Mar. 1: Ops, MLO jobs; sales, non-QM, HELOC products; Agency & investor disaster policies; the Fed & rates

With the jump up in mortgage rates Thursday, and the move back down Friday, a few lock desk personnel wrote to me over the weekend asking about ways of keeping LOs who floated when rates were low, or locked loans at the bottom, off their back. Here you go. Certainly, the mortgage servicing rights of the 2020 book have become more valuable to those holding it as the perceived duration has increased: At this point who is going to refinance a 2.75 30-year mortgage (unless they need cash out)? Last year saw a continued wave of people in their 20s and 30s buying, or trying to buy homes. As this article points out (an important read for any MLO interested in first time home buyers), it is not an easy process saving up the down payment, qualifying for a loan, finding a property, presenting a winning bid, and then financing it. (To listen to the audio version of today’s commentary with an interview with ActiveComply’s Melissa Thomas, please click here.)


Unmatched marketing platform for originators at no cost! Geneva Financial has been named the #1 Mortgage Lender by consumers in Arizona, home of our Corporate Office, on the 24th Annual Ranking Arizona Consumer Poll of best businesses! Further proof that Home Loans Powered By Humans® is the mortgage experience consumers want and expect! Geneva Financial is filling Branch Manager and Loan Officer positions in 44 states. With the recent addition of a National Operations Manager focused on industry-leading turn-times, Geneva is committed to closing your deals while paying you more! Explore Branch and Originator opportunities and our unmatched no-cost marketing platform for our Originators.”

Are you ready to embrace success? The folks at Embrace Home Loans are off to a red-hot start in 2021 and are looking for talented people to come along for the ride. Embrace just brought back its Guaranteed On-Time Closing program, in which borrowers get $2,500 in cash if the company fails to meet the promised closing date. (Not that the company expects to be handing out tons of free money, given its legendary reputation for punctual closings.) Now Embrace is recruiting a Vice President – Market Growth Leader to partner with regional executives and branch managers to build out its high-producing sales teams. Shouldn’t be too hard of a task, considering Embrace continues to pile up workplace awards and remains a top-ranked lender on SocialSurvey and Zillow for customer satisfaction. If you want to be part of Embrace’s success story, contact Patrick Mullen.

Caliber Home Loans is a step above the rest promoting inclusivity and diversity within our company. One of our proudest accomplishments is establishing employee resource groups (ERGs) within the company. We established ERGs so we can provide team members with career networking for personal and professional development. These employee-led ERGs represent our LGBTQ+ team members, women in business, African American and minority employees, military veterans, and employees seeking financial advice. Our mission of promoting diversity begins at the top with CEO Sanjiv Das and echoes throughout our executive leadership and team members. Caliber isn’t just a company — it’s a family. Join Caliber to be a part of a family rich with culture and inclusivity. If you’re interested in one of our posted job opportunities, please contact Jonathan Stanley for consideration. If you’re interested in a sales opportunity at Caliber, please contact Brian Miller for immediate consideration.

Homeowners Financial Group is proud to showcase our successful launch of our new game changing platform, HFG Go, which is an intuitive mobile application process centered around automation and communication between the client and loan officer. Brian Ruzycki, Chief Information/Technology Officer commented, “Borrowers have an easy to use and secure way to interact with their loan from their technology platform of choice.” Features such as QuickApply™ easily verify identity and automatically obtains personal and employment information, liabilities, and real estate owned, and includes integrations with financial institutions which saves valuable time for the client and ensures accuracy. Bill Rogers, CEO, states, “As we continue to grow, Homeowners remains committed to implementing cutting edge technology like HFG Go across all facets of our organization.” If you are interested in learning more about Homeowners Financial Group, please contact Ron Stowers or Nelson De Leon.

Broker and lender products and services

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ template for effective mortgage marketing, an industry truth that most CRM and marketing platforms are not equipped to answer for. Top of Mind understands that similar to Teslas and Mercedes, lenders can look wildly different under the hood, calling for unique campaign content and outreach strategies. So, if you need a flexible mortgage marketing automation platform that can support exacting organizational goals, Surefire is for you. And if you want to cut straight to the chase, we created Blueprints for Success, a selection of out‑of‑the‑box modules designed for common lending models that allow you to get maximum marketing ROI. Check out our Blueprints for different business models here.”

Today, at 9AM PT, Orion Lending is offering brokers training on its STAR Portal – URLA Updates.

