Mar. 19: Servicing, LO, AE jobs; POS, TPO, automation, DPA tools; HECM, FHA, USDA news; housing starts & building permits

One never knows what one will learn at a mortgage event, like yesterday learning from Lender Toolkit’s Alex K. that Collinsville, Illinois has the largest catsup bottle in the world. (The Collinsville area produces 60 percent of the world’s horseradish root, but I’ll save that tale for another time.) Later today I’ll be leaving Las Vegas, flying from Las Vegas north to Reno while President Joe Biden flies south from Reno to Las Vegas. (I imagine the chow on Air Force One beats whatever Southwest will serve up.) Nevada or nationwide, politics are certainly intertwined with housing, and vice versa. There’s the “Lock-in Effect” produced by government-induced rates. ICE reported that first-time homebuyers made up 55 percent of agency purchase mortgages in 2023, the highest for many years. Meanwhile, heard in the hallways: increasing the pool of qualified first-time home buyers without a corresponding increase in homes they’d buy is pointless… it just jacks up the starter home prices.” From someone else: “Affordable housing initiatives are not really moving the needle. Instead of eligibility at 80 percent of the AMI (area median income), why don’t they make it 50 percent?” (Found here, this week’s podcast is sponsored by Visio Lending. Visio is the nation’s premier lender for buy and hold investors with over 2.5 billion closed loans for single-family rental properties, including vacation rentals. Today’s has an interview with Experian’s Joy Mina on the income and employment verification landscape and the Experian Verify solution.)

Jobs & transitions

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Weichert Financial Services, a leading nationwide Real Estate Affiliated Mortgage Company, is seeking to bring on a VP of Mortgage Servicing. The candidate would oversee the subserving relationship with Dovenmuehle and the technical day to day of the firm’s $2+ Billion servicing portfolio, thus a prior working relationship with DMI and their internal systems would be viewed as a plus. Both Hybrid and Remote candidates for the position would be considered, with headquarters being in New Jersey. If you’re a seasoned mortgage professional with a passion for taking a long standing, well capitalized Mortgage company established in 1980 to the next level, and you’re looking for a great work/life balance, we want to hear from you. Competitive compensation including Health, Dental, 401K, and PTO. Please contact Tim McLaughlin for more details.

While today marks the arrival of Spring, Spring EQ has proudly served as the industry pioneer in home equity solutions for nearly 8 years! Whether you’re a correspondent seller looking for a new partner, or a wholesale broker in search of an expansive suite of home equity products, Spring EQ can help. The need for home equity solutions is surging among borrowers, so make sure your business is prepared to meet this demand by partnering with the experts in home equity at Spring EQ. Interested in a correspondent partnership? Click here. Interested in a wholesale partnership? Click here. Looking for new opportunities in the mortgage industry? Explore Spring EQ job postings and come join a growing team of fun and experienced mortgage professionals! At Spring EQ our primary focus is second mortgages. So, think of us first for all your seconds.

PrimeLending’s One More Sales Coaching Program is transforming LO careers! LOs are discovering their best selves thanks to our exclusive peer-to-peer coaching program. The One More Sales Coaching Program is designed by PrimeLending’s top producers who’ve proven they know what it takes to excel in today’s market.  LOs connect, collaborate, and learn from each other in a dynamic small group environment. Graduates walk away having mastered high-impact skills and habits they need to drive better results, such as personal branding, networking, and leveraging technology. The best part? It’s completely free! We’re investing in our LOs and empowering them to take their careers to the next level. Contact Nic Hartke today and join our winning team!

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) announced that Madisyn Rhone joined the association today as VP of Legislative Affairs responsible for advocating on behalf of MBA’s legislative and policy priorities on Capitol Hill, with a primary focus on Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Lender & broker services, products, and software

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LoanCare®, a top U.S. mortgage subservicer, has made it easier than ever for homeowners to manage their mortgages with a newly launched, proprietary mobile app: My LoanCare Go. Offering expanded private label branding options, account-based marketing, and tailored communications, My LoanCare Go helps clients enhance their homeowners’ mortgage experience to build lasting relationships. The app is part of LoanCare’s award-winning consumer digital platform, and is available in both English and Spanish for personalized support. Reach out to learn more today!

