What does $4.6 billion dollars buy you these days? A couple casinos: a Blackstone-sponsored JV is paying that for MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. For that you’ll receive the income from 9,743 rooms, approximately three million square feet of meeting space, and approximately 300,000 square feet of casino space across 226 acres on the Las Vegas Strip. 2,500 miles away, the average price of a newly listed condo in New York rose from $1.15 million in 2011 to $3.77 million in 2019, but about half of the Manhattan luxury condo units that came on to the market in the past five years are as yet unsold. And NY is losing 300 residents per day. Analysts are quick to remind us that this is not actually a market for people to buy homes but rather for the global wealthy to park money (similar to Seattle, Victoria, and Vancouver a few years ago for the Chinese) in luxury towers, functionally serving as safe deposit boxes.

Products and Services for Lenders

Continuing its commitment to technology, Orion Lending is proud to announce its seamless integration with Essent MI. This enhancement delivers real time MI quotes within the STAR Broker Portal, and is the first of many STAR Portal upgrades and integrations on the innovation roadmap for 2020. STAR is Orion’s proprietary broker portal 5 years in the making. Orion’s brokers rave on the ease of use, transparency, and unique solutions that makes their job easier, such as Strike Price. To learn more about Strike Price, the one and only automated pricing and notification engine, click here, and one of Orion’s stellar AEs will reach out immediately.

Are you ready to expand your business with One-Time Close loans? American Financial Resources, Inc. (AFR) is excited to invite partners to an OTC Masterclass, featuring President Laura Brandao as your personal guide!Exclusive and engaging One-Time Close training that introduces the who, what, when, where and why of One-Time Close. Learn how to market OTC to a variety of clients, including builders and borrowers, with training modules that include OTC terminology, fundamentals and how to prepare for your first OTC transaction. Just another example of the continuous educational opportunities AFR provides to its partners. You can access the training via the AFR Resource Center. Not an AFR partner yet? Email sales@afrwholesale.com or call 1-800-375-6071.

Looking to grow in 2020? “Monster Lead Group introduces The Monster Way, an unprecedented 8-week plan to radically change the future of your mortgage business. The Monster Way is a formidable combination of a direct marketing system, a sales process and a custom playbook for growing your organization. It includes a dedicated Monster expert who works with you to create an 8-week direct marketing campaign that generates a consistent flow of the right leads to your inbound call team. We’ll train your MLOs how to turn more of those calls into apps using the same professional sales techniques as the highest producing originators in the country. Your reps will graduate with the secret sauce for generating record sales in any market, regardless of rates. Join our clients who originated more than $10 billion in 2019. Find out if your organization and The Monster Way are a good match: Apply. (Space is limited due to high demand.)”

“Together with our Business Partners, Caliber Wholesale made 2019 a record-setting year. With the amazing performance and passion of our partners, Caliber shattered old sales records. Caliber introduced new products to its suite of non-agency loans, launched CaliberPRO and strengthened our Reconnect program to help you work with your past borrowers again and again. We’re looking forward to working with you in 2020 and beyond to be your trusted partner. To learn more about Caliber Reconnect and the other perks of partnering with us, contact Caliber Wholesale.”

After a year of eye-popping growth at QLMS, it is celebrating the partners who helped QLMS beat record after record with its Super Bowl LIV Sweepstakes. QLMS is offering two partners a once-in-a-lifetime Super Bowl experience.Partners have the chance to win the grand prize of a TICKET TO SUPER BOWL LIV in Miami, FL, along with flight and hotel accommodations! The partner’s AE, who has been helping them build their business, will accompany them to the game. Click here to enter into the sweepstakes and start practicing your touchdown dance. Partners who use QLMS’ portal often may want to keep up that trend. You will earn bonus entries by visiting The Answer, liking and following QLMS on their social channels, updating your contact info with your AE and opting in to QLMS marketing communication. Good luck!

“Ring in the new year at the Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference in New Orleans by developing a warehouse partnership with Axos Bank. Our diverse array of Agency, Super Jumbo and Non-QM products and aggressive pricing for deposit relationships are ideal for the current dynamic interest rate environment. With warehouse lines from $10MM to $125MM, a streamlined application process, extended funding times up to 5:30 pm ET, and exceptional customer service, Axos Bank is an essential partner to help grow your business. Schedule a conference meeting or contact Robert Martini, Robert Norine or Eric Nelepovitz to learn more about all the benefits of our warehouse program.”

It’s 2020. Do you know how many borrowers in your database are ready for another loan? Don’t spend another dime on new leads until you can answer that question. Not sure where to start? Schedule a demo with Sales Boomerang today.

M&A News

For many, M&A transactions are an infrequent and substantial undertaking with potentially significant consequences. As with any other major business decision, the homework your company does prior to the acquisition influences the outcome. Here’s an article from Deloitte about what CFOs should keep in mind. And STRATMOR’s Jeff Babcock wrote about how deals work… or not.

Absolute Home Mortgage Corporation announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the origination platform of Haus Mortgage (HausM), a residential mortgage originator and digital marketing provider, headquartered in Chicago. “The integration of the HausM brand name will enable Absolute to streamline and advance the expansion process in the Chicago market for consumers who purchase homes through HausM and its retail organization force. Absolute will continue its current line of business, offering mortgages to consumers and increasing technology-based efficiencies to both consumers and mortgage industry professionals. Expanding to the Chicago market will allow the company to develop new tools and partnership opportunities, including expanding its technology based digital marketing approach.”

