May 6: MLO jobs; loss mit, text messaging, jumbo ARM, custom NFT, MSR financing products; strong jobs data continues

Here’s a stream of consciousness paragraph for you. “Rob, what are you hearing about companies laying off, furloughing, right-sizing, whatever, employees to cut costs while at the same time paying $500-$1000 to nominate one of their employees for some award?” I’m not hearing a lot, but I’ve always wondered about the value in publicizing your top employees for other companies and recruiters to learn about their accomplishments… To what end? And are you not going to send someone to a valuable conference, but pay a fee to nominate them for a soon-forgotten award? Lenders and vendors are coming off the sugar rush of the last two years and competing against companies who are weaponizing their two years’ worth of earnings. What are you going to do about it? Some lenders are fighting for their lives, dusting off notes on Homeowner’s Assistance or Down Payment Assistance Programs. No one seems to be using the term “recapture” any more since rate and term refi opportunities are scant. (How’s “scant” for good Wordle word?) Managers are up to speed on bots, coders, and developers, and definitely looking at production reports. Originators are saying that the deals are harder! Meanwhile, traffic and gasoline prices are rough in cities for everyone, including processors and doc drawers, and everyone is working on making fixed costs variable. (Today’s podcast is available here and this week’s is sponsored by MCT’s 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.)

Jobs & transitions

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Congratulations to the 22 loan officers from Mann Mortgage who were named a 2022 Top Originator by Scotsman Guide. And a further congrats to Julie Lepham, Angelina Rice, Deborah Criddle, and Carolyn Cole who were additionally named a Top Women Originator. “We’re thrilled so many of our teammates were recognized as being among the best loan officers in the industry,” said Jason Mann, CEO of Mann Mortgage. “They work tirelessly to help borrowers get the right home loan for their unique situation. We couldn’t be prouder to have them on our team.” Are you ready to become a Top Originator and work for the only mortgage company named a Best Place to Work by Outside magazine (twice!)? Join the Mann Mortgage team! Send a confidential inquiry to their Director of Business Development Brian Corder to learn about loan officer opportunities.

2021 was another record-breaking year for 58 percent of PrimeLending LOs who set new personal funding records in terms of units, volume, or both! And when it comes to branches, 45 percent funded more volume, units or both than ever before. So how did the best of the best celebrate another stellar year? More than 120 Power Producers and their guests gathered at the luxurious Hyatt Zilara in beautiful Cap Cana, Dominican Republic for a well-deserved get-away. From exotic excursions to ocean-side relaxation to 5-star dining and accommodations, PrimeLending’s top producers enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience together with loved ones and peers. If you’re looking to be recognized and rewarded for your excellence and be given the support you need to discover your best, then PrimeLending may be the place for you. We’re hiring future Power Producers. To find out more, contact Nic Hartke today.

Feel like you’re busting your hump with limited growth opportunities? At SWBC Mortgage, team members build real growth and success by embracing the company’s core values that have been in place for over 30 years. SWBC Mortgage has consistently been recognized as a top mortgage lender and has earned dozens of accolades as one of the nation’s top employers. “If you’re looking for a foundation to grow, talk to us first,” says Scott Brown, EVP of Retail Sales. “As a privately-owned firm with over 80 local branches, and licensed in 42 states, we take pride in family-like corporate culture, with extensive leadership support and team collaboration. Not to mention that our distributed retail model, retained servicing, and depth of marketing support all contribute to an environment that fosters production success.” Learn more by visiting here.

Open Mortgage has hired Charith Rodrigo to help lead the company’s mortgage division as National Director of Reverse Sales, joining Open Mortgage veteran Patty Wills, who was recently promoted to the same title. “Together, they will oversee Open’s growth of the reverse mortgage team with an emphasis on expanding the retail division’s footprint by adding and supporting new branches and loan originators.”

