Just what our industry needs: another reminder for the public to think about the problems we had in the past. This time it is a Christmas-time movie based on Michael Lewis' book, "The Big Short".

Announced bank mergers and acquisitions have slowed in the last week. Still we learned that in Missouri Peoples Community Bank ($337mm) will acquire Cabool State Bank ($60mm). In the land of fruits and nuts California Bank of Commerce ($473mm, CA) will acquire Pan Pacific Bank ($147mm, CA) for about $24.3mm in cash and stock. And in the state with Daniel Boone's grave Cecilian Bank ($603mm, KY) will acquire Farmers Bank ($107mm, KY) for about $49mm or roughly 1.22x tangible book.

Depository bank trends are interesting indeed, and PNC's CEO says the bank has closed 400 branches in the past year and is actively reducing the size of its other branches as it adapts to changing customer behavior. The bank indicates its new branches are about 67% the size of a traditional branch, cost 45% less to build, have a concierge station, more ATMs and updated teller stations. The bank also said about 50% of its customers are primarily digital now and 42% of transactions do not go through a teller. In peer to peer news, Forrester Research projects P2P payments will surge about 280% from the $5 billion level reached last year to $17 billion by the end of 2019, as payments on smartphones jump. And is the market giving Lending Club too much credit?

And legal information continues to flow into our business, big and small. Royal Bank of Scotland has agreed to pay the NCUA $130mm to settle claims it sold poorly underwritten mortgage backed securities to credit unions that later failed. And Oakland, California is suing Wells Fargo for predatory lending: discriminating against blacks and Hispanics.

On the micro-level, the law offices of Peter N. Brewer, experts in real estate law, provided pool time considerations. If you are thinking about installing a pool on your property, attorney Simon Offord imparted 5 law-related things you should consider before doing so. First, municipal codes have very specific requirements about constructing a pool. For instance, constraints such size, type, and set-back requirements should be identified. (Your contractor must understand and adhere to these rules.) Second, safety issues such as the requirement or necessity of a fence around the pool as well as insurance coverage for potential injury should be explored. Third, do you have an HOA? Be sure to check the rules to verify if a pool is allowed. If so, the rules and constraints from your HOA may differ from city regulations. Fourth, easements and space restrictions may be a factor. A surveyor or arborist might be necessary to analyze any hypothetical issues. And fifth, will adding a pool affect your property taxes? Investigate any potential value add-on in order to anticipate an increase in your taxes.

New products over the last several weeks? You bet - there are indeed sparks of innovation in residential lending.

Blustream Lending has rolled out its first Piggyback program offering concurrent fixed 2nd mortgages on a 30 or 15 year loan term.  The 2nd mortgage is tied to FNMA 1st liens either standard conforming or high balance loan limits, purchase or rate & term to 90% CLTV, and cash out to 85% CLTV.  Blustream Lending was founded by the previous executive management team of GreenPoint Mortgage and is focused on bringing timely products back to the marketplace.  For more information please visit Blustream Lending or email Sales.

Wells Fargo Funding updated its policy for Non-Conforming Loans effective September 14th when the borrower is using bonus income as cash to close by adding new requirements. A borrower's recent bonus may be used for cash to close when the impact to the borrower's qualifying income is analyzed. It will be required to deduct the bonus from qualifying income when it is used as cash to close if the Underwriter determines that the borrower is unable to meet all financial obligations and living expenses until the next bonus payout. Log onto Wells Fargo website to view details regarding its down payment policy considerations.

A while back Guaranteed Rate, the eighth largest retail mortgage lender in the nation and an industry technology leader, introduced the world's first Digital Mortgage. "Guaranteed Rate's Digital Mortgage offers a seamless user experience and cloud-based service for borrowers, simplifying and shortening a previously long and complex process. The Guaranteed Rate Digital Mortgage guides a homebuyer, or a homeowner who is refinancing, through an easy, step-by-step interface to choose a loan type, view their customized interest rates, complete the online application, see their credit scores from all three credit bureaus, receive an online loan approval, and even allows consumers to securely upload and digitally sign key documents - all at no cost to the borrower. The Digital Mortgage also enables real-time collaboration between the borrower and our loan officers, providing expert advice through the entire experience."

FBC Mortgage, LLC announced more expansion within the TPO line of business. FBC TPO has recently promoted Rich Linderman to TPO Eastern Region Sales Manager and hired Amanda Sookoo as the TPO Orlando Operations Manager. We are very excited as our growth plan continues. "These leadership additions will drive our already successful TPO platform from great to excellent", states Dennis Waxman TPO Eastern Divisional Manager in the Orlando Branch.

Using standard mortgage insurance coverage regardless of AUS findings is no longer requirement for Citibank. Reduced Mortgage Insurance is now permitted for loans processed via DU/LP as long as the findings indicate that Reduced MI is acceptable.  

Bay View Loan Servicing announced that 100% of the value of stocks, bonds and mutual funds will be permitted when calculating income on its Portfolio Asset Inclusion product.  Previously, 70% of the value was permitted. Additional updates have been made which affect Alternative Income, Asset Inclusion, Expanded Ratio, Early Access and Investor products. The Reserves Section of its matrices has been updated to reflect: Borrowers having multiple submissions must have additional 6 months reserves for each Bayview serviced loan.  Calculation is based on proposed PITIA payment. The Loan Purpose Section of the matrices has been updated to clarify that transactions in the state of Texas subject to 50(a)(6) are not permitted.

