Mar. 1: LO jobs; marketing, profitability, qualification, DTC, RON products; Wholesaler news, incl. Rocket earnings

I have news for you, and I hope that I’m not bursting anyone’s bubble here. If a meat packer could sell the delicious looking meat that you see in the background in ads for hamburger at $15/pound, do you really think they’d put it into $4/pound ground beef, or $2/pound hot dogs? Yes, numbers can tell a story, like it or not. How about this nifty map, great for loan officers and real estate agents and discovered in my email files, showing the population shift in the United States during the last ten years? Continuing with the numbers theme, today only 10 percent of U.S. mortgage borrowers have adjustable-rate mortgages, and that number was 40 percent in 2008. In terms of our biz, today’s higher mortgage rates only impact new buyers and borrowers. Existing fixed-rate home loan borrowers are insulated from increases in short-term interest rates. “Let the Fed do what it will!” Lastly, Rocket gave the world a lot of numbers yesterday in the form of its earnings, and can be used as a bellwether for what many lenders saw in 2022: see “Wholesale News” below. (Today’s podcast can be found here and this week is sponsored by Built Technologies: Increase efficiency, streamline processes, and improve construction and real estate financing. Built connects lenders with key stakeholders to expedite funding and provide real-time deal visibility via a cloud-based digital platform. Today Built Technologies’ Riley Thomas discusses the economic headwinds facing builders and an overview of the construction management industry.)


Jobs & transitions


“Does your company share the mortgage servicing right (MSR) upside with you? Imagine a scenario where the more loans you originate and are serviced by your company, the more money you make. While this may sound like a pipeline dream at any other lender, this is just one example of what sets Caliber and Newrez apart from the rest. Our M$R Incentive Award program provides residual income opportunity for our LOs. To learn more about how you can grow your portfolio with us, contact Tina Jablonski.”

“With the state of the housing industry today, it’s imperative to provide a best-in-class client experience to attract raving fans and lifelong referral partners. At UMortgage, we’re proud to boast a +95 NPS through our efforts in prioritizing relationships, not transactions. The UMortgage platform is built to lead our loan originators to success in every facet of their business; this week, we’re teaching our LOs methods to deliver value to their referral partners through genuine, reciprocal connections at our Relationships Not Transactions Summit. With the tools you need to build stronger relationships, an average of 12.5 days from application complete to clear to close, and a support network of other experienced loan originators, the UMortgage platform is a no-brainer if you want to scale your business. Sign up for our weekly Discovery Meeting hosted by Anthony Casa every Thursday at 2pm ET to learn more!”

Eric Schuppenhauer, head of Consumer Lending for Citizen’s Bank, spread the word that, “Sonu Mittal, President of Home Mortgage, is leaving Citizens… I will be leading the Home Mortgage business while we search for a new head of Home Mortgage. I look forward to working directly with this great team during this time. Deb Jones, Chace Gundlach, Ryan Parks, Steve Fortunato, Blair Sirman, Bobby Frank, Hunter Elrod, Peggy Johns and Mary Ann Callahan will report to me.”

In a related matter, Sonu Mittal will join Freddie Mac on March 20 as SVP and head of the Single-Family Acquisitions division, where he will be a member of the company’s Senior Operating Committee, reporting to President Mike Hutchins.

Broker and lender products and services


Do you want to get in front of top clients and referral sources and generate immediate business? Check out The StorySeller Virtual Summit on April 19-20. The event is hosted by Gibran Nicholas, who will interviewing several big-name speakers about how to grow business and build your personal brand using StorySelling. A marketing partnership would be a good fit if: (1) You want to put on a world-class, super-unique “wow” experience for clients and referral sources without tying up any of your internal resources; (2) You want your company’s branding to show up exclusively whenever someone logs into the virtual event using your link; and, (3) You want to generate high-quality leads and close immediate business. If you’re a potential marketing partner who can drive at least 1,000+ attendees to a free virtual event like this, email Gibran directly to learn more about a private-label marketing partnership.

Founded over 70 years ago, Logan Finance offers the premium Non-QM experience for our Partners. Logan’s Non-Delegated Correspondent and Wholesale channels specialize in Non-Agency products including Bank Statement, Full-Doc Non-QM, DSCR, Foreign National, Asset Qualification, Non-Warrantable Condo, and Mixed-Use loans. We believe that having competitive products and pricing are table stakes for any mortgage organization. We created a new standard for Non-QM. One where our partners have the highest confidence in our delivery; and in our ability to help grow their client base. Our Non-QM service is so reliable, our partners call us “the Agency of Non-Agency™.” Call Todd Lautzenheiser at 317-721-9941 or visit us and to learn more click here.”

