Besides wind surfers, sailors, wind farmers, and odd people who chase tornadoes, there aren't many people who like the wind. But this map of wind in the U.S. is pretty neat. It has nothing to do with real estate or mortgage banking.
What is of more interest are a couple job listings in different parts of the country. In Redlands, CA, Mountain West Financial, a retail/TPO mortgage banker, is looking for a VP of Operationswith experience in loan setup, disclosure, appraisal, processing, doc prep, funding, shipping, insuring. The person must have experience in managing and leading these separate teams and departments in a coordinated, professional manner and either live in Southern California or be prepared to relocate. MWF founded in 1990 is a Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie approved seller servicer building its servicing portfolio. Resumes should be sent to Marie.Castro@mwfinc.com.
And in Kansas, Peoples Bank is searching for an Accounting Manager who will report directly to the CFO. The person will manage accounting and cost allocations processes, supervise accounting personnel by managing routine accounting and clerical duties in the accounting department including but not limited to posting to the general ledger, review internal records, reconcile accounts, and perform accounts payable duties. The candidate should have an accounting or finance degree or equivalent experience in accounting and finance, a minimum two years of mortgage branch accounting, and so on. For a complete job description, or to send resumes, contact Glenda Eidson at email@example.com.
"Rob - your April fool's edition was very funny - is there any way you could do that every day rather than print reality? But what is not so funny is the Ewarehouse 'scam' you've alluded to in previous commentaries. We were duped as well by the promise of a warehouse line with this 'outfit'. After a lot of stalling and posturing by Ewarehouse One we have come to the conclusion that we are not going to be finalizing our warehouse line. All this after we received a written commitment as well as final documents. Needless to say we are kissing our $1,000 application fee goodbye even though they did promise to return it: lots of promises with this bunch but NO follow through. It seems a little foolish now, not to have checked them out more than we did but we were desperate for another line at the time and the banks were taking over a month. Ewarehouse promised approval in 2 weeks and lower rates. It was too good to be true I know that now. I am sorry to hear that some of your readers were taken advantage of as well. I am also concerned about the personal and business information the company and myself has provided to these people. I urge your readers to contact the FBI if they have been a victim of this company. That is what we will be doing. Hopefully no one else will waste their time and money with these people." I am sorry to hear that, and thank you for the note.
My 89-year old Dad is fond of exclaiming, "Christ Almighty!" when some subject surprises him. This might fall into that category: The Financial Times reports that AIG, the insurance group that survived with the help of a $182 billion bailout from the US government in 2008 after disastrous bets on the mortgage market, is "exploring a way of ramping up its activity in the sector once again by buying home loans." Whether it is Aurora, Impac, WAMU...some names just don't go away. "We're now thinking about maybe we should try to find a way to buy the mortgages that we're insuring," said Robert Benmosche, AIG chief executive. "AIG would use underwriting tools developed by one of the group's subsidiaries, United Guaranty Corp, a mortgage insurer, to facilitate investments by other units of the company. UGC, like other mortgage insurers, is still weighed down by obligations on low-quality home loans written before 2008. But it has updated its underwriting procedures with 17 new criteria, including reviewing each loan directly rather than relying on representations by lenders." That being said, UG is indeed profitable and increasing MI market share, and AIG is coming closer to being clear of its obligations to the government.
For Friday afternoon bank closings, in the Great Lakes area, Fidelity Bank (MI) was closed, and the FDIC found The Huntington National Bank (OH) to assume all of the deposits. The FDIC does many other things besides close banks on Friday afternoons, helping to ensure the safety of our banking system. As receiver for a failed financial institution, the FDIC may sue professionals who played a role in the failure of the institution in order to maximize recoveries.
The FDIC extended, until April 30, the comment period on a proposal to implement the requirements in Section 165 of the Dodd-Frank bill to require state, non-member banks and savings associations with more than $10 billion in consolidated assets to conduct annual stress tests. Things become complicated in dealing with institutions this size - details here.
The FDIC is also looking at leveraged lending activities. To me any mortgage is a leveraged lending activity, in which case this is a big deal, but residential mortgages may not be included. "The proposed guidance outlines high-level principles related to safe and sound leveraged lending activities, including underwriting considerations, assessing and documenting enterprise value, risk management expectations for credits awaiting distribution, stress testing expectations and portfolio management, and risk management expectations. This proposed guidance would apply to all Federal Reserve-supervised, FDIC-supervised, and OCC-supervised financial institutions substantively engaged in leveraged lending activities".
