Mar. 20: LO jobs; non-QM, verification, accounting, servicing tools; STRATMOR on effective spending; conv. conforming news

Anyone wonder what happens after someone steps away from mortgage banking? Well, after exiting Ellie Mae/ICE, Jonathan Corr finds himself involved in Broadway shows, apparently stepping away from lending entirely. Broadway shows aren’t inexpensive, nor is producing mortgages. Unfortunately, it is easier to spend more than spend less (just ask Congress under every administration), but there are some ways that some lenders made money in 2023: Dumping low producers, reducing LO commissions, dropping technology that doesn’t add profitability or efficiency, consolidating back offices with other lenders, and adding outsourcers come to mind. Meanwhile, consumers and potential borrowers are also, as usual, grappling with finances, and in the Q4 2023 TransUnion Credit Industry Insights Report consumer credit balances continue to remain at historically high levels as consumers have used that available credit to manage their finances during a recent environment of high costs. (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 Visio Lending’s Jeff Ball on term financing for stabilized rentals.)

Jobs & transitions

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Axia Home Loans recently announced the appointment of Dan Shanahan as President of Retail Sales. With nearly 30 years of industry experience, Shanahan brings a wealth of knowledge and extensive experience in sales strategy, business planning, and relationship building to Axia. In a recent statement, Dan expressed his excitement about joining Axia, stating, “One of the things that attracted me to Axia is its culture of collaboration, where high achievers with low egos tend to thrive. As the new President of Sales, I am proud to be part of a team that is not only dedicated to exceptional LO support, but literally invested in it. Axia’s 100 percent employee ownership model and debt-free status ensure our commitment to success is aligned with that of our LOs.” His appointment reflects Axia’s dedication to continued growth in the national mortgage lending landscape. For information regarding LO opportunities at Axia, please contact Dan Shanahan.

Fairway Independent Mortgage is hosting a confidential Virtual Fairway Day on Thursday, March 21, 2PM CT/3PM ET. “Want to know what makes Fairway the best mortgage company to work for? Now’s your chance! Join us and learn everything you need to know about Fairway’s products, platforms, training and coaching directly from Fairway CEO, Steve Jacobson, President of Retail Sales East, David Lazowski and other executives​.”

Lender & broker services, products, and software

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Guaranteed Rate selected Evocalize to power sophisticated, local digital marketing for loan officers to generate new customers and attract referral partners across Google, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Gmail, and YouTube. Evocalize, renowned for its industry-leading technology utilized by major real estate and mortgage tech platforms like CMG Financial and Realtor.com and more, brings its expertise to enhance Guaranteed Rate’s marketing efforts. This collaboration promises to deliver significant benefits, including enhanced lead generation, reduced marketing costs, and improved customer engagement, ultimately driving business for Guaranteed Rate and its loan officers. Learn more here.

Intelligent mortgage technologies can, and should, make servicing simple. Mortgage tech has evolved to where intuitive workflow guidance and embedded programming expertise should come standard, and servicing solutions should promote a balance between the tech and the humans that use it. When these three core pillars are met, servicing teams can work more efficiently and put their focus where it belongs: on their customers. Read the new blog from the experts at ICE to see the three ways intelligent technologies can elevate your servicing operations and improve the experience for your homeowners.

“How was your audit this year? Difficult, time-intensive, stressful? Now imagine this: tidy financials, less back and forth with your auditor, no adjusting entries. That’s the experience of CWDL accounting clients. When CWDL onboards a new client, our mortgage accounting experts use proven industry-specific methodologies to clean up their books and streamline their processes, allowing us to produce accurate and timely monthly financials that both management and auditors can rely on. And we ensure that our clients are audit-ready every month, resulting in a smooth and uncomplicated annul audit. Your audit doesn’t have to be painful: reach out to Kasey English (619.302.0010), or learn more here.”

Truv Teams Up with Fannie Mae to Revolutionize Borrower Verifications! We’re thrilled to announce that Truv is now a conditionally authorized report supplier for mortgage lenders using Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) validation service. With Truv’s Day 1 Certainty support lenders can reduce risk of fraud and buybacks by leveraging real-time data directly from the source, lower costs by reverifying a borrower’s income and employment data at no additional expense, accelerate growth by increasing pull-through rates and closing loans faster and improve productivity by reducing time spent collecting data to underwrite loans: Learn more.”

Correspondent and broker non-QM/non-Agency product offerings

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Embark on an unparalleled journey to lending success with The Loan Store’s extraordinary Non-QM options for both Consumer and Business purposes! What sets us apart? Exceptional pricing, that’s a game-changer. Elevate your lending game and empower your loan officers with competitively priced financing solutions that redefine industry standards. Last week, we took it up a notch: if you haven’t priced with us, you haven’t priced your deal! Discover the enchantment of Non-QM Financing, where affordability meets versatility. Our fantastic pricing ensures your borrowers get tailored solutions, positioning you as a savvy financial advocate delivering unbeatable value. Embrace Non-QM with The Loan Store, and witness your loan officers thrive, generating more business while relishing the taste of cost-effective success. Diversify your lending strategies, stay ahead of the curve, and become the go-to source for outstandingly priced Non-QM options. The Loan Store doesn’t just offer loans; we pave the way to prosperity with pricing that speaks volumes. Ready to kickstart your success? Connect with us today and become approved with The Loan Store!

