The conference this week? I attended various presentations dealing with housing finance and the economy in general. Even in the face of rising rates, the outlook on the housing market is bullish for prices – but with continued inventory problems. Labor shortages and environmental provisions/local zoning are expected to continue to contribute to extended times to complete the construction of new homes. Now that we are a decade past the financial crisis, we are seeing increased non-agency mortgage lending, as reflected through securitizations, and it is expected that the non-QM market will continue its expansion but still small on a relative basis to QM. Demographic factors play a dominant role in the housing market as millennials embrace homeownership, just as we knew they would. Given how this generation has embraced technology, experts expect “fintech encroachment” on the mortgage space – it is a trend that is not going away.
Employment, layoffs, & personnel moves
For AEs and LOs, LoanStream Mortgage, innovating the mortgage market for over 30 years, is continuing to add to its non-prime lending channel, as the “One Lender” any broker or branch needs and continues to lead in this space. Serene Vernon, COO, said “Many lenders have now put some sort of Non-QM into their offerings. We love to see many of the smaller companies bringing up the programs we pioneered. It means we have done our job over the last 5 years in bringing attention to this much needed space. We are confident that we will continue to innovate and bring more value to our clients while investing in our employees.” Licensed in most of the country, LSM is looking for Senior Account Executives for its wholesale channel and experienced producing branches for its retail channel. Confidential notes of interest can be sent to Serene or to [email protected]. Based in Irvine, CA, experienced operations and management employees are also encouraged to apply.
Assurance Financial is quietly growing into a nationwide leader in lending. Just ask Mike Killmeyer who recently opened a branch for Assurance Financial in Denver, Colorado. Mike was equipped to take loan applications immediately with little downtime and is now poised to add to his growing professional staff. Mike and his team saw that our compensation structure is excellent, and our back-office support was second to none – 16 years of working, changing, and perfecting it. He also saw that we have an unwavering mission to close loans on time, every time! We have immediate openings for proven, successful, producing Branch Managers and MLOs in Wilmington, Charlotte, Denver, Austin, and many other branch locations throughout the country. For immediate consideration, contact Paul Peters, CMB, Assurance Financial, Recruiting Manager (225-239-7948).
Caliber Home Loans, Inc. is actively seeking a Manager, Counterparty Risk to join its Enterprise Risk Management group. The manager will oversee the counterparty financial review process and work closely with the Correspondent and Wholesale client approval team. Other responsibilities include managing special projects, preparing and presenting required reporting to Caliber’s senior management and strategic planning. The position requires that you collaborate with internal partners including, but not limited to, Sales, Legal, Finance and Secondary Marketing. If you’re a Correspondent/Wholesale professional, read more about the position’s requirements and/or apply online at Caliber’s web site. A bachelor’s degree in Finance or Accounting and at least 10 years’ experience in mortgage lending is preferred. This position is based at Caliber’s corporate office in Coppell, Texas.
Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest lender, will be cutting 7,000 jobs and “significantly reshape” its sales and trading business. And thus 7% of its workforce will hit the streets (they can post resumes for free at www.LenderNews.com!) as DB will focus on Europe and shrinks its operations in the US and Asia.
Congrats to Brian Montgomery whom the U.S. Senate voted to confirm as the next Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner. The confirmation vote passed easily despite a long period between the nomination in September 2017 and now. (He previously ran the FHA from 2005 to early 2009.) Most expect the FHA to keep premiums unchanged given its modest capital levels, and there remains some possibility that the FHA could reduce its footprint in areas which are well-served by private capital. For the six big private Mi companies, growth in private mortgage insurance (MI) remains meaningfully ahead of the FHA, a trend that KBW expects to persist.
Congrats to Mickey Schilling, the new Director of Strategic Growth and Business Development for The Mortgage Firm. She is tasked with expanding and growing The Mortgage Firm’s retail presence in key markets in the Southeast and West. The Mortgage Firm, established in 1996, and based in Altamonte Springs, FL, offers a truly unique purchase loan-centric production culture.
