Oct. 9: FHA jobs; digital, marketing, HELOC verification, fair lending products; disaster & insurance news; STRATMOR’s CD workshop

“Apathy is one of America’s greatest problems… But who cares?” People certainly care what time it is, especially as the northern part of the United States is losing 4-5 minutes of daylight per day. Most states won’t change their clocks (back) until November 5th. (We then spring forward four months later, on March 10, 2024… what’s the point?) Lenders and potential borrowers also care about affordability and trying to structure loans, and STRATMOR’s current blog is titled, “Mind the Down Payment.” With the continued activity in the airwaves of PenFed exiting correspondent, it is clear that the last thing lenders need is fewer options. One useful tool in starting a search for investors in certain programs may be Mortgage Elements, which tracks many state-level programs including 2nds. In the center section of the Table there is a symbol for 2nds (it’s in the middle section on the top line), and under this symbol are TPO lenders that offer closed end 2nd Mortgage and HELOCs. (Due to the holiday there is no podcast today, but it will be back tomorrow and can be found here. This week’s is sponsored by NotaryCam, your partner for The Perfect Close! Ease of use, additional closing compliance, better borrower experience, reduced timelines, and cost savings, what is stopping you from getting on the RON train with NotaryCam?)

FHA employment


The FHA has two vacancies for Senior Single Family Housing Specialist. Duties of the position include acting as HUD expert and advisor on the lender origination and servicing practices required for compliance with Title I and Title II, Fair Housing and RESPA. Perform reviews and analyzes reports from on-site reviews of Title I and Title II lenders to determine compliance with loan origination and servicing procedures and requirements. Recognize facts and evidence and is able to assemble, correlate and analyze information obtained in reviews and investigations. Job Announcement Number 23-HUD-3011-P.

And the FHA has a job opportunity for a Chief, Real-Estate Owned Branch in Philadelphia.

As a Chief REO Branch, you will be responsible for the planning, organization, direction, and coordination of all technical operations involved in the real estate-owned for the office. Responsible for the preparation of normal and special environmental clearances; assisting in the preparation of environmental impact statements in accordance with existing instruction.

Represent the field office and HUD/FHA in industry and public meetings concerning the various HUD/FHA programs. Job Announcement Number 23-HUD-3019-P.

Lender and broker software and services


“Did you know: The last time HUD implemented rules for servicer-to-borrower communication, the latest telephone tech development was a 30-pound cell phone nicknamed “the Brick.” That was in 1976, and a lot has changed since then, except the rules about how servicers communicate with their borrowers. Now though, the agency is proposing changes that would modernize communication protocols. Our new blog from ICE Servicing Technologies Chief Operating Officer, George FitzGerald, “Modernized Guidelines Offer Benefits to Borrowers And Servicers,” explores what the proposal means for your business, and how both servicers and borrowers stand to benefit from the changes. Read more to understand what’s on the way, and how you can adapt to help homeowners in need.”


What Lenders Should Know About Fair Lending Compliance. In 2022, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau increased fair lending examinations by 146%. Their report released in June 2023 shows that the CFPB opened 32 fair lending examinations and targeted reviews last year. Expect this number to rise. The CFPB is actively investigating potential discrimination across mortgage originations, student lending, payday lending, credit cards, and small business lending. They have begun to evaluate financial institutions’ automated systems and lending models, determining if these systems produce biased lending practices targeting vulnerable populations. In this latest article from the experts at Ncontracts, learn what bank and non-bank lenders must know about data collection and Fair Lending compliance from the 2023 Fair Lending Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Read the full article for more and to learn how you can prepare.

Fall into More Business! Take Advantage of Loan Stream’s October Special, here through a limited time! Includes 25 BPS Price Improvement on Government and Non-QM Loans available on Purchase, Rate/Term and Cash-Out Loans. Restrictions apply. For loans locked 10/1/2023 through 10/31/2023. Contact your AE for more information. Plus, be the Ruler of Your Pipeline with The Lounge, our TPO portal. The Lounge puts YOU in control of your loans, submit in 6 clicks, choose to disclose immediately, Price, Run AUS, Credit and More! Submit a loan or get approved today!

