Mark Twain famously said, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” Many lenders have learned a lot about partnering and co-branding. Much of this is supported by computers (aka, digital) and creative, aggressive management. Like Quicken Loans and Charles Schwab/TD Ameritrade, or NewRez partnering with Russell Real Estate Services. There’s Wealthfront “eyeing” partnering up with a bank to offer mortgages. ("Wealthfront... Customers will be able to apply for mortgages made by a bank partner of Wealthfront through Wealthfront's mobile app...") Certainly lenders are either owned by, or partner with, real estate companies and builders. An easy example is Pulte or Better Mortgage's affiliated real estate brokerage, Finche, LLC, dba BRE, Better Home Services and Better Real Estate. ("Better is a direct lender dedicated to providing a fast, transparent digital mortgage experience backed by superior customer support... we're using technology to change the way people finance their homes, for the better.") And last week we learned that Marcus by Goldman Sachs will provide a financing option to Guaranteed Rate customers.

Lender services & products

Galton Funding's expansive product set and aggressive pricing continues to lead to record volumes. Galton's Streamline (SL1) program offers Sellers one of the easiest loan origination processes permitting sellers to underwrite a Non-Agency loan with the ease of an Agency underwrite by utilizing Fannie Mae DU for Income, Reserves, Assets and more. The SL1 program offers many unique features including DU Approved/Eligible or Approved/Ineligible, LTV's to 95% (including unlimited cash out), DTIs to 45%, 30- and 40-year IO options, and NOO (up to 85% LTV). All with loan amounts up to $3,000,000 available for both fixed and adjustable rate products. Galton also offers Jumbo to Expanded Prime, with Streamline and Alternative Doc options, being a one stop shop for all of your Non-Agency needs. This product set, combined with Galton's highly competitive pricing, especially on higher LTVs, Purchase transactions, NOO, 2-4-unit properties, and low DTI loans, provides Sellers with all of the tools requisite for growing their Non-Agency business. Please contact one of Galton's Business Development Mangers to learn more.

2019 was a trial by fire that tested our adaptability and ability to thrive in the face of unpredictability. And while 2020 will undoubtedly present surprises we couldn't foresee, a year like 2019 teaches us that maybe it's not as much about guessing what's around the corner as it is about preparing to roll with the unexpected punches. A new eBook from Maxwell, "2020 Mortgage Lending Resolutions", is less an attempt to predict the future and more an exercise in setting our intention for the year ahead. It's about aiming high. It's about setting goals that push us out of our comfort zone, and preparing to demonstrate our agility for what 2020 will surprise us with. A must-read for all lending professionals and managers, read your complimentary copy here (no form required).

National mortgage lender, PrimeLending, a PlainsCapital Company, has partnered with Total Expert providing its loan officers with a marketing technology solution that strengthens customer relationships and reinforces its brand as a trusted financial partner. The Total Expert Marketing Operating System® (MOS) harnesses data paired with intelligent automation, equipping the loan officers of PrimeLending to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, and ultimately humanizing the customer experience. Loan officers will have insight into where their prospects and customers are in their financial journey so they can connect on a personal level with timely, relevant communications. "Throughout the industry, PrimeLending's salesforce is recognized as among the most experienced and talented; We can only imagine how much more effective they will be when powered by Total Expert's marketing platform," said Total Expert Founder & CEO Joe Welu. Read more on the PrimeLending and Total Expert partnership.

In 2019 many lenders experienced relief from the profit margin compression of 2018 thanks to falling interest rates and high volumes. The question on many minds is whether this represents a temporary respite or a continuing trend? Regardless of market conditions, lenders with strong profitability will be in the best position no matter what the future holds - and the seasonal lull offers an opportunity to look inward. MCT's latest whitepaper, 15 Strategies for Lenders to Improve Profitability, outlines actionable tactics you can put to use now in the areas of secondary marketing, business operations, and technology. These strategies amount to over 100 BPS of potential improvement to margins based on the experience of lenders who have put them to use. "Optimization of my investor set improved my margins by 30 BPS on government, which improved my all-in execution by 12-13 BPS." - Andrew Stringer of First Bank discussing Strategy #2.

The Loan Officer Hub is designed to be an all-inclusive resource for top loan officers. It includes everything a loan officer needs for business success.

Join National Mortgage Professional Magazine and Debra Killian, Director of Education and Mortgage Broker owner, for 7 Deadly Mistakes Owners Make When Setting Up A Mortgage Company. Debra will discuss real fatal mistakes that mortgage company owners have made when starting their independent mortgage companies. In this webinar, you will learn how to avoid their mistakes and grow your business worry-free. Do you have what it takes to move from really great MLO to owner? Do you know who can send you to jail, issue fines, and take away your ability to produce? Do you know labor laws and recruiting that can put you in hot water? Join us Thursday, December 19, 2019, at 2:00 PM ET/ 11:00 AM PT for the answers to these questions and more. Click here to register. 


I'm positive there are plenty of people in our industry that would work for free. Right? In case none of them work for you...

