Eddie Van Halen advised, “You only have twelve notes. Do what you want with them.” Twelve is probably the number of undecided voters in the U.S. at this point. Political analysts and rumor mongers, besides wondering why Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Bill Barr have slid out of the public eye, suggest that President Trump has created an unprecedented election scenario: Either he wins outright, or loses but insists that he lost only due to suspected ballot foulplay, and therefore declares himself the winner. (Even the VP debate this week has a new slogan: “Black Flies Matter.”) Others wonder what more could possibly happen in the next three weeks, as there is no way anyone could have predicted everything that has happened in the last three weeks (like Microsoft allowing WFH permanently). Or seven months. For those of you out there who seem to work a little bit all seven days a week now, what will you do with a three-day weekend? How about think about… forbearance? Black Knight’s number crunchers tell us that the number of mortgages in active forbearance saw the largest decline since the pandemic began, as the first wave of forbearance plans hit the end of their initial six-month term. Over the past seven days, active forbearances fell 18% (-649K), bringing the total number of plans below 3M for the first time since mid-April.
Broker and Lender Services and Products
LendingPad® is proud to announce a new integration with the industry-leading Point-of-Sale (POS) system - Floify to bring you a new and improved lending experience. By connecting the POS and LOS systems, mortgage teams can streamline their front and back-office processes, avoid duplicate entry, and reduce unnecessary human error. Once the LendingPad integration has been configured, loan originators will be able to seamlessly synchronize the Floify loan application data file to LendingPad, ensuring a flawless upload of the borrower’s critical application information. It also automatically pushes approved borrower loan documents from Floify directly into LendingPad’s document management system. “We are always excited to integrate with vendors as innovative and dynamic as Floify who share our goal of making the lending experience more efficient for our mutual customers. Extra thanks to Floify’s leadership for getting this completed,” said Wes Yuan, LendingPad’s managing director.
Mortgage lenders, sometimes it feels like you’ve traveled down a road and back again with your compliance team as they worked hard for you and your clients. November is National Gratitude Month, and maybe it’s time to tell your compliance department, “Thank you for being a friend.” However, you don’t have to throw a party and invite everyone you know because MQMR is once again giving you the chance to say thank you with lunch. Nominate your compliance team, and tell us what makes them so extraordinary. Nominations are open now through Nov. 23. Like last year, MQMR will select a winner at random each week in November starting Nov. 6, and they’ll receive a $250 gift card for lunch on us. For a list of Official Rules and to submit your nomination, visit the contest page here.
Now, in the middle of refi madness, it’s imperative your Realtor relationships remain healthy. Loan Officers must focus their energy on the long game of purchase business. It’s a great time to remind Realtor partners how vital they are to your business and that you are all in when it comes to providing value. Here’s a Scotsman Guide feature by Usherpa’s CEO Dan Harrington, about ways you can use your CRM to tap data intelligence and multi-channel marketing technology to do more than just the basics. You’ve earned their trust, now remind Realtors of what you bring to the table!
Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC, has acquired Galton Funding, a national conduit specializing in the acquisition of Non-agency QM and Non-QM residential home loans. “The acquisition will enhance Western Alliance Bank’s Mortgage Warehouse Lending Group offerings with new Non-agency prime credit residential mortgages… Key sales, operations and credit risk staff members from Galton Funding will join the growing Mortgage Warehouse Lending Group, which also provides traditional warehouse lending, MSR finance, Note Finance, and treasury management products and services, in October. Additionally, Galton Funding’s President Doug Potolsky will be retained as a consultant for several months to ensure a smooth transition.
There have already been three depository bank acquisitions in October, following September’s fourteen deals and ten in August. Bank mergers and acquisitions happen for many different reasons, such as adding more advanced solutions, gaining deposits or supplementing bank talent. In Georgia, Piedmont Bancorp ($1.3 billion in assets) is buying WestSide Bank (172 million). In Oklahoma, AmeriState Bank ($318 million) is buying one branch of BancFirst Corp. And in Virginia, Virginia National Bancshares is buying Fauquier Bancshares Inc.
