May 20: MI & builder stock price highs; the MBA on the CFPB’s funding; resume writing 101; vendor news; Saturday Spotlight: Calque

Our biz has been going through some rough quarters for financial news in terms of volume, margin, and earnings. There is good news, however, although the press rarely prints “good” news. Most public home builders (like Lennar and Pulte) and mortgage insurance related companies (like Radian and Essent) are seeing their stock prices at 52 week, 5 year, or even all-time highs! Meanwhile, at the consumer level, millions of families are very content with the 2.75 or 3.25 percent loans on their homes and have no desire to move away from that great payment. Where can borrowers expect to spend the most amount of money on mortgage payments? Unsurprisingly, LendingTree found that Hawaii, California, Massachusetts, Utah, and Colorado were the states with the highest monthly mortgage payments. The states with the lowest monthly mortgage payments were West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, and Ohio. The full state rankings and report can be found here.

Saturday Spotlight: Calque

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“An innovative loan solution that enables lending partners to offer a competitive buy-first solution.”

In 3-5 sentences, describe your company (when was it founded and why, what it does, where, recent growth and plans for near-term future growth).

 

Launched in 2021, Calque is a fintech company that partners with community lenders to provide homeowners with a Home Sale Guarantee (i.e., a backup offer on their existing home), which enables lenders to provide white-labeled loan solutions that consumers love. For example, The Trade-in Mortgage streamlines the home purchase by enabling homeowners to remove the existing home from debt-to-income considerations, win with non-contingent financing, move into their new home before selling their current one, use the equity in their existing home to increase their down payment, and stress less with a guaranteed backup offer.

 

PropTech companies offering ‘cash offer’ and ‘buy before you sell’ products are growing rapidly and edging out established lenders. Plunk recently coined Calque a “PropTech disruptor” because our solutions remove the compliance, risk, and pricing barriers that prevent established lenders from offering competitive buy-before-you-sell products.

 

Tell us about what type of volunteer work employees are encouraged to engage in, or charities your company supports, and why.

 

Calque engages with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to offer counseling assistance to potential customers of its affiliated lenders to support low-to-moderate income homeowners. Engaging with borrowers who may benefit from this product through a coordinated effort with HUD supports Calque’s mission to educate consumers about their homeownership options so they can strengthen their overall financial picture.

What does your company do to help elevate your employees’ growth? Describe any mentoring programs, outside classes or training, in-house training. How does the company help people develop?

 

Calque sponsors Continuing Education for all employees to support their expanding knowledge of mortgage lending and real estate technology. We also offer an internship program, giving finance and marketing undergraduates an opportunity to learn about mortgages; our mission is to draw more innovation to the field of home lending to help chip away at barriers to homeownership.

Tell us how your company maintains its culture in a work-from-home environment, or how you plan on bringing employees back into the office, if applicable.  

 

Calque has a flat hierarchy where communication is encouraged. To promote comradery, we host quarterly company off-sites where employees engage face-to-face in business and social activities. As a startup seeking to reimagine home lending, Calque is aware that creativity and free thinking are crucial to the company’s continued evolution. From the beginning, we have taken steps to create a culture that nurtures our talent so that every team member is an active participant in its mission.

Things you are most proud of that don’t have to do with sales.

Unlike our competitors, we are not in the business of becoming a lender when the market is good. We will never originate mortgages to compete with lending partners. NEVER.

 

In addition to providing robust technical, operational, and front-line support, we are also fully compliant with all applicable regulations required to keep our lending partners in compliance when they work with a third-party vendor. Importantly, we provide comprehensive marketing support that puts our lending partners’ brands front and center.

Fun fact about Calque.

 

The word ‘Calque’ traces its roots back to Latin and means “loan translation.” Also, our team is pretty amazing at karaoke!

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share along these lines?  

 

We are proud of our cost structure, which we believe to be exceptionally transparent and efficient. Unlike many of our PropTech competitors that change the home purchase process (e.g., by requiring duplicative purchases of the first or second home and expensive leaseback fees, which often cost as much as 3-5%), we fix the problem at its source: the home sale contingency. That’s more efficient, resulting in less cost to consumers.

(For more information on having your firm’s extracurricular activities, employee growth, and your charitable side featured, contact Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt.)

The job search, and resume writing 101

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Last Saturday we had some job search and resume writing tips, to be continued in today’s. (As a reminder, anyone can post their resume for free here for potential employers to view for several months for a nominal $75 fee.)

