I bet for every person a company has dedicated to stopping cybercrime there are 10 somewhere else trying to perpetrate it. Just yesterday I received an e-mail from a CEO of a mid-size lender to the staff saying, "Today we've learned of a new sophisticated email attack that attempts to impersonate our employees that instructs borrowers to wire down payment funds to an account illicitly set up under our name by providing fake account information. The email appears to come from the LO or processor and the wire transfer requests are well-worded, and they closely copy our employees' signature lines and other information specific to our company. The borrower is being victimized and may not be suspicious because it looks like the e-mail is coming from our employee which adds legitimacy of the request. Please make sure all borrowers know that we would never ask them to wire funds directly to us for a down payment. In the event that you receive a message fitting this description or your borrowers, close the message immediately and report it to our compliance department..." In other words they hacked into the borrowers email and were able to see an email from an employee and went from there!
On Monday, September 21st, join a complimentary TRID training for loan originators and their real estate partners, presented by experienced TRID trainer Ginger Bell with some help from Arch MI. This training will be held at the Boston Quincy Marriott, 1000 Marriott Drive in Quincy, MA. To reserve seats for you and your Realtor partners, please email archmicustomer.rsvp@archmi. com and specify the number of seats needed.
With less than three weeks left many leading trade groups representing lenders, banks, credit unions, title companies and others are urging federal regulators to provide more details on examination guidelines. These groups are asking how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau plans to enforce a new mortgage disclosure regime that goes into effect Oct. 3. "Have you and your teams gotten the training you need? Strategic Compliance Partners (SCP), a leader in mortgage compliance consulting, has exclusively created content for Morf Media Inc. for use in their online TRID training program. Ginger Bell and SCP have developed a fast, fun and easy way to do online training with the comprehensive TRID training program from SCP. It's only $25 for the course through the end of September. Call Heidi Deishl at 571-201-0579, reference STRESS-FREE TRID, and get special company pricing on training for multiple seats between now and September 30. "The new process is significant," stated Bell. "It's time to act before the deadline to avoid the "gotchas that will getcha." It's key you know the difference between what is old, what is new under TRID and what to do. Online training from Morf Media Inc. and Strategic Compliance Partners will help you become a TRID expert.
Did you know that while most processors do receive some incentive pay, it makes up less than 20% of overall compensation? Would you like to have access to a wealth of other proprietary compensation information that is only available to STRATMOR Compensation Connection participants? 60 of your peer lenders have already participated and the survey has been re-opened for new participants. Don't miss your chance to understand market compensation for positions across your organization. For more information or to register to participate, go to the website: STRATMOR Compensation Connection.
Questions often arise surrounding a borrower's right to rescind. These questions include, when can a borrower rescind? If there are multiple borrowers, does each one have the right to rescind? Do all borrowers on a transaction have to exercise the right to rescind? A residential mortgage transaction is exempt from the right to rescind, along with refinancing's or consolidations depending on the circumstance. Each owner occupied borrower has the right to rescind but when more than one consumer has the right to rescind, any one of them can exercise that right and cancel the transaction, which would be effective for all consumers.
News broke that Kent Wiechert, owner and president of Weststar Mortgage Corporation based in Albuquerque, NM, will be acquiring a controlling interest in Goldwater Bank, N.A. based in Scottsdale, AZ through an approved stock purchase. Weststar Mortgage Corporation is a privately owned company established in 1983. The firm's primary initial focus was to develop specialized software that enabled the company to deliver best of breed affordable loan servicing solutions to clients who offered seller financing as an alternative to traditional real estate financing. Weststar's private loan servicing division continues to offer this service on a portfolio in excess of $1 billion of loans primarily in the Southwest and Northwest.
The actual number of depository bank mergers in 2015 is not that different from prior years. Case in point, through 2Q, banks announced 145 mergers vs. 144 at this point in 2014. It is true that smaller banks are the primary movers - of those announced so far, about 85% involve sellers with assets of $500mm or less. SNL Financial reports that as of Aug 31 there were 183 M&A announcements in banking vs. 181 for the same period last year. Meanwhile, the median price to tangible book value YTD 2015 was 1.364x. This compares to full year median price to tangible book value ratios of about 1.347x (for 2014), 1.225x (2013) and 1.151x (2012). There certainly wasn't much announced in the last week: Bank of Montgomery ($223mm, LA) will acquire Bank of Ringgold ($58mm, LA).
Turning to housing, yesterday we learned that the NAHB Housing Market Index (from home builders) edged up to 62 from 61, its highest level since 2005. So what? Although there are pockets that defy national trends, the housing market is doing very well in most places.
