Daily Mortgage News & Commentary

May 21: Vendor news, CRA update; El Salvador & cryptocurrency; babysitters are how much?! Saturday Spotlight: LoanCare

Yes, the U.S. stock market has taken a hit with the S&P 500, a broad measure, down 20 percent from its high. Any potential home buyer keeping their money in stocks has been hurt. The yield curve inverted several weeks ago, but has since regained its upward slope. A look at the predictions of a possible recession, with the possibility of lower rates, show that they’re out in 2023 and 2024, not next month. Given how quickly things can change in our economy (who was predicting the impact of the pandemic or of Russia invading Ukraine) long-term predictions should be “taken with a grain of salt.” In the meantime, unemployment is incredibly low, and there are economic signs that of interest. In this country, according to Care.com, the hourly cost of hiring a babysitter has increased from an average of $14.72 in 2020 to $18.05 per hour as of April 2022. Some sitters are commanding prices of $25 to $30 per hour, if not even more. In international news, cryptocurrency is something that lenders pay attention to, and with its value plummeting has caused a major problem for El Salvador. Remember when that country’s leadership decided to make it the first country to accept bitcoin as legal tender, and that the government would buy $25 million worth of crypto? Rating agencies and the IMF cautioned that wagering the nation’s financial health on an incredibly volatile asset was not, necessarily, fiscally prudent. Will El Salvador default on its debt? El Salvador is on the hook for an $800 million foreign debt Eurobond payment in January 2023, and the collapse of bitcoin means that El Salvador’s bonds are trading at only 40 percent their original value, and Moody’s just downgraded their credit rating to junk, following Fitch doing the same in February.

Saturday Spotlight: LoanCare

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Delivering a specialized focus in customer care, regulatory compliance, and loss mitigation.

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).

Founded in 1991, LoanCare began with the goal of providing the best mortgage subservicing experience in the business. Headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA, LoanCare is licensed in all 50 states and three U.S. territories, the largest subservicer of Ginnie Mae loans, highly rated by all major reporting agencies, and serves as emergency back-up for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The team is especially excited about technology investments made to further enhance homeowner self-serve and recapture for clients, as well as a new division solely dedicated to turning distressed loans into performing portfolios.

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

We encourage volunteerism and paid time off is provided for events during the work week. LoanCare hosts volunteer and fundraising events throughout the year supporting a variety of causes including the American Cancer Society and Red Cross. LoanCare is also a proud supporter of the Boys and Girls Clubs. We’ve partnered with our local chapter to sponsor the Workforce Development Room where teens are helped with job readiness and career exploration.

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?


It is a privilege to support the talent of our employees. In addition to year-round training offered on industry topics, we provide tuition reimbursement for employees earning a degree and have a mentoring program pairing emerging leaders with those having years of management experience. Our Women’s Initiative focuses on professional development and sponsors Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion seminars on topics from Ableism to Microaggressions.

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.  

 

Our team has expanded across state lines and time zones. We’ve hired people we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet, and we are better for their experience and perspectives. We have groups onsite with ability to expand numbers as need and interest dictate, however many roles have transitioned to permanent work-from-home.

To keep everyone connected our Engagement Team runs an active group on Microsoft Teams with monthly events and challenges. From fitness challenges to scavenger hunts, virtual volunteering, and holiday events there is hardly a week that goes by that we don’t offer an opportunity for our teams to unwind from their to-do list.

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


Unquestionably our team. The past two years have been among the most challenging professionally and personally for many of us. Yet time and again our team exceeded every expectation. Together they answered over 4 million customer calls last year and helped over 243,000 customers keep their homes despite pandemic hardships. Incredible!

 

Fun fact about LoanCare. 


LoanCare’s employee base is over 70% female! 

 

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

For information about our solutions visit loancare.com.

 

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

FHA in Florida

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The HELPER Act is a bipartisan bill that enhances FHA financing for qualified first responders and K-12 educators to offer no down payment and no monthly mortgage insurance. The Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals is hosting an event in Jacksonville, FL on June 2nd. Attendance is free, there will be food, refreshments, and great speakers including bill sponsor Congressman John Rutherford. Register to attend and/or support the efforts by helping sponsor the event.

CRA a continued concern

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Independent mortgage banks (IMBs) don’t take in deposits, so Community Reinvestment Act requirements don’t necessarily fit. The Mortgage Bankers Association, as well as state and local organizations, have come out against CRA laws being applied to IMBs. The proposal puts independent mortgage bankers at a disadvantage because they don’t have deposits to reinvest and would not have access to direct government support. IMBs doing business in places where CRA regulations have been assigned to them, by regulators in states like Massachusetts, Illinois, and New York in their infinite wisdom, will tell you that officials look at their education policies, monetary donations, product set, and HMDA data scrub to look for signs of compliance.

I bring this up because this week’s MBA’s Secondary Marketing Conference had a session with President Bob Broeksmit and Rohit Chopra, the CFPB’s director. Chopra stated, “I’m not seeing this as something that would be difficult for the vast majority of the industry… The CRA is a place where we would be able to prompt outside of the banking sector ways people are fully serving their communities and many of them are doing it anyways. Some of [the independent mortgage bankers] have performance where it would be so easy to meet. At the same time, we are certainly looking at red lining work to make sure we are not just looking at banks, but nonbanks as well.”

He also said that “My hope is CRA drives more activity in some of the historically disadvantaged communities,” adding that the changes would benefit both urban and rural areas.

