Welcome to Halloween. On this day every year Ops managers across the nation struggle between month-end funding and shipping more loans, or in judging the various department's Halloween decorating contests and sampling the potluck fare in the lunch room. Good luck!

Here's something for those Bank of America and MetLife folks who are keeping their ears open. Caliber Funding, a Dallas-based lender licensed in 44 states with wholesale, retail, and mini-correspondent channels, is aggressively growing nationwide.  Carolyn Poppe, formerly with TMBG and Indymac has recently relocated to Dallas and joined Caliber's management team as SVP of Operations.  Carolyn is looking for Senior Op's Professionals in credit risk and operational fulfillment that are located in Dallas or willing to relocate.  Caliber is also hiring experienced underwriters, wholesale account executives, and retail loan officers nationwide.  Resumes should go to Phil Shoemaker at phil.shoemaker@caliberfunding.com.

(I don't know Illinois' All American Bank's personnel situation, but perhaps Caliber will receive some calls from its folks. All American was closed Friday by the FDIC, and now its deposits are part of Bank of Chicago.)

I doomed my future in "social media" when I promised my kids I would never go on Facebook... Lord only knows the photos that they have on their pages. But many LO's use tools like that, and the MBA knows it. The MBA is holding an online workshop titled, "Social Media Marketing for Loan Officers" on November 15th from 2-3:30. "This workshop presents a unique opportunity to get the training your staff needs without incurring travel costs...a 90-minute program discussing how loan officers can use social media tools for their marketing and business development strategies." It is not free, but to check prices and register here.

There is no doubt that servicing is a hot topic, for a variety of reasons: investors have backed off their servicing pricing lately (an understatement?), community banks and credit unions want to service the loans of their customers, capital requirements many years in the future are making people nervous, whatever. BuckleySandler is hosting a free Webinar titled, "Mortgage Servicing Update: Understanding and Complying with the New and Evolving Rules and Regulations in Light of Recent OCC and CFPB Activity." It will focus on, The new CFPB Servicing Supervision and Examination Manual published in October 2011, OCC Bulletin 2011-29 and other bank regulator guidance on servicing, Compliance with the "rules" and expectations that stem from new examination procedures, recent regulatory guidance, and enforcement actions related to mortgage servicing." So if you're not doing anything this Wednesday, 2-3:15 EST, go to https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/257198081.

Speaking of free, AllRegs is offering a free online FHA handbook. "In response to FHA's announcement of its online handbooks being unavailable, AllRegs is making its online FHA Handbooks immediately accessible to the industry at no charge. This access will be made available for a limited time. All FHA Handbooks and archival copies of FHA Guides, including linked Mortgagee Letters, are available through this offer from AllRegs. Additionally, full search capabilities, topic outline, alphabetical index and other tools are being made available to respond to this industry challenge." Go here.

With MI companies coming and going, who can keep track? Try this (Thank you to Kyra Kizirian - President of Kizirian & Associates in Lafayette, CA.)

MERS can't seem to catch a break. Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden (does that name ring a bell?) has filed suit against the company alleging it repeatedly violated the state of Delaware's Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Biden feels that MERS engaged, and continues to engage, in deceptive trade practices that cause confusion among homeowners, investors and other stakeholders in the mortgage finance system, seriously damaging the integrity of the land records that are central to Delaware's real property system, and leading to improper foreclosure practices. These "deceptive" trade practices fall into three broad categories. The first is that "MERS, through its private mortgage registry, knowingly obscures important information from borrowers and the information that MERS does provide to borrowers is frequently inaccurate. The opacity of MERS' mortgage registration database makes it difficult for consumers to know of or challenge inaccuracies in the MERS System. The second is that MERS often acts as an agent without authority from its proper principal. Because the MERS System was both unreliable and frequently inaccurate, MERS often does not know the identity of its proper principal. Where the name of the owner of the mortgage loan recorded in the MERS System does not reflect the true owner, any action MERS takes on behalf of the purported owner is without authority. The third is that MERS is effectively a "front" organization that has created a systemically important mortgage registry, but fails to properly oversee that registry or enforce its own rules on its members that participate in the registry. Rather than maintaining an adequate staff to provide MERS' services, MERS operates through a network of over 20,000 deputized non-employee corporate officers who cause MERS to act without any meaningful oversight from anyone who works at MERS."

