Have you been chipped yet? A Wisconsin company is holding a “chip party” to implant chips into its employees so they can buy snacks with a wave of the hand. Is having your complete credit information on it far behind? In technology more specific to mortgages, AFR Wholesale announced a partnership with Amazon to integrate its lending origination portal, AFR Loan Center®, with Amazon's intelligent personal digital assistant, Alexa: AskAFR through Alexa. It "provides AFR brokers technology to improve customer service by offering instant and continual access to information about their current account pipeline."
Federal regulations that impact residential lending everywhere are one thing, but when each state is making changes it makes it tough, and expensive, to be a multi-state lender and track all these changes.
Effective September 1, 2017, Senate Bill 1193 amends the Texas Estates Code to adopt Title 4: the Texas Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (the "Act") outlines the general procedures for access to digital assets: the use of an online tool that may direct the custodian to disclose the user's digital assets to a designated recipient. Process by which digital assets may be accessed by court order. In the case of a deceased user, how an agent may access the digital assets of a user under a power of attorney.
House Bill 1470 amends Texas Title 2, Business & Commerce Code, by adding Chapter 22: "Public Sale of Residential Real Property Under Power of Sale." This section is applicable "only to a public sale of residential property conducted under a power of sale in a security instrument." It includes applicable definitions relating to the foreclosure sale process, contract requirements for the trustee, the information required from the winning bidder, the obligation of the trustee to provide a receipt and deliver the deed to the winning bidder, and the maintenance requirements concerning the proceeds of the sale effective September 1, 2017.
Texas Legislature has passed House Bill 3342 amending Section 180.056 (h) regarding the requirement that a Residential Mortgage Loan Originator "who fails to maintain a residential mortgage loan originator license for the time established by rule of the rulemaking authority must retake the pre-licensing education requirements prescribed by the SAFE Mortgage Licensing Act." This requirement is effective January 1, 2018.
The Texas Legislature passed House Bill No. 1217 concerning the appointment and performance of an online notary public and relating to the online acknowledgment of written instruments. An online notary may take the acknowledgment by "appearing by an interactive two-way audio and video communication that meets the online notarization requirements under Subchapter C, Chapter 406, Government Code, and rules adopted under this subchapter."
The Bill directs that the standards for online notarization shall be developed and maintained by the secretary of state and include standards for credential analysis and identity proofing.
This amendment is effective July 1, 2018.
Connecticut enacted some revisions to an agent as power of attorney. An agent under a power of attorney may perform activities on behalf of the principal or with the principal's property. This is allowed only if the power of attorney expressly grants the agent the authority to perform such activities and exercise. For example, an agent may exercise all powers the principal may have over any of the principal's digital device, digital asset, user account and electronically stored information. This includes any user account and digital asset that currently exists or may exist as technology develops.
An agent may act as if he or she were the owner of such property regarding any intellectual property interests of the principal, including copyrights and contracts for payments of royalties and trademarks. In general, the agent can exercise all powers with respect to the intellectual property that the principal could exercise if present. An agent who is not an ancestor, spouse or descendant of the principal may not exercise authority under a power of attorney to create a legal obligation of support or an interest in the principal's property.
Connecticut amended its provisions concerning discriminatory practices against Veterans effective on October 1, 2017. Under the statute, it is a discriminatory practice to refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person including a person in a protected class. One may not make, print, or publish any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination or an intention to make any such preference, limitation or discrimination. Additionally, it is prohibited to represent to a protected class that any dwelling is not available for inspection, sale or rental, when such dwelling is in fact available.
It is a violation of this subdivision for any person to restrict or attempt to restrict the choices of any buyer or renter to purchase or rent a dwelling to an area which is or is not substantially populated, even if less than a majority, by persons of the same protected class as the buyer or renter. Any person or entity engaging in residential real estate related transactions may not discriminate against any person in a protected class nor deny membership or participation in any multiple-listing service, real estate brokers' organization, or other service, organization, or facility relating to the business of selling or renting dwellings.
The economy & capital markets
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen might just be re-nominated when her term expires next year, President Donald Trump says, reversing a campaign pledge to replace her. Trump says he greatly respects Yellen and thinks she is doing a good job; however, he also said he sees White House economic adviser Gary Cohn as a leading candidate. The Fed Funds rate is expected to remain at 1.00-1.25 percent, and balance sheet reductions will likely be announced at the conclusion of the September 19/20 FOMC meeting. Looking further ahead, expectations for future interest rate hikes in 2018 have cooled down with weaker inflation readings as of recently, and sure enough the Fed left short term interest rates unchanged at yesterday FOMC meeting.
Taking a broad view of the economy, and therefore rates, last week's economic data revealed a strong finish for the second quarter and a great start to the current third quarter. The housing market saw much improvement as housing starts, both multi-family and single-family, saw significant growth at 13.3 percent and 6.3 percent respectively. Mortgage applications increased in mid-July as well, and the moving average for total apps maintains a moderate upward trend. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was stable at 4.22 percent as of July 14th according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. And seeing notable increases in the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index, the Coincident Index and the Lagging index in June reinforces expectations for moderate GDP growth in the year's latter half.
