Odd times that we’re living in. Here in New Orleans (“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing!”) some of the talk is about the Boy Scouts of America declaring bankruptcy due to sex abuse lawsuits, some of the talk is about the coronavirus “How Epidemics Impact Lending”), but the primary conversation topic is about how most lender’s January locks have beaten any other January. Everyone’s above average! For lenders and vendors, the good times from 2019 seem to have flowed through. 2020 is off to a fine start and with little reason for U.S. rates to shoot higher, our industry should continue to help millions of borrowers.

Lender Products and Services

NEXT has been cultivating a reputation for high-quality networking and conference programming ever since holding its first event three Januaries ago. The latest installment, #NEXTWINTER20, kicks off Sunday at the Ritz Carlton Dallas. FormFree CEO Brent Chandler points to NEXT’s “thoughtful content, intimate environment and careful curation of attendees” as three reasons his company is an anchor sponsor of the lender-centric event. Sessions on the docket for next week include a straight-from-DC housing policy update and an examination of how lenders can leverage their B2B partnerships to grow revenue. More info here.

“Join us for our final VA Mortgage Marketing training session on 2/21 and learn to market new VA mortgage opportunities in 2020! The recently implemented Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 has provided new mortgage benefits for jumbo borrowers, active duty Purple Heart recipients and more. As a leading VA lender, Freedom Mortgage Wholesale’s No Down Payment VA Jumbo program enables eligible jumbo borrowers to exceed published FHFA county loan limits without a down payment requirement! No jumbo overlays or loan limits!” 

Take time to look inward at your technology, executions, and processes before the spring buying season gets into full swing. How will you set the stage for a more profitable 2020? How should market conditions influence your strategy? To help lenders uncover hidden bottlenecks in their shop, Mortgage Capital Trading (MCT) has partnered with HousingWire and TeraVerde to deliver an industry webinar on improving profitability in 2020. Register for the webinar on February 19th at 11am PT for actionable tactics to improve operations, technology, customer satisfaction and reporting. These strategies were developed from MCT’s latest whitepaper, 15 Strategies for Lenders to Improve Profitability and amount to over 100 BPS of potential improvement to margins based on the experience of lenders who have put them to use. Register for the webinar on February 19th at 11am PT to learn how lenders are making strategic changes to their business in 2020.  

The $500 early registration discount expires February 21st for the 5th annual Super Performance Agent Relationship Bootcamp (SPAR). Only 45 originators are permitted to attend. SPAR is exclusively for LO’s who are committed to creating a high-performance agent referral partner network in record time. Imagine you being able to rapidly steal top performing agents away from your competition. Ron Vaimberg, the purchase originator training leader, will share with you his easy and proven step-by-step formula so you will gain the attention of virtually any agent, obtain the appointment, and win agent relationships in a single meeting. Never again worry what to say when an agent says: “they have an existing LO relationship”. You will profit before you arrive as you will immediately receive Ron’s exclusive attendee only success program Displacing Your Competition. SPAR happens on March 19th and 20th at The Palms Resort Las Vegas.

From Service 1st’s CEO, Curtis Knuth, “Rob, in recent posts, you touch on lenders dealing with increasing loan volumes and fluctuations. In recent client meetings, our lenders find great value in using third-party providers like Service 1st who support variable cost model solutions, only paying for what they need. When volume dips, lenders are not forced to immediately layoff staff. Layoffs are one, if not the most loathsome responsibility of a manager/owner. It’s also a waste of resources to heavily invest in staff and subsequently layoff. Service 1st works in synergy with operations teams to streamline workflow, compliance, and reporting, resulting in superior human customer service. We invite your readers to contact us today and discover how S1 loan solutions and verification services empower lenders with a superior back-office operation.”

Calling all industry executives! Mark your calendars for Wednesday, March 11 at 2PM ET as XINNIX, The Mortgage Academy presents their quarterly Leadership Lessons Webinar: “Beyond the Daily Commentary: A Live Q&A with Rob Chrisman.” Leaders, don’t miss this opportunity to get Rob’s insights on the issues most important to your business. Questions for Rob can be submitted in advance or during the webinar. Seating is limited, so register today! In addition to this free webinar, XINNIX also has a new case study available to help leaders solve the engagement dilemma in building a sales culture of excellence. A large national lender recently experienced a 90% engagement and 496.25% return on their investment with a XINNIX Enterprise Partnership. To read the full story, click here or schedule a call with a XINNIX Account Executive today.

