Welcome back to work! I'll skip the story that the press seems excited about (a Massachusetts man paying his mortgage off in pennies), and the news that Ally Bank is exiting warehouse lending*, and instead focus on a little 60 second non-mortgage sensory warm up... http://www.humorsphere.com/fun/8787/colortest.swf

(* "Ally Bank has announced that it will exit the warehouse lending business over the coming months as it has become a less strategic part of the Bank's activities in recent months. Ally Bank will honor its contractual obligations during this process and will provide clients with opportunities for a reasonable time to find alternative funding sources.  We expect that the wind-down process will be completed by the end of the year. Ally Bank made this decision after careful consideration of all the available options and determined that this was the best course of action and in line with adjustments it has made in other areas of its mortgage operations.")

Well-known mortgage industry vendor LoanSifter continues to expand, and is looking for Client Services leaders. LoanSifter specializes in product eligibility and pricing engines for financial institutions. Team leaders will be involved with teams that support the management of Banker clients, along with other client groups. The ideal candidates should have secondary/capital markets experience, operations experience (understands loan process beginning to end, familiar with LOSs, PPEs), be savvy in technology, and has had exposure to different business models (retail, wholesale, and consumer direct). The individual should be a highly effective manager while working in a remote/virtual office environment.  For more information on its product lines, visit loansifter .com. If you know someone who might be interested, they should send a resume to Bruce Backer at bruce@loansifter .com.

Prime Lending is currently looking to build out its Mountain West Region and is searching for seasoned Branch Managers, Loan Originators, and Teams in Denver/Front Range, Salt Lake City, Portland, and Seattle. PrimeLending is a direct lender and a division of Plains Capital Bank which can originate in all 50 states, and was ranked #20 in 1st quarter originations by National Mortgage News: www2.primelending .com. If interested, please contact Casey Berger at cberger@primelending .com.

Remember Impac Mortgage?  Well, the former Top 15 lender is quickly re-emerging as a strong player in retail, wholesale and correspondent lending. Impac's focus on the retail side is on purchase money transactions and it is working with real estate agents across several western states providing education and sales tools to help real estate agents grow their business.  Impac has attracted strong loan officers and branches from other firms to come on board.  "Production in Q1 2012 has grown over 500% compared to the same time period in 2011." Anyone interested in learning more about joining Impac Mortgage should go to www.impacmortgage .com and click on "Careers".

Haven't you heard? It's downright un-American to not refinance! And any lender that actually requires things like an application, an appraisal, a credit report, having the loan underwritten, and so on, and then having to service that loan under the threat of buybacks and the borrower blaming the lender when they stop making their payments is standing in the way of the American Dream! Do I sound a little jaded? So be it... but here is the president's refi plan, straight from the White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/refi.

Speaking of the government today is the last day to submit comments for the Reg. Z and QRM ("Ability to Repay") changes possibly heading our way through the CFPB. Here is the site that can lead to comments: ; the press release for "Ability to Repay" is here.

Public relations can be the name of the game when it comes to the CFPB. Their stated mission - to protect the consumer's finances - is a great goal, and one which no one can disagree. And last week Richard Cordray came out saying that the new rules and paperwork would help lenders too! No one can argue with that either.

But there are plenty of critics. The members of the CFPB have some pretty hefty salaries, public records. (Hey, I just know what I read in the newspapers.) In 2011 we have Rajeev V. Date at $243,075, Peter Carroll (Assistant Director) at $198,993, Peggy Twohig (Assistant Director, Office of Non-bank Supervision) at $225,640, Jennifer Howard (CFPB Spokesperson) at $145,399, and so on. Apparently they, along with other Federal employees, are listed at www.datauniverse.com. Click on "Public Payrolls," "Federal Employees,", "Federal Reserve System," and "Consumer Finance Protection Bureau."

And using video to push the message across is definitely on the increase. Here is a site from the Illinois Mortgage Professionals on Raj Date's disclosure testimony.

In the meantime, non-bank lenders are seeking exemption from CFPB oversight. Good luck with that one. Reports indicate that the CFPB is working on financial compliance audits of some of the nation's largest non-bank mortgage lenders and hopes to complete at least one of these audits in the next few weeks. The report said that, "Sources familiar with the matter said that four nonbanks-all based in California and all privately held-are going through the audit process now." California, large, and non-bank...that narrows it down somewhat, and names like Provident, Stearns Lending, PennyMac, Prospect, Pinnacle, and RPM all jump to mind as possibilities.

