May 8: LO jobs; hedging, Community Lending, verification, CRM, warehouse products; NAR reports on 1st quarter; FHA & USDA changes

After a very long travel day filled with odd, time-sucking delays, when I arrived in Birmingham I was happy to hear Alabama on the Uber car’s radio singing, “My Home’s in Alabama.” “That my home’s in Alabama, no matter where I lay my head. My home’s in Alabama, Southern born and Southern bred.” Home prices in Alabama have tended to mimic many parts of the United States: In March 2024, home prices in Alabama were up 1.1 percent compared to last year, selling for a median price of $273,500 with the number of homes sold being down 8.9 percent year over year, per Redfin. (This morning NAR reported that more than 90 percent of metro markets posted home price gains in the first quarter of 2024: latest quarterly report.) There’s ample inventory, with over 22,000 homes for sale in Alabama, up nearly 11 percent year over year. A chunk of those are in Huntsville, 100 miles to the north of Birmingham, Alabama’s most populous city and the home of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. (Found here, this week’s podcasts are sponsored by Matic, the digital insurance marketplace built for the mortgage industry. Matic integrates home insurance shopping into the lending and servicing experience, allowing customers to shop carriers and find a policy in minutes. Create a new revenue stream that boosts customer happiness today! Hear an interview with Matic’s Ben Madick on the insurance landscape and trends impacting both potential homebuyers and existing homeowners.)

Employment & transitions

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Loan officers! Discover the radius advantage. Are you navigating a market that’s forgotten the value of loyalty? At radius financial group, we’re rewriting the script with our MLO Partnership-Proposition (MPP). We understand the industry’s pulse and the need for a genuine partnership—not just a platform to process loans. As lenders focus on consumers, we concentrate on you, the heartbeat of our business. You’re not just a number here; you’re the face of our brand, co-branded for success. We’re committed to investing in you, providing a stable home where your talents are nurtured and your book of business flourishes. For confidential inquires please contact Carla Herrera (781-742-6500).

Tired of having outdated news on your website or a stale newsletter? A skilled writer has some extra bandwidth and is available to produce weekly, monthly, or as-needed mortgage-related content for lenders on their website, email marketing or digital advertising. Reach out to Dustin Hobbs.

Carrington Mortgage Services has hired Steven Winokur to serve as VP, Marketing, Third-Party Origination using his “significant expertise in marketing strategy, brand development, marketing communications and digital marketing” to quickly build on existing marketplace momentum for Carrington’s diverse non-QM offerings. Congratulations!

Planet Home Lending has hired 20+ year vet Paul Walker to be Chief Financial Officer. “Paul will guide our financial strategy, leading Planet’s integrated platform to continuously deliver efficient, innovative solutions and services to consumers, business partners, and clients,” said Michael Dubeck, CEO and President of Planet Financial Group, parent of Planet Home Lending.

Flagstar Bank has promoted Rich Hoffman to senior vice president and head of TPO lending. Congratulations!

Lender and broker software and services

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Do you love your technology partner so much that you’d tattoo its name on your arm? A top producing team at VanDyk Mortgage resorted to “tattoo” tactics when management replaced Floify with a competing mobile-first POS. The new system’s shortcomings in functionality and vendor support impacted the productivity and satisfaction of VanDyk’s team, particularly affecting branch managers and loan officers who struggled with the platform’s limitations and the vendor’s responsiveness. The result? A “baring” of arms and quick return to Floify, which in addition to preventing an LO mutiny saves VanDyk $300,000 annually in operating costs compared to the interim system. Read the full case study and see pics of the team’s “tats.”

Compliance Review Roadmap for Financial Institutions! Regular compliance testing and monitoring helps you get out in front of potential issues, identifying areas that might not normally receive enough attention. When you embrace compliance reviews, your entire institution becomes involved in building a culture of compliance. This whitepaper offers a how-to guide for implementing a compliance review process at your financial institution. Included in this roadmap is: Step-by-step instructions for building a compliance testing program; A checklist of what to assess in compliance monitoring; A breakdown of the roles and responsibilities for each department and division; The importance of conducting a root cause analysis; Challenges encountered in implementing compliance reviews and how to overcome them; and Solutions for automating your compliance review process. Download the free whitepaper now.

