Nov. 6: Mortgage jobs & products & personnel moves; deluge of mortgage & bank M&A; flood insurance changes?

This week I have the privilege of spending a little time in Murfreesboro, TN (with First Community Mortgage) and a few days ago in Salt Lake City (Academy Mortgage) so I’ve been on the road meeting some great mortgage folks. For LOs considering moving, the Mortgage Professional Association came out with a list of cities where loan officers earned the most in 2013. White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ is ranked number 1 on the list, with the annual medium wage at $116,590. The second best city is Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, MA-NH with the annual median wage reaching $109,260. The third city on the list is Midland, TX with a salary of $99,830 and San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA is ranked number 4, with an annual median wage at $98,840. Ocala, FL is ranked 5th on the list, with a median salary of $98,170. Rounding out the top 10 are Vallejo-Fairfield, CA, Haverhill-North Andover- Amesbury, MA, Wilmington, NC, Ocean City, NJ, and Peabody, MA.


On the job-front, US Mortgage Corporation is looking to hire additional Senior Underwriters in its Melville, NY headquarters due to an increase in volume associated with its national expansion efforts. The candidate must be well versed in FHA, Conventional, VA, and USDA Products, and have over 3 years of Underwriting Experience. US Mortgage Corporation is celebrating its 20th year in business this year, is a FNMA approved seller servicer, and is licensed in 46 states, including DC. The company is also looking for Regional Sales Managers to expand its National Sales Footprint.  Any confidential inquires can be directed to


In the vendor arena, “We know self-employed borrowers add a lot of time, work and cost to an application process. LoanCraft, LLC provides Self-Employed Express, which automates tax transcript requests and creates cash flow analysis for self-employed borrowers.  The service converts e-signatures into complete income reports in two days.  This is easier for your borrower, easier for your underwriter, speeds the process, and can tell you very early in the application process whether the borrower will qualify, which will save you money.  Self-Employed Express is one of the products in LoanCraft’s Income Portal, which can be used for a range of income requirements, including 30 types of income, VOE, and extensive income analysis and documentation.  LoanCraft has been an outsourced loan origination service provider since 2003. Contact Ron George.


Speaking of personnel and vendors, congrats to Randy Lightbody who has moved over to Accenture to lead Sales and Offering development for Accenture’s residential mortgage practice as a member of the Accenture Credit Services Executive Team. (“It was an easy decision to become a part of the largest mortgage outsourcing company in the world which allows me to leverage Accenture’s significant capability investments to better serve my clients and deliver value-added solutions including origination fulfillment, quality control consulting, component servicing, technology and the Digital Mortgage which interest is exploding.”)


And Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac jointly announced that David M. Applegate was named CEO for Common Securitization Solutions, LLC, the entity charged with developing and operating the Common Securitization Platform.  Common Securitization Solutions, LLC is jointly owned by the GSEs. Like an old rich couple in mediation, each GSE also placed two representatives on the Common Securitization Solutions Board of Managers, each with plenty of titles on their business cards: David Lowman – Freddie Mac EVP, Single-Family Business, Jerry Weiss – Freddie Mac EVP and Chief Administrative Officer, Terry Edwards – Fannie Mae EVP and Chief Operating Officer, and Rick Sorkin – Fannie Mae SVP, Single-Family Pricing Strategy and Structured Transactions.


In the Pacific Northwest Banner Corporation (the holding company for Banner Bank and Islanders Bank), and AmericanWest Bank announced the signing of a definitive agreement pursuant to which AmericanWest’s holding company will merge with and into Banner and AmericanWest Bank will merge with and into Banner Bank. The merged banks will operate under the Banner Bank brand.


And a couple thousand miles away in Kansas The Bankers Bank announced its acquisitions of Advance Mortgage Corporation (AMC) and American Processing Services Corporation (APSC) both of Overland Park, Kansas. Bruce Howard and Jim Wilson will remain co-presidents of AMC, now named Bankers Mortgage Corporation and John Markert will remain President of APSC, now named American Procession Solutions Corporation or APS. (Founded in 1985, The Bankers Bank serves over 290 community financial institutions in the southwest. The company offers a wide range of correspondent banking products and services designed to help community financial institutions prosper.)


