May Day – how are we 1/3 of the way through 2018 already?! Folks are gearing up for this month’s MBA National Secondary conference in Manhattan. (Jungle drums say the MBA is down to 4 candidates for the president’s job, by the way.) There’s a lot of business to transact in NY, people to meet, things to learn – it’s a good conference. But in a totally unrelated topic, did you know that every civilization discovered alcohol before having a written language?


Lender products

“In today’s purchase-driven market, every detail matters to grow your business, especially who you choose to partner with. Close your loans faster, build stronger long-term relationships and gain flexibility with pricing a loan through the new TMS Emerging Banker Program. Register today to hear from industry veteran James Hooper, SVP of TMS Wholesale, on how partnering with TMS as an Emerging Banker will not only deliver the above list, but we’ll even purchase loans off warehouse lines in average of 3 days to help grow your business. As a top-ranked mortgage employer and one of the largest correspondent lenders in the U.S, we have more than 20 years of industry experience to help your business prosper. To get more information, register by emailing today for the webinar on May 3 at 1 EST. Don’t miss out since space is limited.”

“bsnap™ is the ultimate broker tool. Borrowers want a simple, easy loan process - and brokers want clients to remember their name for referrals and future business. Stearns Wholesale has the solution. Our bsnap™ mobile app keeps things moving quickly and securely and can be branded with your company logo and info. Borrowers can complete a digital 1003, e-sign forms, share photos of loan documents, and view loan details like loan type, rate, term, payments, closing date and more. Built-in communications and reminders make it easy for borrowers to get in touch with their mortgage team. Did we mention your logo and branding are included, at no cost? Get bsnap™ and get an edge - reach out today to learn more.”

A recent commentary by Andrew Hong of the Tobe Agency highlighted some of the problems and challenges that LOs face in their jobs – 54% of the LOs who participated in his SURVEY consistently indicated the need to improve and grow their referral relationships. Enter HomeScout®, a National MLS for lenders by HBM and powerful contact conversion system that provides LOs with a technology platform to close more transactions by leveraging their referral base of Realtors®. Capture and cultivate buyer leads with our latest, mobile real estate search app and buyer reporting interface to convert more contacts to customers. Whether you’re an office of 2 or 200, we have an affordable solution for you that creates an immediate ROI. For more information or to schedule a demo, reach out HERE or give us a call at 952-831-0623.


Capital Markets

Mortgage pricing is a function of supply and demand, and MBS trading volumes were just above 50% of recent averages yesterday, with slightly better buying and spreads relatively unchanged versus benchmark curves. Volume should pick up through the rest of the week as we have some risk events, but yesterday morning's inflation reports coming in at expectations generated little price action. Consumer inflation is now in the reaches of the Federal Reserve's inflation target, which will give the Federal Reserve some data-based ammunition to keep raising the fed funds rate (though not at tomorrow's meeting). Goldman Sachs President David Solomon appeared on Bloomberg, saying markets are closer to greed than fear at this juncture, and that investors are still reaching for growth and yield.

The MNI Chicago Business Barometer, also known as the Chicago PMI, ticked up to 57.6 in April from 57.4 in March, though still below expectations. The dividing line between expansion and contraction is 50.0. The April reading marks the first upward move in the index in four months. Pending Home Sales increased 0.4% in March, well below expectations on top of a revised 2.8% increase in February.

Today's calendar starts with the Redbook Same-Store Sales Index for the week ending April 28 at 8:55am ET (previously 0.3% MoM, 2.6% YoY). The Markit Manufacturing PMI for April is next up at 9:45am with IFR Markets looking for 56.2 versus a 56.5 prior reading. March construction spending and April ISM PMI will be released at 10:00am. Construction spending is expected to increase 0.5% MoM versus 0.1% previously, with ISM declining to 58.0 versus the prior reading of 59.3. The FOMC kicks off their two-day meeting at 1:00pm before total April vehicle sales will be released around 3:30pm. (I am heading off to Pinehurst, NC, too early for a market read on rates.)

Jobs and Promotions

Caliber Home Loans, Inc. was recently presented with the 2018 Pro Patria Award by the Employers Support of Guards and Reserves (ESGR) Committee in Austin, TX. The Pro Patria Award is the highest level award the ESGR State Committee can grant an employer, and it honors employers for their support of the National Guard and Reserve. Caliber is also a recipient of the Seven Seals Award, a prestigious honor given for support of the men and women who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. Caliber gives its reservist employees paid leave so they can continue to fulfill their National Guard and Reserve duties. This is part of Caliber’s commitment to being a trusted resource in meeting the specific mortgage needs of the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Caliber is currently looking for a few good loan officers as it continues to make a difference in the lives of veterans. Visit its website or contact Jeremy DeRosa to learn more.

