This commentary posts plenty of job opportunities. I have a site – www.LenderNews.com – where folks can post resumes for free (under “services) and companies can view them. What about the flip side? People are fired every day, from every position, for every reason. Is it the end of the line? Absolutely not, and it can be a great new start, as this article points out.
Upcoming Events/Legal News
Weiner Brodsky Kider PC is offering two educational events in April. On April 20, WBK is teaming up with Richey May to host a Data Security Workshop in Washington, DC. The workshop will focus on practical ways that regulatory compliance and IT security must work together to address regulatory and technical issues surrounding cybersecurity. Attendees will receive a copy of WBK’s 2018 Data Security Deskbook, an important reference for data security compliance and data breach response.
And on April 24, Mitch Kider, Jason McElroy, and Tim Ofak will present the webinar “Government Investigations and Enforcement Actions,” from 1-2PM EDT. This webinar will walk you through the process of government investigations and enforcement actions, including discussions of Civil Investigative Demands and administrative subpoenas. WBK will also cover state and federal agencies, and discuss the general administrative process followed by most federal and state agencies.
Bumper stickers. Where we get our most profound, life-changing, business advice. Not! The only noteworthy bumper sticker is the one on the back of the old jalopy that says, “Honk if anything falls off.” Steve Richman has something to say about the clichés we hear and see every day when it comes to business. That’s why Sierra Pacific Mortgage is hosting a webinar featuring Steve as part of their Market Power series on Tuesday, April 24th from 10-11 AM PST/1-2 PM EST called “Death by Cliché & Other Business Buzzwords.” Known as Genworth’s “That MI Guy,” Steve’s humor and insight will surely entertain, as he argues why common business clichés need to change to be relevant in today’s market. You’ll learn actions you can take today to update your business plan, improve communications—sans bumper stickers—and differentiate yourself from the competition! Click here to register!
Nationstar is tallying up the dollar amounts: $7 million in restitution, a $5 million fine, and a $5 million charity donation. The New York Department of Financial Services has fined Nationstar Mortgage $5 million for violations of the state's banking rules. Dallas-based Nationstar has agreed to donate $5 million in property and mortgages to local nonprofit organizations working to rehabilitate abandoned properties. Investigators say Nationstar failed to maintain proper mortgage documentation and didn't file required paperwork with the state. They also say the company caused big headaches for homebuyers by failing to fund hundreds of mortgages on time. Officials say many of the problems stemmed from the company's failure to properly prepare for rapid growth in recent years. In a statement, the company apologized to its New York customers.
“Do you reuse a memorable password for multiple user accounts? When asked to identify a personal secret along with your password to access an account, do you always choose the name of your favorite childhood pet, the same one you have also mentioned on Facebook? If so, you’re hardly alone – and cyber attackers are actively trolling social media to learn information about you that might identify your childhood pet and other “known secrets” to give them access to your accounts. The latest blog post by Richey May Technology Solutions, a leading provider of cybersecurity and cloud advisory services to the mortgage industry, details the long-term threats of using knowledge-based authentication to your personal, corporate and customer data, and what you should consider instead to increase security. And for those attending the MBA’s upcoming Technology Solutions Conference in Detroit, learn more from JT Gaietto, Executive Director, Cybersecurity Solutions, in his panel session titled “What Went Wrong? A Review of Successful Cybersecurity Attacks” on Monday, April 16.”
Where are rates going? “Up” is an acceptable answer. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed will stick to its path of gradual interest-rate increases to keep the economy growing without overheating. He suggested “no hurry” to pick up the pace of rate rises and described the current course as a prudent one that would balance the central bank’s desire to foster an economy that is growing at its full potential against the risk that it could expand too rapidly and send inflation soaring.
And out West, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said he wants the U.S. central bank to press forward with rate rises and played down the risks that recent saber-rattling over trade presents to the outlook. More rate increases “will keep things on an even footing and reduce the risk of us getting to a point where the economy could overheat, and create problems that could end badly,” Mr. Williams opined.
What about the trade saber rattling with Asia? Analysts believe the U.S. has an upper hand in a tariff war with China because of the imbalance in what we import to the U.S. from China compared to our exports to their economy. China has other tools at its disposal, however, including the ability to devalue currencies or sell large numbers of US Treasuries it holds, which would both prove unpleasant to U.S. markets.
The looming trade war between the US and China dominated business headlines so far this month as economic data continued to support expectations for moderate GDP expansion through the first half of 2018. While the jobs data was unexpected, with just 103,000 jobs added, it followed a stout 326,000 job gain in February and is more the likely mean reversion than anything worrisome. The Fed will continue to monitor employment and wage data, but for now expectations are for no changes to policy at the next FOMC meeting May 1-2. The trade gap widened slightly in February, but that gap is expected to contract in March and not become the drag to GDP that it was in the fourth quarter.
