I've heard that the "average" loan officer closes about 2 loans per month. (And some companies ask, "If an agent closes less than that in this environment, how many will they close when rates head higher?") I don't know the criteria for putting someone on this list, but here are some numbers for leading LO's.

I have been retained by a Phoenix-based national lender that is searching for an experienced, "judgment-empowered" chief underwriter. The lender has been in business well over 20 years, has full agency and FHA approval but also offers several other interesting niche products, and has a small but growing servicing portfolio. The company is associated with a private capital fund, and has plans to expand into other areas of the financial services arena such as financial planning and insurance. The position is in Phoenix, and management will consider relocation assistance for the right candidate. If you are interested, or know someone who is, please send your resume to me at rchrisman@robchrisman .com.

And Envoy Mortgage is searching for underwriters, either to work in its underwriting centers in Irvine, Houston, or Atlanta, or from home. Envoy Mortgage is licensed in 46 states (plus DC), is a $2 billion+ retail lender, is servicing residential loans, and is privately held. Envoy has been a Mortgage Technology Magazine award recipient 5 years in a row for its innovations: www.envoymortgage .com. Qualified candidates can be located anywhere in the US and work in any of the centers or from home, should have 5 years' experience + FHA DE required.  LAPP, USDA and HECM experience a plus. Resumes should be sent to Bobby Welch at bwelch@envoymortgage .com.

Turning to agency news, the Community Mortgage Lenders of America (CMLA) released its policy White Paper on the future of the U.S. mortgage secondary markets. The CMLA urges a smaller Fannie and Freddie that normalize credit risk pricing, pay an insurance premium to remove the hidden subsidy, and continue to reduce their retained portfolios as market pricing allows, with the goal of providing a window for other entities to serve the market over the next several years.  The CMLA endorses Fannie and Freddie shrinking to serve 30-35% of the overall secondary mortgage market, and are barred from securitizing or investing in anything but plain "vanilla" mortgages. The entire document can be seen at http://thecmla.com/.

"Rob, are you hearing much about federal agencies overlapping on their authorities?" Yes, I have, and as a reminder here is the Fed's statement discussing the jurisdictions of the CFPB, the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC, the NCUA (credit unions), and the OCC. Now, if only mortgage banks and depositories didn't have to deal with, and in many cases pay for, a dozen audits every year from a bevy other regulatory bodies!

Anyone who has underwritten a loan knows how tough it is. Setting sensible underwriting guidelines for a company would be even tougher. And as we head toward more and more government control of residential lending, how'd you like to be charged with creating underwriting guidelines for every loan and every company has to follow them or else? No way, Jose, but that is what is going on out there.

Herbert and Marion Sandler created Golden West Financial, which became the second-largest thrift in the U.S. after WAMU and was bought by Wachovia in 2006. Wachovia in turn was purchased by Wells Fargo, but unlike the Countrywide/BofA quagmire which has cost scores of billions for BofA, that deal seems to have benefitted Wells nicely. Under the adage that some borrowers can benefit from some loans at some time, the "Pick-A-Pay" adjustable-rate mortgage marketed by Golden West through its World Savings Bank unit was a so-called payment-option ARM, which allowed borrowers to make artificially low monthly payments, increasing the principal they owed. Marion, 81, died yesterday in San Francisco, and had apparently given away much of the $2.4 billion the couple had earned from the original sale to Wachovia. A story in the SF Chronicle noted, "The Sandlers insisted they had been careful, responsible lenders who had tailored their loans to the needs and payment abilities of clients. In a lengthy rebuttal to Time, they said Golden West under their stewardship had differed from competitors by keeping its loans on its books, rather than packaging and selling them as securities. 'In essence, we focused on high-quality mortgages that would work for borrowers, since our business model depended on keeping loan losses as low as possible,' they wrote. 'While we maintained our traditional, conservative portfolio business model, most every major mortgage lender in the country shifted to a completely different model: mortgage banking.'"

How about some relatively recent lender/investor/regulatory updates? As always, it is best to read the actual bulletin, but this will give you a sense for what is going on:

Sun West Mortgage has eliminated a number of documentation requirements and overlays for FHA and USDA borrowers with FICO scores of 640 and over.  Standard FHA, FHA Manufactured Housing, FHA 203(k), and USDA Fixed Rate loans are all eligible for the new Express guidelines and can be uploaded via SWMC Express by using the E-File Upload and selecting "Express Loan."

Stearns Wholesale announced that, for all compensation plans that include a flat fee, the broker's flat fee compensation will be included in the YSP for all relevant loans registered on or after May 19. This negates the need for the Broker Fee Worksheet and the Stearns Origination Fee, and Box 1 of the GFE has been simplified accordingly.  Loans should be submitted with the LOS itemization of costs.

The Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS) has posted a sample syllabus for each approved course format in the NMLS Resource Center.  The syllabi contain all the information necessary for completing a course.  Users are encouraged to comment and submit feedback to Jessica Ayton at jayto@csbs .org.

Just as a reminder, FinCEN's  August 13th deadline for implementing an Anti-Money Laundering Program and filing suspicious activity reports is fast approaching.  Non-bank residential lenders and originators are required by the Bank Secrecy Act establish a program that includes written AML procedures, internal AML controls,  a designated AML Compliance Officer, ongoing training, independent testing, and SAR controls.

Citibank Correspondent has issued guidance on best practices for final HUD-1s.  Clients should ensure that they have confirmed that the HUD-1 has the latest settlement date, the payoff mortgage is listed in the 100 section, and that Box H includes both the Settlement Agent's name and address.  For non-escrow states, the final HUD-1 should include the signatures of all borrowers and sellers, where applicable.  For escrow states, the estimated closing statement should be signed by the borrower and seller, while the final HUD-1 settlement or escrow/final closing statement signed by the escrow officer is required within three business days of the closed package's receipt.

Fifth Third has clarified its policy on the 2055 exterior-only inspection for the sale or conversion of primary residences.  The inspection is only necessary to document the LTV/CLTV/HCLTV as 70% or less for the current primary residence only in cases where the required reserves have been reduced to two months PITI for each property or rental income has been used to qualify the borrower for the previously occupied property.

Just as a reminder, Fifth Third requires a fully executed 1003 form, reconciled AUS findings with their associated tri-merged credit report, LTV and CLTV calculations, fully completed purchase contract, assets documented as per the AUS findings, income documentation as dictated by the loan program, income calculations shown on either the 1008 or income calculation worksheet, and the name and contact information for the underwriter as part of all submissions.

Everbank has increased the maximum LTV on 15-year fixed rate DU Refi Plus loans to unlimited, effective for conforming and high balance loans.  A Property Field Waiver is needed for 15-year fixed rate loans with LTVs over 100%.

The GMAC Client Guide has been updated, the full details of which are accessible via the GMAC website. This includes the updated guidance on Ability to Repay in West Virginia. As per Regulation B, GMAC will issue an Adverse Action Notice to the applicant on any wholesale or correspondent loan that is submitted for underwriting and denied.  This applies to all loans submitted on or after June 1st.

Kinecta Federal Credit Union has rolled out its most recent price adjustments for agency loans, which will apply to loan applications locked on or after Monday, June 4th. The Kinecta Wholesale Lock Policy, which allows any lock that has expired to be re-locked for 30 days using either the original lock date pricing  less 50 basis points or current market pricing, whichever is lower.  Locks that have expired or been cancelled by Kinecta or the originator are eligible for current market pricing 45 days after the cancellation or lock expiration date, whichever is longer, and locks re-locked within the 45 days from the expiration or cancellation date are subject to all prior extension fees.

Mountain West Financial has updated its termite report policy, which states that for conventional, FHA, CalFHA, and USDA transactions where the purchase contract indicates that either the buyer or seller will pay it, a termite report and clearance is required.  It also states that once MWF has received a termite report on the property, it cannot be waived.  The policy requires major infestations, dry rot, fungus, or termites that affect the property's soundness be taken care of, as well as conditions that aren't visibly evident but that are predicted to lead to infestation or infection.

How about these rates? And it sounds like lenders are taking advantage of them as Wall Street MBS traders report that yesterday "rained" mortgage-backed securities as secondary marketing staffs hedged pipelines and sold billions of dollars making Monday one of their busiest day of 2012. Of course, what that served to do was push MBS prices down, and rates higher, relative to Treasury prices and rates. Fannie & Freddie 3's, containing 3.25-3.625% mortgages, worsened by about .5 and closed in the mid-102 area.

There is not much on the economic calendar today here in the U.S., with only a 10AM EST release of non-manufacturing ISM for May. And what difference should that make for rates given the turmoil in Europe? In fact, the first two weeks of June will be light on economic data and news out of Europe with the bigger events (Greek elections again, an FOMC meeting, and EU summits) scheduled in the last two weeks. Early on the 10-yr is down with yields at 1.56% and MBS prices are down.


In church Sunday morning the preacher said, "Anyone with 'special needs' who wants to be prayed over, please come forward to the front by the altar."
With that, RC got in line, and when it was his turn, the preacher asked, "RC, what do you want me to pray about for you?"
RC replied, "Preacher, I need you to pray for help with my hearing."
The preacher put one of his fingers in RC's ear, then he took his other hand and placed it on top of RC's head; and then he prayed and prayed and eventually the whole congregation joined in with great enthusiasm.
After a few minutes, the preacher removed his hands, stood back and asked, "RC, how is your hearing now?"
RC answered, "I don't know. It ain't 'til Thursday."