I head to Ann Arbor today, but 500 miles away is the Gateway Arch in St. Louis - quite a sight on the Mississippi! The Gateway Arch was designed in 1947 but construction didn't begin until 1963. It was completed on this date in 1965, exactly 50 years ago. It's the nation's tallest monument (630 feet) - 886 tons of stainless steel - 3 million visitors annually. Critics, however, are still quick to point out that 40 square blocks of riverside property were bulldozed, including 290 businesses in cast-iron buildings, mainly small factories employing 5,000 workers. Construction unions banned African-Americans from working on the site. How has the city fared? In 1940, St. Louis was America's eighth-largest city but today its population has fallen to 60th. (In comparison Detroit was #4 in 1940 but is now 18th.)

Events and Training

"Ready for the biggest holiday networking party? This December National Mortgage Professional Magazine has a gift for its readers: the biggest FREE Holiday Networking Party in years, so big organizers need Texas, California, and Florida to host it! Each day starts off with business building workshops from industry leaders Barry Habib from MBS Highway and Frank Garay and Brian Stevens from NREP, followed by a party atmosphere where you get to mix and mingle with other successful mortgage professionals and vendors with music, food, prizes, and a heavy dose of holiday cheer! Lenders and vendors, to learn more about limited sponsorship opportunities please click here. MLOs with NMLS numbers attend free. Register by clicking the state that you wish to attend: California, Texas, or Florida.

In Michigan join the MMLA's 86th Annual Presidents Installation Banquet on November 4th and fully enjoy the spectacular venue of Ford Field.  Get there early to enjoy the free stadium tours that will take you behind the scenes, in the locker room and suites and other areas not usually seen by the public. Lem Barney, former Detroit Lion and Hall of Fame player, will be the special guest at this event.

In New Mexico the NMMLA November 12th Luncheon presents Steven Richman from Genworth MI as guest speaker.

On November 18th and 19th in Park City Utah, the 2015 Mortgage Star Conference Leadership Conference for Women is redefining Women's place within the mortgage industry. Working with the National Association of Professional Mortgage Women, this conference will bring together like-minded, determined women who want to speak up and take the lead. Featuring a star lineup of top female lenders and leaders, it's an event filled with revolutionary thinking and idea sharing, register today.

The TMBA 65th Annual Educational Seminar and Marketplace is set for November 17th and 18th at the Westin Galleria in Dallas, Texas. Join hundreds of real estate finance professionals as you listen to dynamic speakers from the industry including Bill Hart, Building Champions' coaching team, Tammy Butler, Director of Fair Lending and Compliance for Optimal Blue, Mike Cafferky, Fannie Mae's program manager for electronic mortgages (eMortgages), and Jim Carley who joined the Bureau as Southeast Regional Director.

And trying to squeeze in ahead of Thanksgiving is the MBA's Accounting and Financial Management Conference in New Orleans from November 18-20. And it that wasn't enough you can attend the MBA's Independent Mortgage Banker Conference in Nashville from Dec. 2-4.

Fires, floods, and natural disasters? Lenders & vendors have disaster policies in place.

With the recent disasters in both California and South Carolina, FEMA continues to update declared disaster areas. Lenders are relying upon FEMA updates, investor procedures, as well as each company's individual procedures.

Fannie Mae has introduced the HomeReady mortgage, building off of the successful MyCommunityMortgage. The HomeReady mortgage is available to all Fannie Mae lenders and borrower eligibility includes income limit of 80 percent of area median income (AMI). Eligibility is also provided for properties in low-income census tracts with no borrower income limits, and up to 100 percent of AMI for properties situated in high minority census tracts or disaster areas. Non-occupant borrowers are allowed for qualifying purposes and rental income from an accessory united is permitted. Lenders can begin taking applications immediately but the program will not be in DU until December 12th. For more information about the program, click here.

PennyMac posted information regarding its disaster policy.

Click the link to view Plaza's Natural Disaster Policy.

SunWest continues to inform its clients with its Disaster Area Update.

Pacific Union Financial, LLC issued a reminder regarding its policy for re-inspection of properties located in disaster areas. Information is published in its Correspondent Lending Guide.

United Guaranty's recent press release responded to the large numbers of homes sustaining damage from floods that swept through South Carolina. United Guaranty has initiated a disaster policy and will work with mortgage lenders and servicers to provide flexibility for borrowers in the declared disaster area who have encountered severe property damage and interrupted employment. Forbearance measures to prevent foreclosure actions on those coping with storm damage should follow the procedures on dealing with homeowners affected by disasters, natural or otherwise, found in the guidelines established by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

MI companies have made some news lately.  Genworth Financial Inc. agreed to sell its European mortgage-insurance business to AmTrust Financial Services Inc. for about $60 million in cash. Based in the U.K., the mortgage-insurance business offers products in the U.K., Finland, Italy and Germany. As of June 30, the tangible book value of the operations was about $155 million. Genworth said earlier this year that it planned to sell some operations as part of a move to comply with tighter federal requirements for mortgage insurers that want to do business with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Genworth officials estimated they needed an additional $500 million to $700 million to meet the Private Mortgage Insurer Eligibility Requirements by Dec. 31. The sale will provide it with additional capital credit toward the requirements. It expects to record a loss of about $140 million related to the sale in the fourth quarter, and the deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

Last month Arch MI rates were approved by the Maryland Insurance Administration effective September 25th, for AMGC's Portfolio Power premium plans. AMGC's rates and premium plan options are identical to those of Arch MI for traditional lenders. Portfolio Power offers lenders best-in-class MI solutions for loans held in portfolio, including day-one rescission relief, with no post-closing document review required.

