Here’s an economic tidbit for you. The Port of Los Angeles is reporting a 22.9% decrease in cargo volumes for February compared to 2019, with expectations for continued softness in March. And plenty are intrigued with the news that a Brazilian official who met with both Donald Trump and Mike Pence has tested positive for the coronavirus. We’re looking at no Disneyland. No NCAA men or women’s basketball tournaments. NBA and NHL seasons canceled or postponed (NBA team owner Mark Cuban is floating the idea of paying his hourly workers). New York City banning gatherings of more than 500 people, effectively closing Broadway shows and cancelling the 258-year-old St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Italy having more than 1,000 deaths. The U.S. Federal Reserve’s repo and QE actions taken yesterday ensure ample liquidity, but financial conditions remain incredibly tight. The Fed has probably only bought some additional time until it delivers on what many will be a cut to zero rates and an announcement of a host of additional measures. More on steps lenders, vendors, and organizations are taking in light of the spread of this terrible disease below.
Lender Services and Products
“Are you ready for VA IRRRL and purchase opportunities in this market? Considering VA mortgage lending for the first time? Join Freedom Mortgage Wholesale for one of our live webinar primers on VA mortgage products and origination processes. Plus, learn more about the recently enacted Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which has provided new mortgage benefits for jumbo borrowers, active duty Purple Heart recipients, and more. Freedom Mortgage is a leading VA lender and our Wholesale Channel’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! Sign up for a VA Mortgage Product & Process Primer 3/13, 3/16 or 3/20.”
AFR’s Conventional One-Time Close program just got even better! FICO and LTV eligibility has been expanded: now qualifying borrowers with a FICO score of 680 or above, and offering LTVs up to 95%. Note, LTVs up to 97% are still permitted when an eligible Freddie Mac CHOICEHome property is combined with the Freddie Mac Home Possible or HomeOne program. Plus, no need to requalify when all documentation used to qualify is less than 365 days (at time of converting to permanent mortgage). This Conventional OTC program may be used with 15, 20, or 30-year fixed mortgages, super conforming mortgages, and high balance mortgages (in designated high-cost areas). Visit afrwholesale.com for complete guidelines. AFR also offers FHA, VA and USDA One-Time Close programs. In addition to providing business partners with unique products and services, AFR also provides industry-leading technology and continuous educational opportunities. For more information go to afrwholesale.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-800-375-6071.
CBC Mortgage Agency (CBCMA) is an innovative government down payment assistance (DPA) program that has given 20,000 families access to the U.S. real estate market while making FHA insurance a far more valuable option. These 20,000 new homeowners, most of them minorities, and all of the credit-worthy, were only able to achieve the American dream thanks to CBCMA’s Chenoa Fund’s program, which provides DPA as well as crucial borrower support services, such as post-purchase education and counseling. By enabling these families to transition from renting to homeownership, they have realized nearly $500 million in property appreciation, according to a recent internal analysis. All this, and more, is being accomplished through innovation that cuts costs for credit-worthy consumers and helps them to become long-term homeowners. Find out how you can help more families qualify for homeownership by becoming a CBCMA correspondent lender.
For the third year in a row, TMS has claimed its title as a HousingWire Tech 100 award winner for TMS’ proprietary technology, SIME – Servicing Technology Made Easy. This year TMS raised the bar with their real-time transparency and performance optimization for a lender’s servicing portfolio. All made possible with SIME’s AI Chatbot, 4-D Customer Intelligence, integrated images and recorded calls, which resulted in Industry leading customer service levels, portfolio performance and customer lifetime value, making it the best technology available for lenders. In the market for a new subservicer? Or even a new servicing technology? Check out SIME today at www.GetSIME.com
FundingShield, a HousingWire Tech-100 2020 Winner, shared a newsletter with lenders reminding them that as BCP / Remote Work plans are put into play due to COVID-19 there is a heightened need to secure remote work and collaborative efforts by leveraging fintech regulatory compliant tech solutions that will facilitate uninterrupted and risk managed day-to-day operations. Increased loan volume is causing lenders to scramble to find resources to close more loans, tools like FundingShield’s cloud based, plug ’n’ play, scalable loan level Guardian and WAVs services (integrated directly in Encompass, APIs or secure web portals) have been in high demand to help improve closing agent vetting/approval, closing document reviews and title / wire fraud prevention saving lenders time and money. A large surge of new clients have signed up for the services in the past weeks due to increased phishing / potential-fraud events and seeking relief for key-staff allowing them to handle additional transaction flow. Contact Info@FundingShield.comto close quicker and safer.