These days, the mortgage industry lives online. DocVerify, from Black Knight, is the premier remote online notarization (RON) platform for mortgage professionals looking to close transactions faster and make life easier. DocVerify has everything a notary could need, including the capabilities to securely sign and store 100 percent legally binding documents, and to manage them from anywhere at any time. DocVerify supports wet sign, hybrid and fully digital eSign models on one piece of software, and with multi-state lending availability that won’t change based on your customer’s ZIP code. Best of all when you sign online seamlessly in the cloud, you can eliminate paper, reduce hassles and save time for you and your signatories… All while saving money. Read about the 4 things lenders need in a RON system, and when you’re ready, contact Black Knight to learn more.

Opteon, a leading international provider of valuation, advisory, and property services, has announced the expansion of its direct-to-consumer business model. This expansion will provide homeowners and buyers, as well as real estate, legal, and tax professionals, with the ability to order an appraisal directly through Opteon’s services. “Through this expansion, we’re solidifying our commitment to our realtor and tax partners in a larger capacity nationwide. We know referrals are their bread and butter, and we want to support them by providing a high-quality product. Our goal is to make the overall property valuation experience better for the consumer,” said Lee Trice, U.S. Managing Director of Opteon. In addition to 200+ staff appraisers and a network of 16,000+ panel appraisers, Opteon’s expanded model includes a dedicated client service team to support and guide consumers through the appraisal process. To learn more, visit here.

“With a careful eye towards the future, understanding your return to profitability is a key factor to success in 2023. At Richey May, our mortgage banking experts offer services and resources that provide an extensive evaluation of originations, servicing operations, and profitability. Our process is designed to facilitate meaningful progress towards executing your strategy and achieving your goals. Utilizing our unmatched mortgage industry data, we will help you understand and develop a roadmap to return to profitability. The mortgage world today is full of challenges. Having the data, market intelligence, and expertise to develop and monitor the roadmap is critical. Don’t wait: Take advantage now! Email for more information.

The MeridianLink Mortgage and OpenClose teams have come together to enable customers to deliver seamless digital lending experiences to consumers while reducing costs and time to close. As part of the integration, MeridianLink Mortgage plans to leverage the OpenClose point-of-sale (POS) system, Consumer Assist™, providing a superior experience for borrowers. In addition, OpenClose LenderAssist customers can leverage the MeridianLink PriceMyLoan product and pricing engine (PPE), offering richer pricing options and features like parallel mortgage insurance pricing, an integrated fee engine, and loan comparison reports. Consumers demand speed and simplicity in today’s mortgage loan process, and you need a platform that can deliver. See how MeridianLink Mortgage can help fuel your business with efficiency, flexibility, and the reliable support you need. Request a demo!

Client expectations have evolved dramatically over the last few years. Yesterday at ICE Experience in Vegas, Tim Bowler, the new President of ICE Mortgage Technology™, shared that the biggest problem in front of lenders is time. The faster you can move the process along, the better. While emphasizing the importance of eliminating unnecessary touchpoints with borrowers, he also spoke about how important it is for lenders to relieve client anxiety through immediate responses, dedicated services, and high-touch experiences. The folks at LenderLogix developed QuickQual with these themes in mind. It’s truly the industry’s only LOS add-on that gives homebuyers and Real Estate partners access to run payment and closing cost scenarios, compare side-by-side loan products and update letters as they shop for their dream home. Check it out if you’re looking for ways to elevate your top-of-the-funnel strategies.

The key to driving new business and finding profitability in 2023 is transforming your technology. The current market environment has some lenders hesitant to invest in growth, as budgets have been slashed and survival mindset activated. But now is the perfect time to consider how technology can drive new borrower business, cost savings, and profitability. Maxwell recently put together a guide for lenders called Why Investing in the Right Mortgage Technology Will Pay Dividends in 2023’s Market. We found that the right technology can not only drive down origination costs and increase efficiency in the lending process, but it can drive increased loan volume and help teams focus on high-ROI work. For example, loan officers using Maxwell Point of Sale close 15 percent more loans per month, while slashing their time-to-close by 13+ days. Set up a call with our team to learn how you can increase your lending profitability and grow your business with Maxwell technology.

Wholesale news runs the gamut


Guess which company, that rhymes with Socket Wharfage, in 2022 generated total revenue, net of $5.8 billion, delivered net income of $700 million, generated total adjusted revenue of $4.6 billion and adjusted net loss of $137 million, or an adjusted loss of 7 cents per diluted share. This company generated $133.1 billion in mortgage origination closed loan volume and gain on sale margin of 2.82 percent. If you guessed Rocket Mortgage you can go to the head of the class, and here are its 2022 yearly and 4th quarter results.

