Making the rounds is, “The spread of Covid-19 is based on two factors. #1: How dense the population is. #2: How dense the population is.” As a nation, we remain divided on virtually everything about COVID. There is well-written article on how half the calls on social media for reopening the nation are from bots. Millions of citizens continue to stay home but most, if not all the states, are reopening to some degree, and the Memorial Day weekend saw ramped up traffic on the roads and people “out and about.” No one can provide an exact timeline how things will go, although the Fed is expected to leave overnight funding rates at 0 percent well into next year, if not beyond: inflation is the last of our worries. Three months ago, who knew that we were going to be where we are now? Every state has a different response to COVID, some at the county or even city level. And residential lenders & investors continue to react to the changing environment: more below.

Lender Services and Products

Specialized Loan Servicing, part of the Computershare Group, was named a Fannie Mae Servicer Total Achievement and Rewards™ (STAR™) Performer in the General Servicing category. This achievement is reserved for top performing servicers that consistently “raise the bar.” Computershare Loan Services’ CEO Tom Millon recently spoke to the MBA about SLS’ innovative servicing technology and how SLS keeps the borrower experience paramount. “We look at customer care as one long dialog, beginning with our first engagement,” says Millon. “Laying a foundation of trust through proactive engagement and transparency is critical to being able to meet both customer needs and client performance expectations.” Contact Specialized Loan Servicing to learn how they manage complex servicing portfolios while supporting borrowers with a comprehensive customer experience. 

As the U.S. economy starts to reawaken, with shelter-in-place orders lifting and millions of Americans preparing to go back to work, what can we expect for the housing market? Is it too early to say the market has bottomed or is the road to recovery imminent? Industry experts Rick Sharga, CJ Patrick Company, and Mike DelPrete, real-estate tech strategist, answer these questions and more in an upcoming free, data-driven webinar. Register for The Road to Recovery: Navigating the Path to Housing Market Recovery webinar on May 28, 10-11:00am PST to see nationwide property, homeownership, and mortgage information used to bench and analyze trends to determine how navigate an evolving market and when to pivot. With public record data covering 100% of the U.S. housing stock and over 7 billion recorded document images, DataTree by First American is the solution lenders depend on. Contact our experts to learn how our best-in-class data solutions can fuel your business.

The Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation’s down payment assistance programs are still going strong. TSAHC continues to offer both government (FHA, VA, and USDA) and conventional (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) loan types with down payment assistance up to 5% of the loan amount. TSAHC has also created a resources page for its lender partners to keep them updated on important information related to COVID-19. 

Need a simple cloud-based origination platform… And want it in 15 minutes? Zenly, a new offering from Calyx, gives brokers what they need to quickly deliver a contact-free mortgage experience. Starting with Zenly’s built-in, mobile-friendly, point-of-sale Zip, originators can import loan application data, pull credit and automatically collect & verify borrower assets. Brokers can then complete a full mortgage application, and deliver it, with the accompanying documentation, to their preferred lender. And best of all, Zenly can be purchased and up and running within 15 minutes! Schedule a demo today to see how Zenly can work for you.

Better Borrower Engagement Starts with UNIFY CRM. Your ideal Business Growth platform must be built for the market challenges both present and future. Your CRM must drive engagement through text, social media, email, and direct mail, all from within one unified platform. UNIFY CRM's all-in-one platform supports this level of automation, with extensive training options that customize your approach to the market. UNIFY transforms your borrower engagement through its automated multi touch functionality, expanding your ability to communicate with your customers, past, current, and future ones. As an Enterprise platform, there is no need to have security or audit concerns. UNIFY CRM is a compliance management solution for marketing literature with full audit trail capabilities for state and federal regulatory audit inquiries. UNIFY CRM has been awarded the SOC 2 Type II security certification – making the CRM a secure solution for Banks, Credit Unions, Community Banks as well as Mortgage Banks with branch offices across the United States. UNIFY CRM is the right technology and marketing partner with the training to get you up and running quickly. Work Smart. Manage Better. Sell More. Schedule a Demo today.

