Obama played golf with Joe Biden last weekend. They were kicked off the course because every time Obama yelled "Fore", Biden screamed - "More Years!" But the mortgage industry is more concerned with another Biden: Joe's son Beau, who is Delaware's Attorney General. Officials wonder why banks aren't excited about residential lending, yet the industry faces Biden's comments that the states' attorneys general need to make it clear that the recent $25 billion settlement with five major banks is the beginning not the end of their enforcement actions.  "This crisis, which was man made," he said, "cost the economy trillions and I can't really find anyone who has been held accountable." And apparently he and his ilk will their attention to mortgage securities: "whether or not there were false securities, mortgage-backed securities, sold to investors.  That affects borrowers as well."  More from MND here.

Guild Mortgage Company is looking for experienced and knowledgeable underwriters and operational support personnel to join its team at the Guild Corporate office in San Diego, California. Guild has been around for over 50 (yes, fifty) years and is a leading, privately-held mortgage company in the western United States. As a result of tremendous growth, its wholesale and correspondent divisions are adding staff: production in 2012 is expected at $4-5 billion, and Guild has over $8 bill in servicing. If you are, or someone you know is, interested in this opportunity, please email your resume to Vanessa Shockey at vshockey@guildmortgage .net.

On the sale side, in Orange County, Fremont Bank is looking for a Retail Sales Manager for Southern California. Candidates should have extensive and recent retail loan origination experience and either live in or be prepared to move to Southern California. Additionally, Fremont is seeking wholesale AE's in the Southern California area - only currently producing AE's need apply.  Fremont Bank, consistently a top ten California lender at $5-6 billion per year, is a direct agency lender with a servicing portfolio of approximately $7 billion. Qualified candidates should send a resume to the Director of Residential Lending Brad Seibel at Brad.Seibel@Fremontbank .com.

Yes, there are still areas where housing is still sliding, or at best stable. (Was the big foreclosure glut predicted a few years ago staved off by modifications and HARP, or is it still coming?) After a bad showing in April the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) has rebounded, hitting its highest reading of builder confidence since May 2007.

On the residential side, the MBA reported what lock desks already knew: that mortgage apps for last week were +9%, with refi's +13% with purchases -2.4%. Refi's as a percentage of total apps climbed to almost 75% - lots of folks making hay while the sun shines.

Builder optimism and weekly apps is one thing, but what else? We find the most recent numbers from the MBA's "Quarterly Survey of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations." First quarter commercial and multifamily mortgage loan originations increased by 36% from a year ago, but were still 12% lower than the fourth quarter. (It is believed that the drop from the 4th quarter was due to originators pushing through year-end deals - imagine them doing that!) MBA Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research Jamie Woodwell noted, "The low interest rates and stabilization in commercial real estate fundamentals that raised origination levels by 55 percent in 2011 are continuing to buoy activity in 2012." The big winners were loans for health care, retail and multifamily (+45%) properties; losers were hotel, office, and industrial properties.

Housing prices go up, prices go down. Rents go up, rents go down. People need a place to live, and the foreclosure & short sale situation has pushed millions of former homeowners with tarnished credit into a competitive apartment market across the U.S. So landlords are seeing residential rents surging: the average monthly U.S. rent for apartments hit $1,008 in the first quarter, pushing past the all-time high set in the third quarter of 2008, according to the data firm RealFacts. In some markets, it is now cheaper to own a home than rent - assisting LO's and Realtors with their marketing efforts. People need a place to live, and kids can only move back home for so long...a big driver of rent increases has been demand from young workers who are striking out on their own.

Every GMAC rep is out there, checking to see if there's a Nationstar employee in their region. Ally executives said they plan to sell an additional $1.3 billion in mortgage servicing rights owned by Ally Bank as part of the wind down and its shift in focus to autos ("You can live in your car if you don't pay your mortgage," said Ally CEO Michael Carpenter. "I don't mean to be cute, but the fact is people make their car payment before they pay their mortgage.") And to that end, Nationstar Mortgage Holdings has a bid in to buy $374 billion in MSRs from ResCap. Apparently the plan is for Ally to continue to sell new mortgages to Freddie & Fannie rather than through ResCap, but it does still have the ability to sell Federal Housing Administration and other Ginnie Mae home loans to ResCap until the bankruptcy is completed - Ally executives said Ally Bank will use ResCap as a subservicer.

And for those playing along at home, Residential Capital LLC is set to be acquired by Nationstar Mortgage Holdings. "Lewisville, Texas-based Nationstar said in a separate announcement that it would acquire ResCap, with the purchase including $374 billion in mortgage servicing assets, $201 billion in primary residential mortgage servicing rights, and $173 billion in subservicing contracts." Nationstar is sure not shrinking: Aurora is scheduled to be enveloped by it, and it anticipates adding more than 2.4 million customers from the transaction, as well as $550 billion in servicing and sub-servicing contracts, a move that it said would make it the largest non-bank residential mortgage originator and one of the largest originators in the nation. Someone has to pick up the slack from ING, MetLife, and BofA, right?

