There sure is a lot going on out there! There is talk of warehouse banks temporarily suspending funding refi biz, lenders charging lock fees, lenders & vendors restricting visits from outside personnel, avoiding RESPA violations but “pushing off” difficult loans or borrowers that are shopping rates, and lenders making their pricing more aggressive for purchases but creating a hit for refis. Of course lenders are increasing margins since it is the easiest way to cut volume in a hurry. Certainly pleas from LOs about, “Can’t we match our competition? They’re better than us by .125!” are going unheard. Lenders are increasing refi lock times to 90 days, and usually giving 30- or 60-day pricing regardless. And analysts are busy thinking about all of this. One wrote me, “What about the impact of a 12-15%, or higher, corona-virus driven drop in the stock market on purchase volume? While a refinance volume surge is happening, the impact of lower rates on purchase volume may be offset by the impact of financial losses in the stock market on down payments and a general unease about a weakening economy. We could be entering a ‘not the time to buy’ mentality, especially with expected significant layoffs in certain sectors, e.g., hotels, airlines, food and beverage, etc.” Meanwhile, JW Michaels & Company released its annual Financial Services Market Data Report showing compensation for various executive positions of top-tier financial services, accounting, legal, technology, and business institutions. (Of course, STRATMOR has its survey dedicated to the mortgage industry.)
Employment & promotions
Zoral Group Inc., an international leader and innovator in the AI/ML/Digital Products/RPA/Big Data space, is seeking a National Sales Director. Zoral is looking for a true “hunter” with mortgage industry knowledge and extensive contact database, plus demonstrated prior success selling end-to-end mortgage and consumer lending solutions. Knowledge of Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics is a plus. This is a great opportunity for a business development executive to work with a fintech software company with over 15 years of experience and a broad global client base and help them broaden their reach in the US Market. Location agnostic, but will require some travel to attend industry conferences as well as visit client locations. 1099 Preferred. To learn more or to submit your resume, please contact Peter Sandler, SVP.
NewRez added Baron Silverstein as President and Neeraj Kalani as Chief Marketing Officer.
Lender products & services
Still in need of a digital mortgage platform for your business? It’s not too late or too busy to refine your business for higher margins and a more efficient LO organization. 2020 HW Tech 100 Winner, Maxwell, continues to stand out from the digital mortgage competition with their software designed for the true end user — the loan officer — and a customer success team designed to speed up time-to-value, averaging only 2.5 weeks to launch most clients. Speed matters, and investing now will reap large benefits in the future. To learn more about Maxwell and their mortgage dedicated digital platform, click here or request a demo.
Housing inventory has hit an eight-year low according to Realtor.com, stoking desperation and bidding wars among eager homebuyers. In hot markets, agents know that quickly submitting an offer from a qualified buyer can secure a home under contract, while a prolonged pre-approval can send buyers into a tailspin. SimpleNexus’ “from anywhere” platform makes it easy for LOs to rapidly turn pre-approvals. At GreenState Credit Union, one LO “received an application at 9 pm on a Friday night while riding in a car and was able to deliver a pre-approval within minutes.” Needless to say, the Realtor was blown away. Read the full account here. To learn more about how you can earn a reputation as a stand-out partner to borrowers and real estate agents, schedule a demo with SimpleNexus today.
Even the best-laid plans go awry sometimes. More than 2,500 mortgage pros attend Ellie Mae Experience every year in search of new and innovative ideas. The show’s cancellation, announced yesterday, has left a lot of people with open calendars March 23-25. LBA Ware invites you to block off 15 minutes of that time to square away your incentive comp administration. LBA Ware’s CompenSafe has a plug-and-play Encompass integration that seamlessly retrieves loan pipeline data to automate near real-time incentive compensation management. Book a virtual meeting with LBA Ware’s CEO Lori Brewer to see how CompenSafe streamlines operations, motivates sales teams and improves transparency.
