Mar. 23: MLO jobs; sales, tech., subservicer audit products; approaching webinars & training; forbearance numbers decline further

Are you looking for signs of the times? The Wall Street Journal, along with supermarket flyers everywhere, tells us that there are more real-estate agents than there are homes for sale in the U.S.! (At the end of January, NAR, viewed by some as a cartel, registered 1.04 million homes for sale, down 26% from a year earlier and the lowest on record going back to 1982, versus 1.45 million members.) Get vaccinated and take down a free Krispy Kreme donut every day for the rest of 2021. Sales of “sub 3 oz bottles of shampoo and conditioner” are shooting higher, evidence of shutdown emergence. Don’t think Big Brother is watching? TSA numbers, produced daily, show passenger numbers are triple where there were a year ago, although still only about 70 percent of two years ago. There is certainly hope, and pent-up demand for, in-person conferences: mortgage groups in Georgia, Florida, Texas, and California have every intention of doing that as long as it is safe. Technology has helped plenty of lenders help borrowers and be safe at the same time, and today’s audio version of the commentary is sponsored by Black Knight and features an interview with Sean Dugan, SVP of Business Development for Black Knight Origination Technologies discussing the move from centralized to decentralized mortgage tech in the past 30 years, “best-of-breed” technology strategy, and the rise of the “All-in-One” mortgage origination platform.


Movement Mortgage is expanding its sales leadership to drive growth nationwide. Movement Mortgage, one of the nation’s largest retail mortgage lenders, recently expanded its senior sales leadership team with the promotion of company veterans Matt SchoolfieldChris Shelton, and Kisha Weir to Divisional Leaders. They will be responsible for unified, strategic, long-term growth and development across the entire sales organization. Schoolfield will lead the South/Central regions of the footprint, Shelton will lead the East, and Weir will lead the West. The moves, along with recent promotion of Mike Brennan to company president, is creating opportunities for growth-minded sales leaders across Movement’s national footprint. Click here to learn more about a career at Movement.

Broker, correspondent, and lender services & products

Big news! LendingTree is offering loan officers a better way to tap into their local markets, boost their referral network, and get far ahead of the competition. It’s with the LO Connect App, which lets you connect with local, high-intent borrowers primed to purchase. Forget about leads that seem promising, but ultimately go nowhere. The LO Connect App lets you preview borrower files before you buy leads. That way, you know you’re reaching out to lendable customers on the hunt for the right mortgage. Pay only for the leads you choose without any deposits or upfront fees. Use the app to take live transfers on your schedule, build your pipeline when you have capacity and track real-time leads from your mobile phone! Fill out the form today to start filling your pipeline with high-quality local leads!

Not every investor is set up to do co-ops and condos. But at Plaza Home Mortgage®, we specialize in these niche products and are always an active investor. Our National Correspondent Channel has experienced underwriters who are available to help clients with credit underwriting, as needed, and a dedicated project approval team, so deals move quickly. Need a consistent outlet for your co-ops and condos? Remember Plaza for consistently fast service and competitive pricing.”

It’s been roughly a week and a half since we had to “spring forward” for daylight savings. While the “longer” days are certainly a welcome sight for many of us, there are still only 24 hours in the day, leaving you with same number of hours in the day as Beyonce. Here’s another reminder that may not be as fun: it’s never too early to start thinking about your annual audit calendar. Did you know MQMR’s sister firm, Subsequent QC (SQC), has been conducting subservicer audits over the past few weeks and routinely audits all the major subservicers throughout the year? Have you scheduled your subservicer audit yet? Reach out to SQC to find out when they’ll be visiting your subservicer so you can cross subservicing off your 2021 audit calendar.

Responding to constantly shifting market conditions, regulatory changes, and consumer expectations quickly is easier with momentum on your side, and we know where you can find it. At Forward, Blend’s virtual event, you can learn from industry leaders, Blend executives, and ecosystem partners as we discuss how we can move into the digital future of lending together. Reserve your spot at the May 18-20 summit today.

