May 12: MLO jobs; loan sales, fee collection, vendor selection, fix & flip products; STRATMOR tech survey

This whole story is completely true. Except for all the parts that are totally made up. (Here’s a clip of something not made up: a mesmerizing drone video of the final length of the Kentucky Derby.) Unfortunately for lenders and vendors in the residential biz, the margin compression, revenue drop, and slide in volume is not “made up.” According to Curinos, April 2022 mortgage rate-lock volume was down 40 percent YoY and 19 percent MoM across all channels, while funded volume decreased 46 percent YoY and 12 percent MoM. In the retail channel, lock volume decreased 42 percent YoY and 19 percent MoM, while funded volume was down 46 percent YoY and 12 percent MoM. (Curinos sources a statistically significant data set directly from lenders to produce these benchmark figures; more data here.) Going the other way is debt: U.S. households added $266 billion to their debt balances in the first quarter, led by mortgage loans, in the largest single-quarter increase since 2006 per the Federal Reserve. (The U.S. budget deficit has fallen by $1.57 trillion so far this year, thanks to rising wages and employment.) Fortunately borrowers are not in trouble, and attorney Brian Levy explains why all that COVID-19 forbearance hasn’t led to massive foreclosures in his latest Musings. (But he doesn’t explain why foreclosure has an “e” in the middle but forbearance doesn’t.) Today’s podcast is available here and this week’s is sponsored by SimpleNexus, an nCino company and award-winning developer of mobile-first technology for the modern mortgage lender.)

Jobs & transitions


Thrive Mortgage is thrilled to announce the arrival of industry veteran Erin Halbert, Regional Leader covering Arizona. Halbert stated, “I saw firsthand all the innovation, advanced technology, and product advantages Thrive possesses. I quickly noticed the trust teams have in their leadership, the autonomy and empowerment given to every employee. It’s real, tangible, and proven out every single day.” In her brief tenure, Halbert already has recruited multiple top performers to #ThriveNation with many others set to join in the coming weeks. Randell Gillespie stated, “When we introduce a new initiative (like our Home2Home program launched in 2018, CryptoPayThrive4Home, etc.), it is always with the purpose of supporting clients through innovation to help them build wealth through legendary service. We’re happy to see other lenders follow suit and how enticing that level of strategic thinking is to top professionals in our industry.” Ready to #MakeWaves in 2022? Contact us at

Sovereign Lending Group (SLG) continues to diversify its business by focusing on its growing Retail Division and is adding Loan Officers. The division, launched late 2021, is led by industry veteran Ed Vaccaro (925-997-1846) and recently doubled its seasoned Retail MLOs headcount. Vaccaro was brought on board to build out a Retail division allowing the company to offer more loan products and programs to increase SLG’s purchase market share. Dan Holtz and Joe Pirro, Co-Founders/CEOs of Sovereign Lending Group, cited Vaccaro’s industry tenure and practical approach to building Retail as the key reasons he was brought on. Vaccaro, and the SLG founders, are eyeing growing the division to be one of the top 20 percent retail bankers in the country.

Lender & broker software and services


Learn how Loan Officers are using TrustStar to find new realtors in their local market and track the activity of their current referral partners. By simply placing your NMLS # into TrustStar’s application loan officers receive personalized data to gain actionable insights into their local market. TrustStar leverages artificial intelligence (AI) technology that aggregates data from over 140 different data sources. Personalized data updates daily to match loan officers to realtors in their market, so they can build a referral partner pipeline and grow their business. TrustStar uncovers data to help you discover what you are missing in your local market. If you would like to know how to match with new realtors in your local market contact us at

Opteon is proud to announce it is the first privately held AMC to receive proof-of-concept approval from the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) for the development of Opteon’s Practical Applications of Real Estate Appraisal (PAREA) program. PAREA provides an alternative path into the appraisal profession, overcoming the historical entry barrier of finding a willing supervisor to dedicate years of supervisory efforts. Through Opteon’s advanced technology, visual learning solutions, virtual reality, and one-to-one mentor support, students will capture required field experience and learn report-writing inside a controlled environment. Upon completion and appropriate approvals, the program will provide Opteon the ability to better service their lender customers by the expansion of their panel depth in all areas, from urban to the most rural of locations. Opteon looks forward to developing its PAREA program and onboarding new appraiser trainees through the program. Interested in learning more, or becoming an appraiser? Contact Tom Schurer, SVP of Appraiser Engagement.

