My cat Myrtle seems immune to marketing and advertisement. Not everyone is, of course, and there are some clever, albeit ominous, ways to get messages across. Google, of course, knows how to get messages across, knows a lot about you, and knows how to make money. Housing inventory is so limited, even Google took notice back in 2017. Remember when it announced its own efforts to alleviate the ever-tight (and ever-expensive) housing market of Silicon Valley through an investment in modular housing? The company purchased 300 modular home units from startup Factory OS, a deal Factory’s CEO says is worth $25 to $30 million. Housing prices in Google’s home base San Francisco have risen nearly 100 percent since 2009, if not more, and inventory has been dropping steadily over the past year, driving demand, and prices, even higher. It’s nice to be Google. But wait… Facebook’s investing in housing as well! (If you want to be scared of something, watch Netflix’s The Social Dilemma.) The audio version of today’s commentary is available here and is sponsored by Churchill Mortgage. Today’s features an interview with Matt Clarke discussing the broker to banker move and current lender concerns.)

Lender and Broker Services and Products

How much time are you spending processing loans? Are you looking for ways to close more loans, faster? Capacity allows you to take care of your borrowers with superior customer experience and 24/7 automated support—all through a mobile-friendly chat interface. Capacity correctly and instantly answers more than 84% of all prospective and current borrower questions without any human intervention. Top lenders like AmeriSave, APM, and PRMG turn to Capacity to effortlessly tap into key systems throughout the entire loan life cycle. Want to hear more? Capacity makes scaling an organization easy by simplifying tasks in the UW Scenario Desk, Lock Desk, and Encompass Support Desk. Capacity reduces the level of human interaction required to answer expense and HR questions and to complete tasks for compliance requirements and document processing. Bottom line, Capacity allows you to take care of borrowers with superior customer experience and 24/7 automated support. Deploy within 30 days. Request a demo.

There are some aspects of pop culture that are so well-known we forget where they came from or, in some cases, never knew their origins in the first place. For example, did you know the catchy tune, “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match,” is from the 1964 musical and 1971 film “Fiddler on the Roof,” which was based on a collection of Soviet Yiddish short stories? Speaking of making a match, this free white paper from MQMR, “Better Together: How to Create a Comprehensive Servicing Risk Management Strategy” outlines ways lenders can pair their servicing QC and subservicing oversight for a match made in heaven. Contact to learn more about servicing QC and subservicer/servicing operational audits.

Lenders that know the risks of remote workforces stand a better chance of avoiding fraud. Work from home (WFH) fraud is real. When the pandemic pushed workers out of offices and into their homes, lenders lost a lot of oversight and control with their employees, employees lost a constant source of education and guidance, and fraudsters found a crack in the armor. What can you do about it? On May 4, find out how to identify and prevent WFH fraud at a free 30 minute webinar. Sierra Pacific’s Jennifer Folk, SVP, National TPO Fulfillment will take you through a WFH fraud checklist, while DataVerify’s Roze Acup, Director, Risk Management, and Lora Grenier, National Account Executive, will outline steps to reduce risk among remote workforces, and safeguard your company from related fees, fines and reputational damage. Register now.

Loan Originators looking for solutions to be more competitive and to close more loans, Symmetry Lending is the HELOC expert that you need. As an alternative to the difficulty of jumbo financing, or to simply provide your clients with increased liquidity, flexibility, and purchasing power, experience the Symmetry HELOC as a Piggyback behind your conforming or high-balance confirming 1st mortgage! The Symmetry HELOC helps your clients purchase that home that needs a few immediate upgrades. With CLTVs up to 89.99%, and combined loan amounts up to $2,000,000, Symmetry’s HELOC helps your borrowers purchase the home while saving their liquidity for home improvements. Impress your real estate referral sources by providing strategic financing options that help them sell more homes! “We’re excited to announce the addition of new Area Manager Shane DeSimone, covering the Midwest territory alongside Zach Sturm. Symmetry’s team of HELOC experts is here to deliver our signature Service, Speed, and Simplicity. Contact your Symmetry Area Manager today, and if you haven’t already, connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.”

Mortgage Unlimited LLC, the home of sustainable lending, announces the launch of our new website. We are giving all loan officers the power to become Modern Originators! Through our partnership with Mortgage Coach, our technology allows borrowers to request a Total Cost Analysis (TCA) from one of our Mortgage Planners. This gives your borrowers a deeper level of knowledge and service they cannot experience at any other lender. Our new site also provides standard full application and pre-approval requests. With inventory at all-time lows, the industry has shifted. The new millennial homebuyer craves human support, a company founded on values they can align with, and a higher level of technology. Unparalleled service, modern technology, and genuine company values are the foundation of our sustainable lending platform! Visit to learn more.”

After the immensely popular launch of its Jumbo Smart product, Rocket Pro TPO has now unleashed more top-of-the-line products that will help brokers win more business during this intensely competitive housing market. The lender is now offering THREE new ARMs. The 5-, 7-, and 10-year options can provide your clients rates that are often half a percent lower than a 30-year fixed. These loans can be closed with speed and certainty because they are backed by Fannie and Freddie. This is the perfect time for these mortgages to make a comeback because, with the current rate environment, it has created an ideal opportunity for ARMs to save Americans hundreds of dollars every month. Call your Rocket Pro TPO AE to get more details on ARMs.

