Mar. 31: Retail, wholesale, & corres. opportunities; update from MBA Tech Conference; what % of lenders are testing TRID?

Amelia Earhart was quoted as saying, “Never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn’t be done.” Few thought that the refi boom could have lasted this long, yet it is still alive. Sure refis are bound to taper off – that is a safe bet. But mortgage refinance share rose further in February according to Ellie Mae Origination Insight Report, jumping 8 percent to 59 percent of lenders’ loan volume, compared to 41 percent of purchase loans, down from 48 percent a month earlier. Conventional loans dominated the market at 69 percent in February, compared to 19% for FHA loans and 9% for VA loans. The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell from 4.154 percent to 4.008 percent, the lowest level in two years and the average interest rate for 30-year fixed FHA loans fell below 4% for the first time since June 2013. Click here to read more about the monthly findings in Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report.

On the expansion front, American Mortgage & Equity Consultants, Inc. is actively expanding its correspondent lending footprint in Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, and coming soon to California. Todd Ellestad, President of AMEC said, “We are ready to take our exceptional origination platform nationwide and we are starting in Utah, with the addition of Russ Warner and in Texas where Keith Martin has just joined our team.  We’re a full service correspondent lender with an experienced staff offering expertise in every area of mortgage lending…from purchase to refinance to a one-time close construction lending product. We are looking for expansion and the right people that are in search of Leadership, Culture, and Opportunity.” AMEC is a Fannie Mae Seller Servicer, is funding over $1 billion a year, and is headquartered in Bloomington, MN. Contact Russ Warner (801-599-7447) or Keith Martin (210-788-0203).


In Colorado, Mortgage Solutions Financial is looking for a strong, Western Division Manager for wholesale and correspondent. MSF also has openings for three experienced correspondent account executives nationwide and is hiring remote DE/SAR underwriters. “Mortgage Solutions is a new preferred investor for Lenders One, and offers the Certified Loan Program that mitigates contingent liability, protects company value, and allows for reductions in loan loss reserves for our customers. The CLP offers certified protection against manufacturing defects, appraisal errors & omissions, and fraud and misrepresentation. Customers can expand their product offering without expanding their risk. MSF  offers competitive compensation packages and huge production growth potential with our one-of-a-kind offering of product and risk protection.” Contact Greg Grandchamp  for more information.


Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group, headquartered in Ann Arbor, MI, continues its rapid national expansion and is pleased to announce the addition of accomplished lending industry expert Eric Mitchell as SVP, Business Development – Southwest Region. Eric joins forces with Gold Star veteran Tina Jablonski, SVP, National Business Development, and is charged with growing the southwest region as well as developing a west coast operations center that will meet his region’s need for local processing and underwriting. Gold Star, one of the nation’s premier mortgage companies, is recognized as one of the fastest growing companies by Inc. Magazine and has been repeatedly honored for creating industry-leading technology and culture. Gold Star’s growth strategy is supported by competitive compensation, a comprehensive array of standard and non-QM niche products, full marketing platform, recruiting assistance and outstanding operations infrastructure. For more information regarding Gold Star opportunities, contact Tina Jablonski.


Last but not least, a multi-billion dollar full agency direct mortgage lender is expanding its geographic footprint and is searching for very select, purchase driven mortgage branches in the state of Florida. “As our branch partner in this one-of-a-kind model, we will provide each of your MLO’s with multiple PRE-QUALIFIED, PRESET, IN-PERSON customer appointments every week. These borrowers are highly motivated and actively seeking to purchase a home in the next 30 days. This model offers your MLOs the opportunity to generate more personal referral business by introducing these fully approved buyers to their favorite real estate agent.  For added convenience, complete fulfillment is done right here in Florida. Our ideal partner is currently a mortgage broker or an existing retail branch manager (50+% purchase) with monthly production of $3+M. As a direct seller to all agencies, we offer our partners a comprehensive suite of products with virtually no overlays.  Qualified candidates in search of benefiting from 100% branch credits and full margin / MLO comp control are encouraged” to submit a letter of interest and/or resume to me at


How about the fan favorite report from the MBA Tech Conference? “Eileen O’Grady of Elliott Bay Associates here, Rob, coming to you from Orlando and the rather sedate MBA Tech 2015 Conference, where I’m meeting with clients, LoanScoreCard, and other vendors pitching a handful of lenders who have been unshackled from the TRID dungeons for a few days. While in Houston, my connecting airport, en route to Orlando, I was momentarily excited to see the gaggles of young mortgage bankers at every departure gate, on their way to investing their lives in the sustainability of our industry….until I noticed Mickey Mouse on the side of their airplanes and realized they were just kids on their way to Disney World.  I thought they looked a bit young…..


And there are some mortgage bankers here who are young enough to sway the weighted average age to something south of Tim Davis’s (Doc Magic’s Magic Man) tenure in the industry, so that’s good. But the attendance is rather light: a lender list of around 100 attendees and a tech exhibitor list of 86 companies. Ben Wu, Executive Director of LoanScoreCard, a company breaking out in front with custom automated underwriting solutions, estimates that number to be half of last year’s, and down from a 2005 peak of about 250. And just to give you an idea of how much ‘the mortgage world has turned’ since the likes of yours truly signed on to the housing finance industry, check out this picture of one of the humbler vendors at the conference.” (Eileen attached a photo of Freddie Mac’s standard-sized booth.)


