Lenders need to be aware of the myriad of things that indirectly impact our business. The poverty rate declined overall in 2017 but the rate among Hispanics had one of the largest year-to-year drops across demographic groups and was the lowest since poverty estimates for Hispanics were first published in 1972. Nice! We can balance this good news versus… A trillion dollars of student debt? Yup. And from 2000 to 2012, 9.5 million people were diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. Of those people, more than 42 percent drained their life’s assets within two years. Cancer patients are 2.65 times as likely to file for bankruptcy. (While I’m ranting, American drug companies, who argue that the prices they charge are re-invested back into research and development of new medications, instead distribute the money to stockholders. Yes, I know there’s a lot wrong out there.)

Lender Products and Services

The Silk Companies announced today it has hired Monte Robbins as its Chief Strategy Officer. The move comes amid significant growth in 2018 for Silk as it continues to use robotics to innovate and automate title, search, and settlement services nationwide. “Monte brings a wealth of executive experience to Silk. He founded and managed CapWest Mortgage for the past 17 years prior to selling it. He’s lived in the origination trenches which gives him such a unique perspective on the challenges we are solving with our clients,” said Marc Trachtenberg, CEO of The Silk Companies. “I am thankful we partner with tech-centric lenders who articulate to us their downstream challenges. To be part of the solution, it became clear to me Silk needed to focus on two things: bring in seasoned mortgage industry talent like Monte and have an obsessive focus on our technical process inside the larger mortgage ecosystem.”

“We all enjoy the perks of being a ‘regular’ at our local coffee shop or favorite restaurant. It gives you an extra edge against other customers since they know you and know what you like. Let’s call this the ‘regular’ bonus. But when’s the last time you applied this to how you run your business? Being a ‘regular’ with your correspondent investor comes with benefits. Find out how your investor can give you more than the best price in this TMS article.

Home Point Financial has added another powerful non-QM product to its proprietary Home Point Edge Non-Agency lending platform. With the launch of the Expanded Access product, Home Point business partners will now have realfinancing solutions for consumers with a less-than-perfect credit history. The Home Point Edge suite of non-QM products is making a big splash since launching earlier this month with extremely competitive rates, a 95% Jumbo option w/ no MI, 90% purchase options for self-employed consumers, asset utilization loans, non-warrantable condos and much more. To find out how you can get an Edge on the competition or become a Home Point partner, click here.

Fintech industry leader Informative Research brought on Damon Paxson as their newest VP of Client Success, who will be serving lenders and banks in the South Central region. With over 20 years of experience in customer relations and 12 years in the mortgage industry, Paxson will be using his expert knowledge on the market and mortgage operations to help support clients with margin management and achieve their revenue goals. “I’m incredibly excited for Damon to be a part of this team!” emphasized Matthew Orlando, Head of Client Success and Strategy. “He’s a perfect fit for IR. His expert understanding of the loan manufacturing lifecycle is extensive and our clients will benefit from his knowledge of their current and future needs.” Before IR, Paxson held senior operational leadership roles at LRES Corporation, Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Capital One. Click here to connect with Parson.

Caliber Home Loans, Inc. is excited to announce the promotion of its Head of Wholesale, John Gibson, to EVP of Wholesale Lending. John has been a leader within Caliber Wholesale for over seven years, and with him at the helm, the wholesale channel has achieved some significant milestones. Most recently, in 2018 Caliber launched the CaliberH2O mobile app for its brokers and Account Executives, expanded its suite of non-agency loans with Elite Access, and passed over 42,000 leads back to the original broker. Caliber Wholesale was just ranked as the 2nd largest wholesale lender in the nation, per IMF. Brokers who are interested in becoming an approved Caliber business partner can download the broker package here or email newclientinquiry@caliberhomeloans.com. To congratulate John on his accomplishments and thank him for his leadership, comment on Caliber’s LinkedIn page!

Lender Profit Study

Let’s face it: we could all use some “how-to” suggestions to help maintain profitability in the current market. STRATMOR Group is providing just such strategies in its February Insights Report in the article “Strategies for Mortgage Lenders to Maintain Profitability.” STRATMOR believes lenders can stabilize in the current lending environment and build a scalable foundation for future growth by focusing on three objectives to help maintain profitability: optimize the borrower experience, renegotiate long-term contracts and evaluate compensation plans. Read this article in the new issue of the Insights Report.

Capital Markets

MCT congratulates PennyMac for completing the industry's first API for bid tape execution in the secondary market. This API's integration with MCT's Bid Auction Manager (BAM) provides clients with real time bid tape pricing for pipeline valuation and will soon automate loan sale pricing and commitment as well. Along with the weekly BAM pipeline valuation process by other investors, PennyMac's API allows MCT to uniquely provide bid tape level execution pricing for derivative asset valuations. “Beyond eliminating the gap between indicative and execution pricing, this integration heralds a new era of best execution loan sales moving beyond the bid tape, offering greater convenience and liquidity to lenders,” said Phil Rasori, COO of MCT. “We are proud to be the first to offer these technology benefits to the secondary market.” Read about MCT’s bid pricing on open pipelines, or contact Phil about leveraging advanced digital whole loan trading features in your secondary department.

Aside from “a little up, a little down” price movement in Treasuries and various mortgage-backed security maturities and products, Wednesday was a snoozer of a day with the 10-year ending at 2.69% and agency MBS prices worsening about .125. In fact we’ve been around these bond market levels all month. I won’t bore you with details that don’t matter much in the long-term scheme of things, although there is a growing prospect of a hawkish shift (e.g., higher rates) at the European Central Bank brought on by a change of leadership. Mario Draghi’s term ends in October, and there are rumblings of nominating someone named Jens Weidmann to succeed him and he wasn’t a fan of the European Central Bank's aggressive quantitative easing program.

