A few weeks ago I wrote about the "over 65ers", the age demographic which is very much a part of the baby-boom generation. Recently the U.S. Census Bureau released "The Centenarian Population: 2007-2011," which focuses on those who have reached a milestone many of us won't get to in life: 100 years of age. It's an interesting demographic, maybe one which gets overlooked considering only 55,000 Americans fall into this group (versus, say, 90 million Millennials aged 18-34).
In job news, TruHome Solutions, LLC is seeking a Vice President of Servicing to join its Leadership team as part of its long-range plan to increase its servicing portfolio. TruHome services over $3 billion for its clients as both a servicer and a sub-servicer, and has plans to significantly grow the servicing portfolio over the next 10 years. This person will have oversight of investor reporting, cash processing, payoffs, escrow, customer service, default/foreclosure, and collections responsibilities. TruHome needs someone "with the strategic and tactical experience to help us grow our servicing portfolio. We are looking for someone who has an extensive servicing background, is a proven leader, and possesses exceptional communication skills. TruHome Solutions, LLC is a solid organization that offers first in class benefits, great work life balance and competitive compensation!" If you or someone you know may be interested, please email for a complete job description or forward resume to Karen Steen at ksteen@cacu. com.
The number of banks available to consumers is decreasing - but it is not because of failures. In fact, there has not been a bank failure in the USA since 2/28/14, a stretch of 54 days, and only 5 banks have failed YTD. (To put that in perspective, on 7/20/12, 5 US banks failed in a single day.) And there has not been a new bank formed in several years (the FDIC believes it addressed this concern in this recent ABA entry). No, the number of banks has been declining due to mergers and acquisitions.
And the trend of financial sector companies merging continues, big and small. Just in the last week or so... Hilltop Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTH) and SWS Group, Inc. (NYSE: SWS) announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement. Bankwell Financial Group, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: BWFG) and Quinnipiac Bank & Trust Company announced the execution of a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which Bankwell will acquire Quinnipiac through the merger of Quinnipiac into Bankwell Bank. The acquisition will add approximately $100 million in assets to Bankwell, bringing total assets to $880 million as of the most recent reporting period. In Massachusetts Institution for Savings in Newburyport and Its Vicinity ($1.7B) will acquire Rockport National Bank ($200mm) for $28.3mm in cash or about 1.9x tangible book. In Iowa First State Bank ($106mm) will acquire Patriot Bank ($56mm) for an undisclosed sum. In Pennsylvania Community Bank ($546mm) will acquire First Federal Savings Bank ($319mm) for about $54.5mm in cash (35%) and stock (65%). U.S. Bank National Association ($360B, OH) will acquire the document custodian business of Ally Bank ($99B, UT) for an undisclosed sum. The move increases documents under custody at U.S., such as collateral loan files, equipment leases, home equity, improvement, vehicle loans and leases. In Texas Heritage Bank ($107mm) will acquire Nixon State Bank ($76mm) for an undisclosed sum. In next-door New Mexico Grants State Bank ($120mm) will acquire Sunrise Bank of Albuquerque ($41mm). And Centennial Bank ($6.8B, AR) will acquire Florida Traditions Bank ($296mm, FL) for $43mm in stock.
Thousands of LP users received this note from Freddie yesterday: "Loan Prospector is currently unable to process any new submissions. This issue impacts all Loan Prospector access methods. We're applying all available resources to resolve this issue and apologize for any inconvenience. We'll inform you when this issue has been resolved." Uh oh - another case of DDoS, similar to what Ellie Mae went through a few weeks ago?
And millions of readers read with concern about what FHA Commissioner Carol Galante told The Washington Post about her agency's position on not lowering the cost of FHA mortgages in spite of the MBA and the NAR giving it a shot.
Continuing to play catch up on some recent MI, investor, and vendor news...
Per Agency guidelines, Genworth has expanded its underwriting guidance to allow gift funds to meet the borrower minimum contribution for FNMA products.
Essent announced its "12 Month Rescission Relief" program: Delegated/Non-Delegated. Just submit Origination & Closing Flies and Opt-in for Enhanced Collateral Review. Or lenders/borrowers have the option of a "36 Month Rescission Relief" program: Non-Delegated: Send Origination File*. No Need to Opt-in for Enhanced Collateral Review. For delegated, no additional file submission required in some situations. For Essent's Master Policy Resource Center click here. Or, contact your Essent Business Development Representative.
Aliso Viejo, CA-based Platinum Data Solutions has been approved by Freddie Mac as one of the nine authorized distributors of Home Value Explorer and Home Value Calibrator. With the approval, Platinum will be selling HVE to third party sellers in addition to lenders, servicers, and other direct users.
Angel Oak Funding's wholesale division reminded folks that it now allows loans for non-warrantable condos. Contact Tom Hutchens, Wholesale head, at tom.hutchens@angeloakfunding. com.
