The mortgage industry has certainly taken its lumps in the last eight years. Things are turning around, and Jason Frazier from California's Mason McDuffie Mortgage writes in, "Here's a story on what we are doing to help some Nuns who face eviction in SF. This is about the industry coming together to help a group of ladies who sacrifice in order to feed the homeless of San Francisco. You can read the article here. Perhaps others in the industry could check out the GoFundMe page so that we can get more donations to help these people out. In a time where our industry seems to always be the whipping boy of politicians and view negatively by the public at large, it would be great to show them that we actually do care about the communities we live in."

As the residential lending industry becomes more highly skilled every month, there are plenty of opportunities to learn! They run the gamut of national events, regional assemblies, or individual companies offering training for the industry, some free and some paid, covering a wide range of topics. Regardless, it is fun to watch the increase in ways that our education is increasing.

For 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.

Lenders One, the largest mortgage banking cooperative, is hosting its annual Winter Conference in New Orleans March 6-9 for Members and Partners.  More than 500 attendees will come together to share best practices, learn from top industry experts, and help to shape the future of the industry. In today's increasingly complex market, it's never been more important to partner with the best in class to build winning strategies. That's why the conference will focus on the power of collaborating to increase profitability. If you're interested in networking with top industry peers and growing your business, reach out to Susan Malpocker about attending this year's conference.

Understanding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's Rep & Warrant Policy changes is a must for lenders. Assessing the business impact of the recent changes, including on credit decisions and reserve calculations will be covered in MBA's webinar on February 18th.

Sun West February webinar trainings are available for registration. Webinar topics include TRID, Sunsoft application training, USDA, FHA guidelines, case number and appraisals.

K&L Gates' group of seasoned Financial Institutions and Services Litigation attorneys are providing a webinar. On February 24th, the team will be addressing hot litigation topics concerning residential mortgages: loan origination, then navigating through loan servicing, and ending with foreclosure and loan termination. The webinar will wrap up with thoughts on anticipated litigation trends and time for Q&A. 

The CMBA is providing a live, in-person opportunity to hear from and discuss the latest topics and trends with the industry's top experts in its free Compliance Workshop on March 16th.

On February 29, WMBA is hosting a workshop featuring Kerry Walls with The Coaching Collaborative, "Executing your 2016 Playbook."  Kerry is a proven business coach and this will be an event you will not want to miss.  Referral partners are welcome to attend with you.

Elliot Eisenberg, PhD, will speak at the WMBA dinner meeting on February 23rd.  He was a Senior Economist with the National Association of Home Builders in Washington, D.C, and is a syndicated columnist and writes a daily blog.

And the WMBA Income Property Lunch on March 4th features Andy Olsen, VP of Columbia Hospitality.  Andy is a well-known and respected leader in the hospitality industry, please register here.

CMLA's Western Chapter, March 17th luncheon, with guest speaker Marcia Waters is accepting registration now. Ms. Waters has been with the Colorado Division of Real Estate since August 2005 and is the Division Director. She started with the Division as a Criminal Investigator for the Real Estate Commission and was promoted to Chief Investigator in 2006. In 2007, she was promoted to the position of Investigations and Compliance Director. In that capacity, she managed the investigatory and settlement programs for the Division.

MBA will be producing three webinars on the wave of revisions made to the GSE rep & warrant framework. The goal is to provide you with a detailed perspective on what has been changed since 2013 and how it works together as a cohesive framework. Recently the GSEs announced the availability of an independent dispute resolution process to help resolve disputes over loan-level defects. This announcement was the capstone of a substantial amount of work between the GSEs, FHFA and the industry, with MBA significantly engaged over the past two years.

It's time once again for Maryland Mortgage Bankers Association's (MMBA) annual conference on May 5th. Keep building communities, register today.

Save the date for the 21st Annual Western States Loan Servicing Conference and Golf Tournament, August 14 - 16 in San Diego. Regulators and consumers are focused in on improving the consumer's experience. Millennials and multicultural segments will make up the majority of household growth and servicers will need to know to work with the new normal.

Shifting gears into the capital markets, it is important to know that other countries securitize and offer up their residential mortgage-backed securities. For example, Japan's are arguably much safer than ours.

Yet supposedly banks are abandoning the government-backed mortgage-bond market because the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing has narrowed profit margins. Basel III capital requirements also are forcing banks to rethink which markets to participate in.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that 62% of Treasury securities are traded over the phone, compared with 24% of currencies. This presents a regulatory issue because trade volume and price data are not available instantly, as they are in the equity and futures markets.

Policymakers are considering proposals to de-risk the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) through greater reliance on private capital, such as expanded up-front risk sharing using private Mortgage Insurance (MI). Today, MIs are more resilient and reliable counterparties, dedicated to providing access to housing finance credit in good and bad economic times.  The time is right to move forward to expand front end risk sharing with MI, and USMI members are ready to do more. Click here for USMI's latest factsheet - Mortgage Insurance Reliably Transfers Mortgage Credit Risk.

