Of course some found humor in last week’s riot in Washington DC. (“In light of recent events, Mexico has decided that it will pay for the wall after all. And Canada wants one as well.”) For others, as heard in these messages from Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger and Colin Powell, there is nothing to laugh about. MLOs steer clear of politics with their clients, and on their job-related websites, for good reason. Not only is personal information on a company website against many rules and regulations, but there is a lot at stake. Many forecast that U.S. mortgage volumes could top $3 trillion this year as rising competition among lenders and an activist Federal Reserve combine to put further downward pressure on rates, and there are 800,000 U.S. borrowers who could save money if rates stay where they are. And who would want to give up a piece of that? (The events last week at the Capitol are still resonating for many people. Attorney Brian Levy’s “Mortgage Musings” discussed the mob, QM, and Limited English Proficiency: LEP.)

Products and Services

“No Ratio is back at FundLoans! Available on loan amounts up to $5 million, Spectrum No Ratio unlocks true make-sense lending with the ability to fund a loan regardless of cash-flow. To help brokers kick-off Non-QM business in 2021, FundLoans’ Non-QM turn times are some of the fastest in the industry; with 48 hr. initial underwrite and condition review available all month long. Best of all, FundLoans is equipping brokers with a Non-QM Price Match option through January 31 on like-to-like Non-QM scenarios that do not exceed a competitor’s price by 150bps. To price out a loan, contact your FundLoans Account Executive or call 866-203-0912.”

ACES QC Now webinar series: “Insights into Mortgage QC Trends - First Signs of the COVID Effect” will launch Thursday, January 14, at 11:00 AM PST. The webinar will cover the highlights from the latest ACES Mortgage QC Industry Trends Report, how the "COVID Effect" Resulted in Increases in Various Defect Categories, early Payment Defaults on the Rise, the Servicing Dilemma, and an outlook for 2021.

We made it! 2021 is finally here and we are all looking forward to a return to business as usual! While the mortgage industry had an incredible year in spite of it all, the non-QM market did feel the pinch as the economy came to a screeching halt in 2020. Fortunately, non-QM loans have picked back up as key players are coming back into the market. Computershare Loan Services’ (CLS) Dave Vida, EVP of Enterprise Sales, will participate in IMN’s Non-QM Virtual Forum, Servicing Best Practices Panel, on January 21st to discuss how COVID impacted the non-QM market and what makes servicing the non-QM product unique. Contact Dave and the team at Computershare Loan Services to learn more about new developments in servicing non-QM loans. And, for more on servicing topics impacting our industry, access CLS’ on-demand webcast series: Servicing in the Post-COVID Era.

Are you ready for VA IRRRL and FHA Streamline refinance opportunities in this market? Learn how to efficiently submit your files once for a final approval! Join Freedom Mortgage Wholesale for live webinar training sessions on VA IRRRL or FHA Streamline mortgage products and origination processes. Ideal for new or experienced government originators. Sign up for a VA IRRRL or FHA Streamline webinar on 1/12 (VA IRRRL), 1/19 (FHA Streamline) or 1/22 (VA IRRRL). 

"You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.  Your goal is your desired outcome. Your system is the collection of daily habits that will get you there."  As we embark upon 2021 and leave a difficult year, we are all setting goals. At Model Match, our goal is to partner with organizations focused on growth, expansion and supercharging their headhunting and recruiting efforts. Model Match delivers an industry proven system, targeted at streamlining recruitment and attracting top tier Loan Originators. With over two decades of industry expertise, Model Match provides a unified process and strategy, all in one central, collaborative space. With one click, gain insights into production metrics to identify priority candidates and gain nationwide access to total volume, unit counts, product breakdowns, and more. With the ability to customize and scale our solutions, we're confident we have the perfect plan to fit your recruiting needs. Connect with us today!

Compliance and Legal Matters

Phil Stein, Practice Group Leader, Litigation with Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP, sent along a fine piece on how our industry is still litigating the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

Credit Suisse Group AG said Friday that it expects to book a net loss in the fourth quarter after increasing its provisions for a legal dispute surrounding residential mortgage-backed securities in the U.S. to $850 million.