Warehouse Bank News

Texas Capital Bank and Independent Financial announced that they have “mutually agreed to terminate our previously announced agreement to combine our companies in a merger of equals.” There is, of course, plenty of talk in the airwaves about TCB’s exposure to the suffering oil patch economy. The official statement read, “The termination of the merger was approved by both companies’ boards of directors after careful consideration and given the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global markets and on our ability to fully realize the benefits we expected to achieve through the merger. We believe that this decision is in the best interests of our clients and all our stakeholders as we continue supporting you through these challenging times and for many years thereafter.”

There were some personnel moves. Larry Helm has been appointed Executive Chair, CEO, and President of Texas Capital Bancshares and Texas Capital Bank. “The Board intends to conduct a search to identify the right next leader for Texas Capital Bank, and Larry will serve in this role until a permanent successor has been named…(and) Keith Cargill will serve as Vice Chairman of both companies through the end of 2020 to help support a smooth transition.”

Investors Reacting to Agency Changes

While a portion of the industry grappled with another Optimal Blue outage yesterday (something about Microsoft, moving OB’s systems, nodes, and data centers), looking at the bigger picture, purchase activity, versus a year ago, is down 20-25%. Builders are still building, but not as many new homes. Yet constructions permits & starts are still pretty strong. For the last few years builders, and therefore lenders to some extent, had an artificial shortage already due to a labor shortage, lack of land, permit costs, etc. This supply shortage has continued. No one disagrees that our economy has suffered a massive economic shock, losing 1 million jobs in March and 20 million in April. (May numbers come out next week.) When those numbers are combined with hour and pay cuts, economists believe that about 1/3 of American workers are impacted. Some claim that people can’t even look for work, which impacts statistics. Some businesses are re-opening, the monetary and fiscal stimulus is helping, so we can expect to see continued improvement throughout the summer.

Gateway First Bank, Correspondent Lending, is amending the March 25 announcement requiring a 680 minimum FICO score on all Government loan programs. Effective immediately, Gateway has reduced its minimum FICO requirement on all newly locked Government loan programs to 640. This includes FHA, VA, USDA, HUD-184, SETH Goldstar, CAFA Gold 100, and GSFA Open Doors loan programs. Underwriting Guidelines for all Government Loans: FHA, VA and USDA = Max DTI per AUS Approval. SETH Goldstar, CAFA Gold 100 and GSFA Open Doors = Max DTI 55%.

As stability continues to return to the market, loanDepot’s lock policy changes are now available in the mello Broker Portal. Locks prior to submission are eligible for both Purchases and Refinances. 60 Days Locks are the same price as 30-Day Locks. 15-Day Lock eligibility has been moved to "Final Requested". And this loanDepot announcement provides information on FHA/VA Appraisal and Employment updates as well as disaster information for South Carolina.

Effective immediately, a conventional purchase or rate and term refinance loan that enters into forbearance after the AmeriHome Purchase Date will not be assessed the standard agency LLPAs of 5% (for first-time homebuyers) or 7% (for all other loans).

Plaza Home Mortgage® is reinstating Bulk Assignment of Trade (AOT) as a delivery option for our National Correspondent clients. Plaza now accepts the following delivery methods: Best Efforts, Bulk, bulk AOT, and Single Loan Mandatory.

Effective May 22, Mountain West Financial Wholesale’s temporary suspension of Open Doors FHA and Open Doors Conventional was lifted. For complete program details, view the MWF Open Doors Program Matrix & Overview.

Capital Markets

The media cycle moves so quickly these days, it seems yesterday’s headline news is relegated towards the back pages before it can even be processed by the public. The topic du jour to close last week was the worsening of U.S. – China relations. There were reminders of that yesterday, as President Trump continued to express his displeasure with China's plan to impose a new national security law in Hong Kong. Treasuries & MBS pulled back in curve-steepening fashion, which is usually indicative of positive news, amid more signs of major economies reopening. Japan ended its nationwide state of emergency, while it was reported Germany plans to lift travel warnings for 31 European countries. That optimism overshadowed the escalation of tensions between Beijing and Washington, and the 10-year closed the first trading session of the week +4 bps to 0.70 percent.

