Yesterday I decided to put thoughts of SRP values plummeting, and EPO & EPD penalties being enforced, out of my mind and get some exercise. My cat Myrtle had a mix of curiosity and disdain while watching me do my the 90-second yoga class on YouTube, which is about all my body can handle. “Come into the moment! Feel the energy flow from your ‘sit bones’ into the earth. Feel your heartbeat throughout your spine!” After the 90 seconds Myrtle lost interest and had begun to lick “herself” with ease, and I was ready to go back to staring at my computer for 14 hours day like I am now. I figure if I add 10 seconds a day, by the time we’re released from captivity I’ll be up to doing… seven hours of yoga per day. Namaste! Speaking of animals, combining them and out-of-work sportscasters led to this announcer narrating his two dog’s breakfasts. It is excellent. (Press “try again” and unmute if necessary.) Unfortunately one of the issues that arose during the 2008 financial crisis was people releasing their pets/animals because they couldn’t afford to feed them. “Tiger King” is a popular series on Netflix (for some reason) and let’s hope those wild animal park owners don’t resort to releasing those wonderful animals, or worse.

Lender Services and Products

“As the mortgage industry navigates through an evolving marketplace due to COVID-19, the Stearns Wholesale Lending team is here to ensure we provide all of our associates, clients and borrowers the necessary support. Whether you need scenario guidance from a seasoned AE, access to a consumer digital mortgage app, or a best-in-class fulfillment team to close your purchase loan on time, Stearns has your back. We understand the importance of community and coming together to ensure we support consumers across the country is our commitment to you. To be contacted by Stearns, click HERE.”

Understand Your Loan Quality, Control It and Convey It - How Leading Lenders Are Leveraging Quality Control Automation to Achieve Optimal Loan Quality. ACES Risk Management launched a live webinar last week in response to the recent global pandemic, conference cancellations and mass transition to a remote work environment. Watch the recording to hear about: Challenges Facing QC Professionals Today | Current State of Quality Control | 4 Key Areas to Ensure Loan Quality Through QC Automation | How to Stay Informed. Watch the webinar.

In this environment, communication with your clients, employees and vendors is critical. They need to understand how you’re navigating this situation operationally. Additionally, you need to keep your brand out front, sharing helpful information with prospective clients as well. And, striking the right tone with each of these audiences at this time is very important. Seroka Brand Development, communication specialists in the mortgage industry since 1987,  is ready to help you. Seroka will develop carefully crafted messaging for each of your audiences, create and deliver content for a variety of communications channels and assist with media relations to get helpful information efficiently disseminated. Seroka will also assist you with all aspects of planning and message automation. Contact Seroka to discuss your most immediate message development and distribution needs.

“A broker’s Superpower is choice. Brokers thrive by giving their clients options from many lenders. That Superpower has never been more apparent than right now. At a time when some lenders are unfortunately struggling with capacity and cash flow, other lenders are doing well and continue to provide value and liquidity to brokers. In recent years, some lenders and associations have worked hard to get brokers to reduce the number of lenders they work with. That self-serving advice is now backfiring. QLMS is proud to have taken the exact opposite view: We believe brokers should work with a wide variety of well-capitalized and innovative lenders who bring enduring value in all markets – good and bad. In the last six months, 2,000 more brokers have joined forces with QLMS to enhance their Superpowers even more. To learn more about QLMS, click here.

Clear Capital, the premier provider of modern real estate valuation and analytics technology solutions, launched OwnerInsight, a free mobile friendly service that walks homeowners through capturing a simple interior/exterior inspection, to keep homeowners and appraisers safe while giving the appraiser and lender consistent information about the home to improve the lending experience. “During the COVID-19 health situation, OwnerInsight provides critical efficiencies for lenders and appraisers to access information that is indispensable to the appraisal process,” said Jeff Allen, Executive Vice President of Valuation Strategy at Clear Capital. “Without OwnerInsight on the market, homeowners and appraisers would face a manual and confusing back-and-forth, trapped in email and phone calls with unclear requirements and no fraud mitigation. We want to ensure the industry remains active and capital remains fluid during these difficult times.”


This is a Public Resource Telehealth Directory, for anyone looking for “tele-medicine” services, anywhere in the world, created by COVID19 responders.

