February already? Ah, Valentine's Day - remember as a kid when your classmates would hand out a 5 word card to every classmate and you received 20 pieces of candy? Those were the days; now we wonder how much really goes into "manufacturing" Valentine's Day. The Census Bureau tells us there are roughly 1,200 U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate and cocoa products which employee 38,717 people. The estimated value of chocolate and cocoa product shipments for manufacturing establishments that produced these products in 2014 is $14.9 billion. And there are 14,161 florists around the States, about 23,000 jewelry stores.

Here is something different from the production side: "originators, is your current company introducing you to the people who actually do real-estate? We're not talking about purchased leads; we're talking about actual face to face introductions. If the answer is no, maybe it is time to talk to someone who can: FortuneBuilders Inc.! We'll be in Houston at the Crown Plaza February 17th -21st for a real-estate event, come meet a qualified national network of investors that buy and sell hundreds and thousands of real-estate deals a year who are looking for professional mortgage bankers to finance and educate them on their next deal. Think about where your production is going to come from this year. Contact Jon Mekeal to set up a meeting for this event.

Mortgage Builder and Bodman PLC are conducting a free webinar on February 10th to discuss some of the most vexing issues facing lenders when preparing TRID disclosures. Sign up now as space is limited.

And NYCB Mortgage Banking spread the word to its table-funding clients about its 1-hour LE/CD eDelivery Training, all offered at 1PM EST: Tue 2/02, Thu 2/04, Wed 2/10, Fri 2/12, and Wed 2/17.

The Georgia Real Estate Fraud Prevention & Awareness Coalition (GREFPAC) is excited to announce its 2016 Fraud Prevention Conference at the Cobb Galleria on Wednesday, March 2nd. GREFPAC is a nonprofit dedicated to providing education and resources to combat real estate and mortgage fraud in Georgia and is an organization that serves both its members and Georgia communities by identifying best practices to prevent and detect fraud and by providing a safe space to identify and analyze fraud trends. The conference is open to real estate agents, mortgage professionals, appraisers, regulators, law enforcement, and community leaders. Come hear the latest from HUD, Fannie Mae, the FBI, regulators, and more! Attendance is only $50 per person, and if you register by February 15th you can bring a colleague for free. 

The residential legal machinations continue. Attorney Phil Stein (Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP) wrote, "Rob, six victories that clients of mine had won over Lehman and Aurora in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado were affirmed by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver after hotly-contested rounds of appellate briefing and oral argument. In the 37-page opinion the appellate panel unanimously affirmed the loan originators/sellers' victories on statute of limitations grounds. In so doing, the federal appeals court rejected, among other arguments, Lehman and Aurora's contentions that their claims were really 'indemnification' claims that did not accrue until they paid Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac with respect to the loans at issue. The court agreed with our argument that the claims in fact accrued as soon as the loans were sold (in 2006 and 2007). This obviously has potentially significant implications for loan originators and sellers across the country facing buyback or 'indemnification' claims from their investors."

And no, the CFPB is the not the only regulator out there. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released a list of orders of administrative enforcement actions taken against banks and individuals in December. No administrative hearings are scheduled for this month. "The FDIC issued a total of 41 orders and one notice. The administrative enforcement actions in those orders consisted of seven consent orders; one amended consent order; eight removal and prohibition orders; four restitution orders; five voluntary termination of insurance orders; six Section 19 orders; four civil money penalty orders; 10 terminations of consent orders and cease and desist orders; one order terminating supervisory prompt corrective action directive; one termination of restitution order; one adjudicated decision; and one notice."

FHA & VA news and adjustments continue for lenders and investors around the nation.

Did you know that there are only three available phases remaining for onboarding to the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) Electronic Appraisal Delivery (EAD) portal before the June 27, 2016 mandatory use date? To register for an onboarding phase, a mortgagee's designated FHA Application Coordinator should follow the steps outlined on FHA's EAD Portal Mortgagee Onboarding Process web page.

Somewhat recently the FHA announced it will cut insurance rates for multifamily mortgages, designed to stimulate production and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing. The MBA did a nice write up: Full Story.

VA has published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the Qualified Mortgage Interim Final Rule in Circular 26-16-3.

Mountain West Financial has a new Case Number Services portal. The new portal will provide easy ordering access to various case number services, including FHA Case Numbers (new, cancelations and transfers), VA IRRRL LIN Number Requests, CAIVRS Authorizations and FHA Refinance Credit Queries. The new portal can be accessed from the BOLT menu located on the MWF internet, mwfwholesale.com.

Effective for loans with commitments taken on or after Monday, February 1, 2016, AmeriHome's fees are changing as follows: Tax service - $75.00, Admin fee (Agency - Fannie Mae,* Freddie Mac,* FHA, VA, and USDA) - $295.00, (Non-Agency - Core Jumbo, Non-Agency Hybrid ARM, and Expanded QM) -  $295.00, Standard Service Level and  $775.00, Enhanced Service Level. *Reminder: If a Fannie Mae Property Inspection Waiver (PIW) or Freddie Mac Property Inspection Alternative (PIA) is used, then a $75 PIW/PIA fee also applies at delivery.