Horse racing fans know the Kentucky Derby always takes place the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville. While that main event (Derby 150!) is still weeks away, Down Payment Resource (DPR) hopes to see you at The Mortgage Collaborative’s The Mane Event next week in Louisville where its co-sponsoring a Derby-themed opening reception on March 24 and will demonstrate the benefits of down payment assistance for lenders during a partner showcase. Grab your mint julep, jodhpurs, and a festive hat for this always fun “family” affair, and schedule a meeting with the DPR team.

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 percent+ decrease in days to close the books, 20 percent+ 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.

As spring blooms around us, American Financial Resources, LLC (AFR) is thrilled to announce fresh pricing enhancements that will elevate your experience with us! Our world class capital markets team has been hard at work, crafting innovative strategies to bring you pricing enhancements that will have your originators buzzing. With these changes, we’re paving the way for smoother transactions and more competitive offerings, ensuring that you receive the best possible pricing options tailored to your needs. Visit AFR’s Quick Pricer tool to witness the impact now. The new AFR provides TPOs with top-notch service and exceptional value every step of the way. So, as you revel in the beauty of this vibrant season, take a moment to celebrate the exciting improvements we’re bringing to the table. Here’s to a season filled with growth, prosperity, and flourishing opportunities! Contact us at sales@afrwholesale.com, 1-800- 375-6071, visit www.afrwholesale.com or partner with AFR today!

Mortgage technology offerings

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There’s no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” technology solution. Every financial institution is different. And modern banks, credit unions, lenders, and insurance brokers need options that make sense for their businesses, their goals, and their customers or members. The Total Expert Partner Ecosystem is a curated collection of industry-leading partners, thought leaders, and technology providers designed to help you address market challenges, drive growth, and create customers and members for life. Leverage 70+ integrations, strategic relationships with Salesforce and AWS, and a rich library of shared industry knowledge and best practices to develop the strategies that support your business goals and build the tech stack you need to put it in motion. Learn more!

Fully Customize Point-of-Sale Workflows with Maxwell’s New Blueprint Builder. Maxwell is thrilled to introduce an industry-first: the Blueprint Builder, a feature in Maxwell Point of Sale that allows lenders to drive a differentiated mortgage experience, helping them to stand out from the competition. With the Blueprint Builder, mortgage lenders can connect to over 60 third-party integrations to create a tailored workflow suited for their unique needs. Plus, lenders can adapt their digital experiences to the operations processes that work best across their products and channels, without the cost of hiring developers. To learn more about the Blueprint Builder, click here or schedule a call with the Maxwell team.

FHA, VA, Ginnie, USDA, and HECM news from around the biz

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Ginnie Mae’s February issuance included $30 billion of Ginnie Mae II MBS and nearly $894 million of Ginnie Mae I MBS, including nearly $816 million in loans for multifamily housing.

For the 2024 calendar year to date, Ginnie Mae has supported the pooling and securitization of more than 91,000 first-time homebuyer loans!

In the Ginnie Mae All Participants Memorandum (APM) 24-02, Ginnie Mae announced the implementation of new Cybersecurity Incident reporting requirements. These requirements are part of Ginnie Mae’s continued commitment to the security and integrity of all operational systems and critical technology infrastructure related to the issuance and servicing of Ginnie Mae Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS). Effective immediately, Issuers must notify Ginnie Mae of a cyber security incident within 48 hours of detection.

Yes, Ginnie Mae established cybersecurity reporting requirements for program participants on Monday. Effective immediately, Ginnie issuers must notify the agency of any cybersecurity incident within 48 hours after the issue is detected. “Once the notification is received, representatives from Ginnie Mae will contact the designated point of contact to obtain additional information and establish the level of engagement needed depending on the scope and nature of the incident.”

USDA Rural Development SFHD Program posted, effective March 8th, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 area loan limits (based on the guidance in Handbook-1-3550, Chapter 5, Paragraph 5.6 A) are available at https://www.rd.usda.gov/files/RD-SFHAreaLoanLimitMap.pdf.

On March 4th, USDA Rural Development SFHD Program posted Advance Notice: Revisions to HB-1-3555, Chapter 15. Copies of the upcoming revisions are available for review on the Loan Origination page of the USDA LINC Training and Resource Library, under the sub-heading “New”.

