What am I hearing out there? I am hearing, not officially, that wholesale reps are having trouble drumming up business from brokers. Production estimates for 2011 are down 30% from 2010's levels, but applications are holding in pretty well - maybe loans are coming in through retail channels. In fact the MBA reported that apps rose 2.7% last week, with refi's accounting for almost 67% of applications. The ARM share is almost up to 6%. MND says fencesitters aren't responding to modest rate improvements: FULL STORY

This is not mortgage related. But if you've never seen a live shot of an eagle on a nest, and need 60 seconds of quiet time in the middle of your day (sorry about the ad - not my doing): MoreFunThanCompChatter (No guarantees of it doing much!

Ok, back to mortgages. If you have questions regarding LO licensing, this is a good place to start your search for an answer: NMLSQ&A

"Money isn't everything. But it sure keeps the kids in touch." Regardless of the fee income from the reverse mortgage origination business, no one wants to run the risk of the Gray Panthers or AARP picketing their office during the Channel 5 news. Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and now Financial Freedom have ended that channel. "Financial Freedom Acquisition, a subsidiary of OneWest Bank...we have decided to exit the wholesale reverse mortgage origination business based on the regulatory environment and the desire to focus on the bank's core businesses. The wholesale reverse mortgage origination channel represents the majority of Financial Freedom's origination business and is the only wholesale origination channel within OneWest. As a result of exiting wholesale, Financial Freedom's retail reverse mortgage origination channel is also closing due to our limited presence and scale in retail alone."

Monday I noted that a few folks in the media have called for an immediate government withdrawal from the mortgage biz. I received some e-mails. "When was the last time Steve Forbes applied for a mortgage loan?  I have been in the business since 1982, when the prime lending rate was 22%, and I can tell you that if the buyer put down 20%, it was because they had a "gift" from family, or had just sold their past residence and had profit toward the new purchase. 10% down was more common, and MI was necessary; underwriting standards from Freddie and Fannie were very tight.  People seem to forget that prior to FNMA/FHLMC there were no standard underwriting guidelines."

Another wrote, "People should not forget that the US Government, through HUD, trying to increase lending through lower standards, was instrumental in the credit crisis. It was not necessarily the fault of the agencies trying to maintain market share. The GSE's gave liquidity to the markets, banks were able to sell their mortgages, and money moved around the system.  It is misleading to try to blame FHMA/FHLMC for other investors moving down the credit curve and into subprime. I don't recall the 2/28 loan, the NINA, 100% (or above) financing being a Fannie/Freddie idea."

And on the comp issue: "Implementation of the comp rule keeps getting more and more convoluted and complex and is mostly unnecessary.  Logically, the only information a consumer needs to determine the best offer is the rate and the closing costs for a given loan.  All this additional information only clouds the important factors from getting to the consumer. If over-charging is really an issue, which is debatable and ill-defined, simply putting a limit on it would have accomplished it.  If disclosing revenue was so important why don't banks, which do the lion's share of loans, do it?"

Speaking of compensation, Wells Fargo's brokers received a handy two page chart showing the differentiation between the two compensation plans, lender-paid and consumer-paid. In addition, its brokers also received a reminder that the current GFE will not be changing, however "the way we input information and review the GFE will change for loans submitted after the 25th. In Block 1, Broker's Compensation Paid by Lender, don't forget to include your Tier incentive/hit. Your broker-owner will need to provide you the level selected for Wells Fargo." And so forth. "Effective March 25, Wells Fargo will only accept the Wells Fargo Fee detail with loan submissions." Wells brokers also received updates on S.A.F.E. changes, updates & reminders, the calendar for the next three months for FHA Streamline purchase dates, a revised policy for FHA refinance transactions, and a reminder of the increase in Annual Mortgage Insurance Premiums (Paid Monthly) for FHA Loans starting 4/18.

US Bank's wholesale division reminded brokers of Reg. Z and comp training yesterday, today, tomorrow, and next week. The call-in number for all the sessions is 800-370-8105. For USB's California region, the training call is today at 1PM PST, Conference ID 53665179; or tomorrow at 9AM PST, Conference ID 53666144. For its Mid-Central region the call is also today, 8:30AM CST, Conference ID 53662235. For the Southeast region, the call is today at 2PM EST, Conference ID 53662723. In the Northeast, the call is tomorrow at 9:30AM EST, Conference ID 53665836. "There will be additional sessions on Tuesday, March 29, 10:00 AM CT  Conference ID 53666599, and Wednesday, March 30, 3:00 PM CT Conference ID 53667049. Materials for the training course will be posted on the 'SellUs" website under 'Regulation Z changes/broker comp.'"