How about these rates?! Plenty of lenders saw some great lock weeks last week, which I am sure will be reflected in the weekly MBA application data. Friday rates headed (temporarily?) higher given the strong retail sales report and chatter about oil production cuts (which normally would move oil prices higher). The 10-year note yield closed the week at 1.75%, up from 1.64% on Thursday which was its lowest level in over a year.

What are the smartest guys in the room watching? Continued global growth fears, European bank worries, and oil oversupply, and lowering of Fed rate hike odds. Maybe we're just waiting for more worries about China and its secret accounting systems, Ukraine, North Korea, Greece...

And meanwhile with rates this low lock volumes shot up last week - we'll find out the numbers tomorrow but all we have to do is ask the folks on the lock desk. The supply picks up, the demand by the Fed keeps up to the tune of over $1 billion a day from early pay-offs. Yes, rumors of the refi business dying away were exaggerated. And any investor who paid up for servicing rights in the last year is fretting that they paid too much for an asset that could disappear in a refinance.

Darn there's a lot of scheduled news this week crammed into four business days. Will any of it make any difference given tumultuous, rate-moving events overseas? Probably not. But let's list them off anyway. Tomorrow are the MBA's mortgage apps data for last week, Housing Starts & Building Permits, the Producer Price Index for January, and the Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization figures. And also the Fed's Minutes from the late January FOMC Meeting. The cavalcade continues Thursday with the Philadelphia Fed chatter, Initial Jobless Claims, and Leading Economic Indicators. Friday we wrap up with Leading Economic Indicators, the Consumer Price Index.

Today we've had Empire Manufacturing (-16.6 versus last month's -19). Later is the NAHB Housing Market Index. Rates are currently a shade higher with the 10-year at 1.76% and agency MBS prices worse less than .125.

Jobs and Announcements

In job news Ruoff Home Mortgage, a growing retail lender based in Indiana, is searching for a Loan Servicing Manager. The Loan Servicing Manager will be responsible for building a servicing department from the ground up. This will include hiring experienced personnel as well as selection and implementation of appropriate computer systems. The candidate will be responsible for loan processing/insurance, tax, real estate collections, foreclosure, bankruptcy, customer service, investor reporting, operations and system administration, and must have a strong working knowledge of regulations and guidelines of mortgage servicing, inclusive of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, FHA/VA, USDA and private insurers as well as state and federal laws as they pertain to mortgage servicing. The company is projecting producing well over a $1 billion this year. Confidential inquires can be submitted to Chief of Compliance Diana Ringer (260.497.0800).

Congrats to Deric Barnett. PlainsCapital Bank, a subsidiary of Hilltop Holdings (NYSE: HTH) has recently hired Deric as EVP of the Mortgage Purchase (Warehouse Lending) group, he will be responsible to lead and grow their national warehouse lending division. "Our strategic vision is to identify and establish compatible partnerships that will expand market share and growth while maintaining the culture, integrity and enduring relationships that is part of the PlainsCapital Bank mission" said Deric.  "We realize the importance of relationships in this business and helping our mortgage banking partners be successful in a highly competitive and regulated market.  We understand and work with our partners with the increase costs due TRID delaying loan purchases."  PlainsCapital Bank National Warehouse Lending Division offers competitive rates and fees with incentives for utilization.  If you are interested in having a conversation about PlainsCapital Bank National Warehouse Lending Division please contact Pamela Robinson, SVP National Sales) or Deric Barnett, EVP Mortgage Purchase.            

And Network Funding is proud to announce the first funding of one of its new Common Sense Lending Initiative (non-QM) programs that rolled-out in late 2015. Financial crises sometimes fall upon the best people and for a Phoenix firefighter and teacher, Network Funding's Homeowner's Access program allowed these public servants to move into a home four years earlier than would be possible with other lenders. "We get a lot of pleasure from serving those who are serving our communities. With our Common Sense Lending programs, Network Funding has the opportunity to help credit-worthy families realize the American dream," President Matt Kiker. If you're looking for a lender that delivers on non-QM programs and is committed to making a difference in your community, visit join.nflp. com.

Have you ever dreamed of working for a company that always made sure your loans closed on time and gave you better support? You're in luck! Assurance Financial is looking to hire branch managers and MLOs in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina and South Carolina. This is a great opportunity to spread your wings. If you'd like more information, reach out to Paul Peters, CMB at 225-239-7948.

Caliber Home Loans has announced that Sanjiv Das has been appointed CEO. Das succeeds Joe Anderson, who retired from the roles of chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors as of Friday. And Mechanics Bank has appointed Randal W. Stoller as SVP in charge of residential mortgage lending