The Senate is set to vote this week on a bill by Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, that would revise several sections of the Dodd-Frank Act. Among the bill's provisions, it would raise the asset threshold for systemically important institutions from $50 billion to $250 billion, excluding many small- to mid-size banks. And while we’re talking about money, mortgage balances climbed 1.6%, or $139 billion, in the fourth quarter of 2017, and mortgage debt is up $402 billion from the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the latest data from the Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.


New Lender Products

Unison Home Ownership Investors and Valley National Bank announced the launch of the residential real estate industry’s first five percent down payment program in conjunction with an 80 percent LTV mortgage. “The buyer puts down five percent and Unison contributes 15 percent, giving the buyer the benefit of a 20 percent down payment and an 80 percent LTV mortgage. In return for the investment, Unison shares in the change in value of the home – up or down. If the home appreciates, Unison and the homeowner profit. If the home depreciates, both lose together. For the buyer this means no costly private mortgage insurance, lower monthly payments, increased purchasing power and the ability to keep more cash on hand.” The Unison/Valley program is currently available in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with plans for further regional expansion in 2018.  Unison’s programs are currently available in 14 other states and will be available in 35 states by year end.  Portfolio lenders interested in working with Unison should contact Raj Dosaj, Managing Director, or Jim Riccitelli.

Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions is now offering up to 90% LTV for debt consolidation.

Churchill Mortgage announced the launch of its Certified Homebuyer Program™ to improve how borrowers search for and purchase a home will offer borrowers the opportunity to be pre-underwritten for their mortgage. This initial step will allow those borrowers to effectively get ahead of other buyers and have the confidence that any qualified offer they make on a house will go through in the most efficient manner possible.  If you’re interested in learning more about Churchill’s Certified Homebuyer Program and what it means for borrowers in your area or to speak with the lender, please contact Jacob Hamilton.

Effective with submissions on or after February 26, 2018, Pacific Union is offering discounted LPMI in its Delegated Correspondent Channel. LPMI must be ordered through Pacific Union, therefore Delegated Correspondents may no longer order their own LPMI or suggest a Mortgage Insurance provider.

Effective immediately, WesLend’s Non-Conforming product offering is suspended until further notice. Any loans currently submitted to the investor will be processed, per normal policy. WesLend Non-Conforming loans in the pipeline that are not currently submitted to the investor must be reviewed for eligibility to other investors.

Upcoming Events and Training

Thursday, March 8th, Creating Engaging Social Media Videos, 12:00 PM PST – 1:00 PST, presented by Scott Weghorst of Diehl Mortgage Training and Compliance. Thursday, March 15th, Top 2018 Social Media Trends, 12:00 PM PST – 1:00 PM PST, Presented by Kristin Messerli of Cultural Outreach & Mortgage Women Magazine.

Franklin American Mortgage Wholesale published its March customer training calendar. March offers a variety of training opportunities such as “Mortgage Fraud”, “Avoiding Common Underwriting Errors”, “LinkedIn Strategies for Loan Officers”, “Top Media Trends” and “Home Possible:  Endless Possibilities.”

Learn how to review the Appraisal form 1073 in Plaza’s March 7th webinar. This class is designed to assist lenders in the review of condominiums as collateral.

Register for Plaza’s March 8th webinar on the Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation loan products. Learn how Plaza’s resources and tools can help simplify the renovation loan process.

Condos sales are expected to rise. Join Mountain West Financial for its March 15th webinar on assisting Borrower's in understanding what is required to be a Condo Owner.

Register for the 2018 Single-Family Rental Summit, March 19th-21st in Nashville to hear the market’s leading experts discuss how to evaluate non-traditional financing options, select the optimal financing vehicle for your portfolio, and implement new technologies in your financing strategy.

Capital Markets

Rates have gone up everywhere. The three-month US dollar London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) has passed 2% for the first time since 2008, and the spread against the overnight index swap rate has reached the widest point since 2009. Borrowing costs are likely to increase for banks and consumers, with high-yield bonds particularly affected.

Speaking of which, the Federal Reserve will introduce alternatives to the London Interbank Offered Rate on April 3 in the form of reference rates based on repurchase agreements backed by Treasury securities. The Treasury Department has aided development of the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, the Broad General Collateral Rate and the Triparty General Collateral Rate.