PlainsCapital Bank National Warehouse Lending, a subsidiary of Hilltop Holdings (NYSE: HTH), understands the importance of efficiency when it comes to meeting mortgage lenders funding requests. “Express Funding” is how we help our customers reduce the time needed to get loans funded quickly. Express Funding allows our customers to submit multiple loans for funding in one simple data upload, whether it is one loan or 100 loans. We have a growing list of 5,000+ approved closing agents, No Doc funding requirements and funding turn times averaging under 20 minutes!  As a well-capitalized financially strong banking partner we give our customers confidence in an uncertain market. If you attending the MBA Secondary Conference in NY or the TMBA Annual Conference in Austin and interested in learning more about PlainsCapital Bank National Warehouse Lending please contact John White or Brent Amos.

Usherpa’s SmartCRM and Relationship Engagement Platform has been vetted by The Mortgage Collaborative (TMC), one of the largest mortgage cooperatives in the country, and is now a Preferred Partner to TMC’s growing network of mortgage lenders. According to TMC’s 2024 “Pulse of the Network” survey of 2,000 industry executives, finding new opportunities to grow volume and market share ranked first among the top critically important issues facing mortgage lenders. Having a CRM platform that is powerful but easy to use with guaranteed adoption is crucial. “TMC prides itself on having best in class preferred partners that help our lenders lower their cost of origination, improve their customer experience, and retain their best Loan Officers so that they can easily compete with even the largest lenders,” said Melissa Langdale, TMC’s President and COO. “We are thrilled to add Usherpa as a Preferred Partner.”

During the loan process, expedited turn times are crucial. Traditional methods of obtaining tax transcripts using a 4506-C form are slow and susceptible to rejections by the IRS due to minor discrepancies between the submitted form and what is on file at the IRS, thereby extending the verification process. Xactus, a leader in verification solutions, offers a streamlined alternative, Tax TranscriptX. Providing real-time IRS data feeds, this innovative tool enables fast and easy income verification, with the IRS rejecting less than 3 percent of the requests. Endorsed by the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSE), this solution empowers lenders to accelerate loan closures by furnishing tax transcripts within minutes rather than days. Lenders can use Xactus’ technology to streamline workflows, boost profits, and close loans right away. For more information, email Xactus. To stay up to date on its industry innovations, follow Xactus on LinkedIn.

Wholesale & correspondent products

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Attention all TPO and wholesale lenders: Don’t miss out on “The Wholesale Lending Sales Machine” webinar hosted by OptifiNow and Lender Price on May 15th at 10 am PT. The webinar will discuss how wholesale lenders are finding success in today’s challenging market by equipping their account executives with technology tools that are proven to generate more submissions and fundings. Make sure to register for this webinar today!

Visio Lending is breaking records with a relentless focus on improving our Broker Experience. We are the nation’s leader in Non-QM Investor DSCR loans for buy and hold SFR rentals with nearly a decade of experience and over $2.8 billion in originations. No-DTI, 30-year terms, rate buy downs, free 45-day rate locks; I/O and Sub-1 DSCR options available. Now choose your own title company (including on refinances). Through our top-notch Broker Program, brokers are able to earn up to 2 points YSP, and 5 points total. Visio Brokers can count on a designated Account Executive and in-house processing.”

Citi Correspondent Lending remains committed to responsible and sustainable growth with a focus on expanding our Community Lending platform. We’ve continued to gain momentum in these areas as illustrated by the 126 percent increase year-over-year in non-delegated Agency production and April’s 22 percent month-over-month increase in our proprietary HomeRun program production. We’re excited to discuss all that Citi offers now and what’s on the horizon at the upcoming Secondary and Capital Markets Conference. Reach out to your Citi Account Executive or our National Client Services Team to schedule time to talk with us.”

