As this week marks the 10 year anniversary of JPM Chase taking over Bear Stearns, the residential lending industry is rife with rumors about companies going out of business, scaling back, or being sold. But for hard stats, no one does it like the U.S. Census Bureau which showed vacancy rates nationwide were 6.9 percent for rental housing and 1.6 percent for homeowner housing in the fourth quarter of 2017. The homeownership rate of 64.2 percent was slighter higher, but not statistically different, than the fourth quarter of 2016 which was 63.7 percent. According to the report, 87.8 percent of housing units in the nation were occupied in the fourth quarter and 12.2 percent were vacant. 5.3 percent of the total housing stock comprised vacant units that were held off market.
Advice for Those in the Industry
I asked many different people in the industry about their early careers and appreciate the time they spent responding. Others have chimed in as well. I will happily circulate more responses if you care to write and have more already to publish. “What do you think the best advice you can give women starting out in the mortgage industry?” or “What is the boldest move you made that helped advance your career?” or “What do you wish someone would have told you about being successful in this industry?”
From out in California Susan Milazzo, the CEO of the California Mortgage Bankers Association, sent, “When I was 22 I worked in a clerical position in the political arena in Sacramento. I had been doing so since I was 17 and it became clear that if I didn’t move out of that role soon, I would be destined to only be considered for those jobs. I was in night school and my peers who went to full time college all had their degrees and were getting jobs in the Capitol or on campaigns.
“Determined to elevate my career I walked into the office of those who would hire for positions in the state Legislature with my resume in hand. Coincidently as I walked into the lobby, the person who ran the office walked in as well and agreed to meet with me right there. When I explained that I only had clerical experience and was still in college he said he could probably get me a job in the secretary pool at the Capitol. I told him I was interested in a Field Representative job for a legislator because I had already been doing a clerical job for 5 years and I knew I could do more.
“He put his feet on his desk and rocked back in his chair and smugly told me that I really wasn’t qualified to do anything else. I stood up, shook his hand, thanked him for his time and left. I would have to find another opportunity.
“That opportunity arrived the next day. I received a call from a Chief of Staff for a member of the California State Assembly. He explained that he was looking for a Field Representative and the person who had met with me the day prior (who told me I wasn’t qualified to be anything but a secretary) had given him my resume. I interviewed and got the job! That job completely changed the trajectory of my career and I found out later that my resume was offered for this position because of my tenacity and probably my unwillingness to take no for an answer! My best advice would be to believe in yourself, even when others might not. You will amaze them!”
Erin Brady, Vice President & General Counsel of Kentucky’s Century Mortgage & Century Lending, contributed, “The best advice I could give to a woman beginning her career in this industry would be to surround herself with established and successful women in the business. Next, I would suggest that she learn everything she can from those women. Having a mentor is invaluable early in one’s career—regardless of gender—but I think it is particularly valuable for younger women to have successful female role models in mortgage banking. Much of my own success I directly attribute to those women (and men) who took the time to share their knowledge and experiences with me. Conferences and trade groups can be a great way to connect, but women in positions of leadership within one’s own company can be a great resource too. For women who have risen to the top in their niche or market, there’s a special kind of alchemy that brought them there, and it’s nothing that can be learned in a book.”
Let’s keep this trend toward higher rates in context. Yes, rates are good from an historical perspective, but it is going to take consumers/borrowers a while to grow accustomed to them. Few are denying that the job market is solid. The most notable economic release last week was nonfarm payrolls which showed that employers added 313,000 new jobs in February, continuing a trend of strong data. Additionally, figures for December and January were revised upward and the report displayed job growth across many industries. The unemployment rate remained unchanged due to the largest increase in labor force participation since 2003 that brought the participation rate back to 63.0. Hourly earning edged up 0.1 percent, slightly below market expectations for +0.2 percent. Year-over-year, February average hourly earnings were up 2.6 percent.
And in tariff-related news, we can expect that some industries will see higher costs because of the imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum though we will need to wait and see if those costs are pass through to consumer or absorbed via tighter margins.
Looking at the bond markets yesterday, the notion of inflation moved rates. The February CPI report pushed Treasury yields higher yesterday morning, enough so to withstand downward midday pressures and end Tuesday higher. The Consumer Price Index increased 0.2% in February, meeting expectations after a 0.5% January increase. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, also increased 0.2%, meeting expectations after a 0.3% increase in January. YoY, total CPI was up 2.2%, while core CPI, was up 1.8%. At this point the consumer inflation trend is not advancing at an alarming clip, meaning less need to worry about the prospect of the Federal Reserve raising the fed funds rate more than three times this year.
