Lending and real estate are permanently linked. On the mortgage side of things, the podcast of today’s commentary features thoughts on the $1.5 billion cap on Agency whole loan sales, and it can be heard via Apple, Spotify, or Google: subscribe and download. On the real estate side of things, inventory issues around the nation continue. Remember that ten years ago large corporations were soaking up the majority of homes that came on the market. I mention this because they still own hundreds of thousands of residences and these companies have certainly enjoyed the appreciating market for real estate. (One of them, Blackstone, is buying Interior Logic Group for $1.6 billion. Interior Logic Group is a national provider of interior finish and design technology: a data-driven and technology-enabled provider of interior design, supply chain, and installation management solutions to several of the nation’s largest single-family home builders.) In addition, it turns out that as 2020 unfolded, with the surge in demand, new-home builders started hoarding inventory in the third quarter of 2020 to ensure they still had something to sell as prices continued to rise. Builders are actually holding on to that product because it’s selling so fast and they’re releasing fewer units. Fascinating.

Broker and Lender Services and Products

The latest guest on Maxwell’s Clear to Close podcast needs no introduction: Today, we welcome mortgage industry heavy-hitter Kevin Peranio, CLO of PRMG. Join us as we chat about building a company for the long-term, including how he approaches business problems, what giving looks like in the industry, and how to stay entrenched in the community while growing your lending practice. (Plus: the coffee-drinking tip that allows him to keep working “like a machine” in the fast-paced lending world.) For inspiring advice, entertaining anecdotes, and more, listen to the Clear to Close podcast’s newest episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or your browser!

Join Mitch Kider & Michael Dunn, CMB, on February 18th at 2pm EST for ActiveComply’s informational “Social Media Compliance Webinar”. In this series, we will discuss the social media lending landscape, examine the Biden Administration and what it means for the industry, evaluate fair lending & RESPA concerns, and explore other regulatory issues with social media compliance. Sign-up for the free webinar today! ActiveComply: Do you know what your LOs are saying online? Are you saying NO to social media because you don’t know the rules or feel protected? ActiveComply can bring you no-headache solutions to be regulatory compliant on social media. ActiveComply helps lenders meet responsibilities through our compliance system technology: automatically find all company and LO accounts related to your brand, examine profiles for NMLS IDs & Equal Housing information, and ensure posts are compliant (image scanning included). Download our Social Media Compliance Cheat Sheet to learn more!

Every lender has a vision for their sales and marketing process, but very few CRM systems actually deliver exactly what they want. OptifiNow takes a different approach. Its CRM and automated marketing platform is designed to be custom tailored to a lender's detailed business needs. OptifiNow performs a deep analysis on their clients, mapping out workflows and integrations to ensure feasibility and implementation success. Their CRM platform is designed to be flexible and completely customizable, rivaling the capabilities of industry-leading CRM systems but at a dramatically lower cost and with the added bonus of high-touch, consultative support that a lender would typically pay tens of thousands of dollars for. Learn more about how OptifiNow can make your mortgage sales and marketing vision a reality by scheduling a demonstration or call 562-216-1666 to speak with a representative today.

Axos Bank does all the things that no one else does! Most lenders stop at $3 million but not us, we go all the up to $30 million! No Limit on Cash Out, Cross-Collateralization, Bridge Loans, and Pledged Assets Email LendingPartners@axosbank.com to learn more! 

Our warehouse lending program can help you maximize your revenue opportunities with our residential lines of $20MM to $175MM. Have a commercial real estate lending needs? Axos Commercial Lending offers financing solutions for Small Balance Commercial Real Estate, Commercial Real Estate Specialty Bridge and Constructions Lending.”

Have you already been added to HomeBinder? Homeowners are adding lenders to HomeBinder every day because they value all their home information being centralized in one place. Conversely, this benefits the lender as it links them to the homeowner for future financing and referrals, both of which are key needs of any successful loan officer. Find out if you've been added to HomeBinder today.

