May 16: LO jobs; referral, credit, jumbo, marketing, online loan app products; Fed thoughts while rates tread water; Academy & ransomware?

While Academy Mortgage is in the headlines again about its data breach and ransomware, from which no company seems immune, remember that, “In a democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes.” Setting mortgage rates isn’t a voting matter, but would you like your voice heard on how Freddie and Fannie price loans? Here’s your chance, as the FHFA is asking for input. It’s one thing for the FHFA or a presidential administration to spell out lending and housing goals. Translating those down the food chain into state, county, and local action is a whole ‘nother thing. The same goes with statistics. Every month dozens of housing stats come out; We can talk about existing home sales, new home sales, the FHFA price index, and on and on, but if a loan officer or real estate agent are focused on a certain area, national stats mean little to them. As home prices and bidding wars vary throughout the U.S., real estate experts suggest that the national housing market no longer reflects local and regional markets, but location matters now more than ever. Anyone interested in this concept should read this short article, “There Is No ‘National Housing Market’: Why Location Matters Now More Than Ever.” (Today’s podcast can be found here and this week’s is sponsored by Richey May, a recognized leader in providing specialized advisory, audit, tax, technology and other services to the mortgage industry for almost four decades, helping transform the mortgage business. Today’s has an Interview with Polunsky Beitel Green’s Peter Idziak on FHFA’s rescission of DTI LLPAs and how the pricing framework evolves from here.)

Employment

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At Guaranteed Rate Affinity (GRA) we have some of the best of the best loan officers in the industry, in fact more of the Top 200 loan officers in the industry call GRA their home. With the support, technology and company culture that allow them to do what they do best, it’s easy to see why so many Guaranteed Rate Affinity originators continue to stack up accolades. With our passion for growth, combined with our ever-evolving tech, you’ll be able to grow your business like never before and continue to crush new goals. Our dedicated support team will work with you to cultivate your personal game plan to maximize your potential. Our numbers on the Top Originators list speak for themselves. Want to learn more? Contact me, Tim McGraw or call (972) 236-9632 to get started today.”

In the Northwest and California, Banner Bank is searching for Mortgage Loan Officers looking to create lasting Realtor and builder relationships at a bank focused on the market today. Banner has opportunities for lenders looking for local decision making with FHA, VA, USDA, state bond and true Portfolio lending opportunities along with servicing retained Fannie and Freddie loans to assist in client retention. Additional highlighted products cover CRA lending with private label no payment down payment assistance to help assist all borrowers with the right opportunity. Banner is the right fit for an established team, or the individual looking to grow their business and take the next step in their career. Please send resumes to Aaron Miller.

Sovereign Lending Group continues to expand at its new Consumer Direct office at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, CA. While other companies are trying to figure out marketing, they have a steady flow of live transfers and smooth loan operations. Originators are expected to work in the office. No experience is needed: Sovereign will train and help you become licensed. Get rid of the market blues and call Matthew Cataño to understand how SLG can help: (949) 736-9148.

Hey, job seekers should not forget that both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are hiring.

NotaryCam announced that Suzanne Singer is its new director of sales and marketing, responsible for leading sales and customer success efforts focusing on large strategic relationships in the mortgage and real estate sectors.

Lender and broker products, software, and services

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Optimal Blue’s MSR webinar series is back! After record attendance at our introductory session, we’re proud to host MSR 201: The Impact of Interest Rate Moves on Servicing Valuations on Thursday, June 1 at noon ET. Today more than ever, it’s critical to understand the drivers of servicing profitability and how the current state of the rate market impacts that valuation. Understanding the sensitivity of your portfolio can help arm decision makers at your organization with the right intel to make the right decisions. Attendees will gain a thorough understanding of how interest rates impact MSR valuations, along with the various servicing risk metrics and how industry professionals use them. Additionally, we’ll demonstrate how the CompassPoint MSR model can assist your organization in managing servicing risk. We expect high demand for this session, so save your seat today!”

Why did the chicken cross the road? To go to a lender with a better online loan portal. If you’re tired of your online loan application clucking up your borrower experience, check out LiteSpeed by LenderLogix. Slick online loan app plus the most borrower friendly loan portal in the business. It’s like poultry in motion.

Your borrowers are wondering: is it better to buy a house now or wait and save up a larger down payment? Share MGIC’s Buy Now vs. Wait Calculator with renters on the fence to help them crunch the numbers and understand their options. This unique calculator provides a detailed comparison of the financial benefits of buying a home now against the costs associated with waiting. Borrowers can see how long it would take them to save up a 20 percent down payment, the breakdown of their monthly mortgage payment, and how much equity they’ll earn in either scenario. Bookmark the Buy Now vs. Wait Calculator to share with would-be homeowners today!

Brokers should know that GHMC’s Max Jumbo and Max Express Jumbo products are now live! Eligible applicants must meet a 660 minimum FICO score (on certain transactional/LTV limits). Cash out refinances are accepted up to $3,000,000 and are available on second homes. Investment properties are allowed for Max Express Jumbo only. With GConnect, you can price your loan anywhere at any time. Its intuitive design and state-of-the-art features allow you to price scenarios, lock loans, and seamlessly manage your pipeline within a high-tech, high-touch TPO portal. GRewards is GHMC’s points-based rewards system. Earn rewards when you do business with GHMC such as price adjustments or a VIP quick pass to expedite your initial underwrite and closing disclosures. GHMC now offers Conventional and FHA Manufactured Home Loans. Applicants must meet a 620 minimum FICO score for Conventional and a 640 FICO for FHA. Look out for GHMC’s Down Payment Assistance Program coming soon!

