If you, or your borrowers, want $125 from Equifax, or to receive free credit reporting, here’s what you should do. The official settlement website has been posted and is accepting claims. (To confirm you're eligible to file a claim, enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number on the site or call the Settlement Administrator at 1-833-759-2982.) Could the $125 buy an RV? No, but there is a continued increase in potential borrowers opting for that path and buying an RV instead, and living in it fulltime: a mobile lifestyle.

Lender Services and Products

The continued proliferation of natural disasters requires homeowners, mortgagers and servicers to always be prepared for unexpected property damage. For servicers, this means having an insurance loss draft inspections provider that adheres to industry standards, delivers the highest quality of services and scales to serve communities nationwide while still providing regional focus and local expertise. Altisource’s video breaks down the five reasons Altisource® Field Services should be your insurance loss draft inspections provider.

Three words: Unsellable FHA loans. Stop letting these words strike fear into your lending practices. With Millennial homeownership demand about to skyrocket and low-down payment products being a very attractive option for them, take control of your FHA lending with these best practices from TMS. The practical tips let you proactively manage your pipeline, so you can confidently capture the growing opportunity with FHA loans. 

Keeping your LOs hyper-connected with borrowers and realtors is critical to boosting closed-loan rates and improving closing times. That’s why SimpleNexus has released an open API and webhooks that enable real-time, two-way data sharing between SimpleNexus and non-integrated third-party systems, such as CRMs and LOSs. The open API performs time-saving functions, instantly populating information entered into the SimpleNexus app within the CRM so that CRM-driven automated marketing campaigns can begin engaging borrowers immediately. Webhooks can be enabled to trigger notifications when changes occur within the SimpleNexus platform, such as the creation, update or deletion of a user. For more info on how SimpleNexus can turbocharge your loan production, request a personalized demo. Or if you’ll be in Buena Vista, Florida, for FAMP’s Annual Convention, drop by SimpleNexus booth #300.

Looking for a program to offer opportunities to consumers who may otherwise be unable to participate in the housing market? Look no further! Sierra Pacific Mortgage, Inc. announces Adventum, its non-QM line of mortgage products for borrowers with unique financial circumstances. Adventum is derived from Latin for “adventure, chance” and is ideal for borrowers whose career choices have taken them beyond the 9 to 5 workplace. Sierra Pacific Originators and Account Executives understand that life brings different adventures, whether they are self-employment, opening a new business, or working in a field of fluctuating income. These millions of people may have the income to qualify, but don’t qualify for traditional mortgages that require tax returns, W-2 and paystubs. With the introduction of Adventum, Sierra Pacific will provide loans to qualified borrowers who may otherwise be unable to purchase a home or improve their current financial profile.

Vendor and Tech Arena Trends

The results for the first of three 2019 STRATMOR Technology Insight Study surveys are now available. If you completed this five-minute survey, you received an email from STRATMOR with instructions on downloading the report. One of the key metrics in the study is the STRATMOR’s Lender Loyalty Score Analysis™ (LLS) that measures how likely it is that a lender will continue to use a technology. This year, lenders reported the highest LLS for their Pipeline Hedging systems with Servicing Systems finishing second, indicating that lenders are not likely to switch either of these systems. If you are not a lender but would like to purchase the report to learn more about lenders’ perceptions of current systems, contact the STRATMOR Technology Insight team.

The second survey in the series, TIS: Digital Innovations, is now open. In this survey, lenders are asked about implementing digital technologies in the mortgage process and what barriers or benefits they are encountering. Lenders who participate receive the reports for the surveys they complete for FREE. Complete all the surveys and you’ll have the entire 2019 Technology Insight Study for the investment of your time. Take the Digital Innovations Survey now!

As I roamed the hallways and listened to the speakers, the buzzwords at the recent California MBA Western Secondary conference, much the same as most conferences for the last several years, were “machine learning,” “digitalization,” and “A.I.” Mortgage companies across the nation are looking to both offer better technology than their competitors and keep up with the demands of their borrowers. Many buyers are turning to online mortgage lenders in hopes of finding the most digital homebuying experience possible, with nearly three-quarters of mortgage applicants now applying online, and 83% signing documents electronically, per a recent survey from Ellie Mae. With any applicant, it is important to go through the pros and cons of using an online lender for their next home loan. The benefits revolve around convenience, including a fast rate quote, what is presented as a streamlined application process, and lower fees and interest rates without the cost of brick and mortar branches.

But that may not be for all borrowers. Some may prefer more of the hand-holding available from a traditional lender, especially true for first-time homebuyers who need more help understanding mortgage options, local knowledge such as homebuyer incentive programs that can lower interest rate or closing costs, and special financing for the self-employed, those with a low credit score, or those are interested in an FHA loan or other low-down-payment mortgage. It all depends on a borrower’s comfort level. A mortgage is one of the biggest financial transactions one will ever make, so make sure to thoroughly talk through all options and resources available.

Capital Markets

Economic data has remained mixed over the last week, much like it has throughout the year. The main attention grabber last week was the larger than expected jump in June retail sales, which increased 0.4 percent for the month and are up 3.4 percent annually. Good consumer credit metrics, a strong job market, and increasing home equity bode well for consumers through the second half of the year. Manufacturing output increased 0.4 percent in June despite overall industrial production remaining flat. Housing starts were down 0.9 percent during June and remain in the range seen over the last twelve months. The weakness came in the multi-family sector, which was down 9.2 percent for the month. The Leading Economic Index was another area of weakness, declining 0.3 percent in June due to weak residential building permits, new manufacturing orders, and higher unemployment insurance claims. The consensus remains for a 25bps rate cut at the upcoming Fed policy meeting and the markets are pricing it in at a near certainty.

