The Fourth of July is nearly here our very own Census Bureau has dished up some tasty numerical facts. The estimated U.S. population for July Fourth this year is 321 million, whereas in July 1776 the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation was 2.5 million. In 2014, there was $247 million worth of fireworks imported from China (to pay for all those empty buildings in Vancouver!), which is the bulk of all U.S. fireworks. There were also $3.6 million worth of imported American flags in 2014, with $3.5 million of these having been made in China. I guess we don't make many of our own flags.

It is as dry as a bone in California, but plenty of other places have seen floods in recent months.

NewLeaf Wholesale spread the word about flood policy. "Due to severe weather and flooding in the state of Texas, all properties located in impacted counties listed below require evidence that the subject property sustained no damage. This requirement is effective immediately and will remain in effect until further notice. As a result, funding for properties in the impacted counties may be delayed. Impacted Counties: Archer, Bastrop, Bosque, Caldwell, Cass, Clay, Collin, Cooke, Denton, Dewitt, Eastland, Fannin, Gaines, Grayson, Grimes, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hill, Hood, Houston, Jasper, Johnson, Kendall, Montague, Navarro, Newton, Nueces, Parker, San Jacinto, Smith, Van Zandt, Walker, Wichita, Wilson and Wise.

Fannie Mae and other agencies stated, basically, "If the property has been appraised, a 1004D re-inspection completed by the Appraiser is required to certify that "the property is free from flood damage". If an appraisal has not yet been completed, the Appraiser must confirm with details in the body of the appraisal that "the property is free from flood damage." If the appraisal or re-inspection indicates damage, the extent of the damage must be addressed. If the subject property sustained minor damage, the repairs must be completed prior to closing. If the damages are structural or major subject to rebuild, the loan will be declined due to collateral condition. The re-inspection and any extension to accommodate repairs will be charged to the Borrower."

Got Appraisals' Emergency Inspection Team (E.I.T.) can assist with assessing the impact that a disaster may have had on any homes in the lending process, or currently in portfolio. Got Appraisals provides visual inspections with photos and written assessment of any impact on the property. Completed on an agency-compliant form. Interested in learning more? Click the link to view Got Appraisals website.

With the severe storms in Texas, an announcement has been posted regarding PennyMac disaster policy implementation.

And don't forget that many lenders and investors are changing their loan level price adjustments as of today!

But it began a while ago. For example, as of June 15, 2015 Stearns Lending embedded the revised Agency Loan Level Pricing Adjustments (LLPAs) in its wholesale rate sheets. The revised LLPAs will reflect the removal of the .25 Adverse Market Fee. These changes will be adopted industry wide and are not exclusive changes with Stearns.

For example, Penny Mac has updated its conventional loan level price adjustments. PennyMac is implementing numerous updates to Loan Level Price Adjustments (LLPAs) for Conventional loan programs on the Best Efforts rate sheet only Updates effective for all Best Efforts commitments taken on or after Monday, July 6th, 2015.  Rate sheet will reflect updated values beginning on the same date.  Corresponding updates to PennyMac Conventional LLPAs on the Mandatory rate sheet will follow in the coming weeks.

I know, a little late with this one, but "Be sure to register any loans to outstanding trades prior to July 1st with FAMC in order to obtain current LLPAs. With the upcoming Agency changes to certain conventional Loan Level Price Adjustments, FAMC's LLPAs changes are effective with locks on and after 07/01/2015."

(Log into your Franklin American Mortgage website to view operational updates. These updates include its Inter Vivos Revocable Trust Documentation and Signature Requirements and its new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) Policy chapter.)

NYCB Mortgage Company updated its LLPA(s) on conforming and high-balance agency loans in response to FHFA pricing directives. Some of the LLPA changes were effective for locks on loans with the following characteristics on or after June 8th: High-Balance (worsening by .250), Cash-Out Refinance (worsening by .375), Investments (worsening by .250), and Loans w/ Subordinate Financing (worsening by .375).

Citi Bank posted its newest bulletin updating credit policies, notices, and clarifications. To read or print the complete bulletin, CLICK HERE.

Next week is the California MBA's annual Secondary Marketing conference in San Francisco. The event inspired Eileen O'Grady to write, "I'm looking forward to the upcoming (43rd!) Western Secondary Marketing Conference sponsored by the California Mortgage Bankers Association.  I'm also weighing in on the big news that now both Desktop Underwriter and Loan Prospector are free. 

"First the conference: The attendee list looks robust, and the topics are forward-looking, geared to answering the question "how will mortgages be capitalized in the coming years?"  As I viewed the agenda I waxed nostalgic about this conference. I've been in the business long enough to remember that the Western Secondary was sponsored by the California League of Savings and Loans, otherwise known as 'The Cal League.' That's a bit like remembering that the original name of New York City was New Amsterdam.

