Mar. 15: LO jobs; non-QM secondary, TPO, servicing, general ledger, marketing products ; events & training

Just once, I want a username and password prompt to say, “Close enough.” Speaking of technology, this weekend Robbie and I head to Las Vegas for the ICE Experience 24 events (led off by the Lender Toolkit Supercar Experience). One big topic is bound to be constantly shifting origination channels, and the current STRATMOR Group blog is titled, “Wholesale Channel Overview and Outlook.” Another topic will be using technology money efficiently and cost-effectively. Most, if not all, lenders and vendors are continuing to look at costs critically as part of their foundation for profitability. If you’re a capital markets person, how would you like to implement, “dynamic pricing?” Pricing issues are everywhere, and certainly rising homeowners and auto insurance prices are problems for borrowers and everyone. (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 NerdWallet’s Elizabeth Renter on affordability for first time homebuyers.)

Jobs & transitions

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Loan officers! Discover the radius advantage. Are you navigating a market that’s forgotten the value of loyalty? At radius financial group, we’re rewriting the script with our MLO Partnership-Proposition (MPP). We understand the industry’s pulse and the need for a genuine partnership—not just a platform to process loans. As lenders focus on consumers, we concentrate on you, the heartbeat of our business. You’re not just a number here; you’re the face of our brand, co-branded for success. We’re committed to investing in you, providing a stable home where your talents are nurtured and your book of business flourishes. For confidential inquires please contact Carla Herrera (781-742-6500).

Optimal Blue announced today that it has appointed Sara Holtz as chief marketing officer. As a seasoned marketing and communications leader, Holtz brings more than 20 years of career experience, including a decade of driving change in the mortgage industry. As chief marketing officer, Holtz will drive unified marketing and communications strategies to advance Optimal Blue’s business priorities and further extend the company’s influence.

Lender & broker services, products, and software

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The mortgage industry is famously cyclical. Are your cash management and accounting processes powerful and agile? Many IMBs invest heavily in front-end loan origination systems, but managing your back-end processes requires a knowledgeable partner dedicated to the mortgage business. Western Alliance Bank offers powerful tools designed to help keep operations running smoothly, including robust payment processing, including lockbox solutions to reduce exceptions for servicers, corporate credit card with an ACH feature for large expenditures, commercial card consortium so as you spend more, your revenue share increases, and integrations with key technologies to streamline your processes. Most importantly, we sit down with you to understand your needs and serve as a sounding board for how automation can serve you. Contact Treasury Management specialist Chris Martin (480) 341-5483 or bankers Mark Short (469) 702-6212, Nick Richards (646) 708-1211, Nicole Avey (720) 633-4759, Elizabeth Mix (480) 329-2122 and Jim Karr (626) 390-8534. Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC.

Strength and proven performance are essential in the mortgage space. Flagstar Bank has been checking all the boxes for 35 years, leading the way with more than $114 billion in assets, diverse product offerings, and consistently delivering excellent service. As the nation’s second largest warehouse lender with a team of a dozen dedicated relationship managers, you can count on Flagstar to handle your business with care. They warehouse most loan types, including conventional, non-QM, and construction, with a platform designed for quick and easy funding solutions for their 400+ warehouse clients. Flagstar’s expertise also covers MSR, servicer advance, and EBO financing solutions, all of which they can tailor to meet your business needs. Their specialized mortgage banking team can even help streamline your operations and maximize the value of your cash balances. Flagstar is the ultimate one-stop-mortgage shop for lenders of all sizes. Contact Patti Robins or Jeff Neufeld today to learn firsthand why Flagstar should be your top choice.

