Lots of folks here in New York were interested in Freddie Mac bumping its 2015 residential volume estimate to $1.35 trillion*, the upcoming holiday, and ARCH MI's day one relief program. And if you were an MLO and knew someone with a 5.625% mortgage, wouldn't you be interested in refinancing them? Of course you would. You can find the couple & loan info at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC. * Speaking of Freddie, conference attendees were also pleased with the $0 cost LP deal starting June 1, but hey, you didn't hear about that program from me, okay? Ask your Freddie rep.

It's not too late to register for the. Mortgage Bankers Association of the Carolinas TRID workshop on May 21st. Click the link for details and registration.

The FHA is offering a new series of self-paced, pre-recorded training modules that address the bulk of the Single Family Housing policies that mortgagees will use for origination through obtaining an FHA insurance endorsement for Title II forward mortgages. The modules provide a detailed walk-through of the policies and requirements from origination through endorsement regarding sections of the new, consolidated Single Family Housing Policy Handbook. The modules can be viewed sequentially or as stand-alone modules so that users can view them based on their interests and/or role within an organization.  Click the link for redirection to HUD's new series of pre-recorded training modules.

HomeBridge Wholesale is conducting a free TRID training on June 9th from 11am (PST) - 12pm (PST); this is part 2 of a series of TRID trainings.  Space is limited. "TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) Webinar Series - Part 2: The Loan Estimate." The link to register is Register for TRID Part 2: The Loan Estimate. "Anyone that missed the first TRID training can access the recorded training on our Google+ site Webinar Series - Part 1: Overview of the New Integrated Disclosure Rules: HomeBridge Wholesale TRID Part 1.

FHA has a multitude of webinar training opportunities covering such topics as: loss mitigation, neighborhood watch system servicing tools, FHA appraisals, reporting basics, HUD Extension of Time and Variance Request System (EVARS) Training and SFDMS reporting examples and errors. There are multiple dates and topics to choose from on the FHA Event Management and Registration System.

Are you ready for some fun? Join the Colorado Association of Mortgage Professionals on June 5th on the Rooftop for its 5th Annual Colorado Rockies Game: Colorado Rockies vs Miami Marlins.

The CFA Society of Los Angeles (CFALA) is running another Mortgage and MBS Bootcamp in Los Angeles on Thursday and Friday, 6/4 and 6/5.  The focal points of this intensive 2-day seminar will be securities creation, trading, modeling and structuring.  Registration for CFALA boot camp: Mortgage and Mortgage Backed Securities.

Any lender looking to improve their company's bottom line can register for MBA's webinar on June 10th. "This webinar is designed to teach the benefits of measuring your financial and operational performance. At the end of this webinar you'll be able to start implementing benchmarking tactics to increase revenue, control cost and minimize risk. Interested in more information? Click the link to explore MBA's Benchmarking Yourself as a Mortgage Lender."

MBA is offering a webinar to help lenders reduce audit findings on VA-guaranteed home loans and outline the protocol for resolving both general and case-specific policy questions. This session will explore the processes involved in working with the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Regional Loan Centers (RLCs) and provide insight into reducing audit findings and resolving policy questions. Click the link for details and registration on MBA's webinar June 11: resolving policy questions on VA Guaranteed loans.

"Morrison & Foerster is pleased to share with you the 10th anniversary edition of our Capital Markets and Securities FAQs. The FAQs (or Frequently Asked Questions), written and published by MoFo lawyers, provide plain English explanations of the most popular types of financing or capital formation transactions, as well as discussions of securities law issues.

To request your copy, e-mail hlawrence@mofo.com."

For other timely news, due to the recent weather disasters in Kentucky, Penny Mac announced the implementation of disaster policy in 10 counties. Click the link to view Pennymac's disaster policy implementation for Kentucky counties.

And Plaza Home Mortgage reminded us that "FEMA declared the following Kentucky counties as those who qualify for individual assistance. Incident period: April 2, 2015 to April 17, 2015, declared on May 1, 2015. For specifics, refer to Plaza's Disaster Areas: Bath, Bourbon, Carter, Elliott, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Madison, Rowan, and Scott.

A federal judge in New York has dismissed claims against U.S. Bancorp and Bank of America that they breached their trustee duties for residential mortgage-backed securities. District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled that funds from BlackRock, Allianz and TIAA-CREF incorrectly pleaded their claims and that she lacked jurisdiction on others' claims.

Speaking of banks, KBW has released a summary of first quarter banking reports, highlight earnings for Wells Fargo, J.P Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citi, BB&T, PNC Financial, SunTrust, U.S. Bank and Fifth Third. The first quarter earnings for these larger banks signify a growth in revenues due to higher origination volumes and gain-on-sale margins.  Mortgage volumes increased 9.6 percent from the fourth quarter and up by 42 percent from the same quarter last year and mortgage applications were up at the beginning of the second quarter of this year. Volume may increase even more throughout the rest of the year as mortgage origination share shifts from banks to non-banks. Gain-on-sale margins increased by 21 bps on average and the first quarter expectations have come in better than expected due to the low interest rates and increase in volume. MSR values were negative due to a decline in rates, with the average fair market value at 2.8 percent. Read KBW's full report here.

