Sep. 8: LO jobs & training, branding, products; WF/Seneca servicing sale; vendor news & tech survey

A large earthquake in Mexico, damage in Southern Texas from Hurricane Harvey, and, although Irma has been downgraded, mandatory evacuations in the Miami area, certainly impact the financial system – some say positively due to rebuilding. But could a cyberattack bring down the U.S. financial system? Let’s ask Equifax, and its 143 million customers with their addresses, social security and driver’s license numbers, etc. hacked. Even my cat Myrtle realizes that this represents almost half of America, and the majority of the population with a credit file. Of interest to many is a story that Equifax execs sold millions in stock after the breech but before the public was told.

Products, jobs, personnel

Royal Pacific Funding has announced yet another product expansion by adding Non-QM to its product offering. The Leverage product line up is a fantastic group of products with both 12 and 24-month bank statement options, loan amounts as high as $3,000,000, LTV’s as high has 90% and Credit Scores as low as 500. Shabi Asghar, Royal Pacific Funding’s President, discussed the new Leverage Non-QM offering. “We know and understand this product and we are committed to helping our brokers participate in this expanding segment of the market.” Please contact your AE today for more information or contact Royal Pacific Funding directly at if you want to get an AE assigned to your company.


Michigan Mutual, Inc.’s Anaheim Branch welcomes brokers and business partners to its new office during an Open House, Wednesday, September 13 from 10AM-2PM PST. Come visit with Regional Sales Manager, Andrew Ryan and his team, enjoy a delicious lunch catered by The Habit Burger Grill and attend informational presentations on Escrow Hold Backs, 203k Renovation Loans, and Solar and How It Affects Your Financing. The classes will be led by their National Director of Wholesale Lending, Greg Campbell, and their Wholesale Underwriting Manager, Pamela Donlyuk, respectively. The Open House will be held at the Michigan Mutual office located at 2390 East Orangewood Ave., Suite 560, Anaheim, CA 92806. Please follow THIS LINK to register for one or both presentations mentioned above. Michigan Mutual is an agency direct/seller/servicer/issuer established in 1992 and based in Port Huron, Michigan.

Todd Duncan recently launched a free resource for loan officers called the High Trust Business Builder. Click here to download his free resource. It promises breakthroughs in creating a bulletproof sales pipeline that will improve your income, with less time and stress. It’s worth checking out!

At the Lenders One Summer Conference, a new cutting-edge eClosing ‘in a box’ offering was previewed and presented by Trelix. To share more information on the topic and where the industry is heading, Lenders One and Fannie Mae are offering Lenders One members early access to a newly developed 4-part eLearning series on eMortgage. The educational modules will be followed by Q&A sessions on October 11th and October 18th to give members a chance to speak with Lenders One and Fannie Mae experts. Interested in learning more? Contact your RD for more information about the series or contact Michael Kuentz for more information on how to join Lenders One.


The Northern California Builder Division of Caliber Home Loans continues to grow. Caliber welcomes Sara Jung-Wildey and her team! Sara brings 15 years of experience serving the new home market throughout Northern California. “It is critical for home builders to have a reliable lending partner who knows how to guide the customer through the long escrow process and safeguard the on-time closing at completion of construction.” It’s this approach that has earned Sara an outstanding reputation in the new home community. If you’re interested in learning more about how Caliber Home Loans can complement your business, contact Mike Soldati, Regional Vice President Northern California, at (707) 330-9234.


Be sure to attend “Branding Your Company,” a panel discussion at the California MBA CREF Conference, featuring John Seroka, Principal and Brand Strategist at Seroka, a certified brand development, digital and strategic communications agency. The panel discussion will take place today, September 8th, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. at the Wynn Hotel, Las Vegas. Seroka owns a branding and restoration process that has been perfected over time to help mortgage companies grow critical metrics such as awareness, uniqueness, sales, retention and advocacy. Learn more at the panel discussion or schedule a time to meet with John during the conference.