Evocalize, the provider of industry-leading technology that powers many of the largest mortgage and real estate industry tech platforms and digital marketing tools (CMG Financial, Realtor.com, United Real Estate, and many more) is excited to announce its newest partnership with Guaranteed Rate. This collaboration revolutionizes the digital marketing strategies of Guaranteed Rate’s mortgage loan officers. Through Evocalize’s platform, loan officers can execute targeted digital marketing campaigns across various platforms simultaneously, including Google, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Gmail, and YouTube. The partnership empowers loan officers to effectively use local data for lead generation amidst evolving regulatory requirements. Leveraging Evocalize, Guaranteed Rate enables real-time data and machine learning algorithms for optimizing ad performance. This strategic alliance promises significant benefits, including enhanced lead generation, reduced marketing costs, and improved compliance, ultimately enhancing the customer experience. Learn more here.

Make your general ledger profitable and run your business more efficiently with Loan Vision and LV-PAM. Instead of “staying alive until ‘25”, with Loan Vision, a software built BY the mortgage industry FOR the mortgage industry, you can “produce more in 24!” Customers on Loan Vision see improvements of 30%+ decrease in days to close the books, 20%+ reduction in accounting headcount, complete LOS to G/L automation, and improved reporting and visibility. Interested in learning how Loan Vision can help you run a more efficient and profitable company? Contact Carl Wooloff to schedule a call today.

“Hot off the press! Did you know that last week Fannie Mae, like a leprechaun granting gold, released its Fair Servicing Best Practices Guide? MQMR has been chattering away about Fair Servicing for several years and working like a team of shamrock seekers to perfect our own Fair Servicing policy to help our clients! It’s a critical aspect that demands more attention than finding a four-leaf clover, and we’re here to be your lucky charm, guiding you through it all. Rather than searching for your pot of gold at the end of the Fair Servicing compliance rainbow, we’re offering a no-cost Fair Servicing Policy Template that aligns with the principles outlined in Fannie’s Guide. Pinch Yourself Here (especially if you’re not wearing green) to claim your lucky offer today and let the luck of the Irish be with you! Happy early St. Patrick’s Day from MQMR!”

We talk a lot in this newsletter about innovative technologies, but if we’re being honest most of the mortgages originated today are created on the technological equivalent of a BlackBerry. Servicers may as well be equipped with rotary phones because most servicing tools are at least that old. But not all of them. MortgageFlex is seeing significant traction with its new cloud-native servicing platform, partly because it was designed to be a friction-free complement to its recently re-engineered LOS and operates off the same database of record. But it’s also because the software is the industry’s first truly unified system for origination and servicing and isn’t 60 years old and written on an outdated operating system. The built-in functionality, including the excellent default servicing tools, makes this a leader among newer servicing platforms. See it for yourself.

Wholesale & Correspondent options

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JMAC has been providing TPO solutions since 1997, 27 years. The lender has just about every product available on the market, and this year JMAC is focused on building, investing and transforming how the lending market drives performance and success. Big things are happening! JMAC recently added industry-veteran Eric Yang as EVP of TPO. JMAC transitioned to a new TPO JMAC CONNECT Portal offering more streamline processes, and added several new products: PRIME DSCR, Stand Alone PRIME Closed-End Seconds, No FICO FHA and DU Conventional, a lender-paid 1-0 buydown, ITIN loans and a new Elite Loyalty Rewards program exclusively for LOs. Coming soon: USDA, an exclusive Affordable Housing CRA program with no MI, piggyback seconds, and the new Prequal Protect program to avoid trigger leads when pulling credit. But wait, there is even more! JMAC has committed to partnering with one of the most popular LOS technology systems on the market today. Exciting things are happening at JMAC! To learn more, contact sales@jmaclending.com for more information. Follow JMAC on LinkedIn!

Purchase season is right around the corner. Now is the time to check rate sheets! Rocket Pro TPO is offering competitive rates, especially for its enhanced Jumbo loans. If you have a client on the brink of qualifying, their Credit Upgrade Program is a no-cost, rapid rescore service for clients with credit scores between 570 and 779. Credit Upgrade helps clients qualify for better loan products and rates. In 2023, Credit Upgrade helped nearly 7,000 clients saving them more than $22.5M. Pairing Rocket Pro TPO’s Jumbo Smart program with Credit Upgrade is a recipe for success. For more information, Contact Rocket Pro TPO to learn more.