Join National Mortgage Professional Magazine and First Equity Funding on Thursday, March 12 at 2:00 PM Eastern/11:00 AM Pacific, to learn how to “Boost your overall loan origination by working with real estate investors.” Christian Pepe and Anthony Palmiotto will dive into how to work with real estate investors to not only increase your business, but also dramatically increase your conventional and FHA business. They will tell you strategies that can be the gateway to new realtor relationships and first-time home buyer business. Some topics that will be covered include understanding the mindset of a real estate investor, strategies to earn real estate investor business, what is the BRRRR Method and why you need to understand this strategy, increasing first time home buyer business through investor relationships, winning realtor referrals through investor clients, and turning denials into closed loans. Click here to register.
Did you know that only 21% of marketing automation users feel that their capabilities are above average or higher? The most common barriers to success include the absence of a sound strategy and the inability to fuel the content required to nurture different buyer pathways along with poor implementation of the technology. Seroka Brand Developments’ Marketing Automation Optimizer helps you take full advantage of your marketing and sales automation technology. Whether you’re using Marketo, Hubspot, Pardot, Outreach, SalesLoft or any other technology, Seroka can assist you. They have the strategic capability, content development expertise and technical knowledge to drive a successful program for your company. Reach out to Seroka today for a FREE consultation, and get ready to #turnupyourbrand in 2020!
The future of lending awaits. Blend is partnering with industry leaders to create real change. Executives from Navy Federal, Eagle Home Mortgage, and Truist will be speaking at Beyond 2020, Blend’s digital lending conference. Check out the details and join Blend in writing lending’s bright new future.
With application volumes through the roof, lenders already feel like they’re drinking from a firehose. And the surge has just begun. Many are wondering how best to prepare for a fast-paced 2020. In my experience, boom times can quickly overtax processors and underwriters, revealing weak links in workflows that ordinarily seem solid. If you’re drowning in applications and missing turn time targets, you’ll want to zero in on the process inefficiencies that are slowing you down and find ways to improve them. FormFree’s Passport shaves hours of manual work off each loan file by automating asset, income and employment verification in a single report. It not only speeds up processing and underwriting, it also frees originators to spend more time ‘wowing’ borrowers to earn the referrals that will keep you riding high after the market slows. Reach out to Christy Moss for more info.
“Since 1986, Sutherland has been a dedicated partner enabling our clients to maximize their opportunity to build their business portfolio. Today, mortgage volume is surging and lenders are looking for concrete solutions to capitalize on our unprecedented rate environment. Whether your need is Underwriting capacity or portfolio retention, Sutherland has the experience needed. Our dedicated Solution Architects and onboarding specialists develop a sound ramp strategy, and in most cases, have our clients up in less than 45 days. If you would like to schedule a discovery call, reach out to Neil Armstrong, AMP.”
No, this isn’t a report on your lock desk’s morale. Or, at this point a disease update. We’ve had the Pearl River Flooding (Mississippi, Feb 10-14) and Tennessee Tornadoes (March 2-3).
(That said, Lenders Compliance Group published an FAQ that discussed how businesses can proactively prepare for the impact of COVID-19. It is called Pandemic Preparation: Bracing for COVID-19.)
FEMA declared designated counties in Tennessee as disaster areas in DR-4476. The states’ Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds, And Flooding for the incident period March 3rd warranted Individual Assistance to Davidson, Putnam and Wilson counties.
An update has been made to the Lakeview Loan Servicing Disaster File either declaring a new disaster.
First Community Mortgage posted 2020-02 Delegated Correspondent Announcement that outlines the 4 Tennessee Counties added to the FEMA Declared Disaster list. Its 2020-03 Announcement adds updated information specific zip codes in Davidson County TN. And First Community Mortgage posted 2020-04 and 2020-03 Wholesale Announcement’s regarding FEMA declared disaster areas in Tennessee, along with a disaster update announcement regarding counties in South Dakota for its Delegated Correspondent and Wholesale channels.
An update has been made to the Lakeview Loan Servicing Disaster File regarding DR 4469 – South Dakota Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding.