AmeriHome Correspondent continues to expand its Portfolio Suite of Non-Agency programs: Portfolio Express, Portfolio Jumbo and Portfolio Expanded. AmeriHome has recently added an Interest Only option, and in Q3-22 they will be releasing SOFR based Portfolio ARM products. Portfolio products have the distinct advantage of being underwritten in-house, meaning clients receive the same service levels as Agency business, and loans do not have to meet QM or Appendix Q requirements. Warehouse Lines are now available through Western Alliance Bank for Delegated and Non-Delegated AmeriHome clients. Catch AmeriHome at an event near you to learn more! They’ll be in New York from May 15-18 during the National Secondary Market Conference and Expo alongside their Western Alliance colleagues, and will also be at the MMLA mPower 2022, Indiana MBA State Convention, and the Eastern Secondary Conference and Convention in the next month! Find a full list of events on their website, or reach out to to connect with the AmeriHome team.

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? The world may never know. No, seriously: multiple scientific studies have failed to precisely answer this decades-old question. At least Tootsie Roll Industries doesn’t make lofty promises in its advertising, unlike some “customer intelligence” tools that claim to increase conversion but never truly deliver. By bringing together the best in database monitoring, market intelligence, automation and education, Sales Boomerang and Mortgage Coach deliver results lenders crave, from 29 percent higher conversion to 35 percent higher profitability per mortgage advisor. On May 26 at 1 pm ET, get the full scoop from Sales Boomerang’s Alex Kutsishin, Mortgage Coach’s Dave Savage, and Assurance Financial’s Katherine Campbell during their free webinar. Register and get a taste of the sweetest tech combo in mortgage lending.

Lakeview Correspondent wants to offer you the best of both worlds! Do you currently originate Jumbo or Non-Agency loan products? Would you like to offer these products but need Underwriting assistance? Beginning May 16th, Clients will have a choice of Delegated or Non-Delegated Underwriting by loan program: the best of both worlds. Also, be on the lookout for Bayview Non-Agency products on the LoanNex platform. Last Call! We would love to see you next week. Lakeview will be back at The Blue Fin in New York City, for the MBA Secondary conference. It’s not too late to contact us to get on our schedule.

ClearEdge Commercial, specializing in Fix & Flip, Bridge, Multifamily and Rental Term financing, provides fast and reliable capital designed for real estate investors competing with cash buyers looking to seize investment opportunities. ClearEdge Commercial programs offer access to money faster with cloud-based draw inspection technology, alternative valuation methods and competitive pricing with rates between 7% – 10%. If you are a mortgage professional looking to enhance your pipeline, visit ClearEdge and become an approved broker partner. ClearEdge Commercial is growing and we are seeking experienced professionals who are dedicated, driven, and passionate about working with one of the industry’s fastest-growing private mortgage lenders. Please email us or contact Dan Rosenblum.

The problem: You need to upgrade your tech stack, but don’t want to sit on countless long demos but also don’t want to miss out on the latest and greatest tech. The solution: OriginatorTech. 4 companies. 20 minutes per demo and Q&A. We put together OriginatorTech to allow you to demo four products in the time it would normally take to demo one product. It’s a rapid-fire, deep dive into the tools the best originators are using to close more loans, faster and more efficiently while providing the borrower with the best customer experience. Kicking this OT off we’ll see why originators love Jungo’s fully customizable Enterprise Marketing and CRM. Next you get a look inside MOSO, the all-in-one platform used and developed by top originator, Thuan Nguyen. Also featured will be OriginatorTech alumni Blueprint and Capacity. Wrapping up OT will be a Top Originator Stack Share with Michael Smalley. Join us on Tuesday, May 17 for OriginatorTech by registering here.

“We’ve completely solved our fee leakage thanks to Fee Chaser by LenderLogix.”  That’s what Mike Donoghue, CEO of Premium Mortgage, says after one year of using LenderLogix’s fully integrated Encompass® solution to collect Premium’s upfront fees. That’s because Fee Chaser is a leading fee collection software in the market. Borrowers receive a text message and are able to pay their fees right from their device. When the payment is complete, everyone gets a receipt and it’s automatically uploaded to the eFolder. No clunky handoff of credit card numbers, no more declines, and no mistyped numbers. Just lights out, reliable upfront fee collection, right from Encompass. Head over to LenderLogix, check out a Fee Chaser demo, and stop losing money today.

