I was telling my cat Myrtle about the labor shortage in the United States, but she didn’t seem fascinated, to say the least. In fact, she gave me a look like, “I am an apex predator, open the door. Now.” Economists are quick to point out that while there is no shortage of jobs in our economy, there is a shortage of people who want to return to work because many of them are making more on unemployment. But it is doubtful that they are happier. Foster and Hicks wrote a book titled, “How We Choose To Be Happy: The 9 Choices of Extremely Happy People, Their Secrets, Their Stories” worth a gander, and collecting unemployment versus making a contribution isn’t on the list. Being healthy is on the list, but… dang it! I didn’t have a chance to go the gym yesterday. That makes five years in a row. But others want to exercise, and NAHB reports that nearly half the buyers of new homes want an exercise room. Of course, wanting a gourmet kitchen doesn’t mean you’re going to cook. (Today’s audio version of the commentary is available here, this week’s is sponsored by Shamrock Home Loans, and features and interview by me of CEO Dean Harrington discussing bringing on the next generation of talent to the mortgage workforce.)
Broker and Lender Products and Services
Interesting: A Candor client speaks out. Watch the video (just under the fold).
“Servicing automation is soaring on the heels of the pandemic. Have you eliminated your dependency on manual work processes? Many of us are waiting in tense anticipation to see what will happen next, but don’t wait too long. Clarifire has taken a serious look at how mortgage servicers can leverage the pandemic’s influence on automation in a positive and innovative manner. Check out our recent blog, which provides a playbook of eight servicing automation capabilities crucial in preparation for the market’s next phase. Find out how to engage today’s tech-savvy borrower with self-serve automation that makes relief easy and reduces internal operational stresses at the same time. Don’t let the current pause in defaults and delinquencies cause you to languish in stalled efforts to implement process changes. Find out how CLARIFIRE® can future proof your servicing operation with proven, cutting edge automation—truly BRIGHTER AUTOMATION®.”
Brokers know that seeing is believing, as they say in the glass business. When you look at lender rates every day, you’ll see one brand is consistently at the top: Interfirst. Interfirst’s loan programs are accessible through many widely used mortgage product and pricing engines, including Loan Sifter and Mortech: Just login to your account and see for yourself. Full details are available to mortgage professionals through our own high-rated Interfirst Client Portal. If you are a broker looking for a competitive price advantage or a new lender option, apply here. For more information, go to the Interfirst Wholesale webpage or contact Mike Tague (541.280.5674) or Casey Nunn (704.680.2362).
On the opening track of his breakthrough album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” Mr. Dylan poses a series of rhetorical questions to which “the answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.” Three weeks after Bob Dylan released his album, Peter, Paul, and Mary recorded their version of “Blowin’ in the Wind” and turned it into an international hit. MQMR’s Servicing Risk Assessment poses key questions to lenders to help them find out whether they are covering all their bases across audit, risk, and compliance or if they’re blowin’ in the wind. MQMR’s servicing experts will then provide personalized and actionable recommendations so the lenders can turn their servicing departments into an international hit. Bob Dylan can be freewheeling, but your servicing department shouldn’t be. Take the MQMR Servicing Risk Assessment today.
Mortgage Assembly Lines Continue to Outperform Traditional Operations. Henry Ford reduced car production time from 12.5 to 1.5 hours with an assembly line. The benefits were revolutionary: Shorter timelines, increased efficiency, near zero errors--plus the ability to employ both high and moderately skilled workers to get work done. The same has proven true for mortgages. 2021 has seen more mortgage operations move to a “moving assembly line” model to produce higher volumes and shorten “lead to close” timelines. Case in point: A division of American Pacific Mortgage quadrupled their volume and produced 280% more revenues after implementing TeamworkIQ, a simple task-based-workflow platform that drives virtual assembly lines, work moves forward faster, and bringing the right task to the right person at the right time with the right priority. And some tasks can even be automated to achieve even greater efficiency. See the case study and request a test-drive.
