June 29: LO jobs; hedging, loan production, auditing, QC, broker marketing products; primer on the cost to hedge

A “crisis” is a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. Think calamity, catastrophe, or disaster. The word makes for attention-grabbing headlines, and a scan through the news shows a mental health crisis, child care crisis, migrant crisis, China property crisis, a climate change crisis, an opioid crisis, a housing crisis… Eventually people become immune to seeing the word, and it loses its effectiveness, especially when nothing pans out from the “crisis.” I mention this because, despite a lot of predictions to the contrary, the banking “crisis” from March seems to have been contained to a few well-known banks. (Let’s hope so.) The Federal Reserve Board, released its results of annual bank stress test, which demonstrates that “large banks are well positioned to weather a severe recession and continue to lend to households and businesses even during a severe recession.” Of course, not every bank is large, and Ken Sonner telexed over the “The 100 Largest U.S. Banks by Consolidated Assets” which is of interest to anyone who has money in a bank or has a bank for a client. Yes, Chase now equals Wells Fargo plus Citi. (Today’s podcast can be found here and is sponsored by Visio Lending. Visio is the nation’s premier lender for buy and hold investors with over 2.5 billion closed loans for single-family rental properties, including vacation rentals. Through its top-rated Broker Program, Visio brokers can earn up to 5 percent. Hear an interview with Optimal Blue’s Erin Wester on both Product and Pricing Engines (PPE) and how pricing in the secondary market flows into the primary market.)

Jobs

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PrimeLending LOs “tell all” at our first ever Loan Officer Roundtable! Join us for a live webinar on July 11th at 1:00 PM Eastern, where you’ll gain invaluable insights from our top mortgage loan originators. You can learn firsthand why PrimeLending could be your next best professional move. Hear personal stories, explore our work culture, and get answers to your burning questions about a career at PrimeLending. This exclusive (and anonymous) event is designed for loan officers like you, seeking a career boost. Contact Nic Hartke today to secure your spot at this one-of-a-kind opportunity to get the inside scoop from your peers. What are you waiting for?”

Lender and broker services, products, and software

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In 2021, Procter & Gamble won the title of largest advertiser in the world, spending a jaw-dropping $8.1 billion on ads. While the company’s monumental ad budget is impressive, enterprising individuals who find creative ways to succeed with limited resources are doubly inspiring. Mortgage brokers are a perfect example of these types, as the majority of these lone wolves have to juggle customer service, relationship management, marketing, processing, compliance and more. To help brokers run their one-person show more effectively, Surefire by Black Knight has compiled an eBook detailing the marketing strategies and tools needed to succeed in a high-cost market. Download A Mortgage Broker’s Comprehensive Guide to Mortgage Marketing now for free.

Learn About Current QC Trends and Industry Insights in Our Latest Webinar! With upcoming QC requirements on the horizon, now is the time to familiarize yourself with how they will impact your business. In our highly anticipated webinar, you will hear from ACES Quality Management’s President, Phillip McCall and EVP, Nick Volpe on an analysis of recent Mortgage QC Industry Trends Report, a deep dive into mortgage quality control trend reporting and how it aligns with the current state of the industry, and industry insights and how to best navigate through the volatile financial landscape. Walk away with a better understanding of what’s to come and how you can best prepare for the future. Watch Now.

Experience unrivaled mortgage lending expertise for your next audit. At Richey May, we don’t just hire from the mortgage industry, we have the top experts who build it. We have defined what it means to be a mortgage expert for almost 40 years and are proud of our team members like Jennifer Hannah, CPA, AMP, who leads our Mortgage Banking Audit practice. As leaders in the mortgage lending industry, we provide extensive education for our clients while forging genuine relationships, communicating effectively, and resolving issues before they become problems. Our team’s extensive knowledge in mortgage technical accounting and audit acumen ensures top-quality service delivery. Guided by strong values, we strive to significantly impact our clients’ success. Reach out or visit our website to learn more about how we can help your audit drive growth, not just check a box.”

Products & tools for loan production

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Interest rates may tick up again next month, with experts predicting that mortgage rates will remain around mid-6 percent in the near term, but buyers are still out there. The loan officers with the right tools in place will be the ones to secure their business. With Percy’s homeownership engagement solutions, you can maintain connection with customers even after they’ve closed on a home. Percy’s captivating Equity Insights offer details on a home’s value and show how this value can be leveraged to fund home improvement projects or finance the next move. Need to work more with agents? Percy has 250,000 agents waiting to work with you. With Percy in place, our clients are reaping an average 400 percent ROI… and you can too. Learn more here about how you can use Percy to gain a competitive edge.

In California, Golden State Finance Authority (GSFA) celebrates 30 years paving a path to homeownership for low-and-moderate income California households, having helped over 85,000 individuals and families to purchase a home and provided more than $660 million in down payment and closing cost assistance. Join us this June and July as we showcase our beginning, our mission, and the many achievements of the past three decades. ‘Golden State Finance Authority, Where Affordability Meets Flexibility®.’ Join our lending team! Start helping more homebuyers in California to Achieve the Dream. Visit www.gsfahome.org and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn or our YouTube channel.”

Did you know that OptifiNow provides wholesale Account Executives with an amazing tool that can double their funding volume? OptifiNow TPO is a CRM that expertly manages your wholesale lending sales team, but our Loan Scenario Ticketing Module is an absolute game changer. This module integrates with many popular Product and Pricing Engines (PPE) to enable your AEs to provide instant quotes to broker loan scenarios. OptifiNow automatically emails loan scenario quotes to brokers and follows up with them using a sequence of emails or SMS messages designed to ensure consistent engagement. Every Loan Scenario Ticket is tracked, so you know how frequently brokers are engaging with your AE, the types of products they are interested in and the pricing that was available at that time. AEs using OptifiNow’s Loan Scenario Ticketing module have been shown to double their monthly fundings. Interested? Contact OptifiNow for more information.”

