Mar. 12: QC, LO jobs; MSR buyer, hedging, non-Agency, QC, workflow, servicing products; moving stats; Oh Fudge!

“I heard that 80 percent of car accidents occur within one mile of a person’s residence, so I moved.” But it turns out that moving doesn’t improve your driving, although it does improve lender’s volumes. Home Bay just published a survey that found 75 percent were happy with their decision to move. But 86 percent of Americans who moved in 2023 have regrets about moving, up from 75 percent in 2022. With many movers charging by size and weight, 24 percent of Americans wish they downsized their belongings before moving. Other common regrets include missing their old home (24 percent) and that moving was too expensive (20 percent). What’s more, nearly half (46 percent) of Americans shed tears and 42 percent fought with their loved ones during the moving process. The top reasons for moving in 2023 were to improve their quality of life (31 percent) and upsize their home (21 percent). If money were no object, the states Americans most want to move to are California (32 percent), New York (29 percent), and Florida (24 percent). However, migration data from Allied Van Lines shows more affordable states such as Montana, Vermont, Arkansas, and Idaho have the highest percentage of inbound moves. (Found here, this week’s podcast is sponsored by Lender Toolkit. With Lender Toolkit’s AI-powered AI Underwriter and Prism borrower income automation tools, you’ll be able to get loans approved in under two minutes. Hear an interview with Lender Price’s Dawar Alimi on specific ways that lenders are benefiting from seamless integrations.)

Employment & transitions

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Arc Home, a Top 10 Non-QM and Non-Agency Originator is on the lookout for an exceptional leader to become our next Vice President of Quality Control. At Arc Home, we pride ourselves on fostering a culture of innovation, integrity, and growth, offering an environment for professional development and work-life balance. This position is your chance to contribute to our mission of creating an optimal client experience and to shape the future Arc Home. If you’re an experienced mortgage pro with a passion for compliance and operational excellence, we want to hear from you. Apply on our careers page or connect with Jacki Renard for a deeper insight into how you can elevate your career and make a difference at Arc Home.”

Megastar Financial Corp. is thrilled to announce John Owens as EVP and Chief Strategy Officer! With over 20 years in the mortgage industry, Owens brings a wealth of knowledge and an impressive record of success to Megastar. In his new role, he will drive sales growth, foster industry relationships, and demonstrate how modern lending solutions are game changers for lending teams. Owens stated, “One of the many reasons I joined Megastar is because they have adopted agency technology along with AI that significantly lowers production costs, while increasing transaction speed and customer service. Pre-qualifications or approvals can be delivered at the time of application, a game-changer for any loan officer aiming to stand out. Additionally, Megastar’s unique program, powered by its financial strength, supplies qualified leads directly to loan officers. This holistic approach elevates service, making MegaStar a leader in customer satisfaction and efficiency.” Connect with John on LinkedIn.

Take your business to new heights with OceanFirst Bank. Steve Adamo, President of Residential and Consumer Lending continues to expand OceanFirst Bank’s Residential Lending division. As a result, top producing Loan Officers have joined the Bank. With the ability to blend the benefits of an independent mortgage company with the stability of a banking environment, OceanFirst Bank is growing exponentially. Loan Officers that join the team have the ability to grow their business and gain stability from a top financial institution. OceanFirst combines a leading-edge tech stack and the benefit of having great product and pricing with unique portfolio options, direct agency lending, and secondary market choices. OceanFirst’s National Association allows Loan Officers to lend nationally without dealing with individual state licensing. Contact John Costa, Senior Vice President and Head of Mortgage Sales or 609.444.6121 to learn more. FDIC | Equal Housing Lender | Equal Opportunity Employer.

Did you know Movement Mortgage added more than 1,000 new products to its portfolio in 2023!? You read that correctly. And the list keeps growing. Introducing Movement’s HomeReady Very Low-Income Purchase Program! With the escalating costs of homeownership, many potential borrowers, particularly those with limited income, encounter significant hurdles in affording a down payment. This new addition to the HomeReady product, wherein qualifying borrowers can receive a $2,500 down payment credit, aims to enhance homeownership opportunities for individuals with qualifying income less than 50 percent of the area median income (AMI). For more information on this new offering and how Movement is making an impact in communities across the U.S., visit us.”

