"Rob, do you think that there is any chance that investors will start lowering their minimum net worth requirements?" In my opinion, no. In this environment, the best any investor is doing is maintaining the same net worth requirement for their correspondent counterparties - and there are many that advertise exactly that. Whether it is broker-dealers, margin for hedging pipelines, correspondent relationships, net worth requirements are not dropping and in fact are mostly heading higher. That, of course, helps well-capitalized firms. Just my opinion... And many of those lenders are hiring:

In Southern California, Carrington Mortgage Service, LLC is seeking a Sr. Vice President of Mortgage Retail Lending to help them continue to grow their branch network nationwide. Privately held Carrington is a Ginnie Mae Direct Servicer Seller, along with conventional, fixed & ARM, products, and more. Anyone interested in learning more please contact Linda Blakemore at linda.blakemore@carringtonms .com. By the way, Carrington is holding a "Discover the opportunities with Mortgage Lending Division" open house on Tuesday, August 7th. For more information on that go here.

I have been retained to help with a search by a mid-size depository bank for a Secondary Marketing/Capital Markets candidate to run that department. The bank is located in the Rocky Mountain States region, and the candidate is expected to work from headquarters. Experience with a pipeline hedging company recommended. Mortgage production, currently more than $500 million per year, consists of the full suite of conventional and FHA & VA products, fixed and ARM's, along with other products. If you know someone who might be interested, they should send their resume to me at rchrisman@robchrisman .com.

And heading back to California, Crestline Funding is looking for experienced underwriters and processors for both retail and wholesale channels in their Irvine, CA corporate office. Crestline Funding has been in business since 1994 (http://www.crestlinefunding .com/) and is a well-established direct lender. Loan product experience should include conventional, jumbo and FHA/VA. To inquire about available job opportunities with Crestline Funding please email careers@crestlinefunding .com.

FinCen compliance is about three weeks away - are you ready? The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ("FinCEN") reported that in the first quarter of 2012, lenders submitted 17,651 Mortgage Loan Fraud Suspicious Activity Reports ("SARS"), a 31% decrease over the previous year. This number represents only 9% of all SARs filed during this period, and 82% of those incidents occurred more than two year prior to filing. These very dated SARs could indicate that filers are still working through the backlog of bad loans originated in 2006-2007 housing bubble. Lenders know that they must comply by mid-August - there is a lengthier write up near the top right corner of STRATMOR's site at www.stratmorgroup .com.

Capital Markets Competitiveness? Who the heck is that? Well, here you go.

Saturday's commentary mentioned a letter from someone reporting a rumor that the Department of Justice may consider investor overlays a violation of the Fair Housing Law. I received this note from Dennis S., "If it is against Fair Lending for lenders to put on overlays to protect against buy-backs is it then against Fair Lending to require buy backs on issues lender(s) wanted to have an overlay on?"

Who is buying the pools of mortgages being originated by all the lenders out there, and the debt backing the agencies? The May TIC report (Treasury International Capital) showed that overseas investor holdings of agency MBS declined by $4.7 billion, bringing the January-May decline to nearly $46 billion. But overseas holdings of all long-term U.S. securities increased by $34 billion in May versus only $11 billion in April and $6 billion in March. Similar to the prior few months, overseas holdings of Treasuries alone increased (by $46bn in May) but the net demand for agency securities and corporate bonds continues to be negative. Trends from China, Japan, the U.K., France, and so on indicate that most of this decline came in agency debentures rather than in agency MBS. It appears, however, that the overseas investor demand for agency MBS has been somewhat weaker than expected over the past few months.

On to something simple like somewhat recent agency/investor updates, providing a flavor for the environment. They just don't stop - I have a backlog. As always, it is best to read the actual bulletin.

Fannie Mae has published a new FAQ on its website that addresses the HO-6 and master/blanket insurance for condos; this covers the insurance requirements outlined in the Selling Guide and the information in the "Condominium Insurance Requirements" announcement released in 2011.  These requirements will go into effect for all loans whose applications are dated January 1, 2012 or after.

October will see the guidelines for both DU and manual underwriting revised, with changes affecting DU's credit risk assessment and eligibility requirements.  The DU Release Notes on this topic should be available by July 24th.

With the Uniform Loan Delivery Dataset mandate fast approaching, sellers are reminded that they should be delivering loans with the new Loan Delivery application.  The July Uniform Mortgage Data Program Yardstick is now available and provides further information on the scheduled transition.  Those interested in learning more about the ULDD transition should know that Fannie is offering a webinar where ULDD experts will be able to answer any questions; see here for more details.  New Loan Delivery Release Notes, which cover the SEC's new required data point, Fannie loan number assignments, the Loan Origination and Appraiser License/Certification number field, and further edit severity changes, are available on the Fannie website as well.

Fannie now has blanket delegation of authority on behalf of all CMG Mortgage Insurance Company servicers.  This allows servicers to apply Fannie's guidelines and process a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or pre-foreclosure sale in connection with loans that Fannie owns or guarantees without having to obtain mortgage insurer approval from CMG.  The Fannie website features a list of all the mortgage insurers that have given Fannie blanket delegations of authority; this list is updated regularly.  Servicers are reminded that, when processing these pre-foreclosure sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure, they must ensure that any existing MI coverage isn't impaired and that they comply with all requirements of the master policy.