Fixed income securities, notably U.S. Treasuries & MBS prices, rallied sharply in a curve-steepening trade as the FOMC voted unanimously to keep the target range for the fed funds rate at 1.00-1.25% and said that the committee expects to begin unwinding the Fed's $4.5 trillion balance sheet "relatively soon." The market will likely assume that "relatively soon" means the next FOMC policy meeting, in September. Various FOMC members have said that the Fed would probably put fed funds rate hikes on pause when the balance sheet reduction process begins so traders are reducing the implied probability for a September hike today.
Bond markets don't like uncertainty, or surprises, so the transparency on the Fed's part is welcome. The 10-year note price improved over .375 to yield 2.28%; 5-year notes and agency MBS rallied about .250.
This morning, for interest rate-moving news, we've had initial jobless claims (+10k to 244k) and durable goods (high at +6.5% in June, ex-transportation +.2%), along with some 2nd tier numbers. If you have some spare shekels, the Treasury will auction $28 billion of 7-year notes later today. We start Thursday with the 10-year yielding 2.30% and agency MBS prices little changed from Wednesday's close.
Jobs & personnel
Top 25 loan originator, Brian Decker, has joined loanDepot and its team of more than 1,700 licensed loan officers. As loanDepot continues to grow and expand its retail footprint nationwide, Decker will serve as Retail Lending Manager. Decker entered the mortgage industry 12 years ago and as a top producer closed 586 loans with more than $204 million in loan volume in 2016. Check out Decker's announcement video here. His next-generation retail lending store features mello, loanDepot's proprietary digital lending platform, allowing consumers a customizable experience when purchasing their dream home. "loanDepot is shaping the future of our industry and I want to be part of that narrative," Decker said. "I work with customers every day and I know being able to serve them information in the most palatable manner for them personally is exactly what they are craving. We can provide them with the best in-person and online experience to help them find their perfect dream home." If you're interested in exploring the loanDepot platform, contact Cassidy O'Sullivan.
Tired of last-minute hidden overlays that keep you from closing loans? Come see Planet Home Lending Wholesale Inside Sales Manager Jan Manning and Account Executive Silvia Garcia at booth #607 at the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals in Orlando Aug 9-11. Find out how Planet Home Lending can help you close more loans. Reach out now to Regional Sales Manager Greg Schatz< to schedule a one-on-one meeting with Jan, Silvia or Greg: (914)715-8998.
Academy Mortgage is thrilled to announce the addition of Chris Salese to Leif Boyd's expanding California and Nevada team as Area Manager for the North Bay Region of Northern California. Chris comes to Academy with over 14 years of origination and management experience. He has a proven track record as a both a top producing originator and leader in the industry. In his new role, Chris reports to Brandi Anderson, the Northern California/Nevada Regional Manager and will be helping to recruit A+ branch managers and loan officers to build out and grow his marketplace. Please contact Chris Salese (707-363-4439) for a confidential meeting to learn more about what it takes to join this dynamic and growing Academy team!
Galton Funding, a company specializing in the acquisition of non-conforming residential home loans is expanding in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Twin Cities market. Galton is looking for experienced Credit Risk Underwriters, Quality Assurance and Operations support to help continue to build out their Conduit platform. The company offers competitive compensation plans and fosters a spirit of teamwork. Interested parties should submit cover letter/resume to Ranae Lacey.
Following its record-breaking month of June, Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions is continuing its aggressive hiring spree by looking to add Wholesale Account Executives in markets across the country, specifically in Baltimore, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Portland, Northern CA and Northern VA. To continue to deliver an extraordinary customer experience while realizing record monthly volumes, it is also hiring underwriters and other operations positions in its Atlanta headquarters. With a second rated securitization in 2017 of non-QM loans by Angel Oak Capital under its belt, there is no better time to join the nation's top Non-QM lender. Visit JoinAngelOak.com or learn more about what it's like to work for Angel Oak by watching the Top Mortgage Employer's interview from the Mortgage News Network.
GSF Mortgage Corp. continues to grow its retail platform. This year, the company has added 12 successful branches and 55 new originators, as well as 50 additional operational staff to accommodate the increase in purchase business. GSF attributes this growth to marketing campaigns and operational philosophy that increases purchase business for retail branches. "Our exclusive products (Finance First, Serve & Support Benefit, GSF 100* and Lightning Home Loan) have had a significant impact on closed purchase volume and have increased purchase transactions for all participants, including Realtor and builder referral partners. GSF has also adopted the #owntheloan operational strategy that assigns a dedicated team of Loan Document Coordinators, Processors and Underwriters to a loan file to ensure swift and efficient closings. GSF Mortgage is looking for branches to start in September. If you are considering making a move this fall, contact Rich Obermeier at (262) 957-8901."