Yes, bank and lender numbers across the United States continue to drop through consolidation – and there just aren’t a whole lot of new ones opening up. Sterling Bancorp (NYSE: STL) and Hudson Valley Holding Corp. (NYSE: HVB) announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement in a stock-for-stock transaction valued at $539 million, and impacting customers in the greater New York metropolitan area. Iberiabank ($15B, LA) will acquire the holding company of Old Florida Bank ($833mm, FL) and New Traditions Bank ($518mm, FL) for about $259mm in equity or about 1.85x tangible book. Also in the Cajun State Community Trust Bank ($3.5B, LA) will acquire 4 branches in Houston, TX with $15mm in loans and $135mm in deposits from Whitney Bank ($19.2B, MS). A private investor that lent the parent company of Advantage Bank ($260mm, CO) $2mm back in 2013 will acquire the bank for about 42% of tangible book. In Oklahoma, where the wind rushes, First United Bank and Trust Co. ($2.5B) will acquire First American Bank ($290mm) for an undisclosed sum. Berkshire Bank ($6.3B, MA) will acquire Hampden Bank ($698mm, MA) for $109mm in stock, which is approximately 1.3x tangible book.


Wesbanco Bank ($6.3B, WV) is moving across the boarders and said it will acquire ESB Bank ($1.9B, PA) for about $324mm in cash and equity or roughly 1.9x tangible book. Also in the state made famous by “The Deer Hunter,” S&T Bank ($4.8B) will acquire Integrity Bank ($812mm) for about $155mm in cash and equity, and Riverview Bank ($440mm, PA) will acquire The Citizens National Bank of Meyersdale ($87mm, PA) for about $8mm in cash and equity. Two thousand miles away in California Pacific Commerce Bank ($207) will acquire Vibra Bank ($151mm) for a reported 1.2x tangible book. In one of the states where pot is legal, Bank of Colorado ($2.6B) will acquire MontroseBank ($233mm), and Centennial Bank ($482mm, CO) will acquire 5 branches from Mutual of Omaha Bank ($6.8B, NE). In the state with the newly elected Republican Governor, First State Bank of Illinois ($293mm) will acquire Kenney Bank and Trust ($32mm, IL). Michigan’s Chemical Bank ($6.2B) will acquire Monarch Community Bank ($187mm, MI) for $26mm in stock.


Returning to lenders, Irvine, CA based Homebridge Wholesale has earned Mortgage Professional America Magazine’s prestigious 5-Star Lender rating for its compliance support, technology and its training and education. Congrats! “MPA’s 5-Star Lenders were chosen after an exhaustive survey in which the magazine asked mortgage originators to rate their lenders in a variety of areas. ‘We didn’t award the 5-Star rating lightly,’ said MPA editor Ryan Smith. ‘We asked thousands of originators to assess their lenders – and believe me, they didn’t pull any punches. Out of more than 200 lenders evaluated, only a handful earned top marks in any of the five categories we examined.’”


I hope their applications are bucking the trend. Yesterday the MBA told us that mortgage applications in the U.S. declined for a second week. The total number was down 2.6%, with refinances down 5.5% and purchases were up 2.6%. The share of applicants seeking to refinance declined to 62.9 percent from the prior week’s 64.5 percent.


Near and dear to anyone lending money anywhere near water, regulators have proposed an amendment to flood insurance rules that would require banks to escrow premiums and fees for flood insurance for loans secured by residential improved real estate or mobile homes after Jan 1, 2016 unless the bank or loan qualifies for a statutory exception. The proposal also eliminates the requirement to purchase flood insurance for a structure that is part of a residential property located in a special flood hazard area if that structure is detached from the primary residential structure and does not also serve as a residence. Put another way, a read of the data indicates that there are certain exceptions from the escrow requirement under the new flood regulations as amended. These include: loans that are in a subordinate position to a senior lien secured by the same property for which flood insurance is being provided; loans secured by residential improved real estate or a mobile home that is part of a condominium, cooperative, or other project development, provided certain conditions are met; loans that are extensions of credit primarily for a business, commercial, or agricultural purpose; home equity lines of credit; nonperforming loans; and loans with terms not longer than twelve months.