And Coast 2 Coast Funding Group is interested in loans on condos involved in litigation, depending on the state. Here you go: Aaron Lowe, aaron@bestae. net
Congratulations to Brad Nease, who recently joined Silvergate Funding Inc. as SVP, Manager/Correspondent Lending. (Silvergate Funding Inc. "Silvergate" is a wholly owned subsidiary of Silvergate Bank in La Jolla, CA.) Silvergate is a correspondent investor looking to expand across the country with strategic mortgage banking partners. Silvergate purchases conforming, FHA, and jumbo loans, and also has an excellent non-QM portfolio ARM product. Forward inquiries to: Alan Peviani, apeviani@silvergatefunding. com.
Cole Taylor Mortgage has changed the cap structure on its 5/1 Conforming ARM product from 5/2/5 to 2/2/5, effective immediately. The margin will remain 2.25%.
Lots of folks weighed in on yesterday's Existing Home Sales figures. (In recent weeks I have had the good fortune to spend time with Realtors and lenders in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Washington, California, Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, and Kansas, and the big concern is a lack of inventory, and a lot of hope that this situation changes by the time Memorial Day hits.)
Existing Home sales were essentially flat in March, while the growth in home prices moderated. Jonathan Smoke opined, "We can almost hit replay on our March analysis, but it is worth repeating with updated data so the point we originally made can really sink in: the existing home market is indeed getting stronger but you need to get used to 'stronger' equating to 'fewer but better' sales. A stronger resale market is one where we see increasing levels of good ole fashioned, non-distressed sales consummated between normal consumers amidst price appreciation and limited supply. We want to see fewer foreclosures, fewer REO sales, and fewer investors. And indeed we are seeing less of what we don't want to see and more of what we do want to see-it's just netting out that the totals are slightly lower. And that's fine because the current rate of single family existing home sales is still almost 15 percent above the 45-year monthly annualized rate."
His note continued, "Once again we can look at pricing as a key indicator that conditions are improving and not deteriorating. According to the NAR release, the median existing home price in March was $198,500, 7.9 percent up over this time last year. Supporting continued price appreciation is the low level of supply, which remains below normal at 5.2 months of supply. Despite continued rhetoric about higher mortgage rates hurting the recovery, the facts don't support that concern. The average interest rate on purchase mortgages on regular resales in the first quarter of 2014 actually declined 7 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2013 due in part to an increasing share of adjustable rate mortgages. The average mortgage rate is up 12 basis points over the first quarter of last year, but as we enter the second half of the year, the year-over-year comparison will start looking better."
Michelle Meyer wrote, "Existing home sales continue to fall, declining 0.2% in March to 4.59 million. Part of the reason home sales continue to decline is due to fewer distressed properties - the share of sales that are distressed declined to 14% from 21% last March. The share of investors slipped to 17% (Feb: 21%) while the share of first-time homebuyers ticked up to 30% (Feb: 28%) - part of that is seasonal as we approach the spring selling season first time homebuyers naturally pick up as share of activity. But nonetheless, this is a trend we think will persist as the market gradually normalizes."
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said that current sales activity is underperforming by historical standards. "There really should be stronger levels of home sales given our population growth...In contrast, price growth is rising faster than historical norms because of inventory shortages...With ongoing job creation and some weather delayed shopping activity, home sales should pick up, especially if inventory continues to improve and mortgage interest rates rise only modestly...With rising home equity, we expect distressed homes to decline to a single-digit market share later this year."
And as if to echo these trends, the FHFA House Price Index was up 0.6 Percent in February. The purchase-only index for the U.S. has shown increases for the last three months despite a harsh winter season. The 0.1% decrease in November 2013 ended a 21-month trend of price increases that had begun in February 2012. The previously reported 0.5% January increase was revised downward to 0.4%. Annually, US home prices rose just 6.9% in the 12 months through February, the smallest gain in a year, in a sign that the housing market's recovery is cooling. But hey, nothing goes up forever, right? And this morning the MBA reported that apps last week were down 3.3%, with refis falling 3.7% and purchases dropping 2.6%
Looking at the bond markets, volatility has been absent for several weeks now, much to the relief of lock desks everywhere. Yesterday Thomson Reuters observed buying from REITs, money managers, and banks, as well as, the Fed which was focused primarily in 4% securities (containing 4.25% and higher mortgages). But prices were basically unchanged from Monday, which were pretty much unchanged from late last week. Today we'll see March New Home Sales (expected to rise slightly) and the Treasury auction off $35 billion in 5-year notes at noon CST. For numbers, the yield on the 10-yr Tuesday afternoon was 2.73% and in the early going is down to 2.70% so we can expect a slight improvement in agency MBS prices.