If RESPA is your passion, you were in hog heaven yesterday. The CFPB released a set of FAQs discussing topics under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Regulation X. “The FAQs provide an overview of the provisions in RESPA Section 8 (and the respective sections in Regulation X), and they address the application of these provisions to gifts and promotional activities and also to marketing services agreements (MSAs).”
But wait! For a bonus treat, for the Bureau is rescinding Compliance Bulletin 2015-05, RESPA Compliance and Marketing Services Agreements. As stated in the Bureau’s blog post on the rescission, the Bureau’s rescission of the Bulletin does not mean that MSAs are per se or presumptively legal. Instead, as explained in the FAQs, whether a particular MSA violates RESPA Section 8 will depend on specific facts and circumstances, including how the MSA is structured and implemented. The FAQs aim to provide greater clarity on these points and highlight examples of when an MSA is or is not legal. MSAs remain subject to scrutiny and the Bureau remains committed to vigorous enforcement of RESPA Section 8.
Attorney Brian Levy was quick to drop me a line. “As my Musings point out, this announcement essentially just confirms what I’ve been saying all along that, (i) MSAs are legal if done properly, and (ii) the CFPB’s 2015 compliance memo saying otherwise was already overruled by the PHH case. That is, you can pay for actual, necessary, and distinct services even if from a referral source as long as you pay no more than the reasonable value of the services. That said, CFPB also emphasized the reminder that you can’t pay for “services” that are in the nature of making referrals. So, as I often mention, the narrative around why services are needed and what you are in fact doing is also essential to determining RESPA compliance.” (To subscribe to Brian’s monthly piece on compliance, and legal issues, click here.)
Of course, anyone reading the RESPA FAQs will wonder about how the FAQs treatment of paying for services that are in the nature of making a referral fits into the mortgage broker model. Promotional activities and displacing existing cost bear scrutiny. And as one legal eagle pointed out to me, there still might be questions around the tools seeming to be over and above what a broker would pay and a broker’s existing cost.
Capital Markets and Products
Are you spending hours sorting and sifting through your pipeline trying to find the most profitable combination of loans to sell? Then you know determining the optimal loan composition can be a tough nut to crack. Compass Analytics, part of Black Knight, is here to help with a major enhancement to its Pool Optimizer solution. Building upon years of product innovation, this new algorithm helps lenders solve for the most profitable combination of pools to maximize specified pay-ups and minimize high-balance price hits. Additionally, lenders can now incorporate investor preferences related to representative credit mix and other internal considerations into their best execution analysis, automatically. If you want to improve profitability through aggregation without investing hours of valuable time, please read Black Knight’s most recent post.
Looking at rates, not much for me to report about what happened in the bond market yesterday. The day's $23 billion 30-year bond reopening was met with weak demand, but mortgages don’t track the 30-year bond. In Washington, House Speaker Pelosi said that she no longer supports standalone aid to airlines. Remember that initial jobless claims yesterday were down, but the report still is not a complete picture since California is working through backlogged claims. Initial claims remain exceedingly high and indicative of the ongoing demand challenges faced by U.S. businesses… At least housing is doing well!
Today’s lone economic release is wholesale inventories and sales for August. We also have two scheduled Fed speakers: Richmond’s Barkin and Chicago’s Evans. Today’s Desk support is the smallest since September 17 at $3.8 billion (versus $7.3 billion on Tuesday) over two operations, starting with $2.9 billion UMBS30 2% and 2.5% followed by $892 million UMBS15 1.5% and 2%. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices unchanged from Thursday night as is the 10-year yield at 0.77%.