Turning to more recent lender, agency, and vendor news…


Stonegate Mortgage is hiring for originations, sales and operations – Clearwater, Indianapolis, Chicago, Orange County, St. Louis, Dallas, and around the country. Its Consumer Direct channel is expanding national call centers in Dallas, Overland Park & Lake Forest, CA and is adding Mortgage Advisors, CSRs, and Team Leads; its Distributed Retail Business is offering job opportunities for Managers and Mortgage Advisors in Chicago, Nashville, Minneapolis, and Ft. Lauderdale.


US Bank will be requiring MERS Deed of Trust and a new MERS Deed of Trust Rider Form 3158 for the states of Montana, Oregon and Washington for loans closing on or after October 15, 2014 for first and second mortgages as required. Underwriting guideline updates have been posted regarding use of future salary increase and VA appraisal changes.


United Guaranty has updated its Underwriting Requirements Guide (the Guide) effective October 1, 2014. Updates include all References to RAP® or Reporting Acceptance Program® has been replaced with delegated data submission (delegated) to coincide with United Guaranty’s new Master Policy. The information announced August 19, 2014, within CA 2014-04–Requirements on Bankruptcies and Charge-Offs Involving Mortgage Debt–has been added. Clarifications regarding manufactured housing with structural modifications–which may include, but are not limited to, additions to the original structure or substantial remodeling–are ineligible (as with any other manufactured housing unit).


As a reminder, since I continue to be asked about it, HUD released its Qualified Mortgage Rule: Announcement of Intention to Adopt Changes Pertaining to Exempted Transaction List (FR-5812-N-01). This Notice advises mortgagees that HUD is amending its “qualified mortgage” definition and adopting certain changes in an amended Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) final rule. Read HUD’s Notice. HUD will adopt the changes that CFPB made to the exemption for non-profit transactions from its qualified mortgage standards. The effective date of these changes was November 3. HUD will not adopt the CFPB’s points and fees cure provision.  Instead, FHA-approved lenders may cure certain errors that occur in origination before submission for insurance endorsement.


Banc Home Loans Correspondent has expanded its product line to offer Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage (HSR). The HSR mortgage is available in 30yr & 15yr fixed options.


CoesterVMS announced the release of its new integration with ReverseVision’s loan origination system. This tool allows Reverse Mortgage Lenders the ability to place appraisal orders directly from the RV Exchange (RVX) application located within the LOS.


Credit Plus Inc. introduced QC Review to Help Lenders Monitor Loan Quality. Offering a new loan quality control program, QC Review powered by the LoanHD® Platform. QC Review enables lenders to run quality assurance checks throughout the entire origination process using real-time QC technology – from pre-closing to closing and beyond.


Hey, consider yourself lucky that you aren’t a lender in Kenya. Rates are about 22%, and the Kenyan government is negotiating with local banks to reduce the interest rates. Who cares about the free market? In Denmark the opposite is true: you can obtain a 30-year fixed rate mortgage for 2.50%! And investors are snapping up those covered mortgage bonds.


We’ve had a fair amount of news this week that has done nothing to move rates. Yesterday we learned, through the ADP numbers, that companies added more workers in October than the previous month, a sign employment growth is still on track for its best performance in 15 years. Private sector employment Increased by 230,000 Jobs in October.  The construction industry added 28,000 jobs over the month, above last month’s gain of 13,000. The ISM’s Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index came in at 60%, whatever that means, but it was down slightly from September.


This morning we’ll have weekly Jobless Claims and the preliminary Q3 nonfarm productivity (+2.3% higher last time). For numbers we had a 2.35% close on Wednesday on the 10-yr T-note yield, and this morning we’re at 2.33% – look for rate sheets to be about where they’ve been all week.



For today’s humor…

The snow is falling, and animals are heading into hibernation. Well, maybe not all of them as shown in this suspenseful, hard-to-believe 2 minute video. (There is no bloodshed, so it is acceptable for the kids.)





(Copyright 2014 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