During the MBA's conference, to much fanfare, Arch MI introduced RateStar, a risk-based pricing program, and is expected to be available before the end of this year. RateStar used a combination of loan characteristics and other risk factors to determine the most precise premium rate for each loan. Loans will be priced based on its individual risk features instead of being grouped into large risk buckets. In other words, "RateStar provides a more targeted approach than the conventional rate sheets used for decades in the industry. Instead of loans being grouped in large risk buckets, each loan will be priced based on its own individual risk attributes.

MGIC Investment Group has reported operating statistics for September. New notices dropped by 12.4 percent YoY but rose 6.7 percent MoM and cures of 5,445 were down 12.3 percent MoM.  The ending delinquency inventory of 64.642 was down 0.3 percent MoM from 64,805 compared to a 2 percent drop in August and new insurance written equaled $3.9 billion in September, down from $4 billion in August. Ending delinquency inventory declined 22.3 percent YoY compared to being down 35.5 percent a year ago. Paid claims increased 0.5 percent MoM and net rescissions and denials rose to 92 from 67 in August. Click here for more information.

Essent Guaranty has some upcoming changes to its underwriting guideline manual and rate cards effective for mortgage insurance applications received on/after November 16, 2015. Updated Rate Cards will be effective for Commitments issued on/after that same date. Essent's website will reflect changes on the effective date.

National MI has reported that new insurance written reached $3.63 billion in the third quarter, which is a 42 percent increase from the second quarter. Similarly, 391 customers generated new insurance written in the third quarter compared to 340 the prior quarter.  The company also estimated that at the end of the third quarter, it had 906 approved master policies with customers, up from 842 master policies at the end of the second quarter.

Radian stockholders watched as its stock sold off 10% yesterday, marking the sharpest decline since late 2012 as perceived pricing pressures accelerated further. Radian reported third quarter operating earnings per share of $0.30 but earned $227 million of premiums in the third quarter. New insurance written of $11.2 billion dropped 5 percent but YoY purchase volume was up 3 percent while refinances were down 19 percent. Radian's incurred losses increased 31 percent YoY to $64 million from $31 million. The delinquency rate fell to 4.1 percent from 4.3 percent and new default notices were up from 10,006 to 10,698.

Turning to the MBS markets, investors in securities backed by mortgages are acutely aware of the supply side of the equation. Thomson Reuters reports that, "Month-to-date gross supply stands at $95 billion and is estimated to total around $98 billion for the month, down from $108 billion in September. Net issuance, after factoring in prepayments, is expected to be $17bn vs. $29bn previously."

Rates? Although we saw a bit of a rally yesterday, they just ain't moving much. In general, however, the recent news isn't bowling anyone over, and the odds of a rate increase by the Federal Open Market Committee are waning. Of note yesterday was the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index declining to 97.6 in October from a downwardly-revised 102.6 (from 103.0) in September. World economic conditions are definitely being reflected in Germany: the 10-year Bund yield is at its lowest level since May.

For news today we have an odd collection. We've already had the MBA's application data from last week (-3.5%, refis were -4% and purchases were -3%; purchase application volume is 23% above this week last year in spite of the high all-cash buying) and some odd trade figures. Later is a $35 billion 5-year note auction. And then an hour after that we'll have the FOMC rate decision: the Committee is expected to keep short term rates on hold with market participants watching for any changes to forward guidance in light of the recent public dissonance amongst various Fed speakers. For those numerically inclined we closed the 10-year at 2.03% on Tuesday and this morning it's hovering around 2.04% with agency MBS prices roughly unchanged.

Jobs and Announcements

In California growing, independent retail mortgage banker VITEK Mortgage Group is seeking a Vice President of Compliance. VITEK has been in business for more than 25 years and is a Fannie, Freddie, and Ginnie seller/servicer. "The company culture is one of strong commitment and integrity, resulting in a great work place and terrific customer experience! The VP of Compliance will lead an established and talented compliance team, manage effectively a fully developed CMS, as well as train our teams and business partners on compliance topics.  Technical expertise regarding compliance facets of the mortgage industry is required as well as the ability to positively deliver information and gain buy-in from business partners. The ideal candidate should have 5 -10 years mortgage compliance and leadership experience; a Bachelor's degree, legal training or JD is a plus, but not required. Candidates email their resumes to VP of HR Libby Feyh.

And for retail opportunities Mortgage Solutions Financial, a direct seller/servicer, asks LOs three critical questions regarding originators' current situations. How many times have you had to deny a file due to your current employer's credit score minimum? How many Approve/Eligible files have you not funded because there was an overlay that made the loan ineligible? And how many files have you not ran DU or LP on because the score was below your company minimum? "Mortgage Solutions Financial is a dynamic mortgage lender that sells direct to Fannie/Freddie/Ginnie and even Farmer Mac, funding loans within the credit score parameters set forth by the GSEs. MSF realizes that the loans that you leave on the table cost you more than just that singular commission, they cost you the entire relationship with that borrower, and potentially even your referral partner." Management is looking for LOs and Branch Managers, especially in Kansas City MO, Dallas TX, and Lake Oswego OR, Denver CO, and Phoenix AZ. Please reach out to Rob Clennan today for more information!