Lender & broker programs and services

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With the value of your MSRs growing due to the rising rate environment, you may be looking to borrow against them to generate liquidity and unlock even more value. If so, Flagstar Bank has the specialized knowledge, competitive terms, and large capital base to make that happen. Flagstar can arrange everything from a small facility up to $500 million or more for very large MSR financing. And they have a suite of solutions from MSR financing, warehouse funding, subservicing, to working capital. With Flagstar, you get the experience, partnership, and attention to detail you’d expect from the top mortgage team in the business. Which brings you the most valuable asset there is: peace of mind that you’ll get the successful outcome you need. Contact Jeff Neufeld to discuss solutions to manage your MSRs. See you in NYC! Meet Flagstar Bank representatives at the MBA National Secondary Conference, May 16-17.

Pacific City Bank, also known as PCB Bank, expands into mortgage warehouse lending! A premier full-service community bank with a focus on helping its clients succeed financially since 2003, Pacific City Bank announced today the launch of its Mortgage Warehouse Lending Division to serve Mortgage Bankers nationwide. To staff the division, PCB has hired an experienced team, led by Joy Beam-Burns as Senior Vice President of Mortgage Warehouse Lending, Heidi Majors has been named VP of Operations, Ashley RouLaine has been appointed as Vice President and Business Development Executive and Mitzi Whitmire will serve as Client Engagement Specialist. Dedicated to maintaining their clients’ loyalty and trust with a blend of respect, gratitude and personal responsibility, the PCB Mortgage Warehouse Lending group is ready to provide competitively priced terms, flexibility, and long-term economic growth. Mortgage Bankers are encouraged to call (770) 212-3020 to learn how PCB can help them grow their businesses.

Home.com is offering a chance for consumers and NFT fans alike to be awarded a custom NFT of a meaningful home in their lives: their first home, current home, childhood home, even a grandparent’s home that they visited as a child. Learn more at Home.com/NFT. This leading home buying resource is the first to offer a crypto home memento in the mortgage space, Home.com is owned by Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp NMLS 2289 (licensing link).

Lenders might be wincing at their year-over-year numbers right now, but when you take a long view, 2022 is still shaping up to be one of the best years of the last decade. According to Sales Boomerang, failure in today’s market doesn’t point to a lack of demand: It signals a lack of imagination. If you’re having trouble thinking 4th-dimensionally, Sales Boomerang wants to help. “For the last three years, rate has been the mortgage advisor’s foot in the door. Now your toehold isn’t rate, it’s equity. And equity isn’t just for cash-out refis; it can unlock any type of loan.” If you need loans now, download the free eBook and master 10 different ways to turn your customers’ equity into loans that convert right away.

Towne Mortgage Company is excited to announce its new Jumbo ARM Flex Product! “We are 100 percent delegated and underwrite and close these products in house using our clients DU and LP findings, without any Investor pre-funding approvals or surprise conditions at the finish line. This truly flexible Jumbo ARM product may be a better option than traditional Jumbo Fixed or Agency High Balance. Yes, we can close a High Balance Loan using our Jumbo ARM Flex pricing option. Towne’s flexible terms include 5-, 7- and 10-year options, loan amounts up to $3M, DTI up to 45 percent, LTV up to 80 percent, first time homebuyers allowed, and can be used on primary residence purchase, rate and term refinances and cash out transactions! * We’ve got your Jumbo ARM borrowers covered! If you are an account executive looking for a new opportunity, or a broker interested in expanding your offerings with this unique and flexible Jumbo ARM program, contact Mark Zierott or visit tpo.townemortgage.com. *Some restrictions apply: contact us for program details.”

Did you know that you can send automated text message updates to your borrowers and Realtors through Encompass®? Leveraging the LenderLogix integration with ICE Mortgage Technology™, lenders are able to customize a set of plain English text messages to be sent to borrowers, Realtors, and others based on loan activity. No need to configure an expensive CRM, you can be sending SMS updates in no time. Simple. Easy. Inexpensive. Give your borrowers the experience they expect and head over to LenderLogix for a demo today.

Covius is now integrated with multiple Black Knight platforms to deliver loss mitigation, document, title and RON solutions. Black Knight clients can seamlessly access Covius’ loss mitigation modification solutions including our comprehensive library of compliance documents, property reports and default title. Meanwhile their borrowers will be able to eSign non-recordable loan modifications and remotely notarize recordable versions using our solutions. The new integrations are timely, given the servicing community is at a critical inflection point: forbearance programs are ending, and regulators are closely monitoring how servicers are managing the latest phase of borrower transitions. Read full release or email Joe Chappell at Covius to learn more.