HMDA season as begun! The data from HMDA (Home Mortgage Disclosure Act) tells us that there are 5-6,000 institutions funding home loans in the U.S. The program, in recent years run by the CFPB, has begun its filing period for data collected in 2020. “Submissions will be considered timely if received on or before Monday, March 1, 2021. Financial institutions can access the HMDA Platform here to begin the filing process. Users will receive a confirmation email upon submission of their HMDA data. The confirmation email will be sent to the email account of the user that has submitted the data.

The Beta Testing Platform will remain available on an ongoing basis for filers wishing to test their submissions. Use it for testing only, since no data entered on the Beta Testing Platform will be considered a HMDA submission for compliance with HMDA data reporting requirements. All user accounts created during the 2020 beta testing period and during the filing period for data collected in 2019 will be maintained for the 2020 filing period, and users can log in to the 2020 HMDA Platform using their existing credentials. 

Want to tell the CFPB what you think? Send an email HMDAHelp@cfpb.gov. HMDA filers should know that, “…only insured depository institutions and insured credit unions are eligible for partial exemptions under 12 CFR 1003.3(d)(2)or (3) to Regulation C’s data collection, recording, and reporting requirements. Financial institutions subject to Regulation C other than insured depository institutions or insured credit unions must collect, record, and report all HMDA data enumerated in 12 CFR 1003.4.”

In other regulatory and legal news, what’s it called when you’re not in heaven or in hell? Purgatory? Or maybe a better analogy for this situation is a gal agreeing to go on a date with a guy if he can find a car to take her out in, and he’s “still working on it” on the night of the big party. Genworth Financial and China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd. have not extended the current December 31, 2020 “end date” under the merger agreement. “Oceanwide has indicated that the factors contributing to the delay since the parties agreed to their most recent extension of the merger agreement on November 30, 2020 were: (a) the finalization of the Hony Capital financing terms; and (b) the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions. The merger agreement remains in effect, however, although either party is able to terminate the merger agreement at any time. Oceanwide has shared that it will continue to work towards closing the transaction, and Genworth remains open to completing the transaction if Oceanwide completes the remaining steps…”

“In the interim, Genworth is focusing on executing its contingency plan, including a potential partial IPO of Genworth’s U.S. Mortgage Insurance (U.S. MI) business, designed to meet its near-term liabilities of approximately $1.0 billion of debt due in 2021.” Genworth, to its credit, has really shored up its finances by making several moves. “Genworth has reduced holding company debt over time and built a solid position of approximately $1.0 billion in cash and liquid assets as of December 31, 2020. Approximately $340 million of this cash balance is ring-fenced to pay for Genworth’s February 2021 senior notes at maturity. Genworth intends to manage the U.S. life insurance companies on a standalone basis with no plans to infuse capital into those companies in the future, absent an Oceanwide transaction.”

Capital Markets

As arguably the most anticipated monthly economic release, the payrolls report is used by all sorts of market participants to help gauge the U.S. economy. Friday delivered a lousy jobs report for December (expected +50k, actual -140k), the first monthly decline posted since April as renewed lockdowns and restrictions from an intensifying pandemic impacted the labor market to end 2020. There were 372k job losses at restaurants and bars in the December report alone, which puts the leisure and hospitality sector down 23 percent from its pre-recession reading.

The employment report did contain some positive offsetting factors, such as a larger than expected increase in average hourly earnings, an upward revision to November figures, a decrease in those in the long-term unemployed category, and gains of 51k in construction employment, which should help address a shortage of housing market inventory.

Normally poor economic news helps rates, but the bond market looked past the report (not to mention political turmoil in Washington), with investors now betting the grim data will spur more bailout legislation, focusing specifically on reports that President-elect Biden intends to seek $3 trillion in spending. Treasuries pulled back again (the 10-year yield was +19 bps for the week) and the MBS basis closed wider versus Treasury yields after digesting late Thursday’s agency prepayments (30s near expected, 15s faster than expected) and optimistic comments from Fed Vice Chair Clarida.

