As rumors swirl about Michael Bloomberg entering the race for president, MLOs are winding down for the year (a few have written to me saying that, after a solid November and 2019, they’ll be coasting during December and try to push closings into 2020 to get a good start on things), and it’s around this time when capital markets crews are answering the yearly, “When are the 2020 conforming loan amounts going to be released, and what are they going to be?” Just to remind you, they are announced around/soon after Thanksgiving. And oddsmakers in Las Vegas are looking for a slight bump. But hey, those jumbo programs, without the 50-basis point or so gfee, are pretty price competitive, so there doesn’t seem to be the big need for higher conforming limits as there was in the past. Meanwhile, companies continue to jockey for position, the latest example being Taylor Morrison buying William Lyon Homes, merging mortgage units and creating the fifth-largest U.S. homebuilder valuing the company at $2.4 billion.
Lender Products and Services
Reminder: Training Today for New FHA Condo Opportunities! Freedom Mortgage Wholesale’s FHA Condo Single Unit Approval program allows for approvals of individual condo units meeting certain eligibility requirements even if the condo project is not FHA approved! Freedom Mortgage Wholesale is the right choice for a fast and easy FHA Condo approval. Relax - we coordinate the collection of all condo project information for you. Additionally, Freedom Mortgage will absorb any fees associated with Condo Questionnaire requests. Sign up for FHA Condo Single Unit Approval training on 11/8 or 11/12.
No one likes the “A” word, but audits are a critical component to mitigate risk in mortgage lending. While there are dozens of audits lenders may be required to conduct each year based on their unique circumstances, there is a core group of audits that most mid-sized to large lenders will have to conduct consistently. As the mortgage industry’s partner of choice for audit, risk and compliance, MQMR has gathered its collective experience to deliver its latest white paper, “Annual Audit Round-Up: Five Major Audits for Effective Risk Management.” To get the scoop on the major audits your organization should be conducting each year, download the free white paper today.
“BIG NEWS: It’s no secret that calling the right people at the right time with the right message is a killer way to win new business. The problem is knowing who, when, and why to call, right? That’s exactly why we created the UsherpAlert Call Management App! Every day, UsherpAlert serves you up a list of that day’s most high-value calls and makes it easy to stay in touch with a text, call, or email with a click of a button. It's as close to snapping your fingers and getting deals as you can get! Stop losing opportunities because you missed these important follow-up calls. Download the app so you know exactly who, when, and why to call! Text the word USHERPA to the number 435-06 for links to download on Apple or Android. Or if you’re not a Usherpa member yet – check us out at Usherpa.com.”
Technology and Vendor Excitement
Side, the only real estate brokerage that enables high-performing agents and teams to grow their businesses and their own boutique brands, announced it has raised $60M from top-tier VC firms, including a $35M Series C led by Paul Levine at Sapphire Ventures (former COO/ President of Trulia). In case you didn’t know, Side “partners with top-producing real estate agents and teams to provide a valuable mix of technology, support, and an economic model that helps entrepreneurial agents grow… By empowering over 100 top-producing teams with proprietary technology and end-to-end brokerage services, Side’s agents save an average of 62 days a year, and are on track to facilitate over $8 billion in annual home sales in 2020.” Mr. Levine, who also joins Side’s Board of Directors, was previously President/COO of Trulia through their IPO and multi-billion-dollar acquisition by Zillow. Patricia Nakache of Trinity Ventures, Dana Stalder of Matrix Partners and a host of strategic real estate investors also participated in the round.
Somewhat recently HomeLight announced it has secured over $100 million in financing. The round was led by Zeev Ventures, with participation from Group 11, Menlo Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Stereo Capital, and others. HomeLight launched in 2012 to answer a single question: how do people find the best real estate agent for their needs? Utilizing proprietary machine-learning algorithms, it analyzed more than 40 million real estate transactions and over 1.4 million agent profiles from the nation’s leading brokerages for each individual transaction. To date, the company has driven well over $17 billion of real estate business nationwide and, on average, connects a client to a real estate agent every two minutes. Over the last 10 months, HomeLight has been expanding its core agent matching business to include an end to end offering of products and services, including a digital mortgage through the acquisition of Eave, to provide homebuyers, sellers, agents, and investors alike with a range of options when buying and selling property, effectively becoming the “Amazon of real estate.” (Curating the best agents, iBuyers and financing, so that consumers can choose the right options for them).
Zelman and Associates is entering into the home building technology arena by launching a new initiative to provide investment banking services to the real estate technology sector, which has become known as PropTech.
Ruoff Home Mortgage released a new, unique mobile app that will streamline the communication and productivity efforts for its loan officer sales team. Ruoff LO app serves as a central hub where LOs can create new loans and edit existing loan files, pull and view credit report detail, price and lock rates, eSign or download disclosures as well as tap into other third-party services. Within the app, the Ruoff sales team can also access customer or agent contact information, order marketing materials or gain access to company-generated leads. Loan officers have a personalized home screen for easy tracking of their active and closed transactions with Ruoff Mortgage. With a simple touch on the navigation bar, a loan officer can also review their pipeline, showing their current customers’ transaction milestones, from date of completed application to when the funds were wired to the settlement agent.
eOriginal Inc., the digital lending technology pioneer, continues its digital mortgage industry momentum with the launch of ClosingCenter. Designed to deliver a simple and intuitive closing experience for lenders, borrowers and settlement agents, the cloud-based solution has the potential to ignite digital adoption across the mortgage industry. “ClosingCenter was designed to deliver the closing experience the mortgage market is demanding. We've made it simple to use and scalable to grow transaction volumes over time, and it's built on our open platform to integrate with doc prep providers and other solution extensions," says Simon Moir, Chief Product Officer at eOriginal. Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation is the first customer to go live on ClosingCenter, along with their document preparation partner, DocsDirect.
