Most other countries construct homes out of concrete, stone, steel, or brick, but here in the good ol’ USA we use wood. A renewable resource, right? I mention this because lumber prices, which the government doesn’t control (yet) have risen more than 300% year over year, hit another high on the Chicago Board of Trade yesterday, and contributed to median prices of existing homes rising by 17.2% in March. According to NAHB’s latest estimates, rising lumber prices have added $35,872 to the price of an average new single-family home. Everything has a price (“How much for the little girl?”), but we must think about lumber, land, the permitting costs, and so on when talking about affordable housing. Lenders are also concentrated on lowering the cost to produce a loan, and the audio version of today’s commentary is available here and is sponsored by Origence and features an interview with Michael Farris, VP of Strategic Solutions, discussing the next generation of mortgage technology and what impact a true end-to-end platform can have on the industry.

Lender Services and Products

There are some tools or pitches that sound too good to be true and often have people thinking, “that’s great, but what I really want are just the facts” Well here are some facts from Corey Shelton about Atlantic Coast Mortgage’s first 30 days with Sales Boomerang: “In 30 days, we had 1,094 opportunities presented through Sales Boomerang alerts, which translates to $145M in potential revenue. The number of opportunities and potential revenue speaks for itself. Even if we only had a 3% capture rate, that would give us 33 deals totaling around $4.35M that we wouldn’t have had without Sales Boomerang. And that’s just a 3% capture rate for the past 30 days.” If those facts have you out of your office chair like Jerry Maguire, contact Sales Boomerang today.

XINNIX is hosting an exclusive executive event on Thursday, May 20 at 2 PM ET, “GRIT: Leading Through the Unimaginable.” Hosted by XINNIX Founder & CEO, Casey Cunningham, the event will feature special guest speaker, Paul J. Voss, PhD, who is the perfect scholar to help today’s leaders learn about the powerful combination of grit, leadership and core competencies that will help their organizations thrive thru events that are unimaginable. Dr. Paul Voss is a gifted speaker, intellectual historian, award-winning professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta and the rarest of thought leaders on leadership and change. Dr. Voss will expertly help attendees think about thriving through the worst of circumstances. The hour and a half session will include plenty of time at the end for live question and answer with Paul along with his unique perspective on leading through adversity. Reserve your seat today! 

Free new ebook: The 4 steps lenders should take to remain highly efficient in all market cycles. Today, labor makes up more than 50% of the cost to close a loan. That’s why it’s vital to boost your team’s productivity. In this ebook, leading digital mortgage platform Maxwell lays out 4 vital steps to maximize efficiency without increasing overhead. From eliminating bottlenecks to thoughtfully automating busy work, these actions will transform your lending process and profitability. Want to create a nimble lending team able to flex effortlessly with 2021’s changing borrower needs? Click here to read Maxwell’s newest ebook, “The Essential Guide to Lending Efficiency.”

Kudos to SimpleNexus, who last week broke the news that its eClose solution now supports remote online notarization (RON) and… drum roll… fully digital eClosings. This is a big win for lenders who can provide a 100% online, single sign-on home buying experience from application to closing with SimpleNexus. See how SimpleNexus’ full eClose has substantially improved borrower experience, operational efficiency and speed of delivery to the secondary market for pilot user Highland’s Residential Mortgage in a special TMC-hosted webinar May 20 from 1-2 pm. Register now to save your seat for Lead with eClose, Win with RON | Key Strategies for Lender Success.

Today, May 4th, Carrington Correspondent has launched Delegated lending to join Carrington’s highly successful Non-Delegated offering. Carrington’s strong financial position and ability to purchase loans quickly benefits loan sellers by freeing up their warehouse line so they can fund more loans, allowing them to expand their volume. This is a perfect expansion to reach sellers who are already conducting business in the delegated space. Sellers receive very quick turn times and have access to all team members, which includes a Dedicated Correspondent sales team led by Michael O’Brien VP of Eastern Sales, Marty Yocum VP of Central Sales, and David Villarreal, Account Executive West. For more information, visit

Trying to help your organization gain momentum in the digitally driven lending landscape? Join us at Forward, Blend’s virtual summit from May 18-20, where innovators and industry leaders alike will gather to hear from expert speakers, discover Blend success stories, and move into the future together. Reserve your spot today.

