I am in Chicago with the FHLBank Chicago, and, despite the congestion and energy on the streets, the numbers tell us that the local economy is slowing. (In local news, for his work on batteries, University of Chicago alum John Goodenough – try growing up with that one - became the oldest Nobel Prize winner at 97!) Traditionally, U.S. downturns have been homegrown and household-led, sparked by spikes in interest rates and Wall Street run amok, but that’s arguably not the case this time. Instead, what’s driving recessionary fears in investors, and if we keep talking about it, it will happen, is a global, geopolitical shock to business sentiment from President Donald Trump’s trade war on China and Britain’s potential pullout from the European Union. That’s why we have seen companies cut spending recently.

Lender Products and Services

Exciting things are happening at NewRez! With the acquisition of Ditech into the NewRez family of companies now complete, we combine the expertise and capabilities of the organizations to bring more than ever to our clients. NewRez Correspondent’s national team remains focused on GSE and government business, now under the leadership of John Davis. Lisa Schreiber is leading the growth of a new, national NewRez Non-QM team, delivering more product choices and technology solutions. We look forward to seeing you at the MBA to share more about how we can support your success – find us in the Capital Ballroom at the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown. To make an appointment in advance, contact mba2019@newrez.com. 

Conquering Shifts is a must read. Greg Frost, Drew McKenzie, David Jaffe, Jeff Lake, Julie Miller, Larry Bettag, Michael Deery, Michael Smalley, Ralph Massella, Tom Ninness, Mark Raskin, and Karen Deis provide more than an overview of their success principles, telling the reader the strategies used and exactly how to implement them. “The benefit of owning this book is two-fold. First, it’s inspiring. Secondly, it’s a fantastic resource to be used during our sales meetings. The authors, Cindy Douglas and Kathleen Heck do a great job showing how some of the industry greats went from ground zero to mega producers” Ben Holloway, Mountain West Financial. I’ve indicated in several posts the value of this book. Have you bought your copies yet? The question is If not, why not? For senior management looking to boost production now is the time to order your copies in bulk. Discount pricing ends October 11.

Chenoa Fund: Thumbs Up from Lenders, Part Two: One of our goals is to serve as an augmentation to state-based homebuyer assistance programs, which have restrictions that tend to limit eligibility. Our recent survey of 735 lenders suggests we’ve found an important niche, and that loan officers appreciate our efforts to keep paperwork and fees minimal and rates and credit score requirements reasonable. As one lender told us, ‘Local and state DPA programs should not have a monopoly on down payment assistance programs. The market benefits when borrowers have many choices.’ Lenders also appreciate that our service and products are consistent nationwide, allowing them to learn and follow just one set of rules: ‘The availability of this program in all 50 states is a huge advantage. State-specific programs require learning separate guidelines or certification, which is a barrier for many originators’ ability to offer down payment assistance.’”

October is here and you know what that means… MBA Annual is coming up! The biggest need right now is building consumer loyalty and developing a relationship early on in the loan process. Although, that can be a tall order if your competitors keep reaching out with offers the same day you pull credit. Luckily, Informative Research develops strategies for its clients to help avoid competitor poaching and cut your annual credit spend by up to 40%. It’s a win-win. Don’t believe it? Just look at this (case study included) and then reach out  about meeting in Austin during the MBA Annual! Hurry and get that conversation started so you can go beyond your revenue goals for the year.

Blend, the digital lending platform for mortgages and consumer loans, has published a comprehensive guide to integrating home equity into your growth strategy. Our guide walks you through educating your customers on the uses for home equity, creating branding tools that keep you top of mind, and delivering your message when and where it matters. Get started here

“Freddie Mac Single-Family is ALL FOR building the future of home. Affordable lending is evolving and Freddie Mac is ALL IN on providing solutions that enable emerging populations to achieve the dream of HOME. We are changing perceptions by developing products and resources that drive real opportunities for businesses while creating a renewed sense of access for borrowers. Read an Executive Perspective from Danny Gardner, SVP, Freddie Affordable Lending and Access to Credit, that highlights the value of education and strategic outreach to overcome barriers to homeownership. In addition, don’t miss Freddie Mac’s take on The Future of Affordable Lending in Housingwire. Learn more about All For HomeSM, Freddie Mac’s approach to affordable lending, and discover key insights to inform your business and take advantage of solutions and tools that will further enable your borrowers to make Home Possible®. All in. All of us. All For Home.”

The Pinnacle Partnership program from QLMS has now grown to hundreds of broker members. Pinnacle members enjoy free 5-day rate lock extensions, access to the exclusive QLMS Fresh Start program which helps clients improve their credit, exclusive industry events that combine education and networking, and world-class marketing and recruiting advice. QLMS is the fastest-growing lender serving brokers, and because of unsurpassed benefits like Pinnacle, will more than quadruple its 2018 volume this calendar year.  Pinnacle Partners have learned that they're Stronger Together with the industry-leading and exclusive capabilities QLMS provides, and have grown their businesses by leaps and bounds. Join the quickly growing partner base and let QLMS prove to you how the combination of technology, marketing and service can accelerate your business. Connect with QLMS here or contact your QLMS account executive to learn how you can become a Pinnacle member and grow your business.

Come enjoy this one-of-a-kind bar and never-ending camaraderie with PRMG at The Bellagio’s elite Lily Bar & Lounge following the largest independent mortgage broker event of the year, AIME Fuse 2019 on Saturday, October 12th from 7-10 PM! Make sure to RSVP HERE or pick up tickets at PRMG’s Booth #25! This is an evening you don’t want to miss since PRMG knows how to party! 

