“Do y’all remember, before the internet, that people thought the cause of stupidity was the lack of access to information? Yeah, it wasn’t that.” The internet has brought a lot of change to the world, and to our industry. But we don’t need the internet to drive changes, and potential changes, in our biz. HUD has declared that it will once again back DACA mortgages. Huntington’s Rob B. asks, “Is a CRA Mandate coming for independent mortgage banks (IMBs)?” (Prompting his question is the perception that President Biden will look for opportunities to boost homebuyers and builders. Of course, if there is little inventory, or land to build on, or people to build them…) CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, who's term would not have ended until 2023, resigned, indirectly furthering the Biden Administration’s pick of replacement Rohit Chopra, awaiting Senate confirmation. (It is unclear as to who may become acting Director until the Senate confirms Kraninger's replacement.) Brian Montgomery, confirmed less than a year ago as HUD Deputy Secretary, sent a “goodbye letter” to his staff.


Lender and Broker Products

Caliber Wholesale believes your best new lead is a former client. So, we’re reintroducing our business partners to their past borrowers by name with enhancements to Reconnect! Reconnect is a powerful business-building tool. Our shared borrowers will see your name and contact information in Caliber’s Servicing and Online origination platforms. Featuring your company’s name in the customer’s Servicing welcome video ensures they know who to call for their next loan. Our mutual customers will benefit with reduced fees if they refinance. At Caliber, we know consumers have confidence in loan consultants they’ve already worked with. You have the track record and their trust. Caliber Reconnect helps you use that to grow more business. If you’d like to transform your mortgage business, contact us to learn how you can become a Caliber Business partner.”

Sometimes I find myself trying to play fetch with Myrtle, until I remember she’s a cat. If I wanted my toys to come back to me, maybe I should have invested in a boomerang. Speaking of which… Sales Boomerang continues to garner rave reviews for helping lenders like Annie Mac, American Pacific, Fairway and PRMG more than triple their customer retention. In a world where the average lender loses 4 out of 5 clients to a competitor, that’s something to get excited about. Sales Boomerang tells you the moment one of your borrowers needs a loan, so you can save the day and halt shopping in its tracks. The results speak for themselves: 20X average ROI, 65%+ borrower retention and a 20-40% lift to loan volume — all for $240 per acquired loan. Don’t let your borrower retention efforts seem as futile as playing fetch with a cat. Learn more today.

Attention all brokers and lenders serious about diversifying their business in 2021 and beyond. The time is now to explore the Simple Access® suite of products from Luxury Mortgage Corp ("LMC"), a best-in-class leader in Non-QM service and innovation. LMC employs a unique combination of subject matter expertise and outside the box approach toward enabling its partners to win more business. Programs include Bank Statement, Investor Cash Flow (DSCR), Asset Qualifier, 1099 Only, and Full Doc. Simple Access® highlights: Loan amounts to $3MM+, Cash-Out to $500K+, All Occupancy Types, and more. Fast and simple broker approval process.

MCT recently announced the launch of the MCT Business Intelligence Platform, a powerful web-based analytics platform designed to give clients more visibility on their data points to inform their business and empower them to make decisions and track their performance. The platform aggregates proprietary mortgage pipeline and loan sale data to provide strategic insights to MCT clients in the form of customizable reports, illustrative charts, and actionable insights. This gives lenders a competitive advantage on mortgage pipeline and loan sale data by allowing clients to understand the market, compare performance against their peers and raise their loan sale pickup. You could optimize your investor relationships today through MCT’s proprietary opportunity curve. Read the press release about this new actionable secondary market analytics platform. For more information on how you can Do More with MCT join its MCT newsletter.


Danger: Icey Road Ahead

If you’ve been in the mortgage industry for any length of time, you’ve experienced at least a few rise-and-fall cycles. While we’re still at the top of the rise today, the inevitable fall is coming. In the January issue of STRATMOR Group’s Insights Report, retiring STRATMOR Senior Partner Jeff Babcock shares three strategic management practices to help mitigate the inevitable downturn in his article, “Bottle the Magic: Three Lessons for Mortgage Lenders to Help Soften the Landing.” Jeff notes: “Over my 50-year banking career spanning 20 mortgage origination cycles, I cannot recall a single “soft landing” when origination market conditions gradually normalized, allowing management time to develop an effective response. It’s incumbent upon mortgage company leadership to think strategically and prepare a contingency plan, in advance of the inevitable downturn, rather than reacting under the pressure of negative origination market demands.” Don’t miss Babcock’s article in the January Insights Report!