Are you ready to use the new URLA/1003? Join one of Freedom Mortgage’s live daily URLA webinars this week to learn about the enhanced form and the significant changes to the URLA 3.4 including the relevant changes to their wholesale portal. Webinars are offered Monday 3/1Tuesday 3/2Wednesday 3/3Thursday 3/4, or Friday 3/5.  And, with rates on the move, Freedom Mortgage offers a comprehensive purchase and refinance product suite featuring competitive conventional, VA and FHA pricing. To learn more, check out their rate sheet or email to have an AE contact you.

“As we enter the spring purchase market, make sure your origination toolkit is equipped with Symmetry’s Piggyback HELOC to compliment your agency 1st mortgage, or even your jumbo 1st mortgage. Symmetry Lending is the premier piggyback HELOC specialist, delivering the certainty of execution that will make your life easier while impressing your customers and real estate agent referral sources. In this market where home inventory is tight, a concurrent or post-close piggyback HELOC is a great solution for your customers that are purchasing a home with immediate home improvement desires. Contact your Symmetry Area Manager today to learn of the many ways we can help you close more loans. And if you haven’t already, connect with us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter for our ongoing updates.”

The vacation rental space has been a rare bright spot in hospitality and leisure. Need long-term vacation rental financing? Visio Lending is the nation’s leader in Non-QM loans for buy and hold rentals, including vacation rentals. 30-year terms. Finance through an entity to protect personal assets. No personal income verification or tax documentation. Through our top-notch Broker Program, brokers are able to earn up to 5 points per closed loan.  YSP available. Additionally, Visio Brokers can count on a designated Account Executive and in-house processing.

Mortech, a Zillow Group business providing technology solutions for mortgage professionals recently integrated with Own Up, an online mortgage marketplace and real-time customer acquisition platform. Own Up provides both lenders and digital borrowers a new approach to the mortgage process by connecting home buyers with custom rate quotes and licensed advisors. As the PPE provider with the largest reach across most online mortgage marketplaces, Mortech’s partner integrations give lenders the opportunity to showcase their live mortgage rates to a broader audience and gain additional brand visibility by connecting their products and rates with higher quality leads. To start quoting your mortgage rates online call 1.855.298.9327 or contact Mortech’s Partner Relationship Manager, Mike Russell.

Disaster updates

A disaster declared by FEMA sets the wheels in motion for changes in policies and procedures for Agencies, investors, and lenders. The two most recent are in Louisiana and Texas due to the storms.

Lenders know that FHA 203(h) products are offered to borrowers whose current residence (owned or rented) is destroyed by a Presidentially declared disaster, or damaged so that it isn’t habitable. Borrowers can purchase a new or existing one-unit property with an FHA-insured 100% LTV loan without the typical 3.5% down payment required under the FHA 203(b) program; minimum FICO 660 and DU Approve or LPA Accept

Recent extreme weather in Texas has led to negative property impacts such as burst pipes, water damage, and cracked swimming pools. For loan originations in process on properties in disaster-impacted areas, lenders must take prudent and reasonable actions to determine whether the property condition may have materially changed, which could require a new inspection or declining an appraisal waiver offer. Because of the widespread nature of damage in Texas, Fannie Mae is not suppressing appraisal waiver offers by ZIP Code; lenders must follow the policy for accepting waiver offers. Details are available in Fannie Mae’s Selling Guide.

HUD has implemented federal disaster assistance for the State of Texas to provide support to homeowners and homebuyers in areas affected by the Severe Winter Storm. Foreclosure protections are in place for homeowners in Presidentially Declared Major Disaster Areas. Review HUD materials on Providing immediate foreclosure relief and Making insurance available for both mortgages and home rehabilitation. For a list of HUD-approved lenders in your area, use HUD’s online search tool. The Department will also connect FEMA and the State to subject matter experts to provide information on HUD programs and providers. See notice for Public Housing Agencies on disaster waivers and administrative flexibilities.

With DR-4586 FEMA declared that federal disaster aid with individual assistance has been made available to counties in the state of Texas in the areas affected by severe winter storms from February 11, 2021 and continuing. FEMA has added additional counties with Amendment 1 and Amendment 2. Although individual assistance has been granted to the identified Texas counties, AmeriHome will generally not require disaster inspections for loans secured by properties in those counties. In addition, loans with appraisal waivers or without appraisals will generally be eligible without additional inspections. Note that these counties will not be included in the AmeriHome Disaster Database on Seller Web.

loanDepot Wholesale posted disaster requirements for the state of Texas. For Conventional and VA loans an Affidavit of No Damage will be required. A DAIR is not required. For FHA Loans a reinspection will be required. Refer to  loanDepot Wholesale’s Disaster Policy for more details.

