Nov. 27: AE & LO jobs; sales, branding, non-QM products; “don’t fight the Fed” when it comes to rates

Will today or tomorrow bring the 2019 Freddie and Fannie loan limit change announcement? Stay tuned, as it usually released soon after Thanksgiving. Is it arguably less impactful since many jumbo programs have lower rates than conventional conforming products since they don’t have guarantee fees, fit nicely into some portfolios, and have lower compliance costs to originate. One thing is clear: lender M&A continues. For example, yesterday we learned that Firstar Bank has reached an agreement to acquire the assets of Leader Mortgage. And unlike GM’s plans to “idle” five factories in North America and cut some 14,000 jobs, lenders are hiring:

Mortgage Employment

The Correspondent Lending team at Caliber Home Loans, Inc. has partnered with BlitzDocs to provide a seamless integration for mutual customers. This solution removes the manual loan package delivery process and delivering it directly from Blitzdocs to Caliber. Earlier this year, Caliber’s correspondent sales channel was ranked 2nd by Scotsman Guide among all correspondent lenders nationwide. In addition to new technology that streamlines the loan process for its clients, Caliber Correspondent also has a proprietary suite of non-Agency products called Portfolio Loans which allow its lenders to provide home financing solutions to more eligible borrowers. The newest of these products is Elite Access, which offers up to $3 million, 90% loan-to-value, and no mortgage insurance.

CFBank, Ohio (lending in all 50 States) is now building its retail footprint nationwide. After selling his company, Smarter Mortgages in 2015, John Fearon is now heading up CFBank’s residential mortgage division. “My seasoned team, including five nationally ranked originators, has built the infrastructure and put the support team in place to begin our nationwide expansion. We have implemented our Close Fast Technology to enable top loan officers to focus on growing their business versus chasing down paperwork.” If you are a seasoned loan officer, team leader, or company owner looking for new opportunity, contact John Fearon directly to customize your next chapter in mortgage lending.

How do you say “bucket-list experience” in Spanish? Academy Mortgage’s President’s Club can check Barcelona, Spain, off their lists after their recent return from the company’s Sales Conference in the magical Mediterranean city. From mountain tops to tapas, Academy’s highest producers in 2017 were rewarded with all that Barcelona had to offer through walking tours to learn about the city’s unique architecture and history, taking in the spectacular view from the top of the Hotel Arts, and dining in the finest restaurants. Watch these adventures! The Sales Conference attendees also had the chance to relax, recharge, and reconnect with fellow team members, as is typical of an Academy Sales Conference. More than 100 originators and managers—a record high—qualified for Academy’s President’s Club in 2017Candidates interested in seeing the world with Academy should contact Chad Melin, VP of National Business Development.

Fidelity Bank Mortgage is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with Retail Mortgage production offices throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. Since 2008, the Mortgage division has grown to over 36 offices and over 500 employees. Fidelity Bank Mortgage is a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae seller/servicer offering specialty products such as Portfolio Doctor Loans for eligible doctors, Construction-to-Permanent Loans, Escrow Holdback, and more. The majority of our operational support is in the local markets, providing for the best possible customer service. Fidelity Bank Mortgage has one of the highest production averages per Loan Officer according to MBA/STRATMOR Peer Group Surveys and boasts well above average Performance and Loan Officer Loyalty. We are expanding into new markets and interested in Top Sales and Leadership Talent. Click here to contact David Rapson, Senior Vice President, Mortgage Production Manager, and view our eBook to learn more about our team.


“Do you produce over $1 million a month in volume? You might be leaving over $200k on the table every year. Why not take that home? Here’s how… There are too many people between you and your commissions, aka middle management. How much money do you lose on every deal because you’re paying for the salaries for multiple layers of middle management? If you want more money, cut the fat and increase your take home! Here’s a solution for you – Canopy Mortgage – a flat organization that isn’t burdened with ‘legacy-costs’ that means fewer people between you and your commissions. Canopy is now hiring a National base of seasoned LOs. Reach out to Josh Neumarker, Director of Business Development at Canopy Mortgage (888-696-9076).