Lender & broker services, products, and software

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ICE is making servicing simple with the next generation of MSP®, the industry’s best-in-class loan servicing system. The new experience will include a “conversational intuitive interface” that will modernize workflows, allowing back-office users to simply type in a description of a servicing task, using common business language, and the software will automatically curate the relevant information they need to perform their work. Not only will its new interface save time for existing users, but it will also help new employees get up to speed faster by making the system intuitive to pick up and easy to navigate. Learn more about the new MSP experience here, as Bonnie Sinnock, capital markets editor for National Mortgage News, previews the upcoming technology in an article that ICE has made available as a complimentary download.

In the wake of frequent breaches within our industry, we are reminded of the precarious position mortgage lenders and their customers’ data are currently in. These repeated security incidents emphasize an undeniable truth: robust cybersecurity defenses are not merely an option; they are imperative. A breach can mean the difference between a thriving business and a devastating collapse. There is a very real risk to mortgage companies right now; you’re not just guarding data, you’re safeguarding trust, livelihoods, and the very integrity of the financial system. It’s a responsibility to take seriously, and it’s time to double down on cybersecurity. Richey May’s cybersecurity team is here to help: Check out its latest post detailing the often-overlooked risks in the industry.

“When you partner with a subservicer, you’re entrusting them with your most valuable assets: your customers and your reputation. Knowing they are important to you, they must be important to your subservicer, and you must see it in their actions. They should provide the care to your customers that reflects your brand and deepens the positive relationship you created at origination. If they are falling short, then your best option is to partner with Servbank. Not only do we provide your customers with a best-in-class experience, but we do it with your branding and identity in all communications and interactions. It’s as if you’re the one providing service to them, and with 99 percent customer satisfaction rates, which will help make them your customers for life. It’s your business. Servbank believes it ought to be your branding, too. Learn more about Servbank.”

Heading to ICE Experience in Las Vegas this year? The Total Expert team will be at booth #513 to show you how to uncover more loan opportunities, streamline your workflows, and unlock your organization’s full potential with our enhanced Encompass integration. Supercharge loan officer productivity and drive unprecedented growth with new features and functionality that allow you to seamlessly share data between platforms, create loan files with one click, and more. Drop by our booth at Ice Experience or book a personalized demo to see firsthand how the Total Expert + Encompass integration will transform your day-to-day operations, drive growth, and help you close more loans in any market!

Webinar: How to Build a Comprehensive QC Plan! Learn how Credit Unions can enhance operational excellence while minimizing risk exposure by having a solid quality control plan in place. Former CUSO Quality Control manager, Brock Miler (CMQ/OE) and EVP at ACES, Kyle Kehoe will review industry requirements and best practices to ensure credit unions remain steadfast in their commitment to quality. Date: Wednesday, March 20th at 11:00AM PDT. Topics Covered: Importance of having a sound QC Plan, review each component of the QC plan, best practice on how best to succeed within each category, how to leverage technology to maintain operational excellence and lower risk exposure within your QC program. Register for the webinar.

TPO, both broker and correspondent, product news

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Do you want to expand your footprint into the Non-Agency space, but are apprehensive of the underwriting challenges? Lakeview is your solution. Within the Bayview Non-Agency Product Suite, you decide the best underwriting route by product: Delegated or Non-Delegated. Included, are live, comprehensive trainings empowering you with the expertise desired. Still unsure? Let us know, and we will help you step forward.

Oh, Fudge!

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HUD’s Marcia Fudge announced that she will step down as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, effective March 22. A Biden appointee, Fudge, 71, did not provide a specific reason, although that job can’t be without its challenges. I met her a few times, and was always impressed. Adrianne Todman becoming Acting HUD Secretary.

Accolades immediately flooded in.

MBA’s President and CEO Bob Broeksmit, CMB: “MBA thanks Marcia Fudge for being a trusted industry partner and champion of improving affordable homeownership and rental housing opportunities for all Americans during her three-year tenure as HUD Secretary. We commend Secretary Fudge and her staff for their contributions on numerous issues, including working with the industry to ensure struggling borrowers could remain in their homes through COVID-19 forbearance relief and other loss mitigation reforms, making homeownership more affordable by lowering mortgage insurance premiums, increasing multifamily large loan limits for the first time in nearly a decade, and implementing improvements to existing HUD programs to boost single-family and multifamily housing supply.”

The National Housing Conference’s (NHC) President and CEO David M. Dworkin: “Secretary Marcia Fudge’s tenure at HUD has surpassed all expectations, including her own, earning her recognition as a highly consequential HUD Secretary. Throughout her leadership, Secretary Fudge has been a steadfast advocate for equitable housing policies, championing initiatives aimed at alleviating homelessness, expanding access to affordable housing, and fostering sustainable communities.

