How often do you buy candles at retailer Pier 1? Me neither. Due to poor earnings Pier 1 Imports announced it will close another 45 stores (up to 150 if certain targets are not met). Sometimes reporters are prone to sensationalizing things (watch the folks in the background) but one thing that doesn’t need to be sensationalized are recent statements by Federal Reserve officials suggesting they are looking to determine the appropriate conditions for introducing an interest-rate cut, though one is not believed to be imminent. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans stated last week that a prolonged period of inflation below 2% would imply that "our setting of monetary policy is actually restrictive, and we need to make an adjustment down in the funds rate."

Lender Products and Services

Caliber Home Loans, Inc.and Ellie Mae are excited to allow our lenders to now submit Condo, Pre-Close Renovation, Prior Review, and TRID loan packages via Encompass Investor Connect without having to access the Correspondent Lending Portal. Encompass Investor Connect ensures the delivery of accurate and compliant loan data and documents. You must be a mutual customer of Ellie Mae Encompass and Caliber in order to take advantage of this enhancement. For more information about Encompass Investor Connect, please contact your Caliber Sales Representative.

Non-QM can be tough to navigate. Nations Direct Mortgage will light the way with its new proprietary Non-QM Direct programs: Credit Direct for Full Doc borrowers outside of agency and jumbo guidelines, Income Direct offers Reduced Doc to qualify borrower income in non-traditional methods, andInvestor Direct offers multiple options to qualify both professional and first time investors. This product suite is supplemented with best-in-class broker support, including a Non-QM Help Team designed to handle everything from calculating bank statement deposits to pricing scenarios. “Having the ability to make direct decisions from our in-house credit team has resulted in significantly reduced turn times which has led to record breaking funding months” stated Martin Warren, Director of Lending. Celebrating its 13th year, Nations Direct is solely focused on wholesale partnerships. If you're interested in learning more about Nations Direct or Non-QM Direct please contact Martin Warren.

The mortgage industry is in flux. Fluctuating interest rates. Shrinking inventories. Changing borrower needs. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some consistency– especially from your automated underwriting system? Freddie Mac Loan Product Advisor®delivers reliable eligibility findingsthat foster responsible lendingand give you confidence that you’re originatingquality loans. Its innovative capabilities were developed in collaboration with lenders, providing automation and insights that help reduce costsand increase efficiency. What does it all mean for you? Greater opportunity for business growthand an edge on the competitionThe Freddie EdgeSM. Learn more about ACEand AIM, available exclusively through Loan Product Advisor®.

Save the Date: On May 2nd loanDepot and mellohome will host its 3rd Thrive in Any Market event– a live and livestream event series designed for real estate and mortgage professionals nationwide. Don’t miss this insightful opportunity to learn from the brightest minds in our industry. Watch mellohome’s Chris Heller, CEO and Jerimiah Taylor, EVP, along with a panel of the nation’s top producing Realtors as they deep dive into strategies, tools and tips that will position you to succeed in and conquer today’s challenging real estate market. Space is limited, so register now at so you can listen and/or watch from wherever you are. If you are in the Chicagoland area, register to join us for lunch and the live show at the Doubletree Suites by Hilton in Downers Grove, IL! To learn more about opportunities with Team loanDepot, click here.

NewRez Correspondent Lending has partnered with LoanNEX to provide lenders expanded access to NewRez products, with a specific focus on non-QM originations.

With the addition of the LoanNEX platform, NewRez lenders are able to quickly and confidently find a fit across NewRez’s non-QM loan programs. Lisa Schreiber, SVP of Correspondent Lending at NewRez said, “The LoanNEX non-QM product and pricing platform will allow lenders to access NewRez pricing and product eligibility. It provides for national exposure and a transparent, competitive process with other non-QM buyers.” Another way NewRez is focused on ease of process in our business! Contact your Sales Representative or learn more at

FHA, HFAs, VA, HUD, and Ginnie on the Move

“The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has received FHA’s Mortgagee Letter 19-06 issued April 18, 2019. MSHDA abides by FHA’s guidance and confirms we are a governmental entity, however we must evaluate the HUD Interpretative Rule with additional changes to the file content in order for loans to be insured. We are diligently working with our Attorney General's office and anticipate we will have information over to your office within the next week. We will let all Participating Lenders know when the documentation is available. In the meantime, we appreciate your patience. Please contact our office if you have any further questions.”

Many states have weighed in, and/or you can contact them for more information. Iowa, Texas TDHCA 2019-005, California.  

FHA released its first update to the 4000.1 handbook in the last 27 months. The handbook contains many changes and clarifications. It can be accessed by clicking here. Versions 5.0 and 5.5 update contains technical changes for consistency and clarity, and several policy updates. All stakeholders in FHA transactions should review and become familiar with the changes outlined in SF Handbook Transmittal, available in FHA’s Online Housing Policy Library, as revisions have been made throughout Sections I through V of the SF Handbook. Handbook changes identified in the Transmittal do not affect previously announced effective dates and are effective immediately.

FHA issued Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2019-06, Down payment Assistance and Operating in a Governmental Capacity, clarifying the documentation that FHA-approved mortgagees must obtain when originating mortgages for borrowers using funds from another person or entity to satisfy any portion of the MRI, including specific documentation when a governmental entity provides down-payment assistance to qualified borrowers within the governmental entity’s jurisdiction.

HUD published a proposed rule to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968. Section 3 requires employment, training, contracting, and other economic opportunities generated by certain HUD financial assistance to be directed to the greatest extent feasible to low- and very low-income persons, especially recipients of government assistance for housing, and to businesses that provide economic opportunities to low- and very low-income persons. See the proposed rule here.