Veros Real Estate Solutions announced the availability of a new enhancement to its Disaster Data Solution: Executive Portfolio Dashboard Reporting. This dashboard report provides a visual summary of the potential impact on a portfolio of properties following a natural disaster such as a wildfire, hurricane or earthquake. When a region is declared a disaster area, the Disaster Data Solution allows lenders, servicers, appraisal management companies, and other mortgage transaction participants to determine if a U.S.-based residential property is likely to have been directly affected. This new dashboard visualizes tiered levels of exposure in a portfolio, from no-exposure to maximum-exposure, displaying potentially impacted areas in relation to properties in the portfolio. Veros Disaster Data Solution allows a servicer to: Pinpoint which borrowers to focus immediate outreach. Prioritize properties for property condition inspection. Protect servicers real estate assets. Gain an executive dashboard overview of portfolio exposure. Maintain compliance with GSE disaster policy regulations.
Last week’s positive economic data was eclipsed by the continued spread of the coronavirus and the unexpected emergency 50 basis point rate cut to the Fed Funds Rate by the Federal Reserve. While the number of patients being treated in the US remains a fraction of those overseas, financial markets were volatile and the 10-year Treasury bond yield sank to a record low of 0.69 percent. Most experts expect a global economic slowdown as a result of the virus and the resulting impacts of quarantines and production shutdowns in the supply chain. Despite the emergency rate cut, the markets still expect the Fed to cut further following the upcoming FOMC meeting on March 18th with a near 100 percent probability of a 25-bps rate cut and potentially even another 50bps rate cut. Financial markets will closely watch industrial data coming from China which already say auto sales decrease 80 percent year over year in February. Predicting the full economic impact of the coronavirus remains a challenge especially given the uncertainty about how and where the virus will spread.
My daughter tells me that Mercury is in retrograde (whatever that means), and that is why markets are so panicked. U.S. Treasury yields on the 5-year note, 7-year note, 10-year note, and 30-year note all sank to fresh historical lows yesterday. In addition to further coronavirus concerns, the rally was prompted by a plunge in the price of oil after Saudi Arabia cut its wholesale prices for April and signaled plans to increase production, launching a price war with Russia after OPEC failed to agree to a production cut last week. Oil prices are down 50% in the last couple months. The 10-year yield fell to a record low of 0.398 percent during trading before closing the day -21 bps to 0.50 percent. The fed funds futures market is now pricing in a 75-bps cut to the Fed Funds Rate on or before March 18. The market selloff speaks to a sense that policy makers are falling further and further behind the virus.
In addition to oil seeing its worst price drop since 1991, Japan posted a 7.1 percent decline in Q4 GDP, even worse than expected, analysts now say Europe will almost certainly fall into a recession, China’s January/February trade deficit totaled $7.09 billion (the expected surplus was $24.60 billion; the prior surplus was $47.21 billion), and gold, which tends to rise when investors are worried about the stock market, did just that. I’d like to sit here and say the virus does not justify the panic, but once financial markets are spooked, they move with a mind of their own.
As I said yesterday, economic releases matter little these days. Today, besides a big bounce back in stock markets, sees another relatively light calendar, which began with the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for February. The Treasury will conduct the first leg of this week’s mini-Refunding when $38 billion 3-year notes are auctioned in the afternoon. The Desk will conduct a GNII FedTrade operation targeting up to $288 million 2.5 percent ($124 million) and 3 percent ($164 million). We begin today with Agency MBS prices all over the map but generally worse .125 and the 10-year yielding .64 percent.
Paddy was driving down the street in Chicago sweating because he had an important meeting and couldn’t find a parking place.
Looking up to heaven he said, “Lord take pity on me. If you find me a parking place, I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me Irish Whiskey!”
Miraculously, a parking place appeared at Deloitte and N Clark.
Paddy looked up again and said, “Never mind, I found one.”
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, “Drinking from a Firehose is Not a Long Term Business Model” 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. Currently there are hundreds of mortgage professionals looking for operations, secondary and management roles. 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 listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)