“It’s fair to say that loanDepot has been a magnet for high-performers, so it’s no surprise that Drew Collins, an established leader and industry veteran, was quick to join as Senior Vice President, Pacific Division. Check out his announcement here.Drew most recently managed a sales force serving the western district of California, Nevada, Oregon and Hawaii – a best-in-class team of more than 2,200 originators with total market share of 12 percent. It’s exciting to see a company put such emphasis on leaders like Drew who understand where the industry must go technologically. As Drew puts it, ‘The value of technology and innovation, in terms of consumer experience today, are undisputed. Looking to the future, we must ask who’s putting those goals first in lending? The commitments that loanDepot has already made to leading those drivers put us miles ahead.’ Contact Cassidy O’Sullivan if you are interested in learning why industry leaders like Drew are joining loanDepot.”

Servicing sale

In other news, Blackstone’s Seneca is pretty much exiting the servicing business with a $51 billion mortgage servicing rights (MSR) sale to Wells Fargo. Seneca Mortgage Investments was begun by Blackstone’s GSO Capital Partners, Blackstone Group LP’s credit arm. The underlying loans are all guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Most companies build servicing through their own fundings, or more quickly through wholesale or correspondent divisions. And Wells does run the largest correspondent channel. Many servicing deals are a $100 million here or $500 million there, but these large deals do occur. Making money in servicing is a numbers game in terms of scale. JPMorgan Chase & Co., the second-largest mortgage lender, bought about $45 billion worth of mortgage servicing rights in 2015 from Ocwen Financial Corp.

A notice on Seneca’s website said it was no longer servicing mortgage loans. Seneca owned about $50 billion of mortgage rights, comprised mostly of residential loans, according to a June 2016 statement announcing that Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. had been selected by Seneca as a secondary servicer. (Remember that Nationstar, Mr. Cooper in the primary markets, is controlled by Fortress Investment Group LLC.) Weighing in with $1.5 trillion as of 6/30, Wells Fargo is the largest U.S. mortgage servicer.

Vendor news

Will lenders expect more from their LOS in terms of features and functionality in the future? STRATMOR Group’s 2016 Technology Insight Survey showed that 82 percent of lenders rated enhanced tools to monitor regulatory compliance during the loan cycle as extremely important. Take the 2017 STRATMOR LOS Technology Insight Survey to let your peers and the LOS vendors know your needs. There is no charge to participate and Lender respondents will receive a high-level overview of market share findings, future technology perspectives and a digital summary. Click here to go directly to the survey.

At the Lenders One Summer Conference, a new cutting-edge eClosing ‘in a box’ offering was previewed and presented by Trelix. To share more information on the topic and where the industry is heading, Lenders One and Fannie Mae are offering Lenders One members early access to a newly developed 4-part eLearning series on eMortgage. The educational modules will be followed by Q&A sessions on October 11th and October 18th to give members a chance to speak with Lenders One and Fannie Mae experts. Those interested in learning more should contact your RD for more information about the series or contact Michael Kuentz for more information on how to join Lenders One.

The California MBA and Alight will be hosting an event for CFOs and their firm owners at the historic, members-only Sutter Club in Sacramento on September 13 at 4PM. “Enjoy networking with your peers from across the industry and hearing an informative and educational program on Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) by Mark Wilson, CPA from CWDL. This event is just for CFOs, CEOs, Presidents and firm owners of independent mortgage banks. The team at Alight is doing great things and I recommend attending their events anytime you have the chance! Email or call Randall Crail (385-414-7953) to reserve your complementary seat!

Bank regulators globally are failing to systematically oversee financial-technology firms that provide essential services to banks, according to the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. This exposes banks and broader national economies to risks relating to cybercrime, money laundering, privacy and customer protection, the committee said.

