June 8: LO, FHA jobs; marketing, servicing products; training on servicing, VA IRRRL, and other events

Who doesn’t like being kept informed at absolutely no cost? There is no reason for anyone not to join the Mortgage Action Alliance as the Mortgage Bankers Association is knee-deep in political issues that lenders should know about. Like forbearance, part of the CARES Act. Recall that the Great Recession (Financial Crisis, whatever you want to call it) unfolded over years and had an entirely different root cause than what we’re going through now with COVID. For example, every day we talk about forbearance questions and statistics, yet we won’t know the answers, or the impact on home ownership, for over a year. In the meantime, the industry has refinanced hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of home loans, and it would seem that a) volumes are quieting down, and b) margins are coming down a little as volatility has quieted. In the primary markets, many things are good. For example, homebuilder Hovnanian reported a 22% increase in revenues for the second quarter (which ended 4/30). More green shoots.


Caliber Home Loans congratulates the winners of its first-ever Virtual Circle of Excellence! Due to COVID-19, Caliber was not able to host its in-person event in Maui this year. As an industry innovator, Caliber quickly adapted plans to be the first mortgage lender to host a two-day live stream event on June 3rd and 4th. Circle of Excellence provides accolades of merit in the areas of Retail, Wholesale, Correspondent, Consumer Direct, Operations and Servicing. You can watch a clip here. This exciting event was bursting with entertainment and special guest appearances from IceT, Chris Harrison, and Chuck Norris. Attendees played games such as Caliber Home Alone and QuaranTV, and many won prizes. Known for taking care of employees, Caliber was determined not to let “shelter in place” disrupt recognizing their best and brightest. At Caliber, the team takes time to celebrate accomplishments, because each win means a customer received exceptional service.

Kurt Mason, a longtime mortgage industry executive, was recently announced as the new CEO of Northern California based Infinity Equity Group (dba Omega Mortgage Group). Mason is a proven leader who has excelled in successfully executing calculated growth plans for both privately held and publicly traded organizations. He joins Infinity Equity Group after being part of senior leadership for some of the nation’s largest lenders, and will be leading strategic growth initiatives that will have the Omega Mortgage Group brand expanding its footprint in targeted markets throughout the country. Founded in 2005, Infinity Equity Group leverages technology, process innovation and premiere pricing strategies to deliver a simplified and cost saving customer experience. For more information about Infinity Equity Group (dba Omega Mortgage Group), email us.

Recently named among Top 5 Best Mortgage Companies to work for by National Mortgage News, Geneva Financial, Home Loans Powered By Humans, is filling 500 Branch Manager and Loan officer positions in 43 states. Geneva strives to humanize every aspect of their business from the inside-out. With a culture-forward mindset, they focus on loan originators and support staff to ensure an unbeatable experience for their customers. Their Geneva Gives, BE A GOOD HUMAN and Hero of The Year initiatives deemed them a recipient of this year’s AZ Business Magazine’s Excellence in Banking Award for Community Impact. In 2019 Geneva was ranked a nationally fastest growing company in the financial sector, mortgage industry and all industries categories. They consistently hit record-breaking months, doubling volume in most. Geneva Financial is excited for another historic year, with no plans on slowing down. Explore Branch and Originator opportunities here.

Envoy Mortgage continues to invest in game-changing digital technology for its loan originators. Results from Envoy’s brand-new POS, EnGen, showed that consumers are receiving a notable reduction in application completion time from 30 minutes to 10 minutes. Envoy’s asset verification feature also resulted in a 60% increase in upfront documentation, shaving 3-5 days off the overall time from application to underwriting by eliminating unforeseen surprises. Not to mention, the latest addition to their digital tech stack, Mortgage Coach, allows loan originators to provide detailed loan advice, comparison scenarios and total cost analysis reports to prospective borrowers. Register for this live webinar to see what it is like to work for Envoy!

FHA is currently hiring for a Housing Program Officer in Washington, DC (Announcement Number: 20-HUD-1108-P), and has openings for Single-Family Appraisers. There are 4 vacancies in Denver, CO and 2 vacancies in its Philadelphia, PA offices (Job Announcement Number: 20-HUD-1223-P), and has 2 Program Assistant vacancies in Denver, CO (Announcement 20-HUD-1221-P).