Several CEO's have told me that, given the plethora of regulatory groups that audit them, examinations have become very expensive. And even if the CFPB does not charge the firms (yet), tying up resources, hiring attorneys and consultants, and the entire process is very expensive. And, of course, this cost is passed on to the borrowers - make no mistake.

A broker from Nevada wrote me, "I wonder if Mr. Romney will try to overturn Frank/Dodd and get rid of CFPB, and help try to overturn any of the "micromanaging the little guy at the bottom of the pole" stuff that has stifled the mortgage business. We all know that subprime has its place - since the beginning of time certain people benefit from that type of lending. Does the government understand that not everyone has perfect credit? What about Beneficial, Household Finance, Aames Home Loans went to Accredited six years ago...those lenders should be allowed to return. We just don't need where the major aggregators push vanilla product to every single person that is breathing. Sure, rates are great, but I want the ability to provide exceptional service to my clients and make a decent living doing it. The CPFB should be an oversight entity and not a turn over every rock and find something wrong with anything and legislate it out of existence. The borrower will be the loser in the long run."

And while we're talking about added expenses flowing through to borrowers and consumers, one vet wrote to me, "From where I sit (mortgage broker) it is a crime that lenders don't accept transferred appraisals. Borrowers are paying for more than one HVCC appraisal when one of a variety of reasons motivates the broker to change lenders. For example, a client who owns a duplex paid $550 for an appraisal. The appraisal came in lower than expected (what a surprise), and that particular lender that was giving him the best rate, doesn't go over 105%. So we need to go elsewhere, AND pay for another appraisal. That is a true injustice to the consumer."

How do you sell 2,500 houses pronto? The FHFA announced its REO Pilot Program developments, whereby the winning bidders in its real estate owned (REO) pilot program are expected to close on the initial transactions in the third quarter of 2012. The FHFA launched its REO pilot program in February, and 2,500 single-family foreclosed properties held by Fannie Mae. According to FHFA, investors qualified for the bidding process after a rigorous evaluation, considering factors such as their financial strength, asset management experience, property management expertise, and experience in the geographic area of the available properties.  More

And in discussing snatching up blocks of properties, the Blackstone Group must be included. It is the biggest buyer of U.S. commercial real estate since prices bottomed, and reports show that it has spent more than $250 million this year buying foreclosed single-family houses with the intention of renting them out. The goal is to acquire enough assets to potentially take public as a real estate investment trust, or sell to another company or even to tenants. For more on this visit here.

On to the markets! Although Friday was pretty slow in the markets, we still saw some movement with the poor employment data. Jobs and housing, housing and jobs...that's what it will take for our economy to pick up - and jobs ain't doing so good. Oil, gold, and stocks all dropped as their demand is expected to wane if things are slow around the world.

The jobs number was a disappointment. Those scraping for good news pointed to the Average Hourly Earnings increase, along with the rise in weekly hours worked. Perhaps these will lead to continued consumer spending, but really, much of what hiring there was came from temporary and leisure workers, not the long term "quality" labor for continuing contribution. These employment data reflects the weakening economic momentum seen in other data and adds to the perception that, like prior two years, the recovery has entered a mid-year soft patch. It seems more clear that the encouraging reports in jobs of earlier in the year were driven by the mild winter; the Q1 monthly gains of 226K has given way to Q2 growth of 75K.

It was more of the same, and gave the mortgage market some time to cogitate on the prepayment speeds that were announced. This is, of course, very interesting to investors - who wants to pay a 5 point premium for something that is going to pay off next month? Prepayment speeds did increase, although much of it had been anticipated by analysts. As we'd expect, the largest increases came in the "HARPable" sectors, but even these were less than expected leading many to say that the residential lending industry has capacity issues - no surprise there!

News-wise, we don't have much scheduled until we see the Trade Balance figures Wednesday. Thursday has some Import/Export data, along with the usual Initial Jobless Claims, and then Friday is the Producer Price Index and Michigan Consumer Sentiment. On Friday our 10-yr closed at a yield of 1.54%; this morning we're opening around 1.53% with MBS prices nearly unchanged.

IT'S SO HOT in Indiana (Part 2 of 3)
.....the temperature drops below 90 F and you feel a little chilly.
.....you discover that in July it only takes two fingers to steer your car.
.....you discover that you can get sunburned through your car window.
.....you actually burn your hand opening the car door.
.....you break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 A.M.
.....your biggest motorcycle wreck fear is, "What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death"?