Today is a new day, however, and we’ve already seen the MBA’s mortgage applications numbers for last week. Overall apps were up slightly, led by purchase apps, but the refinance share of all mortgage applications fell to 40 percent, the lowest since 2008.
We’ve also had Retail Sales (expected to rebound following a 0.3% decline in January, they were actually -1.%, somewhat weak), and the Producer Price Index (wholesale inflation for February was +.2%, stronger than expected). January wholesale inventories are due out at 10:00 ET and are seen increasing 0.6%. In the early going agency MBS prices are unchanged and the 10-year is yielding 2.84%.
Employment and Products
Towne Mortgage Company is looking for a nation-wide Senior Account Executive. This rarely available position will have access to all of Towne’s product offerings such as FHA, 203K, Fannie Mae Homestyle, Homepath, Homeready, DU Refi Plus, VA, USDA, and Manufactured Programs. Towne is looking for a seasoned, high-energy, sales leader who can partner with Towne to expand the book of business. This AE will have the ability to add an array of account types including broker, bank, and credit unions. Sound Interesting? Please email HumanResources@TowneMortgage.com.
Did you hear the news? Christopher Schenk is the newest Retail Regional Manager to join Sierra Pacific Mortgage. Christopher said, “Becoming part of Sierra Pacific Mortgage was a good decision because I know how strong the leadership is at this company. Even more importantly for me, I know, trust, and believe in our Senior Vice President of Retail Lending, Jay Promisco.” Everyone at Sierra Pacific is happy to have Christopher on board and looking forward to him increasing growth throughout Northern California. Join us in congratulating Christopher.
Are you as “e” as you can be? As the industry’s march towards widespread adoption of e-mortgages soldiers on, lenders can set themselves up for future success by executing as much of their current mortgage process as they can electronically. To do this, lenders need to forge stronger ties to their settlement agent partners – who are already well versed in using digital solutions like e-recording – to ensure an electronic mortgage process through closing, recording and post-closing. Of course, enhancing these ties is often easier said than done. Download this free white paper from Simplifile to learn how to set your organization up for e-mortgage success through better connections to your settlement agent partners.
ACES Risk Management (ARMCO) is looking for a Regional Sales Executive who can work from home to be part of a dynamic and collaborative ARMCO sales team. “This person needs to be a highly motivated self-starter with a passion for sales to support our mission of bringing our products to the mortgage industry. Knowledge about Document Management Systems or process would be a real benefit. This is an ‘inside’ sales role based out of your U.S. home office. ARMCO has been in business nearly 20 years, and delivers web-based audit technology solutions, as well as powerful data and analytics, to the nation’s top mortgage lenders, servicers, investors and outsourcing professionals. ARMCO was selected as one of the Top Mortgage Employers Award in 2018.”
Kicking off 2018 with a bang, Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions, the leader in non-QM, announced the addition of 6 more AEs to help brokers grow its business. Adding additional coverage across the country, Dee Buckley joined in Atlanta, Dino Biorac, Eric Olson and Gigi Bronstrup, in the Los Angeles area, Christina Ciceric in San Diego and Andrea Johnson in Memphis. And Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions is not done as it continues to hire additional Wholesale Account Executives across the country as well as underwriters and other operations positions Atlanta and Dallas. “There is no better time to join the nation's top non-QM lender.” Visit JoinAngelOak.com or learn more about what it's like to work for Angel Oak by watching the Top Mortgage Employer's interview from the Mortgage News Network.
Floify, the leading mortgage point-of-sale solution, has just taken its powerful mobile app one gigantic step further with the release of the latest version, which comes packed with tons of new and exciting features. Currently available for download on Apple’s AppStore and Google Play, Floify’s 300,000+ users are now enjoying a clean and refreshing design that adds better usability throughout the app, and allows LOs and borrowers to manage a loan file even faster and easier. As always, users of Floify’s mobile app can still receive status updates via push notifications, view loan milestones and activity, and upload and inspect loan documents – all from the convenience of their mobile device! With Floify, LOs have reported being able to reduce workload by up to 5 hours/loan and dramatically improve the lender-borrower experience. To see how Floify can help you streamline your mortgage workflow, request a live demo or start a free trial.