“To see Freddie Mac, one of the catalytic leaders of the mortgage industry, whose staff used to number in the triple digits at these conferences, reduced to an 8X10 table top booth says more than I could write for the next 100 entries about just what is – and isn’t – going on in mortgages and mortgage technology. So on to the important update: ‘Best Vendor tchotchke of the day’ from Hyland. Tomorrow kicks off the sessions, starting with David Pogue on disruptive technologies. (Actually, I think they should have invited the CFPB to give that presentation.)”


Plenty of lender’s IT staffs are tied up preparing for TRID. And if they aren’t actually tied up, well, they say they are. Based on the submissions to the STRATMOR PeerViews survey so far, only 15% of companies currently have TRID (TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure) system updates available for testing with another 24% expecting those updates to be available in April.  Do you wonder how your peer lenders are addressing this important regulatory change?  You can still participate in the STRATMOR PeerViews survey which has over 80 participant companies. This free survey addresses how lenders are approaching the implementation of the new TILA-RESPA disclosure requirements along with the status of their implementation and is open to senior mortgage lender executives until April 3rd. Participants will receive a report summarizing the findings in early April. The results will be aggregated so that individual company results are not disclosed to any party, nor will they be displayed in such a way that individual company responses could be determined.


Secure Settlements Inc. (SSI), “the mortgage industry’s only data intelligence analysis and reporting firm focused entirely on managing closing table risk,” published the results of its latest nationwide poll of lenders. SSI conducted a poll of 667 mortgage lenders and banks nationwide from March 21-27, 2015 inquiring about their preparation for the CFPB’s new integrated disclosure rules. The new rules establish new forms which are replacing the standard disclosure forms known as the Good Faith Estimate, Truth in Lending, and HUD-1. The polling results reflected that 100% of the respondents were familiar with the new rules having participated in workshops (65%) and read industry bulletins and white papers (43%) or both. 74% of those who responded have obtained and reviewed the new Closing Disclosure form and are familiar with it, while 26% are “somewhat familiar” with the form but have not yet taken the time to study it. Over 80% indicated that they have initiated formal steps internally to educate their operations staff about the new process and otherwise prepare for a planned August launch date.


Let’s check on relatively recent random agency updates – it is truly hard to keep up.


First a couple investor clarifications and corrections. First, regarding Stearns Lending’s forward lock policy, the lender has updated its policy and reverted back to the regular 30-day forward lock effective March 16th.


In addition I had this note: “Citi Correspondent Lending began requiring all borrowers to SIGN BOTH the initial (prior to underwriting) and final (prior to or at loan closing) HUD Form 92900-A Application Addendum (“92900-A”).  Additionally, Correspondents are required to SUBMIT BOTH the initial and final 92900-A (with the appropriate signatures) upon submitting your Loan packages for purchase consideration.  To aid in the proper completion of the 92900-A, Citi has published a Best Practice Guide.” Readers should be aware that this is not new Citi policy and was a reminder for its approved correspondent lenders. And this is also not an investor overlay and is FHA/HUD policy.


The USDA announced the streamlining of its guaranteed underwriting system. The USDA has announced that it is ready to launch the next phase of its streamlining project.  Over the past year, USDA Rural Development has implemented several process improvement projects to streamline and modernize the Guaranteed Loan Program. On December 1, 2014, the Lender Loan Closing system was modified to permit the electronic issuance of Loan Note Guarantees.  The next phase of this process was implemented on March 28, focusing on automated submissions of loan origination documents and the electronic issuance of Conditional Commitments.  The full technical bulletin is available here.  Application data associated with requests that have not received a Conditional Commitment that are entered into GUS prior to March 28 will be retained; however, minimal additional data entry for these applications will be required.


FHA posted information regarding Trial Payment Plans Associated with HUD’s Loss Mitigation Loan Modification Options for Forward Mortgages requirements for plan duration, required signatures, and reporting related to Trial Payment Plan (TPP) Agreements and conditions under which FHA deems a TPP to have failed.  These policies apply to all TPPs used with all Loan Modifications and Partial Claims, including those associated with FHA’s Home Affordable Modification Program. To learn more, click the link for Mortgagee Letter 2015-07.


Turning to the bond markets, things seem pretty quiet out there ahead of Easter weekend. 30-year rates are where they’ve been for a long time: 3.75-4%, with TBA security hedges concentrated in the 3.0 and 3.5 coupons. Fannie’s trading desk observes that, “The Fed is scheduled to purchase up to $7.5 billion in MBS this week versus the $8.5 billion acquired the prior week.  Keep in mind that this Friday, April 3, 2015 is a 12:00 bond market close and is not a valid MBS settlement date.”


Bond and stock prices both rallied Monday with the 10-yr closing at 1.96%. We learned that Personal Income rose 0.4% last month (just like January) and that Personal Consumption rose 0.1% in February. Core personal consumption expenditure (PCE) prices rose 0.1% in February, as expected. Today we will have the January Case-Shiller 20-City Index, March Chicago PMI, March and Consumer Confidence. It was relatively quiet overnight, and this morning agency MBS prices are better a smidge as is the 10-yr. at 1.94%.




Always remember you’re unique. Just like everyone else.

Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

If you think nobody cares whether you’re alive or dead, try missing a couple of mortgage payments.

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.

If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

Some days you are the dog, some days you are the tree.

Good judgment comes from bad experience … and most of that comes from bad judgment.

A closed mouth gathers no foot.

There are two excellent theories for arguing with women. Neither one works.

Generally speaking, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving.





(Copyright 2015 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job 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