Regions Mortgage has named Howard Ackerman as its newest Mortgage Production Manager, with responsibility for establishing Regions Mortgage in Northern Illinois. Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE: RF), with $124 billion in assets, is one of the nation's largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, mortgage lending and wealth management services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,500 banking offices and 1,900 ATM’s. Among Regions several awards are: 23 Excellence Awards and three Best Brand Awards from Greenwich Associates in 2017, rated #1 in Customer Banking Experience in the nation from Temkin Experience, and Regions Bank has been named a 2017 Gallup Great Workplace Award Winner for the third consecutive year. Opportunities in Northern Illinois include Producing Sales Manager, Mortgage Loan Officer and Mortgage Loan Coordinator. For more information on joining this award-winning team, contact Holly Quaintance or visit RegionsCareers.

Planet Home Lending, LLC has an opening in its Correspondent Division. “We are looking for a Regional Sales Manager for the Northwest Region which includes northern California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska. Eligible candidates must reside in the region. Responsibilities will include maintaining, and growing Planet’s current customer base along with establishing new customer relationships to assist in Planet’s continued growth in the region.” If interested, please forward your confidential resume to Eli Bennett.

Congrats to Nate Knottingham who is The Knowledge Coop’s new Chief Operations Officer. Knottingham will run operations at the office, produce online training with the Knowledge Coop team, and do speaking engagements.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Yesterday news broke from Green Brick Partners, Inc. (Nasdaq: GRBK) announced that GHO Homes, a private home builder on Florida’s Treasure Coast, has become Green Brick’s seventh Team Builder after its acquisition by Green Brick.

Origination branches, LOs, vendors, and banks are shifting alliances in nearly every state. Although most of branch & LO changes don’t make the press, they certainly make my email in-box every week. But some changes are public. For example, last week it was announced that Flat Branch Home Loans, a Missouri-based independent mortgage bank, is joining forces with Equitable Mortgage. “The combined entity will create the largest Missouri provider of secondary market mortgage solutions and services to community financial institutions.” Flat Branch Mortgage Services “offers its business partners a full array of loan programs with customizable delivery platforms and fulfillment services including correspondent, wholesale and processing assistance.”

In the depository banking world, Katie bar the door! In the last three weeks or so the announcements have continued unabated – many across state lines. First Interstate Bank ($12.3B, MT) will acquire Inland Northwest Bank ($827mm, WA) for $160.9mm in stock (100%). National Bank of Commerce ($3.3B, AL) will acquire First Landmark Bank ($572mm, GA) for about $115.2mm in cash (5%) and stock (95%) or about 2.12x tangible book. BancorpSouth Bank ($17.2B, MS) will acquire Icon Bank of Texas ($794mm, TX) for about $145.8mm in cash (12%) and stock (88%) or about 2.2x tangible book. First US Bank ($626mm, AL) will acquire The Peoples Bank ($155mm, VA) for $23.4mm in cash (90%) and stock (10%). In West Virginia Premier Bank ($1.5B) will acquire First Bank of Charleston ($189mm) for about $33mm in cash and stock. Four bank holding company QCR Holdings ($4.1B, IL) acquire Springfield First Community Bank ($560mm, MO) for about $86.7mm in cash and stock or about 1.89x tangible book. In Iowa Five bank holding company Ames National Corp ($1.4B) will acquire Clarke County State Bank ($111mm) for about $15mm in cash (100%). WesBanco ($10.2B, WV) will acquire Farmers Capital Bank ($1.6B, KY) for $378.2mm in cash (10%) and stock (90%) or about 1.95x tangible book. In Florida Sunstate Bank ($237mm, FL) will acquire Intercontinental Bank ($149mm) for $29mm in cash (100%) or about 1.02x tangible book. National Bank of Commerce ($3.2B, AL) will acquire Premier Community Bank of Florida ($236mm, FL) for $52mm in cash & stock.

TBK Bank ($3.5B, TX) will acquire The First National Bank of Durango ($481mm, CO), Bank of New Mexico ($153mm, NM), Citizens Bank of Pagosa Springs ($87mm, CO) and factoring company Interstate Capital (NM). In Missouri Bank Star ($79mm) will acquire Bank of Hillsboro ($71mm). In Kansas Bank of Commerce and Trust Co ($58mm) will acquire The Freeport State Bank ($22mm), and Bank of the Flint Hills ($205mm) will acquire The St. Mary’s State Bank ($96mm). Regions Bank ($123B, AL) will sell its insurance subsidiary to Branch Banking and Trust Co ($216B, NC). In South Dakota American Bank & Trust ($709mm) has announced it will acquire Farmers State Bank ($117mm). Renasant Bank ($9.8B, MS) will acquire The Brand Banking Co ($2.4B, GA) for $453mm in cash (5%) and stock (95%) or 2.24x tangible book. In Minnesota Viking Bank ($177mm) will acquire First State Bank of Ashby ($37mm). Farmers & Merchants Bank of Central California ($3.1B, CA) will acquire the remaining shares it does not currently own in Bank of Rio Vista ($218mm, CA) for $28.7mm in cash (100%). Royal Business Bank ($1.7B, CA) will acquire First American International Bank ($873mm, NY) for about $116.8mm in cash (29%) and stock (71%) or about 1.86x tangible book. In Georgia LGE Community CU ($1.3B) will acquire Georgia Heritage Bank ($95mm). In Illinois Marion County Savings Bank ($179mm) will acquire Flora Savings Bank ($30mm).