In legal news, Experian, one of the nation's three major credit reporting bureaus, misled consumers by telling them that the credit scores they purchased from the company were the same ones that lenders used to make credit decisions, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said yesterday. And for that deception, the CFPB is fining Experian $3 million. Peers Equifax and Transunion reached a settlement on similar allegations in January.

Jay Clayton, President Donald Trump's nominee to be chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the Dodd-Frank Act should be looked at to see if its objectives are being achieved, but he doesn't have "specific plans for attack" against the law. The SEC should continue its work on rules mandated by Dodd-Frank that haven't yet been completed, he said.

Upcoming Events

MBA Education is hosting a webinar on March 28th to review the OCC's special purpose national bank charter and its potential impact on mortgage lenders.  This special purpose charter could be an attractive option for residential mortgage lenders who would benefit from a more streamlined supervisory and examination regime, exportation of interest rates and certain fees, and preemption of certain state lending requirements, including licensing. Attendees can expect to learn how the charter can help lower compliance costs, how to begin preparing an application and business plan, and how the new administration and regulators may impact the charter. This webinar is complimentary to MBA members; click here to register.

If you're interested in, "Attracting Millennial Buyers: Insights For Mortgage Lenders," Erin Lantz, VP & GM of Mortgages at Zillow Group is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, March 29th, at 2PM ET/11AM PT. Register here.

Hey, if you're in Southern California on Tuesday night, April 11, the North San Diego County Escrow Association and Notary Near You are hosting "Bring Your Favorite Real Estate or Mortgage Broker to Dinner." Cocktails at 5:30, dinner at 6:15 at the Shadow Ridge Country Club in Vista, and yours truly will be speaking afterward. Please contact Tracie Gressmen for more details and registration.

Technology & system updates

Gibran Nicholas, CEO of CMPS Institute and creator of the CMPS Platform recently wrote a white paper called How Technology Changes the Game for Mortgage Lead Conversion. I was astonished that a 1% uptick in lead conversion rates has a whopping $450,000 impact on annual profitability per 100 loan officers. Conversely, a 1% decrease in lead conversion rates carries an annual cost of $450,000 per 100 loan officers to your company's bottom line. Click here to download the white paper.  Reach out directly to if you're interested in meeting up with him at MBA technology conference next week.

The FHFA released an update on the implementation of the CSP and SS for the GSEs. Release 2 now calls for the SS to be introduced during Q2 2019 vs. what was initially expected to be during 2018 due to more time needed "for the development, testing, validation of controls, and governance processes necessary to have the highest level of confidence that the implementation will be both smooth and successful."

C.L.A. Title has a new free online quoting calculator. Give it a try.

loanDepot, launched its proprietary digital lending platform (DLP), part of an $80 million investment in technology over the last 18 months. The first three proprietary technology solutions comprising loanDepot's DLP, appropriately named melloTM includes an intuitive web-based consumer portal, a state-of-the-art mobile point of sale system, and a fully digital mortgage loan application experience. These solutions will be seamlessly integrated with the company's scalable web-based loan origination system (LOS), accessible to consumers and lending professionals via collaborative dashboards from mobile or desk top devices. loanDepot's melloTM exists within a larger fintech ecosystem boosted with the integration of digital marketing tools and by third-party data enrichment that ensure greater accuracy, speed and certainty throughout the origination experience. melloTM will evolve loan origination to become a fully digital practice on a massive scale that intuitively becomes a faster, easier, and more accurate experience with greater certainty.

Pacific Union announced that FlexKey - Expanded and FlexKey - Restart have been combined into a single Program Guide as part of a redesign effort to promote better functionality for determining FlexKey eligibility and remove duplicate policies. A new FlexKey Credit Grade Calculator has been developed to assist in determining the credit grade for a loan scenario.

To streamline and expedite the Credit Review process, Pacific Union will soon be changing the way that non-delegated correspondents upload credit packages. Rather than submitting a single credit package as one bulk upload, new functionality will allow users to upload documents contained in the Credit Package by document type. To watch a quick video and learn more about this pending enhancement, click here

Jumbo news

One way to obtain leads is through advertising, right? How about this Redwood Trust ad for its 90% LTV jumbo product?

Caliber Home Loans has expanded its Jumbo product. Highlights include lowered FICO and 90% LTV with no MI. Jumbo pricing has been improved by at least 50 BPS and there are new enhanced guidelines on its Caliber Jumbo Fixed and ARM programs.

Plaza's Jumbo Programs have specific appraisal ordering requirements. Appraisals for Plaza's Jumbo program MUST be ordered by selecting the Jumbo loan type in the appraisal order screen; do not select Conventional when ordering a Jumbo appraisal. If Jumbo is not selected, the appraisal will not be ordered correctly.