Give your borrowers faster, more accurate tax estimates and minimize costly fee cures through Black Knight’s recent integration of its industry-leading Ernst Fee Service with the company’s robust property tax data. Using Ernst Fee Service, lenders can now access reliable nationwide tax estimates, even for new construction across the country. To deliver premier property tax data, Black Knight collects the tax data directly from the applicable taxing agencies and refreshes it on a regular basis. Armed with this industry-leading data, lenders can create efficiencies, mitigate risk, reduce fee cures, and enhance borrower satisfaction. The tax data integration also supports compliance with the CFPB standard that requires lenders to provide consumers with the best property tax information reasonably available. In addition, lenders receive the tax data quickly to support compliance with TILA-RESPA timelines. Learn more about improving borrower and lender satisfaction with this robust integration today.
84 years ago today the Golden Gate Bridge officially opened, and San Francisco celebrated with more than a week’s worth of events. In 2020, Christensen Financial launched Sales Boomerang alerts and the celebrations are STILL going strong. Said Director of Marketing Lauri Simpson, "Our experience with Sales Boomerang has definitely been a positive one, so much so that we invested in the platform to carry us through the entirety of 2021 without batting an eye. Both our leadership and our LOs have experienced the impact of this powerful tool. It is one of the best tools with a measurable impact we used in 2020." Lenders like Christensen Financial see an average 20-40% lift to loan volume and 65% borrower retention rate using Sales Boomerang. Contact Sales Boomerang today to start celebrating.
Does your pricing strategy lack certainty in competitive pricing? According to Nomis Solutions, competing for market share with another mortgage lender can come down to one simple point - presenting a better rate, if even by a fraction. They have supplied an informative case study which details how nationwide retail mortgage lender Premier Lending, Inc. leverages end-to-end competitive intelligence across multiple departments to 1.) price with data-based certainty; 2.) provide top-tier internal support to its loan officers; and 3.) compete to WIN. Access this free case study download to read the full story.
Looking for more profitable outlets on key loan characteristics? MCT®️ recently announced BAM MarketplaceTM, the world’s first truly open loan exchange, where buyers can bid regardless of approval status, and sellers receive automated live pricing from every buyer on the platform. MCT clients have experienced average covers such as a pick-up of 46 bps on government production, 42 bps on loans under $200k, and 89 bps on low-FICO government production. “Gone are the days of a finite set of investors, not knowing who has an axe or who may offer the best price,” said Curtis Richins, President, MCT. “BAM Marketplace is the only exchange where sellers can receive executable bids from unapproved buyers. Through our patent-pending ‘security spread commitment’, MCT moves one step closer to the ultimate goal – when every loan can be priced by every investor.” Join MCT on June 9th for a webinar providing a demonstration and details.
One of the Federal Reserve’s goals is to promote economic stability in the United States. Now some critics are targeting the continued asset purchases carried out by the Fed’s NY Desk, saying that artificially low rates (caused in part by the Fed buying securities) is impacting home prices, keeping monthly mortgage payments low but unnaturally driving up prices. The housing market has steadily been appreciating as the Fed has purchased over $2 trillion in Agency MBS. Stay tuned, as scaling back the purchases will impact the demand side of the supply/demand function, and in turn impact U.S. rates.
While we’re talking bonds, and therefore rates, a bit of intraday volatility in the bond market led to little movement from opening levels by the close as a strong $61 billion 5-year note auction was unable to invite follow-through buying. The utilization of the Fed's reverse repurchase facility increased to $450 billion yesterday from $433 billion on Tuesday. The MBS basis ended wider (which is not good for mortgage rates) amid the joint-lowest Fed support on the current schedule, that also saw another low hit rate at the UMBS30 purchase operation. Today includes the last operations on the current schedule which target up to $6.3 billion with one operation in each class.
Today’s busy calendar is already underway with few important releases. April Durable Goods Orders came in at -1.3 percent (weaker than expected although ex-transportation it was +1.0 percent), while the second look at Q1 GDP was 6.4 percent, down a shade from the original 6.5 percent. We’ve also had weekly jobless claims (444k down to 406k, a post-pandemic low). Later this morning brings April pending homes sales, the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending May 27, and KC Fed manufacturing for May. The Treasury will also auction $62 billion of 7-year notes, and the NY Fed will release a new MBS purchase schedule covering the May 28 to June 11 period in the afternoon. We start the day before Friday with Agency MBS prices down/worse a solid .125 and the 10-year yielding 1.61 after closing yesterday at 1.57 percent.