Land Home Financial Services (LHFS) advantageous FHA Streamline product includes: Non-credit qualifying streamline requires no appraisal or income documentation, mortgage rating credit report or mortgage only rating allowed with no credit scores, and employment is not required to be verified, borrower current contact information is required. In addition, LHFS has a new TRID Closing Doc Request, which is now posted under Forms and TRID - (Click Here For Form).

Freedom Mortgage has updated its FHA and VA LLPAs effective February 1st, FHA FICO 550-619 (Includes Jumbo): 1.5, FHA FICO 620-639 (Includes Jumbo): 0.75, VA FICO 550-619 (Includes Jumbo): 1.875, and VA FICO 620-639 (Includes Jumbo): 1.0.

Effective Wednesday, January 13, Ditech changed its loan level price adjustment (LLPA) for FICO scores greater than or equal to 740 on all Government to +.125%. Also noted, Ditech has changed its calculation process in determining VA High Balance loan eligibility. Moving forward, loan eligibility is permitted to be determined by using the base loan amount excluding the funding fee.

Switching gears to take a look at the markets, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation has ended publication of regional breakout figures in its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey for 30 and 15 year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 hybrid and 1 year ARMs. The publication of both average regional and national breakout figures for 1 year ARMs has also be terminated. The 1 year APOR distributed by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council will then be used to decide if a loan with a fixed rate of less than three years is subprime.

Recently I spoke with a small mortgage bank regarding secondary marketing pricing on FHA/VA production. The question comes up from time-to-time, "Why can't we be more competitive in government pricing?" Nine times out of ten it's because they're getting beat by banks who are GNMA issuers. Over the last few years issuing GNMA securities is the litmus test for a well-run Secondary Marketing department....and it shows in recent issuance numbers posted by GNMA. The last five years, in billions: 2010: $399.75; 2011: $329.36; 2012: $424.90; 2013: $417.39; 2014: $313.49; 2015: $454.32.

We had quite a rally (in both stock & bond prices) Friday after the Bank of Japan cut its main policy rate from 0.10% to -0.10%. Yes, one must pay the bank to keep their money there. We also had a big jump in the Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index although the advance estimate for GDP growth in Q4 2015 came up short at 0.7% and Michigan Consumer Sentiment was finalized at 92.0 in January. The increase in personal consumption expenditures (2.2%) accounted for 1.46 percentage points of GDP growth, which was offset primarily by the negative contribution from net exports (-0.47 percentage points) and the change in private inventories (-0.45 percentage points). The FOMC meeting came and went with little market reaction. The rates market remains subdued, helping mortgages outperform. The Fed statement reflects a more dovish outlook on rate hikes, MBS should benefit and they have modestly outperformed this past week.

But all of that was so... last week. I head to Houston for a TMBA event today realizing we have a "ton" of news coming out. Today are December PCE Prices & December Personal Income and Personal Consumption (7:30 CST), December Construction Spending, and January's ISM Index. Tomorrow we take a breather and then pick up again with the MBA's mortgage application index, January ADP Employment Change, and January ISM Services.

Thursday: the January Challenger Job Cuts, Initial Jobless Claims, and also Q4 Productivity and Unit Labor Costs, December Factory Orders, and Durable Goods. As with most first Fridays of the month this Friday we'll see the January Employment numbers, and also the December Trade Balance. We wrapped up last week with the 10-year yielding 1.93% and in the early going it is hovering around that level with agency MBS prices roughly unchanged.


Jobs and Announcements

In Ops news, Carrington Mortgage is now hiring in Westfield, Indiana. "Discover the opportunities with the Mortgage Lending Division Open House of Carrington Mortgage's Westfield Indiana Operations/ Regional Sales Center on Thursday February 11th from 12PM to 7PM.  Carrington Mortgage a dynamic and entrepreneurial Mortgage Company is expanding its footprint with its new state of the art Regional Operations/Sales Center in Westfield Indiana and we are looking for Top Talent! If you are a Licensed Mortgage Loan Officer, DE Underwriter, Funder, Document Specialist, or Loan Processor we would love to meet you! Enjoy some refreshments and meet our leadership team. At Carrington Mortgage Services you'll discover an open door to opportunity. Exceptional financial strength, products and geographic scope - combined with comprehensive training programs, diversity initiatives, competitive benefits and a commitment to work/life balance we can open up a world of possibilities. We have cultivated a fun team work environment where there is opportunity to learn and develop within both the company and your career. With hard work, you'll reap benefits both professionally and personally." To RSVP please contact Carlos Fernandez at 949-517-7204.

And congrats to Denise Neely who has joined Valuation Partners, a national appraisal management company with access to over 20,000 independent fee appraisers in all 50 states, as the VP of the Southwest Region. In her new role Neely will be responsible for overseeing business development and new client services in Arkansas, Alabama, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.