DACA, and Lenders and Investors React to FHA Changes

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is now permitting individuals classified under the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program (DACA) with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS), and are legally permitted to work in the U.S. are eligible to apply for mortgages backed by the FHA. “Prior to today’s announcement, the FHA Single Family Housing Handbook (“Handbook 4000.1 Section II.A.1.b.ii(A)(9)(c) includes this statement: “Non-US citizens without lawful residency in the U.S. are not eligible for FHA-insured mortgages.” This language was incorporated into the FHA Handbook by the Obama Administration in September 2015 although it was first incorporated into FHA guidelines in 2003. The term ‘lawful residency’ pre-dates DACA and thus did not anticipate a situation in which a borrower might not have entered the country legally, but nevertheless be considered lawfully present… FHA is waiving the above referenced FHA Handbook subsection in its entirety.”

Flagstar Bank posted multiple Memo’s providing updated information on Home Possible, FHA, VA and USDA Appraisal Guidance, Employment Verification and Income, Flagstar’s reinstatement of FHA, VA and USDA Other Servicer Streamlined Refinances. Flagstar reinstated eligibility for Government other servicer refinances.

Ginnie Mae published APM 20-20, revising its definition of High Balance Loans as follows: Effective for issuances on or after January 1, 2021, a High Balance Loan is defined as a single-family forward mortgage loan with an original principal balance (minus the amount of any upfront mortgage insurance premium) that exceeds the {applicable FHFA conforming loan limit as defined in the APM}. AmeriHome accepts this change in the timeline provided by Ginnie Mae. Resources: There are no impacts to the FHA, VA, and USDA program guides which refers to FHFA loan limits in effect for determining whether a transaction is considered “high-balance” for loan product code and pricing purposes.

Wells Fargo Funding announced an effective date January 4, 2021 FHA forward loan limits and VA loan limits applicable to new FHA and VA Best Effort Locks and Mandatory Commitments at the 2021 loan limits.

Recall that prior to Congress and the President approving their own funding, lenders and investors had to pause. For example, during the USDA temporary funding lapse, mortgage loan transactions with a Conditional Commitment which reflects as “subject to the availability of commitment authority” remain eligible for purchase by AmeriHome.

Mountain West Financial told clients that effective January 1, FHA implemented a new version of its Technology Open to Approved Lenders (TOTAL) Mortgage Score card. All mortgages being scored for the first time will be scored using the new version. For mortgages with a case number, the Mortgages will be scored using the version that was effective when the case number was assigned. Existing Mortgages scored without a case number will be scored according to the version number tag that is provided in the TOTAL file by the Automated Underwriting System (US). If none, then the current version will be used.  All Mortgages without a case number will be scored using the new version 90 days after the new version is implemented.

Plaza Home Mortgage® updated its temporary credit policy to align with the recent FHA announcement. Details can be found in the Temporary Credit Policy document located in the Resource Center.

View the PRMG Product Profile Update 21-02 for information on Chenoa FHA Edge, FHA Rate Advantage and Chenoa FHA Edge.

FCM Wholesale posted Announcement 2021-1  regarding VA Collections/Charge-Offs.

Carrington Correspondent spread the word of big pricing improvements for FHA Streamlines & VA IRRRLs and Reduced LLPAs for Full Doc Hi & Lo FICO FHA & VA loans. Email Dianne Minor for more information. Carrington Correspondent’s YouTube Expert Insights highlights its 2021 Pricing and Process Improvement. Carrington is improving pricing and reducing some LLPAs on FHA & VA loans. Click here to review its guidelines.

PennyMac Correspondent Group 21-02: Extension of COVID-19 Flexibilities for All Programs and FHA INFO #20-85 and #20-93 and 20-83: Updates to Government LLPAs.

Flagstar is adding the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) as an eligible property location to the USDA Guaranteed Rural Housing (USDA-GRH) products.


Capital Markets

"Without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage," President Biden said at his inauguration. That is what I’m sure goes through Myrtle’s mind at 5:45AM when I still haven’t sent the commentary out and she is overdue for her Fancy Feast Lamb & Mutton breakfast. Investors greeted the Biden administration with enthusiasm yesterday, though Treasuries ended Wednesday flat and the MBS basis closed marginally tighter, thus improving in price slightly. The NAHB Housing Market Index fell to below expectations in January, down from the December reading.

