Remember QRM? Not only is it not on the front burner, but it may have been put back in the Tupperware container. QM, however, is very much alive and well, and the industry needs to be aware of it. And any headline including "Mortgage companies fear" is attention-grabbing.  (Read: Letter to Cordray Requests Industry Input into Qualified Mortgage)

National appraisal management company Valuation Management Group has a Sales Account Manager opportunity available in its Atlanta, GA office. "The Sales Account Manager will create and develop profitable relationships with mortgage lenders, community banks, and credit unions. Additionally, the person will actively prospect for new accounts and maximize sales potential with existing customers. A requirement of the opportunity is to have banking, mortgage, AMC and/or real estate experience." The firm (the 22nd fastest growing-private company and 1st in Real Estate in the nation on the INC 500 list) has a website at; qualified candidates should submit their resume to Patrick McMillen at

On the other side of the nation, after recently opening up a regional Branch in Northern California (Roseville) Caliber Funding and is looking to hire Wholesale A.E's in Northern CA, WA, OR, ID, CO, MT, WY, and Utah.  Caliber is one of the fastest growing Wholesale lenders in the country and offers excellent compensation, great benefits, superior technology, open territories and a variety of loan programs including USDA, Jumbo, FHA/VA, Homepath and Conventional.  Backed by Lone Star Funds, Caliber Funding is aggressively expanding its footprint in the Wholesale channel.  Wholesale candidates must be high producers with an active Broker base.  To learn more visit, or to inquire about available job opportunities with Caliber please email or

Remember when everyone did 2nd mortgages? The chickens are coming home to roost: JPMorgan Chase confirmed that $1.6 billion in second mortgages have been reclassified as nonperforming even though about 88% of them remain current! The loans are subordinate to delinquent first mortgages and are expected to eventually be total losses, prompting calls from regulators to reclassify them now. Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase both reclassified many second mortgages as delinquent, even though they are current, because the first mortgages to which they are subordinate have already gone delinquent.

Big banks hold many 2nds in their portfolios. It was two years ago when President Obama vowed to eliminate the danger of financial institutions becoming "too big to fail," but now it has become apparent that the nation's largest banks are bigger than they were before the credit markets seized. The Federal Reserve reported that at the end of 2011, the Top 5 (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs) held $8.5 trillion in assets, equal to 56% of the U.S. economy. This is up from 43% from five years earlier, and these five banks are about twice as large as they were 10 years ago. I remember the 1984 breakup of AT&T (Ma Bell) into the Baby Bells - imagine doing that with a bank!

Freddie, lightening up on HARP 2.0 underwriting? Or should Fannie tighten up? I guess more lax underwriting is prevailing.

Will banks require originators to be licensed by the NMLS? The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and its subsidiary - the State Regulatory Registry LLC (SRR) - announced the expanded use of NMLS by five state banking agencies (MS, OK, RI, VT, and WA) for the licensing and supervision of non-depository financial services industries beyond the mortgage industry. "With the implementation of updated uniform NMLS Licensing Forms (these five state agencies) are managing license authorities covering a range of industries, including money transmitters, debt collectors and sales finance companies." One Massachusetts regulator noted, "We are building upon the success NMLS has had in bringing greater consistency, transparency, and supervision to the oversight of the mortgage industry. Now, with updates to the System, state regulators have the ability to not only enhance oversight of the mortgage industry, but a broad range of financial services industries that provide important access to credit to American families." In addition to the five state agencies currently managing other license authorities on NMLS, six more agencies plan to expand their use of the System this year with an additional nine expected to do so in 2013.

Saturday the commentary noted that, "The Vermont Mortgage Bankers Association and Mortgage Bankers/Brokers Association of New Hampshire are hosting a Mortgage Compliance Conference next weekend on the 18th and 19th." The dates are fine, but should have read "next week" - hopefully no confusion resulted.

Occasionally, or pretty often, the question comes up about MI companies and HARP 2.0. (The question also comes up about warehouse banks accommodating HARP product, and the list is pretty skinny.) As best I know, all MI companies are participating in HARP including those who are bankrupt or have stopped writing policies (Triad, PMI, and Old Republic jump to mind by I am sure there are others). If one considers that the MI company, such as MGIC, is in first loss position on any loans the MI company has insured already, it is easy to see why the company would be motivated to improve a borrower's position and avoid a possible claim. For example, MGIC will transfer a cert on any insured loan, if it meets HARP requirements, regardless of DTI, LTV, occupancy, etc. There seems to have been more restrictions placed by investors than the MI's at this point, since each investor/servicer has its own appetite for/concerns about the program. And many post updates on their websites, such as TRIAD's.