As far as economic releases went, new home sales increased 0.6 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 623k, well above the 485k expectations. The uptick was driven by lower selling prices. Unfortunately, on a year-over-year basis, new home sales were down 6.2 percent, though the consensus on the whole is the housing market is beginning to stabilize. Separately, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index missed expectations despite attitudes surrounding the short-term outlook reflecting budding optimism about reopening efforts. Finally, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey revealed that the total number of loans now in forbearance as of May 17 increased to 8.36 percent from 8.16 percent of servicers’ portfolio volume in the prior week. According to MBA’s estimate, 4.2 million homeowners are now in forbearance plans. Mortgages backed by Ginnie Mae again had the largest overall share of loans in forbearance by investor type (11.60 percent) and the largest increase from the previous week.

Today’s economic calendar is underway, revealing mortgage applications increased 2.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the MBA Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 22. Later this morning brings weekly same store sales from Redbook for the week ending May 23, the Richmond Fed manufacturing and services for May, and Dallas Fed Texas services figures. Markets will also receive remarks from St. Louis Fed President Bullard and Atlanta Fed President Bostic along with the latest Beige Book in the afternoon. With regards to MBS, the Desk of the NY Fed will conduct two FedTrade purchase operations totaling up to $4.77 billion. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices unchanged from Tuesday and the 10-year yielding .71.


Employment and Business Opportunities

Guaranteed Rate, a profitable and fast-growing top-3 retail mortgage lender, is seeking acquisition opportunities with mortgage companies looking to maximize profitability, and partner with likeminded leaders looking to take advantage of our expertise and economies of scale. If you are an owner or CEO of a mortgage company that is looking for better pricing, increased profitability, lower risk and much less stress and hassle, we urge you to e-mail Mark Filler, or call him at (773) 516-6979, to learn more about integrating your business into our platform.”

BankSouth Mortgage is seeking an experienced Underwriter to join our team. Candidate must have a minimum of 5 years underwriting experience, VA/SAR, FHA/DE preferred. Must be able to underwrite VA, FHA, USDA, jumbo and conventional loans. Knowledge of mortgage loan processing, compliance, investor products, underwriting guidelines, MI guidelines, appraisals, and fraud tools needed along with above-average interpersonal skills, a strong attention to detail, and an ability to work efficiently and accurately under pressure. Minimum two-year degree in business, finance or related field or experience equivalent, bachelor’s degree preferred. Interested candidates should send resume to”

Agility 360 is a mortgage recruiting and project staffing firm based in Dallas, Texas, with a proven record of matching qualified candidates with employers for long-term employment or short-term contract. With interest rates at historical lows, matching staffing levels to meet demand continues to be a big profitability driver. Since 2014, Agility 360 has leveraged its unique methodology and proprietary candidate network to place experienced processors, underwriters, and other originations personnel across the country. We always meet our goal of finding ‘the right person for the job’ because THIS IS ALL WE DO. By focusing on the mortgage industry, we’ve created and tested a highly successful model that consistently delivers results for our clients. If you want to stop wasting time and money with other companies please contact Raj Sharma at 469-208-6337.”

“At PrimeLending, we strive to make a profound and positive impact on all the lives we serve, especially in our local communities. During this pandemic, many of these communities have experienced financial hardships on both the personal and professional level. That’s why our local branches felt empowered to give back any way they could, and they’ve stepped up in a big way. Along with providing countless meals to first responders, medical professionals and local schools, our branches have also collectively donated more than $250,000 to local charities across the country to help individuals and families impacted by this coronavirus. While doors are starting to open and people are adjusting to these new circumstances, PrimeLending will continue to be a source of giving, caring and support, now and in the future. We’re growing and if you’re interested in being part of a company that cares, contact Nic Hartke for a confidential conversation.”

“ACC Mortgage, the oldest Non-QM lender who never stopped lending, is about to release a JUMBO Prime product to go with their complete traditional Non-QM products in June and even more Non-QM products in July. Instant pricing at In anticipation of the growth and return of even more Non-QM products, ACC is hiring one Nationals Sales Manager and 6 account executives to meet the demand and match capacity. If interested in joining our family, please send your resume to the president, Robert Senko, for consideration.”