On April 15 and 16, the Mortgage 2020-Live Virtual Conference brings together dozens of top mortgage industry leaders and thousands of mortgage professionals for a two-day interactive summit that will tackle the toughest production, legal and compliance issues facing us today, all designed to help you better navigate the new mortgage origination, servicing and technology challenges. Learn the latest from HUD, the GSEs, the MBA and ABA and more, direct from featured speakers such as Dave Stevens, HUD’s Brian Montgomery, me, Flagstar’s Kristy Fercho, MBA’s Chief Economist Michael Fratantoni, Jay Brinkmann, and others. Presented by Firstline Compliance, The Knowledge Coop and Shred Media. Conference passes are available now. Every attendee receives access to two days of live and recorded content and interactive Q&A, multiple conference tracks including production and compliance, which will remain available on the conference website for 30 days for all attendees.

With most everyone stuck at home, it seems like a lot of people in our industry have started podcasting with video. Here’s a good one called “3 Guys and an iPad”. This week’s episode features attorney Brian Levy, author of the Mortgage Musings website and who has a good sense of the origination market from a lawyer’s perspective.

As the industry waits for the CFPB’s proposals next month on the QM vs. non-QM dividing line, the Bureau came out a policy statement outlining the responsibility of credit reporting companies and furnishers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the pandemic, many lenders are being flexible when it comes to consumers’ making payments. The Bureau’s statement underscores that consumers benefit if lenders report accurate information about these arrangements to credit bureaus so that the credit reports of consumers are accurate.

“During this time of uncertainty, we are providing clarity to ensure the consumer reporting industry can continue to function,” said Director Kraninger. “Consumers rely on their credit report to purchase a new car, their new home, or to finance their college education. An effective consumer reporting system is critical in promoting fair and efficient access to credit in the consumer financial services market.” The CARES Act requires lenders to report to credit bureaus that consumers are current on their loans if consumers have sought relief from their lenders due to the pandemic. The Bureau’s statement informs lenders they must comply with the CARES Act. The Bureau’s statement also encourages lenders to continue to voluntarily provide payment relief to consumers and to report accurate information to credit bureaus relating to this relief.

In addition, in response to staffing and resources constraints on lenders and credit bureaus due to the pandemic, the Bureau’s statement also provides flexibility for lenders and credit bureaus in the time they take to investigate disputes. The Bureau specifically states that it does not intend to cite in an examination or bring an enforcement action against firms who exceed the deadlines to investigate such disputes as long as they make good faith efforts during the pandemic to do so as quickly as possible.

The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released revised guidance on Saturday, March 28 to help states identify and manage their essential workforce definitions and the National Governors Association has urged governors to follow the CISA definitions, which reflect the real estate finance industry's priorities.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a set of mortgage payment relief options for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 National Emergency, along with an extension period for seniors with Home Equity Conversion Mortgages. If conditions are met, “Mortgage servicers must extend deferred or reduced mortgage payment options (forbearance) for up to six months, and must provide an additional six months of forbearance if requested by the borrower. This mandate implements provisions contained in the landmark Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

NewRez is suspending new Best Efforts locks through April 15, and is suspending new registrations and locks for Non-Delegated business through April 15. NewRez will continue to underwrite locked Non-Delegated loans in pipeline and will accept lock changes for loans that meet guidelines through the Lock Desk.

PennyMac told brokers, “Effective immediately, borrowers currently in a forbearance plan, or pending acceptance of a forbearance plan, are ineligible for a new transaction with PennyMac. This would include any refinance of the loan in forbearance, regardless of payment history, any refinance of other loans not in forbearance, or new purchase transactions. Borrowers will need to resolve the current or pending forbearance prior to completing the new transaction. This guidance is applicable to any borrower in any type of forbearance plan, regardless if the borrower has been making their payment during the forbearance.”