"Back in those days, we all met at the St. Francis to close on the sale of blocks of whole loans, when portfolio and non-Agency loans were 35% or more of the mortgage capital market.  As I prepare for this year's conference, I'm looking forward to seeing how much portfolio and non-agency business will be talked about - after we finish talking about how DU and LP are free

The big 'then versus now' difference is that secondary deals are now about relationships, not just pools of loans. Who you're buying from/selling to needs careful analysis because a buyer's criteria for purchases need to match up, over time, with a seller's access to those criteria in their lending region.

"(One of my clients, LoanScoreCard, is doing its part to address the capitalization need, and the need for the right criteria match between buyer and seller, through its Custom Automated Underwriting System: CAUS. Here's the thinking: currently about 25% of all newly originated loans are held in bank portfolios (up from 10% just a couple of years ago), and about 5-10% of newly-originated loans are sold in whole loan or security form to non-Agency investors.)

"Now, let's talk about DU and LP being free. I contend that portfolio and non-Agency loans are best underwritten using AUS products from vendors like LoanScoreCard or Andrew Davidson & Co., rather than DU or LP. LP made it clear in their recent announcement that 'Loan Prospector assesses only a loan's eligibility for sale to Freddie Mac.' The same is true about DU when you read Fannie's guidelines. I posted an OpEd piece about this topic at my LinkedIn address. And if you're at Western Secondary, come visit me on Thursday, July 8, in the LoanScoreCard Suite at the Drake, at 450 Powell Street - a 3 minute walk from the St Francis." Thank you Eileen!

Turning to rates, after some Grecian Formula-inspired volatility Monday, U.S. bond markets settled down Tuesday. The economic releases in the U.S. were pretty neutral: the Case-Shiller 20-City Index rose 4.9% in April versus climbing 5.0% in March. (All 20 cities showed a year-over-year gain.) The Chicago PMI came out at 49.4 in June - better than the 46.2 from May. And Consumer Confidence soared past estimates to 101.4 for June but downwardly-revised to 94.6 in May.

We started the second half of 2015 with news that Greek Prime Minister Tsipras, in a letter to Greece's creditors, accepted their proposals for compromise with only minor changes. Tsipras' sticking points remain on pensions and tax discounts so it is not a done deal. The MBA's Mortgage Index for the week ending 6/26 showed that apps fell 4.7% with refis down 5% to their lowest level since last December - refis now account for about 49%. Purchase apps decreased by 4 percent but the number is still 14 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

We also had the June Challenger Job figures (their job figures showed cuts of 45k, 9% more than in May) and the June ADP Employment Change (+237k - better than expected). Ahead of us we'll see the June ISM Index and May Construction Spending. For folks who like numbers we closed the 10-yr. about where we started the day - at 2.34% - and this morning we're at 2.42 on the Greek news and agency MBS prices are worse .375-.50, depending on coupon.

jobs and Announcements

But we do make many of our jobs in the U.S.! Paramount Equity Mortgage is seeking a Director of Compliance. "This individual will oversee Pre- and Post-Closing audits; review and approve all marketing/advertising materials; prepare and submit HMDA, MCR, and state-specific annual reports; review quarterly fair lending analytical reports; assist with regulatory and agency examinations; serve as a compliance resource to production staff; and serve on the Compliance Committee.  As a rapidly expanding retail/consumer direct lender, we are looking for an individual with both compliance, management, and mortgage-banking experience, and who is interested in working as part of an experienced team to grown the next great mortgage company.  Relocation to Northern California would be preferred but not required.  Interested parties can confidentially contact Shawna Ford.

Private mortgage insurance company MGIC is searching for an Account Manager in its West Central Region. "The Account Manager will be responsible for maintaining a sales relationship with MGIC customers in San Antonio and South Texas. The position will primarily cover San Antonio, Corpus Christie, and other areas in South Texas. Reporting to the Sales Manager and working closely with National Accounts, the business development support teams, Underwriters, and the Regional Processing Centers, the individual will provide problem-solving services and MGIC programs to assigned accounts. The primary focus of the Account Manager will be to identify opportunities for MGIC to enhance its customer relationships using appropriate customer needs analysis and program execution." For a full job description click on the link above.

Compliance is the order of the day, and a 20-year old company in the northeast is looking for an experienced Chief Compliance Officer. The company is a Ginnie, Fannie, and Freddie approved lender, issuer and servicer with a large servicing portfolio. 100% of all loans are servicing retained and the company is currently funding $1B per month in loan originations through correspondent, third party origination and retail channels. If you are interested please forward your resume to rchrisman@robchrisman. com.

Last but not least, Stonegate Mortgage Corporation (NYSE: SGM), a leading, publicly-traded mortgage company, announced the expansion of its Stonegate Direct operations in its Scottsdale, Arizona offices and is hiring. This expansion will result in the addition of employees to the Stonegate Direct team, creating nearly 50 jobs in the Scottsdale area. Stonegate Direct is adding mortgage advisors as well as operations and office support professionals to the team, further enhancing its consumer-direct mission. These expansion efforts reflect the new technologies and innovative, consumer-focused processes being introduced to the mortgage space. Interested applicants can send resumes to resumes@stonegatemtg. com.