Sep. 24: Mortgage jobs & expansion; 2013 HMDA data out; MBS holdings in flux; student debt impact quantified

I like to put my money to work. I could earn some decent dividend returns (3-4%) if I buy some Exxon, or AT&T. Or maybe I should start loaning my money out like this lender, and earn a 200-300% APR. (Pick a state and slide the dollar amount bar, and watch the APR magically change.) And we wonder why lenders have a bad reputation…or maybe it is merely a matter of risk versus return.


For jobs today, Midwest Equity Mortgage is seeking a Director of Secondary Marketing. Midwest Equity Mortgage is a fully delegated, 100% retail, independent mortgage banker headquartered in Oak Brook, IL and  licensed in 8 states (IL, CA, WA, KS, MO, WI, IN, FL) funding approximately $50 million per month (an average $1.7 million per month per LO). “We are looking to expand into mandatory and to sell directly to Fannie and Freddie—cash window, co-issue, etc.  The right candidate will be willing to relocate at company’s expense to the Chicago area, and should have knowledge/experience in managing sub-servicing, managing best execution (best efforts and mandatory), working with outside hedging advisory firm, obtaining Agency Direct Seller approval, and managing investor relationships and negotiating best pricing. We are seeking someone who is looking to grow with us as we expect to double our production in 18-24 months.  This individual will be a part of the Senior Management Team and work directly with our principals in making this happen.” Confidential inquiries and resumes should be directed to Eric Meadow.


And under the heading of “growing companies and looking for talent, “If you want to be at the top, it is important that you’re with a company that expects the best,” said Karen Thompson, Vice President of ClearVision Funding’s new Chicago Fulfillment Center (CFC). Thompson, an industry veteran since 1996 adds “ClearVision is growing at a staggering rate, and their extensive management experience, commitment to building wholesale relationships and ability to keep up with regulatory changes is nothing close to what I’ve seen from other mortgage bankers before.” The company recently announced its Chicago office opening, having reached their $5 billion in fundings milestone since their inception in May 2010. Lending nationwide, to find out more about ClearVision Funding, visit its website at


Lastly, congratulations to Doug Reilly, the new president of FFC Mortgage Corp. FFC is a New York based lender to oversee the company’s continued expansion (currently in 10 states) while working to further enhance the company’s strategy and execution. Mr. Reilly is the founder and former CEO of Consumers Mortgage Corp. and the Home Lending Source. As it turns out, the company is currently engaged in merger discussions with several companies and plans to execute its first letter of intent next week. FFC will begin discussions with potential new branch locations in early October. (Send him a congratulatory note.)


Chase breathed a sigh of relief Monday when, “Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) dropped JPMorgan Chase from a mortgage securities lawsuit against the country’s biggest banks, after learning that his predecessor Ken Cuccinelli (R) had already struck a confidential settlement with the bank.” Huh? Confidential settlements? What about transparency? The plot thickens…


Who is John Burns Consulting? Aside from working for home builders, I don’t know exactly who it is. But its researchers believe that student debt caused 414,000 houses not to be sold. (And I guess the 414k, through the multiplier effect, quickly turns into billions.) But student debt is not going away, although students and families hope for college tuition appreciation to slow down given that the inflation rate is nearly 0%. Millennial Martine Torres suggests, “The real estate industry is up in arms about first time home buyers being saddled by debt and are therefore not purchasing homes. Yes, these factors contribute to the lack of first time home buyers but the mentality of the ‘millennial’ generation has shifted from generations in the past that were eager to get married and buy a home to being more career-driven and being content with renting. My generation does not want to get tied up in mortgages at a young age and is delaying marriage; parental dependence is also at an all-time high.  The ‘millennial’ generation is commitment-phobic.


