Nonbank online lender CashCall has paid $2 million in restitution and fines to settle California state allegations that the company duped consumers to take out loans larger than $2,500 that are not subject to interest rate caps, failed to withdraw scheduled monthly payments to stretch out loan terms and increase borrower interest rate costs and deceived and overcharged borrowers. Oops.

Announced depository bank mergers continue without pause. In North Carolina (Slogan: "Tobacco is a Vegetable") the Bank of North Carolina ($4.3B) will acquire High Point Bank and Trust Co ($793mm) for about $141.3mm in cash and stock or roughly 1.45x tangible book. In Missouri ("Your Federal Flood Relief Tax Dollars at Work") Royal Banks of Missouri ($405mm) will acquire Frontenac Bank ($281mm). Up in Michigan ("First Line of Defense from the Canadians") the First National Bank of Norway ($94mm) will merge with First National Bank of Crystal Falls ($70mm). In Illinois ("Please Don't Pronounce the 'S'") MB Financial Bank ($15B) will acquire American Chartered Bank ($2.8B) for about $449mm in cash (about $100mm in cash) and stock or about 2.19x tangible book. In Wisconsin ("Come Cut Our Cheese") the First National Bank and Trust Co ($838mm) will acquire Walworth State Bank ($247mm). Capital Bank ($7.1B, FL) will acquire CommunityOne Bank ($2.3B, NC) for about $350mm in cash and stock or roughly 1.30x tangible capital. Hanmi Bank ($4.0B, CA) has made an unsolicited offer to combine with BBCN Bank ($7.3B, CA) in a stock deal that would result in BBCN shareholders representing approximately 65% of the combined company's stock and Hanmi shareholders representing approximately 35%. But things don't always work out as planned: in Illinois Parkway Bank and Trust Co ($2.2B) will not acquire Park Federal Savings Bank ($152mm), after announcing the deal in May. No official reason was provided, but cultural fit is so, so important in any merger or acquisition.

What? You don't like Zillow, and think Google is in our lives enough and is set out to rule the world? Then you won't like this news. Zillow Group joined the Google Compare for Mortgages experience, extending consumer access to Zillow's real-time mortgage rates and expansive set of lender ratings and reviews. "This integration further allows all lenders who use Zillow Group Mortgages for their marketing efforts to now reach audiences across Google and Zillow Group's portfolio of consumer brands, which includes Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, and StreetEasy. With this partnership, lenders on Zillow Group will now have their rates, ratings and reviews prominently displayed on both the world's most popular search engine and the most visited real estate media network in the country.' It prompted one prominent exec to write to me saying, "It looks like the CFPB's rate checker."

Fannie, Freddie, and conventional loan underwriting updates.

A while back NewLeaf Conventional guidelines were updated to reflect the most recent changes announced by Freddie Mac effective immediately. Some of the guideline changes include: The six month waiting period for cash-out transactions does not apply if the borrower acquired the property through an inheritance or was legally awarded the property through a divorce, separation or dissolution of a domestic partnership. The 5% minimum borrower contribution from borrower's own funds for LTVs> 80% for Primary Residences has been removed. The complete list of conventional guideline changes have been updated in the NewLeaf matrix.

Plaza is now offering co-op financing on nearly all Conforming Conventional Programs, including High Balance and Super Conforming. These programs along with Plaza's Elite Jumbo Program give your borrowers a comprehensive suite of financing options for co-ops in New York and parts of New Jersey.  In addition to adding eligible Programs, Plaza is making it easier to finance co-ops by simplifying its co-op guidelines.

M&T is offering a complete set of on‚Äźdemand training presentations that can be accessed by a user at any time. Some of the available classes include: Intro to 203K Standard, 203K Maximum Mortgage Worksheet, Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation, and Fannie Mae HomeStyle Maximum Mortgage Worksheet. 

Fannie Mae has combined whole loan committing for both Mandatory (previously eCommitting) and Best Efforts (previously eCommitONE) on a single platform. This new application is Pricing & Execution, Whole Loan ("PE - Whole Loan").  Among other things PE Whole Loan allows committing flexibility with more optimized pricing for all pass-through rates regardless of pass-through range for 30- and 15- year standard fixed rate products. "Now you will get more optimized pricing with the range of your choice - no more being limited to predefined ranges set on the half or whole pass-through rate."

Citi Correspondent posted information on FHA transactions utilizing gift funds for Fannie Mae loans.

Did you know you can run LP and DU from the Freedom Mortgage Wholesale? "With an easy-to-use platform, choose a loan from your pipeline and run it through DU or LP right inside its website. A couple of clicks and you're done."

What about multifamily news? And it goes beyond who puts a dash between "multi" and "family."

Greystone announced it has provided a $30.6 million in FHA-insured loan for construction of an apartment complex in Louisiana. The complex is a 272 unit luxury multifamily property to be built in Prairieville, LA. The unit will be a mixture of 132 one-bedroom units, 128 two-bedrooms unites and 12 three-bedroom units. Amenities include a business center, clubhouse with fitness center, indoor sport court, beach approach pool and detached garage. The loan has a low, fixed interest rate during the construction period then has a 40-year term with straight amortization.