Lender services and products

BETTER Direct Mail Marketing for Mortgage Lenders from Monster Lead Group: “We’re able to grow and scale operations because of the predictability of Monster’s campaigns. It’s a real marketing system. It’s not just sending mail.” (Brad Bennett, Caliver Beach Mortgage.) “It’s been your consistency; it’s been unbelievably consistent. It’s really like clockwork… We’re able to grow and scale because of the predictability of the Monster campaigns.” (Steve Sless and Andrew Parker, PRMI Reverse Mortgage Division.) “Somebody can charge me half as much as you guys do, but I can’t get beyond the level of your results. For me, service means a hell of a lot and the results speak for themselves.” (John Kresevic, JFQ Lending.) “We’ve basically stopped doing all other marketing and gone 100% with Monster.” (Manny Fajardo, Premier Lending Corp.) Monster Lead Group: See how here.

Effectively manage increased forbearance requests and loan modification volumes from COVID-19 impacted borrowers. If your business is facing an influx of home loan forbearance requests, read this insightful article by George FitzGerald, Black Knight’s EVP of Servicing Technologies. Gain insight into the right technology and common practices servicers can use to help keep up with forbearance volumes and increase flexibility to support loan modifications for loans impacted by COVID-19 and any future crisis situation.

For those of us who are tasked with building our region, area, or branch, acquiring new talent can seem overwhelming. Many of us are also producers and closing that next deal can be a walk in the park compared to making that next cold call. Are you prepared for July, August…how about 2021?  The truth is there has never been a greater opportunity in our industry to have impactful conversations and build new relationships in all markets across the US. Model Match has designed tools and resources that allow you to quickly build your pipeline across your entire geographical footprint, manage your team and monitor effectiveness all in one central, collaborative space. Our goal is to simplify the recruiting process, create visibility and find success for our partners of all sizes. Connect with the Model Match team today to learn how you can make the second half of 2020 the best part of your year. Learn More

Training & events

“Are you ready for VA IRRRL and FHA Streamline refinance opportunities in this market?  Learn how to efficiently submit your files once for a final approval! Join Freedom Mortgage Wholesale for one or more of our live webinar training sessions on VA IRRRL or FHA Streamline mortgage products and origination processes. Ideal for new or experienced government originators.  Sign up for a VA IRRRL or FHA Streamline webinar June 8 (FHA SL), June 10 (VA IRRRL), June 12 (FHA SL), June 15 (VA IRRRL) and June 19 (FHA SL).”

“There’s no question mortgage loan servicers have a lot on their plate right now. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic has added an entirely new level of complexity to borrowers’ credit profiles. With more consumers facing economic stress, servicers must be extra vigilant to identify and manage risk within their portfolios. Join us on Tuesday June 9th at 10am EST, as we break down tools from Data Facts that can help servicers monitor their portfolios more effectively, and address risk before it impacts their bottom line. With special guests from Experian, Pitchpoint Solutions, and Data Facts Appraisal Management, you won’t want to miss this webinar! You can register here.”

As the economy begins to open again and homebuyers are emerging from lockdown, make sure you’re still on top of your field by learning all about the redesigned URLA, appraisals, mortgage fraud and more. Visit Arch MI’s June Training Calendar and register for a multitude of free webinars.

Don’t miss MGIC’s exclusive webinar, “Elevating Relationships in a Digital Era,” on June 23 with special guest, Ralph Remy SVP of Training and Client Engagement at XINNIX. During this 60-minute session, the discussion focus will be best practices with emphasis on communication between mortgage originators, their support teams, and the referral partners they serve. MGIC offers complimentary webinars every month to help customers succeed in today’s mortgage insurance industry. View the full MGIC training calendar.

Every $1M of freed up liquidity could mean funding $20M more in loans on any one day; the negative ramification is also true. Join AlignIQ, LLC, a boutique, minority-owned management consulting business and Jedox, a global leading CPM platform on Thursday, June 11th at 1:45pm EDT for a free detailed tools & process-focused webinar. Join and see how to improve your company with fast, flexible & easy-to-use solutions for daily actionable forecasts with integrated data in minutes. Register for “Proactive Liquidity Management for Mortgage Banks”.

CoAMP announced the Rockies Roundup event will not be offered this year but plans on bringing it back next year. In the meantime, CoAMP is working diligently to get some content out virtually. Sign up for CoAMP’s First Virtual Event, Wednesday, June 17th.