Remember when…

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Two years ago rates had plummeted and lenders were jacking up their margins in an effort to slow locks because they didn’t have the staff to handle “drinking from a firehose”? Other items are worth a glance to help us keep things in perspective… the more things change, the more they stay the same?

In the summer of 2020 Zillow’s Weekly Market Report revealed that homes for sale are up to near 2019 levels and newly pending sales are up 16.5 percent from the same last year, driven by low mortgage rates. Sellers are accepting offers on their homes 13 days faster than a year ago, according to the report. New-for-sale listings were down 10.6 percent year-over-year, signaling that sellers are becoming more comfortable with listing their homes on the market. As of last week, there were 28.9 percent fewer homes on the market than a year ago, and the median U.S. list price ($345,255) was 8.3 percent higher than a year ago. Aiding the market, mortgages rates dipped after the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s announcement the Adverse Market Refinance Fee will now go into effect on December 1, instead of the initial September 1 date.

And late in 2020, the decrease in interest rates had already pushed up housing prices and is making homes less affordable, according to data from ATTOM. “Owning a home in the United States slipped into the unaffordable zone for average workers across the nation in the fourth quarter as the numbers continued a year-long slide in the wrong direction,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. “The latest housing market data shows the average worker unable to meet the 28 percent affordability guideline used by lenders. That’s happened as home prices have continued rising throughout 2020 and the housing market has remained remarkably resilient in the face of the brutal economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The future remains wholly uncertain and affordability could swing back into positive territory. But for now, things are going in the wrong direction for buyers.”

Capital markets: the Fed does as expected

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The importance of economic releases certainly becomes diminished when the Fed announces its proposed path. After Wednesday’s Fed-induced rally, markets yesterday returned to the reality of the current stagflationary environment. There were renewed concerns the Fed’s fight against inflation, hiking rates and removing accommodation on the faster side, will trigger an economic downturn. Additionally, a dovish-leaning Fed statement and remarks from Chairman Powell in his press conference in the current environment is the opposite of what most would ordinarily want in order to subdue prices. The Fed sticking to that dovish language and approach in the face of the highest inflation in four decades sets the stage for more bond market turbulence going forward if inflationary pressures increase. The Fed hopes the combination of rising borrowing costs and a shrinking balance sheet will deliver a soft landing that avoids a recession while tamping inflation.

Another complicating factor for the Fed is that U.S. unemployment stands at 3.6 percent in April, matching the lowest reading since the 1960s, and that may mean even faster wage growth. Job openings and quitting employees are back to fresh highs, and many economists expect unemployment to keep declining.

MBA reported that the delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.11 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the first quarter of 2022. MBA asks servicers to report loans in forbearance as delinquent if the payment was not made based on the original terms of the mortgage. The delinquency rate decreased 54 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2021 and was down 227 basis points from one year ago. This comes as the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.27 percent, up from 2.96 percent one year ago. While we are on the subject, housing affordability and inflationary pressures pose challenges for potential buyers, meaning house price growth will continue but is expected to decelerate in the coming months.

An eventful week closes with one more big risk event, the April employment situation. Payrolls (+428k, better than forecast), the aforementioned unemployment rate (unchanged at 3.6 percent), and average hourly earnings (+.3 percent, less than expected, +5.5 annualized). Fedspeak returns after the blackout period, with New York President Williams, Minneapolis President Kashkari, Atlanta President Bostic, St. Louis President Bullard, and San Francisco President Daly all delivering remarks. The Desk will purchase up to $2.1 billion 30-year 3.5 percent through 4.5 percent across GNIIs and UMBS. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices worse .125 and the 10-year yielding 3.06 after closing Thursday at 3.07 percent.

(Warning: rated R for language.)

A man went to church one day and afterward he stopped to shake the preacher’s hand.

He said, “Preacher, I’ll tell you, that was a damned fine sermon. Damned good!”

The preacher said, “Thank you sir, but I’d rather you didn’t use profanity.”

The man said, “I was so damned impressed with that sermon I put five thousand dollars in the offering plate!”

The preacher said, “No sh$t?”

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.)

Rob Chrisman