Bayview Loan Servicing and Lakeview Loan Servicing Portfolio Enhancement made changes to its Early Access product. 10% LTV reduction has been removed for borrowers who have not had a hardship.  As a result there will be no requirement to document a hardship. Borrowers will now be eligible for maximum LTV based on FICO score regardless if there was, or was not a hardship that caused the significant derogatory event. The maximum loan amount has been increased to $1,000,000.

LDWholesale is implementing a new Re-Disclosure process to create a more efficient Change of Circumstance procedure. Last month LDWholesale began requiring all change requests to be sent to the Re-Disclosure inbox and "cc" the Account Manager. Updated Change request form will include the correct email address, as well as detailed information regarding the change needed.

Penny Mac has updated its delivery requirements regarding TILA RESPA integrated disclosure. Read the PennyMac TRID FAQ posting and additional guidance regarding TRID related delivery requirements.

I mentioned this earlier this week, but it bears repeating - hopefully it is not a sign of the times and is not carried to other states. CalHFA will be discontinuing the California Homebuyer's Down payment Assistance Program (CHDAP) as of end of business today. CHDAP loans must be reserved and rate locked. LHFS Wholesale, for example, will no longer accept CalHFA Seconds and any loan currently in the pipeline must be registered by CalHFA site by 9/24/15.

Training and events? You bet!

"All You Need to Know about TRID" is a free, educational webinar for Real Estate Agents and Settlement Service Providers offered by Prospect Mortgage. Get the scoop regarding the October TRID deadline and how it could impact closings this fall. Audience members can submit questions during the one-hour webinar and get answers, live during the presentation. Register now for the 9/24 or 9/30 session.

October is "training month" with Arch MI. Sign up for one or all webinars with audio streams through your device, no telephone connection required. Analyzing Appraisals for Single-Family Residences:  Thursday, October 15th, 2015 - 12pm Pacific. Loan Processing Using the 1003 as a Roadmap Tuesday, October 20th, 2015 - 12pm Pacific. Negotiate the Numbers Understanding Self-Employed Borrowers and Business Tax Returns

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 - 10am Pacific. Mortgage Fraud Everything Old is New Again Thursday, October 22nd, 2015 - 10am Pacific. Seizing Market Share in a Purchase Market Creating Separation between You and Your Competitors

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015 - 12pm Pacific.

Are you interested in learning more about the role of the secondary market? Sign up for MBA's November 2nd and November 18th parts 1 and 2 understanding the mystery of secondary market webinar series.

Shifting gears to the bond market, and using the good ol' 10-year T-note as a proxy for interest rate movement, or lack thereof, we saw a 2.12% close Tuesday, a 2.15% open yesterday, and a 2.14% close - pretty darned quiet. Yesterday MBS gave up their early tightening versus the treasury curve, and the Fed was in doing its usual MBs buying - remember that it is still purchasing $1-2 billion a day using money from loans that pay off early. And the 5-yr Treasury note auction didn't ruffle any feathers.

The economic releases today may give traders and investors a reason to push rates higher or lower. We've had the volatile Durable Goods number. Expected down about .5% it was -2%. The usual Thursday Initial Jobless Claims came in at +3k to 267k. And ahead of us are New Home Sales which are expected to hit 520k on an annualized basis for August, up slightly from July. In the early going we're at 2.10% and agency MBS prices are better by .250.

Jobs and Announcements

In wholesale news, due to continued expansion Mega Capital Funding is searching for Account Executives in CA, CO, OR, FL, & WA. Mega Capital Funding is a privately owned mortgage banker, located in Southern California, and "has a unique business model and opportunity for the right candidates with wholesale residential lending experience. Mega Capital Funding supports you and your customers, with an emphasis on Conventional loan production with extremely consistent competitive pricing, and service. Additionally, alternative products are offered, which will supplement your production. In CA, we offer an amazing Alternative Documentation program, that is industry leading, and limited to just a few lenders." For a discrete inquiry, please contact Greg Handy.

And EMM, a full-service direct residential mortgage lender founded in 2002 and licensed in over 25 states, is expanding. Kevin A. Crichton, President & COO of E Mortgage Management, LLC, announced the expansion of its wholesale platform through the hiring of key personnel to focus on the western region of the country. Michael Miller joined EMM as the new SVP of Wholesale Lending and is responsible for recruiting and hiring personnel for both Production and Fulfillment for the Western Division, coaching, and training while producing personal book of business. Miller's new team will consist of James Maloney and Jason Hamel as Senior Account Executives; Ashley Rymer will assume the role of Senior Account Manager for the Colorado-based team, and Colleen Arevalo as Underwriter & Operations Manager overseeing underwriting and operations delivery. EMM is seeking to grow their operations staff and is actively seeking Senior Underwriters with experience in the TPO channel.  If you are interested in joining a dynamic and dedicated team, please reach out to Michael Miller at 303.957.8390. (E Mortgage Management is an Equal Housing Lender/Equal Opportunity Employer, Lender NMLS: 2926. The company is an active member of the National Mortgage Bankers Association and holds an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau.)

Speaking of hiring, yesterday the commentary mentioned pre-employment screening companies Private Eyes, Inc. and 4506-Transcripts.com but failed to include their websites. Click on their links for more information on both.