How do Ops and compliance folks keep up with things? Here are some somewhat recent lender/investor/agency/MI/vendor updates. As always, it is best to read the actual bulletin, but this will give one a flavor for what is happening out there. In no particular order...

Just to be clear: 5 3's withdrawal from HARP 2.0 impacts third party business only.

And, to beat a dying horse, Weststar (New Mexico), Banc of Manhattan, Stonegate, and Mountain West Financial also offer 203k's. (A rumor about Flagstar ceasing Fannie HARP 2.0 is unfounded; Flagstar, did, however, cease Freddie's program.) Once again, I am reminded that listing anything, a la Scotsman Guide, leads to trouble.

Forging on, the FHA TOTAL Mortgage Scorecard Developer's Guide for version 2.8 is now available at http://www.hud.gov/pub/chums/aus-developers-guide.pdf.  Note that TOTAL Mortgage Scorecard Error Code 445 was revised.

Lenders will be required to adhere to the FHA's requirements when developing materials that solicit, promote, or otherwise advertise FHA products or programs.  To see the full details of using the HUD and FHA logos and quality control, go to http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=11-17ml.pdf.

A number of new or updated training resources are available from Freddie Mac's Learning Center.  Teaching tools on refinance programs, manufactured home underwriting, construction conversion and renovation mortgages, and underwriting for Loan Prospector caution risk class mortgages have all been updated to comply with ULDD changes, and a new tutorial on using LP for Relief Refinance Mortgages-Open Access is now available.  The LP Documentation Matrix has been updated as well.  Resources on loan entry and evaluation with the new ULDD, selling mortgages to Freddie for cash, mandatory cash contract basics, using the selling system's pair-off functionality, and certifying mortgages for Freddie using ULDD, amongst others, are also available.  The Learning Center offers settlement date calendars and reference guides in addition to its tutorials and job aids. Here you go: http://www.freddiemac.com/learn/.

The expanded LTV/CLTV and Loan Score parameters on HARP loans announced by Wells Fargo Wholesale in March have been effective for new registrations since March 19, 2012.  The only refinancing loans that are eligible for the expanded parameters are those currently serviced by Wells, and those registered before March 19, 2012 must be cancelled, registered, and re-submitted to qualify.  Wells also has plans to make system changes that will allow for Expanded Approval recommendations from DU on Wells-serviced DU Refi Plus loans, so watch this space.  Until the changes have been implemented, these loans are still required to have an "Approve" or "Eligible" recommendation from DU.

Flagstar has issued a few reminders regarding condo loans being delivered through its Delegated Underwriting channel.  For conventional loans on Project Class Type III and S where AUS offers a limited/streamline review, Flagstar's Conventional Underwriting Guidelines dictate that the condo project is not eligible to be listed on the denied list or as an ineligible condominium project.  If Flagstar receives documents that cause the project to be denied, it is not possible to revert back to the limited/streamline review.  Condo projects that aren't eligible for a limited review will be reviewed and approved by the Condo Review Department before closing using Fannie's Condo Project Manager.  It is also crucial that the right project class be selected in the Loantrac system, as selecting the wrong class will delay the loan's shipping.

In case you haven't caught on yet, unlike the past where events here in the U.S. moved markets around the world, the focus has shifted to Europe and Asia. So that fact that Retail Sales increased 0.1% in April and were up 6.4% year over year didn't move rates much. The fact that the Consumer Price Index was unchanged in April, and 2.3% higher from a year ago, the lowest annual rate of inflation at the consumer level since February 2011 didn't move rates much. Lastly - Empire Manufacturing surprised to the upside and suggested decent expansion and hiring in the sector are likely in 2012 - shrug.

Europe will continue to be the driving force of the markets, whether it is French auctions or a German 10 year bund auction, a downgrade of Italian banks, European or German GDP, or the government du jour in Greece. (Experts continue to suggest that Greece's exit from the Euro is an increasing risk given political conflict in the country.) Continued instability leads to continued low rates here in the States - until it doesn't. By the time the dust settled Tuesday, our 10-yr was at a yield of 1.77%, and MBS prices slightly better.

For grins and giggles today, we've already had the MBA weekly app index for last week (+9%), Housing Starts (+2.5% from an upward revised March), Building Permits (-7% from an upwardly revised March); later we have Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization. Probably of more interest, however, will be the release of the FOMC Minutes from the April 24-25 meeting at 2PM EST. As Reuters mentioned, "As always lately, the markets will be particularly interested in any discussion related to additional quantitative easing and Operation Twist." In the early going the 10-yr is up to 1.82% and agency MBS prices are green.

"Church Ladies with Computers" (part 3 of 3):
This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours."