In his Saturday Morning Cup of Joe, Jeremy Potter quipped, “The word ‘homeowners’ has the word ‘meow’ in it. Good luck unseeing that from now on.” Plenty of people are out there predicting the path of homeowners and homeownership. And there are those that say, “All forecasts are wrong, but some are useful.” It has certainly been interesting hearing forecasts about the direction of rates (relatively steady with a bias toward increasing gradually), new regulations for lenders (relatively steady with a bias toward increasing gradually), and even residential lending IPOs. (The current STRATMOR blog is, “Lenders and Vendors Going Public: Pros and Cons”.)

Broker and Lender Services and Products

DocProbe partners with your Post-Closing department and manages your entire Trailing Docs operation so you can focus on originating, closing, and selling loans. Since 2010, DocProbe’s mission has been to support lenders nationwide to build their businesses while we work quietly and efficiently in the background. Since then, 100+ lenders have joined our game-changing platform. They are scaling along with the volume surge without thinking about staff, retrieving documents, corrections, or investor exceptions lists. DocProbe’s service is powered by a team with decades of mortgage industry experience, a highly configured process, and technology backed by our LOS - integrated interface. The entire Trailing Document lifecycle is streamlined as our proprietary software facilitates efficient data management and warehousing, and allows the smooth flow of information and documents between title companies and investors. The bottom line is quicker turnaround times and more accurate documentation. Contact Nick Erlanger or visit us to learn more.”

Looking to grow your business in 2021? Take advantage of the complimentary webinars offered by AFR Wholesale™ (live and on-demand) including topics such as Manufactured Housing, One-Time Close, and more.Learn about new loan programs, or brush up on familiar programs, when it’s convenient for you. Already an AFR partner? Then don’t forget to add “AFR Certified” to your credentials! AFR University provides in-depth training in a variety of loan programs and once you've been certified, you can be listed as a Certified Partner on This searchable database allows clients, builders, and realtors in your region to find you quickly and easily, expanding your reach! AFR also provides you with a digital seal confirming your Certified status and expertise, perfect for posting on social or including in your email signature. For more information about becoming a partner, go to, email, or call 1-800-375-6071.

To paraphrase Dave Matthews Band, “come tomorrow you’re gonna get everything.” Everything you need to know about increasing borrower retention, that is. Join SDP Solutions CEO Scott Payne tomorrow at 1 pm ET for a webinar on how to execute on the best borrower retention strategy in the business. Scott will share the three technologies that form his borrower retention “secret sauce.” Attendees will learn 1) how to protect their portfolios, 2) how to act on intelligence, and 3) how to track the performance of their borrower retention strategies. Scott is joined by Hector Galicia (ICE Mortgage Technology), Mike Eshelman (Jornaya), and Alex Kutsishin (Sales Boomerang).Register now.

Market changes bring an opportunity to make sure your toolbox is ready. LoanNEX is leading the industry in expanded product and pricing discovery. Investors and Originators are quickly re-launching expanded and Non-QM products to meet borrowers' needs. Smart tools, like LoanNEX, enable pricing, decisioning and collaborating on one platform. The LoanNEX platform is based on feedback from active participants ensuring buyers and sellers have relevant tools including dynamic eligibility, soft guidelines plus the unique ability to share scenarios and collaborate, all to ensure cleaner loan approvals, quicker loan closings and closed loan purchases. Want to know more about LoanNEX and our new Broker Marketplace? Eloise Schmitz, LoanNEX CEO, is speaking at the IMN Non-QM Virtual Conference tomorrow or you can schedule a demo to start your 2021 off right! For more information about LoanNEX or to sign up for a free trial, email, or schedule a demo.

While no crystal ball can tell us with certainty what the next big breakthroughs in digital mortgage technology will be, there are experts who live and breathe on the bleeding edge and have their fingers on the pulse of mortgage tech. Gather ‘round #NEXTWinter21’s virtual conference session “The Present and Future of Digital Lending” to get a big-picture tech perspective from FormFree CEO Brent Chandler and Sierra Pacific Mortgage VP Jennifer Folk. Mark your calendars for this Friday, 1/22 at 12:50 pm ET. Register here for free.