MAXEX reports that it continues to add loan buyers and sellers to LoanExchange, its rapidly growing exchange and clearinghouse for residential mortgage loans. “Both sellers and buyers are signing up because we are not just a pricing service. Our single counterparty structure and standardized product guidelines, seller guide, loan delivery, loan review, settlement, and custodial and servicing transfer efficiently facilitate a many-sellers-to-many-buyers transaction capability that our clients access simply by executing a single loan purchase and sale contract,” said CEO Tom Pearce. “With increased operational efficiency and transparent pricing – no signup costs and no monthly fees – why wouldn’t you sign up?” LoanExchange has traded over $1.5 billion in jumbo A and agency high balance loans, some of which were placed into thirteen private label MBS transactions. If you wish to learn more about becoming a seller and/or a buyer on LoanExchange, please e-mail: Tom Pearce.
PromonTech, the technology unit of Promontory MortgagePath, is now the exclusive point-of-sale (POS) solution for ISGN’s MORVision LOS. ISGN MORVision users can now leverage PromonTech’s Borrower Wallet to engage and originate more loans via their digital channel. The Borrower Wallet is a white-labeled, digital mortgage POS that helps borrowers easily apply for a mortgage on either a self-serve or assisted basis with a loan officer. It makes it easy to enter information, approve automated data collection of asset and income verifications, upload/e-send documents, e-sign disclosures, run credit/AUS and stay informed throughout the loan process. To learn more about Borrower Wallet, contact Tony Pietrocola.
For brokers, as Memorial Day approaches, a day to reflect and remember the valiant men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom, AFR Wholesale continues to offer programs dedicated to support our veterans and active military duty personnel. For over a decade, AFR Wholesale has created financing programs that help brokers assist veterans in acquiring, building and improving their homes. AFR has closed nearly $2 billion in loans to military families through a variety of uniquely developed programs, such as the VA Renovation loan. AFR was one of the first wholesalers to offer this program. It offers many attractive features such as zero down payment financing and may also be used as part of a refinance to make non-structural repairs. Since June 2017, AFR has assisted their lending partners in helping hundreds of families evaluate if the VA Renovation program is right for them. Contact AFR wholesale today to learn more about this and other programs for military.
NALHFA, the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies, is hosting a live webinar on June 7th that will dig into two reports that show how many millennials are actually mortgage-ready and, furthermore, how many could qualify for a homeownership program available in their market. Speakers will include executives from Freddie Mac, Down Payment Resource and the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center. Register for the June 7 webinar.
On May 24th, Richey May & Co. will hold its 3rd webinar in its series regarding Tax Reform and the Mortgage Industry. The focus of this webinar will be provisions impacting business income under the new tax reform.
The Indiana Mortgage Bankers is having its 2018 IMBA State Convention and 60th Anniversary Gala in early June in Indianapolis.
Get a head start on the Single Security initiative, A joint initiative of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to develop a common MBS. Join MBA and leading industry experts on Wednesday, June 27th, for what will be the beginning of an ongoing conversation impacting every mortgage lender and those that work in real estate finance. This webinar is complimentary to MBA members. Use promo code WEBINAR at check out.
This year’s MBAH Annual State Conference, “Loan Rangers” is scheduled for June 28th and 29th at The Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki in Honolulu. Presentations by key speakers will discuss the mortgage industry, the local economy and what to expect in 2018. Click here for conference details and registration information.
Direct mail update
Think direct mail is a pure servicing or post-closing play? If so, for a different take on direct mail and Digital Mortgage marketing you should read the May issue of STRATMOR’s Insights report released today. In his article, “Crossing the Digital Divide: In with the Old, in with the New,” STRATMOR Principal David Moynan says,” There are many mortgage lenders and their marketing teams who think direct mail is dead. I was one of them. I didn’t think direct mail was important any more in an industry dominated by the digital buzz. But after spending time with the LoyaltyExpress people, and researching the effectiveness of direct mail, especially around Millennials, I did a 180 on it.” Read Moynan’s article in the new Insights report and check out Dr. Matt Lind’s article, “The Borrower Experience: Primary Reasons for Choosing a Lender.” Price is hardly ever the primary reason: STRATMOR Group Insights report.
