are a few considerations that need to be understood, because it’s not for every originator.”

James writes, “There are approximately 350 issuers spread across large and small depositories, credit unions, servicers, and independent mortgage bankers. The approval process, sometimes referred to sarcastically within capital markets circles as the GNMA Denial Department, can be long and challenging. There are plenty of cases out there where relatively large originators, with good balance sheets, are rejected by Ginnie Mae. I have witnessed first-hand the approval process a few times, and my best piece of advice is that ‘all battles are won, before they’re ever fought.’ Successful applicants have a few things in common: good financial standing, very competent Secondary and Accounting departments, plenty of operational redundancies, strong quality control oversight, last but not least, updated and complete Policies and Procedures which cover the entire origination cycle.

“For those interested in servicing, when you’re approved to issue GNMA bonds, you will be servicing your loans (PIIT agreements aside). This is why you deliver to the GSEs and issue GNMA bonds in the first place; originators should have a strategy with servicing and its intricate oversite, even if they are utilizing a sub-servicer. Historically, servicing GNMA loans (primarily FHA & VA) is costlier than its conforming cousin. A good sub-servicer can minimize this financial burden.

“In terms of keeping, maintaining, and tracking documents, if you’re FNMA/FHLMC approved, you certainly know what a document custodian does. More times than not, when I hear complaints about a custodian, it has to do with a problem on GNMA loans, as they will be the ones who review your loan collateral and initially certifies your pools for trade (most pools are traded after getting initial certification, although not a requisite).

“Ideally, a good custodian will perform a single document review that accommodates all requirements at once. This eliminates “exception surprises” at the time of sale due to different requirements delaying settlement. Choosing your custodian wisely can save headaches down the road, headaches which normally cause delays in settlements, resulting in an erosion of gain-on-sale.

“In the capital markets, broker/dealers come into play. Outside Secondary Marketing, Broker/Dealers are normally given very little thought by originators. If you’re hedging a pipeline for mandatory execution, broker/dealers are the ones your Secondary group trades forward TBA contracts with, that off-set interest rate exposure from the time the loan is locked, until the time the loan funds and gets committed. But for Issuers, they play an important role in the execution of GNMA pools as they are the ones who are buying them from the Issuer. A good relationship with your broker/dealer goes further than just execution. They can also help with pool formation and optimization. Without going down the rabbit-hole on coupons vs note rates vs high balance di-minimus requirements, B/D’s can help you build out pools that can increase the spread that is willing to be paid above (and sometimes below) what TBA’s are trading at; what you hear as the ‘spec pool pay up.’

“Lenders must pay attention to operations within the Originator. A strong Secondary Marketing team is imperative. Having a good Secondary Manager who understands the entire process: what can be pooled, when can it be pooled, when to create a pool in GinnieNet, and purview into the whole mortgage pipeline not just funded loans, helps in the dozens of moving parts in the process. A strong CFO/Accounting Dept who understands the financial risk of issuing GNMA securities pays dividends.

“Some may not know, but part of the financial risk in issuing has to do with covering P&I shortages every month. GNMA doesn’t buy loans directly like FNMA & FHLMC do. They act primarily as an insurance company, guaranteeing that bond holders receive timely payments of cash flow (for this service GNMA charges 6 bps on every loan, referred to as their Guarantee Fee, or G-Fee). When borrowers are late with payments, or miss payments, it’s the responsibility of the issuer to make up for the missed P&I payment to the holder of that security. This can be a huge outflow of cash per month considering your responsibility is to EVERY bond that has ever been issued by the originator. Anyone issuing GNMA securities back in early 2020 when COVID hit, and the term “forbearance” went mainstream, remembers that moment. Possessing the capital to weather P&I shortages is an absolute must.

“Most often overlooked is your Trailing/Final Docs department. Your last responsibility as an issuer is to make sure that trailing docs (final title/deed or mortgage) get to your custodian for final certification. This needs to be done within 365 days of issuance. This may not be a huge problem for some, but states like Hawaii come to mind, where turn times of county recorders are historically slow and getting a certified copies of anything may take months.”

James wrapped up with, “Everything above is scrutinized by GNMA during the approval process. As I mentioned before, possessing the right individuals, having strong relationships with vendors, and possessing very strong operational controls should be viewed as a requirement before submitting your application.” Thank you, James!

Capital markets: are borrowers “used to” higher rates?

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Many mortgage rates are firmly in the 7 percent range now, and certainly 6 and 6.5 percent pass through mortgage securities are the norm for hedging. We might just be here for the remainder of 2023. The solid economic news certainly doesn’t point to lower rates any time soon.

Monday was a quiet day for those in the mortgage industry, with few locks, many people out of the office, and an early close ahead of the Independence Day holiday. Markets shook off warnings about cooling growth and a slowdown in manufacturing, likely because the highlight of the week will be Friday’s fresh look at the labor market, with June Nonfarm Payroll data following May’s big upward payroll surprise. U.S. IHS Markit Manufacturing PMI remained in contractionary territory for the eighth consecutive month in the final reading for June while the ISM Manufacturing Index fell further into contractionary territory. The manufacturing sector continues to operate in a state of contraction as optimism about the second half of 2023 weakens amid recession concerns. Some would argue that investors are still too optimistic about the prospects for economic growth and the ability of the Fed to stamp out inflation.

There was a better-than-expected Construction Spending report for May, in at +0.9 percent month-over-month. On a year-over-year basis, total construction spending was up 2.4 percent due to renewed strength in new single-family construction despite a jump in mortgage rates. Economic data over the last week continued to show a resilient U.S. economy. The final estimate of first quarter GDP was unexpectedly revised higher from 1.3 percent to 2.0 percent as additional data on consumer expenditures contributed to the increase. The personal consumption expenditures index (4.1 percent) remained well above the Fed’s target. Home price data from Case-Shiller indexes showed increasing prices in April while building permits increased 5.6 percent to an annualized rate of 1.496 million units in May. The lack of existing homes for sale has led to price increases on the limited available for sale inventory as well as an increase in new construction. Consumer confidence reached its highest level since January 2022 due to a strong labor market and receding fears of recession. We also learned last week that consumer confidence rose to its highest level in 17 months in June amid a brighter take on the current situation and a less dire assessment of the future.

Markets return to a relatively quiet calendar today, though there is some potential market moving potential from the release of the minutes from the June 13/14 FOMC meeting, Redbook same store sales, May factory orders, and remarks from New York Fed President Williams. We begin Wednesday with Agency MBS prices little changed from Monday and the 10-year yielding 3.86 after closing Monday at 3.86 percent; the 2-year is up to 4.91 percent.

Camping: Where you spend a small fortune to live like a homeless person.

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, “Compensation: Ever Changing.” 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