Calling all industry executives! Mark your calendars for Wednesday, February 10 at 1 PM ET as XINNIX presents their quarterly Leadership Lessons Webinar featuring yours truly: "Beyond the Daily Commentary 2021: A Live Q&A with Rob Chrisman." XINNIX Founder & CEO, Casey Cunningham, will be hosting this live Q&A session likely on topics taken from the headlines of my daily commentary with an opportunity to elaborate more on what is important to you. When you register, you can submit your questions for me to answer in advance or get online a few minutes early the day of the event and get your question in the queue. Either way, I look forward to talking to you soon. Reserve your seat today!

Today’s inauguration means change is coming: How will Biden affect interest rates, regulations, and more? As a lender, you may be wondering what a fresh start in the White House will mean for you. Indeed, the mortgage industry can expect both economic and regulatory changes as Joe Biden begins his term as President of the United States. From policy reforms to borrower access, learn how new legislation will impact the industry landscape in Maxwell’s latest blog post, “What Will the Incoming Biden Administration Mean for the Mortgage Industry?” Click here to read the article and educate yourself on how the Biden/Harris ticket will impact mortgage lending in coming months.

FHA, VA, USDA, and Ginnie Mae

Ninety-six percent of counties in the country began 2021 with higher Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan limits than in 2020. Rising FHA loan limits are particularly important in a rising home price environment since the program offers buyers lower down payment and credit score options.

For those new to the biz, the FHA sets a ceiling and floor each year for the loan limits based on median home prices. The new ceiling of $822,375 is 7.4% higher than the $765,600 from last year. (The change in the FHA floor and ceiling loan limits match the 7.4% increase in conforming loans announced by Freddie and Fannie at Thanksgiving.) Metropolises like LA, SF, or Manhattan fall under that umbrella. The new floor of $356,362 is seen nearly everywhere else.

And the vast majority of FHA & VA loans are slotted into Ginnie Mae securities. As a reminder, Ginnie Mae is the only MBS to carry the explicit full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Ginnie Mae announced a record MBS issuance in December, above $81.7 billion, the sixth consecutive month that MBS issuance exceeded $70 billion. Additionally, a record 57 Ginnie Mae Platinum securities transactions occurred in December, totaling more than $3.5 billion, and helping provide housing financing for more than 289,000 households. A breakdown of that $81.7 billion of issuance includes $76.7 billion of Ginnie Mae II MBS (registered holders receive an aggregate principal and interest payment from a central paying agent) and $4.96 billion of Ginnie Mae I MBS (registered holders receive separate principal and interest payments on each of their certificates), which includes $4.88 billion of loans for multifamily housing.

Ginnie Mae's total outstanding principal balance as of December 31 was $2.11 trillion, essentially flat with November 2020 and down slightly from $2.118 trillion in December 2019. Pe Inside Mortgage Finance, in January of last year, the flow of VA loans into Ginnie MBS exceeded the volume of FHA loans, a trend that culminated in December, when VA accounted for 57.0% of monthly issuance. VA loan securitization volume in 2020 was up 85.7% from the previous year, compared with a 25.3% increase for FHA.

FHA Office of Single-Family Housing is gearing up to publish its FHA INFO Single Family News and Updates email and primary industry stakeholder communication vehicle through a new digital communications platform. Additionally, there will be updates to FHA INFO’s look providing ease of reading and accessing information on FHA Single Family Housing news. Also, managing subscription at any time and subscribe to news from other offices within HUD’s Office of Housing (Multifamily and Manufactured Housing, Healthcare Facilities, and Housing Counseling). Be sure to add to your email’s safe senders list. This will ensure that the FHA INFO is not sent to your spam or junk folder. 

Ginnie Mae published APM 20-20, revising its definition of High Balance Loans as follows: Effective for issuances on or after January 1, 2021, a High Balance Loan is defined as a single-family forward mortgage loan with an original principal balance (minus the amount of any upfront mortgage insurance premium) that exceeds the applicable FHFA conforming loan limit as defined in the APM.

Beginning January 1, 2021, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will implement a new version of its Technology Open to Approved Lenders (TOTAL) Mortgage Scorecard. This new version incorporates adjustments to maintain and improve upon predictiveness as part of FHA’s continual revalidation of the TOTAL scoring model.

