Yesterday I had some interesting geographic involving the United States that prompted Tony H. to send a few more items. The closest state to Africa? It’s Maine! (Quoddy Head. The largest U.S. city closest to Africa is Boston.) And if one flew directly south from their home in Hickory, NC, one would miss the entire South American mainland – the continent is that far to the east.

Vendor Products and Denver Conference Exhibitions

"Fundingshield, the leader in loan level wire account settlement party verification, issued an alert of an increased expectation of wire fraud this holiday season based on firm analytics, trends over the past 10 years of data, and the current rise in cyber related system breaches. "The data, clearly points to the fact that the holiday season adds to the opportunity for criminals to manipulate the operations within wiring, funding and closing of mortgage loans," stated Ike Suri Chairman and CEO. We offer a backstop control to lender driven closing and funding processes and third-party verification of closing parties and documents. We recommend a review of your closing procedures and exploring how a partnership with Fundingshield will enhance your controls to protect your funds efficiently as we provide our clients added efficient intelligence backed by the industry's largest database of validated settlement accounts. Fundingshield will be attending the Denver MBA and would love to discuss our services. Contact or call (800) 295-0135x2 to set up demonstrations or meetings."

PromonTech, part of the Promontory MortgagePath family of companies, is expected to debut its next generation point of sale solution (POS), the Borrower Wallet, at MBA Annual next week in Denver. The Borrower Wallet is a white-labeled, omni-channel POS that engages with customers on either a self-serve or assisted basis with a loan officer. It makes it easy to enter information, approve automated data collection, upload/e-send documents and stay informed throughout the loan process. "Lenders, regardless of size, can use our platform to level the playing field in an increasingly digital mortgage marketplace and at the same time be assured that they are engaging with their applicants in a compliant manner," says Promontory MortgagePath chief executive officer Bruce Witherell. To schedule a meeting at MBA Annual to learn more about the Borrower Wallet, contact Tony Pietrocola.

"2018 is going to be a challenging year for mortgage lenders, with a continuing slowdown in originations. This will put tremendous pressure on profit margins. The most effective solution: outsource your back-office processes to String Real Estate Information Services. After 14 years and 20 million transactions, String's expertise in mortgage and title is unparalleled. String supports the entire mortgage origination life cycle: from start to finish. We shorten your cycle time, turn your fixed costs into variable costs, and improve your margins by up to 20%. If you're attending the MBA Annual Convention in Denver, schedule a meeting with us to learn how String can improve your P&L within 30 days or less. 

LoanBeam, the leader in automated income extraction and calculation, announced that it is collaborating with Freddie Mac to deliver an innovative income verification solution for the mortgage industry. Expected news for most, as LoanBeam has made a lot of noise in the market as of late, signing deals with major lenders, LOS/POS providers, and big data aggregators to improve process flow and reducing turnaround times associated with income calculation. This collaboration between LoanBeam and Freddie Mac is a pivotal step in the mortgage industry's income verification and automation process, empowering lenders to automate the originations workflow, improve income verification, and enhance the borrower experience. For more information about LoanBeam, visit this website or contact a sales representative for a demo.

Available in English and Spanish, talk'uments is a new consumer information delivery model that displays borrower specific loan data through interactive loan and disclosure technology - from pre-sale through loan closing. Talk'uments increases loan originations, as it eliminates LEP risk and cuts compliance, legal and regulatory costs for all mortgage transactions, and, by providing market ready borrowers with what they want - interactive loan information specific to their loan request (i.e. Loan Product Info, LE and CD review, Application & Closing Docs explanations, and Borrower Responsibilities). Talk'uments is the first of its kind in the field of interactive loan and disclosure technology. For more information or to visit with talk'uments at the national MBA conference (booth 1322), contact George Baker.

Lender Products

In addition to various agency and portfolio products available, Lakeview Loan Servicing has added another unique product offering to allow its clients to support the purchase market. The new No MI product offers consumers the option of putting as little as 3% down and requires no mortgage insurance. Designed to provide the lowest possible payment for 80+ LTV customers, the program allows for a minimum FICO of 680 and reserve funds are not required. No MI mortgages are now available in both Lakeview's Correspondent and Wholesale channels. Call 85-Lakeview (855-253-8439) for more information.

"AmeriHome Correspondent, the 4th largest correspondent in the nation, is pleased to announce the launch of its new and improved Jumbo Loan Program. Highlights of the program include Fixed and ARM options, loan amounts up to $2,500,000 and LTV's to 80%. In addition, both Condos and Investment properties are eligible! And of course, these products come with the consistently competitive pricing and industry leading service AmeriHome is known for across the industry." For more information, please contact your AmeriHome Correspondent Sales Representative, or email

Here's a new group garnering some attention, and you can join for free: America's Homeowner Alliance. It is set up for existing and all future homeowners, built to protect and promote sustainable homeownership for all segments of America. If you go to the AHA website and use the promotional code "rcc2017" by the end of 2017 to get your first-year membership free. "Anyone who cares about homeownership should join for free. LOs or escrow agents can give a free first-year membership in AHA as a housewarming gift to any applicants or to anyone closing a loan. You'll be a hero for your customers and will be doing something great to build the advocacy voice of the homeowner of America."

Capital Markets

Hawks felt that cyclical pressures would soon push inflation higher and that at least part of the softening in inflation this year was due to one-off factors. The more dovish group was concerned that the longer inflation remains below 2%, the greater the chance that inflation expectations slip and that the current sub-2 percent results become standard.