The question came up recently about ambiguity in the HUD sentence from ML 2012-02: "FHA-approved DE lenders that sponsor third-party originators are responsible for ensuring that each third-party originator they sponsor adheres to FHA's requirements when originating loans for that lender." What kind of increased TPO oversight are lenders planning in an effort to meet this broad requirement? A highly placed attorney wrote to me, saying, "FHA-approved DE lenders that sponsor third-party originators are responsible for ensuring that each third-party originator they sponsor adheres to FHA's requirements when originating loans for that lender. Unlike elsewhere in ML 2012-02, that sentence does not make a distinction between FHA approved TPO's and non FHA approved TPO's.  That raises the question of whether the sponsor needs to ensure compliance with all FHA requirements even if the third party is not an FHA lender. I haven't seen others interpreting it in a broad fashion.  Rather, I think the better reading, given the FAQ clarifications and my overall sense of the Bulletin, is that FHA would permit a distinction to be drawn between FHA requirements applicable to FHA approved TPO's on the one hand and non-FHA approved TPO's on the other." One is advised, of course, to seek their own legal counsel for interpretation questions.

Along those lines, the CFPB issued a bulletin Friday reminding financial institutions that they may be held accountable for violations under contracted service providers. The agency said that banks and nonbank entities need to supervise their third-party vendors with due diligence, consistently request and review their internal controls and training materials, and establish clear expectations about compliance. The CFPB also called on financial institutions to adopt the internal controls necessary to supervise vendors, reaffirming the agency's role as both a formal supervisor and informal trendsetter in the industry. Richard Cordray said, "Banks and nonbanks must manage these relationships (third parties) carefully and can be held accountable if they break the law."

The last Housing Starts numbers didn't give the building industry much to cheer about, although it reflects what they probably already knew: starts pulled back in February as single-family housing starts declined a disappointing 9.9%. (Yesterday's NAHB index showed home builder confidence dropping for the first time in seven months.) But how about that multi-family sector -up about 85% over last year! And building permits for both single- and multi- family homes posted sizable increases in February, suggesting somewhat stronger building activity in the months ahead. Coming in to this morning's number, Wells Fargo's economics staff expected that overall starts would post a nearly flat reading for the month of March, at a 696K unit pace. But Housing Starts were down almost 6%, 654k, the weakest since October, but Building Permits were +4.5%.

Looking at the markets, both stocks and bonds improved yesterday. More specifically, the US T-note was better by about .250 in price and ended the day at 1.97% while MBS prices were better by about .125. But folks are tentative, and it seems that this market is generating as much confidence as a Secret Service Agent telling his wife he has an under-cover assignment. Also moving rates today is the "risk off" bid this morning from Spain's 12-18 month auction overnight being well received, relaxing some fears and sending yields on Spanish bonds lower. We'll also have some non-market moving news later when Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization for March come out. To start the day we find the 10-yr at 2.00% and MBS prices worse about .125.

(I think that I first saw this letter to John Block, the Ag Secretary under Reagan, and it repeats under every administration.)
Dear Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack,
My friends, Darryl and Janice, over at Jonestown, Oklahoma, received a check the other day for $1,000 from the government for not raising hogs. So, I want to go into the "not raising hogs" business myself next year. What I want to know is, in your opinion, what is the best type of farm not to raise hogs on, and what is the best breed of hogs not to raise? I want to be sure that I approach this endeavor in keeping with all government policies. I would prefer not to raise Razor hogs, but if that is not a good breed not to raise, then I can just as easily not raise Yorkshires or Durocs.
As I see it, the hardest part of this program will be keeping an accurate inventory of how many hogs I haven't raised. If I can get $1,000 for not raising 50 hogs, will I get $2,000 for not raising 100 hogs? I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 "not raised" hogs, which will give me $80,000 income the first year.
Now another thing: these hogs I will not raise will not eat 100,000 bushels of corn. I understand that you also pay farmers for not raising corn and wheat. Will I qualify for payments for not raising wheat and corn not to feed the 4,000 hogs I am not going to raise? I want to get started not feeding as soon as possible, as this seems to be a good time of the year to not raise hogs and grain. I am also considering the "not milking cows" business, so please send me any information on that also.
In view of these circumstances, I understand that the government will consider me totally unemployed, so I plan to file for unemployment and food stamps as well. Be assured that you will have my vote in the coming elections.
Patriotically yours,
Duster Benton
P.S., Would you please notify me when you plan to distribute more free cheese?