The fabled “cost of hedge”

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Home lending is one of the few industries where the customer can lock in a future rate & price. Put another way, if you went to the local gas station, or grocery store, and told them you wanted to pay now for a gallon of petroleum or milk two months from now, you’d be stared at in disbelief. But the futures market is alive and well with companies and individuals locking in prices now for things like bacon, orange juice, wheat, gold, and corn in the future, hedging any impact of prices on their profits. There is a cost, usually the bid/ask price spread, the drop in price from one month to the next, and commissions paid in actually trading the contracts.

I periodically receive questions about the “cost to hedge” for mortgage bankers with locked pipelines. It is not an easy question to answer, like the cost of unleaded gas down at the corner. Hedging is a loan level activity where each loan’s program, interest rate, lock period, etc., is analyzed. It is tricky because company policies like extensions and renegotiations enter into it. Specifically, extensions and renegotiations increase it, and while the production team is helped, the capital markets department usually incurs the expense. And the price drop in the securities market often changes during the lock period. And then there’s always the “what is the cost of a loan that falls out?”

Capital markets vet James Hedvall recently weighed in. “Manufacturing loans faster, and bringing loans to market quicker, reduces a lender’s interest rate exposure to some degree. Thus, the reason bond loans can be an issue for some lenders. Unfortunately, I think many hedge vendors look at the problem 2-demonsionally, when it’s a 3-D issue. The problem isn’t necessarily all “speed-to-originate,” but rather “hedge model efficiency.” What assumptions are being made about the duration/beta of the hedge instrument, and pull through, broken down by product groups and cross referencing at what stage in the loan life cycle loans have fallen out in the past. Volatility in the To Be Announced (TBA) markets will kill a lender’s gain on sale. Lenders can be profitable in a rising rate environment, and profitable in a falling rate environment, but sudden swings in the bond market, and therefore interest rates, will kill you every time and all models break down.

“The cost to hedge is constantly changing. Viewed in a vacuum, I can say right now our hedge cost is around $X per loan, while the market is behaving rationally and my pull through acts as it has historically. This is also assuming I’m sending loans to market at the right time, I’m using broker/dealers that aren’t trying to pick off an additional +, and all the while having a stable ‘best efforts to mandatory’ spread. Ask me in six months how much my hedge is running and I’ll no doubt have a different answer. I believe that the real value of originating the loan quicker is a reduction in your finance fees from your warehouse bank, and not necessarily on your hedge side.” Thank you, James.

Capital markets: strong, anti-recessionary numbers move rates

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Are long onboarding processes stopping you from making a switch? In a recent case study, NBH Bank describes their process getting started with MCT and how they were able to get mortgage pipeline hedging and best execution loan sales up and running in just ten days. “MCT exceeded our expectations for this onboarding process,” said Ajay Timothy, Vice President and Director of Secondary and Capital Markets at NBH Bank. “We were in a compromised position with our previous hedge provider and needed to get this done quickly…we got this done in about 10 days.” NBH Bank relied on MCT to come together with multiple teams to support them in a safe, effective way outside of normal processing times to ensure there were no gaps in their hedge coverage. Download the case study to learn how MCT is innovating the onboarding experience for clients.

Rate-wise, the main economic headline yesterday was Fed Chairman Powell’s remarks at an ECB event in Portugal, where he said that core U.S. inflation won’t hit 2 percent until 2025. He also said that there is significant disinflation in the pipeline, but that the dot plot is projecting another couple rate hikes. On a separate note, as noted in the opening paragraph, the Federal Reserve released the results of its annual stress test of banks and Wall Street’s biggest banks passed, clearing a key hurdle for returning billions of dollars to investors. The 23 largest U.S. lenders showed they can withstand a severe global recession and turmoil in real estate markets.

Fed Chair Powell once again spoke in Europe before the open to kick off today’s economic calendar. Besides Chair Powell, Atlanta’s Bostic is scheduled to speak and Sweden’s Riksbank will also be out with its latest monetary policy decision where a 25-basis points hike is expected. We’ve also received the final look at Q1 GDP (+4.1 percent) and weekly jobless claims (down to 239k, down 26k, very strong; continuing claims 1.742 million). The core PCE (personal consumption) deflator came in at +4.2. Later this morning brings the Pending Home Sales Index for May, Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Markets Survey. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices worse .250-.375 and the 10-year yielding 3.79 after closing yesterday at 3.71 percent; the 2-year is up to 4.84, up .13 on the news.

Jim and Carl headed out for a quick round of golf. Since they’re short on time, they decide to play only 9 holes. Jim says to Carl, “Let’s say we make the time worth the while, at least for one of us, and spot $5 on the lowest score for the day.”

Carl agrees and they enjoy a great game. After the 8th hole, Carl is ahead by one stroke, but slices his ball into the rough on the 9th. “Help me find my ball; you look over there,” he says to Jim.

After three minutes, neither has had any luck. Since a lost ball carries a two-stroke penalty, Carl pulls a ball from his pocket and tosses it to the ground. “I’ve found my ball!” he announces triumphantly.

Jim looks at him forlornly, “After all the years we’ve been friends, you’d cheat me on golf for a measly five bucks?”

“What do you mean cheat? I found my ball sitting right here!”

“And a liar, too!” Jim says with amazement. “I’ll have you know I’ve been standing on your ball for the last three minutes!”

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