U.S. Treasuries ended Wednesday on a lower note in tandem with a morning retreat in European debt. The 2s10s spread I mentioned yesterday is now at its flattest in ten years - are rates creeping up in a non-expanding economy? Housing starts declined 4.7% month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.127 million, while Building Permits decreased 4.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.215 million. The weakness in starts and permits was concentrated in the South, so the October report should show better results now that hurricane season is over. And the Beige Book showed labor shortages in many areas.

In Fed speak, FOMC Vice Chair William Dudley said he has been surprised by falling inflation and investors should pay heed to the servicing of government debt - investors have been encouraged to ignore total debt load during the recovery from the financial crisis. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said he is worried about a short-term tax cut that would raise the debt load and that full employment has stunted 2017 growth.

In other news, the Senate will probably pass a budget resolution today, but this is a small step in the tax process while shutdown risk does exist: government funding authorization only runs until 12/8). Out today, we've had Weekly Initial Claims (222k), the Philadelphia Fed Survey (up nicely), with September Leading Indicators coming up. The day commences with the 10-year yielding 2.30% and agency MBS prices are +.125-.250, so rates are lower versus Wednesday's close.

Opportunities, Promotions, Lender M&A

Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of Homeward Residential, Inc.'s wholesale origination business. This acquisition provides an exciting opportunity to expand Bayview's wholesale channel and continue to build on their growing origination capabilities. Homeward Residential, Inc.'s wholesale team will join the Bayview family of companies and operate as part of the Lakeview Wholesale team to offer a full line of agency and portfolio products as well as expanded benefits to clients.

Bell Bank Mortgage has named Tom Romine senior vice president of mortgage lending. Tom will lead Bell's mortgage sales team and its initiatives, including steering the mortgage origination growth strategies for the regional bank. "Tom's extensive knowledge and background in all aspects of the industry bring immense value to this key leadership role within our growing organization," stated Tony Weick, president of Bell Bank Mortgage. A leader in originating residential mortgages, Bell has built a strong reputation, validated by multiple "Best Places to Work" awards and driven by its bottom line mission statement, "Happy employees! Happy customers!"

Richey May & Co., LLP, a leader in public accounting and advisory services for the mortgage banking industry, is excited to announce its expansion into cybersecurity advisory and compliance services through the hire of JT Gaietto, CISSP. JT has more than 18 years of experience providing enterprise information security and risk management services, with an emphasis on the financial services industry. In his role as Executive Director, Cybersecurity Services, JT will provide Richey May clients with critical security and regulatory compliance support, including incident response, third-party risk management, business continuity, and customer & government due diligence oversight. The addition of JT and his skillset to Richey May enhances the firm's commitment to the changing needs of lenders around the country. Learn more about JT here.

"If you are an independent mortgage company or retail production team closing $2M to $50M per month and are looking for an opportunity with a nationwide company focused on growth and branch support, contact Bank of England Mortgage today. Since opening our doors in 1898 in England, Arkansas, our family-owned and FDIC insured bank provides big bank benefits with a community bank feel. We have survived the volatility of the mortgage industry for 119 years! In other words, our stability is simply unmatched. Benefit from our flexible and entrepreneurial approach in helping you run your business, and focus on the success of your team. We offer an extensive range of loan products, nationwide lending, the advantage of modern technology, and a distinct marketing approach to ensure your success. Contact your area Bank of England Mortgage regional representative: West - Randolph Winston, (615) 812-5885, Midwest - Jim Lind, (913) 972-0822, Southeast - Roger Phillips, (205) 910-9339, or Northeast - Chris Copley, (717) 440-3346."

American Pacific Mortgage is launching into the Texas market! Management is looking for highly motivated and quality leaders who want to grow with APM. If you're interested in the Dallas, San Antonio or Austin market, please reach out to Peter Schwartz (916-770-0053) or Joseph Silvas (817-899-2644). Did you know that APM has been hosting bi-annual Sales Symposiums since the company's inception? These Symposiums are the perfect event to become informed, inspired, educated, and network with other top producers and branch managers. You will hear incredible speakers to gain industry knowledge and engage in breakout sessions to learn how to take your business to new levels. If you're considering making a move, watch this personal message from Kurt Reisig, Chairman of APM. The next Symposium will be held in San Diego on October 26th & 27th and is expected to host over 1,200 top producers. Just reach out to Peter Schwartz (916-770-0053), or Dustin Block (303-378-3166), or click here to register.

LoanScorecard announced that Gerald Casey has joined the company as Managing Director, Capital Markets, responsible for developing and executing strategies to help maximize revenues of non-agency capital market participants and investors. Gerald brings 30 years of experience in the financial services industry as a fixed income, residential whole loan trading and technology professional to LoanScorecard. Most recently, he was Managing Director of Hudson Advisors/Lone Star Funds, where he was responsible for residential non-performing whole loan acquisitions, as well as acquiring, underwriting and directing the default servicing at Caliber Home Loans, a wholly-owned operating company of Lone Star Funds. "LoanScorecard is committed to supporting capital and secondary market players as they expand their non-agency and portfolio offerings," said Ben Wu, the company's Executive Director. "Adding a leader with Gerald's experience will allow us to better serve our clients by providing strategic solutions that make their businesses more efficient and effective."

New American Funding has appointed Scott Bristol as its new Senior Vice President National Sales Manager. Bristol will be instrumental in advancing the growth of the lender's retail division throughout new and existing markets, helping manage the productivity for Loan Originators nationwide while simultaneously working with regional managers to maximize their profitability.

AmeriFirst Home Mortgage announced that it has added Jamie Brown, a 20+year mortgage industry veteran, as Southeast Regional Manager. Brown oversees and drives AmeriFirst's deeper expansion into Florida and works out of the independent community mortgage lender's offices in Winter Park and Tampa, FL.