Freddie Mac has revised its eligibility and warranty requirements for selling condo unit mortgages and has restructured Chapter 42 of the Single Family Seller/Servicer Guide accordingly.  The guide now features self-contained project review sections that outline project review requirements and a project-related glossary, while the section on "Additional Seller Condominium Project Warranties" has been removed.  The defined term for a "Newly-converted Condominium Project" has been removed as well, and requirements concerning condo project conversions may now be found in the "New Condominium Projects" section (42.6).  In addition, the eligibility requirements for detached and mixed-use condo projects have been streamlined.

Borrowers whose properties are part of condominium projects are now allowed to maintain supplemental coverage in cases where their condo owners association's coverage doesn't meet the insurance requirements outlined in the Freddie Seller/Servicer Guide.  As of December 1, 2012, Freddie will not purchase loans on condos that are part of an association where the policy does not cover either at least 80% of the buildings' replacement cost or $250,000 multiplied by the number of units in the building.

Wells Fargo Correspondent has announced that it will cease to accept conventional conforming refinance transactions for Prior Approval underwriting from delegated sellers after July 30th.  The decision will not affect purchase transactions, non-conforming purchase and refinance transactions, manually underwritten purchase and refinance transactions, and standard refinances for sellers without delegated underwriting authority.

Clarification has been issued regarding sponsorships for Desktop Originator and Desktop Underwriter stating that Wells will continue to sponsor lenders who don't have Fannie approval or direct access to DU.

Due to MGIC's discontinuation of its eMagic storefront and services, Wells will halt all AU Connection services through wellsfargofunding.com and restrict new eMagic submissions through AU Connection as of August 1st.  After September 1, 2012, eMagic will no longer be available.

Recently a reminder went out that all loans would need to include a Loan Submission Summary to be eligible for purchase; Wells has since issued a few corrections.  The Document Checklist is actually in Section 505.04 of the Seller Guide, and information on "Required Submission Forms" may be found in Section 800.08.  In addition, Form 1 should be labeled "Loan Submission Summary."  The new requirements went into effect on July 16th.

Citibank has updated its Ineligible Originator List, which may be accessed via the elfno section of the Correspondent website under "Forms, Misc."  The Appraiser Monitor/Ineligible List is also accessible via this section of the site and is updated regularly.

What are economists saying about the health of the United States? Most economists seem to agree that here in The States, last week's crop of data was mixed, but consistent with a slow-growth U.S. economy. U.S. retail sales fell for the third consecutive month in June, the first time that has happened since late 2008. This is a definite warning sign that the economy has lost steam, but it is not sufficient, by itself to raise the recession flag. And Barclays Research said the market has not responded appropriately to weakening U.S. economic fundamentals (e.g., three straight months of negative retail sales growth and the lowest Philadelphia Fed employment index since late 2009) or to implementation issues for the EFSF that have come to the forefront, especially for Italian and Spanish debt yields. They likewise expect the US 5- and 10-year notes to rally to 0.5% and 1.25% (respectively) over "the coming months".

The Wells Fargo economic team noted, "Economic data came in mixed this week, as a drop in retail sales raised concerns of a sharp pullback in consumer spending during the second quarter. Data on the housing market continued to outperform expectations, with housing starts and new homes sales posting better-than-expected gains. News on the industrial sector was roughly in line with expectations, with manufacturing production providing a bit of an upside surprise in June. After incorporating this week's economic data, we have kept our forecast unchanged as many of the indicators were in line with our expectations. Our call remains for sub-par (1.2 percent) growth in the second quarter, with slightly weaker consumer spending."

With the Tour de France over, it seems that some attention has turned back to Europe, with its problems that will take years to resolve. Yes it is ugly in Spain and Italy. And Europe is a dysfunctional currency union that must choose devaluation and mutuality or cease to exist. Let's see...economy slow here, confusion in Europe...I don't see a lot of reason for rates to shoot up, do you?

This week isn't so bad when it comes to economic news, at least the stuff that is scheduled here in the United States. Zip today; tomorrow is the FHFA Housing Price Index; zip Wednesday. Thursday things pick up a little with Jobless Claims, Durable Goods, and Pending Home Sales. Friday has the GDP number (new news for the 2nd quarter) and a Michigan Sentiment number. And speaking of rates, our 10-yr T-note closed Friday at 1.46% and here this morning, due to problems in Spain, it is now 1.40%. Agency MBS prices are better by about .250.

RETIRE WHERE? Here are some of your choices, part 1 of 5:

You can retire to Phoenix, Arizona where... 
1.  You are willing to park 3 blocks away because you found shade.
2.  You've experienced condensation on your hiney from the hot water in the toilet bowl.
3.  You can drive for 4 hours in one direction and never leave town.
4.  You have over 100 recipes for Mexican food.
5.  You know that "dry heat" is comparable to what hits you in the face when you open your oven door.
6.  The 4 seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!