Ginnie Mae announced its issuance of outstanding MBS increased to $2.058 Trillion. Click to read the press release.

Ginnie Mae announced that investors in Ginnie Mae mortgage securities backed by Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) can now take advantage of a new Platinum securities execution - the Home Equity Conversion Mortgages Backed Security (HMBS) Platinum securitization channel. The HMBS option eases the administrative costs of holding multiple (and typically smaller) HMBS securities. Investors can create Platinum products using fixed-rate MBS (15- and 30-year mortgages); Weighted Average Coupon (WAC) Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) and Jumbo Only Fixed mortgages. More of Ginnie Mae's operational and technology modernization goals can be found in the Ginnie Mae 2020 white paper.

FHA (HUD) and Fannie Mae recently provided guidance for borrower eligibility and lending policies related to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. AmeriHome is clarifying its borrower eligibility requirements to reflect this guidance, as well as the guidelines of Freddie Mac and USDA. Notably, the VA has not provided specific guidance to be followed if the Veteran’s spouse is a DACA recipient. Therefore, if the Veteran’s spouse is a DACA recipient, AmeriHome will require Prior Approval from the VA. Sellers are reminded that they remain responsible for meeting all applicable Agency requirements. Existing AmeriHome overlays requiring that each borrower have a valid social security number and requirements for Non-U.S. Citizen Proof of Lawful Residency Documentation are unchanged. The Borrower Eligibility sections of AmeriHome’s Agency program guides are updated to reflect details and the Government Overlay Matrix is updated with the VA requirement.

PennyMac posted a new announcement regarding Clarification on Ginnie Mae seasoning requirements.

Mountain West Financial posted details regarding recent VA changes to appraisal fees and turn times in select states, and Bulletin 19W-028 outlining changes to FHA Handbook 4000.1.

Ditech Financial issued a reminder with regard to the use of a power of attorney to execute any VA documents needed to obtain a VA loan.

PRMG is now permitting manufactured homes on its FHA Streamline and VA IRRRL products. Additionally, PRMG will now allow closing in inter vivos revocable “living” trust.

Capital Markets

The evolution of your capital markets technology is crucial to your ability to compete profitably. At Compass Analytics, every product release is designed to help lenders meet coming challenges. The April release of CompassPPE™ is a perfect example, completing API integration to the pricing “black boxes” of every mortgage insurance provider, adds an API integration authentication option, and includes enhancements to the system’s sell-side capabilities. For secondary marketing and PPE administrators, the release includes new ways for users to stage and validate changes to guidelines and LLPAs before activating them.  With integration partners in mind, Compass has also made improvements to its Swagger-based API documentation site. CompassPPE™ is built to serve loan origination and secondary marketing professionals, whether your company originates $10 million or $5 billion a month. Contact to learn more.

Looking at the bond market, yesterday was a snoozer. U.S. Treasuries traded within a tight range with little data Tuesday including the 10-year closing -2 bps to 2.57%. New home sales in March showed solid sales activity and what could be if the decline in both the median sales price and mortgage rates persist. The solid reading exhibits some of the pent-up activity as a result of those two drivers depressing recently. Recall that March housing starts have slowed slightly, and are the weakest since May of 2017 and down 14% compared to a year ago. It’s all relative: housing starts were solid through May of last year.

This morning we’ve already seen MBA mortgage applications for the week ending April 19 (-7%, refis -11%, purchases -4%). We have the Treasury selling $20 billion in 2-year and $41 billion in 5-year notes. We begin today with agency MBS prices better by .250 and the 10-year yielding 2.53%.



The Collingwood Group (a Situs Company), a business advisory leader in the residential housing finance industry, is hiring Servicing, Claims, and Conveyance professionals for remote and on-site opportunities throughout the U.S. Successful candidates will have experience in all aspects of residential mortgage servicing, experience in a mortgage banking, servicing or consulting firm is preferred. Specific experience working with FHA, VA, USDA, GSE and/or MI claims and/or servicing guidelines required. Familiarity with regulations such as RESPA, FDCPA, GLBA, and/or federal and state laws related to foreclosure and bankruptcy processes is preferred. Interested candidates should submit resumes to Rashida Dujue.

“Here we grow again! WesLend Financial is aggressively expanding its wholesale platform and is seeking highly motivated Sales Managers and AE’s nationwide, predominantly located in New York or California. As a mortgage banker licensed in 41states with aggressive pricing and extensive product offerings that go beyond the basics and includes Co-ops, Non-QM and much more, top producers find a steady flow of revenues along with one of the most competitive comp plans in the industry. Our Sales Mangers and Account Executives experience little to no overlap and have full access to all operational personnel including our underwriters. If you’re looking into expanding your book of business come to WesLend. You also will have access to hundreds of untapped brokers that we already have relationships with. But, it’s not just about full-service. It’s about outstanding service and support. If you are ready do more than simply set goals and are ready to be a part of the next generation of leaders and exceed your goals, contact us today at”

“Of all the things we do at Stearns Wholesale Lending, our people is what we are most proud of – our employee and broker relationships mean the most! Our ability to carry out the individual and collective purposes of our team is fueled by continuing to make investments in our people and our technology. Personalized attention, competitive products and a deep respect for our Stearns Wholesale Team, have all contributed to 30 years of success. Over half of our Account Executives have tenure of 5+ years. Hear from Account Executive Jerome Sarason who has returned to Stearns Lending. Not only do we have a strong history, we have a bold future. Reach out to our leadership team and be part of our purpose!”