I don’t know exactly when it happened, but somewhere along the line my dog learned the noise the cheese grater makes when I pull it out of the drawer. (Taking out the vegetable peeler doesn’t elicit quite the same response.) It appears that anyone working in their company’s portfolio retention department for refinancing their servicing book quickly develops the same innate sense of knowing whether a loan is do-able or not. (No, they’re certainly not dogs!) Part of that decision is based on pricing, and we were reminded of that in August with the FHFA’s directing Freddie and Fannie to implement a .5 fee. It is delayed, but not forgotten, and is already showing up on rate sheets for longer locks.) Lenders are in the manufacturing business (profit=revenues-expenses). There is no magic dust that successful lenders keep stored away under the building. Given decent pricing, they take personnel and technology, blending the two to help clients and produce mortgages. It’s a great business, helping millions!

Broker and Lender products

The second quarter of 2020 had good news and bad news for loan originators: on one hand, it was the largest quarterly origination volume on record...but on the other hand, just 18% of all refinancing borrowers were retained by their current servicers (according to Black Knight). The low servicing retention number speaks to the challenge that loan originators face when trying to recapture existing clients when they refinance. One way that loan originators can improve that number is by partnering with lenders that retain servicing, like Home Point Financial. As Casey Finn, owner of Finnlend Home Loans, puts it, “People are always talking about having great rates and a great process and everything like that. I definitely want to align myself with true partners, and everything Home Point has done to work with brokers, it’s an obvious choice.” If you’re a mortgage broker or correspondent that still needs to get signed up with Home Point, visit its website now.

These days, it seems like everybody and their dog is refinancing given the insane rates right now. Problem is, with the onslaught of refis and mortgages, your processors are unable to get to a file for four days, so everybody, dog included, ends up going with another lender. Not to worry, Truework can help. Our dedicated team of highly trained mortgage industry professionals at Truework is committed to tackling and completing your VOE/VOI request (whether manual or automated) so you can close your loans faster than ever. Truework is a US-based company and has partnered with major lenders across the country to conduct 100,000+ verifications and counting. And for a limited time, Rob Chrisman readers get 5 free Verifications ($200 value). Let us do the heavy lifting so you can focus on what matters. Interested? Email zackary@truework.com.

Expecting a sense of urgency similar to Pamplona’s encierro, or “running of the bulls,” sharp lenders will alert borrowers to avoid the last-minute stampede of refi's prior to the new December 1 effective date for FHFA’s delayed “adverse market conditions” fee. Now is a perfect time to sample Top of Mind’s award-earning content distilled from nearly two decades’ expertise helping lenders wrangle the mortgage industry’s boom-bust cycles. Grab the bull by the horns with this free, downloadable flyer.  It’s sure to light a fire under borrowers who otherwise might sit on the fence too long to bring home a historically low refi rate. (P.S. Top of Mind is also demo-ing Power Messaging, the industry’s first CRM-based text message marketing tool, at the Digital Mortgage conference later this month).

When drinking from a refi fire hose, immediate data insights and precise communication are mission critical. To swallow all the refi business possible while keeping customers happy, branch managers need to “return to basics” by closely tracking operations and production data. LBA Ware’s mortgage productivity sherpas have identified 3 pivotal metrics you should monitor to keep out of the weeds and ensure your entire branch runs like a water wheel.

On Sep 24, 2020 from 3-4pm ET, join Sales Boomerang’s CEO, Alex Kutsishin in discussion with Nomis Solutions’ Joe Zeibert and Prashant Balepur as they discuss how 2020 has changed the way consumers shop for loans. So far, 2020 has upended how we parent, shop, communicate, and work. At the same time, COVID-19 had changed how consumers interact with their banks and lenders and more importantly, what they want from them. Amidst so much incredible disruption, lenders are now changing all aspects of how they do business to meet demand. How are consumers changing their behavior in this environment? How are lenders changing internally and externally to meet demand? With so much to focus on amidst constant uncertainty, how should you be looking to change to keep pace in 2021? These are just some of the topics that will be addressed. Set yourself up for success in 2021 by discovering new ways to identify profitable opportunities. Use Code: NOMIS100 for free registration. Register Now.

