How ‘bout some random Q&A for Hump Day? Did you know that almost 2,400 of your co-workers are already registered for the National MBA conference next month in San Diego? A company is working to bring back the wooly mammoth? (What could possibly go wrong with messing with Mother Nature?) Do you have a cloffice? What are you waiting for? For takeout sushi fans, have you ever wondered about the purpose behind that fake green plastic “grass” in your sushi box? At $18/hour starting wage, how many workers is Amazon trying to hire? How often do you compliment your co-workers or staff? Not often enough. Lastly, there was some Q&A in the audio version of today’s commentary, available here. It has an interview with me about the FHFA shift yesterday, and is sponsored by Origence, helping financial institutions provide mortgage, consumer, indirect, and home equity loans with greater efficiency and increased scale while also delivering a convenient and personalized experience to borrowers.)

Lender Services and Software

Are you tired of trying to juggle multiple systems and solutions with minimal results? Today’s environment of historic origination volume, combined with the onslaught of pandemic delinquency, is ushering in a fervor of regulatory change and demands for technical innovation. In these times of complex business transformation, servicers must take a serious look at how automated workflow can optimize business processes. How do mortgage servicers hold up under this unrelenting pressure? Read our recent blog to find out how you can minimize the obstacles and stress that are disrupting the mortgage servicing industry. You can rise above the chaos, effectively navigate the maze of solutions, keep customers engaged, and ensure compliance with regulations and investor requirements, all with CLARIFIRE®, a modern automated servicing workflow and workout application delivered in a simple-to-implement SaaS framework. Don’t wait… Find out why CLARIFIRE® is truly BRIGHTER AUTOMATION®.

Today, at 1PM ET/10AM PT, join National Mortgage Professional Magazine for “DealDesk: Focus on Investor Cash Flow and Unique Property Types.” We’ll discuss the files that many lenders cannot close because of the Unique Property Type and Investor Cash Flow niche to avoid a lot of income/REO documentation. Join Adam Morris, Vice President of Wholesale Sales, Acra Lending as he helps you understand what to look for when pre-qualifying for Adult Care Facilities, Investor Cash Flow Loans, Condotels: Pricing & Guidelines, Non-Warrantable Condos: What to look for on the HOA Cert, Pre-pay options, Non-Owner-Occupied Purchase & Refinancing a loan to the borrower’s needs with LPC & Interest Only options and Pricing & Guidelines for Short Term Vacation Rentals. Register and submit your questions or scenarios for the “DealDesk: Focus on Investor Cash Flow and Unique Property Types” webinar here.

Just as the weather is cooling off, so is the housing market, if only a little. Now that it’s autumn, we’re suggesting that lenders take a deep breath and look around. Take stock of where you are and pat yourselves on the back for surviving the last year and a half. Also, see how you can prepare yourself and your office to work more efficiently and provide the best service possible to your customers, now that you have the time to focus on something other than the day-to-day. We’ve published some questions to ask yourself on the appraisal management front. This is brought to you by Triserv, a 50-state AMC that has client-specific, dedicated teams on both coasts offering high-touch, personalized service. To find out more, contact Triserv Appraisal Management Solutions at

Looking for technology that elevates, simplifies, and streamlines your mortgage process? Look no further. Path the cloud-based, data-driven, fully configurable LOS from Calyx is guiding the way to a simpler, faster digital loan process. Path is designed to simplify the loan process and provide the flexibility, visibility and controls lenders need to monitor and run their business their way. Discover how Path can help you grow your business today. Schedule a demo today!

Office supply maker Mead has reintroduced the iconic Trapper Keeper® binder for the 2021 school year. Those who attended grade school between the late ‘70s and early aughts will remember these “totally rad” binders with nostalgia… And if you’ve got one lying around, you can sell it online for an eyebrow-raising amount. Speaking of binders that are shockingly valuable, HomeBinder, a home management platform that keeps lenders engaged with borrowers throughout homeownership, is partnering with Mortgage Coach to keep loan officers and Realtors connected with homebuyers long after closing. Through the integration, homeowners can use Mortgage Coach’s digital Total Cost Analysis presentations to deliver actionable financial advice by comparing refinance and home equity options using easy-to-understand graphs and charts — all within the centralized, digital binder that homeowners use to manage all aspects of their home. Get to know HomeBinder this week at #TMCReunited 2021. Email to schedule a personalized demo.

