The stock price of American Airlines back to February 2020 levels. Investors seem to be “buying hope.” In Mortgage Land, though I am beginning to hear tales of pricing margins dropping slightly, if you’re a lender and it takes your back office two months to close a refinance, why make your pricing more aggressive? How does that help customer service? Prices and money are interesting constructs. I remember the thrill of finding a dime or quarter in a coin return when I was a kid. Hugh Hefner became a multimillionaire staying home in his pajamas... I am not seeing the same result. The older I get the more I appreciate alcohol that is on sale. But returning to taking two months to close a loan, I didn’t pull that out of… thin air. ICE Mortgage Technology's (formerly Ellie Mae's) records for the Origination Insight Report showed (for loans passing through its system) mortgage rates hit an average of 2.93 percent and a 4-basis point decline from the November rate. The time to close all loans increased to 58 days from 55 days in November with purchase loans, at 56 days compared to 49 days, accounting for all the increase. The refinance timeline remained at 59 days.

Lender and Broker Products and Services

QuickApply™ from Maxwell: a proprietary feature that delights borrowers and drives a 98% loan application completion rate. On the heels of a strong 2020, lenders are looking for high-ROI areas to invest cash for the upcoming purchase-heavy market. A clear choice is to invest in improving your borrower experience. Digital mortgage point-of-sale platform Maxwell has a powerful feature that will do just that. At the click of a button, QuickApply enables your borrowers to auto-populate fields in their loan application, from address and SSN to employment history and asset data, from Maxwell’s network of data providers. This useful feature doesn’t just provide your borrowers a delightfully tech-forward experience, it drives real volume and revenue. In fact, standard lenders see at least a 967% ROI. That’s an investment you can feel wise making. To learn more about Maxwell’s digital mortgage platform and the QuickApply loan app, click here.

As the mortgage industry shifts from 2020 to 2021, marketing and PR departments need to recognize that communications have changed, and they must adapt to how their prospects/clients are consuming content. Developing and mastering digital experiences that your audience is embracing, including social media, digital ads, blogs, emails, and videos is more important than ever. Having the right mix of content and distribution channels is critical to breaking through and standing out. At Seroka, we help companies build relationships with their prospects and customers that stand the test of time. Getting the customer experience right isn’t a “nice to have,” it’s a necessity. Learn how Seroka can help you optimize your customer marketing experience by reaching out today!

Citibank, N.A. is excited to announce the hiring of Tom Coale as the Correspondent Lending Account Executive covering the New England market (CT, DE, MA, ME, NH, RI, and VT). Tom (who can be reached here) has 25+ years of experience in Real Estate and Lending which includes an impressive track record developing territories and cultivating new seller opportunities by deploying a consultative, client first approach. The addition of Tom is the latest example of how Citi’s Correspondent Channel is focused on creating a best-in-class seller experience.  Citi Correspondent is looking to build on the past 18 months of channel expansion with a 2021 implementation roadmap of new products and programs supported by new technology designed to make loan delivery simple and efficient. We invite you to be part of our growth by contacting our National Client Services Team at 800-967-2205 or completing the Prospective Correspondent Questionnaire.

Rocket Mortgage announced MAJOR news that is already making a difference for the entire broker community. A national mortgage broker directory is now prominently placed on the homepage of one of the industry’s most widely used and recognized websites. Nearly 115,000,000 annual visitors can now search for the local independent brokers in their area right from When QLMS rebranded to closer align with the Rocket name, they committed to provide powerful marketing resources to help mortgage professionals across the country boost their business. This is a huge step forward for the broker community. If you haven’t checked it out yet, visit the new national mortgage broker directory HERE and see how it can grow your business.

Last call to enter Scotsman Guide's coveted 2020 Top Originators ranking. Entry is free and if you closed more than 100 loans or over $40 million in production then you are guaranteed to make the list! This will be the 12th consecutive year we’ve produced the most trusted and viewed ranking of top-producing residential mortgage originators in the industry. Submit your entry to know where you stack up by total production, purchase/refi volume, Non-QM, FHA/VA/USDA, HELOC, brokered loans, location and more. Last year more than 6,000 originators from 450+ companies submitted over $260 billion in production. You read that right, more than $260 billion! Earn the right to call yourself a Top Originator by taking 5 minutes to enter. Submissions for Top Originators will only be accepted through January 31, so enter today to get ranked!