Looking at the bond markets, and therefore rates, we had a selloff Friday with the long bond reversing Thursday’s entire improvement. The volatile week ended with slim gains for 10s and 30s (the 10-year ended the week yielding 2.86%) while 2s and 5s ended the week in negative territory. Volumes were very low due to northeasterners heading for an early departure given the weather. The 10-year note worsened nearly .5 in price while the 5-year Treasury and agency MBS prices worsened about .250.

This week is filled with scheduled economic news. The press is talking about the general election in Italy and SPD coalition vote results in Germany – neither of which moved rates. Today in the U.S. we have some secondary items with Markit Services PMI and February ISM Nonmanufacturing PMI. Tuesday we’ll have January Factory Orders, and Wednesday we’ll have the weekly MBA Mortgage Index, February ADP Employment Change, Q4 Productivity and Unit Labor Costs, and January’s Trade Balance. Thursday we can look forward to weekly Initial Jobless Claims, and Friday is all the February employment data. We start the week with rates down from Friday’s close: the 10-year’s at 2.83% and agency MBS prices are better by .125-.250.

Jobs and Products

While originators fret over the concern of the Rocket Mortgages of the world taking over the origination market, LendGenuity is very excited to announce the national roll out of its fully automated web-based origination platform supported by outside originators. “The LendGenuity technology platform coupled with amazing consumer direct marketing and aggressive pricing makes the value proposition to the customer as well as originator extremely compelling” states Nelson Haws, President and CEO of LendGenuity. LendGenuity is scaling nationally very quickly and is looking for top production leadership and origination talent to support the growth model. Please contact Mr. Haws for more information.

Town & Country Credit Union, (11 branches in North Dakota, $400MM+ in assets), is seeking an SVP, Mortgage, who will report to the CEO. The SVP will lead our mortgage line of business, which holds a key strategic focus and is producing over $200MM in loans annually. The position will require the ability to balance strategy and execution to attain desired business growth with a team of originators, underwriters and operations staff. Experience in mortgage loan servicing is a plus. Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, and a proven ability to attract, retain and develop a strong sales force required. Relocation assistance available. Apply here or contact Mikki Kremer with questions.

A Denver-based retail mortgage banker is seeking a processing/closing manager to be part of its corporate team. “Megastar is a successful 19 year, FNMA/FHLMC/GNMA seller-servicer with amazing technology and an excellent reputation for service. This position will Monitor pipelines against service level agreements and key performance indicators, coach and train Loan Processors and Closer to ensure compliance with internal procedures and on existing, new and changed federal and state regulations. Ensure overall quality and integrity of loan files while maintaining quality customer service. Minimum 5-year Management of processing and training experience required along with expert level knowledge of federal, state, and regulatory guidelines. Qualified applicants can contact Noel McGarvey, SVP Operations.

Freddie Mac is Reimagining the Mortgage Experience to create a smarter, simpler, and less costly origination process. We’re using big data and advanced analytics to offer our automated collateral evaluation (ACE) -- allowing you to underwrite certain loans without an appraisal – speeding up and lowering the cost of an origination. Available exclusively through Loan Product Advisor®, ACE can help you shave 7-10 days off the time it takes for loans to close and save your borrowers $300 to $700 on the appraisal fee (Source: Freddie Mac lender feedback). Loans that are eligible for ACE can also receive immediate certainty on relief for representations and warranties related to the property’s value, condition and marketability. Ready to save your borrowers time and money? Visit the Loan Advisor Suite web page or talk to your Freddie Mac account executive to learn how to get started.

Seats are filling up fast and registration is closing soon for the Sales Momentum Workshops that kick off next week in California and make their way to 10 cities across the country. “I’m excited about these workshops because you will walk away with some key takeaways to sell more effectively in light of rising interest rates, low housing inventory and the new tax law,” says Gibran Nicholas, who is the keynote speaker and CEO of CMPS Institute. This is also a great opportunity for industry vendors to come out and learn about the key challenges facing their customers right now and how their product could help. “This workshop is designed for mortgage and housing professionals and anyone who sells to mortgage and housing professionals because we’ll be showing you how to transform some key market challenges into market opportunities,” says Gibran. Click here to watch a 3-minute video and sign up. Vendors and branch managers can click here to inquire about group registrations.