What are we going to be talking about this summer? One topic is the economy, and the thought that rising short-term rates are a signal that the economy has recovered to the point where businesses and consumers don’t need ridiculously low borrowing rates to participate in it. Yet May’s housing starts number hit an 8-month low! Another topic is regulatory burden. The Treasury Department has released its first report with recommendations for easing the financial regulations put in place by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, including modifying stress test criteria. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says that 80% of the report's recommendations could be implemented through regulatory changes rather than legislation.

Individual States - Policy Update

Congrats to Utah, I guess, as its population crossed the 3.0 million mark as it became the nation's fastest-growing state over the last year. Its population increased 2.0 percent to 3.1 million from July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2016, according to U.S. Census Bureau national and state population estimates. "States in the South and West continued to lead in population growth...In 2016, 37.9 percent of the nation's population lived in the South and 23.7 percent lived in the West." (Nationally, the U.S. population grew by 0.7 percent to 323.1 million.)

On the flip side, eight states lost population between July 1, 2015, and July 1, 2016, including Pennsylvania, New York and Wyoming, all three of which had grown the previous year. Illinois lost more people than any other state (-37,508).

The state of Oklahoma enacted Senate Bill 467, effective July 1, 2018 which states that 90% of the fees and penalties collected by the Department of Consumer Credit pursuant to numerous Acts must be deposited in the Consumer Credit Administrative Expenses Revolving Fund. The remaining 10% of fees and penalties collected under these Acts must be deposited in the General Revenue Fund of the State Treasury.

The Minnesota legislature passed House File 46, a bill concerning the recording of documents relating to real property. The amendments clarify that an electronic signature satisfies the requirement that a document contain original signatures and when an electronic document is considered recorded.

Effective July 1, 2017, The Iowa Department of Commerce, Division of Banking, has enacted licensing provisions. The first new provision in the section provides that any person having control over an applicant for a mortgage license to operate as a banker, broker, or real estate closing agent is required to provide fingerprints, authorize a fingerprint background check through NMLS, and pay any required fees needed to conduct a national criminal history background check through the FBI. The second provision addresses the process when a change of control of a licensee is proposed. The MLO requirement section was amended to eliminate the provision regarding originators who have passed the Iowa originator test as exempt from taking the Iowa state component of the SAFE mortgage loan originator test. It has added that an individual who fails to acquire a valid state license or federal registration as an MLO within three years from either the date of federal compliance with 12 U.S.C. 5104(c) or the last date of licensure or registration as an MLO must retake the twenty hours of pre-licensure education.

Missouri has adopted final provisions regarding electronic notary definitions and electronic signatures and seals. These provisions are effective as of June 30, 2017. Adopted provision 15 CSR 30-110.010 provides useful definitions of eight terms including "capable of independent verification," "electronic seal," "electronic notarial certificate," and "record." The purpose of this provision is to clarify statutory section 486.275.2, which offers little guidance to notaries seeking to use electronic signatures and seals.

Nevada has amended its provision regarding the location requirement of Trustee's Power of Sales. The new provision provides that all sales, regardless of county population, shall now be made at the public location in the county designated by the governing body of the county for that purpose.

Nevada has enacted provisions regarding foreclosure of real property owned by certain military personnel. In any civil action for a foreclosure sale involving a failure to make a mortgage payment that is filed against an active service member or his or her dependent, the court is permitted to either stay the proceedings in the action until at least one year after the end of the service member's active duty or deployment or adjust the obligation to preserve the interests of the parties. This provision does not apply if the court determines that the ability of the service member or his dependent to make the payment is not materially affected by the active duty or deployment.

It has also amended its domestic relations provisions to remove references to specific gender. These provisions are effective as of July 1, 2017. All references to "male and female person" have been replaced with "two persons regardless of gender." All references to "the husband and wife of" have been replaced with "married to." References to "father" have been changed to "parent no. 1," while references to "mother" have been replaced with "parent no. 2."

Effective as of July 1, 2017, Nevada has updated several provisions regarding notaries to include reference to electronic notaries public. Electronic notaries are required to renew their appointments at the same time as non-electronic notaries are required to renew.

And while the state was at it, Nevada has revised its provisions regarding fees that may be collected by a county recorder effective October 1, 2017. One amended provision provides that a county recorder shall charge a flat fee of $25 to record a document. Also, a new, separate provision specifies that a county recorder shall charge only $10 for recording notices or certificates of location of a mining claim.

Capital Markets

The bond market giveth, and the bond market taketh away. Wednesday saw a rally, yesterday we gave it back since U.S. economic data releases were better than expected on balance but not enough to indicate a meaningful acceleration in GDP growth. For example, I know they're "second tier" numbers but the Empire Manufacturing Index jumped to a two-year high and the Philly Fed's manufacturing barometer also beat estimates. And perhaps traders were looking for an excuse to sell - heck, short term rates are going up, right?

The Fed still seems committed to hiking rates one more time this year and starting the wind down of its portfolio. But many are not so convinced yet that the Fed will be able to pull off another hike this year. Washington DC seems bogged down, so we may not see much inflation-causing fiscal stimulus coming from there. Agency MBS prices, the 5-year Treasury note, and the 10-year T-note all worsened between .125-.250, and the latter's yield ended the day at 2.16% - still pretty darned low.