The Correspondent Division of NewRez, a top national mortgage lender and servicer, is pleased to welcome Aaron Enright to the Non-Delegated Sales Team. As NewRez continues to grow its Correspondent Business to a top three investor, Aaron will focus on non-delegated correspondent lenders. NewRez is a Top 5 Correspondent Lender as well as a Top 5 Servicer. If you are interested in getting approved as a client, please contact John Davis, SVP of Correspondent Sales.

Have you already been added to HomeBinder? Homeowners are adding lenders to HomeBinder every day because they value all their home information being centralized in one place. Conversely, this benefits the lender as it links them to the homeowner for future financing and referrals, both of which are key needs of any successful loan officer. Find out if you’ve been added to HomeBinder today.

With refinance applications plunging 43% from last year, now is the time to shift strategy for a changing market. Economists expected refinance volume to slow down this year. Still, a massive vaccine distribution effort, declining COVID cases, and a recovering economy have pushed activity down faster than expected. That means wise lenders are following market signs closely and thinking ahead to how they’ll fill their pipelines as conditions change. Want to learn more about the factors at play and how you can be ready to profit from today’s dynamic lending environment? Click here to read digital mortgage platform Maxwell’s latest blog post, “Refi Applications Down 43% Year-Over-Year: Is the Boom Over?”

As Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” All signs indicate the mortgage industry is headed to a purchase cycle, and lenders who don’t know how to get there will end up who knows where. Tomorrow at 2 pm ET, Jason Frazier of Equity Prime Mortgage, Alex Kutsishin of Sales Boomerang and Ernie Graham of Homebot are teaming up to discuss strategies for building real estate agent partnerships that keep lender pipelines full of new purchase business. Register now and get your roadmap to purchase market success.

Training & webinars into April

As noted in the lead paragraph, groups in Georgia, Florida, Texas, and California have every intention of holding in-person conferences as long as it is safe.

Tomorrow at 2PM ET Sales Boomerang and Homebot join Jason Frazier, Chief Strategy Officer of Equity Prime Mortgage, Alex Kutsishin, CEO of Sales Boomerang, and Ernie Graham, CEO of Homebot, as they dive into the “trusted triad” of lenders, agents, and their clients, and the importance of a tech stack that supports it.

This Friday is the Mortgage Collaborative’s Rundown with Rich and Rob. Rich Swerbinsky, the COO of The Mortgage Collaborative, and I will be discussing current events in the mortgage market for 30 minutes starting at noon PT: “The Rundown with Rob and Rich.”

Register for the MBA of New Jersey’s March 25th Webinar: USDA Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program Updates.

April 22-24 we have the MBA’s first-ever Spring Conference & Expo: Independent Mortgage Banks, Secondary Markets, Servicing and Technology! “Featuring something for everyone, it is the industry event to attend this spring. Choose a track to build a program that is custom-fit to meet your needs, hear from A-list speakers on the Main Stage, meet with solutions providers in THE HUB and network live with peers across the industry during Engagement Sessions.”

Genworth Mortgage Insurance will offer more live webinars in April, including That MI Guy’s last installment of the New Loan Officer Series covering application interview skills and building a referral network, an interactive session on reviewing tax returns for mortgage loan files, and multiple sessions on assisting self-employed borrowers.

To register for National MI webinars, visit the National MI website. Upcoming April webinar sessions include: How One Video Can Increase Your Reach & Engagement Tenfold with Bruce Lund, Ph.D., Affordable Homeownership with Fannie Mae with Michele Murray, Social Media Calling Card with Cultural Outreach, Oh, Shift! – The Unbelievable Impact of Your Words with Jennifer Powers, Underwriting the Self-Employed Borrower with Marianne Collins, The 3 Roles of a Leader with Andrew Oxley, and Mortgage Fraud Awareness and Prevention with Steve Spies.

Register for the MBA Greater Philadelphia Industry Webinar: Best Practices in Recruiting Loan Officers on April 1st.

