WalletHub published its findings from analyzing the 2015 best and worst small cities in America. The analysis compared 1,268 U.S. cities with a population between 25,000 and 100,000.The rankings were calculated by determining affordability, economic health, education and health and quality of life. The results of the top ten best small cities include Princeton, NJ, Littleton, CO, Dublin, OH, Brookfield, WI, Leewood, KS, Southlake, TX, Westfield, TN, Northampton, MA, Ankeny, IA and Crystal Lake, IL. The worst small cities (which are mostly located in California) include Paramount, CA, Delano, CA, Watsonville, Ca, South Gate, CA, Lynwood, CA, Compton, CA, Bell Gardens, CA, Huntington Park, CA and Bell, CA. What is California doing with the money from its 13% personal tax rate?

What's new with those rascally private mortgage insurance companies? Plenty.

National MI reported a pre-tax loss of $4.9 million and operating earnings per share of $0.09 for the third quarter. But the numbers were decent. Net premiums earned increased to $12.8 million from $8.9 million QoQ, and investment income was up $1.9 million from $1.7 million. National MI wrote $3.6 billion of new insurance written, up from $2.55 billion the previous quarter and the company reported $19.7 million of operating expenses. The loss provision totaled $181 thousand, equaling to a loss ratio of 1.4 percent.

The parent - NMI Holdings, Inc. provides private mortgage guaranty insurance services in the United States - announced a $150 million senior secured term loan. The 3-year Term Loan B has a variable interest rate of LIBOR + 7.50% and will amortize quarterly, with $375k of principal due at the end of each quarter. Management noted this loan, combined with current resources, will allow NMIH to write approximately $20 billion of NIW. So yes, proceeds from the loan will be used primarily to support the continued growth of IIF. The loan will also allow the company to comply with financial requirements of PMIERs as of December 31, 2015.

United Guaranty, which is a company of American International Group, Inc. (AIG), achieved ISO/IEC 27001 certification following an in-depth assessment by the independent certification body, British Standards Institution (BSI), which included extensive on-site reviews and audits.

MGIC has published its operating statistics for October. New notices were down by 15.7 percent YoY and dropped 4.5 percent MoM. Cures of 5,561 increased 2.1 percent MoM, compared to a 12.3 percent decline in September. The cure ratio increased to 87.5 percent from 81.8 percent in September. The ending delinquent inventory of 64,156 was down 0.8 percent MoM from 64,642. Paid claims dropped 6.5 percent MoM compared to a 0.5 percent increase in September. Net rescissions and denials dropped to 81 percent from 92 in September and remained low, while new insurance written equaled $3.5 billion in October, down from $3.9 billion in September. Click here to view the full report.

Arch MI has published the fall 2015 issue of the Housing and Mortgage Market Review. The report suggests that the national average risk of price declines remains at 6 percent, but Alaska, Wyoming and North Dakota all have increased due to the decline in energy prices. States that are dependent on energy will experience slowing home price growth and price declines. Although on a national level, home prices should increase more quickly than inflation due to low inventory of homes for sale or rent. Arch MI risk Index also estimates that home prices will be lower in two years.

And from Bermuda came news that Essent Group Ltd. reported net income for the quarter ended September 30, 2015 of $40.8 million or $0.44 per diluted share, compared to $25.1 million or $0.29 per diluted share for the quarter ended September 30, 2014. As of September 30, 2015, Essent had primary insurance in force of $62.1 billion and consolidated stockholders' equity of $1.08 billion. Insurance in force as of September 30, 2015 was $62.1 billion, compared to $57.4 billion as of June 30, 2015 and $46.4 billion as of September 30, 2014. Net premiums earned for the third quarter were $83.7 million, compared to $78.4 million in the second quarter of 2015 and $60.3 million in the third quarter of 2014.

And from the nation's first capital Radian reported third quarter operating earnings per share of $0.30 but eared $227 million of premiums in the third quarter, which includes $5 million of nonrecurring recession-related premium refunds. New insurance written of $11.2 billion dropped 5 percent but YoY purchase volume was up 3 percent while refinances were down 19 percent. Single premiums accounted for 27 percent of new insurance written, which is a decline from 32 percent seen in the second quarter. 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.

Radian Guaranty is now offering Radian MI for non-delegated loans through a direct integration with Black Knight Financial Services' Empower Loan Origination System. Lenders are able to order Radian MI on their non‚Äźdelegated MI loans without ever leaving Empower. Jerry Halbrook, president of Black Knight's Origination Technologies division stated "The intuitive and easy-to-use Radian interface via the Empower LOS enables the efficient and accurate delivery of information to better meet the demands of mortgage lenders." Click the link to read the news release.

In other Radian news, Radian MI announced it has completed integration with LendingQB100% web browser-based, end-to-end mortgage loan origination software (LOS). The integration will streamline the loan origination process for both Radian and LendingQB customers, by allowing them to order Radian MI for delegated loans and get real time rate quotes directly via one simple process through the LendingQB end-to-end LOS.

And if you're near the Big Apple next week Radian's Investor Day is on Tuesday, November 17, at 10 on the Park in New York City (60 Columbus Circle). From 9-12:30 members of the Radian management team and the Mortgage Insurance and Mortgage and Real Estate Services companies will provide a business review and strategic update, followed by a lunchtime expo program. Lunch with the teams of Radian Guaranty, Clayton, Green River Capital, and Red Bell Real Estate! If you are interested in registering for this event, please contact Rashi Iyer today.