Yay! The new HMDA data is out, the new HMDA data is out! The CFPB released the 2013 HMDA data. Remember that the regulators use HMDA data in their examinations to determine whether a lender is complying with fair lending laws. With the addition of more data points in the proposed HMDA regulations, many believe future HMDA data will become more critical in fair lending examinations. For further information regarding the HMDA data, click on the hyperlinks and URLs in the CFPB press release. “The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) announced the availability of data on mortgage lending transactions at 7,190 U.S. financial institutions covered by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). Covered institutions include banks, savings associations, credit unions, and mortgage companies. The HMDA data made available today cover 2013 lending activity, and include applications, originations, purchases and sales of loans, denials, and other actions related to applications.”


Yes, the HMDA data comes from lenders, and let’s check in with some relatively recent announcements to see what some have been up to lately.


Per Bulletin 2014-46, issued August 12, 2014, U. S. Bank Home Mortgage announced that “effective immediately for all new FHA applications and FHA loans in process, USBHM was removing the additional reserve requirement on FHA loans when a borrower is vacating the primary residence and converting it to an investment property. The current requirement of 6 months PITIA reserves for both properties is being reduced to follow the current FHA requirement of 3 months PITIA reserves for both properties. Correction: Effective immediately for all new FHA applications and FHA loans in process, USBHM is removing our reserve requirement on FHA loans when a borrower is vacating the primary residence and converting it to an investment property. The current requirement of 6 months PITIA reserves for both properties is being eliminated. No reserves will be required.


A federal court in North Carolina ruled against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s takeover and multimillion-dollar loan loss claim against Cooperative Bank. The fact that the court ruled against the FDIC’s $40 million claim against the former NC bank officers is viewed as a victory for “the small guy.”


Utilizing the Approved eSign Vendors list from Mountain West Financial, electronically signed initial disclosure packages for Conventional, FHA, and VA transactions are acceptable. Investor restrictions do not allow electronic signatures on the Final 1003/Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA). Loan Originators must “Wet Sign” the Final 1003, no exceptions.


Franklin American Mortgage’s recent bulletin includes updates on Conventional Property Insurance, Private Road Maintenance Agreements, Secondary Financing – LP, DU Release Notes, VA New Construction, Closing Costs, USDA Annual Fee, All Products Incidental Cash Back – Texas, Clarifications FHA & VA Funds Reimbursed Paid by Credit Card, Conventional, VA and USDA Funds to Close Access Letters.


First Community Mortgage Wholesale posted guideline changes effective August 31st. These changes include DU Refi Plus and LP RR, FHA, USDA, and Conventional program updates.


Kinecta Federal Credit Union, effective 9/3/14, the Jumbo Fixed Rate product matrix is updated to match investor guidelines. Updates include cash-out refinance and a DTI of 43%.


Mountain West Financial Wholesale matrix changes and updates include: USDA limited to 3% Platinum and Sapphire Grant, Mortgage Insurance required on HomePath loans, and removal of Second Homes as eligible for FHA Streamline Refinance.


New Leaf Wholesale has reduced LPMI rates. The reduced rates will benefit NewLeaf’s LPMI offering as MGIC has introduced additional credit buckets to deepen the discount on higher credit scores. New credit buckets are as follows: 680 – 719 un-changed, 720 – 739 lowered, 740 – 759 deeper discount, 760+ deepest discount. USDA loans are subject to the increased guarantee fee regardless of when a loan was submitted for review. If the RD Conditional Commitment is issued on or after October 1, 2014, it will be subject to the higher guarantee fee. No exceptions to this policy are possible. Initial disclosures must reflect the new fee effective immediately.


a la mode spread the word of its Community Partnerships Program. “This program gives real estate appraiser organizations tools to grow their ranks, reduce member and operating costs, and increase visibility.”


West Coast’s Bay Equity has rolled out its Good Neighbor Next Door program. This program offers a 50% discount* from the list price of eligible single-unit HUD homes in designated revitalization areas** for these community centric occupations: Teachers Pre-K through 12th grade, Emergency Medical Technicians, Law Enforcement Officers, and Firefighters. This program has all the benefits of an FHA mortgage except the minimum borrower contribution is only $100.00.