Recently Christopher Brown, Software Solutions Architect at Fiserv, shared with Lykken on Lending some thoughts about the trends impacting how lenders are connecting with partners throughout the mortgage process. In the podcast, he discusses the advantages of open banking and the public cloud, the recent rate hikes and how they are changing the business mix, and how technology can help lenders meet the expectations of federal regulators when it comes to affordable housing and diversity in lending. Check it out here or listen to the full podcast here.

Tech Survey: who’s doing what


Lenders, it’s time to take the Systems Survey, the first survey of STRATMOR Group’s 2022 Technology Insight® Study. Don’t miss your chance to have great insight into the CRM, Point of Sale, Origination, Closing and collaboration tools, all the mortgage technology solutions available in the market today. Lenders who participate in the three-part series will receive the reports for the surveys they complete for FREE. Complete all three and you’ll have the entire 2022 Technology Insight® Study for the investment of your time. Take the first survey now and rate the systems you’re using!

Capital markets: rates drop


Looking to squeeze every basis point out of your loan sales? MCT clients have revolutionized their loan sale process and truly maximized loan sale execution by utilizing Bid Auction Manager (BAM) within MCTlive! to encrypt bid tapes so that investors can securely and efficiently price them. BAM technology also sparked BAM Marketplace, the world’s first truly open loan exchange, where buyers can bid regardless of approval status, and sellers receive automated live pricing from every buyer on the platform. Maximize liquidity, eliminate barriers, and optimize your execution today. See how Alpha Mortgage leverages MCT’s BAM Marketplace to decrease average approval times with buyers and achieve an impressive pickup on committed loan volume while delivering via mandatory executions in the case study, Alpha Mortgage Gains a Competitive Edge with BAM Marketplace. For more information, contact MCT.

Looking at the bond market, and therefore rates, yesterday we learned that inflation rose 0.3 percent month-over-month and 8.3 percent year-over-year, a slight deceleration from the increase we saw in March, but still hotter than expected. The main contributors to the increase were shelter, food, airfare, and new vehicles. The core inflation rate (ex-food and energy) rose 0.6 percent month-over-month which was double March’s rate of increase. Since the Fed focuses more on core numbers (+6.2 percent year-over-year), that figure was noticeable, but changes nothing with respect to the Fed. It will probably hike another 50 basis points at the June meeting. The silver lining is that this report makes an argument about peak inflation being in the rear-view mirror, although inflation continues to be too high.


Today’s calendar is under way with April PPI (+.5 percent, as expected, core +.4 percent and less than expected – but for the year producer prices are up over 11 percent) and weekly jobless claims (+1k to 203k). Later this morning brings the latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey from Freddie Mac, as well as Treasury auctions of $17 billion 20-year bonds, $14 billion reopened 10-year TIPS, and $22 billion 30-year bonds. The Desk will conduct the last two operations on the current schedule which will target up to $2.1 billion 30-year 3.5 percent through 4.5 percent before releasing a new purchase schedule as well as the mid-May to mid-June purchase estimate, the last before the $17.5 billion tapering goes into effect. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better by nearly .5 and the 10-year yielding 2.83 after closing yesterday at 2.92 percent due to global growth concerns.

A man was on holiday in Kenya. While he was walking through the bush, he came across an elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed so the man approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant’s foot. There was a large thorn deeply embedded in the bottom of the foot. As carefully and as gently as he could he removed the thorn and the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man and, with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him.

For a good ten minutes the man stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away.

For years after, the man remembered the elephant and the events of that day. Twenty years later the man was walking through the zoo with his son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to where they were standing at the rail. It stared at him and the man couldn’t help wondering if this was the same elephant. After a while it trumpeted loudly; then it continued to stare at him.

The man summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man’s legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him.

Probably wasn’t the same elephant.

Visit 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, “A Primer on the Federal Reserve and Mortgage Rates.” The Commentary’s podcast is live and at any place you obtain your podcasts (like Apple or Spotify).


(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 Copyright 2022 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