Agency News: FHA's Constant Changes

Yes, there was a change to DACA policy, and now rumors of the FHA cutting annual insurance premiums (MIPs) are circulating. The odds slightly favor a cut in the coming months given the Biden administration's focus on affordability. The rumors have impacted the price of private mortgage insurance stocks (trending down) and the price of mortgage-backed securities (worse relative to Treasury securities due to increasing the prepayment risk since it would be less expensive to refi). There is concrete news, however, so let’s take a look.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2021-04, Update to the COVID-19 Forbearance Start Date and the COVID-19 Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Extension Period yesterday. This ML extends through March 31 the deadline for single family borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages to request an initial COVID-19 forbearance from their mortgage servicer to defer or reduce their mortgage payments for up to six months. If needed, this forbearance can be extended for an additional six months. This ML also extends the deadline to request the initial extension period for HECM borrowers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “The means of communication between a borrower and their mortgage servicer regarding a COVID-19 forbearance, and the terms of the COVID-19 forbearance, remain the same as established in ML 2020-06 and ML 2020-22.

FHA Connection will be updated, effective 3/1, to capture expanded borrower demographic information that aligns with the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) regulations. Information collection will include ethnicity, race, and sex that complies with the revised Regulation C of HMDA. This additional information also aligns with the options provided on the redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA/Fannie Mae Form 1003) as well as the Demographic Information Addendum to the existing URLA for forward mortgages, and the Residential Loan Application for Reverse Mortgage (Fannie Mae Form 1009). The FHAC Business to Government (B2G) submission requirements have also been updated to accommodate the new demographic information. Refer to the B2G Interface webpage for technical requirements. B2G submissions in the new format will be required no later than June 1, 2021.

FHA launched the new FHA Catalyst: Servicing Module. With this first release, the module introduces the framework that will enable mortgagees to view unified case records in a singular platform and is part of FHA’s ongoing efforts to support the entire loan lifecycle through FHA Catalyst.

FHA published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2021-03 announcing a moratorium of foreclosures and evictions for single family properties with FHA-insured mortgages through March 31, 2021 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

As mentioned above, FHA is permitting individuals classified under the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program (DACA) with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) and are legally permitted to work in the U.S. are eligible to apply for mortgages backed by the FHA.

Capital Markets

MCT recently released a video from its MSR team addressing how the MSR Services Division helps MCT clients and what makes them unique. The team of MCT specialists are dedicated solely to helping MSR clients make intelligent, actionable decisions. The team combines their expertise and personability with MSRlive!, the mortgage industry’s most detailed, accurate, fastest and customizable servicing portfolio valuation solution on the market. The MSR software is built on a powerful and convenient web-based platform and designed to effectively support and help MSR professionals build, manage, and optimize their servicing portfolios. Users can view segmented portfolio reporting for a unique look at cash flows based on investor types, coupon tranches or reporting results on a loan level basis. To get more information on MSRlive!, Contact MCT today to learn more or try its new Mortgage Profitability Calculator!

Ginnie Mae announced the issuance of the first mortgage-backed security (MBS) backed by Digital Pools, which are pools consisting entirely and exclusively of eNotes. (Remember the announcement last July?) The MBS, which are composed of loans closed in December 2020, are issued as of January 1, 2021, and have coupon rates ranging from 2.50 percent to 3.50 percent. The aggregate principal value of the Digital Pools totaled approximately $24 million. It’s another milestone in its Digital Collateral Program this month, validating the viability of the securitization model and setting the foundation for broader and more rapid adoption of digital mortgages. Ginnie Mae expects to see escalating levels of growth in the volume of eNotes securitized under its MBS Program for 2021.

