Research by the Washington Post finds only about 20% of homeowners in Texas counties that were hit by flooding have flood insurance. In separate, but related news, a GOBankingRates survey from a while back finds Americans say they have the following dollars sitting in their savings account: $0 (39%), $1 to $999 (18%), $1,000 to $4,999 (12%), $5,000 to $9,999 (6%), $10,000 or more (25%). That means 57% of people have less than $1,000 in savings right now. Real problems.

Disaster Updates

As the extent of Florida's damage from Irma continues to be assessed, Plaza is implementing temporary disaster policy to assist clients and their borrowers. Refer to Plaza's Disaster Policy which indicates, based on loan program, when an appraiser or property inspector can complete the inspection. Loans already submitted, Plaza will reissue disclosures to each borrower, based on the unforeseen circumstance of the hurricane to include the cost for the disaster reinspection. Two additional counties in the state of Georgia, Liberty and McIntosh, have been designated by FEMA as a disaster area and eligible for individual assistance; inspections will be required.

Effective immediately, Plaza is offering FHA's 203(h) program for disaster victims. This program helps borrowers whose primary residence was in a major disaster area and was destroyed or damaged to such an extent that reconstruction or replacement is necessary. This program aids by: allowing borrowers to obtain up to 100% FHA financing for the purchase of a new home; allowing borrowers to finance the reconstruction of their home when combined with a Standard 203(k); allowing for derogatory credit subsequent to the date of the disaster; and allowing for exclusion of the mortgage payment on the borrower's destroyed residence in some circumstances. Additionally, Plaza will allow credit scores to 580 on this program. Plaza's complete FHA 203(h) Program Guidelines can be referenced here. "While Plaza offers this program now we are in the process of updating systems. Please contact your Account Executive for information on submitting and locking 203(h) loans."

NewLeaf Wholesale resumed lending in Florida subject to NewLeaf's standard disaster policy. If the subject property is in an impacted area listed by NewLeaf, with a completed appraisal dated prior to the incident start date, a 1004D as re-inspection completed by the Appraiser must certify that the property is free from the applicable natural disaster damage. For appraisals in an impacted area dated after the incident end date*, the Appraiser must: Comment on the condition of the property and any effects on the marketability and add detailed language confirming that the property is free from the applicable natural disasters damage into the body of the appraisal. *NOTE: This requirement is necessary for 30 days after the incident end date.

Most of Waterstone Mortgage's 12 Florida branches have been impacted by Hurricane Irma, but following closely on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, the company was prepared. COO Kerry Wirth is in close communication with the agencies and their investors regarding re-inspection requirements. Wirth said, "Our number one priority is the borrowers and their collateral. We are also working to minimize any disruptions to their loan process and have been proactive in reaching out to reschedule or delay closings if needed. Fortunately, we have not received reports of major damage to homes with loans in process." In accordance with the organization's continuity plan, Wirth and Waterstone Mortgage CIO Thomas Knapp are closely monitoring the situation in Florida and in constant contact with their branch managers in Florida. Technology advances help to minimize the disruption from natural disasters.

For loans in Florida submitted with an appraisal dated on or before the incident period end date or for those submitted without an appraisal, Sun West will require an interior and exterior inspection prior-to-funding or purchase of any loans with subject properties that are determined to be at risk. The inspection must verify that the property is sound, habitable and in the same condition as when it was appraised. Access Sun West Seller Guide under HELP section in sunsoft. Please refer to Sun West Forward Mortgage Seller Guide (Section 404.07) and Sun West Reverse Mortgage Seller Guide (Section 3.23) for more details. To view FEMA's recent update on FL, click here: FEMA.

Following the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Civic Financial Services held a company-wide relief effort to lend support and supplies to evacuees. CIVIC's 100 employees assembled 1,000 Dignity Backpacks for Hurricane Harvey evacuees. Each backpack included essential supplies including towels, socks, toiletry items and snacks - along with a note of support and encouragement.  The Dignity Backpacks will be delivered to evacuees at the BakerRipley Emergency Shelter at NRG Center in Houston.

Capital Markets

What might drive U.S. rates down? Deutsche Bank performed some research into the source of the source of the next financial crisis, and found the following as higher risk: the end of QE by the Fed, ECB, and BOE; central banks being out of ammunition to respond; potential crises in China; potential crises in Italy; elevated global trade imbalances; high debt levels; a populist political surge; multi-century all-time lows in interest rates; valuations in many different asset classes; more quantitative easing if inflation does not reignite; Brexit; and a lack of financial market liquidity.

