Nov. 9: MLO, Correspondent, Ops jobs; recruiting, non-QM, sales, servicing tools; credit & income shifts; vaccine news pushing rates

First Sean Connery, and now Alex Trebek! Their time together on Jeopardy is legendary. (“Please refrain from using ethnic slurs!”) The last time I checked, “ethnic” is not a bad word, and in fact is often celebrated. How many of you are checking out Hispanic, Black, or Asian American clubs at local colleges and universities for potential mortgage industry employees? Diversity aside, there are pros and cons in hiring “rookie talent,” but given that rates should stay relatively low for a while and residential volume is expected to continue well into 2021, lenders and vendors have a very good shot at adding staff at reasonable price points while increasing diversity (including age diversity given that it seems the age of the average LO is 77) during a time when retention or signing bonuses can be beyond the reach of some companies. Meanwhile, in the capital markets, stocks and bonds are being driven by potentially good vaccine news. If someone wins in vaccine news, we all win, right? And learn the name Gary Gensler.

Employment & transitions

“The military community is important to Caliber Home Loans. We’re forever grateful and committed to serving these heroes. Caliber is dedicated to helping veterans and active duty military realize their dreams of owning a home where they can raise their families. We’ve helped many service members achieve that dream through our VA program offerings. In addition, we created Operation 1 Million, a program providing much needed education about VA Home Loan benefits. The Caliber Military Veteran Resource Group keeps us connected to the military by identifying business opportunities to deepen our relationship with this community. And we support hiring service members transitioning from the military into the civilian workforce. If you’re looking for a place to work that supports and hires veterans, Caliber has open positions in Operations and Sales. Visit our website today to view open opportunities. To be immediately considered for Operations or Sales positions, email Jonathan Stanley or Brian Miller, respectively.”

Gateway First Bank, a regional bank with nationwide mortgage originations, recently celebrated 20thyears. Founded in 2000 as Gateway Mortgage Group, LLC, Gateway has grown considerably over the years and continues to achieve record results. In 2019, the mortgage company merged with a 100-year old community bank to become Gateway First Bank. Over the past 20 years, Gateway has grown from one employee to over 1,450 team members in more than 150 locations across the country. Gateway has become a $1.5 billion asset bank and is on track to originate over $10 billion in mortgage loans this year. Through all the growth and transition, the Gateway team has remained committed to its primary mission of strengthening families and communities. By putting people first, Gateway’s culture is strong and will be the driving force behind future success. To learn more about Gateway’s 20-year tradition of mortgage and banking success, visit

Mr. Cooper continues to make material investments into our B2B Channels (Correspondent & Co-Issue!). October was another record month thanks to our amazing, dedicated clients! True to our partnership, we continuously work to expand our comprehensive offerings allowing clients options based on their business model. Recent enhancements include the expansion of our Mandatory program with Single Loan Mandatory Commitments, launch of the Ellie Mae platform to enable growth of our Non-Delegated business, and credit box expansion to include VA IRRRLs and FICO enhancements. In addition, to complement our Fannie Mae SMP & Ginnie Mae PIIT offering, we recently relaunched into the Freddie Max Xchange Program. Please reach out to your Regional Sales team to learn more. Our team is growing strong! If you’d like to be part of the Cooper family, contact Pamela Peak.  Mr. Cooper is a Top Correspondent Lender & proud to be certified as a Great Place to Work.

Mann Mortgage, in picturesque Western Montana, was named #12 on Outside magazine’s Best Places to Work in 2020. “We’re thrilled that we, a mortgage company, are included among this group of exceptionally innovative companies,” said Cassidy O’Sullivan, business development executive for Mann. “These organizations are defining what great corporate culture looks like in this country, and we are honored to be included with them.” Mann was recognized for encouraging a healthy work-life balance, promoting an active lifestyle, and creating a fun and supportive work environment. “We want Mann to be a positive place where people are excited to come to work and have a voice in the company,” said Cassidy. Come work for one of the Best Places to Work! Mann has openings for branch managers, loan officers, underwriters, mortgage loan processors, marketing, and operations careers across the country. Apply today at or send a confidential inquiry to Cassidy O’Sullivan.

National mortgage lender Waterstone Mortgage Corporation has named Jeff McGuiness as the company’s new President & CEO effective November 16, 2020. McGuiness has more than 30 years of experience in the mortgage lending industry, including executive and C-level roles in retail, consumer direct, and correspondent. He most recently served as the Chief Sales Officer for Embrace Home Loans. In his new role with Waterstone Mortgage, McGuiness will be responsible for all aspects of the company’s business and corporate functions. He will work closely with the rest of the executive management team to continue to enhance the organization’s cutting-edge technology resources, operational excellence, and unparalleled customer experience.