FHA published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2020-49, Revised Form HUD-92900-A, HUD Addendum to Uniform Residential Loan Application, which announced that the updated loan-level certification, Form HUD-92900-A, is now available. Read the Press Release for details. In this letter, FHA is continuing its efforts to provide more clarity and to allay concerns about the FHA loan-level certification process. Effective date of revised and renewed forms: Mandatory use for case numbers assigned on or after March 22nd, but can be used immediately if a lender prefers. The revised Form HUD 92900-A’s loan level certifications now has the borrower consent on page 1 and 2 to verify Social Security Number, False Certification warning added to page 1, insurance certifications Direct Endorsement (DE) processed cases in TOTAL, DE Underwriter certification for manually underwritten loans, and post-closing certification on page 4 has been added. Several forms were renewed. And for new construction - Completion of Construction removed. The lender must certify that the property is 100% complete and meets HUD’s MPR & MPS requirements.

FHA announced extensions to several temporary provisions previously instituted through Mortgagee Letters (ML) and policy waivers to help mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages and mortgagees. Read the Press Release for details.

FHA has added the remaining Single Family forward mortgage claim types within the FHA Catalyst: Claims Module. With these additions, servicers can now electronically submit all FHA Single Family Title II forward mortgage claim types within the module. Read the Press Release for more information.

Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities (MBS) issuance surged to above $81.7 billion, financing housing for more than 289,000 households. December was the sixth consecutive month that MBS issuance exceeded $70 billion. A record 57 Ginnie Mae Platinum securities transactions occurred in December, totaling more than $3.5 billion. For more information on monthly MBS issuance, UPB balance, REMIC monthly issuance and global market analysis. For more information, visit Ginnie Mae Disclosure.

Ginnie Mae released its latest Capital Markets Live podcast, which takes an in-depth look at forbearance, loss mitigation and servicing in the current government mortgage market.

Don’t forget that USDA announced in late December that funding for Rural Development’s Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program authorized by the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021”, is available.

Capital Markets

It’s January 20, a day marked on political calendars for some time. Investors are betting the Biden administration will use its blue-wave legislative firepower to boost economic growth. Yesterday’s big news item was the acknowledgment from Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen that she thinks Congress needs to "act big" with coronavirus stimulus measures. She added at her nomination hearing that she would like to increase the minimum wage, that targeting exchange rates is unacceptable, and that any plan to raise the corporate tax rate should wait until the U.S. is on the other side of the pandemic. Yellen is expected to go before the full Senate for a vote tomorrow. Treasuries ended the day largely unchanged and the MBS basis closed mostly wider, led by lower coupons, ahead of today’s inauguration events in Washington.

The MBA’s latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey revealed that the total number of loans now in forbearance decreased -9 bps to 5.37 percent of servicers’ portfolio volume in the prior week as of January 10. According to MBA’s estimate, 2.7 million homeowners are in forbearance plans. Separately, the MBA reported mortgage applications decreased 1.9 percent from one week earlier, for the week ending January 15. It is a very light economic calendar today aside from that, with just same-store sales from Redbook for the week ending January 15, and the NAHB Housing Market Index for January. The Treasury then auctions $24 billion reopened 20-year bonds and the Desk of the NY Fed will also conduct two operations for up to $4.9 billion, starting with $3.3 billion UMBS30 1.5% and 2% and followed by $1.6 billion GNII 2% and 2.5%. We begin the day with the 5-year T-Note and Agency MBS prices worse/down 2-3 ticks and the 10-year yielding 1.10 after closing yesterday at 1.09 percent.



Commerce Wholesale continues to grow and is looking for experienced Wholesale Account Executives across the U.S. to help expand our CDFI mission and help the underserved homeowners. Commerce offers an expansive product line that includes programs like FHA/VA down to 550 FICO scores, Mortgage Only for FHA Streamlines and VA IRRRLS, No Income for Primary and Second homes up to 70% LTV, No Ratio Program down to 700 FICOs, loan amounts to $3.5 million and many, many more. Align yourself with one of the fastest growing wholesale companies in the country today. Contact James Hooper for a confidential interview. Visit to learn more.”

Nationwide Mortgage Bankers is a different kind of company. Here, we believe culture and employee happiness are the secret sauce to our success. This is why we were named the Fastest Growing Private Mortgage Bank by Inc 5000 in 2019 and 2020, as well as the #1 Ranked Mortgage Company in Fortune’s Great Place to Work. We are hosting a Virtual Career Fair and would love to meet you! Join us on January 21, at 12 PM EST for a candid panel discussion with rising stars from our Operations Team. Register today!”