Here’s your pro tip of the day: occasionally blow on the wine in your coffee mug to convince the rest of the Zoom meeting that it is tea. Speaking of the working world, are you an “office worker” or, as Amazon tells its warehouse employees, an “industrial athlete” and to prepare one’s body for that experience is like someone training for a sporting event? Don’t pull a hammy logging onto the Ginnie site. It’s been four and a half months since Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president and there are still no picks to head FHA and Ginnie Mae. The Mortgage Bankers Associations latest survey tells that that, among its sample of retail lenders, the FHA share of total applications is nearly at 10 percent and the VA share of total applications is nearly 11 percent. (The USDA share is less than 1 percent.) So news of these channels and this segment is material for many lenders, and there is more below. Today’s audio version of the commentary is available here featuring Part One an interview with Nathan Lee, Head of Richey May Advisory, on trends he has seen across lenders in recent years. This week’s podcast is sponsored by Richey May.

Lender and Broker Products and Services

In today’s purchase-heavy market, referral business can make or break a lender’s deal funnel. So why not learn directly from an agent what it takes to earn a steady stream of referrals? In the latest Clear to Close podcast episode, Maxwell hosts chat with long-time real estate agent and author Mindy Jensen to learn just that. Tune in to find out exactly why Mindy loves her go-to lender, hands him all of her referral business, and recommends him to anyone who will listen! For frank, real-world advice straight from a practicing real estate agent that both new and experienced lending professionals can use to earn the coveted title of “go-to lender,” don’t miss this episode. Listen to the Clear to Close podcast’s new episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or your browser.

Go Mortgage tells us that the ‘Conversationalist’ is someone who qualifies your leads then books the appointment right on your calendar, enabling you to do what you do best, sell. Gone are the days of prospecting, if you’ve been dreaming of getting your time back Bonzo’s Conversationalist is the gateway. Our Conversationalists are highly skilled at just that: having conversations. We train, track, and employ so that you don’t have to. A combination of our 66% response rate far beats out other call-centers (24%). We’ve turned conversations into a science, really. Through multiple touchpoints, personality, and automation Bonzo wins you leads while call-centers only call. Bonzo’s conversations happen through various platforms from texts with emojis, emails, gifs, and voicemails anywhere from 8-12 times - all automated. We can calculate the price of every conversation with our Conversation Calculator. If you’re ready to know just how much a conversation is worth, Bonzo can tell you.”

RealtyBid, Covius’ national online and live auction platform, has redefined auction by partnering with Weiss Analytics to offer property and market dynamics for 80 million+ properties. With new features that show property, neighborhood, and market-level forecasts, as well as a suite of analytic tools buyers will be able to perform the kind of sophisticated analyses used by institutional investors. Any auction site can show you a property’s history, but only RealtyBid can show you projected market potential. See what the future of Data + Auction looks like. Find your properties today with RealtyBid.

Synergy One Lending, a lender committed to The Modern Mortgage Experience™, continues innovation within personal finance by announcing its launch of a digital Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) product powered by a blockchain-integrated artificial intelligence platform. The platform streamlines the HELOC process by allowing borrowers to complete a brief questionnaire, receive credit decisioning, set up payment options, and video chat with an online notary within a single interface. By incorporating blockchain into HELOC origination, Synergy One can provide access to up to a quarter of a million dollars in 5 days or less, while lowering costs, reducing risk, and improving financing execution throughout the loan process. “Our adoption of fintech solutions where we can improve the client experience and reduce friction and costs in the process, will guide our roadmap for bringing great solutions to the mortgage lending process,” said Synergy One CEO, Steve Majerus.

Shazam! Did you know you can turn your Encompass LOS into a printer/mailer and automagically send out real letters through the US Postal Service? Yep, with the help of Connector by Velma®, Encompass will send one-off goodbye letters, insurance transfer notifications, statements, and more…at exactly the right time with the right information. More info here.