But rates have moved higher this week. Why? Things are quiet in North Korea, and overseas in general. Investors reacted to details of the GOP tax plan, which saw a re-pricing across the yield curve as 10YRs reached nearly 2.32%, their highest level since July. The 10-year yield moved above its recent averages, although remember that yields traded closer to 2.40% in July.

On the demand side of things, Wednesday afternoon the NY Fed released a new FedTrade schedule covering the September 28 to October 12 period; this is the last schedule to not be impacted by Fed tapering. The daily average target over the period is about $1.5bn per business day and sees a reduction in the purchase of 30-year 3% vs. the previous schedule.

Today we've had initial jobless claims (+12k to 272k), final Q2 GDP (3.1% from 3.0%), and advanced trade strong. On top of that we'll have a bevy of Fed Presidents speaking around the nation on various topics - but their hand is already tipped by the September meeting results. And the Treasury will conduct the final leg of this week's coupon auctions when $28bn 7-year notes are auctioned at 1:00pm. We start the day with rates a shade higher: the 10-year is up to 2.34% and agency MBS prices are worse .125 versus Wednesday's close.

Opportunities and New Tech Products

A successful Wholesale/Correspondent Mortgage veteran (with AEs and Managers throughout the West) is looking to join an established Wholesale/Correspondent Mortgage Banker. The footprint can cover Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Arizona, Texas and Colorado. The Mortgage Banker should be financially stable; customer service driven and wants to and is operationally and financially "able to" expand their presence in the Western and/or Mid-Western US. If you are a Mortgage Banker who shares a commitment to providing exceptional client experiences, please contact at

For brokers and bankers who have customers affected by the recent storms, REMN Wholesale, an integral part of the leading renovation lender in the country, is now offering 203(h) mortgages for borrowers who are in the process of rebuilding or purchasing another home because of disasters. As many have heard, the 203(h) program goes into effect once the President declares a location as being a disaster area. While many lenders shy away from renovation loans, REMN has Stephen Rizzetta (Renovation Account Manager) and Damon Richardson (Renovation Lending Specialist), specifically in place to ensure customers have the critical support they need in these dire times. As REMN wholesale continues to grow, they continue to look for dynamic account executives seeking to join a thriving team in all territories. In addition to an entrepreneurial culture and leadership in the reno space, they offer same-day turn times, year-round, along with exceptional training and support programs. Interested applicants should email

"Anthony Hsieh, the son of two immigrants and CEO and Chairman of loanDepot, is well on his way to disrupt the American lending scene. Hsieh is leading the second largest non-bank lender in America, which has funded over $110+ billion in loans since 2010. loanDepot's success can be attributed to Hsieh's strong vision for the future, powerful caliber of top producing originators, and proprietary in-house technology. At the end of the month, he will be honored as the Person of the Year by the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA). In addition, two of loanDepot's top producers were recognized by AREEA in the top 20 "A-List" loan officers in the country awards. These recognitions celebrate the powerful leadership and the significant impact of entrepreneurship loanDepot is making across the Asian community as well as so many others nationwide. To connect with Anthony, please visit his LinkedIn page. Contact Shane Stanton to learn more about being part of this growing team."

As a full-service mortgage banker, Assurance Financial is seeking motivated, experienced Branch Managers and MLOs who want to take their career to the next level. As seen in Scotsman Guide, leaders who join our team enjoy our reputation of closing loans on time, with great back-office support, ready-to-use marketing and advertising tools, and a state-of-the-art CRM. Close more loans, fill your pipeline, and enjoy your career with Assurance Financial. Contact Sales Recruiting Manager Paul Peters, CMB at 225-239-7948 or visit

The "Digital Mortgage" is here to stay, but what should traditional retail shops do to help their LOs be more successful in a time when it seems like most technology is looking to replace them? SimpleNexus, the leading mobile platform provider, is improving not only the borrower's experience, but Loan Originator's as well. Mobile Originators can stay connected with the ability to view their entire loan pipeline in real-time, order & view credit reports, run product & pricing, receive AMC status updates and send pre-qualification/approval letters all from the palm of their hand. Effectively, LOs can work from wherever they have their smartphone and an internet connection. Check them out this week at the Digital Mortgage Conference, by e-mail to Joe Wilson.

Congrats to Joe Langner, a mortgage technology veteran and former COO at Ellie Mae, who has been named CEO of Blue Sage, developers of the mortgage industry's first browser-based, end-to-end digital lending platform, responsible for implementing the company's strategic vision.