Mar. 16: FICO addresses credit costs; NAR’s reaction to settlement; Production costs hit $12,500 per loan; Saturday Spotlight: PCV Murcor

Tomorrow, I head to Las Vegas for the ICE Experience 24 and Lender Toolkit Supercar Experience. Las Vegas is many things to many people, but certainly an example of interesting building styles, especially along “The Strip.” If you were going to build a city from scratch, would you use wood, steel, or concrete? Paris is hosting the Olympic Games this summer, and the city has taken the unique step of not squandering a fortune on a bunch of buildings that will never be used again and will dissolve into rust for decades following the Games. 95 percent of the venues either already exist or are being built specifically so they can be dismantled for reuse after the event. The rest they’re building with wood, which is more sustainable than concrete or steel. The wood construction market in France is up 14 percent since 2020, and the number of new nonresidential buildings that have been built with wood is up to 18.3 percent.

Saturday Spotlight: PCV Murcor

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“We Help Lenders Make Borrowers’ Real Estate Needs Happen.”

In 3-5 sentences, describe your company (when was it founded and why, what it does, where, recent growth and plans for near-term future growth).

 

In 1981, Keith D. Murray, a licensed appraiser and Certified General, MAI designated appraiser, founded Pacific Coast Valuations Murray Corporation, which later became PCV Murcor, a nationwide real estate valuations management provider. Licensed in all 50 states, plus D.C., PCV manages valuation needs for mortgage lending, financial institutions, estate and litigation, real estate investors, and mortgage servicers. Today, PCV uses state-of-the-art AI technology to ensure precision and efficiency in every aspect of our service.

Tell us about what type of volunteer work employees are encouraged to engage in, or charities your company supports, and why.

 

PCV Murcor’s nonprofit program, PCV|VRM Seeds of Hope, supports community-based organizations that affect positive change. Organizations chosen have missions or causes that help inner-city families, children, and seniors, which stabilize neighborhoods affected by foreclosures, or rejuvenate and partner with neighborhood organizations. We fundamentally believe in being impactful philanthropists; caring for our friends and neighbors builds strong, healthy, and resilient communities.

What does your company do to help elevate your employees’ growth? Describe any mentoring programs, outside classes or training, in-house training. How does the company help people develop?

 

PCV Murcor offers employees a wide variety of training solutions to help employees enhance industry knowledge and improve performance. Through internal training, we provide instructor-led continuous education and cross-training, including gamifications, assessments, and on-the-job training to ensure retention. PCV employees also have access to Vendor Resource Management University’s (VRMU) portfolio of online courses, including industry certifications and organizational and leadership development. Externally, our staff can take courses through the American Management Association (AMA) and SkillsPath/Fred Pryor seminars for additional training to help improve job performance and enhance professional knowledge.

Tell us how your company maintains its culture in a work-from-home environment, or how you plan on bringing employees back into the office, if applicable.

 

While many of our employees live in Southern California, where our headquarters has been since our founding in 1981, our employee presence extends across the country, with employees based in New York, Michigan, Colorado, and Washington, to name a few states. We maintain our company culture through quarterly All-Hands meetings, communicating PCV’s goals and vision, reiterating our mission and values, and providing updates on company efforts and the industry/current market outlook. We also engage with employees through organizational initiatives like our Wellness Program, which includes voluntary wellness challenges. On multiple occasions a year, PCV hosts virtual interactive experiences for staff to encourage fun and friendly game competitions among colleagues.

Things you are most proud of that don’t have to do with sales.

 

We are proud of our staff’s diversity. As of 1/1/2024, 69% of our staff identifies as a racial/ethnic minority, and 58% of our staff is female. Through the diversity of our employees, we gain the benefit of looking at different ways to approach our business, and it has made us stronger as both a company and a community. Our people make us who we are.

 

Fun fact about your company.

 

PCV Murcor is the nation’s largest black-owned AMC that provides appraisal management and valuation advisory for residential and commercial real estate. What started from our founder’s one-bedroom condo in 1981 has grown into a national organization servicing the nation’s largest lenders, servicers, and government-sponsored entities.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share along these lines?