Credit unions, are you prepared for a digital, direct-to-consumer future? Are you looking to improve member experience and increase efficiency when it comes to originating loans? Black Knight’s blog, “Why the Digital Experience for Credit Union Members Is Here to Stay,” helps credit unions answer those questions and understand how increasing automation, streamlining processing and investing in the newest technology can set an organization apart from competitors. Read how the high-performance Empower® loan origination system and integrated end-to-end solutions can mitigate risk and support growth, while improving member and employee experiences. Put members in their dream home faster and give your employees the tools they need to perform tasks to the best of their ability in a timely manner. Deliver the excellent service your credit union is known for by implementing technology built to support your needs. Learn more about why credit unions need an end-to-end digital ecosystem today.

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.

Forging a unique partnership, The Mortgage Firm borrowers now have access to the revolutionary HomeBinder platform, during and beyond the life of a mortgage loan. For lenders serving the residential homebuyers’ market, who want to deliver a true “wow” factor that will differentiate their offering, HomeBinder is an automated, tech-forward means to create immediate brand loyalty. “We instantly realized the HomeBinder difference,” said Todd Pierson, President of The Mortgage Firm. “Our partnership will enable The Mortgage Firm to easily deliver HomeBinder’s home management platform without adding any time to our loan officers’ day, and establish a lifetime loyalty campaign for our borrowers,” added Pierson. Read more here. HomeBinder is a home management platform offered solely through business partners serving residential homeowners, enabling them to deliver long term value to clients, remain top of mind, and generate referrals. Learn more about HomeBinder.

Government Lending

The latest forbearance stats from Black Knight showed that there were 887,000 VA and FHA loans, 682,000 GSE loans, and 625,000 loans serviced for bank portfolio or private label security investors. Given that less than 25 percent of overall production has historically been FHA & VA, the number of loans in forbearance is a telling statistic.

DACA borrowers are eligible to obtain for FHA loans. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently addressed eligibility for FHA mortgage loans for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients in Mortgagee Letter 2021-12. “FHA’s requirements for ‘lawful residency’ pre-date the establishment of DACA and thus FHA did not anticipate the scenario where a prospective borrower may be authorized by DHS to be present during the period of deferred action and eligible for work authorization. Because of this confusion, as announced in FHA INFO #21-04 under the prior Administration, FHA waived Handbook 4000.1 Section II.A.1.b.ii(A)(9)(c) in its entirety in order to provide further clarity regarding the eligibility of FHA-insured mortgage financing for DACA recipients for endorsements on or after January 19, 2021.”

FHA announced the publication of Mortgagee Letter 2021-12, Eligibility Requirements for Certain Non-Permanent Resident Borrowers, The guidance in this ML may be implemented immediately; however, it must be implemented for mortgages with case numbers assigned on or after July 26, 2021. Coupled with updates to the Residency Requirements section of the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1, clarifies the eligibility requirements FHA-insured mortgage financing for individuals participating in the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program; and employment documentation requirements for citizens of the Freely Associated States (FAS) and for individuals with H-1B status.

The VA issued the final rule for its Partial Claim Payment Program, making significant changes that were recommended by the trade groups and servicers to better align with FHA with the other agencies and to better serve veteran borrowers. Addressed are the borrower repayment upon sale, refinance or payment-in-full, no interest charged to borrower, maximum partial claim amount doubled from 15% to 30% of the UPB, and no application and/or borrower financial evaluation required.

As a “May Special,” Mountain West Financial® offered free appraisals on all VA loans that meet the required criteria. Read Bulletin 21W-031 for details. Click here for general information.

Flagstar Bank’s Memo 21047 covers VA’s expanded home loan eligibility regarding the National Guard Service.

First State Mortgage Guide Announcement 2021-012 includes information regarding VA’s expanded home loan eligibility for certain members of National Guard and Freddie Mac’s update to the evaluation of 30-day Accounts (formerly “open end”).