By now, many know that bank holdings of agency MBS has been decreasing. This is an important statistic, once which gives some insight into bank views on prepayment risk, cash flow valuations, and general market risk. As I received a few emails over the past week inquiring if I had any data on the subject, I thought I could combine a few reports I have read. The National Information Center has released consolidated financial statements for bank holding companies, and although the data is not as comprehensive as the Quarterly Banking Profile (which also includes savings institutions), soon to be released by the FDIC, they provide a good early estimate of changes in bank assets and liabilities. What we find is: agency MBS holdings decreased by $4.0 billion for the top 50 banks; a majority of the decline came in conventional agency MBS holdings, which fell by $4.2 billion; agency collateralized mortgage obligations (CMO‘s, which can be viewed as MBS‘ eccentric younger brother) holdings decreased $900 million, while the GNMA holdings increased by $1.1 billion; U.S. Bancorp had the largest increase in agency MBS holdings, adding $4.0 billion, while Bank of America reduced its holdings by $8.8 billion; holdings of non-agency MBS of the top 50 banks decreased by $4.4 billion, while commercial mortgage backed securities CMBS (which is MBS’ over-achieving cousin who went to an Ivey League school and reminds everyone about it at Christmas time) holdings rose by $7.4 billion; and treasury holdings increased by $48 billion.


”There might be a little noise in the data.” That, and, “I couldn’t figure out how to make a pivot table,” are two things you never want to hear coming from your Capital Markets department. However, often times there is a lot of noise in data sets—if there wasn’t, then I guess my first boss was correct: you really could turn a monkey into a mortgage trader. Part of the challenge of being an analyst is identifying variables which alter financial models; the good ones make the necessary adjustments, the bad ones ask if you if you all the veggies on your foot long sandwich. BAML writes in Home Prices: Noise Reduction, “We had been using the S&P Case Shiller national composite, released quarterly, in our models. However, this series has been discontinued and replaced with a monthly aggregate, which has a different history. It shows more stable prices, with less of a decline during the housing bust and a more steady recovery since bottoming at the end of 2011. According to this new national composite, home prices only fell 26% peak-to-trough (versus the prior estimate of 34%) and have increased 19% from then.” The consequences of the new composite, according to the article, is the revised data suggests home prices will be up 3.9% this year (4Q/4Q) compared to BAML’s prior forecast of 5.1%, and 3.4% next year.


Things are heating up in the pipeline hedging biz. Compass Analytics, LLC announced that it is opening a new office in Midtown Manhattan on Lexington Avenue. “The new office is 2 blocks from Grand Central Station and provides easy access to all neighborhoods in New York City and the surrounding areas.  This Midtown Manhattan office allows us to continue to add to our presence on the east coast, making it more convenient for our customers to visit with their account managers and to also allow for more regular visits to many our Clients based in the North East.”


And three thousand miles away, congrats to Brad Nease, Mortgage Capital Management (MCM)’s new Senior Vice President of Sales.


For the bond markets, lack of volatility continues to be the case although by the end of Tuesday the 30-yr agency MBS “stacks” finished about .125 higher and the 10-yr risk-free U.S. T-note closed at a yield of 2.53%. So far this morning we’ve had the MBA’s application numbers (not the same as locks) for last week. They dropped over 4% with purchases down slightly but refis down 7%. And at 8AM MST (MST since I’m in Denver today) will be New Home Sales for August; it is seen gently improved versus the prior print (+412k). In the early going we’re roughly unchanged at 2.54% on the 10-year and agency MBS prices better by a smidge.



The MBA’s annual conference is less than a month away, and attendees are busy setting up itineraries for themselves and their co-workers. Once they hit the ground in Nevada, they will try to avoid feeling like herding cats.





(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