This week I have been fortunate to spend some time with members of the Mortgage Bankers of Hawaii. Honolulu, like so many other areas, has its share of lack-of-inventory issues impacting both lenders and Realtors. But now there are some unbelievably nice projects planned near downtown and Waikiki. I mention this because the hundreds of units will be impacted by the same forces that help shape real estate markets in places like Toronto, Seattle, Miami, San Francisco, and Manhattan: new foreign buyers coming in with plenty of cash. And while this helps the local economy to some extent, along with Realtors and title companies, unfortunately many lenders find themselves on the outside looking in. Toronto, for one, is thinking about a special tax on non-citizen, non-resident owners who buy and rarely use their properties. Foreign influence, and a solid 2nd quarter aside, some analysts believe that, overall, industry-wide origination volumes will be subdued due to a mediocre purchase market, a continued decline in refinance volumes as the market experiences "refi-burnout", and credit standards remain tight. And as the costs of origination increase, these factors could easily pressure margins for several months unless we see a significant reduction in origination capacity or credit. But eventually large increases in home equity, structural growth in household formation, and loosening of underwriting standards will probably lead to equilibrium and to an expanding mortgage market.


The best things in life are free, right? A walk on a beach, the smile of a child, the marketing of loan programs. Especially where every penny counts, mortgage bankers who do the HARP are only too happy to let Fannie & Freddie pony up some marketing bucks. Bloomberg's Clea Benson writes, "The regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will conduct a series of town-hall events to convince hundreds of thousands of U.S. borrowers with little or no equity in their homes to refinance. A new analysis by the Federal Housing Finance Agency shows that many borrowers remain who could save as much as $3,000 a year through the Home Affordable Refinancing Program, which allows homeowners with mortgages backed by the two government- owned companies to cut their monthly payments by obtaining a lower interest rate. Things kick off on July 8 in Chicago, and they'll see how many potential borrowers show up with mortgages originated before June 2009 that are backed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and have less than 20 percent equity in their homes. The program ends in December 2015.


(Read More: FHFA Enlists Local Leaders in HARP Recruitment Drive)


While we're at it, let's play some catch up on relatively recent vendor, agency, lender, and investor changes. As always, for complete details read the actual bulletin, but these will give you a sense of the trends occurring in lending - some of them are good!


Ginnie Mae is making available version 1.0 of the Mortgage-Backed Securities Liquidated and Terminated Loans Disclosure Layout, for disclosure of liquidated and terminated MBS loan-level information. GNMA is targeting July 7, 2014 for implementing the MBS Liquidated and Terminated Loans Disclosure file; this file will be a one-time disclosure of all MBS liquidated and terminated loans from October 2009 through September 2013. MBS Liquidated Loans Disclosure Layout and MBS Liquidated Loans Sample File.


The FHA released Bulletin #14-35: "Additional Extension of Annual Recertification Filing Deadline for Certain Title I and Title II Lenders and Mortgagees". FHA has extended the recertification filing deadline for Title I and Title II lenders and mortgagees with the following fiscal year end dates: December 31, 2013, January 31, 2014, February 28, 2014, March 31, 2014. The deadline to submit complete recertification packages for this group of lenders and mortgagees, including the submission of financial information and annual renewal fees, has been extended until July 15, 2014.  This group of lenders and mortgagees had a prior due date of June 30, 2014.  However, FHA understands that some users are having difficulty executing certain functions in LEAP 3.0, and has extended the deadline accordingly.  FHA is working diligently to resolve these issues so that LEAP may operate at its full capacity as quickly as possible."


Beginning July 1, Stearns Lending, Inc. will be known as Stearns Lending, LLC. "Please be aware of the following scenarios and how this may impact your closing documents. If documents are drawn in the name of Stearns Lending, Inc. and the borrower signs in the month of June, the loan can fund in the month of July WITHOUT RE-DRAWING the loan documents in the name of Stearns Lending, LLC. For loan docs signed in July, if the documents are drawn in the name of Stearns Lending, Inc. and the borrower cannot sign until July, closing documents MUST BE RE-DRAWN in the name of Stearns Lending, LLC prior to signing of loan documents."


NMI Holdings, Inc., the parent company of National Mortgage Insurance Corporation (National MI), announced recently that National MI has signed master policies with 478 lenders - including six of the country's largest lenders - since the private mortgage insurer issued its first mortgage insurance commitments just over a year ago. During the same period, the company introduced a unique business model enabling it to offer groundbreaking new insurance coverage that shortened the industry standard timeframe for rescission relief from 36 months to just 12 months. Additionally, National MI and ELLIE MAE have joined together to offer National MI Mortgage Insurance directly through  ELLIE MAE'S ENCOMPASS® The integration means that mortgage lenders who use Encompass as their loan origination system (LOS) are able to order National MI's mortgage insurance directly within the application in a simple and time-saving process.


MGIC is reducing Lender-Paid monthly MI rates for all LTV and coverage segments effective with MI applications received on or after July 1, subject to regulatory approval. Updated rate card information posting is available on the website. Rate Finder will be updated with the new rates on July 1, 2014.


PHH Mortgage Correspondent Lending weekly updates include Fannie Mae HARP Program in reference to unemployment benefits. Both seasonal and non-seasonal benefits will be considered as an acceptable source of income for HARP transactions only. Conventional underwriting guidelines, in reference to age of documentation; effective immediately, with the exception of the credit report (credit report remains at no more than 90 days prior to note date), all credit documentation must be dated no more than 120 days prior to the note date. FHA and VA underwriting guidelines have been updated. When an acceptable liability is being paid off by a self-employed borrowers business; payments do not need to be included as a debt if the obligation is paid as agreed and acceptable verification is obtained. VA co-signed loans are not required to be included in the DTI if it can be verified that the payments are being made as agreed, with a history of no delinquent payments, by the primary obligor. Contact your Account Executive for specific requirements for all PHH updates.


