The darkest, blackest material known to man? Vantablack. Don't be the last to paint your car with it. Speaking of looking into voids, who is in charge of the CFPB? As Elizabeth Warren points out, it seems that the ability of Trump, or any president, to appoint the acting director flies in the face of the successor language written into the Dodd Frank Act. Thoughts from attorneys Brian Levy and Mayer Brown team below.


Advice for Those in the Industry

I asked people of color and women in the industry about their early careers, and appreciate the time they spent responding. I will happily circulate more responses if you care to write, and have more already to publish. "What do you think the best advice you can give women starting out in the mortgage industry?" or "What is the boldest move you made that helped advance your career?" or "What do you wish someone would have told you about being successful in this industry?" 

Tony Thompson, CMB, Founder & CEO of NAMMBA, suggested, "Stay connected. Be engaged. Get involved. A lot of people enter this industry with plans to originate loans and make a lot of money. That's possible. But there are happenings on the local and national level that can impact your business. Know what policies can have a negative effect on this industry, and how those things can trickle down to affect you and your customers. Join organizations like the Mortgage Bankers Association and NAMMBA to connect with like-minded individuals who can help you understand the changes roiling through the industry. For instance, each year NAMMBA hosts the Connect conference in Atlanta to bring together some of the best and brightest in lending and give women and minorities resources to navigate their careers. This year, the conference features tech innovators and trailblazers. We want to help mortgage professionals stay ahead of the curve. It's so critical."

Marcia Davies, COO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, sent, "Women need to support one another. Share your successes and failures with each other. Step up if you see a woman struggling in the workplace and see if you can coach or help her. Working together is so powerful. Additionally, I think it's important to take risks and challenge yourself. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there -- take on new assignments, stay actively engaged, participate in meetings, demonstrate quality decision making and be visible. Let management know who you are and how capable you are!"

Karen Deis of MortgageGirlfriends remembered back, "The mortgage company that I worked for asked if I would consider transferring to Houston to become the branch manager of a branch whose production numbers were miserable. The company ranked 107 out of 145 lenders in the area. Not knowing a soul in Houston and pregnant with my 2nd child, my husband quit his job and we moved from Indiana to Texas with me being the sole support of the family.  

"At the time we moved, new construction was booming, and I decided that the best way to increase business was to go after builder business. The problem was (like it is today), that they would only refer 3 of their preferred lenders. So, I wrote a letter. I 'Fedexed' it, with a signature required, advising the president that I knew that they only allow 3 lenders but that I would like to meet with them and give them a proposal that they can't refuse. My proposal was to be their 'Second Opinion Lender.' In other words, if their clients were unhappy with the lenders they referred or had underwriting issues, that they should consider me as their back-up lender.  

"I targeted 5 builders. Every single one of them met with me. I ended up becoming the preferred lender for 3 out of the 5 builders. And my company went from #107 to #7. A company in Indianapolis recruited me. We moved again, and I used the same marketing technique.  And became the preferred lender for 2 large, tract builders. The moral of the story is, 'Ask to become a Second Opinion Lender. Do a good job. Follow up. Be honest.' And over time, you will become their number one loan officer."

Regina Lowrie, CMB and President & CEO of RML Advisors, LLC, and former Chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association, wrote a note to the women embarking on a career as mortgage professionals. "When starting on any journey, it's helpful to look at a road map, learn a bit about your destination, and consider advice from others who've made a similar journey. As a woman who has spent more than 30 years in the mortgage industry, I'm always delighted to offer insights that I hope will inspire women who are at the beginning of their careers. I'm also compelled to share candid thoughts about the lessons I learned along the way.

"When I look back on the early days of my career, I realize that one critical element was missing: I did not set professional goals for myself. Instead, I was focused on my job. This seems quite common among women in the workplace. Dedication to a job and fulfilling one's responsibilities to an employer is essential. But, it is also imperative that women take the time to set career goals and make solid plans to achieve those goals. Today when I speak to groups of women, I always emphasize the importance of setting career goals and securing their future as leaders in our industry.

"I built my own mortgage company and I am very proud to have been the first female to be elected chairperson of the Mortgage Bankers Association. These achievements required leadership. Not everyone is a born leader, and like most I had to learn the skills needed.

"One of the most critical of these skills is recognizing that good leaders delegate responsibility. Delegating responsibility was my biggest challenge in my early days as an executive and entrepreneur. of My perfectionist voice told me that I had to have my hands in everything! I quickly realized that I needed to step out of my comfort zone. I learned to surround myself with a dedicated team filled with people who were eager to take on responsibilities. My team members grew as leaders. I become a much better leader.  And ultimately, the company became a much stronger organization.

"Helping families and individuals achieve the American dream of homeownership is rewarding in so many ways. And, the mortgage industry represents fantastic and rewarding opportunities for women. Many excellent organizations are looking for individuals to take on leadership roles - roles that put you on the road to fulfilling your career goals."

(Thank you very much to these folks who took the time to write these. More soon!)

CFPB Leadership up in the Air

An article from Mayer Brown unequivocally states that the law is clear, and that Mr. Mulvaney is the sole acting director of the CFPB.