Broker and Correspondent Product News

Deephaven triples the use of our bank statements program by making it available on all three of our core mortgage products. All we need is 12 months’ of personal or business bank statements to qualify the borrower's financial position. Loan amounts can be up to $2 million, and high LTVs (up to 90% for prime, up to 80% for Non-Prime and Debt Service Coverage Ratio/DSCR) mean lower down payments and more money in borrowers' pockets. No PMI means they'll save even more. Whether your borrower is self-employed, a business owner, a credit-builder, or a property investor, our bank statement program, along with our very seasoned and highly responsive in-house underwriting, could be the perfect mortgage fit. Contact Deephaven's Wholesale or Deephaven's Correspondent group to learn more about how Non-QM can help you grow your business.”

Carrington Mortgage Services Wholesale and Correspondent launched their industry-leading Non-QM programs nearly 3 years ago. In that time, they have made hundreds of changes, big and small, to better serve you and your borrowers. This week Carrington announced additional changes to help you fund more loans and grow your business. Maximum loan amounts increased to $3,500,000, cash-out limits increased to $750,000, there’s an improved asset conversion income option, and in some cases escrow waivers are permitted for the Carrington Prime Advantage (660+ FICO) program. For their DSCR program, the Carrington Investor Advantage, they increased loan amounts to $2,000,000 and cash-out to $750,000. If you have any questions or have a Non-QM scenario to run contact the Wholesale or Correspondent teams. Carrington offers Non-QM training at no cost to brokers and sellers?

Verus Mortgage Capital is the largest purchaser of non-QM loans and a leader in non-QM pricing and programs. And it recently announced updates to its programs, making them even more attractive. Schedule a meeting with us at the upcoming MBA Annual Conference in San Diego. This is your chance to get better acquainted with the non-QM opportunity. After all, your borrowers need non-QM, and now is a great time to begin including these loans in your product mix. Verus has programs for self-employed, higher-balanced loan amounts (JUMBO), foreign nationals, investors, credit challenged, and more. Learn more about the non-QM market. To schedule a meeting with Verus, contact Jeff Schaefer, EVP – Correspondent Sales, (202-534-1821).

The Best Rate for Big Estates! At Stearns Wholesale, the rates on its six jumbo products remain the best in the nation. Stearns continues to provide brokers with the tools, products, and training resources to compete and win in jumbo, including a FREE training session tomorrow covering the new Garnet Jumbo enhancements. To register for Stearns’ Garnet Jumbo Product Training, click here. If you’d like to partner with Stearns or learn more, click here to be contacted.

Agency News

Although plenty of investment banks and non-QM investors groaned, trade organizations like the MBA “applauded the announcement by the Treasury and FHFA that they are suspending the limits on purchases of certain loan types, lenders' use of the cash window, and multifamily volumes, which were imposed on the GSEs by the PSPA amendments on Jan 14, 2021. The suspensions will eliminate several market and pricing disruptions caused by these caps that were harming lenders and borrowers alike and pave the way to restore appropriate regulatory authority to the FHFA.”

Yup, the FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency, overseer of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) put out a release suspending portions of the PSPA (Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements) amendments, specifically referencing the recently implemented GSE limits. No guidance from the agencies as of yet but the notices sent by the FHFA state this suspension is at least 1 year: FHFA and Treasury Suspending Certain Portions of the 2021 Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements. “The suspended provisions include limits on the Enterprises' cash windows (loans acquired for cash consideration), multifamily lending, loans with higher risk characteristics, and second homes and investment properties.”

Yes, most, if not all, lenders have adjusted to the changes by changing pricing or using other investors. So, the suspended provisions include limits on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s cash windows, limits on loans with higher risk characteristics, limits on second homes, and limits on investment properties. FHFA concluded by stating that they are “reviewing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s Regulatory Capital Framework and “expect to announce further action in the near future.”

Fannie Mae’s SVC-2021-06 aligns the Servicing Guide with changes related to Form 582 recently announced in SEL-2021-08, which added duties and responsibilities for all servicers with a portfolio of 20,000 or more Fannie Mae mortgage loans, and removed the requirement to conduct the final interior property inspection for a Mortgage Release™.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac updated the Uniform Closing Dataset (UCD) FAQs with information regarding the UCD critical edits transition, requirements for delivery to each GSE’s UCD collection solution, and more.