Radian Group Inc. (NYSE: RDN) announced the sale of Clayton Services LLC to Covius Holdings, a leading provider of technology-enabled solutions to the financial services industry. Clayton Services, acquired by Radian as part of Clayton Holdings, provides loan acquisition, RMBS securitization and distressed asset reviews and servicer and loan surveillance services. “The sale is consistent with Radian’s strategic focus on its core mortgage and real estate businesses and reflects the repositioning of its Services segment initiated in 2017.” Radian turned heads earlier this month with a set of personnel cutbacks around the nation. “In addition to its core Mortgage Insurance and Risk Services businesses, Radian will maintain all of the services and products offered through Green River Capital, Red Bell Real Estate, Five Bridges Advisors, Radian Title Insurance, and Radian Settlement Services. Approximately 550 employees supporting Clayton Services will join the Covius team.”

Capital Markets

How’s Ginnie Mae doing? Issuance of its mortgage-backed securities (MBS) totaled $54.74 billion in December, providing financing for more than 214,999 homeowners and renters. A breakdown of December issuance includes $52.18 billion of Ginnie Mae II MBS and $2.56 billion of Ginnie Mae I MBS, which includes $2.18 billion of loans for multifamily housing. Ginnie Mae's total outstanding principal balance of $2.118 trillion is an increase from $2.042 trillion in December 2018.

PennyMac Broker Direct has been added to the Lender Price Marketplace pricing engine. The Lender Price Marketplace pricing engine user base has grown five-fold since May 2019 and “has become a go-to resource for mortgage brokers to search prevailing pricing from multiple wholesale lenders.” The addition of PennyMac increases the total number of wholesale lender partners to twenty-seven.

Looking at Tuesday’s bond market, and therefore interest rates, fixed income securities began this holiday-shortened week rallying yesterday after news of further spreading and fatalities, including a case of the coronavirus, in Washington State, as a result of the viral lung illness that originated in central China forced investors to reckon the potential impact on growth and consumer spending. Chinese officials confirmed that the Wuhan coronavirus can be transmitted between people, which is particularly sensitive as Chinese citizens are expected to make more than three billion trips during the Lunar New Year holiday. Talk of the virus overshadowed any market reaction to the impeachment trial getting under way in Washington, or French President Macron saying that he agreed with President Trump to work toward a digital tax solution that would avoid an increase in tariffs.

The rally was cut short after the Desk of the NY Fed postponed the day’s $383 million maximum GNII 2.5 percent ($129 million) and 3 percent ($254 million) FedTrade operation. No support was provided due to “technical difficulties,” and the operation will be rescheduled. With the next scheduled FedTrade operation not until tomorrow, another try at the postponed $383 million GNII today would not be a surprise.

Today’s economic calendar is already underway. Mortgage applications decreased 1.2 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 17. We’ve also received the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (down to -.35). Later this morning brings the January FHFA Housing Price Index and December Existing Home Sales. After the Bank of Japan left its interest rate on excess reserves unchanged yesterday, the Bank of Canada will be out with its latest decision later this morning (expected unchanged). We begin today with Agency MBS prices roughly unchanged as is the 10-year yielding 1.77 percent.

Jobs, Transitions, and Promotions

Nations Lending Corporation, a privately-owned mortgage lender headquartered in Independence, Ohio, has announced the addition of Nino Saso, Division Sales Manager, for the company’s Western territory. “Nino is a proven leader, and with his knowledge and success in the West, we expect him to make a big impact for us,” said Corey Caster, Nations Lending’s EVP of National Production. Saso has been in the mortgage industry for over 30 years, and served in key roles at GMAC, Prospect Mortgage (where he managed over $3 billion in loan volume), and as a divisional manager for Mutual of Omaha Mortgage prior to joining Nations Lending. Nations Lending is a well-established, Agency/Government Servicer, licensed in all 50 states, and Washington DC. “We are proud to provide 5-star customer service to the comprehensive package of Agency loans we originate. For more information and opportunity on how to join our growing organization, please visit the company's website.

Lakeview Correspondent is pleased to announce the addition of Jason Kitch to the correspondent sales team. Jason joins our dynamic team of sales professionals and will cover PA, NJ, DE & MD. Lakeview’s position as a top 5 servicer and our leadership in providing a consistent correspondent outlet, not only for standard agency and government business, but also for our focus on affordable lending. Lakeview is the leader in down payment assistance lending through our state and local HFA relationships as well as our partnerships with non-profit DPA providers. Please join us in welcoming Jason to the team!

PrimeLending is excited to announce the promotion of Nic Hartke to VP of Recruiting. With over 15 years of recruiting expertise in the mortgage industry, Nic has an innate ability to connect with people, understand their needs and help them achieve their goals — which is why he is the perfect fit to lead PrimeLending’s recruiting efforts. Part of PrimeLending’s Regional Production Team since 2018 covering the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Regions, he has been an integral part of the company’s record-breaking success. If you’re a loan officer or branch manager ready to Discover Your Best, or a recruiter wanting to be a part of PrimeLending’s best-in-class recruiting team, contact Nic today.

Gateway First Bank announced that Charles Emley has been appointed to SVP of Operations to help Gateway “maintain consistent operations throughout all facets of the organization as it continues to merge its mortgage technology and services with the strength, security and product breadth of a bank.”

Mortgage Capital Trading, Inc. (MCT) announced that Bill Shirreffs has joined the company in the newly created position of Senior Director of Sales Operations to help manage the expansion of MCT’s entire sales team along with operations, sales leadership and overall strategy.

Wisconsin’s Waterstone Mortgage Corporation has brought on Elizabeth Spragg as SVP - Human Resources and will oversee Human Resources initiatives and employee relations for Waterstone Mortgage’s team of more than 600 employees nationwide.

And Angel Oak Home Loans announced the hiring of industry veteran Ed Powell who will oversee Angel Oak’s consumer direct division in the Carolinas. (AO has plans to grow the consumer direct division elsewhere and will be opening a Baton Rouge, LA office.)