Besides containing Valentine's Day, and Lincoln's & Washington's birthdays, February is Black (African-American) History month. It has been around since 1926, and the Census Bureau tells us that, "The reference to the black population is to single-race blacks ('black alone') except when it considers 'Population.' There the reference is to black alone or in combination with other races; in other words, a reference to respondents who said they were one race (black) or more than one race (black plus other races)." There are roughly 44 million blacks, either alone or in combination with one or more other races, up 1.6% from 2010. New York has the most blacks with 3.7 million, and the District of Columbia has the highest percentage of blacks (52.2 percent), followed by Mississippi (38.0 percent). Per the Census Bureau, "The black population in Cook, Ill., which had the largest black population of any county in 2011, is 1.3 million. Holmes, Miss., was the county with the highest percentage of blacks in the nation (83%). 82.5% of blacks 25 and older had a high school diploma or higher in 2011, and 18.4% of blacks 25 and older who had a bachelor's degree or higher in 2011."

On the jobs front, Impac Mortgage is opening and staffing up a flagship retail branch location in the heart of Los Angeles, off Beverly Drive and La Cienega Blvd. This location is uniquely positioned to support the jumbo loan market and offers open positions including Branch Manager and Retail Loan Officers. Additionally, Impac is looking for retail loan officers in the following states: CA, OR, ID, WA, NV, GA. Interested and licensed candidates should submit resumes to or call (877) 642-5753.  Additional opportunities are also available for loan funders, closers, underwriters and doc drawers, in Impac's new operations center in Salt Lake City, UT. For all open positions, applicants can read more and apply at Impac's Utah career page above and to learn more about Impac Mortgage, check out Forbes.

W.J. Bradley Mortgage Capital is seeking a Regional Sales Manager for CO, UT, and WA, a Regional Manager for Northern California, and a Regional Recruiter for the Mountain States. W.J. Bradley Mortgage Capital is headquartered in Centennial, Colorado with centralized fulfillment operations in Salt Lake City - for more information on it visit The RSM will oversee the production and growth of the 3-state region consisting of 10+ branches with the responsibility of doubling production in the next 12 months. The RSM is responsible for recruiting, business planning, productivity and profitability, personnel management and marketing. (Send inquires direct to Rick Long: rick.long@wjbradley .com.) The Regional Manager is responsible for recruiting into 15+ existing branches in Northern California with 100% focus on Loan Officers, Teams and Branches.  Lastly, the Regional Recruiter is responsible for recruiting into 10+ existing branches in the Mountain Region with 100% focus on Loan Officers, Teams and Branches.  Office location is WJB Headquarters. Send confidential inquires to Peter Tenfjord at peter.tenfjord@wjbradley .com.

And the discussion of mortgage lender versus Realtor political participation continues. Julie P. writes, "Rob, I'd love to encourage all of my fellow mortgage bankers to donate to MBA's MORPAC.  As stated, the realtors have a large PAC and the individual realtors participate annually in the NAR PAC.  We have limited individual participation in the MBA PAC (MORPAC) and every dollar will help with our lobbying initiatives.  At no time in my 35+ years in the industry have I felt more strongly about being an active participant on Capitol Hill with my money.  The MORPAC annual report just came out and is posted on the"

And here's something that Realtors have been telling me for many months: houses for sale are few and far between. (Beware any company looking to substitute refi's with purchases - there aren't enough to go around!) Here is Bloomberg's take.

Having to pony up $90 million would put a damper on things - unless you've already reserved for it (or more). Flagstar received that news yesterday regarding its Assured lawsuit.

This morning we learned the MBA's application numbers, reflecting activity for last week after polling 75% of retail originations, were +3.4%. Both refis and purchases were up slightly after a drop of 8.1% the prior week. Refis are down to 78% of total retail applications.

The hot hand in the industry seems to be in the commercial and multi-family sectors: originations were up 49% in the 4th quarter of 2012!. And the MBA thinks 2013 will continue to be rosy, up 11%: With $429 billion in U.S. master and primary servicing as of December 31, 2012, Wells Fargo remains at the top of the commercial and multifamily mortgage servicers ranking released by the MBA. Nipping on Wells' heels (well, not really) are PNC Real Estate/Midland Loan Services with $338 billion, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC with $197 billion, Bank of America Merrill Lynch with $112 billion, and KeyBank Real Estate Capital with $101 billion. In 2012, PNC/Midland closed 36,848 loans with an average size of $9.2 million, while Wells Fargo closed 35,215 loans with an average size of $12.2 million.

For more lender, training, and agency news...

Do mortgage companies advertise during the Super Bowl? Sure they do - in the Northwest HomeStreet did.

In training and events news, February 14th has all kinds of things going on - surprising so many spouses would let their significant others focus on mortgage banking!