ARMCO Rebrands as ACES Quality Management! The company continues to innovate and expand the delivery of quality control and risk management technology to mortgage lenders and financial institutions. “While the origins of ACES lie in mortgage loan quality management, our sphere of activity has expanded to include other types of lending, as well as supporting overall quality in operations and outcomes within our clients’ organizations. Thus, we felt the time was right to make a change to ensure our brand and more accurately reflect that,” said ARMCO CEO Trevor Gauthier. “Regardless of the name under which we operate, the foundation of our organization has always been quality people behind quality products, achieving quality results, something we have proudly accomplished for the last 25 years and will continue to do under the ACES Quality Management banner.” For more information, visit www.acesquality.com.

And now, for those who follow power player news, Cathleen Schreiner Gates has joined SimpleNexus as president to broaden the reach of its highly regarded from-anywhere digital mortgage platform. Prior to her April engagement as a SimpleNexus board member, Schreiner Gates helped lead Ellie Mae’s 2019 Thoma Bravo acquisition as EVP. Evidence of SimpleNexus’ astonishing growth includes connecting its 26,000 active loan originator users with 2.8 million borrowers and 113,000 realtor partners to produce nearly 1.8 million loans totaling over $460 billion in volume. To catch the platform in action, tune into the Digital Mortgage conference for a demo of the SimpleNexus eClose solution on September 15 @ 2:45 PM (ET).

LOS Survey

Lenders, time is running out to take the LOS Survey in STRATMOR’s 2020 Technology Insight Study! This survey that rates LOS functionality and requirements is closing September 15 and with it, your opportunity to get the insight you need on the LOS in use in our market today. If you are considering upgrading or changing your LOS in 2020, you don't want to miss out on the information that will be available from this survey. It takes just five minutes to complete and lenders who participate receive the survey report for FREE. Complete all the surveys in the study and you'll have the entire 2020 Technology Insight Study for the investment of your time. Take the LOS Survey now and rate the LOS you're using.

Capital Markets

Credit is the lifeblood of the economy, therefore a substantial tightening in credit conditions could cut the current recovery short. Though the contraction in consumer credit has been constant since the start of the pandemic, mortgage lending has remained strong. The rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed rate mortgage is down by a half-a-percent from to February and currently sits around the lowest level in at least 50 years. Activity in the residential mortgage market weakened sharply as the economy went into lockdown mode in March and April, but it has subsequently bounced back significantly. The number of mortgage applications for purchase is higher today than it was in February, and refi applications spiked to their highest level in seven years when mortgage rates started to tumble. The yield on the 10-year Treasury security is currently about 100 bps lower than it was in mid-February.

Conversely, standards for mortgage credit have tightened up since the start of the year, but are near the middle of their historic ranges and those credit conditions seen in mortgage markets at present generally appear to be supportive of continued robust activity. (Where credit conditions seem a bit dicier is in the non-mortgage consumer segment, such as auto loans and credit cards.) As long as credit markets continue to perform reasonably well, then the economic outlook should remain reasonably constructive.

Yes, last week we learned that nonfarm payrolls increased for the fourth consecutive month gaining 1.37 million jobs in August. The increase was larger than expected by most economists and was aided by 238,000 temporary government jobs related to the 2020 census. All told, the US economy has regained 10.6 million jobs since May and total employment is still roughly 7.6 percent below February’s peak. More current data, such as jobless claims, shows 13 million people continuing to receive regular state unemployment benefits and 29.2 million people recipients of all programs. Initial jobless claims are trending lower; however the pace of decline has slowed in recent weeks and the number of new filers remains significantly above levels seen earlier in the year. Businesses continue to navigate an environment where office workers continue to work from home as well as a shift in consumer spending from in-person services to online goods. The pace of job growth is expected to continue to moderate in the coming months as businesses adjust to consumer demand.

Looking at the bond market yesterday, markets finally got a bit of relief after an ugly couple of days, experiencing a partial recovery from the recent risk rout on no real news. The day's $35 billion 10-year note reopening sale was met with weak demand, though the auction did not fuel additional selling in the afternoon. Job openings increased to 6.618 million in July from a revised 6 million in June, positive news signaling that the economy did not contract further. For some reason, the Treasury yield curve steepened by the end of the day, with the 10-year pulling back +2 bps to 0.70 percent.