Primed to continue to break origination records in Q4, the leader in non-QM Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions announced its largest class of new account executives, adding 11 in November to teach brokers and correspondents about growing their business with non-QM. Adding additional coverage across the country, Michael Hooven came on-board in Philadelphia, William Reed in Milwaukee, Dudley Delbridge in the Richmond/Virginia Beach area, Jim McMillan in Northern New Jersey, Jodi Favish in Pittsburgh, Anna Prince in Orlando, Randy Rees in Cleveland, Suzanne Perez in Los Angeles and Tony Zodrow in Minneapolis with Damien Pippens and Andres Bernal in Inside Sales. And AOMS is just getting started, looking for new Account Executives in markets across the country. Why work with anyone but the best? To learn more, view the latest job openings on the Careers Page or email Regional Sales Manager, John Wise.


Lender products and services

Ethos Lending is being called “the best mortgage company that no one has heard about!” With its top 3 price, 18-day fundings, and state of the art proprietary technology, Ethos Lending customers are raving about how valuable it is in helping borrowers “stick” with them. For that reason, Ethos’ growth is unprecedented in these current market conditions. While the majority of wholesale companies have been laying off and restructuring, Ethos Lending has continually increased its sales force month-over-month. In addition, Ethos has added a full suite of Non-QM products with features like, Bank Statements, Non-Warrantable Condos, Asset Depletion, Interest Only, Cash in hand up to $1MM on Investment, 90% purchase and refinances up to $3MM, and many others. “Ethos Lending’s world-class sales team is backed by a world-class Ops team with tenured industry veterans who are happy to talk to their customers.” If you feel like you need an edge to compete, contact Bryson Bede to find the sales representative in your area.

This holiday season, TMS is putting the CARE in CAREspondent Lending. For every new lender that partners with TMS before the end of the year, they will donate $250 to Family Reach —a national non-profit dedicated to alleviating the financial burden of cancer. You can sign up here.

“How to Build a Non-QM Focused Origination Business” which takes place on Thursday, November 29 at 2:00 PM EST and is sponsored and presented by Deephaven Mortgage. Attendees will walk away from this webinar with a clear business case on why they should be originating Non-QM loans and of even more importance, how to build a business with Non-QM as a focal point. In this 60-minute webinar we will cover the state of the non-QM market, show you how to source AND CLOSE non-QM loans and more. Reserve your seat on this free webinar here.

Today’s tech-savvy home buyers are online and mobile, and if your digital mortgage platform doesn’t provide the comprehensive home buying experience they demand, you’re at risk. For years, HomeScout® has helped lenders by providing a consumer facing experience where buyers can shop for a home and a loan in a single location, while the lender is exclusively branded on every screen. Considering that 100% of all purchase transactions require a house, lenders need a real estate search option for leads and preapproved customers, or risk losing them to online portals that advertise the competition. HomeScout offers an online experience that gives lenders control over more transactions by providing real-time loan pricing for every MLS listing to help prevent borrower rate shopping and give them the confidence to make a purchase decision. Find out more by contacting them HERE and scheduling a demo or give them a call at 952-831-0623.

Are you ELITE? Todd Duncan’s 2019 ELITE Membership Group is now open for enrollment. This one-year program is the most progressive, unique, mentoring, masterminding, and learning program available in the mortgage business today! Membership includes monthly mentoring sessions with Todd Duncan, your own personal, high-performance ELITE Coach, your own private Board of Advisors, best-practices Webinars, Two Mastermind Retreats, and access to every fellow member to brainstorm ideas, seek guidance around important decisions and implement key strategies for your business and life. If selected, you will join the most exclusive coaching experience in the mortgage industry! Are you prepared to make 2019 your best year ever? Apply to Todd Duncan’s ELITE today! Membership is limited to 24 qualified and vetted applicants.

Digital transformation is changing the elements that give your organization a competitive edge in an age of unprecedented change: your people, your processes, your technology and your brand. By driving transformation efforts through process-centric digital technologies, companies can transform their operations to be nimbler and more competitive. Level up your technology and ensure your tech stack works together. Understand how your customers feel when they interact with your brand at every touchpoint. What set you apart five years ago is no longer enough. Surviving – thriving – depends on your ability to serve your customers in a way that is unique, authentic and memorable. Read the Total Expert blog: Four Things That Will Set You Apart from Your Competitors.

“Here’s a hi-tech breakthrough in lending to self-employed borrowers. Amidst rising interest rates and declining origination volume, lenders must cast a wider net for customers, a growing number of which are self-employed. To capitalize on this trend, lenders need a simpler, faster way to underwrite mortgages for Americans who are their own bosses. To this end, Freddie Mac has integrated fintech vendor LoanBeam’s technology with Loan Product Advisor®, our automated underwriting system, to introduce the first and only integrated self-employment income solution for the market. LoanBeam’s software uses optical character recognition technology to extract and digest a borrower’s tax returns and other financials, and then calculate a total income figure that aligns with Freddie Mac’s guidelines. This integration offers lenders several advantages, including an automated review of the accuracy of qualifying income, eliminating the need to chase down unnecessary documents that support residual/excess income and certainty that the income calculation is eligible for representation and warranty relief. Learn more.