United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), announced that it is covering the upfront cost of hard credit report pulls for UWM partners. “This new initiative will help combat the impact of increasingly high credit report costs, an out-of-pocket expense impacting many brokers’ ability to invest and scale their businesses.”

Hometown Equity Mortgage has brand new DSCR Guidelines. Multi Layered LLC is now eligible. Non-Warrantable Condos LTV restrictions have been removed. R/t Refi up to 80% LTV. Non-Perms will no longer need a passport from their original country. No more occupancy requirement for AIRDNA STR purchases. Large deposits no longer need to be sourced. HEM’s DSCR matrix is available for review.

Higher loan amounts are now available on LoanStream Mortgage MaxONE DPA Program. MaxONE and MaxONE Plus are 100% CLTV FHA DPA programs that may help you qualify more borrowers and expand your market reach.

Webinars, training, and events into next week

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Join SocialCoach and Uplist Tuesday, March 19th for an exclusive joint webinar: From Browsers to Buyers: TikTok & LinkedIn for Mortgage Pros. In just 45 minutes, unlock strategies to propel your mortgage business forward in 2024 through the power of social media. Learn how to leverage short-form video to drive leads with Joe Wilson from SocialCoach and gain invaluable insights into branding and search optimization on LinkedIn from Ben Smidt of Uplist. Seize this opportunity to learn directly from industry leaders, complete with a live Q&A session. Register now to secure your spot! (or if you can’t attend live, register to receive the recording afterward).

(A good place for longer term conference planning is to start is here, and click on “Conference List” for in-person events in the future.)

Today, Friday, March 15, is this week’s episode of The Mortgage Collaborative’s Rundown covering current events in the mortgage market for 30-45 minutes starting at noon PT, 3PM ET, in “The Rundown”. Today’s is co-hosted by Partners Credit and Verification COO Tracey King.

Register for the Carrington Mortgage Non-QM Webinar, Turning QM Challenged Loan into Non-QM Success, Tuesday, March 19th at 11 am PT. Learn more about Non-QM lending and how you can leverage this growing market opportunity in 2024.

This year’s National Advocacy Conference (NAC) to be held March 19-20 in Washington, D.C. It will be the premier advocacy event designed to galvanize MBA’s members and demonstrate to policymakers the strength of our industry’s unified voice. Register now.

“From March 18-20 ICE Experience 2024! Making meaningful, in-person connections is critical for success and at the heart of ICE Experience. This year in Las Vegas, we have a brand-new agenda that provides even more ways for you to grow your skillset and professional network. Explore pre-conference training courses to get the most out of your time at Experience.”

Register for Plaza’s free webinar on Tuesday, March 19th, 11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET. Plaza will guide you through FHA 203(k) Standard or Limited loan program and provide insight into resources for successful loan origination.

Register for an FHA Virtual Training, March 20, 2-3:30PM ET, for an Underwriting Quality Assurance Update.

Looking for more in-depth commentary on weekly mortgage news? Register here for “Mortgage Matters: The Weekly Roundup” presented by Lenders One. Every Wednesday at 2:00 PM EST/11:00 AM PT is a dive into a range of mortgage-related topics, including market trends, interest rate fluctuations, innovative mortgage products, and industry advancements. Next week, watch Mike McAuley of Garrett McAuley discuss what lenders are doing to be efficient.

Most lenders are painfully aware of rising loan origination costs, which is a common trend in a down market. But certain costs like credit (surging by 400 percent) and verifications (up by 141 percent) have soared disproportionately, with incumbent providers exploiting their market dominance as virtual monopolies. Yet some lenders are fighting back… Like Lower, which has found a way to save as much as 80 percent on these operational line items and win more loans. Sign up for this exclusive webinar taking place on March 21 at 2pm ET, featuring Rob Chrisman, James Duncan and Donielle Geiser (Lower), and Richard Grieser (Truv), where they’ll share their take on today’s market and how they’ve reduced costs on operational line items previously thought to be beyond a lender’s control. RSVP today!