USDA Rural Development Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) announced a reference sheet for obtaining a payoff and/or release of lien for a USDA Guaranteed Loan Mortgage Recovery Advance (MRA). This reference sheet includes a centralized email address for MRA inquiries and instructions on obtaining a payoff and/or a release of lien for an MRA.

In HECM news, with the Plaza Home Mortgage® Reverse Mortgage, borrowers can enjoy a multitude of benefits, including: No mortgage payment required. No Pre-Pay: Make payments as desired. Non-Recourse Loan: never owe more than the home’s value. Borrowers will maintain title to the home. Borrower’s estate retains all equity. No equity sharing: homeowners keep all future appreciation. Funds are tax free, but always consult your tax advisor. No limitations as to how the money can be used. Younger spouses (under 62) are protected. Closing costs are typically financed in the loan.

Capital Markets: it’s still all about the Fed

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A week that will be rife with central bank policy announcements (see below for some international decisions today) began with a slow retreat in the bond markets and traders paring back their expectations that the Fed will start cutting rates by June. Expectedly, this week will be dominated by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decision tomorrow where no change in the fed funds rate (range of 5.25 percent to 5.50 percent) is expected. But we will get a fresh set of economic forecasts along with a new dot plot. The first Fed rate cut is now forecast to come in mid-summer, and fed funds futures are now roughly in-line with the December dot plot, which forecasts three rate cuts this year. Thank goodness. As recently as the end of January, investors were counting on six cuts in 2024.

The Fed has made it clear that policy is restrained and that the Fed presidents don’t want to become too restrictive, but there is a risk that the Fed will sound too hawkish during this meeting which could push bond yields higher. While inflation sits above the Fed’s 2 percent target, it has been trending positively. However, mortgage rates have remained high, currently above 7 percent. With the unemployment rate rising and average hourly earnings growth decelerating, the Fed still believes inflation is likely to cool further in coming months.

Remember that aside from the FOMC, this week is packed with lots of mortgage-related economic data, including the NAHB housing market index yesterday (homebuilder sentiment jumped to an eight-month high in March, fueled by limited resale inventory and lower mortgage rates. A measure of expected sales in the next six months rose to the highest since June), building permits and housing starts today, and existing home sales on Friday.

Overnight and ahead of tomorrow’s FOMC decision and updated Summary of Economic Projections, markets will digest the latest monetary policy decisions from the BoJ (it raised rates!) and the Royal Bank of Australia (it’s done hiking rates). Today’s domestic economic calendar is under way with February housing starts and building permits (+10.7 percent, 1.521 million annualized; +1.9 percent, 1.518 million respectively). Expectations were for 1.450 million starts and 1.500 million permits versus 1.331 million starts and 1.489 million permits previously in January. Next up brings Redbook same store sales for the week ending March 16. The U.S. Treasury then announces the auction sizes for short-duration bills before auctioning $75 billion 42-day CMBs, $46 billion 1-year bills, and $13 billion reopened 20-year bonds. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices slightly improved from Monday evening, the 10-year yielding 4.32 after closing yesterday at 4.34 percent, and the 2-year at 4.71.

One day at Area 51 outside of Las Vegas a radar tech spots a single engine plane on final approach to the secret Air Force base.

The plane touches down and is immediately surrounded by armed guards. The plane is impounded, and the pilot is whisked off for questioning. The pilot claims that he had been flying from Denver to Las Vegas, gotten lost, and nearly run out of fuel, so he put his plane down at the first runway he saw. After extensive background checks that go on nearly all night, it is proven that the pilot isn’t a spy, and he is set to be released the following morning.

Before he is allowed to leave, he is given the “You didn’t see anything” talk and is told that under absolutely no circumstances is he allowed to tell anyone where he was, or what he saw. The Air Force fuels up the man’s plane, gives him a proper heading to get back to Las Vegas, and sends him on his way.

Later that day, the man’s plane is again spotted getting ready to land at Area 51. This time there were two people in the plane! When the plane touches down, it is immediately surrounded by guards again.

As soon as it comes to a stop, the man hops out and yells: “Do whatever you want to me, but SOMEBODY has to tell my wife where I was last night.”

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