Tony Hanson, who’s been through a business cycle or two, believes that anyone looking at a specific job should believe in themselves! “’Hiring Authority, your company has a problem and I have the experience and background to solve your problem.’ Tell your career story from the point of view as to how you have created ‘value,’ meaning, ‘I have added ($X, X% of cost cutting, X # of new customers) and I can do the same for you,’ not how you do it… (I manage 25 processors that processes mortgages).”

In terms of resumes, “Traditional format with no Objective preamble or ‘References available’ (you want a job, and duh). Two pages maximum, one is better. 90 percent content from last 10 years or less. (Really, who cares about your degree in macrame in ‘78 from Harvard or 30 years ago being a processor for a company that went out of business 25 years ago.) All of the 10 years ago stuff should be on the resume but company and position only, unless you saved the world. Don’t use a service to write a resume. It’s a tough damn job to write about yourself but only the candidate knows what they can bring to the party whereas a service is a boilerplate spewer. If you cannot express what you do in under a minute to a 6th grader…go back and rewrite. Eradicate any words or paragraphs that don’t clarify.

“A recruiter will spend very little time looking at a resume unless there is something to grab their attention. Make sure you have all your contact information up top. Don’t make it hard to find you. No photos unless you are a model.

“A resume is an expanded business card: who are you, how can I call you, and why? It’s never going to get you a job, but it could cause you not to be called, so check spelling, punctuation and dates at least 3 times. Have someone that doesn’t know the business read it. Who knows they may ask you something that will change your whole perspective. After you spend so much time understanding yourself, spend more time (it’s your new job) contacting past contacts asking what they have heard on the street about opening or who ‘they’ think you should contact. Referrals are so important. Don’t ask if they have a job for you. (You want them to want you, but you can’t ask.” Thank you, Tony.

And Maria Dresner took the route of having a resume tailored to the situation. She suggested, “The resume will depend on where the resume is going: Hiring authority for a specific position, HR, or data base of target company, recruiters, or platforms like LinkedIn where you are asking people to help you network?

“My basic rule is that a good resume needs to be somewhat fluid and may need to be tweaked a little for each opportunity to match your skills with their needs. (If the resume goes into a database or is screened by HR, the algorithms are going to be looking for key words that match the job description.)

“Start with Background Summary or Work Experience but do not use an objective line. Have good formatting and make it easy to understand. Leave space between each position description. One-page resumes are not long enough for senior level positions. More than 3 pages is probably too much detail. The purpose of a resume is to give the hiring authority enough information to want to meet you and ask more detailed questions. (Think of the resume as an appetizer. If you fill them up with snacks, they have no reason to stay for dinner.)

“If you are looking at a specific opportunity, highlight your strengths and accomplishments to match the priorities of the role. Highlight your accomplishments with action words, like ‘Spearheaded,’ ‘led,’ ‘initiated,’ ‘established,’ ‘Built,’ etc. Briefly state your success and or achievements in each role without divulging how you accomplished your goals.

“Typos, grammatical errors, and poor spelling can be an immediate knock-out factor! If you go back farther than 10 years, give fewer details in earlier positions and only use most pertinent information. If you speak other languages, list them. Listing community involvement is always a plus but I would avoid mentioning any political affiliation. Offer ‘references upon request’ but don’t list names on your resume.

“If sending to a recruiter or someone you hope will help you network, you can focus a little more on what you are looking for in a company, position, culture so that they can match their referrals with your requirements and skills. A recruiter will be able to guide you when presenting resumes to their clients.” Thank you, Maria!

The MBA and CFPB news

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The Mortgage Bankers Association filed its joint amicus brief (along with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the National Association of REALTORS®) this week with the Supreme Court in the case Community Financial Services Association v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where CFSA is questioning the constitutionality of the Bureau’s funding structure. “The MBA does not take a position on the constitutionality of that funding structure. Instead, the MBA argues that an adverse ruling for the Bureau could have devastating consequences for the real estate finance industry and suggests that, if the Bureau’s funding structure is ruled unconstitutional, the Court should sever those funding provisions and preserve the Bureau’s past actions until Congress corrects the constitutional appropriations problems.