The government certainly cares about real estate and mortgage lending. As an example, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper will speak at the 21st Annual Rocky Mountain Mortgage Lenders Expo Scheduled for this Thursday. The Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association is hosting the event at the Marriott Denver Tech Center, expected to attract over a thousand mortgage professionals - quite the regional event! For more information on the exposition, go to www.CMLA.com and click on the EXPO link.
And coming up in early May is the MBA's National Secondary Conference in New York (http://events.mortgagebankers.org/secondary2012/default.html) and the Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association's conference from May 14-16 in Columbus. For more information go to http://www.ohiomba.org/. In Maryland the MMBA's Annual Conference takes place on Thursday, May 10: www.mdmba.org/.
There is a rumor floating around that states may possibly be abandoning their individual testing for MLO licenses in favor of just passing the national exam and then supplementing that material with any state specific education that may be required over and above it. A "Uniform State Test" with no more state specific exams. The national exam would have 125 questions instead of 90, and would include state questions by adding a 5th section. The states will either add state specific hours. The rumor mill says look for a comment period this spring.
Turning to the markets, Europe is quickly coming to center stage again. Reports from inside the countries note that people are scared. They are afraid of losing their jobs, of losing their homes and losing their livelihood. That fear has turned to anger, and that anger is boiling over in the streets of every major peripheral city. As one expert noted, "The social contract that has been in place for decades is being replaced by a northern fiscal compact. This new structure is cold, callous and capitalistic. There are no more "jobs for life", no nanny state to take care of you when you are down on your luck and no rewards for slackers." Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, estimates that unemployment across the 17-country Eurozone rose to nearly 11% in February. Here is the country breakdown, rounded: Spain 24%, Greece 21%, Portugal and Ireland 15%, Slovakia 14%, Estonia 12%, France & Cyprus 10%, Italy & Slovenia 9%, Finland, Malta, & Belgium 7%, Germany 6%, Luxembourg & the Netherlands 5%, and Austria 4%.
There will never be enough growth to pay for the empty political promises of the past decades. Governments are good at over promising and under delivering - but when this happens often the government prints more money - in this situation it is not practical. Besides, the inflation problems at the back end will hurt long run growth. There is no free lunch: cutting jobs and cutting nominal wages under an austerity plan is much less socially acceptable than using inflation and currency devaluation to lower real wages. And how can austerity lead to prosperity? But as we were seeing many months ago, budget problems in Europe helped to keep U.S rates low due to the increased demand for our debt - so be careful what you wish for.
Turning to this country, there is simultaneously not much going on and a lot going on. Friday we learned that Consumer Spending climbed 0.8% in February, the largest gain since July, and incomes advanced 0.2%, less than projected, sending the saving rate to a more than two-year low. The Chicago Purchasing Managers fell, but University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index rose. Late Friday prices dropped and rates rose, apparently due to speculation (key word) on the upcoming end of the Fed's "Operation Twist" treasury purchases. For those interested in the Fed's upcoming purchase schedule, visit: http://www.newyorkfed.org/markets/tot_operation_schedule.html.
Looking back over March, after the March 13 Fed statement, mortgage rates swiftly moved higher, but they have since improved and are close to where they were prior to the announcement! Fed Chief Bernanke again emphasized that the Fed is inclined to keep its very accommodative monetary policy in place to help the labor market - and maybe they'll keep buying agency mortgage-backed securities.
Another week, another week of economic news. When will the agencies just make it all "real time" news so that when someone gets a job, or buys a refrigerator, or gets a raise, it'll just automatically pop up so we all can see it? Anyway, I digress. Today we have an ISM index along with Construction Spending. Tomorrow is Factory Orders, and the release of the FOMC minutes. Wednesday is, as is every Wednesday prior to the release of the government's unemployment numbers, ADP, and another ISM number. Thursday is Jobless Claims, and then on Friday is The Big Daddy: unemployment.Our 10-yr T-note, which closed Friday at 2.22%, this morning is down to 2.21%, and agency mortgage security prices are UP.
My neighbor...She's single and gorgeous - probably 25 years old... She lives right across the street.
I can see her house from my living room.
I watched as she got home from work one evening last week.
I was surprised when she walked across the street and up my driveway. She knocked on my door............I rushed to open it.
She looks at me, and says, "I just got home and I have this strong urge to have a good time, have some drinks and make love! Are you busy tonight?"
I almost passed out and stammered, "Nope, I'm free... I have no plans at all!"
Then she said, "Good! Would you watch my dog while I go out?"