With the sharp rise in the volume of content being produced by many lenders and companies serving the mortgage industry, creative ideas and professional-grade copywriting skills are more important than ever to stand out and get attention. Seroka Brand Development, specialists in the mortgage and real estate industries, has the creative and copywriting expertise to help you succeed with content that will get attention and drive more leads. They can create and write your emails, video scripts, blog posts, ads, infographics, white papers, case studies and much more so you effectively connect with and educate your audience, paving the pathway for them to do business with you. Reach out to Seroka today to learn more and get ready to #turnupyourbrand!

Fresh off the heels of a record breaking Q1, OptiFunder’s Warehouse Management System for Mortgage Bankers continues its drive toward connected, intelligent, automated transactions between mortgage bankers, warehouse lenders, and investors to enhance relationships and grow business for all parties. Warehouse lenders benefit from the ease of delivery for originators who can securely submit one loan or hundreds to their OptiFunder-connected warehouse lenders in seconds, greatly enhancing efficiency and accuracy for both parties.  Savvy mortgage bankers understand it’s not just about interest rate, and are secure knowing with OptiFunder, they’ve leveraged a sophisticated rules engine to fund their loans with the best warehouse lender partner available. So, OptiFunder-connected warehouse lenders gain loyal originators who benefit from delivering loans to them. It’s a win-win that’s boosting revenue and transforming originator-warehouse lender relationships. Don’t get left behind, join the revolution. Contact us for more information.

Disaster News

FEMA’s declarations trigger investor policies around the nation that don’t require much thought. But there are things that do, and as a reminder the FHFA issued a request for input on risks posed by climate change and natural disasters to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and the broader housing finance system.

Despite the drought in the West, with another expected bad summer fire season, floods are a discussion topic. In flood insurance news, a notice and request for comment was issued for new interagency questions and answers (Q&As) regarding the acceptance of flood insurance issued by private insurers, as required by regulations implementing the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. Recall that current regulations require lending institutions to accept policies that meet the statutory definition of “private flood insurance” in the Biggert-Waters Act. Lending institutions may also exercise their discretion to accept flood insurance policies issued by private insurers and plans providing flood coverage issued by mutual aid societies that do not meet the statutory definition of ‘private flood insurance,’ subject to certain restrictions. Comments on the proposed questions and answers must be submitted on or before May 17.

FCM posted Disaster Announcement DA-21-05 Kentucky Flooding.

FEMA has issued a disaster declaration in  Loans delivered for purchase to Caliber Home Loans on properties located in these counties with the appraisal completed, review its posted disaster policies for inspection requirements.

The Kentucky counties of Breathitt, Clay, Estill, Floyd, Johnson, Lee, Magoffin, Martin, and Powell were issued a disaster declaration by FEMA.  For loans submitted with an appraisal dated on or before the incident period end date of 03/14/2021 or for those submitted without an appraisal, Sun West will require an interior and exterior inspection prior-to-funding or purchase of any loans with subject properties that are determined to be at risk. Access the Sun West Seller Guide under the HELP section in sunsoft, refer to its Forward Mortgage and Reverse Mortgage Seller Guide’s for more details.

FCM posted Disaster Announcement DA-21-06 Alabama Storms.

Mortgage Solutions Financial issued announcement 06-21C in regard to Alabama Storms.

With DR-4595, FEMA declared federal disaster aid with individual assistance has been made available to 9 Kentucky counties affected by severe storms, floods, landslides, and mudslides from 2/27/2021, to 3/14/2021. AmeriHome Mortgage issued a reminder that Sellers are responsible for determining potential impact to a property located in an area where a disaster is occurring or has occurred. Irrespective of whether a property was included in the area covered by the declaration. Employment re-verification requirements for declared disaster areas are not necessary at this time.

Capital Markets

Spring is often associated with new beginnings, progress, and renewal as natural emerges from its winter slumber and this spring the US economic is emerging from a year’s long pandemic pause. We learned last week that GDP expanded at a 6.4 percent annualized rate in the first quarter as households, which are flush with savings as well as stimulus, continued to spend. Expectations are for the level of output to reach pre-pandemic levels during the second quarter as many consumers received a third stimulus check in March. During the first quarter personal consumption increased 10.7 percent and the personal savings rates jumped to 21 percent with “excess savings” pegged at $2.2 trillion. Additionally, more Americans are getting vaccinated with the CDC saying 55 percent of adults have received at least one shot through April 29.