(Recall that Rithm Capital (aka Newrez) reported earnings: Mortgage origination volume fell 43 percent QOQ and 80 percent YOY to $7.9 billion. The company is guiding for Q123 volume to fall further to $5 – 7 billion. On the plus side, gain on sale margins rose 10 bp QOQ and 16 bp YOY to 1.81 percent. Funds available for distribution came in at $0.33, so the $0.25 dividend is well-covered at least for now.)

Reliable Holdings Manager LLC, doing business as Lendz Financial in Miami, recently announced it has entered the wholesale market.

United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) announced “Control Your Price.” Every loan originator who works with UWM has access to 125 basis points they can use on any loans they lock with the lender, up to 40 basis points per loan. Sometimes 10-20 basis points is all an LO needs to win over a real estate agent or get creative on a borrower’s loan. Control Your Price is eligible for conventional, government and non-agency loans, up to $1 million.

On the heels of UWM’s launch of Control Your Price, UWM announced it has enhanced its TRAC program adding two settlement agents to the TRAC program allowing LOs to choose from three UWM-approved settlement agents and still pay a flat $350 fee. LOs will also have the option to request their own settlement agent be added. In addition, the process is now faster, LOs can get title documents prepared in an average of one day. UWM reviews title and closing docs, checks to make sure title is clear and helps to facilitate the closing process.

Introducing the Kwikie™ Marketing Center, Kind Lending’s non-branded marketing assets at your fingertips including product flyers, social media, marketing tools, such as guides, & more. As an approved partner with Kind, you’ll have access to all available materials, which are fully customizable at your discretion. Just download and insert your company’s logo, company name, contact information, headshot, disclaimer, and even co-brand selects materials.

Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced major changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s pricing framework, resulting in new Loan-Level Pricing Adjustments (LLPA) grids. The new GSE LLPAs will be implemented into Kind Lending’s rate sheet pricing. The last day to fund based on old pricing grids is April 15th, 2023. Loans not funded by this date will be subject to new GSE LLPA adjustments as part of the extension cost (if applicable). Please note that there are new LLPA’s by credit score/ LTV as well as a feature grid broken out by purpose. You will also see a new adjustor for DTI > 40 percent with an LTV > 60 percent.

Loan Stream Mortgage offers 2-ONE Buydown and 1-0 Buydown program providing a lower rate for the first one or two years, paid by the seller. And now, its Buydown programs are available for VA Loans.

Capital markets: quiet


Overall demand continues to exceed supply, which has kept inflation stubbornly high. As a result, the market has been forced to recalculate that rates will remain at a higher level for longer. February ended on a quiet note, though the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes rose 39 basis points over the course of the month and six-month U.S. Treasury bills rose as high as 5.14 percent yesterday, the highest since 2007. The steep jump in yields has reduced any incentive for risk: why put your money in a risky asset during uncertain economic times when you can make more than a 5 percent rate over a six-month period?

Economic data released yesterday included a weaker than expected Consumer Confidence report for February, driven entirely by consumers’ short-term outlook becoming considerably less upbeat about their income prospects. That view is hampering plans to buy homes, autos, and major appliances. We also learned that U.S. house prices rose 8.4 percent over the last year, according to the FHFA House Price Index. However, house price appreciation continued to wane in the fourth quarter, and home prices fell 0.1 percent in December amid higher mortgage rates and a decline in mortgage applications.

Today’s economic calendar kicked off with MBA mortgage applications. Mortgage applications decreased 5.7 percent from one week earlier after the 30-year fixed rate increased to 6.71 percent last week, the highest rate since November 2022. Mortgage rates have jumped 50 basis points over the past month. Later this morning brings S&P Global manufacturing PMI, ISM manufacturing PMI, January construction spending, and remarks from Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari. We begin the day with Agency 30-year MBS prices unchanged and the 10-year yielding 3.93 after closing yesterday at 3.92 percent. (The 2-year is at 4.83.)

(Part 3 of 5.) You can retire to New York City where…

1 You say, “the city” and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan.

2. You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circle to Battery Park but can’t find Wisconsin on a map.

3. You think Central Park is “nature.”

4. You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multilingual.

5. You’ve worn out a car horn. (IF you have a car.)

6. You think eye contact is an act of aggression

You can move to Colorado where…

1. You carry your $3,000 mountain bike atop your $500 car.

2. You tell your husband to pick up Granola on his way home, so he stops at the day care center.

3. A pass does not involve a football or dating.

4. The top of your head is bald, but you still have a ponytail.

Visit 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. “Valuing a Lender” is the current blog. The Commentary’s podcast is live and at any place you obtain your podcasts (like Apple or Spotify).


(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 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