Daily Mortgage News & Commentary

Oct. 8: Sales jobs; LO, customer, non-owner, CRM UW productivity products; conforming loan amount fun; spate of lawsuits

Monday is federal holiday, and banks and bond markets are closed so any hedging of locks from companies (that are open Monday) will happen today. The definition of the word “holiday” seems open to debate, as some states, and companies, working on holidays like Monday’s. Words are important. It’s mortgage principal, not principle. “Farther” mostly referred to “distance,” and “further” mostly referred to “quantity or degree.” “How much farther do we have to walk?” And “Upon further reflection, I agree.” Words, and actions, are at the basis of the spate of lawsuits facing companies. Attorney Brian Levy’s latest piece addresses the question, “Who Owns the Customer Relationship.” Tammy Richards’ lawsuit against loanDepot has made its way around the industry as a look inside the alleged inner workings for a publicly held company. And in New Jersey courts, former Residential Home Funding Corp. (RealFi) marketing manager and director of marketing, Georganne Youngclaus, is suing the company on grounds of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Youngclaus allegedly faced a “severe and pervasive pattern of mentally and physically abusive conduct, sexual harassment and gender discrimination.” All of the individuals mentioned in the lawsuit are either no longer employed at RealFi or are in non-supervisory positions. (Today’s audio version of the commentary is available here and this week’s is sponsored by Arch MI: submit your toughest MI underwriting questions and most challenging scenarios at ASK Arch MI.)

Employment & new hires

Interested in joining the rapidly growing MAXEX fintech team? Check out the MAXEX careers page to apply for open positions. MAXEX, the industry’s first digital mortgage exchange, is powering jumbo business across the industry by supplying daily liquidity to more than 250 originators from more than 20 of the industry’s most high-profile investors. Our most popular program, MAXEX Jumbo Express, gives you the ability to utilize a full AUS underwrite for jumbo loans while eliminating the complications of Appendix Q. Visit us online to learn more. Beginning Nov 1., MAXEX will expand this popular program to support high balance and jumbo loans up to $3,000,000. Schedule time to meet with our team in San Diego or get in touch with a MAXEX expert today.”

ICE Mortgage TechnologyTM, part of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, announced that Craig Austin has joined the organization as VP, Head of Executive Accounts, and will manage an enterprise team of account executives and relationship managers responsible for providing digital mortgage technology to the largest lenders across the United States. Going forward, he will be responsible for driving next-level enterprise client and relationship management to help lenders succeed and grow ICE Mortgage Technology’s Platform.

National mortgage lender Waterstone Mortgage Corp. has named Kris Barros as the company’s new VP, Compliance, and will oversee the compliance management system. He will focus on maintaining company compliance with all federal and state requirements, and will assist with the development, design, and implementation of policies and procedures required to maintain acceptable levels of regulatory compliance.

Lender & broker services and products

Momentifi launched its StorySeller event series to connect loan officers with Realtors in over 19 markets across the country. Locations include OH, PA, NJ, NY, CA, and WA in November, and CO, NV, FL, MI, MN, and TX in December. Topics include: Is there a housing bubble? How to address common concerns and objections about today’s market. Includes a side-by-side comparison between today’s market and past bubbles. Should I wait to buy or sell? How to illustrate the cost of waiting for home buyers and home sellers. Includes buy vs. rent and cash vs. mortgage scenarios. How to win in today’s fiercely competitive market? How to beat your competition, overcome objections, and convert more leads by telling more effective stories about today’s housing market. Realtors who attend will get CE credits, and loan officers who attend will walk away with your 2022 business plan. Click here for more info or to sign up for a local event.

Shorter cycle time saves $ thousands on lock fees.” “Improved through improves profit more than UW productivity.” Only Candor can conduct a complete credit risk assessment, including income calculation (W2 & Self-Employed) assets and liabilities, and make the decision to lend. Of course we read documents, and cross check and corroborate data. Candor’s ROI goes unrivaled. Contact us for a demo.