Employment and Transitions
Hamilton Group Funding has a new name and logo. Hamilton Group Funding, a leading residential mortgage lender headquartered in South Florida, has changed its name to Hamilton Home Loans and has rebranded with a new logo, visual identity, and corporate website. Pat Sheehy, President and CEO, stated “As Hamilton continues to grow and evolve, it’s critical that our brand evolves with us. Our new name more accurately represents our primary business of originating home loans, and our new logo is contemporary and welcoming to customers.” For industry partners working with Hamilton Home Loans, it’s business as usual: no changes to the company’s management structure, location, or daily operations. Founded in 2003, Hamilton Home Loans has 38 offices throughout the U.S. To learn more about its products, services, or opportunities, contact Anna Beltran or Ashlee Cragun.
“Join the First National Bank (FNB) team and make a difference, for us and your future. FNB is looking for a Manager of Mortgage Loan Quality Control (QC) to join us in Pittsburgh, PA, or in North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad area (Winston-Salem/Greensboro). This individual will oversee GSE investor and portfolio QC reviews, management, and reporting, with a focus on first lien loans originated through our retail or correspondent channels. He or she will lead a team of QC Underwriters and Analysts to cover both outsourced and internal QC reviews. Mortgage underwriting and QC experience are required, and the ideal candidate will have experience with Excel reporting and AllRegs. Qualified candidates can learn more about our award-winning culture and submit their interest for this position here, and other FNB positions here. FNB Corporation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.”
“If you are a processor, underwriter, or closer who is familiar with LendingQB, we have an opening for you. Join the Network Funding family, where we take care of each other and the people in our communities. We just completed our company matching campaign for food banks and gave over $56,000 to those in need. We raised over $35,000 for one of our employees whose home was hit by hurricane Sally. We still have our first employee and we have been in business for over 22 years. If you prefer working in LendingQB and are looking for the right company, contact us.”
Named National Mortgage News as one of the Best Companies To Work For in 2020, NewRez is looking to fill numerous underwriter roles nationally. With competitive compensation packages and signing bonus, underwriters have the opportunity to advance their careers internally as well as participate in several incentive-based programs to enhance their income. In addition to competitive compensation, employees can count on supportive management, dedicated to elevating staff members and teams, and a career with an organization with demonstrated stability and growth within the industry. For more information or to apply, please send your resume to Recruiting Director Elisa Morgado.
“Closers and underwriters who want to be in a growing fintech firm, Interfirst is bringing technology to your world. Interfirst is immediately hiring closers and underwriters and other positions on our team with competitive salary and benefits. Interfirst's low-rate no-lender fee combination makes us highly competitive with anything advertised online by any lender in any state. Interfirst provides you all the tools you need to work wherever you are, so goodbye old ways, hello new ways. Our leadership team has over 100 years of mortgage, sales/marketing, and consumer-related experience. Apply today.”
“AmWest Funding Corp. has been a renowned innovator of mortgage lending since 1995. The Company prides itself on providing exemplary services to brokers and lenders nationwide. Despite the turbulent refi market, AmWest has consistently delivered with quick turnaround and customer satisfaction. We offer a variety of products including, Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie, QM & Non-QM with a proprietary Price Engine. As a testament to our success, AmWest has funded over $4.1 BILLION in Non-QM loans and has plans for continual success. If you are looking for an experienced wholesale lender who offers aggressive Non-QM pricing with a world-class operations service team, join us today as a Senior Account Executive! Send your resume to Tristan Truong or visit our website for more career opportunities.”
Faith Murphy, CMB, recently joined GO Mortgage as the Agent Relationship Manager. Murphy brings over 18 years of mortgage and real estate experience to her new position at the company and will play a critical role in creating and retaining real estate partnerships for GO Mortgage. Her project management, business development, and communication skills will help generate long term value for real estate agents and homeowners. Murphy will focus on connecting real estate agents to new opportunities and building relationships that last beyond the transaction. To learn more about how GO Mortgage is delivering leads and marketing tools to real estate agents, reach out to Faith Murphy.
Promontory MortgagePath LLC has hired industry veteran Theresa Sloan as Managing Director, National Mortgage Operations to “spearhead the company’s fintech strategy and support community banks in remaining competitive.”