Broker & lender services and products

How do top lenders gain a competitive edge even in today’s high-volume times? On the latest episode of the Clear to Close podcast, the crew sits down with Maxwell’s CEO and Co-Founder John Paasonen to discover why finding your core competencies is critical to your long-term success, perhaps now more than ever. In chaotic times like this, it’s tempting to focus purely on the day-to-day. And that’s exactly why the best lending teams are refocusing their businesses, aligning their resources, and doubling down on their strengths. Learn how massively successful companies like Netflix and Disney use a laser focus on core competencies to bulletproof their businesses—and how you can apply this powerful mentality to your lending business. Listen to the Clear to Close podcast’s latest episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or your browser!

What’s your servicing strategy: Retain or Release? Either way, PHH Mortgage can help. We’re among the fastest growing buyers on both Fannie Mae’s SMP Co-Issue and Freddie’s CRX Co-Issue platforms. Our Q3 co-issue volume is up nearly 50% from last quarter and with no minimums, PHH is welcoming all new Sellers. Send PHH an invite in the SMP platform and your team can be committing MSRs within 48-72 hours. Want to retain servicing? PHH offers subservicing with all-inclusive pricing, a new mobile app, a Recapture option, and can onboard new clients in 90-120 days.  Release…Retain…Recapture:  We’ve got you covered. Contact Chris Sabbe to find out how PHH can help.”

BETTER Direct Mail Marketing for Mortgage Lenders from Monster Lead Group: How is JFQ Lending scaling to $4.2 Billion this year? With better direct mail marketing from Monster Lead Group. “Somebody can charge me half as much as you guys do, but I can’t get beyond the level of your results. For me, service means a hell of a lot and the results speak for themselves.” (John Kresevic, President of JFQ Lending.) Get started driving consistent phone calls and predictable ROI from your direct mail, like JFQ Lending, by visiting

2020 was the year of distraction and many are looking forward to putting it in the rearview mirror. As we begin to prepare to transition into a new year there are many unknowns still in our business and personal lives and change is inevitable. It comes with no doubt that those who will be most successful will have prepared with great focus, patience, and a willingness to adapt. Model Match helps forward-thinking lenders increase their market share by putting people first and elevating their talent acquisition efforts. Connect with our team and position yourself for tomorrow.

MORTGAGE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM… are your current customers STILL leaving to the competition? Ok, lender executive – this is for you: What’s the fastest and most predictable way to increase your sales BEYOND the current market? If you said BORROWER RETENTION, you are 100% correct. Your solution: Sales Boomerang notifies mortgage lenders the moment someone in their database is ready for a loan. If you’re like the average lender, you only retain 20% or less of your borrowers. Our clients retain more than 65% of their borrowers. The longer you delay, the larger that loss becomes on your bottom line. We want to be your retention hero and win back the loans that you’re losing. “I have LO’s that only work Sales Boomerang leads, and my ROI is in the 20-30X Range.” (John Kresevic, CEO, JFQ) We’ll show you how much loan volume you lost this year.

Join National Mortgage Professional Magazine for “Where Every Scenario is Approvable – DealDesk Focus on ACC’s Non-QM Suite” on Wednesday, November 11th, at 1 pm ET / 10 am PT. ACC Mortgage, the nation’s oldest Non-QM lender, will present a special DealDesk webinar focused on ACC’s extensive offering of Non-QM products. Join Robert Senko, President of ACC Mortgage as he helps you understand and navigate Bank Statement loans, Investment Properties, P&L Only, ITIN and Jumbo products! When rates increase, more loan officers will be chasing fewer deals, so you need to ensure you have additional tools to compete. ACC Mortgage offers solutions, not just loans. Register and submit your questions or scenarios for Where Every Scenario is Approvable Featuring ACC Mortgage – DealDesk Focus on ACC’s Non-QM Suite” webinar here.

Shifts in analyzing credit and income

With the high volume of loans coming in with low interest rates, vendors are offering alternatives to manual Verifications of Employment, 4506 Transcripts, SSA-89’s, or background checks. For example, Private Eyes Background Checks offers this service. (Contact Sandra James.) And Truework has partnered with major lenders across the country to conduct 200,000+ verifications and counting in tackling and completing VOE/VOI requests, whether manual or automated. (Email Zackary Green.)

FICO scores are only one measure of credit worthiness, but their average has hit new record high during the pandemic.

Lending Tree released several case studies on the demographics of credit and the housing market. Millennials make up the largest share of homebuyers in the United States today. Millennial homeowners have more credit accounts and more debt on average than millennial renters, but also have stronger credit profiles (693 versus 601 average FICO). Throughout the pandemic, women are more likely to work from their bedroom and living room than men, with men 60% more likely to have a dedicated office space in their home than women. Men were also 23% more likely to report being satisfied with their in-home workspace than women. Roughly 5% of women said their workspace isn’t ideal and impacts productivity, compared with just 1% of men.