This week’s economic calendar is light at the start, with today containing only the Employment Trends Index for December and a $58 billion auction of 3-year Treasury notes. The heavy hitters come Friday: retail sales, industrial production & capacity utilization, business inventories and Michigan sentiment. Prior to that are CPI, the December budget statement, and import & export prices. Of potential market moving impact will be the $120 billion mini-Refunding with auctions running today to Wednesday. Regarding the Fed, several Fed presidents are scheduled to speak this week, including Chair Powell. The latest Beige Book will be released on Wednesday. Two Fed speakers are scheduled today: Atlanta President Bostic and Dallas Fed President Kaplan. In MBS Land, the NY Fed Desk will release its two-week schedule on Thursday afternoon along with tentative MBS reinvestments which are based on prepays in the Fed portfolio plus the monthly SOMA increase. The Desk will conduct three operations today, one across each class, totaling $5.9 billion. We begin the week with agency MBS prices unchanged from Friday’s close and the 10-year also unchanged, yielding 1.11 percent.



Royal Pacific Funding has excellent opportunities for Correspondent Sales Professionals who are looking to advance their career with room to grow. RPF recently announced the launch of its premier Correspondent Platform, offering sellers the purchase of both Delegated and Non-Delegated FHLMC, FNMA, FHA, and VA loans. RPF offers its sellers a wide array of products with minimal overlays, innovative technology with its seamless Correspondent Portal - RPF CONNECT, and an experienced executive team. RPF is currently looking for Regional Sales Mangers to grow its national presence. To apply please contact RPF’s VP of Human Resources, Char Mangrello. In addition to expanding its team, RPF has moved offices to a new state of the art building for its headquarters: 4000 MacArthur Blvd., West Tower, 7Th Floor, Newport Beach, CA 92660.

Assurance Financial is continuing to grow production, add retail branch offices and is expanding our production reach into the midwestern U. S., particularly Colorado, Arizona, Kansas, and New Mexico markets. We are searching for an established Regional Production Manager to help create and develop mortgage origination branches in the new midwestern territory, someone that is an outstanding talent and proven retail sales leader with a demonstrated track record of hiring and managing multiple production offices across several states. We are a profitable and well capitalized full- service mortgage banker offering an entrepreneurial customer-focused sales support environment, FNMA/FHLMC/GNMA direct status, and are well-positioned to compete for more growth with state-of- the-art operations & support technology. This new Regional Production Manager position will report to the CEO. If you are interested in joining a dynamic group of mortgage bankers and building a dynamic production team, please contact Paul Peters, CMB.”

“The new year brings good news for Caliber Home Loans! Our very own Bryan Bergjans, National Director of Military Lending and Retail Business Development, had the #1 most popular interview of 2020 on the “Borne the Battle” podcast. This Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) podcast spotlights resources and benefits the VA offers to veterans. Bryan’s episode, “Tips and Changes to VA Home Loans,” covers revisions to VA loan products in a way that’s easy to understand. His military and mortgage careers give him a unique advantage when explaining the benefits of VA loans and advising homebuyers and industry professionals on some of the challenging guidelines. Take some time to listen to Bryan’s #1 interview. He’s one of the many reasons Caliber’s a great place to work. Visit our website today to view open opportunities. To be immediately considered for Operations or Sales positions, email Jonathan Stanley or Brian Miller, respectively.

Rapid underwriting/Ops turn times: close your loans & get paid more! Recently named among Top 5 Best Mortgage Companies to work for by National Mortgage News, Geneva Financial, Home Loans Powered By Humans®, is filling 500 Branch Manager and Loan officer positions in 43 states. With the recent addition of a National Head of Underwriting focused on industry-leading turn-times, Geneva is committed to closing your deals while paying you more! Its Geneva Gives, BE A GOOD HUMAN and Hero of The Year initiatives deemed them a recipient of this year’s AZ Business Magazine’s Excellence in Banking Award for Community Impact. Geneva is currently ranked a nationally fastest growing company in the financial sector, mortgage industry and all industries categories with no signs of slowing down and all signs point to another historic year in 2021. Explore Branch and Originator opportunities!