“I don’t see CRA as a big driver of whether banks get back to FHA lending. I don’t know if that should be a rule in and of itself. We just want to make sure there are a lot of offers of mortgage credit to all communities and all individuals that qualify for it.”

Vendor bytes

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Whether raising money or creating products that attempt to help lenders turn fixed costs into variable costs, third-party providers do a lot more than merely make up product names and capitalize odd letters in the middle of their names. Let’s take a random look at who’s doing what.

Wolters Kluwer Compliance Solutions has launched its OmniVault for Real Estate Finance solution using the company’s industry-leading, multi-award winning eVault technology to support digital home equity lending, both HELOCs and home equity loans, in addition to already supported conventional, U.S. government and jumbo first mortgages.

This technology enables these institutions to originate digital HELOCs as a Digital Original®, ensuring verifiable ownership and control, and enabling the sale, transferability, pledging, syndication and securitization of these digital assets. The offering includes a digitally sealed audit trail providing an irrefutable chain of custody and evidence for the digital assets. Wolters Kluwer’s proprietary technology has more than 20 years of proven success and supports both Mortgage Electronic Registrations Systems (MERS®) and non-MERS® eRegistry transactions.

At UWM LIVE! Mat Ishbia, Chairman, President and CEO, announced the upcoming launch of its exclusive brand-new marketplace. Coming Jun 8, Boost will offer you access to tools and resources designed to support your business growth. With a level of speed and support that’s completely new to the industry, it will help connect you with borrowers and real estate professionals.

And UWM has partnered with Turbo Insurance Group to simplify the way your clients interact with and purchase insurance. UWM integrated Turbo’s application process into Blink+ so borrowers can get homeowners insurance quotes at the time of application and remove days off your loan process.

In a recent post from First American Docutech Compliance News, Georgia’s amended requirements for recordation and recording of Deeds is examined including requiring certain information to appear on the first page of security deeds in the state of Georgia. This act will become effective on July 1, 2023.

As affordability continues to challenge prospective homebuyers, more consumer- and agent-facing listing services are promoting homebuyer assistance programs as a means to get homebuyers into homes. realMLS, a multiple listing service (MLS) providing advanced tools and reliable listing data to their MLS members in multiple counties in Florida has partnered with Down Payment Resource (DPR) to enhance its platform with DPR’s suite of real estate agent tools. According to DPR analysis, 44 homebuyer assistance programs are available for up to 63% of realMLS listings, including 35 down payment assistance programs, six affordable first mortgage programs, two mortgage credit certificates (MCCs) and one other program.

The mortgage industry dynamics are shifting leaving many warehouse lenders unsure of new options to explore. SitusAMC’s new white paper discusses its examination of how macro-economic factors, uncertainty in mortgage origination volumes, and the labor shortage are affecting the market, and discusses what warehouse lenders can do to scale in a challenging environment.

Inco-Check, LLC announced that Narrow Gauge Capital has completed the acquisition of a majority interest in the Company. “For over 20 years, Inco-Check has been the standard when it comes to quality control and audit services and software for leading banks, credit unions, and lenders nationwide. Supported by NGC’s resources and expertise, the Company’s objective is to bring loan quality and fraud prevention to the foreground in today’s highly competitive mortgage and consumer lending markets. NGC believes the Company’s high-quality offering, proprietary platform, and reputation in the market make it the ideal platform to achieve this aspiration.”

StoicLane, a long-term growth platform making strategic  acquisitions to support digitizing Finance, Insurance & Real Estate (“FIRE”), announced its acquisition of Triserv Appraisal Management Solutions. Triserv is a top-tier appraisal management company providing best-in-class appraisal and evaluation solutions for banks, credit unions and mortgage bankers across all 50 states. Through this partnership, StoicLane will provide capital, operational expertise, and technological infrastructure to accelerate Triserv’s growth in the appraisal industry.

The announcement marks the third investment by StoicLane’s mortgage services affiliate, furthering its goal of empowering mortgage originators with efficient and valuable tech-enabled, customer-centric mortgage closing solutions.

Indecomm Global Services, a leading provider of mortgage automation and services, announced the release of GeniusWorks™, an automation-driven intelligent workflow solution built for lenders looking to maximize productivity while minimizing costs. While GeniusWorks leverages machine learning and robotics process automation to expedite high-quality loan processing and decisioning, Indecomm’s mortgage talent addresses corrective action and human analyses not covered by automation, reducing bottlenecks, and keeping loans moving through the process. Managed by a GeniusWorks client liaison, the GeniusWorks team includes experienced loan admins, processors, and underwriters. View the Indecomm news release for details.

MISMO® announced the launch of an updated Mortgage Insurance (MI) Version 3.4 Implementation Guide (I-Guide). The MI Version 3.4 I-Guide contains the data requirements necessary to facilitate the electronic ordering of rate quotes, MI commitments and document packages, contract underwrite requests and MI order response queries. The “How to Use the I-Guide” worksheet within the guide provides a high-level description of each transaction, the worksheets to use for request and response data, FAQs, and other supporting information.

A group of Alabama friends went deer hunting and paired off in twos for the day. That night, one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under the weight of an eight-point buck.

“Where’s Henry?” the others asked.

“Henry had a stroke of some kind. He’s a couple of miles back up the trail,” the successful hunter replied.

“You left Henry laying out there and carried the deer back?” they inquired.

“A tough call,” nodded the hunter. “But I figured no one is going to steal Henry!”

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. 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).

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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 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.)