Register for a free webinar on Thursday, June 18th hosted by the CMBA to see how Sun West Mortgage Company built an innovative system that leverages social media to drive a highly effective sales and marketing campaign.

Join MBA of Greater Philadelphia for a virtual conversation with the Acting Secretary of Banking and colleagues from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities. This free event on Thursday, June 18th is also open to non-members. Relevant issues to residential mortgage lending in Pennsylvania including Remote Online Notarization, Licensing, Examinations, COVID and other topics will be discussed.

Capital markets

That was quite a jobs number Friday. Will we learn of a revision next month? Expectations for the economy have shifted from negative to positive as states, as well as some popular tourist destinations, begin to reopen. Initial claims for unemployment have been trending lower since their weekly peak of 6.9 million and were down to 1.9 million for the week ending May 30. While this is still significantly higher than the pre-COVID average it marks the ninth straight week of declines. US manufacturing remained in contraction territory in May according to the ISM Manufacturing Index although it improved slightly. The service sector was marginally better in May as the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index improved with the agriculture, finance, public administration, and information industries reporting growth. Private residential construction fell 4.5 percent in April. Recall that mortgage applications declined as refinance applications fell 8.6 percent but purchase applications gain 5.3 percent as low rates and pent up demand drive home purchases.

Back to the startling positive employment data from Friday: Markets welcomed an upside surprise in May employment data to close last week after the April report saw the worst job losses on record going back to 1939. The May payrolls report showed a net gain of 2.51 million payroll jobs for the month, and unemployment registered a decline from 14.7 percent in April to 13.3 percent in May when it was widely expected to increase to about 20 percent for the month. The number of unemployed persons fell by 2.1 million for the month to hit 21 million (putting the jobless rate higher than at any time since 1940), though the labor force participation rate increased in May to 60.8 percent following a sizeable decline in April. The data bolsters expectations for another strong report in June reflecting states reopening their economies.

The return to work is uneven, however, with unemployment jumping among Blacks to 16.8 percent, the highest it’s been since 1984. Most official U.S. economic statistics come from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those major surveys all exclude the more than two million Americans who are incarcerated. Since black Americans are six times more likely to be incarcerated than whites, and twice as likely as Hispanics, this has the effect of making it appear that African Americans are better off financially than they really are, which isn’t good to begin with. The government agencies choose not to survey those in prison partly for convenience, as it’s difficult to get a random sample of incarcerated people on the phone, and also because the survey is aiming to measure people who are actively seeking and available for work, not exactly the situation for a prisoner.

For those following rates, Treasury yields shot higher to close the week, including the 10-year closing Friday +8 bps to 0.90 percent, and up +25 bps for the week. Given the recent positive economic news, market participants will pay close attention to the FOMC meeting this week, when the Federal Reserve is expected to adopt a posture of watchful waiting, with no changes to the benchmark fed funds rate currently near zero, and no new programs. There has been some speculation that the Fed would start to develop more specific forward guidance, but the economic environment is still so unsettled that the Fed likely does not want to over-commit and will only make small tweaks to forward looking comments in the policy statement.

This week’s economic calendar gets under way later this morning with the Employment Trends Index in May. In the afternoon, there will be a $44 billion 3-year Treasury note auction. Tomorrow brings a busier calendar with the May NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, April JOLTS (Job Openings), April Wholesale Inventories, and a $29 billion 10-year Treasury note sale. In addition to the usual Weekly MBA Mortgage Index in the midweek session, Wednesday includes May CPI and Core CPI, and the aforementioned June FOMC Rate Decision, followed shortly thereafter by Chair Powell’s press conference. Thursday reveals Weekly Claims figures, May PPI and Core PPI before Friday sees May Import/Export Prices and the preliminary June Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey. With regards to MBS, tomorrow is Class A 48-hours with Class B net out on Friday. The NY Fed will conduct two FedTrade MBS purchase operations today totaling up to $4.47 billion. We begin the week with Agency MBS prices roughly unchanged from Friday’s close and the 10-year yielding .91.

Want to tell those clients to “refinance like a boss”? “No gnarly closing costs!” Have Shane Kotsenburg talk to them. (This is such a classic, worth the one and half 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. The current blog is, “Reducing Friction”, focused on operations changes. If you have the 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. This newsletter is designed 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 2020 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