Today’s calendar began with the latest European Central Bank decision as well as initial claims for the week ending September 5 (headline unchanged at 884k), continued claims for the week ending August 29 (+93k), and August PPI (+.3 percent, core, ex-food & energy +.4 percent). Later this morning brings July wholesale inventories, Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending September 10, and several Treasury auctions, including $23 billion 30-year reopened notes. The NY Fed will conduct two MBS FedTrade operations totaling up to $4.2 billion MBS starting with $2.9 billion UMBS30 2 percent and 2.5 percent followed by $1.4 billion GNII 2.5 percent. The Desk will then report on MBS purchases for the week ending September 8. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices down/worse a few ticks and the 10-year nearly unchanged yielding .71 percent.


Employment and Promotions

“Looking to strategically hire a new President or CEO? You’re busy; This ad is short. A proven industry veteran is seeking to be part of a company that has a culture where, “good enough never is.” I have a background in starting, building, selling, M&A, turn around and team/vendor alignment of mortgage companies, insurance, construction and residential development, and understand short, mid-range and long-term modeling, depository and non-depository strategies, ongoing tech involvement with proven tangible results. Please email Anjelica Nixt to obtain much deeper credentials, sign an NDA so we can talk business, or to arrange for a meeting. Working through “margin compression” is the norm after a big run; Don’t be norm.”

Carrington Mortgage Services, a national top 10 lender/servicer, is continuing to expand our successful Retail Purchase Division. We want to talk to branches anywhere is the USA, who want to take advantage of the following: More leads than you can handle, many of whom are our current customers looking to purchase a new home, leads from our real estate affiliate, Vylla Home, with over 850+ real estate agents across the nation, or our title company (Vylla Title). Our broad spectrum of loan products has competitive pricing from 500 FICO to 750+. We offer an exclusive “Purchase Edge” program which gives sellers/buyers deep discounts when bundling our topnotch services. Carrington offers a very competitive compensation plan and benefits package. We are a Direct seller / servicer to FNMA, FHLMC and GNMA. If you have a branch of licensed, seasoned and purchase-driven Loan Officers who are looking for a better way to fill their pipelines now and well into the future, you want to talk with us. We definitely want to talk to you! Email John Cervantes.”

“Citizens Bank’s home mortgage business is booming! To keep up, we’re hiring support staff in several key roles to help customers with all of their mortgage needs, whether they’re building, buying, or refinancing. We’re specifically looking for underwriters who want to work remotely, and processors and closers who can work in one of our sites (Marlton, NJ, Melville, NY, Providence, RI, Franklin, TN, Irving, TX, and Richmond, VA). Our great colleagues have earned some of the best service customer satisfaction scores in the industry, and to make sure we keep attracting the top prospects, we offer flexible hours, great benefits, and exclusive recognition programs. If you’d like to apply with Citizens or know a qualified candidate, visit jobs.citizensbank.com now!”

Earlier this year, Thrive Mortgage launched the Thrivenomics Podcast focusing on consumer-centric topics ranging from economics, health & wellness, and other social issues.  To date, the show has featured multiple business owners, entrepreneurs, social media influencers, a world-renown physician (twice), an award-winning winemaker, two distinguished military combat veterans, a fitness & wellness professional, as well as multiple industry-specific subject matter experts.  More recently, Thrivenomics host James Duncan had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Harris, CEO of SocialSurvey, on the topic of Giving Consumers their ‘True Voice’.  In the interview, Harris commented, “[Thrive hires] great loan officers, great processors, great underwriters… and then this company resources them for success.  That’s the only way this happens at this level.”  Thrive is continually attracting top-level talent for multiple Operations, Support, and Sales positions across the country.  For more info on how you can be a part of our growing family, please visit join.thrivemortgage.com.

FormFree has promoted Cindy Snow to the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) where she will “craft efficient systems that elevate FormFree’s performance while directly overseeing business operations, product management, business intelligence, integrations and customer support.”