Don't forget the Texas MBA event next Wednesday and Thursday - I'll be wandering around the halls, and will moderate a panel on the CFPB with some top-notch talent: Garry Cipponeri, SVP and Director of Capital Markets at Chase, Michael Fratantoni VP of Single-Family Research and Policy Development at the MBA, and David Motley - President of Colonial Savings. (How'd I end up with that great group??) For more information go to

Meet Me in St. Louis! Unfortunately neither I nor Judy Garland will be there on February 14th, but the St. Louis Mortgage Bankers scheduled a meeting on Valentine's Day. "We are looking forward to a great presentation by Attorney and Author Mitchel Kider. Mitch will be covering the latest regulatory and compliance information coming from the CFPB. More information can be found at:

If you're in New Mexico on the 14th, the New Mexico mortgage folks are having lunch with the governor and his wife.

MGIC has released its February webinar calendar, which features events on processing applications (February 14th), evaluating income and assets (February 20th), appraisals (February 21st), and the AGI and SAM methods for evaluating self-employed borrowers (dates range from February 14th to 21st).  All of the above cost $10, while MGIC is also offering free training on CFPB examinations (February 6th), realtor relationships (February 8th), and MI basics (February 19th).  For registration links, contact MGIC directly.

The National Association of Realtors will be presenting a panel on affordable housing policy in the wake of the recession today in Washington, DC.  In addition to a discussion of the difficulties surrounding the tightened credit market, the program will include the release of Habitat for Humanity's 2013 Shelter Report.  To find out more and to register, contact


In conjunction with the Colorado Bankers Association, the Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association will be holding a discussion as part of its Joint Breakfast Series on the effects of the final Dodd-Frank rules in Denver on February 13th.  QM, QRM, LO compensation, and servicing are all on the agenda.  Registration links can be accessed here.

The Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association will be holding its annual Capitol Day in Denver on February 19th, an event that will allow attendees to meet state legislators, visit the House and Senate floors, and get a firsthand look at upcoming mortgage industry legislation.  CMLA members can register here.

The 2013 Mortgage Tech Summit will take place on February 28th and March 1st in Santa Ana, CA, with a focus on the attraction, conversion, execution, and retention stages of workflow as they pertain to tech.  For more information and to register, go here.

On March 11th, the California Mortgage Bankers Association will be presenting a symposium on recent CFPB activity in San Francisco, CA.  The program will feature a solid panel of compliance and legal experts from firms across the country.  Interested parties can register here.

For those looking down the road, the Oklahoma Mortgage Bankers Association will be hosting its annual conference in Oklahoma City on April 8th and 9th.  Watch this space for updates.

The FHA has announced plans to revise its procedures for underwriting loans where the borrower has a decision credit score below 620 and DTI over 43, which will have to be underwritten manually.  In cases where the TOTAL scorecard issues an Accept recommendation, the loan must still be manually downgraded to a Refer scoring recommendation.  This will apply to all case numbers assigned on or after April 1st.

Three months after Hurricane Sandy, the FHA has extended the foreclosure moratorium for transactions in Presidentially-Declared Major Disaster Areas.  HUD requires a moratorium for a period of at least 90 days in such instances; for now, the moratorium has been extended for an additional 90 days in all counties declared by FEMA to be eligible for individual assistance.

And as the industry knows by now, effective for all case numbers assigned after June 3rd, the FHA will revise the period for assessing annual mortgage insurance premiums, remove the exemption from the annual MIP for loans with terms of 15 years or less and LTVs under 78 at the time of origination, and increase the MIP on all forward mortgages apart from single-family forward streamline refinances of FHA loans endorsed on or before May 31, 2009.  The annual MIP increase will be effective for all case numbers assigned on or after April 1st.

I don't pretend to track all the house price indices, but we received yet another yesterday, this time from CoreLogic. It reported that home prices rose in December from November by 8.3%, and was the tenth monthly gain and the largest increase since May of 2006. "We are heading into 2013 with home prices on the rebound," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "The upward trend in home prices in 2012 was broad based with 46 of 50 states registering gains for the year. All signals point to a continued improvement in the fundamentals underpinning the U.S. housing market recovery."

Despite a little volatility thanks to political rumblings in Europe, 10-yr yields are right back where we went into Non-Farm Payroll last Friday (about 2%). The market is clearly looking for something to determine our next direction but traders say we're in a bit of a no-man's-land here after NFP provided little direction and we're still almost a month out from the next political hurdle in DC. After the dust settled Tuesday, Treasuries sold off with 10-year notes losing over .250 of price and the yield increasing to 2.01%. Thomson Reuters reports that "despite the backup to the 2.0 percent area, the MBS market was generally well-behaved in terms of both originator supply, which totaled $2.0 billion, and fast money selling." Prices on 30-year FNMAs were lower/worse by .250.

(I am heading to Hollywood, Florida from the west coast this morning, so it is a little early for a market update. But the 10-yr. seems slightly better with its yield down to 1.97%, so perhaps MBS prices will also be slightly improved.)

Here's a little Realtor humor.