The US international trade gap widened to -$57.6 billion in February, the largest in the last 9 ½ years, signaling strong domestic and global demand. Total imports and exports both increased by 1.7 percent to $262.0 billion and $204.4 billion respectively. For the first two months of the year, the average of the inflation adjusted trade gap is like the same average for the final quarter of 2017 which is pointing towards a neutral impact on first quarter GDP as the trade gap is expected to narrow in March. In the fourth quarter, trade subtracted 1.2 percentage points from real GDP.
Looking at Wednesday’s bond market, and therefore interest rates, things were flat yesterday as markets awaited the potential action and reaction after a tweet from President Trump suggested that a military strike against Syria is imminent. He later Tweeted that there is no firm schedule, and it appears that President Trump has not yet decided on Syria despite the fiery rhetoric. As far as actual economic news goes, FOMC Minutes from the March meeting were released and suggested that all policymakers are comfortable with remaining on the rate hike path, which helped flatten the yield curve roughly 2bps between 2s and both 10s and 30s. That came as the CPI report showed a firming inflation trend, though not one worth sounding alarms over, that will keep the Federal Reserve wedded to its tightening bias and belief that at least two more rate hikes are warranted this year.
Do you spend more than you make every year? The Treasury Budget for March showed a deficit of $208.7 billion versus a deficit of $176.2 billion for the same period a year ago. The Treasury Budget data is not seasonally adjusted, so the March deficit cannot be compared to the $215.2 billion deficit for February. Total receipts were $5.8 billion less than the year-ago period while total outlays were $26.8 billion more than the year-ago period.
Turning to today, we’ve seen March Export Prices ex-agriculture (+.3%), Import Prices ex-oil (flat), weekly Initial Claims (-9k to 233k – about as forecast). In the afternoon, EST, there is the final leg of this week's Treasury mini-refunding when $13 billion reopened 30-year bonds are auctioned. An hour later, the NY Fed will report MBS purchases for the week ending April 10 – yes, the NYF is still buying agency MBS. We commence Thursday with the 10-year yielding 2.80% and agency MBS prices nearly unchanged versus Wednesday’s close.
Employment, Products, Personnel Moves
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Watch an in-depth interview with Benjamin Coll, Director of the Product & Pricing Division at Mortgage Capital Trading (MCT), as he explains how lenders target and maximize their margins with white-label rate sheets, mark-to-market reporting, and best execution analysis. A white-label rate sheet allows secondary managers to optimize their margins and develop a consistent, positive experience with an in-house product for their loan officers. MCT works with lenders to analyze all possible executions and generate this rate sheet daily or whenever the market dictates an update. crucial and how daily and monthly mark-to-market reporting engenders the transparency and control that mortgage companies need to be fully prepared for any market event.
An East Coast lender looking to enter the renovation lending space! “We are ready to launch a new division, that has a good amount of infrastructure in place, and are now looking for a leader to complete development and launch. We hope to find someone with the knowledge experience and determination to scale a full-service renovation platform that can compete in this robust market space.” If you’d like to learn more in a confidential manner you can send contact information and a resume directly to me; please specify the opportunity.
RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation (RPMS) announced it has added five executive-level mortgage servicing professionals to its senior management team. Congrats to all! Michael Shidler has been hired as VP Claims & Loss Management and is responsible for RoundPoint’s Default Claims Division. Chalise Freitag is the new VP Corporate Compliance leading various compliance initiatives including regulatory relations, anti-money laundering/fraud, and policy and procedure administration. Roman Vega is RoundPoint’s VP Marketing, responsible for developing and implementing the overarching strategic vision for RoundPoint including branding, marketing and communications initiatives. And Ronda Schrader is the new VP Investor Reporting, tasked with managing the Investor Reporting operation and staff also located in RoundPoint’s Charlotte office.
A couple thousand miles away, from California loanDepot’s CEO Anthony Hsieh announced changes within its Direct Lending group. Alex Madonna and Bryan Owen will begin reporting directly to Mr. Hsieh and Brian Lee & Chi Pham will report into Jeff Walsh’s organization. (Chad Smith, President of Direct Lending for the past 9 months, is no longer with loanDepot.) “Direct Lending is one of our key engines and a continually-evolving strategic advantage…Alex, Bryan, Brian and Chi, along with our stellar Direct Lending team, have long been the true heartbeat of our Direct Lending organization.