Remember that the FHFA announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) will submit Equitable Housing Finance Plans that will identify and address barriers to sustainable housing opportunities, including the GSEs’ goals and action plans to advance equity in housing finance for the next three years. The plans will be updated each year and FHFA will also require the GSEs to provide annual reports detailing the actions taken during the prior year to implement their plans. The GSEs must submit these plans to FHFA by December 31, 2021. The FHFA announcement was accompanied by a Request for Input (RFI) to gather public input and will hold a listening session on September 28, 2021. The deadline to submit comments is October 25, 2021. MBA will be submitting recommendations and meeting with FHFA and the GSEs to provide practitioner input on policy and program changes that will be most impactful and embraced by homebuyers and industry.

MBA President and CEO Bob Broeksmit, CMB, issued the following statement regarding equitable housing finance plans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs). “MBA commends FHFA for engaging the GSEs in the development of comprehensive business plans to advance equity in housing. We have championed efforts to reduce the racial homeownership gap, and we will be releasing our policy recommendations in the coming weeks, including areas where the GSEs can play a critical role. We look forward to continuing to work with both FHFA and HUD, as well as Congress and other stakeholders, on policies that will promote fair, equitable, and sustainable access to homeownership for all Americans who aspire to it.”

Capital Markets

Labor market conditions remain one of the main talking points when discussing the return to “normal” from the pandemic. Enhanced federally funded unemployment benefits officially expired on September 6 with many expecting continuing claims for unemployment to decline further. Initial claims for unemployment fell to a post-pandemic low of 310,000 for the week ending September 4 and the total number of people receiving some form of benefit declined to 11,930,415. July’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey showed there were a record 10.9 million job openings and 8.4 million unemployed workers. This is roughly 4 million more job openings than prior to the pandemic. Additionally, employee initiated quits were at almost 4 million for the month, a sign that it is still very much a job seeker’s labor market.  

Elsewhere, producer prices continue to increase at a brisk pace, rising 0.7 percent in August and 8.3 percent over the last twelve months. Purchase mortgage applications were eased 0.2 percent for the week ending September 3 and the average 30-year fixed rate was at 3.03 percent. The FOMC meets later this month and while no significant changes to monetary policy are expected, the market will be looking for guidance as to when the Fed will begin to taper its asset purchases.

Those that were fearing the inflationary worst yesterday were likely relieved to see the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) increased by only 0.3 percent in August, less than projected by economists. While prices are still up 5.3 percent on a year-over-year basis, this monthly increase was the lowest since January. The reading should also provide the Fed some wiggle room to wait a little longer before making any formal tapering announcement. Treasuries rallied and the MBS basis closed tighter by the day’s end.

Mortgage applications increased 0.3 percent from one week earlier, including an adjustment for the Labor Day holiday, according to data from MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 10. It may be a similar story next week as rates are bound to drop with the lower-than-expected inflation figures. We’ve also received Empire manufacturing for September (+16 points to +34.3) as well as August import / export prices (-.3 and +.4 percent). Later this morning brings August industrial production and capacity utilization and the first MBS purchase operations on the new schedule. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices a few ticks higher and the 10-year yielding 1.27 after closing at 1.28 percent yesterday.


Jobs and Business Opportunity

Evergreen Home Loans™ is committed to helping loan officers thrive and has the stats to back it up. 98% of Evergreen associates say they are given the resources and equipment to do their job. The secret? The company invests heavily in digital mortgage technologies, developing niche programs to answer market challenges, and creating lead generation campaigns to drive more business directly to loan officers. The combination of these resources and programs position loan officers for success, enabling them to build new relationships, strengthen existing ones, and close more loans. If you’re interested in working for a company that helps you excel and has the stats to prove it, check out the Careers Page.

Union Home Mortgage Corp. is actively seeking experienced Account Executives nationwide. Union Home Mortgage supports both NDC and Wholesale Business Partners. “You’ll receive world-class on-boarding and ongoing support as you build your business. From high-level coaching to fireside chats with leadership, you’re set up for success from the very beginning. We need to see our production team focused on adding customers. Each Account Executive is assigned a Partner Advocate to be solely responsible for their active pipeline. That relationship gives the AE the time needed on a regular basis to remain razor focused on growing their customer base. Explore our new TPO website:  If you’re interested in advancing your career as an Account Executive with Union Home Mortgage TPO, contact Jim Wickham, Vice President - Third Party Origination at (248) 318.8553.”

Wanted: a retail lender located in the Western United States funding $20-40 million per month with at least one GSE ticket and/or a GNMA issuer. Ideally the mortgage banker has multi-state licensing with a diversified footprint. Interested principals should contact me to forward along their note of a potential buyer/merger partner.

The Money Source Inc., a leading technology-based mortgage subservicer, announced that Tom Donatacci has joined the firm and will lead its business development efforts.