Flagstar Bank has been a major player in the mortgage space for over 30 years, and today has five times more warehouse clients than the industry average. That kind of growth doesn’t happen by accident. Instead, it’s the direct result of consistently delivering a highly personal warehouse-lending experience, in all market conditions. For example, every single client has an assigned processor, someone you have an ongoing relationship with, who knows your business, and who you can reach out directly to any time. That high level of attention is what attracts so many clients to go with, and grow with, Flagstar warehouse lending. It’s Flagstar’s Human Interest Rate in action: interest in clients, and interest in warehouse banking solutions that put them first. Contact Jeff Neufeld or Joe Lathrop today to discuss what Flagstar can do for your business.

You generated a ton of loans this year, but you’re fuzzy on where they all came from. How will you know what you need to know in time for year-end reports? Enter Richey May’s RM Analyze, business intelligence designed by and for mortgage industry experts. Our platform consolidates data from every department and every piece of software you use. Need to know which loan officers are converting applications to funded loans? Get the answers in one click, plus intuitively drill down to all the details you need. Curious how you’re measuring up against your peers? Don’t miss our new Peer View Ops functionality. Contact us today for a walk-through and custom RM Analyze implementation plan.

When the refinance business falls off next year, it will become abundantly clear which lenders have professional salespeople in their LO ranks and which ones were dependent on refi business alone. If there’s one thing every salesperson needs it’s a great CRM. Any good CRM should provide the data required to make the next call, but Usherpa’s SmartCRM™ tells LOs which calls to make by telling them who is most likely to be in the market for a new loan and Usherpa is the only CRM in the market that combines marketing automation and great content for one low price, making it easy for LOs to stay in touch and add value to prospects, clients, and Realtors. Data shows that LOs that used Usherpa’s SmartCRM closed twice the purchase money mortgage business as those that used a different industry CRM. Empower your LOs to double their business. Schedule your personalized demo today.

MLOs: What is one of the easiest but most effective ways to grow your loan volume? It’s the Unify Hot Prospect Alerts feature. Hot Prospect Alerts utilize automated 24/7 scanning capabilities that include Mortgage Inquiry Alerts (MIA) notifying you when any of your contacts have their credit pulled by a competitor. Likely Home Buyer (LH) and First Time Buyer (FT) alerts ensure you don’t miss opportunities in your database. Early Payoff (EPO) alerts occur less than 6 months of closing a loan with you and help avoid a charge back. For all these Hot Prospect Alerts, Unify notifies you right away, sends a specially created email sequence to the contact, and prompts you to call them to secure their loan. Click here to see how Unify can help your drive your 2022 business success!

“At Lakeview, we understand that investing in a property can be a complicated transaction for your borrowers. Let us simplify that today. Lakeview offers the SAIL (Superior Agency & Investor Lending) Series, a suite of products that streamlines the investment property process. The product line which includes Agency Investor, Agency Investor Plus, and Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) products, provide investors with a variety of comprehensive solutions. Have questions? We have the answers. Schedule a meeting with us at the MBA Annual Conference to learn more about what the SAIL Series can do for you.”

Purchase market winter is coming: Game Of Thrones may be far behind us, but the great purchase war is just ahead with a 2022 market that’s expected to be 75% purchases and just 4.79 million units. Home search portals keep adding new buyers, and picking off your pre-approved buyers. But not if you have a homebuyer portal that’s slicker, more precise on valuations, and branded by you. This is how ComeHome.com by HouseCanary, a national real estate brokerage, can power this modern homebuyer experience for you this winter.

We’re thrilled to announce Loanplicity®.com Powered by PrimeLending®, an important new component of our customer journey. An extension of the PrimeLending brand, Loanplicity.com is our dedicated marketing channel for reaching FTHBs and generating more business opportunities for our loan officers. It’s a one-of-a-kind online resource center that leverages our technology platforms to connect with more FTHBs earlier in the process, before they’ve chosen a lender. At PrimeLending, we’re always looking forward and investing in new ways to connect our loan officers with today’s and tomorrow’s customers. Contact Nic Hartke to talk about the future for your business and personal brand, and how tools like Loanplicity.com help you Discover Your BestSM.

Investors, lenders, and vendors follow estimates for 2022 loan amounts

This year, appreciation gains can’t be ignored, and some industry participants jumped the usual Freddie and Fannie notice around Thanksgiving for the following year’s limits. For example, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that the FHFA House Price Index was up 1.4 percent in July; up 19.2 percent from last year.” 19 percent! Figuring that into conforming loan amounts that are expected to be formally announced around Thanksgiving is probably a safe bet.