And Kroll Bond Rating Agency published an article highlighting bank acquisitions and their rating implications. Since the beginning of 2014, there have been 18 bank acquisitions with 6 of these acquisitions occurring during the first 4 months of 2015. Eighty percent of these acquisitions have been either in acquiring partially overlapping the target bank's footprint and 20% have been in neighboring markets. Most acquisitions aim to diversify franchises and increase market share and with the greater prevalence of acquisitions, ratings could be of concern. Rating implications of acquisitions have been stable to positive but out-of-market acquisitions could result in more negative ratings due to organizational differences including, cultural and management disparities, making it difficult to keep key personnel who have the market knowledge and customer relationships. For a smooth transaction to occur it's vital to retain key employees and customers of the acquired bank. Some of the recent bank acquisitions as of this year include, Ameris Bancorp acquiring Merchants and Southern Banks FL, First NBC Bank Holding acquiring First National Bank of Crestview, Heartland Financial acquiring Community Bancorporation and United Community Banks acquiring both Palmetto Bancshares and MoneyTree.  For more information, contact Christopher Whalen at cwhalen@kbra. com. 

Zillow recently published an article indicating that both small and large lenders prioritize different borrower profiles. Data was taken from a sample of lenders on Zillow mortgages, where small lenders were classified as those licensed in two states and large lenders were classified as those licensed in 49 or more states. The purpose of the research was to determine the share of lenders who declined to provide quotes to certain borrowers and the interest/annual percentage rate offered to certain borrowers. According to Zillow's research, small lenders are more willing to engage borrowers seeking loans with small down payments than large lenders. Half of large lenders don't quote borrowers looking for an FHA-insured loan with a down payment of less than 5 percent, compared to 21 percent of small lenders.

Among the sample of lenders on Zillow Mortgages, all small lenders quoted non-FHA loans with a down payment between 6 percent and 19 percent and all small lenders quoted borrowers seeking non-FHA loans with a down payment of 20 percent or more. This differs from large lenders where 13 percent did not quote non-FHA loans with a down payment between 6 percent and 19 percent and all large lenders quoted non-FHA loans with a down payment of 20 percent or more. One-third of small lenders don't quote borrowers with poor credit (600-639 credit score), compared to two-thirds of large lenders. For conventional mortgages, large lenders offer higher rates than smaller lenders, but also provided lower rates for jumbo loans. It appears from Zillow's analysis that lenders who are more capable of bearing risk are avoiding it, whereas lenders who are less capable of handling risk are engaging in it.

Zelman & Associates published its Apartment Survey for the month of March, indicating that there is a favorable multi-family environment heading into the spring season. The blended rent growth increased 30 basis points in March and 3.6 percent YoY, due to a stronger new move-in growth of 3.6 percent, which increased from 3 percent in February. Landlords also benefited from higher occupancy of 94.8 percent and the first quarter proprietary revenue growth index was 3.7 percent, 20 basis points above the same quarter last year. Due to lower rates and increased home prices, 59 percent of survey respondents said that selling is the best strategy, as opposed to developing or acquiring. Be sure to contact Ivy at ivy@zelmanassociates. com to read more about the apartment survey.

Turning to rates, we started off Tuesday morning on a good note after remarks from the ECB (European Central Bank) that it would move forward some of its asset purchases. Those gains disappeared quickly after April Housing Starts and April Building Permits were released: there were 1135K seasonally-adjusted Housing Starts in April, significantly higher than estimates, and than the 944K starts in March. That was the first time starts reached 1.135 million since November 2007. That was the first time starts increased by at least 20.2% in a month since a 20.9% increase in February 1991. That was the first time starts increased by at least 191,000 since starts rose by 279,000 in January 2006. And the rate of new Building Permits was 1143K, also higher than forecasts and higher than March's figure of 1038K.

But that was then - how about today? The MBA will release its application numbers at 1AM Hawaii time, and then seven hours later we will see the FOMC Minutes. The minutes are expected to be uneventful, and markets will likely be looking more towards Chairwoman Yellen's speech on Friday regarding the economic outlook for fresher information on rate lift-off. The risk-free 10-year T-note closed Tuesday at 2.28% and in the very early going this morning rates & agency MBS prices are pretty much unchanged from there.

Jobs and Announcements

For jobs du jour, the Colorado-based direct endorsed lender, Mortgage Solutions Financial continues to expand its retail footprint and is now seeking two well-established Regional Managers to further their growth into the Mid-West and Mountain Region. Candidates from Kansas City and Denver are preferred. Mortgage Solutions Financial is a direct seller servicer with Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie, and Farmer Mac. These two positions will require established and well-respected mortgage professionals as MSF is looking for measured growth with the right people, not growth at all costs. "With a unique and battle tested platform including their 'Gold' program which entails negligible overlays with NO CREDIT SCORE MINIMUM, and their Farm and Ranch program, Mortgage Solutions Financial will surely make their presence known in whatever market they grow into - contact Rob Clennan with confidential inquiries."

And Pacific Union Financial's Distributed Retail Division continues to grow and expand its footprint across the country. Over the last 14 months the Retail Channel has set new monthly volume records each and every month without exception. May funded volume will exceed $300M across 39 locations and the Retail team continues to capture opportunities to expand its distributed network. Bolstering the offering of the Distributed platform is a $17B servicing portfolio alongside a portfolio retention team of 60+ LOs. Want to make a move and become part of an exciting and productive team?  Please contact Lora Harris (assistant to EVP, Retail Channel Manager, Brian Mitchell) for all the details or visit www.pacificunionfinancial.com for more career opportunities.

As capital markets personnel & senior management wander home after 2-3 days of learning about capital markets stuff at the MBA's conference, let's see what other upcoming events might be of interest.