“If you work hard and go the extra mile to provide for your family…I will take that extra income and give it to those who refuse to do the same!” Was that heard on the campaign trail? I don’t know. But it is making the rounds. And don’t forget that tomorrow is April’s Fools Day – be careful what you believe in daily commentaries.

The Financial Times reported that client-reporting failure has cost big banks $43B since 2009. "The world's largest investment banks have been fined $43 billion during the past seven years for customer-reporting failure, according to Corlytics." That is a lot of money. Something else that has cost a lot of money is bank failures. Fortunately, the number of failed banks peaked in 2010 and has been coming down ever since: 2008=25, 2009=140, 2010=157, 2011=92, 2012=51, 2013=24, 2014=18, 2015=8.

FDIC lawsuits regarding those failures, with a two-year lag being typical, peaked a few years later: 2010 2, 2011 16, 2012 26, 2013 40, 2014 21, 2015 3. Many of those suits have been settled, but the cost has been steep. Not including legal fees, the amount as totaled over $675 million.

Small banks often try to become big banks, and many opt to acquire or merge rather than grow their assets organically - if there is a cultural fit! But things may be quieting down: S&P Global Market Intelligence reports as of March 15 there were 47 bank and thrift transactions vs. 85 in Q4 of 2015 and 67 in Q1, or about 45% and 30% lower, respectively.

Just in the last week, however, it was announced that in Michigan The State Bank ($444) will acquire Community State Bank ($196mm) for about $21.6mm in cash (100%). In Illinois Morton Community Bank ($3.1B) will acquire the parent company of Illini Bank ($285mm) and Farmers State Bank of Camp Point ($49mm). In nearby Ohio First State Bank ($370mm) will acquire First Safety Bank ($49mm). The holding company of CBI Bank & Trust ($491mm, IA) and Farmers & Mechanics Bank ($297mm, IL) will acquire Brimfield Bank ($47mm, IL). Northwest Bank ($9.0B, PA) will acquire employee benefits and property casualty insurance firm Best Insurance Agency (PA). In West Virginia, Mountain Mama, First Sentry Bank ($508mm) will acquire Rock Branch Community Bank ($75mm) for about $7.4mm in cash and stock. And First State Bank ($366mm, NE) will acquire Farmers State Bank ($50mm, NE).

Wells Fargo Economics Group: It Happens Every Cycle. What's that Wells Fargo? You say underwriting standards have eased over the last three years? "....there has been a steady rise in the percentage of banks that have eased underwriting standards, while there has been a continued decline in the percentage of banks that have tightened credit."

Regulators are not big fans of entities that they can't regulate. Peer-to-peer lending is on the rise. This much talked-about cottage industry has been moving into traditional lending space over the last few years and has created its own arbitrage opportunities. This P2P platform has become so popular abroad, even China's marketplace is booming....so, China being China, is cracking down on it. The last week of 2015 saw China's banking regulator laying out plans to restrict thousands of online peer-to-peer lenders, pledging to "cleanse the market" as failed platforms and suspected frauds highlight risks. Bloomberg writes, "The thrust of the CBRC's approach is that the platforms are intermediaries -- matchmakers between borrowers and lenders -- that shouldn't themselves raise or lend money. It rules out P2P sites distributing wealth-management products, a tactic that some hoped would diversify their revenue sources, and limits their use for crowd funding."

And while we're on banks, credit quality has been mixed. According to the American Bankers Association's Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin, delinquency in closed-end loans increased in the third quarter of 2015. Delinquencies slightly rose in six of the eleven individual categories.  The composite ratio, which tracks delinquencies in eight closed-end categories, grew 5 basis points to 1.41 percent in Q3 2015. The rise in closed-end loan delinquency can be attributed to slow job and income growth. Home equity line delinquencies dropped 3 basis points to 1.3 percent and property improvement delinquencies fell 4 basis points to 0.87 percent. Bank card delinquencies increased two basis points to 2.54 percent, while personal loan delinquencies rose to 1.52 percent from 1.41 percent.

The Federal Reserve's FedCommunities.org web site has been updated with easy access to the growing number of Fed resources related to community development across the country. Updates include new video, research, data, publications and webinars pertinent to the topics of housing and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Available information topics such as the upcoming 2016 National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference, which will be held Feb. 7-10, 2016, in Los Angeles.

Additional resources covering housing and CRA include: The Community Development Data Inventory, compiled by the Philadelphia Fed, The Kansas City Fed's "CRA OneSource" site that which includes CRA tools, templates, guides and webinars. The St. Louis Fed's Housing Market Conditions report, which provides a quarterly snapshot of conditions in the U.S. and in the Eighth District states. These are just a few of the hundreds of online community development resources that are updated frequently by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and its 12 regional Reserve banks, and made easily accessible via the FedCommunities.org centralized website.

