Overhead on the phone line. “Uh, hello Morgan Stanley? Remember that $20 million MBS we sold you last month? Can we just forget that ever happened? Or renegotiate it?” Some LOs wish they could do that with locks. Lenders across the nation are swamped; slicing profit margins to the bones is the last thing on their minds as they manage to capacity. Everyone is making hay while the sun shines… few are concerned about the future refi world when everyone has a 30-year rate in the 2s or 3s. And how are those float down rate lock policies doing? Speaking of sun shining, here in the Sunshine State, Florida is seeing 1,000 people per day move in. Developers are bulldozing rural and natural habitats at the rate of 12 acres of land per hour! Animals and plants are being forced into increasingly smaller areas and although Florida is proud of its Florida Wildlife Corridor (it’s possible to walk from natural habitats in one part of the state to habitats on the entire other end of it) the narrowest stretch of wild area in the route is now only .28 miles (500 yards) wide.

Lender Services and Products

“Citibank, N.A. is continuing the aggressive strategic growth plan for its Correspondent Channel in 2020. Be sure to inquire about Citi’s 2-Way Pair Off Feature, Bid Tape/AOT execution, and enhanced CRA premiums. We continue to add new Correspondent Sellers for delegated and non-delegated delivery, which includes mandatory delivery and best efforts delivery without pair off risk. To learn more about these items and other programs Citi has to offer, please contact our National Client Services Team at 800-967-2205 or complete our Prospective Mortgage Correspondent Questionnaire.”

JMAC Lending is continuing its “New Wave of Lending” Webinar Series. Join JMAC to learn “How to Calculate Bank Statements like an Expert.” Bank Statement loans are more in demand than ever with so many great Self-Employed Borrowers needing assistance. You’ll learn the steps to calculating bank statements and Expense Factors for both of JMAC’s loan products: NEWPORT and ZUMA NonQM Bank Statements Loans. Plus, other options to Bank Statements, such as P/L only and 1099 only. Join us for this live webinar on Wednesday, March 11 at 10:00 a.m. PST. Click here to register. Talk to the Lending Experts here at JMAC. Bonus: Webinar attendees have a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

With a one week left to register, seats are already filling up for XINNIX’s special live webinar event, “Beyond the Daily Commentary with Rob Chrisman” on Wednesday, March 11 at 2:00 PM ET! Executives and managers, don’t miss this unique opportunity to get the industry thought leader’s insights on the issues that are most important to the industry and specific to YOUR business. Make sure your questions for Rob are answered during the live webinar by submitting them in advance with your registration. Don’t delay, register now to secure your spot or risk missing out on this insightful conversation!

Informative Research can now offer its clients Finicity’s Verification of Assets, Income, and Employment (VOA/VOI/VOE). With this partnership, Informative Research leads the market by offering all three of Finicity’s digital verification products to its client base. “We are excited to work with an innovative partner like Informative Research, who is racing to a better and more simple mortgage lending experience,” said Andy Sheehan, President and COO of Finicity. As a whole, the VOA/I/E products from Finicity help lenders enable a more fully realized digital mortgage experience. “By adding VOA, VOE, and VOI, our users now have every solution they would need for each step in the loan cycle,” stated Scott Horn, COO of Informative Research. “Taking a market leadership role on all three of Finicity’s verification products gives our clients that fully streamlined experience and the productivity boost they need for a competitive edge.” Click here to learn more.

New Products

The rumors are true. Glenn is back! There's a new nationwide, wholesale lender on the block, led by two industry veterans, Glenn Stearns, as Founder and CEO and Yvonne Ketchum, as President.Sources say that Glenn and Yvonne are cooking up a strong team of seasoned mortgage professionals from operations, sales to corporate roles spanning coast-to-coast. At the heart of the business is a collaborative environment where individual input matters and having fun is mandatory. The official announcement, and company name, to be released tomorrow, Wednesday, March 4th - stay tuned!

From Southern California comes news that OptionWide Financial Corp (OptionWide), an innovative Non-QM mortgage lender, received a significant investment stake from DoubleLine Capital. DoubleLine has more than $150 billion in assets under management and becomes a strategic investment partner and minority shareholder in OptionWide. OptionWide has been “developing its own proprietary software within an ecosystem that addresses many of the pitfalls associated with the origination of Non-QM loans… and generates captive leads via its market segmented, digital marketing platform and services its borrowers through a call center. (The company has been hiring LOs and mortgage operations professionals; contact President & Chief Revenue Officer Jim Griffin.)

Ag Land, Farms, Ranches, Hobby Farms? Not many lenders offer these type of loan products but MSF can assist on these unique properties as more and more borrowers opt to live in Rural parts of America and own a small Hobby farm or even a full-time farming operation. These are fully documented loans with par pricing for are available to Mortgage brokers and Bankers! If you have loans like this please email the scenario or reach out and we can get you approved as a Broker to submit these type loans. Don’t let these loans get away anymore. (For questions contact Richard Eampietro.)

Capital Markets

Trying to predict what interest rates will do, of course, is like predicting the weather. The best that the average person can do is speculate. Experts are educated, understand historical patterns, have access to data and thoroughly study that data on a continuous basis. They make informed guesses based on all of those factors, but at the end of the day, an unforeseen event like the Covid-19 (coronavirus) can completely change the trajectory of interest rates and render an expert opinion moot. No one saw this virus coming. Governments and banks around the world responded to the coronavirus crisis by lowering interest rates, or talking about lowering rates, in an effort to stave off a potential economic crash.

