“Why was the mortgage so depressed? Because it was a loan.” Yes, cutting-edge humor like that is why you read this commentary. No MLO should be depressed, especially when it comes to this rate environment. The yield on the 10-year is very low (1.17 percent this morning). “Real” yields, adjusted for inflation, have been negative for quite some time. At some point yields, and mortgage rates, won’t go any lower, and those that were predicting higher rates will be right, but it will take a while for rates to even go back to where they were when those predictions were originally made. Until then, current market yields certainly support our Federal Reserve’s position not to jump in and taper off purchases: weakness is apparent. More on the Fed’s thoughts in the capital markets section. In the meantime, millions of borrowers have 30-year fixed rates below 3 percent due to our industry’s efforts. (The audio version of today’s commentary, available here, is sponsored by Origence and features an interview titled, “Orchestrating the Origination Process” with Brit Barker, VP of Enterprise Solutions, about the role automation plays in lenders ability to better orchestrate the origination process.)

Products and Services

Olympians today aren’t just trying to win gold medals… They’re continually raising the standards of what Olympic athletes can do. Following their lead, Sales Boomerang is raising the standard for the entire lending industry. On average, mortgage lenders retain just 18% of their borrowers on future mortgage transactions. That’s hardly gold-medal worthy performance, and Sales Boomerang knows lenders can do better. That’s why Sales Boomerang is giving away its Borrower Retention Playbook for free! Looking to dominate borrower retention like Katie Ledecky dominated the 1500m race last week? Lenders who use this free playbook have the highest retention rates in the industry. Download the playbook today and start your gold medal journey to better borrower retention.

“New functionality on Richey May’s RM Analyze is here! Gain additional insight into how your production and operational metrics measure up against your peers in real time with Peer View Ops. Our real-time metrics provide visibility into data broken out monthly, with daily updates to inform you of where you stand before month end or quarter end. This tool is a great compliment to the existing Richey May peer to peer financial comparison tool and our business intelligence platform and is a seamless integration into existing RM Analyze dashboards. If you’re not yet on the RM Analyze platform, contact us to schedule a demo of RM Analyze and the new Peer View Ops functionality!”

UniversalCIS Acquires Lending Solutions Divisions from Data Facts! UniversalCIS, a market-leading, technology-enabled provider of credit data and related origination solutions in the mortgage industry, recently announced the acquisition of the Lending Solutions and Appraisal Management divisions of lending solutions provider DataFacts. The acquisition marks UniversalCIS’ expansion into key client regions and reinforces their position as a market-leading technology solutions provider to the mortgage industry. To learn more about some of the unique benefits lenders can experience as a result of the acquisition, be sure to visit DataFacts’ booth at the Great River MBA Conference, held August 17th through the 19th in Memphis, TN.

Want to remove backlog and gain efficiency with high-quality results in your due diligence and QC process? MaxDiligence uses technology and experienced underwriting talent to save lenders time and improve quality across due diligence and pre- and post-close QC. The latest release in Maxwell’s impactful lineup of solutions, this feature eases the backlog issues and lack of consistent results lenders face today. Plus, lenders can rest assured: The MaxDiligence service is spearheaded by some of the industry’s most tenured leadership, with a combined 75 years of mortgage operational experience. Click here to learn more about MaxDiligence or set up a call with Maxwell today.

Do you refer buyers to your Realtor partners? You know that referring a buyer to a Realtor is the holy grail in our industry, the problem is how to predict which of your past borrowers will be in the market for a new loan or a new home. Well you’re in luck. Check out this game-changing new app from Usherpa that uses SmartScore™ technology to help you do just that. UsherpAlert™ purchase notifications have a 297% higher likelihood to close! UsherpAlerts™ are based on data intelligence and machine learning algorithms that comb LO’s databases for opportunities and serve up past customers most likely to be in the buy zone for a new mortgage. Learn how you can double your production with Usherpa’s Smart CRM - schedule your personalized demo! While you’re at it, check out this FREE e-guide about what top producers do to increase their purchase business.

Loan Products

AmeriHome Mortgage, the 2nd largest correspondent and 14th largest mortgage lender in the country, is excited to be back in the Non-Agency business! AmeriHome has officially rolled out its first product, Portfolio Express, for Non-Delegated clients. Portfolio Express is an AUS Based product with loan amounts from $50k to $2M, where Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) drives the underwriting process. As a portfolio product, Express has great options for cash out and investment property financing. AmeriHome will be rolling the Portfolio Express product out to its Delegated clients later this year, as well as a Portfolio Prime Jumbo product for both delegated and non-delegated clients. If you'd like to set up a meeting with the AmeriHome team to discuss upcoming programs, or get more information on how AmeriHome Correspondent can help you grow your business, reach out to CLsales@amerihome.com. To catch them in person, check out AmeriHome’s full list of upcoming events!