“The challenges mortgage lenders are facing are unprecedented, and it is crucial to recognize that the decisions you make now will have a lasting impact on the success and profitability of your company. As we look to the future with the potential of changing capital rules for banks, lenders need to create a tailored strategy to thrive and regain profitability. In the short term, lenders need to be prepared to manage their liquidity appropriately and avoid unnecessary delinquencies as both Q3 and Q4 end on weekends, which will be particularly important when December 29th is the last business day of 2023. At Richey May, our mortgage banking consulting experts are here to help as you make essential decisions impacting your future strategies. To get started on this in-depth exploration, contact us.”

Home equity is an untapped $18B opportunity for lenders. But until now, identifying equity-rich customers and engaging them with the right products and messaging has been a tedious manual process. Total Expert is changing that by adding Equity Enrichment to their Customer Intelligence product. Now, you can nurture customers across every financial milestone, guiding them through their financial decisions by surfacing the right opportunities for the right products at the right time. Learn how you can help homeowners leverage their home equity.

Did you know that the average homeowner has more than $199k in tappable equity? Take advantage of the hot HELOC market and close loans quickly with Xactus’ customizable HELOC Verification Services bundle. It allows you to see who qualifies with Pre-Screened LeadsX or by mining your existing portfolio with Portfolio MonitoringX. You can also assess risk with Credit ReportsX, Valuation ModelX, Income VerificationsX, Employment VerificationsX, Fraud ReportsX and Flood ReportsX. Speaking of flood, as the flood authority, Xactus provides quick, accurate and compliant flood risk assessments with Flood ReportsX, now available on Xactus360. It even offers no close, no pay, so if the loan doesn’t get funded, you don’t have to pay for the flood zone determination. Be sure to attend Xactus’ Oct. 11 webinar about advancing innovation with Xactus360. Register now. Heading to the MBA Annual in Philadelphia? Stop by Xactus’ booth or email us to schedule a meeting.

As the economy tightens, CEOs of many companies are turning to Fractional CMOs to lead or augment their downsized marketing departments. Their goal is to ensure that every marketing dollar is spent effectively, in the most cost-effective channels and support their new business teams. If you are considering fractional CMO services, contact John Seroka of Seroka Brand Development. Over its 35+ year history, Seroka has worked with top-tier mortgage industry companies, including GSEs, renowned “top 20” mortgage lenders, leading tech firms, and service providers. Your Seroka-placed, turnkey Fractional CMO will develop and execute marketing strategies, lead marketing teams, and manage marketing budgets, all tailored to your needs in the most cost-effective way. Contact Seroka now for your free consultation and jumpstart your marketing. Or to schedule a time to meet at the MBA Annual, email John Seroka.

Digital tools


Why go digital? In the competitive world of mortgage lending, embracing technology isn’t an option, it’s a necessity. That’s why Meridian Link has partnered with Jim Deitch, certified mortgage banker, top selling author, and CEO/Founder of Teraverde®. With their collective experience, Meridian Link is sharing these six strategic tips that can help your institution stay profitable, stay efficient, and stay ahead with a cutting-edge digital mortgage solution.

The Loan Vision team is excited to attend the MBA Annual Convention! Stop by booth 1030 to learn how companies that run Loan Vision show a 25% reduction in OPEX/time to close, a 20% reduction in overall accounting headcount, complete LOS to G/L automation, and improved reporting and visibility that allow for better business decisions. Be sure book time with Carl Wooloff here to get an early introduction to our newest product that focuses on allowing our customers to be more profitable with less volume: LV-PAM – a modeling tool that provides actionable intelligence with consolidated loan data. Loan Vision’s innovation continues to provide you the “insights you need in the software you trust.”

STRATMOR & Consumer Direct lenders


The mortgage industry is in the middle of one of the most severe downturns we have ever seen. And given the volatile nature of our business, that’s saying a lot. Nearly all Consumer Direct lenders have had to focus on capacity management, re-tooling for a purchase market and critically re-evaluating conversion rates by lead source and marketing cost per closed loan. CD lenders, if you would like to discuss the economic and performance metrics driving Consumer Direct lending, join STRATMOR Group for a virtual Consumer Direct Workshop. Participants engage in highly interactive discussions of critical business issues, key operating tactics, strategies, and current hot buttons within the industry facilitated by STRATMOR partners Garth Graham and Jim Cameron, and Senior Advisor Brett McCracken. Space is limited for this three-day, two-hour sessions per day workshop November 7-9. Contact STRATMOR Group for more information on this semi-annual event.