In a temporary shift toward purely Conventional lending, and an eye on the future, wholesaler JMAC temporarily suspended new submissions and funding on FHA, VA and USDA (including Manhattan and Laguna Jumbo loan programs) with plans to resume locking upon the first signs of stability in the market. To make signing and closing loans faster and easier, JMAC is launching its new digital Hybrid eClose program to provide a better and safer closing experience for its brokers borrowers.

loanDepot told its brokers that, “In an effort to guard against extraordinary market fluctuation, loanDepot has imposed credit restrictions on Government Programs (FHA & VA) and temporarily suspended the TX 50(a)(6) Program. Government Program Restrictions (FHA & VA), TX 50(a)(6) Program Suspension. These changes are effective for new submissions, that have not been pre-locked, dated on or after March 31. Existing floating or locked pipeline in submitted status or later, will not be impacted and will continue to follow previous guidelines. (Existing pipeline may be subject to further guideline changes based on market conditions.)

Stearns Lending let brokers know that, “Due to the potential of appraisal issues associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, we are allowing the following Alternative Appraisals for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, High Balance, FHA, VA and USDA loan transactions where a traditional Interior/Exterior appraisal cannot be obtained by the appraiser.”

UWM’s president and CEO, Mat Ishbia, weighed in on Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac’s COVID-19 guideline changes, borrowers’ forbearance on service payments, and interest rates.

As previously mentioned in this commentary, Impac Mortgage Holdings, Inc. enacted a two-week suspension of all lending activity including mortgage originations, and temporarily laid off most of its staff. Impac will maintain “a core team” to manage business operations but temporarily laid off “the remainder of its employee base,” according to a press release. Consistent with its lay-off policy, Impac volunteered, “to cover its employees’ costs of health and medical benefits under the furlough period to provide tangible support during this time of hardship.”

Plaza Home Mortgage has made multiple announcements recently about operational and program changes listed on its Operational and Program Updates page.

Parkside Lending sent Bulletin PSW20-031 to brokers. Too numerous to note the details here, PSW20-031 changes Parkside’s guidelines on Age of Documents, Federal Income Tax Filing Extension, Market-Based Assets, Appraisal Flexibilities for New Construction Loans, Documentation Requirements for New Construction Loans, Builder Certification, Completion Reports for New Construction Properties, and Power of Attorney for both Fannie and Freddie.

Starting Friday AmeriHome set the minimum decision credit score for all government loan streamline refinance transactions at 680. “This requirement applies to FHA Streamline Refinance, VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance (VA IRRRL), USDA Streamlined Refinance. As previously announced, effective for new commitments issued on and after Friday, April 3, 2020, the minimum decision credit score for non-streamline government loan transactions will be the greater of the program guide requirement or 640. This requirement applies to the following: FHA Standard Purchase and Refinance, VA Purchase, VA Cash-Out Refinance, USDA Purchase, USDA Rate and Term (Non-Streamlined) Refinance.

AmeriHome temporarily suspended “Bulk Assignment of Trade (Bulk AOT) Commitments until the current market dislocation has subsided: no new Bulk AOT Commitments will be issued at this time. Current Bulk AOT Commitments will continue to be honored. Irrespective of issuance date, all requests for Bulk AOT Commitment extensions (rolls) must be reviewed and approved by the Commitment Desk.”

Capital Markets

MCM’s Dean Brown penned some thoughts about the recent market activity: “Fed Policy and Actions” and “Servicing Value Implosion”.

Yesterday allowed markets to take stock of a miserable Q1 during which the S&P 500 lost $5 trillion of value and our industry was hit with decaying servicing valuations and liquidity constraints. U.S. treasuries unwound Tuesday’s trade, with shorter durations pulling back and longer durations rallying as most global equity markets faced renewed selling pressure to begin Q2. The curve-flattening of treasuries took the 10-year yield to its lowest yield (0.578 percent) since the low (0.318%) from March 9 before closing the day -6 bps to 0.64 percent.

The ADP Employment Change report beat expectations for March payrolls, though coronavirus shutdown measures only started to take effect in March so the report is already slightly obsolete. Remember, the labor market was solid before it was deliberately ground to a halt to contain the coronavirus, and most measures still suggest the labor market remains strong, but they are almost all lagging. The report markets are paying attention to will be the payrolls report tomorrow, which still won’t reflect the full coronavirus outbreak and are expected to eke out a small gain before April’s figures in four weeks reveal the large and far-reaching virus-related impact on hiring.

