Here's your life graphically under COVID. Many in our business will argue that homes should not be used as piggy banks, COVID or no COVID. For others it is their lifeblood of business. Others say that good moms let you lick the beaters, but great moms turn them off first. (Okay, I just threw that in there to see if you’re paying attention.) Given that 10,000 people a day are turning 62, it is good to know what is happening at that end of the age curve. Housing wealth for American seniors aged 62 and older increased by 1.6% in Q1 2020, to a new all-time high of $7.54 trillion. Senior home values were one of the main factors leading to the new high, increasing by 1.4%, or $132 billion. With record high housing wealth, reverse mortgages continue to be relevant.
Lender and Broker Services and Products
We all know volume and lender demands are at an all-time high. With the floodgates open, the right technology should work for you, not against you. Maxwell’s digital mortgage point-of-sale platform is powered with thoughtful automation at every step of the mortgage process. Maxwell enables over 200 small-to-midsize lenders to realize faster turn-times, less underwriting touches, and happier real estate partners. And it shows up in the numbers: Loans on Maxwell are closing 45% faster, helping lenders on Maxwell’s platform to manage (and close) more loans with the same staff, a critical benefit in these tsunami volume times. Click here to learn more about the Maxwell platform, and request a demo today.
The nuances of the CFPB’s strictly regulated LO Comp Rule are a known cause of headaches for mortgage lenders. Because of its unintuitive nature, the rule is not always fully understood by those actually managing loan commissions. To help lenders stay compliant from the bottom up, The Sophisticated Payroll Coordinators Guide to the LO Comp Rule on Thursday, July 23 at 2:00 pm ET, a webinar designed to bring your staff up to speed on LO comp dos, don’ts and best practices. Hosted with Ballard Spahr partner Richard Andreano, your team will get definitive answers to all their burning questions like, “Is it really okay to vary compensation for purchase and refinance loans?”. Register now or forward this to your payroll department, branch managers or anyone who would benefit from LO Comp Rule education.
Here’s an instance of a technology vendor hitting it out of the park. SimpleNexus writes that adoption of its disclosures solution has skyrocketed, having generated 182,000 disclosures in the month of June. When asked why their disclosures solution has been so well received, they say the answer is simple: they’ve made it easy for lenders to send, and for borrowers to review and sign, disclosures from any device at any time. According to COO Ben Miller: “We’ve developed our disclosures solution with lender input to eliminate more than a dozen pain points that occur in other solutions. Together, these optimizations add up to a better borrower experience, massive time savings and stronger pull-through.” Sign up for a demo to learn more.
What’s rapid borrower relief? It’s the ability to process the staggering number of COVID-19 forbearance requests in bulk, and it’s what servicers need most right now. With more than 2 million forbearance agreements currently at the point of extension, deferral, or repayment, it’s time to get ready to manage the next phase of options: eligibility determination and workout alignment. That means it’s time for automated rapid borrower relief that brings a level of functionality far beyond simply ingesting data in mass. Through self-service capabilities and system automation, servicers can underwrite their COVID-19 loss mitigation processes to manage incoming requests, upload data, approve workouts, generate borrower communications, and launch future workflows with ease. Ready to make a real difference and lead your organization to success with rapid implementation of automated workflows, backed by industry expertise? Check out our Loss Mitigation Automation for Rapid Borrower Relief eBook and find out how to future-proof your organization with CLARIFIRE.
Optimal Blue Mortgage Market Indices (OBMMI) are now available on the Nasdaq Global Index Data Service (GIDS). Nasdaq GIDS distributes real-time data to more than 700 financial services companies around the globe, including all major market data vendors, market exchanges, sell-side banks, buy-side firms, trade automation providers, and financial web portals. The availability of highly accurate, granular indices that depict the daily movement of mortgage rates provide timely information and unique opportunities for today's consumers, as well as mortgage and finance professionals. In fact, the mortgage industry saw rates hit another all-time, historic low just last Friday. As reported by Optimal Blue’s OBMMI, the national rate average on the 30- and 15-year conforming mortgages fell to an astounding 3.025% and 2.528% respectively. Track accurate rates yourself every day with Optimal Blue’s OBMMI.