As the predominant non-QM issuer since 2017, Verus Mortgage Capital has been helping lenders expand their loan offerings with responsible, non-agency options for property investors, foreign nationals, self-employed and more. The firm’s longevity and success have enabled it to assume a leadership role in the industry, where Verus’ insights and perspectives are helping to shape the market’s future. In its recent blog, Non-QM vs Non-Agency 2.0 – What You Need to Know,” Verus discusses the history of non-QM loans and how they have evolved to where we are today – at the dawn of a new era: non-agency 2.0. Read the blog and learn what this “2.0” distinction is, why it’s important, and how lenders can confidently enter this market with a well-seasoned investor by their side. Capitalize on the Spring market with non-agency 2.0 loans. To learn more, contact Jeff Schaefer, EVP, National Sales or 202-534-1821.

Here’s what you’ll find in the Plaza Home Mortgage 3.12.24 newsletter: Non-QM Updates, DSCR Investor Solutions Updates, NYAMB Annual Regulatory Compliance Conference, Training: Ways to Build and Sustain Motivation. Additionally, the 2023 rankings are in and Plaza Home Mortgage® has placed #4 in Q4, and #5 in overall Wholesale production according to Inside Mortgage Finance’s 2023 rankings.

STRATMOR on maximizing your budget effectiveness

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Could process improvements be the most lucrative investment for mortgage lenders in this market? In his new Customer Experience Tip, STRATMOR Customer Experience Director Mike Seminari gives lenders practical steps to take to make sure they’re spending money to make money in 2024. Check out “Grow Revenue in the Fertile Ground of CX” for Mike’s thoughts on how to allocate budget dollars to capitalize on the opportunities that come with a smoother end-to-end borrower experience.

Conventional conforming news around the biz

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FHFA Director Sandra Thompson issued a Statement on the recently approved title acceptance pilot that will waive the requirement for lender’s title insurance or a legal opinion on certain low-risk refinance transactions where there is confidence that the property is free and clear of any prior lien or encumbrance. The title acceptance pilot will make it possible to test whether allowing lenders to sell these refinance loans is a responsible approach to reducing the closing costs incurred by existing homeowners.

Fannie Mae SVC-2024-02 adds instructions to the Loan Modification Agreement (Form 3179) in response to New York’s Foreclosure Abuse Prevention Act and the instructional provision related to MERS, and provides other miscellaneous updates.

Fannie Mae posted Letter Lender (LL-2023-05), Advance Notice of Changes to Master Servicing Processes and Systems, has been updated to reflect the target effective date for cash simplification changes related to the reporting due date for summary reporting mortgage loans.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced Selling Guide policy changes addressing multiple topics, including updated requirements for property insurance. See Amerihome Mortgage Product Announcement 20240302-CL for details.

Pennymac updated Conventional LLPAs effective for all Best-Efforts Commitments taken on or after Monday, March 18, 2024. View Pennymac Announcement 24-23 for details.

Pennymac issued a reminder in Announcement 24-22 to Correspondents of their obligations to report all cybersecurity incidents to Pennymac within 48 hours after discovery.

Effective with Mortgage Loans delivered on or after March 1, 2024, HomeReady and Home Possible Mortgages with a VLIP credit are eligible for purchase. The full amount of the credit must be provided directly to the borrower through the transaction. See Amerihome Mortgage Product Announcement 20240301-CL for details.

PHH has made numerous updates across our Full Doc, Alt Doc, and DSCR products. In addition, we’ve updated our Pre-Payment Penalty Guide to incorporate 2024 guidance.

Capital Markets

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The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee began its March FOMC meeting yesterday, and fed funds futures see almost zero chance of a rate cut. The June futures are still leaning towards a 25-basis point cut with a 40 percent chance that the Fed will keep rates the same. A slew of economic data in recent weeks has reinforced the Fed’s case for caution. In January, fed funds futures traders had priced in six to seven quarter-point rate cuts by the end of the year. Now, with inflation falling slower than expected, traders see three reductions starting in June or July, aligning with the Fed’s December Summary of Economic Projections.

More germane to this Commentary is housing, inventory, and sales. We learned yesterday that housing starts rose 10.7 percent month-over-month and 5.9 percent year-over-year to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.521 million units. Building permits were up 2.4 percent year-over-year to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.52 million. There’s a continued shift from multi-family to single family, both in starts and permits. Multi-family starts were down 36 percent year-over-year to 377k, while single family starts rose 35 percent to 1.13 million. There was a 30 percent rise in single family permits and a 33 percent decline in multi-family.

Ahead of the Fed rate decision, today’s economic calendar kicked off with mortgage applications decreasing 1.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. Today’s calendar is sparse, and the focus will be on this afternoon’s FOMC policy statement, the central bank’s latest dot plot, and Fed Chairman Powell’s press conference. After yesterday brought the first rally in bond markets in nearly two weeks, we begin the day with Agency MBS prices a shade better than the closing levels Tuesday, the 10-year yielding 4.28 after closing yesterday at 4.30 percent, and the 2-year at 4.68.

Sin city we all know is Las Vegas, but do you know what Den city is?

Mass divided by volume.

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