Capital Markets

What is moving rates… or not? Despite a Federal Reserve Beige Book report yesterday that made several references to supply chain cost pressures and price increases, the lead up to tomorrow’s payrolls report has markets “tightly-traded.” Investors are currently weighing economic optimism against inflation concerns, reading into any further comments from Fed officials on inflation or tapering, such as Philadelphia Fed President Harker saying the Federal Reserve should begin discussing the time frame for paring back its bond-buying program; as well as awaiting U.S. jobs data, which hogs the spotlight over the next two days.

Ahead of tomorrow’s payrolls report, today’s economic calendar began with a flurry of labor market indicators starting with layoffs from Challenger for May (24,586 cuts, up 7 percent month over month but down 94 percent year over year). We’ve also seen ADP employment for May (strong at 978k), initial jobless claims (-20k to 385k), and continued claims (+169k). Rounding out the batch of early economic releases was Q1(final) productivity (5.4 percent, unchanged) and unit labor costs (+1.7 percent). Later this morning brings the final May reading for Markit Services PMI, ISM nonmanufacturing for May, Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, and a large dose of Fed speakers (Atlanta’s Bostic, Dallas’ Kaplan, Philadelphia’s Harker, and Vice Chair for Supervision Quarles. Today’s MBS purchase schedule sees the largest support on the current schedule at $7.9 billion, including nearly $6.5 billion UMBS30 2 percent and 2.5 percent. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices down/worse nearly .125 and the 10-year yielding 1.61 after closing yesterday at 1.59 percent.


Employment and Transitions

National MI is pleased to announce that Brad Buchanan is joining National MI. Brad is teaming up with Chris McCrary covering Houston, West Texas, and Oklahoma markets. Brad has spent the last five years on the correspondent side of our business helping start correspondent lending for Texas Capital Bank, and has 17 years of experience in mortgage lending, including mortgage insurance direct sales. Brad lives in North Dallas with his wife and two children and enjoys cooking, golf, and attending softball/baseball for his children.

The MBA is hiring a Director of Member Engagement to add to MBA’s dynamic engagement team. The incumbent develops, strengthens, and manages personal relationships with executives at the Association’s member companies to ensure members are maximizing their membership. S/he coordinates and facilitates benefit integration to obtain member value and high engagement with the MBA. The incumbent provides comprehensive account management and support, connecting members to all of the many MBA resources. Contact Tricia Migliazzo or Laura Hopkins if you have questions, and please see full description and apply here

“Do you know a great mortgage underwriter, processor or closer who’s ready to join a winning team? Citizens Home Mortgage is ready to talk to qualified candidates today! We are hiring support staff in several key roles to help customers with all of their mortgage needs - whether they’re building, buying, or refinancing. We’re specifically looking for underwriters who want to work remotely, and processors and closers who can work in one of our sites (Marlton, NJ, Melville, NY, Providence, RI, Franklin, TN, and Richmond, VA). We know how important top-notch underwriters, processors and closers are to a customer’s home mortgage journey, so we reward them with flexible hours, great benefits, and exclusive recognition programs! If you know a qualified candidate, or are interested in applying with Citizens, visit now!”

The month of June marks the 20th anniversary for Thrive Mortgage. Opening its doors in 2001, Thrive began its journey as a small, family-owned brokerage with two employees, Roy and Barbara Jones.  The entrepreneurial spirit of Thrive’s founders still drives the company’s record-setting growth today.  The recent addition of Top Producing Branch Managers Josh Dutton and Brian Walsh in the Denver, CO market are evidence of that. “When our team set out examining what we truly wanted for our business we were not content settling for less than the best,” stated Dutton. “We have found the best of everything at Thrive. Unmatched product mix, stellar production process, and amazing support departments unlike anything in the industry. This is the last move of our careers.”  Celebrate with us as we mark an amazing milestone in our history and contact us to learn more about how we can help you Thrive.

With 27 branches across 41 states, national residential mortgage lender Homespire Mortgage announced industry veteran David Lewis has joined the team as its new National Renovation Manager to lead the company’s expanded renovation lending division.