Floods, Earthquakes, Storms…
Yes, Death Valley just set a record for heat, but hurricane season will be starting soon with the usual news coverage of traffic jams from people fleeing them. FEMA, as always, is the primary source, and driver, of lender’s disaster policies and procedures. And of course every year Congress debates extending flood laws and they are often, unfortunately, used in political negotiations.
In the July 6, 2020, issue of the Federal Register (85 FR 40442), the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Farm Credit Administration (FCA), and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), (collectively the “Agencies”), jointly published proposed Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Flood Insurance that reorganize, revise and expand the existing Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Flood Insurance. The Agencies are requesting comments on these proposed Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Flood Insurance. Interested parties who wish to submit comments must do so on or before September 4, 2020. The addresses and methods for submitting comments to one or more of the Agencies is set out on pages 40442 and 40443 of the above hyperlinked Federal Register.
Whether or not you agree with man-made climate change, it is affecting the housing sector. Follow the money, right? Flood risk calculations and maps are being changed, and flood risk research fintech First Street Foundation is addressing that problem through its Flood Factor platform, an online visualization tool that offers property specific, past and present flood risk data, along with future risk assessments, for more than 142 million homes and properties across the country.
Recently released U.S. Census Bureau housing unit estimates show the impact of natural disasters in towns and cities across the country using FEMA data to paint a more current picture of population shifts in communities. California’s Butte County, site of the Camp Fire in 2018, saw the biggest decline of any county in the U.S. between 2018 and 2019, losing 13.9 percent of total housing units. Fires in California over the last couple years also affected Shasta and Lake Counties, drastically, costing 570 and 140 housing units, respectively. Additionally, Lake County lost over 1,100 units between 2015 and 2016 due to a separate fire. Fires are only one type of disaster impacting housing units. Calhoun, and Jackson Counties in the Florida panhandle were impacted by Hurricane Michael in October 2018. Calhoun County lost over 80 housing units between 2018 and 2019. Jackson County lost nearly 70 housing units over the same period. And flooding in Iowa during the spring of 2019 impacted Mills and Fremont Counties, costing the counties 70 housing units and 20 units, respectively.
On 7/9/2020, with DR-4548, FEMA declared federal disaster aid with individual assistance has been made available to 2 Utah counties affected by earthquake and aftershocks during 3/18/2020 – 4/17/2020. AmeriHome reminded clients that disaster inspections are required for the Davis and Salt Lake Counties.
Recall that with DR-4542, FEMA declared federal disaster aid with individual assistance has been made available to 7 South Carolina counties affected by severe storms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds during 4/12/2020 – 4/13/2020.
AmeriHome will require disaster inspections for the following Michigan counties: Arenac, Gladwin, Iosco, Midland and Saginaw due to the FEMA declaration from severe storms and flooding during the period of May 16, 2020, through May 22, 2020.
On June 29th, Flagstar posted updates on the Mississippi Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight Line Winds and Flooding (DR-4536) and the South Carolina Severe Storms, Tornadoes and Straight-line Winds (DR4542) regarding the effective date to determine if a re-inspection is required.
Due to the effects of severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding in South Carolina, FEMA has issued a disaster declaration for the Incident Period: April 12, 2020 – April 13, 2020. The declaration includes the following counties in South Carolina: Aiken, Barnwell, Berkeley, Colleton, Hampton, Marlboro, Oconee, Orangeburg, and Pickens counties. Consult the Caliber Home Loans Sellers Guide for details.
Mortgage Solutions Financial issued revised disaster alerts in 07-20W and 07-20C regarding the South Carolina Severe Storms, issued revised disaster alerts in Announcement 05-20W and Announcement 05-20C regarding the Mississippi flooding, and sent out Announcement 11-20C regarding the Michigan Severe Storms - Disaster Alert.
Much of the markets attention last week was devoted to the resurgence of Covid-19 infections and new hot spots in the US. deflation concerns, which have once again crept into the minds of marker participants, were augmented with a surprise drop in the producer price index. As a result, bond yields drifted lower and the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey hit an all-time low dating back to the series commencement in 1971. Purchase mortgage applications were up 5 percent for the week ending July 3 and refinance applications inched up. The indices are up 33 percent and 111 percent respectively from one year ago. Pending home sales rebounded in May as people were once again able to get out and shop and sales are expected to rebound through the remainder of the summer buying season which should bode well for mortgage volume. The resurgence of Covid-19 infections, including California shutting back down, will continue to impact economic activity although many do not expect a return to the widespread shutdowns experienced in March and April. The rate of improvement will likely slow as people and businesses adjust to new operating and safety standards to mitigate exposure to the virus.