Miscellaneous News from Around our Industry

Congratulations to Parthenon Capital Partners (the selling shareholders) and founder Anthony Hsieh: loanDepot which “went public” yesterday as LDI. Officially, LD Holdings Group LLC announced that its newly formed affiliate, loanDepot, Inc. priced its initial public offering of 3,850,000 shares of its Class A common stock at $14.00 per share. (It closed at $22 per share – a little initial mispricing?) “loanDepot will use the net proceeds from the primary portion of the offering to purchase equity interests in LD Holdings Group LLC from certain unitholders. loanDepot will not receive any proceeds from the sale of Common Stock by the Selling Shareholders.”

Bank of America announced it will triple its affordable homeownership initiative from $5 to $15 billion through 2025. The Bank of America Community Homeownership Commitment® helps low- to moderate-income homebuyers across the country begin to build their personal wealth and family legacy through the power of homeownership. The company has surpassed its original commitment launched in 2019, and the program has already helped more than 21,000 individuals and families purchase a home and provided over $180 million in grants. Through today’s expansion to $15 billion, Bank of America hopes to triple the number of people it originally set out to help purchase a home, from 20,000 to now 60,000 or more.

A recent fraud trend was reported involving borrowers receiving Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and identifying the funds as a gift to obtain a mortgage. Wells Fargo Funding posted an example of the scheme to help alert Lenders although Wells is unaware of this type of scheme affecting its origination channels. Here’s an example. A married borrower is purchasing a primary property but the spouse is not on the loan. The nonborrowing spouse provides a large gift to the borrower. The bank account of the nonborrowing spouse shows a PPP deposit. The PPP deposit is the same amount as the gift. An investigation revealed the borrower had a self-employed business that was not disclosed. It is recommended that Lenders ensure controls are in place to verify sources of gift funds, fully review all unusual patterns of deposits to ensure the sources of funds are fully disclosed, understood, and found acceptable, and report suspicious activity according to your company’s policies.

From New Jersey comes news that MBANJ submitted a proposal to state regulators that would permit mortgage loan originators to work from home on a permanent basis and eliminate the need to work within a specified proximity to a licensed branch office. This would effectively eliminate the need for companies to maintain costly licensed branch office locations solely to meet these proximity requirements. The proposal would ensure the security of a consumer’s information through the required use of company equipment only, prohibiting MLO’s from having paper records on site. All conversations and other communications would require complete privacy. A special designation for virtual MLOs (VMLO) is also being considered as it would let the consumer and others know that the MLO was not working in a company branch office. This will be a costly effort to pursue across the country and MBANJ is looking for Platinum Members and Corporate Sponsors as well as other new members who would like to help in this effort and to have their voices heard.

Capital Markets

Inflation, or lack thereof, was still on investor minds yesterday, as was progress on stimulus and vaccine distribution. Economic releases on the day showed that state unemployment insurance fell slightly last week, though was still higher than forecast, while claims for federal benefits swelled. Combined with an upward revision in the prior month and over 330k applications filed through a temporary federal relief program, combined claims have not fallen below 1 million in a week since May of later year. Unemployment paints a picture of a recovery still struggling for momentum. By the end of the day, Treasuries had pulled back slightly and the MBS basis closed mixed with lower coupons tighter and higher coupons lagging.

How about some good news: home prices, forbearance numbers, mortgage rates! Fueled by the lowest mortgage rates in history, the median price of a single-family home climbed 14.9 percent to $315k in Q4, the fastest pace on record, surpassing the peak from the last property boom in 2005. It was also the biggest surge in data going back to 1990, according to the National Association of Realtors. And the Primary Mortgage Market Survey from Freddie Mac for the week ending February 11 saw the 30-year rate unchanged for the third straight week at 2.73 percent with the 15-year rate 2bp lower at 2.19 percent. Separately, Black Knight reported that the number of mortgages in active forbearance fell again this week, dropping 48K (-1.6 percent) from last Tuesday.