Company expansion & scaling back/transitioning
In House Realty, a subsidiary of Rock Holdings and sister company to Quicken Loans and several other national real estate technology brands, has acquired ForSaleByOwner.com. In-House Realty, a Detroit-based subsidiary of Rock Holdings Inc., the nation’s leader in FinTech real estate services, and sister company to America’s largest mortgage lender, Quicken Loans, has purchased ForSaleByOwner.com from Tronc, Inc. “According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), over 90% of all existing home sales in the United States are sold with the assistance of a licensed real estate professional, while approximately 10% of consumers are successful selling their home on their own. In-House Realty sees natural synergies between the ForSaleByOwner.com platform and their existing business working hand-in-hand with its Partner Agent Network.”
The Federal Savings Bank (TFSB) and Union Bank & Trust announced a definitive agreement to team together to offer TFSB residential mortgages. TFSB will offer a wide range of residential mortgage products and services from Union locations and Union will begin winding-down the operations of Union Mortgage Group (UMG), its wholly owned subsidiary. “…the best way to offer a mortgage loan solution is through allowing TFSB to offer its mortgages from Union locations instead of operating UMG as a vertically integrated, stand-alone mortgage subsidiary,” said John C. Asbury, president and CEO of Union Bankshares Corporation. TFSB expects to hire the vast majority of UMG employees. TFSB, which originates loans in all 50 states, plans to hire more exceptional mortgage professionals to support the group’s ongoing efforts and grow the business and the arrangement with Union is expected to create many new jobs in the region.
PIMCO executive Mihir Worah has told delegates at the Fixed Income Market Structure Seminar that bonds have been a reliable hedge against volatility in the past nine years of low inflation, but now that the balance of risk is changing, their effectiveness as a hedge against stocks is waning. Several advisors and planners have commented they are trimming their long positions in bonds. Rates are a matter of supply and demand, right?
Rates were down yesterday in response to the FOMC Minutes from the May policy meeting. The Minutes were viewed as somewhat dovish, considering the FOMC noted that a “temporary” period of inflation modestly above 2.0% would be consistent with the committee’s goal. Reaching that goal should prompt the FOMC to slow the pace of rate hikes. There was a discussion regarding forward-guidance where some participants indicated that the Fed Funds rate will remain for some time below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. Fewer participants felt that the neutral level of the funds rate might be lower than previous forecasts.
New home sales decreased 1.5% MoM in April, though lower-priced homes ($399,999 or less) accounted for a smaller percentage of new homes sold in April than the prior month, reflecting perhaps the lack of supply at more attractive price points for prospective buyers.
Besides White House chatter about tariffs on autos from Europe, today is packed with Fedspeak with five Fed Presidents scheduled to speak: outgoing NY President Dudley, Atlanta’s Bostic, Dallas’s Kaplan, Philadelphia’s Harker, and Richmond’s Barkin. Weekly jobless claims kicked off today’s data calendar (234k, up from 223k – very low). Also due out are the FHFA House Price Index for March, April existing home sales (seen declining), and the NY Fed’s report on MBS purchases for the week ending May 23. After the jobless claims number, we find the 10-year yielding 2.99% and agency MBS prices nearly unchanged versus Wednesday’s close.
It’s terrifying that both of these things are true at the same time in this world:
Computers drive cars around.
The state of the art test, to check that you’re not a computer, is whether you can successfully identify stop signs in pictures.
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, “The Plight of the Small Independent Lender.” If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.
(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. Currently there are over 300 mortgage professionals looking for operations, secondary and management roles. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to www.robchrisman.com. Copyright 2018 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.)