 

PCV Murcor is an approved service provider for data collection field services to support Fannie Mae’s value acceptance + property data. Approved service providers meet requirements for offering data collection field services, data collection technology, or integration to the property data API.

(For more information on having your firm’s extracurricular activities, employee growth, and your charitable side featured, contact Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt.)

 

NAR settles… where’s my money?

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Millions of people buy or sell homes, new or existing, every year in this country. Will each one receive $1.83 from the $418 million National Association of Realtors (NAR, not NRA) settlement? They shouldn’t hold their breath, and we have more thoughts below NAR’s statement:

The Sitzer-Burnett verdict and the copycat cases filed across the country have raised questions about the way real estate professionals do their jobs and how consumers can hire and compensate us.

 

Since the litigation began, we have worked consistently to reach a resolution with the plaintiffs. In the months since the Sitzer-Burnett verdict, we redoubled those efforts.

 

We have always wanted to reduce the significant strain on our members and provide a path forward for the industry. That’s why today we announced a proposed settlement agreement that would end litigation of claims brought on behalf of home sellers related to broker commissions. The settlement is subject to court approval.

 

The agreement would resolve claims against NAR, over one million NAR members, all state/territorial and local REALTOR® associations, all association-owned Multiple Listing Services (MLSs), and all brokerages with an NAR member as principal that had a residential transaction volume in 2022 of $2 billion or below.

 

Throughout the settlement process, we engaged with a diverse range of members and considered their perspectives and interests while fighting to protect all industry players as best we could.

 

From the beginning of this litigation, we had two goals: Secure a release of liability for as many of our members, associations, and MLSs as we could; and preserve the choices consumers have regarding real estate services and compensation.

 

This proposed settlement achieves both of those goals. Here are the key terms:

Release of liability: The agreement would release NAR, over one million NAR members, all state/territorial and local REALTOR® associations, all association-owned MLSs, and all brokerages with an NAR member as principal that had a residential transaction volume in 2022 of $2 billion or below from liability for the types of claims brought in these cases on behalf of home sellers related to broker commissions.

NAR fought to include all members in the release and was able to ensure more than one million members are included. Despite NAR’s efforts, agents affiliated with HomeServices of America and its related companies—the last corporate defendant still litigating the Sitzer-Burnett case—are not released under the settlement, nor are employees of the remaining corporate defendants named in the cases covered by this settlement.

Compensation offers moved off the MLS: NAR has agreed to put in place a new rule prohibiting offers of compensation on the MLS. Offers of compensation could continue to be an option consumers can pursue off-MLS through negotiation and consultation with real estate professionals. And sellers can offer buyer concessions on an MLS (for example—concessions for buyer closing costs). This change will go into effect in mid-July 2024.

Written agreements for MLS participants acting for buyers: While NAR has been advocating for the use of written agreements for years, in this settlement we have agreed to require MLS participants working with buyers to enter into written representation agreements with their buyers. This change will go into effect in mid-July 2024.

Settlement payment: NAR would pay $418 million over approximately four years. This is a substantial sum, and it will be incumbent on NAR to use our remaining resources in the most effective way possible to continue delivering on our core mission. NAR’s membership dues for 2024 will not change because of this payment.

NAR continues to deny any wrongdoing: NAR has long maintained, and we continue to believe, that cooperative compensation and NAR’s current policies are good things that benefit buyers and sellers. They promote access to property ownership, particularly for lower- and middle-income buyers who can have a difficult-enough time saving for a down payment. With this settlement, NAR is confident it and its members can still achieve all those goals.

 

I encourage you to watch this video from NAR Chief Legal Officer and Member Experience Officer Katie Johnson and me.

 

Additionally, there are materials available for members about today’s announcement at facts.realtor. You will need your NAR login credentials to access these materials. We will also continue to update competition.realtor with the latest information.

Not that my email traffic is a gauge of what will actually happen, but in general, the thoughts lean toward it being unlikely for lending guidelines to change in response to this settlement. Similar to how the LO Comp Rule implementation impacted LOs, the real estate community itself likely will have to come up with their own solutions and paths to navigate.