Franklin American Mortgage has provided some eligibility requirements enhancements including reducing its delegated underwriting approval requirement for High Balance conventional loans to an audited net worth of $2.5MM with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac approval. Also, there are increased pricing policy improvements on both its best effort and mandatory locks are included in the updates. As a reminder, there are no price caps on AOT or direct trades. Guideline updates include · Lowering minimum FICO on conforming fixed rate loans to 620 on one unit, owner occupied properties with and LTV >80% · Now allow delayed financing on conforming fixed rate loans · Now allow Borrowers with one credit score on conventional and USDA loans · Now allow 100% LTV on VA rate/term refinances and 90% LTV on VA cash-out refinances. Please see Bulletin #2014-19 for clarification of the above changes and for additional guideline enhancements.


Fifth Third Correspondent Lending will be retiring its Wholesale Connect website now that its new website Correspondent Connect has been rolled out to all users. Fifth Third has updated its policy regarding non-obligated spouse requirements as well. In states where the non-obligated spouse in required to sign the TIL and Mortgage (on both purchase and refinance transactions) and Right to cancel (refinance transactions); Fifth Third will also require the Errors and Omissions document be signed by the non-obligatory spouse providing coverage in the event these documents need corrections. Additionally, clarifications regarding PIW, PFW and PIA fees have been established. Fifth Third considers these as secondary market fees the GSE's charge in connection in mortgage loans they purchase or are delivered into MBS, they are secondary market charges and not considered a legitimate block 3 fees and are not a "settlement charge" of the type disclosed on the HUD 1. For all the updated information and any questions, contact your representative.


Flipping over to the temporal markets...


Rates continue to be much better than they were six months ago and yesterday we saw further improvement in spite of decent news. Personal Income and Consumption were up .4% and .2% in May, respectively. The price index for personal consumption expenditures, the Fed's preferred gauge for inflation, climbed 0.2% in May from April. And Jobless Claims fell 2k to 312k last week. And "Fed Neutralized in Mortgage Bonds on Supply Slump read the headline: the $5.4 trillion market for U.S. government-backed mortgage bonds is poised for its biggest first-half rally since 2010 as a surprising drop in supply outweighs a pullback in Federal Reserve purchases.


So the Fed, and others, keeps soaking up the supply while originator volumes seem to be, for many companies, treading water. This certainly helps the supply & demand function, and yesterday we saw current-coupon agency MBS prices improve about .250 in price and the 10-yr close at a yield of 2.53%. For today there is no news of substance (9:55AM EST is the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey for June), and in the early going we're at 2.51% and agency MBS prices about .125 better.



Located in the beautiful Flathead Valley of Montana, Mann Mortgage LLC, a growing multi-state lending company, seeks a qualified Chief Operations Officer in its Kalispell Operations Center. Position highlights: Directs, plans, organizes, and controls all activities of loan operations to include, underwriting, closing, funding, shipping, post-closing and quality assurance to ensure effective, efficient, risk neutral loan services to our branches, in cooperation with the Secondary Marketing Department and in compliance with all applicable policies and regulations relative to Mann Mortgage and mortgage lending. An ideal candidate will be proficient in analyzing loan files, possess strong underwriting knowledge, and be knowledgeable of the entire mortgage loan process from origination through post-closing, including FHA, VA and RD requirements. A minimum of 12 years of experience in loan operations, with at least 6 years in management; Direct Endorsement Certification preferred. Celebrating our 25th year in business and recently voted the Best Place to Work in the Flathead Valley/Glacier Park Region for the second year in a row, Mann Mortgage, LLC offers an informal, team-oriented work environment, an excellent variety of health benefits, 401k, holidays and generous Personal Time Off. Please direct inquiries to jobs@mannmortgage. com.

And Liberty Savings Bank  is expanding its' Wholesale/Correspondent Lending division and is hiring successful, experienced Account Executives for North Central, Midwest, West and South-East Divisions (MN, WI, IN, KY, TN, NC, SC, NE-FL, SW-FL, CO, UT, MO).  "You can count on ease of use and quick turnaround for your clients as LSB uses the state of the art D&H lending system from application through underwriting allowing efficient management of pipelines and access to real-time loan processing. The ideal candidate will be expected to have the following: 3 years of recent wholesale experience and an active client network, Associates degree in business related discipline or equivalent work experience required, meet expected guidelines for cold calling/outside appointments as set by VP of National Wholesale, be a self-starter who can demonstrate the ability to take personal responsibility for problem solving and follow through on customer solutions from beginning to end, and lead new customer orientation, training and set up. If you are interested in learning more about our company, or applying for a position, please visit us at to complete an application and upload your resume.   You may also email Karl Koett (VP of National Wholesale/Correspondent Production) directly if you have any questions regarding the position.

Maybe they, and others, can pick up some talent from Bank of America. The Bank announced it was laying off over 500 workers from one of its divisions. But congratulations to Jens Lovell who BBVA Compass has tapped as its new national mortgage banking sales manager. ("Lovell is charged with leading efforts to expand the bank's mortgage banking sales force, including those in low- and moderate-income areas, in key markets across the bank's Sunbelt footprint: Los Angeles; Phoenix; Albuquerque, N.M.; Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston in Texas; and Miami, Orlando and Tampa in Florida.")