It seems we are certainly nearing the dog days of summer, as there hasn’t been much news or movement of MBS or rates since the holiday. The big news yesterday was Dallas Fed President Kaplan suggesting that the central bank's emergency lending facilities could be removed if market conditions continue improving. The central bank remains on track to purchase $40 billion in Treasury securities over the next two weeks. Longer Treasury yields ended yesterday up a bp, which was surprising considering there was somewhat poor news on the geopolitical front. Secretary of State Pompeo announced that the U.S. will strengthen its policy on China's territorial claims in the South China Sea. And China sanctioned several members of Congress and the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
If that wasn’t enough news (you didn’t care to read) for you, the U.S. will impose a 25 percent tariff on $1.3 billion worth of imports from France as retaliation for France's plan to impose a digital tax. Economic releases included the Treasury Budget for June posting a record $864 billion deficit for the month of June. (The deficit in June 2019 was $8.5 billion.) The figure reflects the huge imbalance of tax receipts with the huge sums of fiscal support provided to by congress to help with the effects of COVID.
Today’s economic calendar is already underway with the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for June (+6.2). We’ve also had June Consumer Price Index (+.6 percent, +.6 percent year over year, mostly due to gasoline prices) and core CPI (+.2 percent). Coming up is a trio of scheduled Fed speakers: Richmond’s Barkin, Fed Governor Brainard, St. Louis’ Bullard. A new schedule will see the Desk conducting two FedTrade purchase operations totaling up to $4 billion starting with $2.5 billion UMBS30 2 percent through 3 percent followed by up to $1.5 billion GNII 2.5 percent and 3 percent. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices close to unchanged and the 10-year yielding .62 after closing yesterday at 0.64 percent.
“In just five years, Home Point Financial has grown to be the second largest wholesale lender and the thirteenth largest correspondent lender. How? Because of a record-breaking increase in the customer base, not low rates. To meet Home Point’s continued demand, we're hiring over 75 permanent underwriters at every experience level. Home Point’s “We Care” culture truly sets us apart, and we offer 1) Remote Work Environment 2) Competitive Salary Plus Productivity Bonus 3) Management Opportunities 4) Full Benefits Through Aetna 5) Matching 401K, and 6) Overtime. Join the Home Point family today! Send your resume to John Eite.”
In today’s highly competitive recruiting environment, almost every mortgage company is facing a significant challenge in finding qualified operations personnel. What can make this challenge even more difficult is when the focus becomes simply getting resumes before clearly defining a candidate criteria and successful employee profile. Agility 360 a mortgage-centric recruiting and project staffing firm offers a sophisticated recruiting approach that identifies key criteria such as specific job skills, previous experience, and unique personality characteristics to identify the best candidates for the job. That is, Agility 360 focuses on the quality of candidates vs. the quantity of resumes. Over the past six years, Agility 360 has refined a proprietary vetting and testing process for mortgage positions that will find the right person for the job, every time. If you’d like to learn more, please contact Raj Sharma (469-208-6337).
“Many LOs struggle to trust their leadership & company’s stability. Churchill Mortgage not only has a world class leadership team, but it's also an E.S.O.P! Our employees are partial owners. We're a company of leaders, focused on the success of our company & our customers. We’ve been voted a Top Workplace for 7 consecutive years! According to LinkedIn, Churchill Mortgage loan officers have an average tenure of 4.3 years compared to the industry average of 1.7 years! Also, 13% of our Loan Officers have been with us for over 7 years. “I've been in the mortgage and finance business for over 40 years, & have found it's truly a ‘people’ business where there must be a relationship of trust,” explained Churchill Mortgage president and CEO, Mike Hardwick. We’re proud of our past & confident in our future. If this type of environment and leadership mentality interests you, contact Churchill Mortgage.”
Total Expert has added Kevin Dotzenrod as VP of Engineering (to lead the engineering team as it scales product architecture to a high-throughput enterprise system) and Laura Theodore as VP of Customer Success (to further develop Total Expert’s process-driven, highly scalable, and customer-centric approach to product experience and engagement).