Government program news

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The lion’s share of locks continues to be headed Freddie & Fannie’s way, but there is a sizeable chunk that are either non-Agency (non-QM, jumbo, bond programs spring to mind) or are FHA, VA, and USDA. Let’s see what’s happening in that latter category.

FHA’s Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2024-08 further extends its foreclosure moratorium for borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages in Maui County, Hawaii. This extension, which runs through August 4, 2024, is effective immediately.

Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2024-07 strengthens FHA’s existing ROV process as part of HUD’s commitment to strengthening safeguards against unlawful discrimination in residential property valuations as outlined in the Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE) Interagency Task Force.  This update is the result of FHA’s consideration of the feedback received on its January 2023 proposed policy posted to its Single Family Drafting Table, and subsequent engagement with stakeholders and other federal agencies, including the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), to identify policies that would support a consistent industry-wide framework of minimum standards for the ROV process.

Updated information on SFH Section 502 Direct Funding was posted in USDA Rural Development SFH Bulletin.

Revisions that impact the AmeriHome USDA Guaranteed Rural Housing Program Guide are available in AmeriHome Mortgage Announcement 20240403-CL.

Newrez is updating its Government and Conforming loan underwriting guidelines, details are available in announcement 2024-024 and announcement 2024-025.

Capital Markets: snoozer of a week for scheduled news

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Did you know that Taylor Swift’s cat, Olivia Benson, is allegedly worth an astounding $97 million? For context, that’s more than double the net worth of Taylor’s pro football boyfriend, Travis Kelce. So how does Travis Kelce transition elements of his career to boost his income and compete with Olivia Benson? Travis Kelce’s situation reminds Optimal Blue Capital Markets Solutions Specialist Justin Roddel of lenders who operate with a best-efforts delivery model. Naturally, these lenders see success and do their best to meet commitments. However, it can be more profitable to switch to a mandatory delivery business model. If you’re funding anywhere from $5M – 10M a month, a switch to mandatory from best efforts could help you pick up a pricing spread of 20 – 40 bps overnight. Reach out to learn more about mandatory delivery.

With little in the way of economic releases this week or next until April CPI a week from today, investors continue to focus on Fed Chair Powell’s post-FOMC comments, potential Fed rate cuts in the latter half of the year, and the softer than expected April payrolls print. The MBS market is also busy digesting April agency prepayments, which were released late Monday, where speeds increased much less than expected. In reaction to the reports, UMBS30 and GNII rolls were mixed in mostly small moves.

Yesterday brought bland remarks from Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and some supply hitting the front end of the curve with a $58 billion 3-year Treasury auction that was received with good demand. Internationally, there was a policy hold from the Reserve Bank of Australia and a better-than-expected March Retail Sales report from the Eurozone.

Today’s domestic economic calendar kicked off with mortgage applications increasing 2.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. Sweden’s Riksbank was out with their latest monetary policy decision before the open. Later today brings wholesale inventories and sales, a Treasury auction of $42 billion 10-year notes, and remarks from three Fed speakers: Vice Chair Jefferson, Boston President Collins, and Governor Cook. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices little changed from Tuesday’s close and the 10-year yielding 4.48 after closing yesterday at 4.46 percent; the 2-year is at 4.83.

Mother’s Day is Sunday!

ITALIAN MOTHER

Giuseppe excitedly tells his mother he’s fallen in love and that he is going to get married.

He says, “Just for fun, Mama, I’m going to bring over three women and you try and guess which one I’m going to marry.” The mother agrees.

The next day, he brings three beautiful women into the house, sits them down on the couch & they chat for a while. He then says, “Okay, Mama, guess which one I’m going to marry?”

Mama says immediately, “The one on the right.”

“That’s amazing, Mama. You’re right. How did you know?”

Mama replies: “I don’t like her.”

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, “Relying on the Fed: How Did This Happen?” 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 2024 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