When Q2 GDP prints tomorrow (Friday), expectations are for the first sub-2 percent growth rate in two years, largely attributable to private inventories building at a slower pace. The rate at which businesses grow or drain inventories factors into GDP, though it’s notoriously difficult to predict private inventory current quarter change compared to prior quarter change since inventories are subject to large revisions. The largest quarterly inventory changes of the past three years occurred in each of the past three quarters, in large part to the escalating trade war, as businesses stockpile in anticipation of supply chain disruptions and/or higher input prices. The slowdown in manufacturing and retail sales in Q1 likely led to some unintended inventory building, but the Commerce Department reported slower growth in inventories in April and May (as did the ISM manufacturing inventories index in June), setting the table for inventories to be a drag on growth. Additionally, domestic crude oil stocks moved higher in Q2, encouraging domestic production and potentially contributing to a larger-than-expected inventory build in Q2. And Boeing’s 737 MAX issues are adding upward pressure on inventories. Finally, tariffs remain a concern among manufactures, causing larger stockpiles. All these signals point to private inventories building at a slower pace and pulling GDP growth lower in Q2, making the question not an if, but by just how much? We will find out tomorrow.

Yesterday, Besides Robert Mueller III’s testimony seeming to disappoint both Republicans and Democrats, the bond market action saw a small rally in slight curve-flattening fashion during yesterday’s midweek session, including the 10-year closing -2 bps to 2.05 percent. The small rally was from poor PMI (purchasing manager’s index) data from across the globe. Several countries’ gauge of manufacturing strength hit multi-year lows, were disappointing, or expected to be hit by trade worries: Germany, France, the entire Eurozone, Australia, and Japan. Domestically, as if the markets cared, U.S. sales of new homes increased in June, but not quite to expectations, and sales for April and March were also revised lower. Despite the low mortgage rates, low unemployment, and a tight supply of existing homes for sale, the numbers have consistently been registering at disappointing levels.

Ahead of today’s domestic open, the ECB was out with their latest policy decision (steady, but asset purchases expected soon, driving down rates). ECB head Draghi, whose term ends officially on October 31, just began his press conference. Many have predicted he will take the opportunity to announce that asset purchases will be restarted, considering he previously said that the ECB will act if the region's economy does not improve.

We have also had the majority of domestic releases already out for consumption. Those include June Advance International Trade in Goods (-$74.17B), June Advance Retail Inventories (-.1%), June Advance Wholesale Inventories (+.2%), June Durable Orders (+2.0%), and June Durable Orders ex-transportation (+1.2%). Additionally, we’ve had the usual weekly Initial Claims, this time for the week ending July 20 (-10k to 206k). With the European Central Bank activity as a backdrop we begin the day with Agency MBS prices better .125-.250 and the 10-year yielding 2.02%.



“Will your business continue to thrive when rates go up? Are you a Sr. MLO or Branch Manager who’s looking to increase your purchase loan business? Do you have a passion for providing your clients and referral partners with exceptional service? Alameda Mortgage Corporation is seeking dynamic managers and originators to provide exceptional service to eight highly productive (4,000+ transactions annually) real estate brokerage locations in Southern California. Alameda Mortgage has been committed to providing a platform for MLOs and managers to succeed at the highest level for over 50 years. We are a purchase-focused company that understands exceptional customer service starts with a commitment to supporting our salespeople. AMC is a mortgage bank headquartered in Walnut Creek, CA and is licensed in multiple states. If you are an experienced MLO or Manager looking to grow your purchase business, then please contact Mark Rafeh to learn more.”

“Are you a New England Account Executive looking to make a change with a local presence? Plaza Home Mortgage has an opening for a seasoned Wholesale and Non-Delegated Account Executive that covers the MA and NH markets, who will take over a number of open and active accounts, as well as bring in your book of business as our only rep in the market. Enjoy selling one of the largest product menus in the nation, with all traditional conventional and government programs – we also offer five Renovation Programs and a new One-Time Close Construction-to-Permanent Loan Program. Non-QM Products? Look no further… Plaza offers eight Non-QM products, from well-priced Jumbos to using Bank Statements for income. And you’ll have access to our operations office in Wakefield, MA. Plaza has both the products and technology to make you more successful than you are today.” Contact Howie Needel (617.240.5707).

“Looking to start a new, rewarding career? Impac Mortgage Corp. and CashCall Mortgage would like to invite you to our Recruiting Event being held at the SoCal, Hotel Irvine next week, on August 1, from 5:00pm-8:30pm. We have over 80 positions to fill with energetic people who want to be part of growing teams in all areas of the company, including retail, wholesale, sales, operations and information technology! Please click on the link below to register and upload your resume! Hiring managers will be ready to interview and may be able to hire on the spot!”

When culture is the focus, the right growth happens! Thrive Mortgage is not focused on growing but providing unique opportunity. In addition to adding power hitters to their Production teams (see here, here, & here), Thrive has also made key hires to their Operations side. Industry veterans Christina Hawkins and Jeannie Howell have joined the Training and Sales Support department bringing their vast years of coaching experience to this innovative company. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Jeannie and Christina on the team,” stated Dan Windell, head of Thrive’s Training Department. “They have added such key elements to our team well beyond just basic onboarding. They are industry coaches!”  Howell added, “I came to Thrive because of their dedication to using world-class technology and their industry-leading workflow all to enhance the borrower experience. It was an easy decision.” To speak with members of Thrive’s recruiting teams, please visit join.thrivemortgage.com.