FHFA Director Sandra Thompson: “​Secretary Marcia Fudge is an outstanding leader who is a strong advocate for affordable, equitable, and sustainable housing opportunities for all Americans. During her tenure as Secretary of HUD, the country faced numerous housing challenges including recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, limited affordable housing supply, and the continuing effects of housing discrimination and homelessness. Secretary Fudge took decisive action to address these and other challenges.”

Ginnie Mae President Alanna McCargo: “For the last three years, Secretary Marcia L. Fudge has led the Department of Housing and Urban Development fearlessly and passionately as our 18th Secretary. It has been a great honor to serve under her leadership for her entire tenure, first as her Senior Advisor for Housing Finance, and since 2021, as the President of Ginnie Mae. Secretary Fudge has made history and changed the trajectory of HUD for the future.”

Capital Markets: consumer prices a little strong in February

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Make no mistake: 101 courses aren’t just for college freshmen. In fact, mortgage lenders of all experience levels can benefit from Optimal Blue’s upcoming webinar, Hedging 101: The Benefits of Mandatory Delivery. This session will be back by popular demand on Thursday, March 14, at Noon CT. Pipeline hedging experts Jeff McCarty and Mark Teteris, CMB, will walk attendees through the theories behind hedging practices, various hedging instruments, best execution analysis and strategies to employ during market fluctuations. Whether you’re just entertaining the idea of transitioning to mandatory delivery, or you’re already a hedging veteran, you won’t want to miss this informative and directional webinar. Save your seat today.

“Looking to Sell Agency Servicing? Are you getting low, or even worse, no bids because of the size of your MSR portfolio? Want to establish a long-lasting selling relationship? We buy performing Agency Servicing starting at $25,000,000. While others turn down small pools we excel. Discover the value you have been missing. Send us an email or call Shane at 602-402-1599.”

This week opened with investors making last minute bets ahead of today’s highly anticipated February CPI inflation report. A report that could clue market participants in on the Fed’s rate timing. The CPI index likely ran hot in February due to higher gasoline prices, but core inflation was expected to slow further (read on for results!) as car prices fell and rent increases slowed. Americans still aren’t confident about the longer-term inflation outlook: After hitting a record-low in January, U.S. consumer expectations for inflation over the next three years climbed to 2.7 percent last month, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey. Five-year expectations climbed to 2.9 percent, while projected year-ahead inflation was unchanged from January at 3.0 percent.

With a week to go until the next FOMC meeting, economic data released over the last week reaffirmed there is still a long way to go until Fed officials will feel fully confident that inflation is on an assured path to two percent. For the fourth straight month, the economy added more jobs than the market was expecting. Nonfarm payrolls increased 275k, however the prior two months were revised down by a combined 167k. The unemployment rate increased to 3.9 percent from 3.7 percent, which is a two-year high. Job openings were 16 percent below their number from one year ago and there were 8.86 million openings in January. The share of workers quitting their jobs fell to its lowest rate in six years (excluding spring 2020) which should help slow wage growth later in the year. The labor markets’ continued resilience reinforces the Fed’s view of resilient economic expansion and potentially further delays rate cuts.

Today’s economic calendar is already under way with the February CPI report: hot at +.4 percent on headline and core (ex-food & energy). Headline and core were seen increasing about 0.3 percent month-over-month. Before CPI, we had the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for February: it decreased in February, marking the 26th consecutive month below the 50-year average of 98. Twenty-three percent of small business owners reported that inflation was their single most important business problem and replacing labor quality at the top.

Later today brings Redbook same store sales for the week ending March 9, the February budget statement from the CBO, and Treasury auctions that will be headlined by $39 billion reopened 10-year notes. After the inflation data, we begin Tuesday with Agency MBS prices roughly unchanged from Monday afternoon and the 10-year yielding 4.10 after closing yesterday at 4.10 percent. The 2-year is at 4.56: not a lot of movement after the CPI data.

Paddy and Murphy are working on a building site in South Boston on East 5th Street.

Paddy whispers to Murphy, “I’m gonna have the day off. I’m gonna pretend I’m mad!”

He climbs up the rafters, hangs upside down and shouts, “I’M A LIGHT BULB! I’M A LIGHT BULB!”

Murphy watches in amazement.

The foreman shouts back, “Paddy you’re mad, go home!”

So, he leaves the site.

Murphy starts packing his backpack up to leave as well.

“Where the ‘heck’ are you going?” asks the foreman.

“I can’t work in the friggin’ dark!” says Murphy.

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, “It’s 2024: Do You Know Where Your Servicing Is?” 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 2024 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