Mar. 19: HELOC, AE, Non-QM, MLO jobs; rental market snapshot; non-QM products; Ceaseless Agency news & price changes

If you love robocalls, raise your hand. (I thought so.) I myself have had no success obtaining their home phone numbers to call them back at home and finish the conversation. Imagine that. But the FCC has issued the biggest fine ($225 million) in the agency’s history, as the new acting FCC chairwoman takes on robocalls. It is not just the calls themselves, it’s the things they interrupt, too. Like hoops on TV. We all love a good buzzer-beating basket, but what about the anxiety that goes along with it? The last days or even hours of the mortgage loan process can produce a lot of anxious energy for borrowers, which often translates to missed opportunities for referrals. According to data from MortgageSAT, a late start to a closing alone drops the Net Promoter Score (NPS) 59 points, and inaccuracies on the closing documents all but forfeit advocacy with a 73-point NPS drop. In his March tip, MortgageSAT Director Mike Seminari provides three steps originators can take to minimize end-of-game miscues. Don’t miss, “How Can Originators Navigate Last-Minute Loan Volatility?” And today’s audio version of the commentary features an interview by the President of Doorway Home Loans, Matt Danilowicz on the importance of servicing sale execution, sponsored by MCT MSR Services.

Jobs & business opportunity

Quontic Bank welcomes Christine Houck, Regional Manager, offering wholesale community lending programs that are designed to replace the perception of Non-QM-esque with CDFI /Portfolio Lending. Christine has decades of specialized experience in the Non-QM-esque/Portfolio /CDFI with a BC underwriting background from the 1990s when she did portfolio lending for GE Capital. Christine joined Quontic because the process for closing and meeting funding dates is simple and efficient for brokers. The unique products help increase production, as well as open doors to realtors. Being a direct portfolio lender at Quontic means the end of the re-stip of the stip. Quontic is not a pass-through lender. Structuring loans in the space is the art of underwriting that Christine learned in the 90s. Quontic has returned to the simplicity that she once knew, but in a different way. Attention Non-QM Reps in the Northeast: Join Eastern Regional Manager Christine’s Team (267-406-9792).

An established small mortgage lender is interested in having discussions with investors, individuals, or groups looking to merge, acquire, partner to have quick access to a fully setup turn-key delegated HUD-approved lending operation. It is looking for partnership, potential sale, partial sale, or acquisition opportunities. The Company is seasoned and ready to be taken to the next level. HUD Full Eagle approved and licensed in 11 states including CA, TX, FL, and CO. Approved correspondent with most major investors. Recruiters need not contact, and the Company is not interested in merging with a larger company. Email Ted Smith to discuss.

A good friend of this Commentary and industry veteran, Allen Friedman, recently shared with me a corporate culture that Originators are seeking in today’s industry. Allen is a Director and Area Sales Manager with national lender Sun West Mortgage and believes that leadership is about a passion for people. Allen writes, “We must provide the passion, perspective and expertise necessary to assure our team’s success. Off limits are unanswered emails and phone calls. Required is the elimination of the response, cannot, in favor of, how can we? At Sun West, our entire organization is proactive in supporting the needs of our employees, our clients, and our business partners. Our motto is best summarized as to work harder, be smarter, be more compassionate and insightful with our clients and co-workers. That is the culture necessary to provide the tools for success.” To the readers of this Commentary, if that culture is of interest, then I urge you to contact Allen so that you can compare notes and hear more about Sun West Mortgage from this trusted industry vet.

“Mortgage professionals, if you’re looking for the right opportunity for your career to thrive, look no further than Citizens Home Mortgage. Citizens is currently on the lookout for top processors, closers, and underwriters to help keep our business booming. As a forward-thinking company, we believe in cultivating a diverse and inclusive environment. We’re committed to pay equity and encourage professional and personal growth by offering diverse business resource groups for our colleagues. Add this to our comprehensive benefits package and it’s clear why Citizens is the right home for your career. Visit us to see all of our openings today!”