Recently Pro Teck Valuation Services' Home Value Forecast analyzed the top US housing markets based upon YoY price percent changes. (Obviously before computers starting selling stocks and pushing down global stock markets and people's net worth.) The Home Value Forecast found that Detroit, MI was at the top of the list with a 28 percent increase of sold price change. Other notable metros include Palm Bay, FL, Merced, CA and San Francisco, CA. The top ten and top worst performing metros were also ranked in regards to a number of leading real estate market indicators. Some of the top performing metros include Bellingham, WA, Cheyenne, WY, Olympia-Turnwater, WA, Sacramento, CA and San Jose, CA and the worst performing metros include Syracuse, NY, Jacksonville, FL, Rockford, IL, Baltimore, MD and Atlantic City, NJ.
Although listing a home at a reasonable price and providing enough photos of the property may seem like obvious strategies to successfully sell a home quickly, Zillow recently found that listing a home on major websites with more pictures and at the estimated market value do sell at a faster rate. Zillow analyzed ten variables including photos in a listing and page views in the first week after listing to determine their impact on the probability a home will sell in a given amount of time. Their research found that a home in the lower tier of page views (fewer than 100) had an estimated 12 percent chance of selling within 60 days, compared to homes in a higher view bracket (280 or more) had a 36 percent chance of selling within 60 days. Zillow also found that a home with less than 9 photos had a 20 percent lower chance to sell in sixty days than a home with 22 to 27 photos. Interestingly enough, homes with more than 28 photos sell less quickly than those with 22 to 27 photos, because they are 12 percent more expensive and receive less page views. Homes that are priced around their estimated market value sell the fastest and homes priced too high (generally 12 percent or more than their estimated market value) are 50 percent less likely to sell in 60 days. Homes priced between $120,000 and $240,000 sell the most quickly.
What is going to happen with rates? No one has a crystal ball, but currently Fed Fund futures are implying a 32% chance of a rate hike today - for short term rates. Remember that the Fed does not set mortgage rates, although the psychology of the market may change depending on the Federal Open Market Committee's actions and comments. This probability is up a bit over the past week, but is still well below the >50% chance of a hike that was priced in at beginning of August.
Yesterday we had a little intra-day volatility in bonds for no real reason. We did learn that the headline consumer price index fell 0.1% month over month, as expected. But who cares with the FOMC's short term interest rate decision this afternoon - did you know that inflation is lower than when the Fed eased? Once that is done we can return to jabbering about China, the upcoming Greek election on September 20th, and the potential for a government shutdown in the U.S. on September 30th. Judging Abenomics no longer up to the task of buoying Japan's economy, Standard & Poor's lowered Japan's long-term credit rating to A+.
But we do have some data out today. Initial Jobless Claims for the week ending 9/12 and Continuing Jobless Claims for the week ending 9/5 (08:30 EDT), for example, along with August Housing Starts and Building Permits (08:30 EDT), Q2 Current Account Balance (08:30 EDT), the September Philadelphia Fed report, and then the FOMC Rate Decision at 2PM EDT, 11AM PDT. On Wednesday we saw a 2.30% close on the 10-year and this morning we're at 2.28% with agency MBS prices a smidge better.
Jobs and Announcements
In job news, JMAC Lending, a national independent mortgage banker, is seeking highly motivated Wholesale Account Executives in the following locations: Northern California, Colorado, Utah, and Oregon. JMAC is a full service mortgage banker featuring FNMA & Freddie approval and is GNMA approved. "We feature a variety of delegated jumbo products as well as two Non-QM loan programs. JMAC offers a competitive compensation plan with full benefits. As an Account executive you will be assigned an in-house Account Manager and have full access to all operations staff. All interested candidates can send their resume on a confidential basis to Michael McIlrath (415.717.9989).
And Overland Park-based CapWest Mortgage is hiring Producing Sales Team Managers to lead teams of mortgage loan originators as well as generate personal production. While prior management experience is a plus, CapWest is also interested in seasoned Loan Officers with proven track records of consumer direct selling to fill these positions. You may remember: Prospect Mortgage, one of the nation's largest independent mortgage lenders, recently announced it was acquiring CapWest with the intention of expanding its consumer direct channel. As a result, CapWest will see continued growth, and is seeking to hire several smart, energetic Senior Loan Officers in the coming months. To inquire about these opportunities, go to joincapwest. com or contact Tony Thole, National Sales Manager.
"Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group continues to expand nationally in all regions! Our sustainable growth is the result of continually attracting branch managers and MLOs who share Gold Star's founding principle of providing the industry's highest level of service through relationship-based financing. Gold Star's Leadership Team leverages its unique value propositions to position Branch Managers and MLOs for exceptional growth. Gold Star offers around the clock dedicated support teams, integrated marketing CRM, realtor leads, mortgage coaching, competitive pricing/compensation, industry leading service levels and state of the art technology. From day one, you'll understand why our branches grow and thrive in a culture that has made us a multi-year recipient of numerous accolades for top workplace and award-winning process and technology. Schedule a confidential conversation with Tina Jablonski, Senior Vice President, (248.470.3834).
Forty Wells Fargo employees were notified yesterday of mortgage-related layoffs in Raleigh, N.C., which are part of a restructuring plan affecting 182 workers across the company.