 

“The real estate finance industry and consumers would be impacted greatly by a Court ruling that questions existing Bureau rules regarding mortgages, which the industry has implemented and complied with for more than ten years. The significant legal uncertainty and prospects for a wave of litigation brought on by consumers, government agencies, and other industry participants would be catastrophic to the housing market and detrimental to all mortgage borrowers.”

“If the Court concludes that any part of the Bureau’s funding statute violates the Appropriations Clause, it should conduct a severability analysis and excise the offending portions, making clear that its ruling does not call into question the validity of any existing CFPB regulations not challenged in this case,” the groups said. “Granting ‘de facto validity’ to the CFPB’s past acts and temporarily staying the judgment to give Congress time to fix the agency’s funding structure is warranted to avoid sowing chaos in an economy already under strain.”

(The Bureau’s appeal of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in CFSA v. CFPB will be heard by the Court during its next term, beginning on October 1.)

While we’re on the CFPB, it issued an Advisory Opinion related to time-barred debts. The Bureau’s Advisory Opinion program provides written guidance to assist regulated entities to better understand their legal and regulatory obligations through advisory opinions. Parties may submit requests for advisory opinions regarding any issue under the Bureau’s purview that can be resolved through an interpretive rule. The Advisory Opinion affirms that the FDCPA and the Debt Collection Rule prohibit FDCPA-covered debt collectors from suing or threatening to sue to collect a time-barred debt. The Advisory Opinion also affirms that this prohibition may apply to debt collectors that bring state-court mortgage foreclosure actions to collect on time-barred mortgage debt.

Vendor/third-party provider news

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To help lenders and loan originators stay up-to-date on where they stand against the competition, Mobility Market Intelligence (MMI) launched the free “Mortgage Industry Benchmarks” report, a monthly newsletter compiling lender and LO production data and trends. It leverages the mortgage and real estate data that MMI aggregates, normalizes and delivers to clients, providing a high-level summary of the insights lenders and LOs need to evaluate their performance relative to their peers.

New American Funding has partnered with Uqual, a “full-service loan readiness” company, to help prospective borrowers improve their credit situation and potentially achieve the dream of homeownership. Customers who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for a loan will be connected with Uqual, which offers a suite of services to help people improve their credit situation.

Ben Wiant, vice president at AppraisalWorks recently stated “AppraisalWorks is the industry’s most intuitive valuation management technology option available today to assist lenders in adopting Fannie Mae’s Value Acceptance + Property Data framework. Delivering a turnkey cloud platform complete with approved Fannie Mae Value Acceptance + Property Data service providers, AppraisalWorks enables lenders to accelerate their valuation modernization initiatives and improve operational efficiency. Download Choosing the Right Appraisal Management Platform and to learn more about how easy it is to make the switch to AppraisalWorks. Request your copy of the new AppraisalWorks Switch Kit.

Mortgage technology firm, Big Purple Dot is integrating ChatGPT into its marketing platform through a brand-new API.

LoanCare, LLC, a U.S. mortgage subservicer, announced the launch of Velocity Servicing™, an independently managed division dedicated to delivering one-stop resolution for credit sensitive mortgage loans by carefully managing the borrower relationship and providing transparency into servicing performance. Utilizing advanced data analytics, Velocity Servicing puts distressed mortgage loans on the path to resolution significantly faster than traditional servicing. By analyzing an intelligent network of triggers, exceptions, and conditions at the loan level, it achieves a consistent return on investment earlier in the process. The division works with clients on establishing portfolio goals and executing on a loan-by-loan disposition plan. “Velocity Servicing can uniquely structure a solution tailored to a homeowner’s situation, helping them understand their options and make decisions at a pace that puts both the homeowner and client at ease.”

Ahead of a lot of math wizzes heading to NY for the MBA’s Secondary Conference, with perhaps some wine consumption, here’s some facts and figures.

What is the most widely planted grape in the world?

A: Cabernet Sauvignon, with more than 700,000 acres worldwide.

On average, how much wine does one acre of grapevines produce?

A: About 800 gallons of wine.

How much wine is in a barrel?

A: There are 60 gallons in a barrel, or 300 bottles.

How much wine is in a standard bottle?

A: A standard bottle of wine is 750 milliliters (or about 25 fluid ounces; 3,785 milliliters per gallon; 5 bottles of wine per gallon).

How many calories in a glass of wine?

A glass of non-dessert wine, red or white, has about 120, the same as three Girl Scout Thin Mints.

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