By now most of the smart money is betting that the Fed is not going to do anything regarding short-term rates for quite some time in spite of the U.S. economy doing pretty well. (Of course plenty of folks think our economy is dragging.) The U.S. yield curve steepened very sharply Wednesday as the ADP employment change was roughly in line with estimates and the $28 billion 7-year Treasury auction went well.

This morning we've had all the scheduled news we're going to have ahead of tomorrow's unemployment data. The March Challenger Job Cuts showed a 31% increase year over year. And Initial Jobless Claims for the week ending 3/26 showed +11k to 276k, topping forecasts. We closed Wednesday with the 10-year sitting at 1.83% and this morning it is hovering around 1.84% with agency MBS prices worse a smidge.

Jobs and Announcements

Wells Fargo Securities is searching for a Senior Credit Officer to join its team supporting the Mortgage Bankers Finance Group line of business in Charlotte, NC. The ideal candidate will have experience as a Credit Officer and in Asset Backed Lending. The primary focus will be mortgage origination, finance (loan origination process, risks associated with various loan types, warehouse lending and structuring, securitization, etc.). Resumes may be submitted via www.wellsfargo.com/careers, Job ID 5166937, or emailed directly to Denise Olis.

Indiana's Ruoff Home Mortgage in house in the next year. The company is projecting production will exceed $1 billion in 2016. Confidential inquires can be submitted to Human Resources Manager Diana de Carranza (260.497.0800).

Academy Mortgage's North Central Region is under new management with Brian Boyles as Regional Manager. Boyles will be responsible for directing Academy's sales, recruiting, market expansion, and business development in Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota. "Boyles has more than 20 years of experience in community and regional banking and brings to Academy a vast knowledge of all the elements of a successful mortgage banking operation, including managing production and operations and overseeing product, pricing, secondary, and post-closing functions. His focus is to grow Academy profitably, drive quality, build relationships, and carry Academy's vision forward throughout the Midwest." Contact Brian Boyles or National Recruiting Manager John Owens to join Academy, one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country as ranked in the 2015 CoreLogic Marketrac Report.

"Richey May & Co., the leading public accounting firm serving the mortgage industry, will be hosting their 7th annual Mortgage Banking Roundtable on June 8th in Denver, CO. The Roundtable is designed to facilitate peer-to-peer discussion among CEOs and presidents of independent mortgage banking companies from around the country on the most current topics and trends affecting the industry. This year's event features Anthony Hsiehfounder and CEO of loanDepot, as the keynote speaker and Bethany McLean, author of Shaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants and contributing editor at Vanity Fair, as the lunch speaker." For more information and to register for the event, please contact Dustin Pfluger.

PRMG is proud to announce the addition of Deborah Goguen as Wholesale Regional Manager for the Mid-Atlantic Region.  In her new position as a PRMG Wholesale Regional Manager, Deborah will be reporting directly to James Matarazzo, Regional Vice President, Eastern U.S. Territory and will be focusing on the strengthening, broadening and acclimating of our wholesale sales teams within the Mid-Atlantic Region.  Deborah is a 30-year veteranof the mortgage industry with a strong emphasis on the entrepreneurial vision, relationship-building skills to grow market share and revitalizing sales and operations.  Along with an extensive background in leading successful teams, she is recognized for sound fiscal and operational management, strategic partnerships resulting in enhanced profitability, reduced costs and optimized shareholder value, making her an ideal leader to further establish PRMG's Wholesale Mid-Atlantic Region.

Walter Investment Management's Ditech Financial LLC announced that Steve Stein has been hired as head of the company's Correspondent Lending Division. Steve comes over from CoreLogic; prior to that he was with Ally Financial/GMAC Mortgage Washington Mutual Bank, and CitiMortgage. "Stein will look to drive Consumer Lending's originations goals by developing plans for long-term profitable growth and increased levels of customer satisfaction throughout all customer contact points including online, direct marketing, telesales and retention channels."

And in corporate moves, "Who said moving office buildings with several hundred associates can't go smoothly? Motive Lending officially touched down at its new corporate headquarters located at 6 Hutton Centre Drive in Santa Ana, CA earlier this week. "The move was strenuous but our team pulled it together and made it happen without a glitch. The first day at our new office turned out to be our 2nd largest loan submission day in company history.  All kinds of records are going to be broken in March." said EVP Cory Tona.