Markets are already pricing in a coronavirus recession as supply chains are being disrupted and public gatherings are being canceled, which can filter through to spending and investment. But, let’s take a second to remember, the shock isn’t comparable to the financial crisis in 2008. Back then, panic in the credit system cut off lending, causing the global economy’s gears to stop turning. The past few days were different. In the U.S., an overheated stock market (shares were at a record high last week) started coming to terms with the possibility of slower economic growth. Risks are still lurking, but banks have been fortified.

The Federal Reserve sought to assure investors on Friday that the American economy remained strong. Fed Chair Jerome Powell released a statement, saying as much and that the Federal Reserve is closely monitoring global coronavirus developments, their implications for the economic outlook, and will use the Fed’s tools to act as appropriate to support the economy. Market participants also saw a big pickup in rate-cut expectations. There is now a 100 percent probability of a 25-bps cut at the March meeting, the discussion is now surrounding if the cut will be 50 bps, and growing expectations for four rates cut altogether by the end of the year. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said Friday the coronavirus situation could cause the central bank to lower rates, but so far, he doesn’t think lowering the cost of short-term borrowing is needed, in part because of rate cuts made last year.

Ahead of the March 17/18 FOMC meeting, there is a Shadow Open Market Committee meeting in New York on Friday where Fed president appearances include Chicago’s Evans, Cleveland’s Mester, St. Louis’ Bullard, New York’s Williams, Boston’s Rosengren and Kansas City’s George. In the event of an economic downturn, the U.S. has some momentum and room to maneuver, but its options are limited. The Trump administration is looking at $1 trillion budget deficits, leaving it little room to cushion a downturn through spending. The Federal Reserve can cut interest rates to goose the economy, but rates aren’t much above zero. Central banks in Europe and Japan have even less firepower. Rates are historically low across advanced economies, and it’s doubtful a rate cut can do much to restart production lines hobbled by workers placed in quarantine.

After the 2-year yield traded as low as 0.71 percent and the 10-yr yield dipped to 1.05 percent over the weekend, Treasuries moved in a limited fashion yesterday. The majority of the day was spent retracing some movements from last week, yet speculation of a coordinated policy easing by Federal banks around the globe, combined with increased worries about the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S., continued to provide the Treasury market with a flight-to-safety premium, even as stocks rebounded from last week's huge selloff.

So now we have expectations of a 100 percent probability of a 50-bps cut in target range for the Fed funds rate at the March 17-18 FOMC meeting. The Federal Reserve, Bank of Japan, Bank of England, and ECB all said they are ready to act if necessary to address the impact of coronavirus, fueling speculation of a coordinated policy action being announced soon. The G7 held a conference call this morning to discuss a coronavirus response. The Trump administration discussed strategies to contain the economic fallout from the virus, including proposing more tax cuts and trying to push the Fed to cut rates again. U.S. stocks rallied on the news yesterday, making up some of their losses from last week’s bloodbath, but rallies aside, the outbreak is looking like it may drag the global economy into a contraction this quarter.

Is anybody else remarking at this morning’s yields? 2-year: 0.86 percent, 3-year: 0.86 percent, 5-year: 0.9 percent, 10-year: 1.12 percent, 30-year: 1.69 percent.

Coronavirus news dominates the markets, not the second-tier U.S. economic news (today: Redbook same store sales, the ISM-NY Business Conditions Index for February and the Desk conducting a UMBS15 FedTrade operation targeting up to $81 million 2.5 percent for April settlement). There are also three Fed speakers today: Fed Governor Bowman, Cleveland Fed President Mester, and Chicago’s Evans. It is Super Tuesday, where 14 states (and Samoa!) will hold elections with over 1,350 delegates up for grabs. We begin today with Agency MBS prices better by .125 and the 10-year yielding 1.12 percent.



“Want to be part of a team that celebrates together? Each year, Citizens Bank Retail Mortgage Sales and Operations teams get together to plan and strategize for the year ahead and to hear important messages from inspiring speakers. This year’s event included speakers like Brendan Coughlin, Head of Consumer Banking, Eric Schuppenhauer, President of Consumer Lending, Sonu Mittal, Head of Mortgage - Retail, and Todd Duncan, founder of The Duncan Group. Most importantly, our sales and operations colleagues were recognized for their amazing accomplishments. If you’re ready to join a team that’s focused on recognizing your success, apply at jobs.citizensbank.com today! For questions, please email us.”

The Gateway Mortgage team, a division of Gateway First Bank, gathered at the annual Sales Rally to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary and best production year yet. The group took the opportunity to give back to others during a community service project supporting Folds of Honor and Operation Gratitude. During the volunteer day employees stuffed and stitched 200 Battalion Buddy teddy bears to be given to military children by Operation Gratitude. The organization provides children with a bear at the airport when a parent is deployed or if a military parent has fallen in the line of duty. Additionally, over 250 backpacks were filled with supplies and a personal letter for Folds of Honor scholarship recipients. Each recipient has a military parent who was wounded or has fallen in the line of duty. Gateway has donated over $236,000 to Folds of Honor since 2014. To join the team, visit Gatewayloan.com.

On the flip side is news of Freedom Mortgage’s plans to cut over 170 in its California servicing business.

And a belated congratulations to David Burruss who was brought on by MCT as MSR Sales Director.