In response to Winter Storm Uri, Wells Fargo Funding is waiving the requirement for a disaster inspection for conventional Conforming, Non-Conforming, and Guaranteed Rural Housing (GRH) Loans secured by properties located in markets impacted by Winter Storm Uri, as identified by a FEMA disaster declaration. Representations, Warranties, and Covenants relating to the condition of the property are not waived.

FAMC posted Texas Severe Winter Storms Updates in Disaster Announcement DA-21-02.

Mortgage Solutions Financial Announcement 02-21C in regard to the severe winter storms in Texas.

Flagstar Bank announced transaction requirements for Oklahoma and Texas due to Severe Winter Storms. Information on Government transactions is posted in memo 21033. Requirements on Conventional and Non-Agency transactions are available in memo 21032.

First Community Mortgage posted Disaster Announcement DA-21-03 regarding Oklahoma severe winter storms.

Capital markets

While Fed Chair Powell reiterated before Congress last week that the central bank would keep interest rates low and stimulus flowing freely to support the economic recovery for as long as necessary, we saw a massive selloff in the bond market, largely on Thursday, due to inflationary fears and record low demand at an auction of seven-year bonds. The selloff, which many attributed to technical rather than fundamental factors, actually caused many to reprice their outlook for a Fed rate hike, even with no major economic developments or shifts in tone from policy makers. The 5-year Treasury note, a maturity often associated with long-term rate expectations and also mortgage pricing, jumped relative to its 2-year and 10-year peers. As I mentioned last week, the selloff was global, with bond yields also rising in the UK, Japan, Germany, and Australia.

By Friday, the fixed-income selloff paused and bounced back, with the 10-year yield slipping back toward 1.45 percent as the entire global bond rout eased. Personal consumption rose 2.4 percent year-over-year, while the personal consumption expenditure index, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, rose 1.5 percent year-over-year, the biggest gain in a year, though it still remains half a percentage point below the Fed’s target. Put another way, while the bond market thinks inflation is happening or going to happen, the data is yet to reflect it.

It would also seem that people are saving their stimulus payments rather than spending them, evidenced by a personal savings rate that is currently at over 20 percent as a percentage of disposable personal income, even before this next round of stimulus checks. We also saw a 10 percent month-over-month gain in personal income in January. Fortunately, that reveals the potential for a major pickup in spending. What does it mean for mortgage rates? The Mortgage News Daily 30-year rate closed +25 bps higher on the week to 3.29 percent after rising 1 bp in the prior week.

This opening week of March sees the usual busy economic calendar that culminates with the February employment report on Friday. Markets will also receive updates on manufacturing and nonmanufacturing PMIs, construction spending, productivity / unit labor costs and factory orders, Fedspeak is busy ahead of the blackout period before the March 16/17 FOMC meeting, including New York’s Williams, Governor Brainard, Atlanta’s Bostic, Cleveland’s Mester, and Minneapolis’ Kashkari all scheduled to appear today. Today’s economic calendar gets underway later this morning with the final February Markit manufacturing PMI, and will be followed shortly thereafter by ISM manufacturing PMI for February and January construction spending.

At the very end of the week last week, the Desk released a new MBS purchase schedule covering the March 1 to 11 period totaling up to $55.7 billion or $6.2 billion per day on average. As expected, more of the UMBS30 operations target 2 percent and 2.5 percent relative to 1.5 percent and 2 percent in prior schedules. This week, the Desk will conduct seven operations, all near $3.1 billion, with four targeting 1.5 percent and 2 percent and three targeting 2 percent and 2.5 percent. The GNII operations continue to target 2 percent and 2.5 percent and the UMBS15 operations 1.5 percent and 2 percent. Today’s schedule sees the Desk purchasing up to $7.7 billion MBS, including $6.2 billion UMBS30s. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices worse a shade and the 10-year yielding 1.44 percent after closing last week at 1.46 percent.

(A repeat but worth it.)

My wife yelled across the house, “Do you ever get a shooting pain across your body like someone has a voodoo doll of you and is stabbing it?”

I yelled, “No!”

She responded, “How about now?”

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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 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 Copyright 2021 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