Wyndham Capital Mortgage, a direct-to-consumer mortgage lender in 46 states, announced that it completed its first fully online digital closing with Notarize, the first company to enable an entirely online mortgage closing process. Lenders using Notarize to power their borrower experience have completed more than 10,000 online closings in the last six months alone
Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data access and insights, announced the release of its new AssetReady Report that will rapidly identify a borrower’s assets using consumer-permissioned data during a lender’s pre-qualification process. As a result, lenders will more easily qualify borrowers and generate a higher quality sales funnel for loan officers while enabling a seamless transition into other necessary asset, income, and employment verifications needed in the loan origination process.
LoanLogics released the whitepaper, "'Big' AI Driven by Today's Machine Learning," which provides a deeper understanding of how artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning specifically, can help mortgage lenders reduce and even eliminate redundant, repetitive tasks while creating data purity and improving the borrower experience.
With yields shooting up significantly in the last three months, investors are talking about debt, and the interest paid on it, again. Total debt in the United States is significantly higher (in both absolute terms and relative to GDP) than it was a few decades ago. The amount of American debt now sits above $70 trillion. And while there are few signs of financial stress at present, many are asking how sustainable the build-up of debt that has occurred in the American economy over the past few decades really is? Wells Fargo Economics recently published a five-part debt series in which they made the case that excessive angst about American debt today is not really warranted.
The main point was the overall debt-to-GDP ratio of the U.S. economy has receded since its peak ten years ago, making the economy less levered today. Combining that with the low level of borrowing costs that has enhanced the ability of borrowers to service their debts, and a large number of cyclical as well as secular factors that are exerting downward pressure on interest rates at present that are not likely to reverse anytime soon, and it would seem there is less cause for worry than headlines would have you believe. Although there eventually will be another debt crisis in the U.S. economy, there appears to be little reason to believe that one will occur in the foreseeable future, per Wells Fargo.
Looking at rates yesterday, despite no tangible progress on the trade front, risk markets responded with optimism Thursday. I guess there’s nothing else to push rates around right now. U.S. Treasuries pulled back drastically, lifting yields on 10s and 30s to their highest levels in over three months; the 10-year yield closed +11 bps to 1.93 percent, though the selloff in bonds was not indicative of the rally in equities. Selling pressure began after a spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce hinted that there is an agreement on rolling back tariffs upon signing of the partial trade deal. A U.S. administration official confirmed the report later in the day, though other reports out of Washington say the plan to roll back tariffs is being met with "fierce" opposition from some members of the Trump administration. Separately, the European Commission lowered its forecast for 2020 growth in the eurozone to 1.2 percent from 1.4 percent, and Italy's 2020 growth forecast was reduced as well.
Today includes just two domestic releases, with September Wholesale Inventories and the preliminary November Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey slated for later this morning. After the close, there are two Fed speakers starting with New York’s Williams, followed by Fed Governor Brainard. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices worse .125-.250 and the 10-year yielding 1.94%.
A growing North East lender is searching for a New York Territory Manager to expand its sales footprint throughout the Empire State. For more information please send inquiries/resumes to Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt.
GO Mortgage is seeking an experienced Business Development Manager (BDM) to serve as an advocate and brand ambassador. The focus will revolve around identifying and targeting industry professionals who are qualified to sell GO Mortgage products. The BDM will perform as a Chief Sales Talent Recruiter and Hiring Manager. Additionally, the experienced BDM will connect branch sales offices with outside mortgage industry partners and create lasting, beneficial relationships. The successful candidate understands people and their motivations and has the ability to apply marketing concepts to live scenarios in a creative fashion. Candidates must have a minimum of three years of recruiting or hiring experience, plus two or more years’ experience in Mortgage Loan Origination. Bachelor’s degree preferred. Position requires travel. Please send resumes directly to Toni Barma.
Homespire Mortgage continues to invest and strengthen its Renovation Loans platform with the addition of Cola Galvin as Vice President of Renovation Lending. Cola joins Homespire Mortgage with over 36 years of experience in the mortgage industry, specializing in renovation lending programs. Cola will collaborate with Homespire Mortgage Loan Officers nationwide to host Renovation Mastermind events for Realtors, Referral Partners and Homebuyers. “We are very excited to welcome Cola to the team. As we continue to expand our presence across the country, we aim to serve more buyers with our suite of renovation products. With Cola’s expertise and proven track record of expanding renovation programs in previous roles, Homespire Mortgage continues to pursue its strategic objectives in the renovation lending space,” said Chief Operating Officer, Todd Sheinin. The company was recently named to the Inc. 5000 list of America’s Fastest Growing Companies for the third consecutive year. For more information on available positions with Homespire Mortgage, contact Todd Sheinin.