Lending Tree also analyzed mortgage purchase requests made across the nation’s 50 largest metros by people aged 18 to 23 on its online marketplace in 2020 to find just where Generation Z (born after 1996) are looking to buy homes. The five most popular metros among potential Gen Z homebuyers were Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis. And 15 million mortgage applications showed differences in how approval rates differ across the country: South Dakota, Utah, and North Dakota have the highest approval rates for mortgage refinance loans based on credit score and home-price appreciation. (The lowest approval rates for mortgage refinance loans were found in FL, NY, and CT.)

The FHA Catalyst: Single Family Origination Module – Automated Underwriting System (AUS) is now available and may be used by mortgagees with loan origination systems (LOS) that are integrated within FHA Catalyst. To assist users, FHA released the FHA Catalyst: Single Family Loan Origination Module – Lender User Guide.

Flagstar announced updates to the overlays for the government products listed within the announcement. These updates are effective for all TPO channels on loans locked on or after Friday, October 23, 2020, and are effective until further notice. (Remember that Flagstar Bank posted credit policy changes in lieu of the expiration of 2019 tax return extensions. And loans delivered through the Delegated Bulk channel are not required to meet the guideline requirements listed in the Temporary Rental Income Requirements Memo. Updated information is available in Flagstar’s Memo 20109.)

Flagstar Bank has updated information on numerous topics. Conventional Guide Updates regarding Income and Property, Non-Agency Minimum Borrower Contributions, and temporary Eligibility Requirements for Conventional Purchase and Refinances. And a while back Flagstar posted Temporary COVID-19 UW Guidelines.

Recall at Provident Funding that self-employment income is now only being used will only be used in qualification for its current customers.

Plaza Home Mortgage updated its COVID-19 Temporary Credit policy and reinstated the requirement for obtaining tax transcripts prior to closing on certain loan transactions. This update is in effect for all new loans and active loans in the pipeline that are not in Cleared-to-Close (CTC) status as of October 13.

HomeXpress Mortgage Corp. announced changes to its InvestorX Guidelines which include FICO as Low as 600, Increased LTV on 2-4 Units to 75% and Increased Max Properties to 10 or Max Loans to $4MM.

AD Mortgage offers a 12-24 Bank Statement Program with up to 90% LTV (email Jerry Mojarro for information and Alternative Income Non-QM Loans (with min FICO 599) and multiple other Non-Conventional products.

Carrington Correspondent has made enhancements to its Advantage℠ Series to include 90% LTV on Prime Advantage, Price Reductions (LLPAs) on Carrington Prime Advantage℠ (FICOs 660+) and Carrington Investor Advantage℠ (DCR). Visit for information.

PRMG released Product Update 20-58.

Finance of America Commercial offers Asset-Based Loans; no personal income verification needed for Single Rental.

Capital markets

Looking at the bond market to close last week, the nonfarm payrolls report had less of a market impact than expected as Joe Biden becoming President-elect of the U.S. dominated headlines on Friday. Job growth was better than expected in October, but still slowed from September and is far from the robust gains seen earlier in the recovery. While the unemployment rate fell by 1 percentage point to 6.9%, the number of long-term jobless Americans surged and now makes up one-third of those out of work. Separately, consumer borrowing rose in September by twice as much as forecast, reflecting an acceleration in non-revolving credit such as auto loans and the first pickup in credit-card balances in seven months.

Lenders and holders of servicing took note that all three agencies reported faster than expected prepayment speeds (again) with conventional 30s increasing 8% to 10% on average with little sign of burnout. GNII and FN15 speeds were up a more modest 6% to 8% on average versus expectations of modest slowing. The faster speeds also resulted in much higher paydowns in the Fed portfolio. By the trading week close, Treasuries pulled back in curve-steepening fashion and the UMBS30 basis closed mostly tighter, led by 1.5% and 2%.

Light on actual news, this week’s market moves are already being moved by political and vaccine news. We will have a (record) $122 billion quarterly refunding which starts today due to Wednesday’s Veterans Day observance. Today also sees the resumption of Fedspeak after last week’s FOMC events with Cleveland’s Mester and Philadelphia’s Harker both taking the stage. Today’s schedule sees the NY Desk purchasing up to $4.7 billion 2% and 2.5% over two operations. With the sole economic release today (October Employment Trends Index) not yet out, we begin the day with Agency MBS prices down/worse .250 and the 10-year yielding .90 after closing last week at 0.82% after the vaccine news & political uncertainty perhaps lessening. Perhaps.

(Thank you to Stephen S. for this one, which can also be applied to the mortgage biz’s language.)

Two diners at a very swanky eatery were shocked to see on the menu a dish of, “Hickory-smoked possum jowls in pancake syrup.”

They summoned a waiter to complain.

Their waiters looked at the menu. Then he threw it down and yelled to the owner in the kitchen, “Hey, the printers forgot to translate the menu into French again!”

Visit 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, “Do Lenders Care About Forecasts or Predictions?”


(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is designed 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 Copyright 2020 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