Employment, Promotions, and New Hires
Homeward is a fast-growing fintech that helps top real estate agents turn their clients into cash buyers. Backed by top-tier venture investors, Homeward has integrated its mortgage, title, and real estate businesses to create a seamless product experience that helps its clients overcome the shortcomings of traditional mortgage products in a highly competitive market. Homeward Mortgage is our affiliate mortgage provider that drives consumer financial innovation at the core of our cash offer products and has recently transitioned from broker to direct lender. We’re seeking to make several additions to our mortgage leadership team including a Director of Mortgage Sales, who will lead our rapidly growing team of licensed loan originators, and a VP of Capital Markets that will own the development and execution of our secondary market strategy. Positions are fully remote. To apply or get more information, visit the job description links above or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the heels of launching several new programs and featuring products like Non-Agency Jumbo, the Correspondent Lending Channel at Citibank, N.A. is gearing up for the next round of growth initiatives and is hiring the following remote positions: Pre-Purchase Review Specialist, Component Reviewer, Senior Loan Specialist, Underwriter, Senior Underwriter and a Correspondent Operations Manager. Our people have been the primary drivers of our success; and at Citi, we value colleagues that demonstrate high professional standards, a strong sense of integrity and generosity, intellectual curiosity, and rigor. If you are driven, customer centric and enjoy being part of a dynamic and collaborative team then Citi Correspondent Lending would be a great place to call home. Reach out to a Citi RSM to learn more about our Jumbo product and our improved agency execution.
2020 proved a challenging year on almost every front, but certainly for women in the workplace. Still, many persevered and even thrived over the past year. Take for instance, the more than 100 women from Caliber Home Loans who made Scotsman Guide’s 2021 List of Top Women Originators, helping close more than $8 billion in loans. The annual list is a verified ranking of the nation's top-producing residential mortgage brokers, originators, loan officers, and bankers. Congratulations to these industry leaders! You represent the best of Caliber. If you want to join a team of winning women at Caliber and a company that insists on diversity and inclusion, email Jonathan Stanley for Operations positions or James Hecht for Sales positions.
AmeriHome Mortgage, the 3rd largest correspondent and 14th largest mortgage lender in the country, is actively recruiting for several positions! AmeriHome’s Correspondent Lending Division is currently hiring an Sr. QC Underwriter - Pre Funding (both Remote and in Westlake Village), an AVP, Pre Purchase Review Manager, and many more positions in Southern California, Texas, and remote! AmeriHome prides itself on the culture it fosters, with one employee saying, "I can say with confidence that AmeriHome, the leadership and overall culture, is the best I have been fortunate to be a part of hands down. The fun we have, the work-life balance, the open-door feeling I have with the leadership team and the constant refining that is being done to make things even better as we grow is something I am very happy to be a part of." Visit AmeriHome’s careers page to view all open positions and submit resumes to email@example.com to schedule an interview.
As the world turns… Kristi Fercho, who was at Fannie Mae, now runs Wells Fargo’s mortgage division, and yesterday it was announced that former Wells Fargo-an Michael DeVito will be running Freddie! He will be the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective June 1. DeVito is a relative upstart in the biz, having only 30 years of experience in the mortgage and financial services industry. He spent more than 23 years at Wells Fargo, much of it in servicing, rising to the level of EVP, Head of Home Lending, where he was responsible for all aspects of the company’s mortgage and home equity business.
A water balloon’s toss away, Fannie Mae appointed Malloy Evans to the position of EVP and Head of Single-Family. “Evans was previously Senior Vice President and Chief Credit Officer for Fannie Mae’s Single-Family Business, where he managed first-line credit risk from mortgage acquisition through disposition and oversaw the establishment of selling and servicing risk policies and eligibility standards to ensure sustainable lending practices for the loans Fannie Mae acquires.”
Nations Lending has a new Midwest regional manager: Tim Dowling. Tim will continue to build out mortgage sales and operations in that region and will report to EVP of National Production, Corey Caster.