Having problems with your appraisal turn times?  ClearEdge Lending is the only Non-QM lender to offer this new ground-breaking Hybrid Appraisal. The hybrid appraisal is an alternative valuation method that shortens turn times and reduces costs. What’s most impressive is how we’ve shortened turn times to as little as 3 days and reduced fees as low as $195. The hybrid appraisal can be matched with a number of our Non-QM loan programs allowing you to close loans faster and more efficiently. ClearEdge Lending has been originating and securitizing Non-QM loans as a true end-investor since 2015. When you want innovation, speed-to-close and streamlined documentation you will find it at ClearEdge Lending. To learn more about our entire line of products or to apply to become an approved partner visit ClearEdgeLending.com or contact Matt Shaw, VP of Sales Western Region, John Burns, VP of Sales Eastern Region or Aron Thielen VP of Sales Central Region.

Events and Training

In the next Bradford Technologies webinar, August 5 at 11:00 PDT, Bill King will review some user submitted questions and the responses. Register for The top 10 questions appraisers are asking right now.

FHA is providing a free webinar training: Appraisal, Policy, Principals and Practices on August 10th from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM (Eastern). This training provides an update on appraisal standards, practices, and policies. FHA advance registration is required no later than August 9, 2021.

On August 11, FAMP Central Florida Chapter will hold its Monthly Meeting. The Appraisal Roundtable will include an Appraisal Panel with Q & A, learn about recent updates to Agency and Government Guidelines that impact your Appraisal Orders.

The 65th Annual Convention in Wilmington, NC is approaching. Take advantage of MBAC’s Early Bird Rates, only available until August 13th.

The Great River MBA Conference, held August 17th through the 19th in Memphis, TN.

Join Mortgage Banking Magazine for “Leverage AI-Powered Document Automation & Key Servicing Tasks: Practical Yet Transformative Approaches Organizations Can Adopt” on Tuesday, August 17 at 1 pm ET / 10 am PT. Register here.

8/20, in Las Vegas, NV, we’ll see Originator Connect.

And from 8/24-8/26, in Laguna Beach, CA, the California MBA rolls out the fabled Western Secondary.

This month, Enact (formerly Genworth Mortgage Insurance) will host an interactive session on jumping into the mind of Millennials, and leveraging MI to get your borrowers to the closing table.  There also will be sessions on the self-employed borrower form. Contact your Enact Sales rep to sign up for the courses that interest you.

Plaza Home Mortgage August Training Calendar is available for viewing and registration.

August trainings include topics like Plaza’s Reverse Jumbo and Manufactured Housing - Finance Options Crafted to Your Borrower’s Needs. Remember, if you can’t make the webinar, register anyway and Plaza will email you the recording.

The loanDepot August 2021 training calendar schedule includes mello® Broker Portal Training on August 4th, Digital Verifications & Validations on August 11th, Renovation Training on August 12th, and AUS Best Practices: Running AUS on August 18th.

Capital Markets

Moving to mandatory loan sale delivery from best efforts improves profitability while providing more flexibility to manage risk and deliver loans. Despite the risks associated with best efforts loan delivery, such as being locked in when it comes to pricing or delivery guidelines, the hurdles of pipeline hedging and operational changes that come with moving to mandatory prove daunting for some. MCT released a guide specifically for credit unions on how to improve profitability, manage risk, gain operational efficiency, and ultimately provide more value to credit union members. MCT is the industry leader in helping lenders move from best efforts to mandatory loan delivery. Read the guide and contact MCT to make the switch and offer your members more.

What if you could distribute bid tapes and best-ex loans in 15 minutes or less? Now you can. The Polly Loan Trading Exchange is designed to automate your bidding process and saves users up to six hours per day trading loans. When connected to an LOS, Polly Exchange will automatically detect when loans are eligible for sale. Each day, the right loans are ready to go when you need them. You can also apply your business logic to ensure loans are never sold to the wrong investor. When you’re ready to sell, send loans to all of your investors with automatically filtered bid tapes based on eligibility with a single click. To learn more about how Polly is revolutionizing the traditional capital markets workflow, from lock commitment to loan sale, email Jacob Gerson or visit www.polly.io.