Disaster & FEMA news


The hurricane “season” in the Atlantic Ocean goes until November 30, but so far, thankfully, things have been somewhat quiet. And forest fires in the West have been, knock on wood, less damaging than in recent years. But there is still activity that lenders and LOs should know about.

As recently mentioned in this Commentary, Progressive Insurance is rebalancing its exposure in the state of Florida, and will not renew 47,000 DP-3 policies and 53,000 high-risk homeowner’s policies in the state. DP-3 policies tend to cover vacation homes and properties that are not a primary residence. That said, Progressive plans to transfer the policies to Loggerhead Insurance in a deal that will affect 100,000 policyholders. Multiple insurers are winding down parts of their business in Florida as an insurance crisis hits the state, which has high exposure to natural disasters and a ruthless roofing scam industry that has made it difficult for insurers to operate there. This has driven many homeowners to the state-backed insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Corp, which now has 1.3 million policies, up from 500,000 as of July 2020.

3,000 miles away, several top insurance companies (like Farmers, State Farm and Allstate) have reduced their footprint in California. State Farm and Allstate say they’re not writing any new homeowner insurance policies in California moving forward due to it being too expense. And just ask a homeowner in a low-lying area of Florida, Louisiana, or the Carolinas how it’s going.

Recall that in August the Biden administration urged a federal judge to reject a challenge by Florida and other states to an overhaul of the National Flood Insurance Program that has led to higher premiums for many property owners.

Nearly every part of the United States faces natural disasters, whether they be earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, drought, or volcanoes. A declaration by FEMA triggers lender and servicer policies and procedures, in this instance Georgia and Florida: Georgia Hurricane Idalia DR-4738-GA and Florida Hurricane Idalia DR-4734-FL.

On 10/2/2023, with Amendment No. 2 to DR-4738, FEMA declared federal disaster aid with individual assistance has been made available to 2 Georgia counties, Berrien and Brooks, affected by Hurricane Idalia on 8/30/2023. See AmeriHome Mortgage Disaster Announcement 20231003-CL for inspection requirements.

On 10/2/2023, with Amendment No. 7 to DR-4734, FEMA declared federal disaster aid with individual assistance has been made available to 2 additional Florida counties, Charlotte and Hillsborough, affected by Hurricane Idalia from 8/27/2023 to 9/4/2023. See AmeriHome Mortgage Disaster Announcement 202310002-CL for inspection requirements.

Capital markets: closed today but still ruminating on jobs data


Although bond markets around the world didn’t move much over the weekend, here in the United States the stock market is open for trading, but the Treasury and MBS markets are closed for the Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples holiday. Capital markets staff working for lenders & investors who are open today put on a few extra hedges Friday based on the expected lock volume today, but any rate sheets are an educated guess rather than a science.

Last week’s main headline was Friday’s surprising 336k jobs added in September. When combined with the increase in job openings and upwards revision of the prior two months of new jobs, it shows a resilient labor market, especially in services. Fortunately, nearly two million workers have been added to the labor market to help fill those vacancies and help to ease pressure on wage growth. Average hourly earnings have increased at an annualized pace of 3.4 percent over the last three months compared to the twelve-month change of 4.2 percent.

Without slowing wage growth, it will be difficult for inflation to return to the Fed’s 2 percent target. Worries about further monetary tightening as well as a reluctant acceptance of rates being higher for longer have pushed mortgage rates to their highest levels in twenty-three years. This week the market will get updated inflation data which is expected to show a decrease in the prior twelve months’ inflation rate.

The hiring manager was interviewing a job applicant.

“Given you have no experience whatsoever in the mortgage industry, you’re asking for an awfully high salary,” she pointed out.

“I suppose so,” replied the applicant, “but think how much harder the work’s going to be if I don’t know anything about it.”

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. STRATMOR’s current blog is titled, “Mind the Down Payment.” The Commentary’s podcast is live and at any place you obtain your podcasts (like Apple or Spotify).


(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 2023 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