Capital markets

There’s no reason to pay anyone to predict interest rates for you – all we have to do is listen to the Federal Reserve! Goldman Sachs economists say the Federal Reserve’s anticipated rate increase of 1% or less over the next year would have a relatively small effect on the US economy, while an unexpected hike of 1.5% would likely send Treasury yields up and cause equity-market losses. Their analysis sets the risk of recession in the next two years at 26%.

But let’s take a brief step back to late September. The FOMC increased the Fed Funds target by 25bps as widely expected. In the statement announcing its decision it removed language asserting the policies were accommodative, a signal that the current policy has moved into neutral territory. The updated “dot plot” forecasts re-affirmed another rate increase is expected in December as the Fed views the economy and labor markets are strong and inflationary pressures are on target.

(Recall at that time data that was released supported the Fed’s optimistic view of the economy. The consumer confidence index neared an all-time high at 138.4 in September and personal income and wages also both increased as the tight labor market appears to be driving income growth. New home sales rose in August 3.5 percent after declining for a few months but affordability remains a concern in the wake of rising prices and mortgage rates. These two factors remain headwinds to future home sales growth in the coming months.)

Moving to November’s meeting, to no one’s surprise the FOMC voted unanimously to leave the fed funds target at 2.00% – 2.25%. The policy statement following the meeting offered little changes from the September meeting as the committee’s evaluation of the economy remained positive. With continued strong job growth and inflation at the Fed’s target, the committee expressed their expectations for further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate. The markets expect the next rate increase following the December FOMC meeting and are mixed as to the number of increases expected in 2019. (The news was overshadowed as the election was the main focus but results were largely in line with expectations of a divided government. While sweeping changes are less likely following the election, the possibility remains for some bipartisan cooperation surrounding long discussed infrastructure spending rather than simply gridlock leading up to the 2020 elections.)

In fact, looking ahead to next month’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, 100% of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal expect the Fed to raise interest rates by 25bp. The median of this group projects 3 more rate hikes in 2019.

You want transparency? Fed San Francisco President Daly said she favors continuing to gradually raise interest rates given a very favorable economy. A strong labor market, high consumer confidence and healthy business and household balance sheets were all reasons cited. Fed Chair Powell said he is “very happy about the state of the (US) economy” and he expects it to continue. He also indicated that rising signs of a global economic deceleration are “concerning”. Fed Vice Chair Clarida gave his first policy speech and in it said more interest rate hikes are likely coming. He indicated the economy is growing stronger and said the structural unemployment rate is lower than expected.

The U.S. 10-year began the week +2bps to 3.07% on a snoozer of a day as far as markets were concerned. As was the case towards the tail-end of last week, any news of note seems to be coming internationally. Italian officials have reportedly indicated willingness to lower next year’s deficit target, though Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini did say over the weekend he would bring down the government if the deficit target is changed. Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said that a lower budget deficit would not be a problem if budget measures remain unchanged. And separately, EU leaders approved the Brexit withdrawal bill, but it is uncertain if the bill will make it through the British parliament. British Prime Minister Theresa May warned that there is no better deal available.


Today’s economic calendar kicks off with Fed Vice Chair Clarida speaking before the Clearing House 2018 Annual Conference in New York at 8:30AM ET. We then receive Redbook same-store sales for the week ending November 24 half an hour later (previously 0.2% MoM, 6.2% YoY). We will see updates on September home prices from both the FHFA and Case-Shiller. November consumer confidence is next and is expected to decline. The Dallas Fed Texas Services Index for November will be released at 10:30AM. Finally, at 2:30PM we have some Fed speak, with Chicago’s Evans, Atlanta’s Bostic, and Kansas City’s George all participating in a panel at the same conference that Vice Chair Clarida is attending. We begin Tuesday with Agency MBS prices “un-budged” from last night’s close and the 10-year yielding 3.05%.

Want a short visual of the role of an experienced loan originator? Here you go (the guy on the right).

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(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. Currently there are hundreds of 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 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.)

Rob Chrisman