The BLS survey, a component of Friday’s payrolls report, was taken just before drastic containment efforts took effect across the country. The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 3.5 percent in March, but as we move forward in Q2, the labor market is expected to shed millions of jobs with unemployment more than doubling in April. The shutdown will have disproportionate effects on certain industries, particularly leisure and hospitality, while lower oil prices will continue to put downward pressure on mining and logging. Additionally, the March ISM non-manufacturing survey comes out after Friday’s payroll report, but the coronavirus is set to hit the service sector particularly hard. Average weekly hours are set to drop as businesses more aggressively cut hours, which may upwardly bias wage growth in the near-term, but as industries grind to a halt and workers lose their jobs, wage growth will subside. Many firms will likely continue to put hiring decisions on hold as uncertainty from the virus continues.

Layoffs from Challenger, Gray & Christmas for March (222k job cuts!) started today’s calendar. We’ve also received weekly jobless claims (6.6 million, double the prior week) and the February trade deficit ($39.9 billion). Later this morning brings February Factory Orders. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices (not rate sheets) +.125 and the 10-year yielding .58 percent.


Employment, Transitions, and Business Opportunities

USA based call center is looking for multistate mortgage originators for prequalified refinance warm transfers on a pay per lead basis. Must have 10 or more states, do all products FHA, VA, and Conventional, handle 100 or more weekly. Also have ability to answer serving requests and modifications on hourly basis. Ability to start within 48 hours, prepay only. Contact Chris (949.742.1910).

A Private Equity-backed group is looking to acquire consumer-direct call centers and geographically strategic licensed conforming/Government Wholesale mortgage operations that have Ginnie and/or Fannie Seller Servicer ticket. Send your inquiries to Chrisman LLC's Anjelica Nixt; all inquiries will be treated with confidentiality.

Planet Home Lending continues to grow, having recently opened a branch in Upland, California. Branch Manager Phil Apodaca (NMLS # 323363), Retail Sales Manager Wayne Waldron (NMLS #511103), and their Inland Empire team joined Planet for the leading-edge technology and broad product offerings. Planet continues to serve retail customers at full speed, locking, closing, and funding home loans at record volumes throughout March. Planet branches have access to award-winning leadership with decades of capital markets, servicing, and operations experience in all market cycles. And they benefit from having a $20 billion servicing operation dedicated to retaining customers even in challenging times. To discuss inside mortgage loan originator opportunities, contact Phil Apodaca (909-660-7485). To discuss distributed retail opportunities at Planet Home Lending, contact Robert Tyler-Cook (844-254-8966).

Valuation Partners, a national appraisal management company announced that Paul Gawin has joined the company as vice president of home equity valuation sales nationwide.  Paul will be responsible for expanding business development and new client services for the latest in equity valuation technology, PropertyRx. Paul has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry and has held executive roles at several large national companies. “We are pleased to have Paul join our team,” said William Fall, CEO of Valuation Partners.  “He is a top-notch professional with broad financial industry experience. Our continued growth with home equity valuations will benefit greatly through Paul’s efforts.” “Valuation Partners has a well-deserved reputation for its commitment to quality, innovative technology and high-touch customer service. Paul is prepared to help lenders access PropertyRx to create customized solution that will fit their needs. Paul can be reached at 513-659-8977.

No limits on your success. There’s no avoiding the fact that everyone is currently facing unprecedented challenges. Fortunately, there is still a way to add more certainty to your pipeline. Unlike many retail loan originators at mega banks and giant online lenders, independent mortgage brokers have no limits on their pipeline, so their opportunities for compensation are unlimited. Which means you’ll be able to keep your business growing and on a positive track. Go to to learn more. 

One of the core tenants at Finance of America Mortgage is giving back to the communities in which we operate. As such, we are immensely proud of the work Finance of America Cares does each and every day. Finance of America Caresleverages resources to invest in value-driven programs and charitable activities; this is possible through dynamic partnerships with community-based nonprofits that unite our people to work together for a greater impact in local communities throughout the nation. We engage Finance of America employees in all of our strategic initiatives with local nonprofits, including grantmaking, volunteering, and fundraising. We also have an Employee Assistance Fund to meet the health and welfare needs of our employees. To learn how you can become part of the Finance of America Mortgage team, click HERE.