With more than 200 employees throughout the country, Symmetry Lending is still adding to its team of Piggyback HELOC specialists. Following a record year in 2020, and already hitting new milestones in 2021, Symmetry’s internal recruiters are actively seeking individuals that have a passion for delivering the industry’s best ServiceSpeed, and Simplicity. Symmetry’s founders, executives, and all team members contribute to their people-first culture, a priority that makes for an exciting place to work, grow, and collaborate with colleagues. Symmetry has offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, and Nevada. Information about available positions is updated regularly and can be found at Symmetry’s Careers Page on its website. Contact Symmetry’s internal recruiting team at And, don’t forget to connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Lender & broker products & webinars

2021 was predicted to have the most home sales since 2006. With inventory remaining low, lenders need to have a strategy in place to maximize their purchase business. Next week, Jason Frazier of Equity Prime Mortgage, Alex Kutsishin of Sales Boomerang, and Ernie Graham of Homebot are getting together to discuss the state of the market, key tactics for building real estate agent partnerships, and more! Join them for the webinar, “FOR SALE! Make the Most of this Purchase Season” Wednesday, March 24th, at 2 PM ET. Register now to reserve your spot.

Once again Luxury Mortgage Corp.® (“Luxury”) is here to save the day and is optimally prepared to serve as your trusted Non-QM partner. With the recent announcement of Fannie and Freddie limiting their buying of second home and investment mortgages to just 7% of their total portfolio, Luxury is best positioned as a market leader to bridge the gap. Luxury provides the most competitive alternative solutions with its suite of Non-QM products. Most notably, on investment properties, Luxury will allow loan amounts from $150k-3.5 million, maximum LTV to 80% (purchase, rate/term refi), and 75% cash out. Both Full and Alt doc types available as well as DSCR loans. No history of managing rental properties to verify. Luxury also offers I/O options as well as 40-year terms. Click here to inquire about becoming an approved wholesale broker or correspondent seller.

The rental market

Top originators gauge the temperature of the rental market, since very few people go straight from a college dorm to home ownership. And versus the bond market, where Chairman Powell continues with his script, saying, “…we’re not going to act pre-emptively based on forecasts… and we’re going to wait to see actual data”, we indeed have data that MLOs can use.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America released a study on the location of affordable and subsidized rental housing across large U.S. cities. Nearly all of the 50 largest MSAs since 2001 have become less affordable for renters and prospective first-time homebuyers, with annual median rent growth rising at 2.0 percent above inflation, compared to an 0.8 percent real increase in annual median income. Meaning a typical household in 2020 needs to devote an additional 7.6 percent of its income to rent a median-priced housing unit versus two decades ago. The population-weighted median rent of a two-bedroom unit across the 50 largest MSAs is projected to be $1,629 per month this year, a 4.3 percent year-over-year increase and the seventh consecutive year rents are projected to increase faster than inflation. Annual median rents were, on average, $324 higher for every $1,000 increase in household median incomes. On average, rents appreciated 175 percent faster than median incomes with the largest differential in growth rates estimated to occur in Seattle, at 376 percent.

Agency news never stops

Freddie Mac announced that automated payroll income verification is broadly available to lenders so they can reduce the documentation burden on borrowers, close loans faster and simplify the lending process while meeting its strong credit underwriting standards. With the addition of Finicity, Freddie Mac’s clients have another option when choosing a payroll provider for verification of a mortgage applicant’s income through its Loan Product Advisor® (LPASM) asset and income modeler (AIM).

Freddie Mac provided Selling Updates Related to COVID-19 Temporary Extension in Bulletin 2021-10 with notice of discontinuance extending the effective date for the flexibilities shown in the table below for Mortgages with Application Received Dates through April 30, 2021; Mortgages with Application Received Dates on or after May 1, 2021 must comply with the applicable Guide requirements. This is the final extension of these temporary flexibilities.

Fannie Mae updated Impact of COVID-19 on Originations Lender Letter (LL-2021-03) to extend the verbal verifications of employment and power of attorney flexibilities to April 30, 2021. This will be the final extension for these policies. Applications dated May 1, 2021 and later will be subject to standard Selling Guide policies. In addition, Impact of COVID-19 on Appraisals was updated in Lender Letter (LL-2021-04) extending the application dates eligible for certain temporary flexibilities to April 30, 2021. The temporary policies related to condominium project reviews and borrower-provided photos for completion draws for HomeStyle® Renovation loans will not be extended beyond April 30, 2021.