In our not-so-distant retail past, long lines, limited selection, and slow shipping were standard. Then, online ordering changed everything. What mortgage providers can learn from this digital retail revolution is that speeding up processes and increasing visibility can yield significant benefits. That’s exactly why Equifax delivers Telco, Pay TV and Utilities insights automatically alongside every Trended Credit*Hi-Litereport at no additional cost. With a better view of 191 million potential homebuyers, based on 15 telco account insights, you can automate and streamline your underwriting process, build a better consumer experience, and just as importantly, grow your business. Ready to see consumers better and make inefficient mortgage lending a thing of the past? Get started today with Telco, Pay TV and Utilities insights from Equifax.

FREE EBOOK: Winning Agent Business: The Lender’s Guide to a Strong Referral Network. In today’s volatile market, a steady stream of referrals means the difference between maintaining a pipeline and scrounging for leads. And as we move towards market recovery, a robust book of business will serve as an invaluable tool to take full advantage of profitable opportunities. Real estate agents still hold the keys to the referral kingdom. To create this eBook, Maxwell interviewed agents and broker-owners across the country. The result is firsthand advice to help you better network to create a strong funnel of referral leads. Download your free copy to learn the 4 qualities real estate agents value in their lending partners, agent networking dos and don’ts, 5 ways to become a go-to lender for real estate agents, and more. Click here to download “Winning Agent Business: The Lender’s Guide to a Strong Referral Network.”

Capital markets: listen to what the Fed says

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The week opened with multiple Fed officials signaling they do indeed favor pausing interest-rate increases, while a third said the central bank’s task in subduing inflation was not complete. Atlanta Fed President Bostic said that he doesn’t see the Federal Open Market Committee cutting rates “until well into 2024,” even if there’s a recession, and that with core inflation running over double the Fed’s target rate, additional rate hikes could be warranted before year-end. New York Fed President Williams also cautioned against forecasts for rate cuts this year by saying, “First of all, we haven’t said we’re done raising rates…We’re going to make sure we’re going to achieve our goals and we’re going to assess what’s happening in our economy and make the decision based on that data. I do not see in my baseline forecast any reason to cut interest rates this year.”

These remarks come in stark contrast to fed fund futures markets, where pricing implies up to 75 basis points of cuts prior to the start of 2024 as expectations for further easing in inflationary data were reaffirmed following April’s CPI data. Prices for some core goods rose at their smallest pace since early 2001 and other components, such as a spike in gasoline prices and used car prices, appear to be short-lived. Upward pressure on services inflation also appears to finally be easing as prices for travel services for things like hotels, airfare, and car rentals declined over the month. Producer prices rose less than market expectations in April and the number of businesses raising prices over the past three months was at a two-year low. The fed funds futures market is still showing about three rate cuts by year-end, but we’ve got another month before the FOMC meets again.

One thing we will have plenty of this week is Federal Reserve speakers, eleven in all. With the Fed raising its main policy rate to its highest level in 16 years last week, short-term rates above 5 percent continue to entice investors toward money-market assets. The nods from the Fed about the peak of the rate hike cycle being reached have renewed appetite for investors to seek higher rates. That means money exiting the Treasury and MBS markets, pushing the yields up.

Some big news last week was the FDIC announcing its timetable to sell off the mortgage bonds it has taken on board from the recently failed banks. The $12 billion worth to kick off this week’s auctions, which mark the start of heavy, front-loaded sales of failed banks’ MBS, also weighed pricing down and rates up to open the week.

If there already wasn’t enough going on, investors are waiting for clarity on whether politicians in Washington will reach a deal to avert a U.S. default, looming as early as June 1st. There’s been heavy focus on the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations, with House Speaker McCarthy and President Biden scheduled to meet today.

The rest of the week won’t have much in the way of market-moving data, but we will get a lot of housing indicators with the NAHB housing market index today, housing starts and building permits tomorrow, and existing home sales and homebuilder sentiment on Thursday. Today’s busy calendar is under way with retail sales for April (). It’s a key economic figure as consumer spending drives about two-thirds of economic activity in this country. Expectations were for an increase of 0.8 percent month-over-month versus -0.6 percent previously, and 0.5 percent month-over-month excluding autos versus -0.4 percent previously. Later today brings Redbook same store sales for the week ending May 13, Industrial production and capacity utilization for April, March business inventories, NAHB’s Housing Market Index for May, and remarks from no less than seven Fed speakers.

In other MBS-related news, FHFA, after last week’s rescission of its DTI LLPA plan, released a new Request For Input seeking input until August 14 on their pricing framework. Listen to today’s podcast for an interview with Polunsky Beitel Green’s Peter Idziak that includes a discussion on that LLPA rescission and how FHFA moves forward from here. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices a few ticks better and the 10-year yielding 3.48 after closing yesterday at 3.51 percent. (The 2-year is at 3.98.)

I, and an estimated couple thousand industry execs, head up Manhattan soon. Adam Quinones, Founder of dataQollab and former Head of Mortgages at Refinitiv, has some advice for any non-natives going to New York for the MBA’s National Secondary. (Part 2 of 5.) When specifying how far away another location is, don’t just say, ‘It’s 4 blocks.’ There are short blocks and long blocks: Streets are short blocks; avenues are long blocks. A huge difference in time required to go 4 long blocks (from Broadway to 3rd Ave), as opposed to 4 short blocks (43rd to 47th).

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. STRATMOR’s current blog is titled, “Doing Business with the Agencies: The Golden Ticket?” 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 2023 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