After the inauguration yesterday, investors are already looking at the latest ECB’s latest policy decisions today and any clues from ECB head Lagarde’s press conference. The U.S. calendar is already underway with weekly jobless claim (-26k to 900k), December housing starts & building permits (strong: +5.8 and +4.5 percent, respectively), and Philadelphia manufacturing for January (“26.5,” a major increase). Redwood Trust announced $3.8 billion in locks in the 4th quarter, along with Q4 2020 financial results. Later this morning brings Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending January 21. Today’s Desk support sees a large schedule, targeting up to $7.8 billion, including over $6 billion UMBS30s. That is comprised of $3.292 billion UMBS30 1.5% and 2% and $2.856 billion 2% and 2.5%, in addition to $1.641 billion GNII 2% and 2.5%. The Desk will then report on MBS purchases for the week ending January 20 in the afternoon. We begin the day with the 5-year T-Note and Agency MBS prices worse/down .125 and the 10-year yielding 1.10 after closing yesterday at 1.09 percent after the solid housing numbers.

 

Employment and Transitions

Sierra Pacific Mortgage is excited to announce the hiring of Rob Saunders as its new VP, Divisional Sales Director for TPO. Saunders joins Sierra with over 20 years of experience in mortgage lending, most recently as Managing Director-West for a large wholesaler where he increased market share and organically built large, high producing teams throughout the Western U.S. Saunders is adept at big picture strategy and market share growth while also understanding the importance of detail. He also has an innate respect for the workflow and understanding of production’s role in optimizing efficiencies. Sierra Pacific Wholesale is actively recruiting AEs who want to be part of an organization where they have a voice and can make an impact. If you are in the Western U.S., please contact Rob Saunders; other states inquire at tposales@spmc.com. Learn more about Sierra Pacific Wholesale here.

AmeriHome Mortgage, the 3rd largest correspondent investor and 11th largest mortgage lender in the country, is hiring for several positions! AmeriHome’s Correspondent Division is looking for an AVP, Conditions ManagerPost Purchase SpecialistFVP, Correspondent Operations, and AVP, Pre Purchase Review Manager. Capital Markets is looking for a Transaction ManagerAmeriHome’s Consumer Direct Division is also looking for Sr. UnderwritersVP, Loan ProcessingSales Managers, and more! Positions are available in Southern California, Texas, and remote. Why choose AmeriHome? AmeriHome invests heavily in its employees and is proud of creating a culture that encourages upward mobility. One employee had this to say, "I truly feel that my work and contributions are utilized and valued as an AmeriHome employee. I am so proud and honored to have been promoted three times during my short time here at AmeriHome." Visit the careers page to view all open positions, and submit resumes to careers@amerihome.com to schedule an interview.

As the first month of a new year, January is a time for fresh starts, self-evaluation, and goal setting. As you think about improving your career, ask yourself three questions about your current employer: 1) Is your company not just financially stable but thriving? 2) Is leadership investing their time, energy, and resources into growing your business? 3) Does the culture inspire you to do more for your family and community? “At Academy Mortgage, the answer to all three of these questions is a resounding YES. Academy Mortgage is growing month over month at a record-breaking pace yet maintaining a laser-sharp focus on coaching and mentoring. Academy’s culture is a true differentiator in the industry as it is built on a vision to Inspire Hope, Deliver Dreams, and Build Prosperity. If you responded NO to any of the questions above, contact EVP of Production Patrick Welberg about joining Academy in 2021.”

“At PrimeLending, we pride ourselves on being prepared to pivot for our loan officers, customers and business partners — 2020 was proof of that. Through record-breaking volume, historically low interest rates and fierce competition, our team maintained the highest level of service, earning a 96% customer satisfaction rating, a 4.7 Google national star rating and pushing our Zillow 5-star reviews to nearly 18,000. That was possible thanks to our leading technology tools, like eClose, that made closing safer and simpler by going mostly digital. PrimeLending also continued to rank as a Great Place to Work® for Parents, Women and Millennials, and ranked #22 on Fortune’s® Best Workplaces in Financial Services and Insurance. While circumstances around us may change, our goals never do. We’re forward-thinking in all we do, allowing our loan officers to continue growing and succeeding. To discuss how PrimeLending can help propel your business, contact Nic Hartke.”

Nations Lending picked John Owens as VP of Strategic Growth to “play a critical role in driving production strategy, identifying growth opportunities and tapping into exceptional talent throughout the United States.”

SimpleNexus has tapped Richard Jackman as VP of Marketing, moving from VP of Marketing at Simplifile, the nation’s largest e-recording network, which was acquired by Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE) in 2019.