ViewPoint Financial Group, the holding company for ViewPoint Bank, announced its latest quarterly financial results. Detailed results can be seen in its Form 10-Q which can be found at http://www.viewpointbank.com and http://www.viewpointfinancialgroup.com. Suffice it to say, due to the refinance and seasonal activity, ViewPoint's gross loan activity saw a $290 million increase. The warehouse side of that picked up $259 million. The provision for loan losses decreased by $1.0 million (28%) during the nine months ended September 30, 2011, compared to the same period last year.

GMAC Bank clients were given some good news late last week, as GMACB extended "the FICO >720 through the month of November. The site condo adjustment for LTV >70% is decreasing from -.500 to -.250.  We will be implementing a +.250 adjustment for purchase loans with LTV <=75 for both Fixed and ARM products." The company also tweaked the series of price adjustments based on jumbo loan amounts, FICO's, and LTV - see the bulletin for exact details.

Bank of America issued a reminder for two new state laws. In Montana, new legislation related to notary law requirements became effective October 1 - clients should review the legislation (Montana S.B. 337) for complete details. In Washington, new legislation related to notary law requirements became effective October 22, 2011. Clients should review the legislation (Washington S.B. 5023) for complete details.

SunTrust reminded clients to confirm their Appraiser and Appraisal Company are eligible (check with the SunTrust lists), updated the guidelines for employment-related assets used as qualifying income (on one-unit primary or second home transactions). The correspondent division revised its Purchase Review and Pended Loan policies to specifically state that missing approval documents and AUS findings may result in a pended loan file. And check that address: "In lieu of sending closed loan/underwriting packages back to lenders SunTrust Mortgage will begin assessing a courier fee of $250.00 at time of funding for each package with the incorrect mailing address."

In a similar fashion, Flagstar got the word out to its brokers on changes to its "Reserve Requirements for Second Homes and Investment Properties" - the Conventional Underwriting Guidelines should be consulted for full details.

Chase clarified it's "Non-Agency product guides define documentation requirements as Full/Alt Doc. While the industry has moved almost exclusively to the use of alternative documentation like paystubs, W-2 forms and bank statements as documentation standards, the use of Full Documentation like written Verifications of Deposit and Employment are permissible under Non-Agency policy. While all credit documentation must be carefully analyzed, even closer attention should be applied to the review of written verification forms."

Roiling the markets this morning is the news that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has informed MF Global Inc. that it has been suspended from conducting new business with the New York Fed.  This suspension will continue until MF Global establishes, to the satisfaction of the New York Fed, that MF Global is fully capable of discharging the responsibilities set out in the New York Fed's policy.

Today we have the Chicago Purchasing Manager's Survey. Tomorrow is Construction Spending and an ISM number, along with the start of the FOMC's two day meeting. (Did someone pick up Danish? Ok, whose turn was it?) Wednesday brings us the ADP employment data, always of questionable predictive ability for non-farm payroll, and the end of the FOMC meeting. (Don't look for any change in rates, but we'll all be watching the verbiage.) Thursday is a productivity number, and on Friday the always-important NFP report on Friday. (Remember: jobs and housing, housing and jobs!) As a proxy, the 10-yr T-note closed Friday around 2.30% but this morning the yield has dropped to 2.21%, MBS prices are better by roughly 0.50.

An old man is walking home alone late one foggy night when behind him he hears, "Bump....BUMP...BUMP...."

Walking faster, he looks back and through the fog he makes out the image of an upright casket banging its way down the middle of the street toward him. "BUMP...BUMP...BUMP..."

Terrified, the man begins to run toward his home, the casket bouncing quickly behind him,
He runs up to his door, fumbles with his keys, opens the door, rushes in, slams and locks the door behind him.
However, the casket crashes through his door, with the lid of the casket clapping, "Clappity-BUMP...clappity-BUMP...clappity-BUMP...clappity-BUMP...clappity-BUMP..."

On his heels, the terrified man runs.
Rushing upstairs to the bathroom, the man locks himself in.  His heart is pounding; his head is reeling; his breath is coming in sobbing gasps.
With a loud CRASH the casket breaks down the door, bumping and clapping toward him.
The man screams and reaches for something, anything, but all he can find is a bottle of cough syrup!
Desperate, he throws the cough syrup at the casket...and, the coffin stops.

If you're interested, visit my twice-a-month blog at the STRATMOR Group web site located at www.stratmorgroup.com. The current blog takes a look at Fannie & Freddie & the FHFA, and the changes they have in the hopper. If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what's going on out there from the other readers.