Jobs and housing drive the economy, and today we've seen Housing Starts and Building Permits for May (starts were -5.5%, three straight months of down numbers and an 8 month low, permits -4.9%). Later, at 9AM Central Time, is the preliminary June University of Michigan consumer sentiment number projected unchanged as well as the Labor Market Conditions Index (May) which was delayed from earlier in the week due to the FOMC meeting. We find the 10-year yielding 2.17% and agency MBS prices roughly unchanged versus last night's close.

Job Market and Tech Products

Pacific Union Financial, LLC continues to expand the Northeast region of its retail division, most recently opening a Distributed Retail branch in Burlington, Massachusetts. This branch will serve homebuyers in the Greater Boston Area with their home purchase and refinance needs. Branch Manager, Arthur Clark, has over 25 years of experience successfully leading sales teams and helping borrowers buy, sell and refinance their homes. Are you a loan officer looking to join a strong Distributed Retail team that's primed for growth? If so, contact Catherine Nelson to learn more about joining the Pacific Union Northeast Distributed Retail team.

Passionate about "Reno?" "loanDepot is making major moves in the renovation lending space. Management has recently invested heavily in renovation resources, including best-in-class leadership and an operational task force which has taken the heavy lifting of closing a renovation loan out of the originator's hands. This investment has resulted in closings inside of 30 days on average...unheard of in renovation! Additionally, they decided to expand their service by building the nation's largest product offering with programs down to a 580 credit score with no overlays. loanDepot was the first company to create a VA renovation product, highlighted in this article. The results have been consistent QOQ gains in market share in renovation lending and building upon an already national top 10 renovation platform trending towards the top of the rankings. If you have the desire to be exceptional or simply want to learn more please contact Shane Stanton."

Assurance Financial, a full-service residential lender, continues to grow! "We're now hiring experienced MLOs for our branch in beautiful Charlotte, NC. What makes Assurance Financial different from other mortgage companies? We close loans on time. Assurance Financial's business model is different. We believe in supporting our LOs first, last, and always. Our operation is built around the branch, and the branch is built around our MLOs. Their success is our success. Assurance is also seeking LOs in CO, AZ, NM, LA, TX, MS, AL, TN, OH, FL, GA, AR, NC, and SC. Find out more from Paul Peters, CMB at 225-239-7948, or visit LendTheWay.com/careers."

Norcom Mortgage has been nominated for the 2017 moCADEMY Award in the Most Improved Operations category. These awards recognize clients who have distinguished themselves among their peers by using Motivity Business Intelligence to drive their culture and behavior in a more efficient, productive, and compliant organization. Norcom has moved forward by utilizing state of the art technology that has helped improve many of Norcom's processes. The lender has upgraded its servers to include cutting edge hardware and use the most current technology there is, which allows for improved performance. Management's use of Motivity to track loan progress has helped ensure closing dates are met and will continue to have average application to funding times below the national average. Norcom is a growing lender licensed in 40 states with 38 branch locations and is a direct Fannie & Freddie seller and Ginnie Mae issuer. If anyone is interested in joining a technology driven company, email Tyler Rhea.

In LOS news, "In our digital world, many lenders are grappling with LOS platforms that cannot integrate with today's technologies because they were not designed to. LendingQB offers a simpler way to add functionality without the large costs of an all-inclusive system. Providing 200+ integrations, LendingQB's best of breed LOS platform is driven by innovation, ensuring lenders can integrate with the latest and greatest technological advances as soon as they're available - even those not yet invented. Learn how a best of breed system can help lenders be, and remain, at the forefront of the industry. Check out LendingQB's most recent integrations here."

Planet Home Lending, LLC is pleased to announce that industry vet Chris Castoro has joined as executive vice president, overseeing secondary, operations, retail and wholesale production. Castoro has had experience with well-known lenders, and will direct expansion of Planet's distributed retail branch division and is actively hiring branch managers and originators nationwide. Contact John Cutajar (844-559-5050) about branching opportunities.

A "Top 10 Retail Lender, with a deep-pockets parent, is looking to purchase/merge originating lenders with production of $500m-6B annually. We offer extremely competitive compensation, pricing and sales support structure. Key areas where we would like to add new teams as part of our family are; NC, SC, VA, IL, MI, MW, TX, OK, Northeast, OH, AL, LA and MS.  However, we are not opposed to other areas of the country as well.  We will negotiate the best terms for the best companies. A 'plug n play' approach allows for smooth transitions with little interruption to business flow.  If interested in having an initial discussion, please email Rob Chrisman so a direct connection can be made." Please specify opportunity.

Sign up for the June 21st Silicon Valley CAMP 2017 Lender EXPO. I will be speaking about the latest news in the mortgage biz, and then hear how three Top Producers created, built and sustained remarkable mortgage businesses in different ways - a distinguished panel moderated by SV CAMP President Richard Wang. LUNCH is included, and admission is FREE to members but ONLY if you pre-register.