QLMS keeps smashing records and earning prestigious awards. It has seen substantial growth in recent years, none more impressive than the sheer number of brokers and LOs who have become Stronger Together with QLMS’ industry-leading process, prices, products and technology. One piece of technology, The Answer, keeps getting accolades from brokers and the media. MReport just selected The Answer as one of its Top-25 FinTech Innovators! Mortgage experts no longer have to constantly check for changes to product guidelines, instead, they simply have to ask The Answer and a response will be provided instantly, 24/7/365. The proprietary questionnaire-based algorithm has helped brokers reduce loan fallout and win more business. If you’re a broker who hasn’t leveraged this technology to boost your business, click here to partner with QLMS.
Containment is the Name of the Game
Unlike many vendors and lenders in residential mortgage who can, dockworkers can’t work from home. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, financial service companies across the nation have activated their business continuity and disaster recovery plans. The intent, of course, is to protect employees, be compliant, while continuing to service their customers and partners. They must follow the Gramm Leach Bliley Act and its procedures to ensure that your borrower's data is just as secure at their home as it would be in the office.
Today, from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. EDT, law firm Morrison & Foerster is presenting a webinar for companies titled, “COVID-19 Considerations for Employers.”
As always, there is a lot of uncertainty out there. I have read through dozens of announcements that vendors and lenders have sent out. Everyone is monitoring the severity of the (now) pandemic and the risk level for their employees and operations. Everyone is reminding others of what our parents taught us: keep your area clean, respiratory etiquette/sneeze or cough into your hand or elbow or tissue, wash your hands, and if you’re sick don’t be around others.
Upstream, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is seeing some sellers changing how their home is viewed. Some are stopping open houses, requiring potential buyers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer, asking buyers to remove shoes or wear footies, or other changes. The good news: Almost 8 out of 10 (78%) said there has been no change in buyer interest due to the coronavirus.
Companies are creating an ongoing and regular communication to clients and employees. Video messages are proving very worthwhile. Companies are sending emails to employees allowing them to work from home if they can. In general, large companies are doing what they can to not “make” people come in. They are reviewing/creating a secure crisis management and business continuity plan, setting up transparent, clear, and secure communications with employees and partners. Managers are evaluating the likelihood of mass absenteeism or making sure that remote work is as secure as possible from hackers.
MQMR’s Frequently Asked Questions this week is titled, “What questions should lenders ask their vendors to assess the potential impact of coronavirus on service levels/operations?” The current STRATMOR blog is, “Drinking from a Firehose is Not a Long Term Business Model”. And the Lenders Compliance Group posted, “Coronavirus: CDC Guidance - An Urgent Message.”
It was a normal enough day of movement for Treasuries yesterday, as the curve steepened in a non-volatile fashion and the 10-year closed the day +3 bps to 0.85 percent. The big news of the day was the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s surprise announcement that it will provide up to $1.5 trillion in new temporary liquidity via a $500 billion 3-month repurchase operation yesterday and two more repurchase operations totaling $1 trillion that will take place today. The Fed is altering target purchases which were previously T-bills, of the Not-QE reserve program to QE (due to dislocations in the bill market), saying that the $60 billion in monthly purchases would be spread “across a range of maturities to roughly match the maturity composition of Treasury securities outstanding.” The outstanding amount of money lent to major banks and financial firms surged to its highest level yesterday since operations restarted in September.
Despite the Fed move the bond market “sold off” slightly, primarily due to a) some thinking that we’re “overdone” on the downside in terms of rates, and b) the removal of some uncertainty. Lenders would love to have some rate stability for a change, or even a move higher, improving pull through.
In the afternoon, the NY Fed announced plans to buy a maximum of $3.2 billion in agency MBS over the March 13 through April 13 period, based on February paydowns that totaled $23.2 billion before the $20 billion tapering cap. It also released a new FedTrade schedule covering the March 13 to 26 period targeting up to $1.53 billion MBS over three operations with the first Monday when up to $137 million UMBS15 2 percent and 2.5 percent will be purchased.
Today’s scant Friday the 13th economic calendar only has import/export prices for February and preliminary March Michigan consumer sentiment. We begin today with Agency MBS prices worse a shade and the 10-year yielding .85 percent.
Jobs and Promotions
“While other mortgage lenders are hiring temporary operations staff to manage the recent surge in business, Citizens Bank Home Mortgage is adding permanent operations staff now and will continue growing throughout 2020! Citizens is looking for talented processors, closers and underwriters at our five regional operations sites in Marlton, New Jersey, Richmond, Virginia, Melville, New York, Franklin, Tennessee, and East Providence, Rhode Island. We know our Operations colleagues play a critical role in the home buying journey, and we value the important work they do. LOs looking to build your career at a company that is winning in the marketplace and recognizes your contributions, apply to Citizens Bank today! For questions, please email HomeMortgageRecruiting@citizensbank.com.”
Sagent Lending Technologies, a leading fintech company modernizing mortgage and consumer loan servicing, has appointed Dan Sogorka CEO and president.