Consumer confidence as measured by both the Conference Board and the University of Michigan are at pandemic era highs. As the economy blossoms this spring the Federal Reserve is keeping a close eye on rising inflation, but reiterated this past week that they remain accommodative and focused on supporting the job market. The probability of a rate hike in 2021 still remains very low, but will be influenced by the course of inflation over the summer months.

Yesterday Fed Chairman Powell opined that while the economy is not out of the woods yet, the economic recovery is "making real progress." New York Fed President John Williams noted that current conditions are "not nearly enough" for a shift in the policy stance. On the economic front, growth at U.S. manufacturers slowed in April: production is being held back by a lack of input components as backlogged orders surged to a record high. The shortages are adding to existing price pressures, reflected by the gauge of prices paid for materials jumping to the highest since 2008. Manufacturers are increasingly passing costs on. Fittingly enough, lumber surged to a fresh record high yesterday, with traders in bidding wars after the Chicago Mercantile Exchange removed limits on how high some futures prices could go. Finally, the U.S. Treasury more than quadrupled its borrowing estimate for the second quarter and it expects to need roughly $1.3 trillion over the second half of the fiscal year to help pay for a raft of fresh pandemic-relief spending. The new month got underway with Treasuries rallying and the MBS basis closing wider, meaning mortgage prices didn’t move as much.

Today’s economic calendar is underway with the March trade deficit (a record $74.4 billion!). The Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey revealed that the total number of loans now in forbearance decreased by 2 bps to 4.47 percent of servicers’ portfolio volume in the prior week as of April 25, meaning according to MBA’s estimate, 2.23 million homeowners are in forbearance plans. Later this morning brings Redbook same store sales for the week ending May 1 and March factory orders. Fed Speakers scheduled today include Dallas’s Kaplan (after his hawkish tapering remarks last week), Minneapolis’s Kashkari, and San Francisco’s Daly. Today’s NY Fed Desk support is the largest of the week at $8.2 billion, including nearly $6.9 billion in UMBS30. We begin Star Wars Day with Agency MBS prices roughly unchanged as is the 10-year at a yield 1.60 percent.



“Your local expertise + our world-class support = next-level career opportunity. When you join a Motto Mortgage office, you get industry-leading technology, a library of branded materials at your fingertips, and more. Even better? If your neighborhood Motto Mortgage is connected to a real estate office, you’ll be co-located with warm referrals and more potential connections than ever before! Join the more than 400 loan originators who have already discovered the benefits of working with Motto Mortgage. Our offices are recruiting nationwide, with specific needs in FL, NV, OH, CA, TX, WA, IL, SC, AR, KY, MA, AZ.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to announce that wemloâ„  has recently expanded our services to Michigan, Kentucky, Arkansas, Montana, and North Dakota. As we continue adding states across the country, we’re hiring even more highly qualified loan processors. If you have a keen attention to detail, passion for process, and obsession for providing excellent customer service, we’d love to meet you. Acquired by RE/MAX Holdings in September 2020, this is a unique opportunity to work within a rapidly growing startup backed by one of the largest names in real estate. Click here to learn more about the benefits of joining the #teamlo and apply today!” (wemlo, LLC, NMLS ID# 1853218)

“Another big win for Nations Lending as we welcome Randy Koerner as a Division Sales Manager for the South-Central region. Recently with another well-known retail lender for nine years, Randy helped his team grow production from $500 million to $3 billion in loan volume. “We are excited and very fortunate to welcome someone of Randy’s caliber to our production leadership,” said Corey Caster, EVP of National Production. “Randy’s proven experience and career successes will add strategic value as we continue to expand our retail footprint and build our family of branches in the South-Central Region.” Nations Lending remains positioned to continue to grow, coast-to-coast, fueling the dreams of our customers to become homeowners. Want to be part of our rapidly growing teams? Contact Randy Koerner to learn about opportunities in his market, or VP of Recruitment Doug Opdycke (Updike) (623-734-5747) to discuss opportunities anywhere with Nations Lending. #JoinTheNation”

Meet movehome. Movement Mortgage’s new all-in-one platform that chases leads, tracks loans and markets effectively so that you can spend more time building your business and closing more loans. movehome offers website analytics and AI to drive your next best action. No more guessing if you’re making the right move at the right time. The movehome platform lets you easily track your files from application to closing while keeping everyone in the process connected. Stay in the know as you bring movehome out of the office and into the world with the movehome mobile suite. Whether you’re at your desk or on your phone, movehome from Movement Mortgage can help you optimize your hustle. Check out Movement’s YouTube channel for highlights and features.