According to STRATMOR's 2019 Compensation Connection Study, 77 percent of lenders paid guaranteed compensation to new loan officers hired in 2018. Did you? You can get basic salary compensation information from a host of HR-based providers. What you won't get from them is why the compensation for mortgage-specific roles is different than other industries. STRATMOR's Compensation Connection® Study provides compensation information for all roles, including those that are unique to the mortgage industry, from sales to post closing and for both Independent and Bank-owned lenders. And, because there is more to compensation than salary, Compensation Connection® provides details on incentives and benefits paid, like bonuses, educational allowances and time off, giving you the information you need about the market as well as your peers to build a compensation plan to attract and keep the right people. Don't miss this opportunity to have the most mortgage-specific compensation information available. Sign up today for the spring 2020 Compensation Connection®Study!

Events & training

From February 3-6, 2020, MBA's Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference will descend on the Big Easy, where IMB leadership and their management teams will hear the latest industry happenings and get new perspectives to position themselves competitively for 2020 and beyond. The conference offers unique opportunities for IMB professionals to learn from each other and share solutions that may impact their company's bottom line. This event also has a reputation for boasting the largest gathering of IMBs each year. That's because its targeted content is designed by IMBs for IMBs of all sizes and business models. Oh yeah, early registration discount ends December 18th, this week!

The Americatalyst Conference is scheduled for February 11th-12th in Dallas. The conference will look at the future of mortgage banking, non-bank lending, technology and its influence, government policy and more. Find out more information by viewing the agenda.

Reverse Mortgage Daily will hold its first annual industry conference for reverse mortgage and home equity access professionals on June 18, 2020 in Chicago at the event venue Convene. HEQ is a full-day event dedicated to the future of home equity access in retirement. HEQ will feature panel discussions among industry leaders and professionals as well as tabletop exhibit space, a pre-event evening gathering, and networking opportunities throughout the day.

Capital markets

Federal Reserve officials can say "we are not planning to raise interest rates for a long time" to offer stimulus in a low-interest environment, says John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and vice chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee. However, central bankers must be prepared to change views based on unexpected events and changing data, Williams says.

So what is nudging rates these days? Yesterday, per usual, U.S. China trade tensions and Brexit dominated headlines to open the week. Treasuries pulled back amid hopes that a proposed partial trade deal between America and China will ease a key risk for investors heading into the end of December. Chinese authorities announced that duties on some U.S. goods meant to take effect Sunday would be suspended. That followed the U.S. saying it will not hit China with any new tariffs and will slightly reduce existing ones. The potential deal, even if signed, won't mean the end to trade hostilities. It would be a temporary respite at best, doing nothing to address a wide range of industrial policies that have driven Beijing and Washington apart.

Separately, China released better than expected growth figures for November while the People's Bank of China injected liquidity, which overshadowed contractionary flash December Manufacturing PMI readings from Australia, Germany, Japan, and the U.K.

Regarding Brexit, Prime Minister Johnson addressed 109 new Conservative lawmakers elected last week, in preparation for what he hopes will be the final attempt to get his Brexit bill passed before Christmas. It looks like there may be a lesson U.S. Democrats can learn from British voters. Many pundits are saying Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn's leftist policies were more to blame than Brexit for his party's landslide defeat.

Today's economic calendar began with some remarks from Dallas Fed President Kaplan, housing starts & building permits (+3.2% and +1.4%, both topping forecasts) for November. Due out shortly will be Redbook same store sales for the week ending December 14, November industrial production and capacity utilization, and job opening from JOLTS for October. Just before noon ET, the desk will undertake a UMB15 FedTrade operation targeting up to $102 million 2.5 percent and $79 million 3 percent. The day closes with the New York Fed presenting a briefing on economic conditions in the New York region and remarks by Boston Fed President Rosengren. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better by .125 and the 10-year yielding 1.86 percent after closing yesterday at 1.89 percent.

Opportunities & executive searching

A Mid-Atlantic Mortgage Company is looking for an experienced Closing Manager. Responsibilities include overseeing the department and managing all aspects of the closing process to ensure all closing timelines and terms of sale are met. Collaborate with management team to create, revise and implement policies and procedures. Hire, develop and manage its team. Must have experience using Encompass, at least 5 years of relevant experience, and a knowledge of compliance guidelines. Confidential notes of interest should be sent to Chrisman LLC's Anjelica Nixt for forwarding; specify listing.

A seasoned mortgage banking executive is seeking opportunity to join dynamic mortgage group leadership team. Candidate has deep experience leading TPO and Retail Sales teams, as well as, direct responsibility and oversight for Product Development, Strategy, Organizational Development, Customer Satisfaction, and Risk Management. Having worked at national and regional independent mortgage banks, national banks and Fannie Mae, Candidate is open to all institution types and geographic locations. Please send inquiries to Anjelica Nixt to pass along to the candidate and specify the listing. 

Flagstar Bank's Home Lending division continues to grow, adding over $1 billion in mortgage origination over last year alone. Here's why top originators are taking a closer look at this company: they have outstanding industry leaders at the helm, 50-state lending exemption, a wide-range of products - including true portfolio capabilities, all within a mortgage banking + bank hybrid model capturing the best of both worlds. To top it off, Flagstar Bank offers a competitive compensation and benefits package. If you are interested in learning more about this rising national mortgage bank, contact Steve Rennie or a local Flagstar leader.

(Thank you to Stephen S. for this one.)

The speaker at a town hall meeting was genuinely enthusiastic about the virtues of temperance but his face made people doubt him.

Towards the close of his testimony he squared his shoulders, held his head tall, and said, "I have lived in this town all my life. in this town there are fifty-five public houses that sell liquor, and I am proud to say that I have never been in one of them!"

Then came a small voice from the back, "Which one is that?"