Vendor Nuggets

The Oakleaf Group is a Mortgage Data Analytics, Modeling, Capital Markets, Loan QC/Review and Risk Advisory firm serving banks, GSEs, regulators, law firms, originators and portfolio managers. “Our team consists of industry subject matter experts, bank regulatory reporting practitioners, risk management professionals, and technologists who work together to help solve the industry’s toughest problems. If one of your goals at MBA is to find a great partner to advance your mortgage lending, investing, or portfolio analytics goals, then  email Jay Arneja to schedule a meeting to discuss.”

Guaranteed Rate announced enhancements to its FlashClose ™ digital closing solution. “Now, whether it’s from the bottom of the Grand Canyon or on an airplane 30,000 feet above ground, eligible borrowers can electronically review, sign and notarize closing documents from their internet-connected devices—anytime, anywhere.” Through a partnership with Notarize, the first company to enable an entirely online real estate closing process, the FlashClose homebuying experience redefines the closing process by giving borrowers the tools they need to close on their own terms—fully online or with the loan officer’s assistance. Most Americans will soon be able to go from house hunting to closing entirely online.

LoanScorecard announced it has expanded its partnership with Deephaven Mortgage to power IDENTI-FI AUS™ for Deephaven’s Correspondent Division. LoanScorecard already powers IDENTI-FI AUS for Deephaven’s Wholesale Division. “With this expanded partnership, LoanScorecard’s Portfolio Underwriter™ technology powers IDENTI-FI AUS, a non-QM point-of-sale/pre-qualification tool, for Deephaven’s Correspondent Division. ‘IDENTI-FI AUS empowers correspondent lenders to offer non-QM products by analyzing loan data against product guidelines and determining fit within seconds.’ Approved correspondent partners run loan scenarios and instantly determine potential options across Deephaven’s non-agency loan programs allowing them to expand their potential borrower base. Correspondent lenders can run an AUS findings report on any loan file for a detailed breakdown of Deephaven’s qualification criteria and documentation requirements.

Capital Markets

My informal survey shows that 30-yr rates for borrowers have been little changed, even with the market movement this week. In general, borrowers in the primary markets have been sheltered from secondary marketing volatility, a two-edged sword since borrower’s rates don’t drop as fast as the MBS market would suggest. Yesterday, for example, the 10-year T-note worsened nearly .5 in price but agency MBS prices only dropped about .250. Servicing values fluctuate, of course, and current 30-year conventional conforming rates seem to be about 3.625%. Lenders continue to use margins to adjust volumes to fit their operational capacity.

Regarding economic trends, know that the labor market slowed in September, but remains tight as employers added 136,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate declined to 3.5%; the lowest rate since December 1969. Forward looking indicators such as job openings and hiring surveys indicate that job market growth should continue to slow in the coming months. The slowing job growth was welcome news after manufacturing date released earlier in the week showed a second consecutive month of contraction. The ISM manufacturing survey for September fell. Given that manufacturing only accounts for roughly 12% of economic output, this is not necessarily cause for alarm given that the much larger service sector is still expanding. It will depend on whether or not a slowdown in manufacturing leads to lower consumer spending when combined with rising consumer prices. Income growth may moderate as hiring slows which could cause some consumers to cut back on spending. With the economic headwinds building, the market is now expecting a 25-basis point rate cut when the FOMC meets at the end of October rather than December.

U.S. Treasuries retreated on Wednesday. What else would we talk about if it weren’t for the U.S. Chinese trade war? Or Brexit? Now we can talk about Turkey’s military operation against Syria. The $24 billion U.S. 10-yr Treasury note auction was met decent demand. We had the release of the Minutes from the September FOMC meeting which noted that "a few" participants commented on the possibility of resuming asset purchases in order to stabilize the level of reserves in the banking system. Fed Chairman Jay Powell, however, has already gone a step beyond that, essentially confirming that "organic" balance sheet expansion will resume soon.

For news today we have three Fed presidents speaking (Kashkari, Daly, and Mester). We’ve already had September’s Consumer Price Index (flat, core +.1%) and weekly Initial Jobless Claims (-10k to 210k). Up ahead is a $16 billion 30-year Treasury bond auction. This morning we find the yield on the 10-year, which closed Wednesday at 1.59%, at 1.58%, and agency MBS prices better by a few ticks.



“Did you hear about the powerhouse mortgage company that had over 30 locations across the country experience record production in September? That’s right, it was another month of consistent growth for PrimeLending, and our Northeast region was among the leading production areas. Are you a loan officer located near New Jersey, New Hampshire, Fall River or New Bedford looking for a better company to build a career? If so, PrimeLending is the place to make it happen — and when you’re equipped with over 400 products, a next-generation LOS and an expert operations team that is solely focused on closing loans on time, you’ll see why. After your chat with Nic Hartke, PrimeLending regional recruiter, and Mike Watkinson, PrimeLending Northeast regional manager, you will understand even more about why PrimeLending has been an industry leader for more than three decades. Connect with Nic for a confidential conversation to discuss your future.”

You’re invited to our Meet Motto event on October 24th! Let us fly you to sunny Denver where you’ll learn how you can maximize your business opportunity and take control of your career with a MottoMortgage franchise. Discover how a mortgage franchise can be your growth catalyst and have a chance to meet our team and tour headquarters. Travel, meals and accommodations are on us (with qualification – no purchase necessary). Call (303)796-3274 or email us at franchise@mottomortgage.com for more information or to RSVP. Meet Motto. Meet business opportunity.