US Banks's Consumer Finance Division(portfolio product) has comp information available at its website: USB.  As of now, the LPC will be 1.5% (subject to change), but brokers should note  that with this division the broker is responsible for compliance with all federal and state laws so it is not requiring copies of compensation plans for LO's nor is USB having the brokers sign a new agreement. (This should allow USB's Consumer Finance Divison more flexibility to make changes.) Brokers can select on a loan by loan basis whether they want LPC or BPC.

SunTrust has a new fellow running its mortgage business: Jerome Lienhard. For the full story go to: SunTrustMortgage.

Parkside Lending, a wholesaler in San Francisco, sent its brokers news that it has "updated its "Certification of Receipt of GFE and Intent to Proceed" and "TBD Certification" forms to comprise the Regulation Z amendments which go into effect on April 1, 2011. In language only a broker would love, "The "RESPA and TILA Disclosure" form will replace the existing "Certification of Receipt of GFE and Intent to Proceed" form. The "TBD RESPA and TILA Disclosure" form will replace the existing "TBD Certification" form. The revised applicable form must be included with loan submissions on or after April 1, 2011 in order to avoid delays during the registration process."

Kinecta Federal Credit Union is also offering a training session for its Midwest Central States Region today starting at 10:30AM. It is online via Webex, and brokers can RSVP at 1.800.854.4600 or wholesale.kinecta.org. Kinecta also got the word out to its clients that it will no longer generate a new credit report at time of loan submission, and "will accept credit reports from all Fannie Mae approved credit vendors. All credit supplements and credit re-pulls must be provided to Kinecta, if required. A new credit report will be required in instances where the original credit report has expired."

Bank of Internet sent word out that under the Lender Paid compensation model, BoI "will pay a predetermined amount of compensation to the Loan Originator which may not vary. Compensation will be paid as a percentage of the principal loan amount. The LO will not be permitted to credit or reduce any portion of their compensation to the borrower, nor may they offer any other form of additional credits, concessions or incentives.  Please keep in mind, once selected, the Lender Paid compensation plan will be applied to all branches of each wholesale customer. It is not permissible to have multiple compensation plans for different branches." BoI sent out a Lender Paid template for brokers to use to figure out "the compensation option your organization would like to be placed on for the coming calendar quarter, April 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011."

Fifth Third told its brokers that under the Lender Paid Compensation option, "We have added two new pricing options based on broker feedback. The Lender Paid compensation now has 7 (bp) options: 100, 125, 150, 175, 200, 225 & 250... If you choose to submit a GFE without prior GFE worksheet review/approval, please note that GFE's will be rejected if deficiencies are identified. Common rejection reasons will include, and not limited to: Incorrect compensation amount for lender paid comp Owners' title not disclosed on Purchase loans Incorrect appraisal fees per the appraisal matrix found on wholesale connect Incorrect/low transfer tax fees
5 3 also reminded brokers of its float-down policy which has been in place for nine months, but with the new twists caused by the Reg. Z changes. For precise details consult the bulletin.

Pinnacle Capital, with guidelines available on www.pcmloan.com, updates its Fannie HomePath program identification, updated its VA, FHA, and jumbo underwriting criteria, and clarified some information on its standard and enhanced DU Refi Plus loans (noting the extension).

Mountain West mimicked Wells Fargo's announcement regarding the revised flip policy. "Mountain West Financial is pleased to offer once again, FHA transactions involving properties acquired and sold within 90 days of sellers' acquisition. Mountain West Financial will be adhering to HUD's waiver of the 90-day flipping rule which requires the following:  All cases in which the sales price of the property is 20 percent or more over and above the seller's acquisition cost will require (2) full appraisals.  The appraisals must be ordered through MWF's appraisal department via the company's approved FHA appraiser roster."

The markets were relatively tame yesterday following some Treasury-induced volatility Monday. The volume of MBS sales went back down below recent averages, the yield on the 10-yr was stuck around 3.33%, and MBS prices ended the day worse by about .125. Overall the $10 billion per month is seen as manageable, helped in part by limited mortgage banker supply that is averaging around $1.5 billion per day.

Looking forward to retirement?

Question:  How many days in a week?  Answer: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday
Question:  When is a retiree's bedtime?  Answer: Three hours after he falls asleep on the couch.
Question:  How many retirees to change a light bulb?  Answer: Only one, but it might take all day.
Question:  What's the biggest gripe of retirees?  Answer: There is not enough time to get everything done.
Question:  Why don't retirees mind being called "Seniors"?  Answer: The term comes with a 10% discount.
Question:  Among retirees what is considered formal attire?  Answer: Tied shoes