Freddie Mac is now offering its comprehensive homeownership education course CreditSmart® Homebuyer U in Spanish. This course is a free, online resource for consumers who want to learn about the home purchase and homeownership process. CreditSmart Homebuyer U offers six educational modules, each focused on a key learning principle relating to money management, credit, getting a mortgage, the homebuying process and preserving homeownership.

Recall that Fannie Mae issued Selling Guide Announcement SEL-2021-02, highlighting, among other things, allowing all borrowers to sign loan documents pursuant to a power of attorney, and allowing certain interested parties to serve as attorney-in-fact for purchase transactions, subject to certain conditions.

Freddie Mac issued Bulletin 2021-9, announcing updates to its Selling Guide, including providing greater flexibility for quality control processes by permitting Sellers to select a post-closing sample for compliance with applicable law separately from the sample chosen for compliance with eligibility and underwriting requirements, so long as the minimum number of loans selected meets the requirements of the Guide.

Yesterday Wells Fargo Funding’s correspondent clients were notified that additional adjuster changes for investment properties were beginning today for conventional conforming loans. The price hits are based on LTV, but range from 3.375 up to 5.375 (80-85% LTV). “Due to the current market volatility, we can no longer provide written notice of changes to our conventional conforming investment property and second home adjusters for the foreseeable future. Please expect these adjusters to change at any time on the opening rate sheet any given day.”

First American Docutech posted FNMA and FHLMC to end temporary POA flexibilities.

Flagstar told its clients that the temporary COVID guidelines will be updated with the changes listed within the announcement and are effective immediately unless otherwise noted.

American Financial Resources (AFR) recently added Conventional financing for singlewides, one of the few lenders that finances singlewides. AFR offers a comprehensive suite of manufactured home programs and financing options, including FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae MH Advantage®, and Freddie Mac CHOICEHome®.

Private mortgage insurance companies’ fortunes rise and fall with that of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The MI companies continue to update their underwriting manuals. For example, the Arch MI Underwriting Manual changes coincide with changes to Arch MI’s Master Policy. Essent posts its guidelines, as do National MI, Radian, Genworth, and MGIC.

PRMG’s TPO Portal enhancement allows wholesale broker to obtain PMI quotes and select best execution for the borrower’s loan. Click here to review the updated training materials.

Capital markets

Stop me when you’ve heard this one before: inflation fears boosted Treasury yields yesterday. And that was even after Fed Chair Powell dismissed longer term inflation at his press conference on Wednesday. Those fears easily overshadowed the latest jobless claims report, which showed another unexpected increase in new claims, up 45k to 770k when it was expected to decrease. It paints a clear picture of a labor market still struggling with business closures and health concerns. On a positive note, continuing claims fell for the ninth straight week to 4.12 million for the week ending March 6. Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey saw the 30-year rate increase slightly to 3.09 percent.

Per Black Knight, active forbearance plans fell again this week, this time by 16k from last Tuesday as servicers continue to work through the large volume of scheduled March month-end expirations. As of March 16, 2.59 million homeowners remain in forbearance, representing 4.9 percent of all homeowners with mortgages. It also marks the first time we’ve fallen below 2.6 million since early April 2020. Of the 1.2 million homeowners in forbearance whose plans were scheduled to expire at the end of this month at the start of March, some 620k March-end expirations remain. Extension and removal activity will be worth keeping an eye on over the next few weeks, as it will be very telling regarding what to expect in coming months.

Today’s economic calendar is light with no major data or Fed speakers scheduled. The NY Fed Desk continues to support the demand for fixed-income securities by conducting two MBS purchase operations targeting 2 percent and 2.5 percent across $1.9 billion in GNIIs and $2.9 billion in UMBS30s. We start the last business day of the week with Agency MBS prices better by .125-.250 and the 10-year yielding 1.69 after closing yesterday at 1.73 percent.

I got home last night and found a, “Get Better Soon” card on the table.

I turned to my wife and said, “I’m not sick.”

She replied, “It’s not a suggestion, it’s an ultimatum.”

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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