Lenders have a chance to be a “thought leader” in taking the time to learn about the settlement and helping their real estate agent partners decipher the impact. Can will the buyer’s agent’s commissions impact the LTV of the loan? How will it impact someone buying a home who has scrimped and saved for many years just to cover the down payment? Will the buyer still be allowed to include their selling agents commission in the purchase price, and will the transparency of the amount create downward pressure on the buyer’s agent’s commission? Lenders will be a step up versus their competitors if they can be a source of good information and solutions.

FICO discusses credit costs

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FICO, originally Fair, Isaac and Company, is a data analytics company based in Bozeman, Montana, focused on credit scoring services. It was founded by Bill Fair and Earl Isaac in 1956. FICO is the commonly used name of the company and is a division of Fair Isaac.

Will Lansing, the Chief Executive Officer of FICO, writes, “At $3.50 per score, FICO royalties constitute only 15 percent of the cost of a $70 tri-merge credit report and 2/10ths of one percent of mortgage closing costs… Despite the value the FICO Score provides, it is important to note that FICO has neither the access to the necessary credit data nor the means of distribution to provide Scores directly to end users (e.g., lenders). Instead, FICO licenses its proprietary credit scoring models to the three CRAs. Accordingly, it is ultimately the CRA, not FICO, that sets the price the resellers and end users pay for the FICO Score.”

Certainly, the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) should be allowed to earn a profit for their services, just as credit reporting agencies (CRAs) should be able to earn a profit. Remember that credit bureaus are different from credit-scoring companies, such as VantageScore and FICO.

“With average closing costs of approximately $6,000 per mortgage, FICO’s royalties remain an exceedingly small percentage (approximately two tenths of one percent or less) of a consumer’s closing costs and are therefore not an impediment to home ownership.”

The MBA reports on 4th quarter performance: ugh

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The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that independent mortgage banks (IMBs) and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks reported a pre-tax net loss of $2,109 on each loan they originated in the fourth quarter of 2023, an increase from the reported loss of $1,015 per loan in the third quarter of 2023.

The famed Marina Walsh, CMB, MBA’s Vice President of Industry Analysis, reported, “The fourth quarter is typically the slowest pace of purchase activity for the year. This year was exacerbated by the current lack of housing inventory and mortgage rates that increased to their highest levels of the year, keeping refinancings volumes low. These factors contributed to a ‘perfect storm’ that resulted in a decline in production volume for the quarter that reached the lowest level for this report since 2014.”

“While production revenues were relatively strong and even increased by five basis points, expenses were up more than $1,000 per loan from the previous quarter and the second-highest level ever reported in our series, indicating that lenders were unable to sufficiently adjust resources to align with fluctuating rates and volumes. At the same time, productivity metrics deteriorated, suggesting that there may still be excess capacity even after substantial employee reductions over the past two years… Some companies have been able to weather seven consecutive quarters of net production losses through cash reserves or infusions and strong servicing cash flows.”

The average pre-tax production loss was 73 basis points (bps) in the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to an average net production loss of 34 bps in the third quarter of 2023, and a loss of 99 basis points one year ago. The average quarterly pre-tax production profit, from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the most recent quarter, is 43 basis points… Total loan production expenses (commissions, compensation, occupancy, equipment, and other production expenses and corporate allocations) increased to $12,485 per loan in the fourth quarter, up from $11,441 per loan in the third quarter of 2023.”

A man stumbles up to the only other patron in a bar and asks if he could buy him a drink. “Why of course,” comes the reply.

The first man then asks: “Where are you from?”

“I’m from Ireland,” replies the second man.

The first man responds: “You don’t say, I’m from Ireland too! Let’s have another round to Ireland.”

“Of course,” replies the second man.

Curious, the first man then asks: “Where in Ireland are you from?”

“Dublin,” comes the reply.

“I can’t believe it,” says the first man.

“I’m from Dublin too! Let’s have another drink to Dublin.”

“Of course,” replies the second man.

Curiosity again strikes, and the first man asks: “What school did you go to?”

“Saint Mary’s,” replies the second man.

“I graduated in ’72.”

“This is unbelievable!” the first man says.

“I went to Saint Mary’s, and I graduated in ’72, too!”

About that time, in comes one of the regulars and sits down at the bar. “What’s been going on?” he asks the bartender.

“Nothing much,” replies the bartender. “The O’Malley twins are drunk again…”

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