A California-based lender with more than $4 billion in assets struggled to decode the ideal market conditions for implementing new technology. Management decided to take action and work with Blend. Find out how the lender achieved 90% adoption and up to 19 days saved per home equity loan. Download the infographic.

Caliber Wholesale is excited to announce enhancements to the Caliber LE! Over 30% of new borrowers are short on their first-year escrow balance. Caliber Business Partners can now disclose the LE to their borrowers upfront when they use H2O. The new Caliber LE is smarter and more accurate, creating peace of mind for you and your borrowers at closing! Be the expert with the new and improved Caliber LE and get the fees right, every time. Brokers, contact your dedicated Account Executive to learn more, or email us to become an approved Business Partner of Caliber Wholesale. 

Trainings and Events

Tomorrow, in the evening, the Charlotte Regional Mortgage Lenders Association is having its monthly meeting. Come on by and say hello!

And tomorrow, from 1:00-2:00, join the Mortgage Bankers Association of Greater Philadelphia for a capital markets presentation on: Understanding the factors that drive the markets: What To Expect in 2020.

MCT is offering a webinar on February 19th at 11am PT for actionable tactics to improve operations, technology, customer satisfaction and reporting following MCT’s latest whitepaper, 15 Strategies for Lenders to Improve Profitability.

Indecomm has created a scalable eLearning training subscription, GeniusPass™. Course topics ranging the entire loan life cycle, including underwriting, compliance, and VA & FHA lending, you'll make a genius move to add Indecomm Mortgage Learning to your training program. Now through February 21st, you'll benefit from a 10% discount for individuals and all team passes.

On Wednesday, February 26, 2-3:30PM (Eastern), FHA is offering a FREE Online Webinar: FHA Quality Assurance Update: Q1 2020.

Join Guild Mortgage for a Webinar on February 26th for an introduction to VA loans: the benefits of VA loans, determining eligibility, how to read a leave and earnings statement, allowable and unallowable fees and Products to offer.

"The Clock is Ticking: What Mortgage Lenders Should do to Prepare for LIBOR's Replacement". Register for the February 27th Mortgage Quality & Compliance Committee (MQAC) Webinar.

INTL FCStone’s third-annual Conference Vision 20/20: Global Markets Outlook will be held on February 26-28 in Orlando. Click the link to view the full list of speakers and agenda.

March 1-4 the Lenders One Summit is about new connections, ideas and opportunities. "We are excited to continue the momentum in Miami this March, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the cooperative. In this challenging market, we're focused on continuing to bring new solutions to support your business. Our member and provider networks are the keys to driving our co-op ahead in this industry, and we're excited to gather at Summit to provide a forum for you to grow and learn from thought leaders and peers."

On March 4th in Oakbrook, IL the Illinois Mortgage Bankers Association is hosting its 2020 Mortgage Lending Industry Conference. The IMBA has been around since 1920, and members are from mortgage banking firms, commercial banks, savings banks, credit unions, title and mortgage insurance companies and other organizations that service the mortgage banking industry. Hear from the MBA's Joel Kan, Bill Cosgrove, Paul Diamond, Bill Giambrone, and others!

MMBBA has an assortment of Upcoming Events beginning March 4th with a PMW Brunch.

Mortgage Loan Officers, Realtors, processors, assistants and transaction coordinators are invited to attend CoAMP’s Wire Fraud and Cyber Crime Class on March 4th in Fort Collins. Licensed real estate agents can earn 2 CE credits.

The Independent Community Bankers of America's 2020 national convention, ICBA LIVE®, is March 8 through 11th in Kissimmee, FL featuring more than 60 learning labs and seven tracks, including lending and deposits, risk regulations and exams, and technology, payments and innovation. The convention will also showcase the participating fintech companies from its second ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator program in partnership with The Venture Center.

MBA is offering School of Mortgage Servicing, March 9th-19th. This 7-session, hands-on, instructor-guided online course instructors guide participants through comprehensive material, using real-life examples to illustrate the complexities of servicing, important correlations and interconnectivity between business units, and compliance risks of not applying appropriate processes.