“Working with outside vendors can streamline your financial institution’s operations, but it can also leave you vulnerable to risks – from major service interruptions and the mishandling of sensitive data to non-compliance with laws and regulations. In this article, CSH’s Leonard Wagers discusses 5 key considerations for implementing an effective, third-party-vendor risk-management strategy.”

eValuation ZONE, Inc, announced it has been named to the 2017 Inc 500/5000, an exclusive ranking of America’s fastest-growing private companies. eValuation Zone ranked No. 776 based on a three-year growth rate of 589 percent. This achievement is an honor it now shares alongside other innovative companies in America; including Microsoft, GoPro, Dell, Oracle, and Intuit among others. eValuation Zone ranked in the top 15% of all firms based on a three-year growth rate of 589 percent. “It is a privilege to be selected. We are very excited to be recognized and believe this trajectory can continue,” said Luke Tomaszewski, CEO for eValuation ZONE, Inc.

Ellie Mae is spending $128 million in cash to acquire Velocify, a lender lead management platform that “helps lender sales teams respond quickly to leads, improves their productivity and offers them “actionable selling insights.” Ellie Mae says it will marry the Velocify platform (with its 1,500 customers) with its own offerings (namely Encompass CRM for lead generation and marketing and Encompass Consumer Connect for loan applications and originations) to create “a complete digital lead capture and conversion solution.”

Resitrader Inc. announced that it will be providing the Resitrader platform as a private label product to members of The Mortgage Collaborative. The platform, called “TMCDirect,” will provide TMC members with full access to Resitrader’s trading platform, as well as special incentives and benefits for TMC members.  With over $1 billion of loans transacted monthly on the Resitrader platform, TMC members will have the opportunity to connect with other TMC members as well as with a vibrant marketplace of 70+ Resitrader customers for pricing, buying and selling whole loans.

MortgageHippo has partnered with Optimal Blue “to help clients deliver a wholly transparent borrower experience with accurate loan programs and rates in real-time using the Optimal Blue API. This enterprise integration allows MortgageHippo clients to customize their own pricing configurations seamlessly for the benefit of borrowers through the Optimal Blue platform.”

In Arkansas, the Office of Secretary of State Mark Martin announced the addition of Pavaso, Inc. as an electronic notary (eNotary) solution provider.

American Mortgage Service Co. announced that it has enhanced its risk management policies and procedures governing its retail mortgage lending business by requiring independent screening and risk monitoring for all settlement agents having access to a borrower’s loan documents and mortgage proceeds. The process will be managed for American Mortgage by Secure Settlements Inc. t/a Secure Insight, the first vendor management firm to specialize in closing table risk. The company chose the Closing Guard tool to evaluate the backgrounds, licensing, insurance, and trust accounts of agents as a method to identify potential threats before a closing takes place.

OpenClose announced that it integrated with Timios, Inc., a national provider of title and settlement services to banks, financial institutions and mortgage lenders. The integration allows users to efficiently draw all title and settlement fees directly from within OpenClose’s LenderAssist LOS, eliminating data entry, saving time and ensuring fees are fully accurate and TRID compliant.

Capital markets

Yesterday saw another rally in bond prices, and thus another drop in rates. Remember how last November, following the election, everyone thought pro-growth policies would lead to higher rates? The hopes for significant tax reform or meaningful pro-growth policies are fading steadily. In classic “kicking the can down the road fashion” the U.S. Senate passed a three-month extension of government funding, which will also push off the need for action on the debt ceiling front for three months. The House of Representatives is also expected to pass the bill, but the stop-gap deal will only delay the uncertainty instead of removing it. And from overseas came news that the European Central Bank was leaving things alone, and the statement and press conference was dovish.

The 10-year note closed Thursday .375 better in price and yielding 2.06% while the 5-year Treasury and agency MBS prices improved about .125-.250. And there isn’t anything in the way of scheduled economic news today, although the value of the dollar hit a multi-year low. Attribute today’s rate movement to a “flight to quality,” rates continue to drop: the 10-year is down to 2.04% and agency MBS prices are slightly better than last night.

(Thanks to RC for this one.)

Grandpa: “Hurricane Irma is here.”

Grandma: “Who is that?”

Grandpa: “Who are you?”

Grandma: “Me too!”

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(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. Currently there are over 300 mortgage professionals looking for operations, secondary and management roles. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to Copyright 2017 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