For AUS loans, National MI has temporarily increased the conforming loan amounts: 1-unit $625,000 ($937,500 in AK and HI), 2-units $800,250 ($1,200,375 in AK and HI), and 3-4 units $967,250 ($1,450,875 in AK and HI). “Other than the AUS being ineligible due to the increased conforming loan amount, the loan must comply with National MI’s TrueGuide® AUS Conforming Loans or AUS Affordable Lending Eligibility Matrices. For non-delegated MI submissions, National MI’s underwriting team is already applying the increased conforming loan amount limit.”

PennyMac is supporting correspondents by offering conforming high balance loan amounts up to at least $625,000 in all States and Counties, effective immediately. View Announcement 21-73 for details. Counties with high-cost limits for 2021 that are already greater than $625,000 are not changing. PennyMac will also be increasing the conforming loan limit for 2-4 units.

Beginning with loans locked on or after Monday, October 4, PRMG Conventional High Balance Loan amounts increased, up to at least $625,000 for 1-unit properties in all states and counties. Higher loan amounts are also available for 2–4-unit properties. These increases apply to the Agency Fannie Mae and Agency Freddie Mac loan products only. These loans will require a manual lock, loans currently locked are eligible to be adjusted to utilize the new loan limits. Review Product Update 21-51 for complete details.

Capital markets

HOW ELITE INVESTORS BUY HOMES & LOANS: As home demand shifts with plateauing list prices and short supply, Wall Street’s top buyers of homes rely on HouseCanary’s Property Explorer for real-time decision making. With 108 million home valuations within 3.5% Median Absolute Percentage Error, 88 million rental property valuations, & 19,000 zip codes, Property Explorer lets you get granular quickly. Test drive Property Explorer FREE.

Blue Loans released Episode 2 in its video series titled “Reduce Your Hedge Cost or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cash Window”. Episode 2 discusses ways to calculate TBA hedge costs.

Thursday, fixed-income prices sank, and yields moved higher. Why? Senate leaders in Washington agreed to raise the debt ceiling until December 3, pulling the U.S. from the brink of default for the next two months. The House still has to approve it, but the experience once again goes to show that brinkmanship over the debt ceiling and default is political theater and not actually a genuine threat. Separately, but still driving Treasury yields higher, we saw better-than-expected weekly initial claims (326k when expectations were for 340k), which fits with a view that the labor market is improving along with the trend in COVID cases. Job cuts (18k) from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas means that during the third quarter there were the lowest number of cuts since 1997.

Black Knight reported a sizable drop in the number of active forbearance plans, given the large number of plans both marked for either review (for extension/removal) or final expiration in September. The population dropped by 177k or 11 percent since last Tuesday, marking the largest weekly decline in 12 months. Declines were seen across all investor classes, led by an 84k plan drop among FHA/VA loans. Plans among GSE loans and those held in bank portfolios and private label securities also fell, seeing 50k and 43k declines, respectively.

Attention now turns to the U.S. jobs report, which may shed light on the Federal Reserve’s timeline to cut bond purchases. When I started hedging pipelines in the late 1980s, the Thursday afternoon money supply figures were “the big whoopie.” Now it is tough to find anyone who knows the difference between M1, M2, and M3, and over time those were replaced in importance with the monthly employment figures along with the Fed meetings. September saw only nonfarm 194k jobs (were replaced), 4.8 percent unemployment rate, probably due to more people entering the labor market, and hourly earnings were +.6 percent, +4.6 percent for the year. Expectations for nonfarm payrolls were for +500k. This massive miss on the payrolls report may force analysts to question the health of the economy and the Fed to change its tapering plans… but look at that unemployment rate! Later this morning brings August wholesale inventories and sales. The Desk will purchase up to $5.4 billion 30-year 2 percent and 2.5 percent MBS. We begin Friday with Agency MBS prices nearly unchanged and the 10-year yielding 1.58 after closing yesterday at 1.57 percent after the poor employment data.

What does Mexican food have to do with our business? This is a good, short video tale about helping people, which is exactly what we do as an industry.

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, “Grow Your Business But Don’t Step Over a Dollar to Save a Dime.” 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 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 www.robchrisman.com. Copyright 2021 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.)