The NY Federal Reserve Desk released a new MBS purchase schedule covering the February 12 to 26 period, totaling $62 billion (or $6.2 billion per day on average), that saw no changes to coupons. The tentative MBS purchase estimate covers the February 12 to March 11 period consisting of reinvestments. A hundred billion here and a hundred billion there adds up. The Desk will conduct two MBS purchase operations today, starting with $2 billion GNII 2 percent and 2.5 percent followed by $3.2 billion UMBS30 1.5 percent and 2 percent.

Today’s economic calendar is light with only the February Michigan sentiment number, although New York Fed President Williams will make remarks. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices down a few ticks and the 10-year yielding 1.18 after closing yesterday at 1.16 percent. Federal holiday on Monday!


Jobs, Mergers, and Promotions

Rushmore Correspondent Lending Services is looking to grow from our strong success in 2020. Since the channel’s inception in 2019, Rushmore Correspondent continues to be committed to providing our partners with the finest products, backed by consistent, high-quality service. To help us achieve our goals for 2021 and beyond, Rushmore is looking for Correspondent Account Executives to help manage and expand our client base.  If you are interested in joining our Sales team, please reach out Mike Robertson, Correspondent National Sales.

First International Bank & Trust (FIBT), with offices in Arizona, North Dakota, and Minnesota, entered into an agreement to purchase Sodak Home Loans, LLC. In a sign of the times, the acquisition was a utilization of Zoom calls and shared platforms versus the standard meet and greet. The acquisition coincides with FIBT’s entrance into the growing Sioux Falls, South Dakota market. “Our team is excited to have Brent VanderGriend and the Sodak team as part of our mortgage family,” stated Mike Mulwani, Director of Mortgage for FIBT. “This not only adds to our growth trajectory but allows both mortgage organizations to leverage the efficiencies both organizations have developed,” added Justin Walseth, FIBT’s Chief Growth Officer. *Member FDIC / Equal Housing Lender.

Boston Private, a leading wealth management, trust and private banking company serving customers in Boston, San Francisco, LA, New York, Miami, and Palm Beach, has unique positions for private bank-model mortgage professionals in both New York City and Los Angeles. “This is an extraordinary opportunity for a mortgage and banking professional to join one of the top wealth and banking firms in the country. We are looking for someone with extensive experience in the jumbo space working with high and ultra-high net worth clients having often times complex financial situations and a need for holistic wealth and banking solutions. Boston Private is a true “portfolio” lender, delivering creative, solutions-based lending opportunities for current and prospective wealth and banking clients. For more information, visit our careers site:  Residential Loan Officer-New York and Residential Loan Officer-Santa Monica or contact Josefina Ward.”

Homeowners Financial Group has promoted Nelson DeLeon to Chief Operating Officer to oversee all of Operations while continuing to manage Capital Markets. Nelson is a 35-year veteran of the industry and has already made a tremendous impact over the 4 and ½ years he’s been with Homeowners Financial Group. Bill Rogers, CEO, commented that “While Nelson DeLeon has an abundance of experience in all facets of the mortgage industry, it’s through interpersonal relationships he’s built over the years that separates him from the rest. He understands the essence and effect of a solid Operations-Sales partnership.” Homeowners Financial Group has been recognized as a Best Places to Work and Best Mortgage Company since inception, over 17 years ago. If you are interested in joining Homeowners Financial Group, please contact Nelson DeLeon or send your confidential resume to Erin Dueck.

Adding branches in 44 states: rapid underwriting/Ops turn-times; close your loans and be paid more! Named a Top 5 Best Mortgage Companies to work for by National Mortgage News and Top Mortgage Employer by NMP Magazine, Geneva Financial, Home Loans Powered By Humans®, is filling 500+ Branch Manager and Loan officer positions in 44 states. With the recent addition of a National Operations Manager focused on industry-leading turn-times, Geneva is committed to closing your deals while paying you more! Geneva is currently ranked a nationally fastest growing mortgage company with plans to double market share in 2021. Explore Branch and Originator opportunities and our unmatched no-cost marketing offering for our Originators.