Attorney Brian Levy had this to say about the "Dueling Directors." "Cordray's move to appoint his own successor, at least temporarily until a new permanent Director can be appointed and approved by Congress, may turn out to be a bad decision for the CFPB in the long run. First, it is doubtful whether the Dodd Frank Act's language allowing appointment of a temporary Director in the case of 'absence or unavailability' applies to Cordray's resignation. More importantly, however, it may allow the Trump administration a clear, and perhaps immediate, path to escalating the CFPB's Constitutional issues with the judiciary.

"Specifically, the Dodd Frank Act permits the CFPB to operate without sufficient Constitutional oversight and accountability to the electorate. The language in Dodd Frank creating such an unaccountable agency has been challenged as unconstitutional in the PHH case (and others). Meanwhile, Cordray's attempt to circumvent the President's power to appoint his successor (even for a temporary replacement) only further proves the complaint raised by PHH is not just theoretical. The judges responsible for deciding the pending PHH case are likely to see Cordray's action as a clear demonstration of how this agency uses Dodd Frank's unconstitutional authority to operate entirely without accountability. It will be interesting to see if this impacts their decision."

Capital Markets

Yes, the markets were open Friday, and yes, fixed-income security prices on a lower note, but intraday movement was essentially non-existent, and volumes were low. Yield curve watchers noted that the 2s10s spread ended the week at 60 bps, down from 63 bps one week ago while the 2s30s spread finished the week at 102 bps, five basis points tighter than one week ago. The 10-year note price worsened about .125 and its yield ended the week at 2.34% while agency MBS prices were worse a couple ticks (32nds).

Economic news was quiet over the weekend. The markets are following news about the tax plans, nominal growth (is real growth softening and will inflation ever firm?), and the flattening yield curve as noted above. The Senate is headed for a big tax vote this week (the vote is expected to take place by Friday 12/1 and could occur by Thursday 11/30) although this issue will last through the reconciliation process. Early indications show that the holiday shopping season is shaping up to solid. The Fed's near-term policy course seems clear (a hike is very likely on 12/13) but, of course, 2018 is uncertain - as is anything in the future.

We're starting this week with very little scheduled news - namely October's new home sales at 9AM Central Time. Of note, however, is a set of four Treasury auctions today: $35 billion 6-month bills, $26 billion 2-year notes, $42 billion 3-month bills, and $34 billion 5-year notes. That's a lot of billions!

Tomorrow are some international trade numbers, along with Wholesale Inventories, the FHFA Housing Price Index, September S&P Case-Shiller House Price Index, November Consumer Confidence, and a $28 billion 7-yr auction. Hump Day we'll see the weekly MBA Mortgage Index, the 2nd estimate of Q3 GDP, October Pending Home Sales, and November Fed Beige Book. Thursday contains October Personal Income & Consumption/Spending, PCE Prices, core PCE Prices, Initial Jobless Claims, and the November Chicago PMI. Friday is the November ISM Index.

Looking at a tepid but stable U.S. economy, with a quiet weekend but quite a week of scheduled news ahead of us, we start Monday with rates versus Friday: The 10-year is yielding 2.33% and agency MBS prices are unchanged.

Jobs and Products

As the popularity of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured home loan lending expands, servicers are looking to refine their strategy for managing foreclosure homes under the Claims Without Conveyance of Title (CWCOT) program. In a recent white paper titled, "New Opportunities for Servicers to Optimize CWCOT Disposition Strategies," author Min L. Alexander, SVP of Real Estate Services for Altisource, lays out a roadmap for an effective and efficient CWCOT program strategy. Download now:

Gateway Mortgage Group's Correspondent Lending Division welcomes its newest Regional Sales Manager covering the Great Lakes Region markets, Peggy Rubadue. With over 20 years of mortgage lending experience, Peggy has served the industry in many capacities throughout her tenure, including - Sales Management, Capital Markets, Product Development and Operations. Peggy's passionate and pragmatic approach to mortgage banking has proved mutually beneficial to all her clients and perfectly aligns with Gateway's strategic initiatives and platform. Gateway's Correspondent Lending Division, an arm of one of the largest privately held mortgage bankers in the country, offers a wide array of programs, competitive pricing and a unique alternative to the correspondent channel for small and mid-sized financial institutions as well as independent mortgage companies. For more information, please contact Jared Edmonds.

Building towards a strong finish to 2017, Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions, the leader in the non-QM space, announced the addition of 9 more AEs to help brokers grow their business. Adding additional coverage across the country, Brent Willis joined in Nashville, Fabiene Montoya in Scottsdale, Virginia Becker in Indiana, Michael Weaver in Pittsburgh, Helen Salazar in San Antonio, Russ Wright in Portland, Scott Panique in Los Angeles along with Eric Garcia and Steve Holtmann in inside sales. And Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions is not done, as it continues to hire additional Wholesale Account Executives across the country as well as underwriters and other operations positions in its Atlanta headquarters. There is no better time to join the nation's top non-QM lender. If you are interested in learning more, contact John Wise at 818.391.4131.