Register for the upcoming Texas Mortgage Bankers Association monthly education webinar: “Guardians of Security”, Thursday, March 21, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm. Join for an insightful presentation on navigating cyber risks in the mortgage lending marketplace.

In Idaho, Join IMLA, Thursday, March 21st, 11:30am – 1:00pm at The Riverside Hotel-North Star Room, for an inspiring session with dynamic guest speaker, Derek Schenck, who will guide you through the profound exploration of “Reset Your Mindset.” If you’ve experienced moments of lost focus or motivation in recent years, Derek offers practical strategies to reignite your purpose and maintain a positive mindset. Attendees can anticipate leaving with a personalized plan tailored to enhance their mental well-being and sustain their focus on their goals.

Capital Markets: expect rates up some, down some, for months

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Coming soon: Get even more Wall Street liquidity for expanded credit loans with MAXEX. Another leading securitizer will soon begin offering daily flow liquidity for non-QM and DSCR through the exchange. Venture into Non-QM or DSCR for the first time, expand your product portfolio or grow your existing business with MAXEX’s more efficient and reliable path to non-agency liquidity. Our ONE contract, ONE counterparty model gives you access to a growing network of more than 300 originators and more than 25 institutional buyers. It’s a better way to tap into liquidity for jumbo, Agency-eligible, non-QM, DSCR and scratch & dent loans, with most products eligible to be traded on a flow, forward or bulk basis. Learn more by visiting here.

It might be a while before the Fed considers cutting interest rates. After consumer prices exceeded forecasts earlier this week, the Producer Price Index followed suit yesterday. Higher fuel and food costs drove a 0.6 percent gain in PPI in February, accelerating from December and January to register higher than both predictions and any reading seen over the past six months. Unfortunately, PPI is a leading indicator, which means that prices paid to U.S. producers will eventually be passed onto consumers. The data comes less than a week before the Fed’s next meeting, giving policymakers more reason to delay rate cuts. Bond yields climbed by yesterday’s close: The 10-year yield is now within six basis points of its February high.

Jobs and housing drive the U.S. economy, and people spend when they have jobs. Retail sales rose 0.6 percent in February, weaker than expected, underscoring concerns about the durability of consumer spending. On a year-over-year basis retail sales were up 1.5 percent, but the numbers are not inflation-adjusted, so consumer spending in real terms actually fell over the past year. It’s another data point that could influence the Fed one way or the other as to when it will start cutting rates. Consumer price data earlier this week showed underlying inflation exceeded forecasts for a second month, reaffirming expectations that the Fed will be in no rush to reduce interest rates.

The implied likelihood of a June rate cut has decreased toward a coin-toss versus nearly a three-in-four probability a couple of weeks ago as investors are coming to grips with the Fed embracing being stickier for longer with its current fed funds rate.

Mortgage rates fell in Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey. However, rates are unlikely to hold current levels. For the week ending March 14, the 30-year and 15-year mortgage rates fell 14 basis points and 6 basis points versus the prior week to 6.74 percent and 6.16 percent, respectively. After yesterday’s selloff, the 30-year mortgage rate rose to over 7 percent for the first time since March 5.

Today’s economic calendar sees a busy slate of data and is already under way with Empire manufacturing (-20.9, ugly) and import/export prices. Later today brings industrial production and capacity utilization for February, and preliminary March Michigan sentiment where all eyes will also be on inflation expectations. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices slightly better than Thursday evening, the 10-year yielding 4.28 after closing yesterday at 4.30 percent, and the 2-year at 4.71.

St. Patrick’s Day is Sunday! Here is a great Tullamore Dew Irish Whisky commercial to commemorate. Everyone’s always busy, but this is worth the couple of minutes, with sound, until the end.

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 titled, “Wholesale Channel Overview and Outlook.” 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