The MBA's Chart of the Week for October 30th highlights total multifamily mortgage originations by investor group. The MBA combined date from its Annual Survey of Commercial/Multifamily mortgage Origination with data from HMDA. The findings suggest that in 2014, 2,876 lenders closed 40,974 multifamily mortgages for a total of $195 billion. The largest multifamily lender closed 5,768 loans for $16.1 billion and one-quarter of lenders made only one multifamily loan, and two-thirds made five or fewer. Lenders with an average loan size of $3 million or more accounted for only 9 percent of all lenders but for 79 percent of the mortgage debt.

But multifamily trends have been evident for quite some time. Fannie Mae published multi-family new business activity for the month of August, reaching $1.6 billion. This is a drop from $3.3 billion of business for July and was 60 percent lower than the monthly average of $4.1 billion YTD. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac multi-family lending is up 117 percent through August compared to 204 percent through July. The GSEs did estimate that about 30 percent of multifamily business was omitted under the new affordability guidelines, leading to $43 billion of total multifamily lending per GSE for the year. The 2016 Conservatorship Scorecard should also positively impact the multifamily lending space but may not occur until December or early next year. Fannie Mae's volume in the second quarter of the year was ahead of expectations and third quarter origination volume is anticipated to reach $2 billion, leading to a 17 percent decline QoQ. 

In the first quarter the MBA's Commercial/Multifamily DataBook for the first quarter of the year. The report indicates that commercial and multifamily mortgage loan originations were 49 percent higher than the same time last year but first quarter originations were 26 percent lower from the fourth quarter of 2014. New commercial and multifamily construction activity has increased but all other property types remain at low levels. The value of new office construction put-in-place in April doubled from its recession low but is still 25 percent less than the pre-recession level. Commercial/multifamily debt outstanding increased by $40.4 billion and multifamily mortgage debt outstanding increased to $989 billion.

And it released its free Second Quarter 2015 Commercial/Multifamily DataBook indicating that the U.S. economy grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.9 percent during the second quarter and job growth averaged a seasonally adjusted 230,000 jobs per month. Mortgage originations increased 113 percent for GSEs, while mortgage originations increased 64 percent for commercial bank portfolio loans.  Multifamily mortgage debt outstanding also exceeded $1 trillion for the first time ever, growing at 10 percent per year.

In general multifamily and other commercial mortgage delinquency rates among major investors are dropping, and performance is on the rise as property values increase along with property income and a robust financial market helping drive delinquency rates down. GSE multifamily delinquencies slightly rose during the recession and still remain low, much like life companies, whereas delinquencies of bank-held commercial and multifamily loans saw an increase during the recession.

The markets? Not much happened Monday - a true holiday activity level. The Fed was in buying agency MBS, of course, to the tune of a couple billion a day. That helps the demand side of things - what about supply? Existing Home Sales for October fell 3.4% to 5.36 million annualized from 5.55mn versus an expected decline to 5.40mn.

Today we've already had October's Trade Balance (-$58.4 billion) and another set of  Q3 GDP figures (expected to rise to +2.0%, it was +2.1%). We'll also have the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes for September and Consumer Confidence for November. For the big auction of the day our Treasury will sell off $35 billion of 5-yr notes. For figuring out rate sheets we closed the 10-year at a yield of 2.25% and this morning it is sitting around 2.22% with agency MBS prices better by .125.



1.  Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It will soon be Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

Jobs and Announcements

For those looking for new sources of funds, Comerica Bank is excited to announce the significant milestone of a 50-year commitment to warehouse lending. "Since 1965, Comerica has been known for its customer-centric approach to warehouse lending as well as its agility in meeting the ever changing needs of the residential mortgage market. The bank has warehouse lending relationships in excess of $4 billion as of September 30, 2015. Successful partnerships include small- to mid-sized mortgage bankers as well as the ability to serve larger mortgage banking firms, including publicly-traded companies, through the agency of syndicated facilities. Please contact Von Ringger at (313.222.9285) to learn more about Comerica's experienced relationship managers, responsive service and deep understanding of the mortgage industry. Comerica Bank, raising expectations of what a bank can be.  Equal Opportunity Lender.

Frost Mortgage is seeking Branch Partners in the San Diego area. Frost's entrepreneurial operating platform and revenue sharing business model is worth your serious evaluation. Click here to schedule a confidential interview with Greg Frost.

Under the banner of "wholesale expansion" FirstCal Wholesale is significantly expanding its footprint from the West Coast into the Midwest and East and is "looking for top-notch AEs to join us and be part of the continuing success story. FirstCal Wholesale is hiring immediately and adding to our talented, experienced AE Team in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Northern/Southern California. In addition the company is hiring talented Regional Sales Managers and Account Executives in the Upper Midwest, all areas of Texas as well as Florida and the Southwest. FirstCal, a privately held firm originally founded in 1977, is licensed to lend in over 30 states and is a FNMA, FHLMC, and GNMA approved seller/servicer. The company offers competitive compensation and benefit programs, a dynamic work environment and unlimited growth potential." If you are a Wholesale Account Executive or a Regional Sales Manager looking for the "right fit" for you and your customers please contact Dave Pederson, National Wholesale Director (425.761.8224).                   

And a quick congratulations to Mark Hughes! "Clayton Holdings LLC, a leading provider of loan due diligence, surveillance, REO management, and consulting services to the mortgage industry, announced that (he) has joined the company as executive vice president of sales and marketing."