Branch Mangers do you have the tools you need to help your Loan Officers make the transition to a purchase market? Usherpa’s Peak Performance Learning Management System consists of private branch-specific strategy sessions with customized tactics that focus on your branch’s unique needs. Peak Performance helps you help your Loan Officers by leveraging the techniques of top producers, specifically ways to make successful sales calls to Realtors and builder partners. Usherpa will teach your sales team how to provide value and differentiate themselves in a crowded market. Schedule a demo to learn how to set your LOs up for success in this challenging market.

Looking for technology that elevates, simplifies, and streamlines your mortgage process? Look no further. Path, the cloud-based, data-driven, fully configurable LOS from Calyx is designed to truly simplify the loan process and provide the flexibility, visibility and controls lenders need to monitor and run their business their way. Discover how Path can help you grow your business today. Learn more today! 

Partnering Up

The Caliber NewRez deal has reminded owners and vendors that yes, a company can have value (especially for lenders if they own servicing and not just a set of leases), and also sparked a spate of rumors about M&A. Some are about companies in Texas, or California, or Florida. Some involve small companies, some big. There's even a rumor that Wells Fargo is in the works to acquire Computershare’s mortgage group, so vendors are involved in the rumor mill as well.

But in terms of concrete news, Ocwen Financial is buying Texas Capital Bank's correspondent division and a portfolio of MSRs, which will be absorbed by PHH, a unit of Ocwen. (For those playing along at home, Ocwen’s name came from “Newco,” a common investment banking term, spelled backward.) TCB originated about $2.4 billion in the fourth quarter, and the MSR portfolio is $14 billion in UPB (unpaid principal balances).

Meanwhile, Redwood Trust is partnering with Churchill Homes to increase its exposure to business purpose mortgages; read the bulletin for details.

Vendors partnering with real estate agents? Companies are certainly adding to their product lines. Black Knight now offers a Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS) to its members: the option to use Black Knight’s innovative, next-generation Paragon MLS platform. Paragon provides a multitude of modern features and capabilities and is used by over 200 MLSs and real estate associations across the U.S. and Canada. RMLS is the Northwest’s largest REALTOR-owned MLS, serving approximately 14,000 real estate professionals in Oregon and southern Washington.

Even trade organizations are making strategic moves, but that has always been the case. Remember three years ago when the MBA and the NAMMBA announced that the two associations formed a formal strategic partnership to advance each other’s diversity and inclusion efforts? The agreement has helped the two collaborate on certain conferences and meetings, work together on industry advocacy and research, and promote efforts aimed at furthering diversity and inclusion, including recruitment and professional development scholarships.

Capital Markets

Yesterday’s bond market action was influenced by a better-than-expected jobless claims report, and some selling in the stock market, after President Biden announced a proposal to almost double the capital gains tax rate on “the rich.” The Grand Cayman banks are licking their chops. But by closing time the movement of Treasury yields was minimal and the MBS basis settled either side of unchanged by the day’s end.

Lenders should know that existing home sales decreased 3.7 percent month-over-month in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.01 million, failing to meet expectations. Total sales in March were up 12.3 percent from a year ago. The supply of existing homes for sale remains near all-time low levels, driving up the pace of price increases well beyond the pace of income gains, thus creating affordability pressures.  But Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed the 30-year fixed rate declined to 2.97 percent for the week ending April 22, back below 3 percent for the first time in eight weeks. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.33 percent. Don’t forget, in 1981, the interest rate on a 30-year mortgage peaked a whopping 18.63 percent.

For more good news, Black Knight reported forbearance volumes improved marginally this week, edging 1k lower, typical of the recent mid-month lull in improvement. Despite the week’s modest improvement, the number of outstanding plans is down by 298k, or 11.4 percent, from the same time last month. As of April 20, there are 2.3 million mortgage holders in COVID-19 related forbearance plans.

Today’s economic calendar begins later this morning with preliminary April Markit PMIs. That will be followed shortly thereafter by March new home sales. Today the NY Fed Desk will conduct two operations, purchasing up to $5.3 billion 30-year 2 percent and 2.5 percent. We begin Friday with Agency MBS prices unchanged from Thursday as is the 10-year yielding 1.55 percent.



Guardian Mortgage is pleased to announce the promotion of Matt Penny to Mortgage Branch Manager, Spokane. Matt joined Guardian with the Spokane team in October 2018, and focuses on bringing his clients winning solutions, value, and a great experience from start-to-finish. His ability to connect with clients and give them confidence in their home buying process earned him his new role. Under Matt’s direction as a Sales Manager, the Spokane branch finished 2020 with a staggering increase of 57% purchase transactions. He is committed to great customer service, prompt communication, and competitive loan programs. Matt brings experience evaluating loan opportunities and working with senior management on growing the business. Matt will lead the sales efforts for the Spokane branch.

“One of the best hybrid banker/broker mortgage companies in America, built by top producing Loan Officer Shashank Shekhar, Arcus Lending is ready to transform the careers of Loan Officers. ‘We excel in 3 Ts: Turn-time, Technology, and Training’ by providing the tools and technology to nurture and motivate successful top producers. With Arcus’ in-house loan processes and state-of-the-art tech stack, Loan Officers close loans faster and do more in less time. Arcus also provides free access to the industry’s top training platform, MLO Masterclass, to ensure your flourishment and prosperity. Become a Marketing Expert with Arcus’ pre-loaded CRM, social media posts, and even a vetted marketing agency to help you generate hundreds of leads and guide you to success. Join National Mortgage Professional’s Top Mortgage Employer at or head to for more information. (Arcus’s Licensing Information.)”