Capital Markets

The story in the markets is that stocks and bonds may be giving back the Trump reflation trade, where bonds sold off and stocks rallied on the prospect of fiscal stimulus out of Washington. Donald Trump is getting a lesson in the limitations of the bully pulpit as health care reform is tougher than he thought. Repealing and replacing Obamacare is the "pay for" for fiscal stimulus and tax reform, so if it doesn't happen then part of the basis for the post-Trump stock market rally is in jeopardy. 

Health care reform's vote was delayed yesterday, but is supposed to go to the House today. If it passes, that might be good for stocks and bad for bonds. If it fails, it is bad for stocks and good for bonds (in other words, if it fails, interest rates are probably heading lower). The months-long equity rally has been based largely on improved nominal growth and anticipation of US tax reform and both those underpinnings are still in place.

Certainly interest rates are almost an afterthought with other news grabbing attention: stocks trading in positive territory, an AHCA (health care) vote that is now postponed until today or possibly Monday, New Home Sales in February ran at the second-highest seasonally adjusted annual rate since 2007. (February was one of the warmest on record and that should have bolstered new home sales. To keep things in perspective, between 1996 to 2006, new home sales ranged from 714K to 1389K, so the current level is extremely low.)

The 10-year yield pushed back above 2.40%, with aid of a morning bounce in equities, hitting a high of 2.44% before ending the day at 2.42%. Current coupon agency MBS prices worsened about .125. Today we'll have several Federal Reserve speakers from various districts and with varying topics. Whether they say anything new remains to be seen. Ahead of that jawboning we've had February's Durable Goods orders: +1.7%, higher than forecast. Rates are nearly unchanged with the 10-year at 2.42% and agency MBS prices off a shade.

Jobs and Announcments

In retail news, Mountain West Financial is excited to announce that James Butschek has accepted the position of RVP of Production for AZ, CO, NM, NV, UT. James has 25 years of experience with a variety of roles including Top Producing LO and Branch Manager, Regional Management and Ops Management. "I'm very excited to be joining Mountain West Financial. This is a long-established and well respected company, that's the perfect size for today's environment - large enough to enjoy all the product and underwriting benefits of being a direct seller/servicer, but not too large to still be nimble and aggressive in individual markets. 2017 is a purchase market. But Loan Officers need an edge to compete, and I'm most excited about the MWF platform that I'll be able to share with purchase-focused Loan Officers. Superior products, cutting edge marketing, great pricing and seamless operations support will help my LOs thrive," said James. If you would like to join our growing channels, please contact him at 480-454-2555 or click his name.

In wholesale news, REMN Wholesale understands that when it comes to the financial institutions channel, relationships and customer service are everything. With that in mind, the lender recently announced that David Margulies, a 30-year industry veteran, has joined the company in the role of Director of National Sales of Financial Institutions and Strategic Alliances, specifically to reinforce REMN's commitment to credit unions and community banks across the country. A nationwide wholesale lender, REMN has continued thrive through its diverse product line, supported by a dedicated helpdesk team and industry leading commitment to same-day turn times on new files. As Margulies looks to cement relationships and expand REMN's reputation with financial institutions, he is seeking out experienced account executives in all markets who share the lender's dedication to customer service both in Iselin, N.J., and key regions around the country. Interested applicants should send their resumes to for consideration.

Today, choosing the right sub servicer is more difficult than ever.  Adding to the complexity of that choice, is the fact that some of the firms traditionally providing sub servicing may be under tremendous financial pressures limiting their abilities to continue as going concerns or at a minimum curtailing their operational capabilities to afford proper levels of customer and client service.  A company's financial wherewithal is fast becoming a prominent part of the diligence guiding the right sub servicer choice. RoundPoint is a strong financial institution and a great choice on all fronts as a sub servicer.  For complete information on RoundPoint's sub servicing, please contact Allen Price at 704.426.8846.

Banks supported by the Embrace Home Loan's operational fulfilment services program last year enjoyed 3-times industry average growth rates! Optimizing Embrace's technology and talent, each bank differentiated themselves in their markets by the exceptional experiences created for their loan officers, referral partners and customers. Buoyed by these record performances, and now the support system needed to compete, each bank is eager to grow their sales teams in 2017 - and so is Embrace. Up to now, all banks supported have come to Embrace via Embrace is looking for a seasoned sales professional, with a demonstrated history of presenting outsource solutions to C-level bank executives. Embrace is licensed nationally, and thus this position can reside anywhere. Interested candidates should contact Derek Lombard, Director of HR (800.333.3004 x3097).

On the retail side, Assurance Financial continues to expand after increasing production by 29% in 2016 while opening several offices in new markets throughout the country! The company has a solid reputation for closing loans on time, appealing to anyone wishing to grow their origination business. Our back office supports its mortgage loan originators and branch managers so they can focus on originating more new loans rather than worrying about closing their pipeline. Assurance plans to expand its footprint further this year by selectively hiring producing branch managers and MLOs in good markets. For more information, contact Paul Peters, CMB at 225-239-7948 or visit