Turning to rates, Fed Vice Chair Clarida said yesterday the central bank was on track to begin interest rate hikes in late 2022 or early 2023, with a possible taper announcement later this year. Sounds like nothing of note to me, and certainly nothing that we didn’t already know, but it was made into a big deal regardless. It outweighed a big batch of economic data, headlined by final July Services PMI readings from major economies that showed continued expansion, but a big miss at home with ADP coming in at 330k versus 690k estimates. Expectations are for 900k payrolls in Friday's jobs report, which would suggest a disconnect between expectations and reality.

Today’s economic calendar is already underway with a couple labor market indicators ahead of tomorrow’s jobs report. Job cuts from Challenger (only about 19,000, a 21-year low!), initial jobless claims for the week ending July 31 (385k, as expected), and continued claims for the week ending July 24 (2.93 million). We’ve also received the June trade deficit ($75.7 billion, a record quarterly gap). Later this morning brings Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey after last week’s 30-year mortgage rate rose 2 bps to 2.80 percent. Finally, today's lone scheduled Fed speaker is Governor Waller speaking on digital currency. The Desk will purchase up to $4.6 billion of conventionals across two operations. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices roughly unchanged from Wednesday evening as is the 10-year’s yield at 1.18 percent.


Jobs and Transitions

Just this week, Impac Wholesale released new expanded Non-QM guidelines consisting of lower FICOs (down to 600), DTIs up to 55%, DSCRs < 1.00, and unlimited cash-out. Most notably, its Investor Program now offers the option for borrowers to qualify for an I/O loan using the I/O payment. “Bring your deals to Impac and get funded in a flash, with a borrower credit of $500 when the loan closes in 21 days or less. Impac is also expanding its reach and looking to hire sharp, motivated Wholesale Account Executives to join our growing team across the United States. We offer highly competitive compensation, robust territories, and comprehensive training to set you up for success from day one. For immediate and confidential consideration, please email your resume to Lisa Livingston.”

First Continental Mortgage (FCM), an innovative, independent mortgage lender, is seeking a highly qualified Producing Branch Manager in Houston, Texas, to oversee production one of the largest privately held home builders in the country. For over 29 years, FCM and our affiliate companies, have helped families realize the American dream of owning a home! We specialize in partnering with builders as well as retail production. FCM funded over $1.8 Billion in purchase loans last year through our exclusive home-builder relationships. The Producing Branch Manager will direct day to day operations, work closely with senior management to achieve company goals and metrics, manage the LO production, and maintain a successful relationship with the builder partner.   Relocation package available. For a full description, please visit FCM Careers.  Submit your resume to Stuart Williams, President at recruiter@fcmhou.com.

Onslow Bay Financial LLC’s residential mortgage conduit is growing and is looking to expand its business development efforts with the addition of an East Coast Regional Sales Manager. This individual should have experience in correspondent sales, including Non-QM loans, and should be prepared for extensive travel. Please email Onslow Bay Careers or visit Onslow Bay’ website. Onslow Bay is a wholly owned subsidiary of Annaly Capital Management (“NLY”), a mortgage aggregator that buys closed, funded residential whole loans directly from correspondents. Annaly is among the world’s largest real estate investment trusts. Onslow Bay has been active in acquiring new origination, residential whole loans since 2016 and has purchased over $8.0 billion of whole loans and has completed 16 rated securitizations ($6 billion) under the Onslow Bay shelf (“OBX”). Throughout the COVID volatility, Onslow Bay, which is now also purchasing loans on a “best efforts” flow basis, honored all outstanding whole loan commitments and supported its origination partners by continuing to provide liquidity with the strength and commitment of Annaly’s balance sheet.

Citizens Home Mortgage is rapidly growing its operations staff and looking for great talent to join our journey. We are hiring across our footprint, with a heightened focus on seasoned underwriters who want to work remotely, as well as processors and closers who can work in or near one of our sites (Marlton, NJ, Melville, NY, Providence, Rl, Franklin, TN, and Richmond, VA). Why should you consider joining Citizens? We have competitive compensation and benefits and we are a Top 10 nationally ranked bank-owned mortgage business. Our Operations colleagues are rewarded with custom recognition and incentive plans geared to their role and their individual contributions. In addition to offering flexible work arrangements, we offer ongoing learning and development opportunities via our partnership with the MBA. We believe in promoting from within, so there are terrific opportunities for advancement. Let’s talk! Reach out to Sean Reilly. You can also learn more about us, or submit an application online today at jobs.citizensbank.com/.”

Liz Bryant has joined Citibank as the new Head of Mortgage Sales for the US Consumer Bank where she will head mortgage sales and attempt to grow the bank’s digital capabilities.

Cherry Creek Mortgage announced that Lorie Helms has joined the company as Chief Technology Officer where she will lead Cherry Creek’s IT operations, software development, and project management teams.