One might think that turmoil would cause the usual flight to quality, but that didn’t happen with news from India's border with Pakistan that Pakistan shot down two Indian fighter jets. It helped that Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan called for dialog between the two sides.

In the U.S. factory orders increased 0.1% in December, less than expected and blamed on weak business investment and nondefense capital goods orders. Pending home sales increased 4.6% in January after decreasing a revised 2.3% (from -2.2%) in December – strong! Yesterday’s testimony by Fed Chair Powell before the House was pretty uninteresting except for comments that the framework for the balance sheet plan would be announced soon with another interesting nugget indicating that the decision on MBS sales would be "at the back of the line" in terms of balance sheet decisions to be made.

This morning we’ve had Q4 GDP (old news but decent at +2.6%) and weekly jobless claims (+8k to 225k). Coming up is the Chicago PMI for February at 6:45am PT, along with some other noise that won’t move rates. We do, however, have plenty of speakers from the Federal Reserve: Vice Chair Clarida, Philadelphia's Harker, Dallas' Kaplan, Cleveland's Mester, and Fed Chair Powell. Thursday begins with rates little changed : the 10-year is yielding 2.68% and agency MBS prices are a smidge higher.


Jobs and Personnel Moves

Academy Mortgage recently announced that industry veteran Kristi Pickering has joined its team as SVP of Process Automation. Kristi has more than 25 years of experience in the mortgage industry, including six years as the National Retail Operations SVP at Caliber Home Loans. Kristi’s focus at Academy will be to work with the sales, operations, and technology teams to assess, identify, build, and implement technologies that will increase speed to market and improve the mortgage loan experience. Developing and utilizing new technologies to enhance the ease of doing business with our teams is at the forefront of Academy's objectives for the year. If you are interested in learning more about the latest innovations at Academy, contact Chad Melin, Vice President of National Business Development.

More than 500 team members from across the country attended Gateway Mortgage Group’s largest sales rally to date in Fort Worth. Topics included best practices that drive origination success, and ranged from digital marketing and mortgage platforms, growing a best-in-class mortgage business, and operational excellence. The two-and-a-half-day event dedicated time to recognize 81 of Gateway’s top performers at an elegant awards dinner, in addition to a lively lip sync contest, and an evening at the iconic Billy Bob’s Texas where Gateway team members enjoyed music, line dancing, and a live bull riding show. The event’s speakers ranged from Gateway’s CEO Stephen Curry to Victor Antonio (host of Spike TV’s Life or Debt) and Andy Buckley (David Wallace in The Office). Gateway is committed to leading the way in success, recognition, support and satisfaction that originators desire and deserve. If you want to bring your bright future to Gateway, contact Howard Hall or visit Gateway.

Trinity Oaks Mortgage is proud to welcome Michael Kuentz to the team as Chief Operations Officer. Michael has most recently served as CEO of Lenders One Mortgage Cooperative. He will be utilizing his experience with innovative solutions, growth, and delivering opportunities to connect and joins Trinity Oaks Mortgage with a focus on implementing strategic technology and further expediting the lending process. “We’re incredibly excited for Michael to join our team,” said Trinity Oaks Mortgage President TJ Henley, “His expertise is going to help us keep pushing the boundaries of the way we think about lending and we can’t wait to bring our new ideas and processes to the market.”

TCF Home Loans is experiencing exponential growth and can help you reach your goals in 2019!  We are seeking experienced retail producers in MN who are motivated to help meet the home finance needs of our over 1.3 million retail banking customers. Be part of a culture that celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of the non-bank mortgage originator but benefits from the Bank’s cost of funds, customer base, and commitment to growth while others are consolidating. Our producers win as experts with a comprehensive product offering and commitment to exceptional customer experience, allowing you to expand your referral network and gain more lead activity to compliment your current production. If you are a successful loan originator and want to be part of a new and exciting story in the industry, inquire about opportunities with TCF Home Loans! Contact Deana Aune, Senior Recruiter (763.337.5575) for confidential inquiries.”

Premier Mortgage Resources (PMR) has hired Scott St. John as its National Sales Coach. Bringing 39 years of total experience in the mortgage industry to PMR, St. John will mentor loan originators on how to grow their business by focusing on relationships, proper planning, time management and more. Prior to joining PMR, St. John spent 18 years at American Pacific Mortgage (APM), where he served as VP of production and branch development. In addition, he serves on advisory boards for the Washington Association of Mortgage Professionals, California Association of Mortgage Professionals, the Oregon Association of Mortgage Professionals and Freddie Mac. "Scott is a one-of-a-kind coach in this business and we know his energetic style of teaching is going to resonate with our originators," said Cory Swain, Managing Partner of PMR. To learn more about PMR, reach out to Scott St. John, or Leif Boyd.

Last week, loanDepot announced the arrival of the mello smartloan™. In case you missed it, check out this quick video here. The mello smartloan™ uses loanDepot’s proprietary mello™ tech and intelligent data to enable an end-to-end digital mortgage designed to delight today’s online-savvy consumer. Eliminating up to 80% of the laborious work required from customers and originators, the mello smartloan™ provides significant time- and cost-savings—with the opportunity to close loans 75% faster and in some cases in the fastest allowable timeframe (8 days). Giving home buyers the ultimate control, confidence and security is just a few of the many ways loanDepot is meeting the needs of customers’ digital lifestyles and paving the path for modern lending. If being part of a company that offers innovative technology to improve your business is of interest to you, reach out to Shane Stanton or click here.