CMLA’s Annual Mortgage Lenders Expo is back set to take place through a virtual experience on April 7-8… An information-packed day filled with insights and practical ideas that will help mortgage industry leaders adapt to the changing real estate finance landscape. Education sessions, product demos, and speakers will be presented on a convenient LIVE and OnDemand virtual platform. The Expo will wrap up with an in-person networking event at TopGolf Centennial.

Do you want to find out what’s really going on with Secondary Markets? Attend MMLA’s April 15th virtual Sales Symposium to hear the fabled Victoria Deluce dissect the latest news on Secondary Marketing.

AHF offers an affordable housing virtual event focusing on the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. Register for the AHF APRIL FORUM.

Multiple upcoming events are on the horizon from the WMBA. April 20th – Top Producing Managers Panel, May 6th – Condo Construction, May 18th – Annual Auction and Past Presidents, and on July 14th – Golf Tournament.

Capital markets

Last week the Federal Open Market Committee told us that it believes that the U.S. economy is heading for its strongest growth in nearly 40 years, but pledged to keep their foot on the gas despite an expected surge of inflation.

But the numbers aren’t there yet. Softer economic data for February recently released is being done so with the caveat that inclement weather across much of the country influenced the results. Our business took note that housing starts fell 10.3 percent as single family starts fell 8.5 percent and multifamily fell 15.0 percent. The single-family annualized rate of 1,040,000 units was still above the average rate for the first half of 2020 and starts are expected to improve in March although the pace may be affected by rising material costs and higher mortgage rates. Mortgage purchase applications are only up slightly from one year ago but refi apps are 20 percent below their levels from a year ago, per the Mortgage Bankers Association.

And the FOMC kept monetary policy unchanged following last week’s meeting which projected the US economy to grow at 6.5 percent, the highest rate of growth in 37 years. The Dot Plot released as part of the economic supplement to the meeting statement showed the committee members do not expect an increase in the Fed Funds Rate this year.

Turning to the bond market, the week began with the yield curve flattening, including the 10-year yield closing below 1.70 percent for the first time since last week. (A flattening yield curve can indicate that expectations for future inflation are falling.) Existing home sales decreased 6.6 percent month-over-month in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.22 million, below expectations. Total sales in February were up 9.1 percent from a year ago. As has been the case for months, the supply of existing homes for sale remains near all-time low levels, driving up the pace of price increases well beyond the pace of income gains. This will only exacerbate affordability pressures for prospective buyers along with the recent rise in mortgage rates.

And there is continued good news on the forbearance front as the Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey revealed that the total number of loans now in forbearance decreased to 5.05 percent of servicers’ portfolio volume as of March 14. According to MBA’s estimate, 2.5 million homeowners are in forbearance plans.

Today’s economic calendar is packed with Fed speakers including Chair Powell (along with Treasury Secretary Yellen) testifying before the House Financial Services Committee on the CARES Act. The other Fed appearances include St. Louis’ Bullard, Atlanta’s Bostic, Richmond’s Barkin, Governor Brainard, and New York’s Williams. Data began with Q4 current account balance ($188.5 billion, whatever that means) and the Philadelphia Fed non-manufacturing indices for March (+33.5 from +7.5, strong!). Later this morning brings Redbook same store sales for the week ending March 20, Richmond Fed manufacturing and services for March, February New Home Sales, and results from a $60 billion 2-year Treasury note auction. Today’s schedule sees the Desk conducting two operations targeting up to $4.8 billion 2 percent and 2.5 percent across GNIIs and UMBS30s. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better by a solid .125 and the 10-year yielding 1.64.

It is with the saddest heart that I must pass on the following news. Please join me in remembering a great icon of the entertainment community.

The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 56.

Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin.

Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch.

The grave site was piled high with flours.

Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded.

Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes.

Despite being a little flaky at times, he still, as a crusty old man, was considered a roll model for millions.

Doughboy is survived by his wife, Play Dough; two children John Dough and Jane Dough; plus they had one in the oven.

He is also survived by his elderly father Pop Tart.

The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.

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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