MGIC reported GAAP EPS of $1.78. NIW of $12.4 billion was up from $11.8 billion in 2Q and up from $10.4 billion in 3Q14. Insurance in Force (IIF) increased Q/Q to $172.7 billion from $168.8 billion. Incurred losses of $76.5 million were below estimates and down from $90.2 million last quarter and down from $115.3 million in 3Q14. The 3Q15 loss ratio was 33.6%, down from 42.3% in 2Q15 and down from 55.1% in 3Q14. Paid claims fell to $207 million from $222 million in 2Q. Net premiums earned of $227.6 million (after stripping out the $11.6 million reinsurance impact); one analyst calculated an average premium margin of 53 bps, up from 51 bps last quarter. As of 3Q15, MTG had $469 million of cash and investments at the holding company, up from $463 million at June 30. MTG's next debt maturity is $62 million due on the senior notes in November 2015. Hopefully MGIC should be compliant with PMIERs when it goes into effect at year-end.

Turning to the capital markets, did you catch the Ginnie Mae/Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago's new servicing released option that will broaden their offering of  the MPF program through their FHLB partnership? This should further expand the program to community lenders across the country - congrats to Nationstar Mortgage for nabbing the rights to the servicing released option.

Remember when residential lenders thought that Redwood Trust would, single-handedly, resurrect the private-label issuance market? Well, that hasn't happened. In fact RWT did not complete any securitizations during the 3rd quarter! (Among other things the banks are perfectly happy sitting on their product.) The company came out with its earnings late last week and reflected a slight drop in book value per share. Residential Mortgage Banking generated segment earnings of zero versus $1 million last quarter. This was driven by a decline in mortgage banking income offset by a tax benefit. The decline from last quarter reflected lower gain-on-sale margins. Acquisitions totaled $3.0 billion during the quarter: conforming loan acquisitions of $1.42 billion (down from $1.44 billion in 2Q15), originations of $1.6 jumbo loans, up from $1.4 billion in 2Q15, sold $695 million of jumbo loans, compared to two securitizations and $708 million of sales in 3Q. We estimate that the gain-on-sale margin for the residential business (agency and jumbo) was about breakeven, down from 18 bps last quarter and versus our estimate of 30 bps.

The bond market was closed yesterday. Today we've had Initial Jobless Claims (unchanged at 276k) and will have the September JOLTS (job openings) data. Harkening back to Tuesday the 10-year T-note closed at 2.32% and this morning it is at 2.33% with agency MBS prices worse a shade.

Jobs and Announcements

In job news Arch Mortgage Insurance is actively seeking "a passionate and enthusiastic sales professional for the Fort Worth/West Texas territory to join our dynamic regional sales team! If you are a results-driven sales professional with the ability to develop long term partnerships and build advocacy with key executive-level and branch-level decision makers to grow profitable market share, apply today at resumes@archmi.com. Strong candidates will be able to use their professional sales skills and knowledge to promote Arch MI solutions to expand/sell new business, develop and implement strategies and tactics to achieve NIW growth objectives, and ensure customer loyalty. This position requires travel to customer sites. Arch Mortgage Insurance is the U.S. based mortgage insurance division of Arch Capital Group Ltd., a leading insurance and reinsurance specialty lines underwriting company operating through its subsidiaries located worldwide." (Confidential questions can be addressed to HR Business Partner Harlen Derringer.)

New Penn Financial continues to expand: it has over 1,600 employees nationwide. Founded in 2008 and licensed in 48 states, New Penn Financial is a part of the Shellpoint Partners family of companies. Its reputation has grown substantially under the guidance of a management team with years of experience in the mortgage industry. New Penn Financial has been recognized in the top 20 Third Party Originations Lenders and was recently voted as being a great mortgage lender to work for by sales professionals. New Penn Financial is hiring talented, experienced Wholesale Account Executives immediately in Utah, Denver, CO, Seattle, WA, and Northern/Southern California. To apply, please submit confidential resumes to Senior Corporate Recruiter Aubrie Cusumano.  

On the retail side of the job ledger Standard Bank and Trust Co. is expanding its mortgage business and is seeking experienced Mortgage Loan Originators for locations in the Chicagoland area and Northwest Indiana. Standard Bank and Trust Co. is a well-regarded relationship based community bank and a Premiere DPA Lender with over thirty locations. The Mortgage Division offers a variety of home loans, including: Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA Rural Development and Bond Programs. In addition, down payment and closing cost assistance programs in various communities are available to meet customer needs. A great compensation plan and commission structure with a potential on-boarding bonus awaits you. Please contact Nick Parisi, Group Senior VP Mortgage Banking, if you or someone you know is interested. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. Standard Bank and Trust Co. is an Equal Opportunity Employer including minorities, females, veterans, and persons with disabilities.

Bay Equity Home Loans continues its push to Paint the Nation Orange, having opened up new offices this month in both Downey and Whittier, CA in the Southern California market. At Bay Equity, understanding the different communities it serves is a big part of the mission and has led to a new Strategic Markets division headed by Raul Espinoza, Senior Vice President of Sales and Strategic Markets. Espinoza also serves on the corporate board of governors for NAHREP, The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. Bay Equity was a major sponsor of NAHREP's national conference in Chicago last month. Espinoza said, "The population trend data is solid and we see the Hispanic market being a big part of Bay Equity's growth in the years to come and our partnership with NAHREP has been invaluable in helping us better understand the needs of the Hispanic Community." To learn more about Bay Equity's growth and opportunities please contact Raul Espinoza (415-820-4522).