The MMLA Sales Symposium is scheduled on March 11 at in Novi, MI. Speakers include Josh Pitts and Tammy Butler. Great for loan officers, independent mortgage brokers, sales managers should invite their teams.

Register for one of two available FHA Credit Underwriting Trainings in Omaha (La Vista), Nebraska. Tuesday, March 17th or Wednesday, March 18th Both trainings are conducted by Insuring and Underwriting staff covering a wide range of topics including FHA's Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1, credit, income, assets, manual underwriting, refinances, endorsement protocols, Loan Review System (LRS), and more. Advance registration is required for both dates no later than March 10.

Valuation 20/20, MARCH 19-21, in New Orleans will focus on meeting your peers, new clients, and more interactions with vendors to learn about new products and services. While we all love social media, it doesn't replace human interaction and relationship building. There will be pre and post CE courses offered by various education sponsors and up to 15 hours of continuing education credits will be available.

MBA Education offers a wide variety of webinars, complimentary to MBA members. Use promo code WEBINAR at checkout to access your discount. March 11, Mortgage Accounting I: Drilling Into Mortgage Accounting, March 18, Mortgage Accounting II: Loan Level Accounting, March 25, Mortgage Accounting III: Hedging For Accountants, March 25, Strategic Steps for Warehouse Lenders in Today's Market. An Instructor-Guided Online Course is designed to educate staff with exclusive insight into the field of mortgage banking and an overview of the introductory skills needed to begin and maintain a successful career in the residential mortgage industry. This course runs March 10-24.

Capital Markets

There were some important economic releases to close last week. Retail sales showed discretionary spending was modest in January, which will contribute to a sense that Q1 GDP growth was apt to be modest even without any impact from the coronavirus. Industrial production declined slightly in January, as expected, the weakness in production due largely from a drop in production at Boeing and reduced heating demand. And the preliminary University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment for February registered the highest reading since March 2018, showing that consumers feel good about job security and income growth prospects.

After bond and equity markets were closed for Presidents Day yesterday, markets are open today and the economic calendar is underway with February’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey and the NAHB Housing Market Index. Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari is scheduled to speak in the afternoon. Things pick back up tomorrow with the January PPI figures, January Housing Starts and Building Permits and the FOMC Minutes from the January 28/29 meeting in the afternoon. Market participants are expecting easy monetary policy for the foreseeable future. Thursday sees the usual jobless claims figures, February Philadelphia Fed Survey, and January Leading Indicators before the week closes with January Existing Home Sales. Regarding MBS, today is Class C 48-hours, Class D 48-hours is on Friday and the Desk will conduct two MBS FedTrade operations targeting up to $756 million MBS on Wednesday and Thursday. We begin today with Agency MBS prices better by .125 and the 10-year yielding 1.54 percent after closing last week at 1.58 percent.


Jobs and Transitions

“After a record-setting 2019, the NewRez Joint Venture Division continues to grow, creating opportunities for Loan Officers across the country. The company surpassed $22 billion in origination volume in 2019 (over 200% YoY growth!) and plans to grow by multiples again this year! As a result, NewRez has opportunities for originators to join our existing partnerships and our new JVs in the following states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, IN, KY, OH, OR, MA, MD, NC, NH, NV, OR, SC, TN, VA, WA, WI, and WY. ‘2019 was a great year for NewRez,’ said Vince Daino, VP of Recruiting and Business Development. ‘The expansion of our JV business has been tremendous, and as a result, our Originators have prospered.’ If you are an originator who wants to grow your business with a proven mortgage lender with a broad range of product offerings including Non-QM, contact Vince Daino.”

Planet Home Lending, LLC has hired Patrick Couture as SVP of Servicing Platform Development to focus on “enhancing the servicing platform to support additional commercial and residential loan products” to better serve Planet Home’s clients.

And Spring EQ, a nationwide second mortgage lender that is using technology to change the way consumers access their home equity, announced that Gregory Gentek has joined the company as SVP of Sales, responsible for growing Spring EQ's sales team and supporting the development of the company's affinity partnerships with other companies.