Looking at the markets, this isn’t the place to come to read about the heavily shorted GameStop or the rise of amateur Reddit day traders. Though, even Fed Chair Powell was asked about it at his press conference. He declined to answer. Treasuries rallied a couple bps on Wednesday and the MBS basis ended mixed, lower coupons were tighter again, with most of the advance taking place at the open due to weakness in European stocks and U.S. futures. Fixed-rate markets were unmoved by the release of the January FOMC Statement, which contained a reiteration of its pledge to remain highly accommodative and no surprises. That is, the Fed Funds rate will remain at current levels until inflation stays above 2 percent and the economy achieves maximum employment. Additionally, the Fed will continue to acquire Treasuries and MBS. There were some small changes to the Statement, like the removal of the seldom used one-month term repo operation after the first week of February. The central bank acknowledged that the pace of the recovery has slowed in recent months and made clear it is too soon to even begin talk of exiting its bond-buying program.

Today’s economic calendar is already underway with the first look at Q4 GDP (+4.0 percent, as expected). We’ve also had initial claims for the week ending January 23 (-62k to 847k) and continued claims for the week ending January 16 (-223k to 4.8 million, a step in the right direction). Some advance indicators are also out. The advance December goods trade deficit (narrowing to $82.5 billion), advance December retail inventories (+1.0 percent) advance December wholesale inventories (+.1 percent). Later this morning brings the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending January 28, December Leading Indicators, December New Home Sales, January KC Fed manufacturing and a $62 billion Treasury auction of 7-year notes. The Desk will conduct one operation in each class: $1.5 billion 15-year 1.5 percent and 2 percent, $3.3 billion UMBS30 1.5 percent and 2 percent and $1.6 billion GNII 2 percent and 2.5 percent. The Desk will report on MBS purchases for the week ending January 27 in the afternoon, and those are expected to total $36 billion net. We begin Thursday with Agency MBS prices unchanged from Wednesday as is the 10-year yield at 1.01 percent.



A fast-growing, well-capitalized Texas based mortgage banker is searching for a Chief Systems Administrator. This is a unique opportunity for a seasoned technology professional to help enhance and build-out the LendingQB workflows for retail, wholesale, and correspondent channels. The candidate should have 3+ years of in-depth technical experience with the LendingQB LOS platform, a working knowledge of building APIs and leveraging BOTS to build various integrations/automation and a general knowledge about information security requirements. Duties will include working with our Clients & Vendor partners to establish and enhance APIs. The ability to effectively manage a remote team, enhance all department policies and workflows as well as show demonstrated organizational skills are a must. Local and remote candidates interested in joining a progressive and dynamic team may apply by submitting a resume and cover letter to Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt.

Citizens Home Mortgage and Franklin American Mortgage, a division of Citizens Bank, shattered records across each of our lending channels in 2020! Here’s a quick snapshot of our record-breaking year. Retail Lending helped more than 37,000 families with their home financing needs, closing out the year at $14.8B in funded loans. Correspondent Lending set a new production record with 70,495 funded units totaling $17.4B. And Wholesale Lending celebrated the single largest funding year in our history with 33,277 loans for $8.4B (46% purchase)! These are but a few of the statistics that show just how phenomenal our year truly was. Now, we’re looking for phenomenal mortgage professionals to join our winning team as we build off this momentum to make 2021 another great year! If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, visit to see all of our openings today!

On Jan. 22, Caliber Home Loans executives were a featured panel at #NEXTWINTER21, a women’s executive mortgage summit. Ann Thorn, EVP Chief Loan Administration Officer; Sean Harding, Chief Human Resources Officer; Renee Galitis, EVP Chief Information Officer; Chaunine Shanks, SVP Business Controls; and Helen Wilson, SVP Human Resources, discussed Caliber’s diversity and inclusion initiatives and our employee resource group, DREAM, which advances professional development of women. Watch the on-demandreplay to hear insights and learn about the measurable commitments we’re planning for 2021. If you’d like to join a company that cultivates a diverse and inclusive environment while supporting career growth, Caliber is for you! Visit our website today to view open opportunities. To be immediately considered for Operations or Sales positions, email Jonathan Stanley or Brian Miller, respectively.

MCT hired David Burruss as MSR Sales Director to “address the increased demand for the MSR division, and will allow MCT to better serve the needs of their MSR clients.”