“Affordable” means many things. There are residential lending industry jokes about making a loan on anything with axles or a license plate. (Like “don’t.”) Being “permanently affixed” is usually in the underwriting guidelines, which makes this story about someone having their driveway stolen very interesting. (In this clip a builder explains how the scam works.) There are plenty of trends in the builder world, one of which is “build for rent.” Instead of just having a house here or there, BFR homes are clustered together and form a community, much like an apartment community, and with many of the same amenities, essentially an apartment building as a defined community. This new “asset class” even has its own conference. The category is usually not a good thing for IMBs or small banks or credit unions. (Today’s podcast can be found here, and this week’s is sponsored by the STRATMOR Group, the data-driven mortgage advisory. At STRATMOR, insights and knowledge are applied to guide mortgage clients to make sound strategic decisions and take actions that improve their success. Hear an interview with STRATMOR Group’s Mike Seminari on data behind customer experience and how companies can take steps to improve referrals today.)

Broker and Lender Programs and Software

Happy New Year from TENA Companies, Inc.! Do you have a plan set for your Mortgage Origination Quality Control and Servicing Quality Control in 2024? The market continues to evolve, influenced by moving interest rates, changing regulations, and tech advances. There is no better time to strengthen your organization’s QC program. Ongoing regulatory developments from the CFPB, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA and others underscore the need for a robust Quality Control framework that is able to react quickly to change. Don’t delay in formulating your Quality Control plan for 2024! Connect with TENA today to implement a strategy that addresses the nuances of today’s mortgage landscape. TENA’s highly-skilled and experienced auditors undergo continuous training to ensure they are well-versed in the latest industry and regulatory changes. TENA Companies, Inc. is here to help guide your firm’s QC program to success in 2024!

Merchants Bank of Indiana is pleased to announce that it has added to its sales team with the hiring of John Douglas as Sales Executive, Northeast Region for the Correspondent Channel. Merchants offers Agency and Non-Agency programs with a focus on Non-Delegated Lenders. Merchants also offers a dedicated Financial Institution channel, BCU Mortgage Services, that provides fulfillment services to Banks and Credit Unions. With approximately $10 billion in Assets, a strong warehouse financing platform, a diversified banking business and seasoned mortgage professionals in the C-Suite, Merchants approaches the Correspondent business from a position of strength and commitment. John joins Jeff Cothern – Central Region; Reija Eden – West Region; Dan Hastings – Midsouth Region; Bryan Neitzelt – West Region; and Bob Reinagel - Southeast Region.

Webinars, Training, and In-Person Events Through January

Yesterday’s Commentary noted several events & training sessions this week and next. Today’s continues through the end of January.

(A good place for longer term conference planning is to start is here, and click on “events” for conferences in the future.)

Wednesday the 3rd, looking for more in-depth commentary on weekly mortgage news? Register here for "Mortgage Matters: The Weekly Roundup” presented by Lenders One. Every Wednesday at 2:00 PM EST/11:00 AM PT is a dive into a range of mortgage-related topics, including market trends, interest rate fluctuations, innovative mortgage products, and industry advancements. Listen to a unique mix of age perspective, expertise, and charisma to the screen, ensuring that the information is not only educational but also entertaining. Hear from Kevin Peranio with PRMG!

Bringing together leading mortgage professionals to forecast the trends and transformations in the mortgage industry for the year 2024, register for the A&D Mortgage webinar, "Mortgage Horizons 2024: Industry Experts' Outlook", scheduled for January 4, 2024, at 1 PM EST. Engage with experts as they share insights, analyze market dynamics, and discuss strategies for navigating the evolving landscape of mortgage lending. Ideal for lenders, brokers, and financial advisors seeking a deeper understanding of what the future holds in mortgage finance.

Friday, January 5th, is this week’s episode of The Mortgage Collaborative’s Rundown covering current events in the mortgage market for 30-45 minutes starting at noon PT, 3PM ET, in “The Rundown”. Hear from to Truliant Federal Credit Union’s Beth Eller!

Join MISOMO’s upcoming Winter Summit, Monday, January 8th – Thursday, January 11th and learn what's hot in mortgage standards. Click Here for the Event Schedule and Full List of Speakers.

Join NYMBA as they unlock the complexities of marketing agreements in the mortgage sector, Wednesday, January 10th, 12-1PM (EST). Mitchell Sandler’s Daniella Casseres and Ari Karen will dive into the ever-evolving regulatory framework, covering key federal laws.

Learn more about USDA’s Combination Construction-to-Permanent (Single Close) financing program, Wednesday, January 10, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET., in a live, virtual training for all USDA lenders and real estate agents.

In Minnesota, join MMA to learn about the past year, the coming year, and how it will impact the MMA. Have a wonderful morning networking, celebrating 2023, hearing a forecast for 2024, and preparing for another successful year! January 11th, 8:00-10:30 at the Mendakota Country Club.

Start 2024 off with a BANG (and many laughs) as Dr. Eisenberg, The Bowtie Economist, updates us on what housing and real estate looks like for the coming year. Register for this CoAMP Event Thursday, January 11th 1:00-3:00 PM at Comedy Works in Greenwood Village, lunch is included in registration fee.

Arch Mortgage Insurance January Webinars! Loan Processing Using the Redesigned URLA/Form 1003 - Tuesday, January 9 at 1 p.m. ET | Noon CT | 11 a.m. MT | 10 a.m. PT. Income Fundamentals 101 The First Step in Understanding Acceptable Qualifying Income -

Wednesday, January 10 at 3 p.m. ET | 2 p.m. CT | 1 p.m. MT | Noon PT. Analyzing Appraisals for Single-Family Residences Identifying the Key Areas of the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report – Thursday, January 11 at 1 p.m. ET | Noon CT | 11 a.m. MT | 10 a.m. PT.

National MI’s January 2024 webinar sessions offers multiple topics. Mortgage Fraud - Don't Be a Victim with Marianne Collins - January 4th at 1pm ET. Mastering LinkedIn for Mortgage Professionals – Session One with Brynne Tillman – January 9th at 3pm ET. The 3 Roles of a Leader ​​​​​with Andrew Oxley - January 11th at 2pm ET.

The "Kind Mindset" event, presented by Kind Lending is on January 16th, at The Buckhead Club in Atlanta, GA. Designed to empower attendees with valuable insights on growth, success, and mindset, it has an impressive lineup of speakers, including Kind Lending's CEO/Founder, Glenn Stearns. Register today.

Join San Diego CAMP on Wednesday, January 17th from 4 to 7“in Rancho Bernardo! “Get ready to kick off the CAMP San Diego Chapter 2024 with a new year economic update and happy hour. Guest speaker Rob Chrisman will share economic insights for 2024 to help you make the most of the coming year.”

Learn about Non-QM Specialty Products, and DPA assistance programs at the LoanStream Mortgage webinar, Thursday, January 18th at 11AM PT, an in-depth review of its Non-QM programs and specialty products as well as dive into LonStream’s MaxONE and MaxONE Plus Down Payment Assistance programs.

MBA’s Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference 2024 specifically caters to IMBs of all sizes and models and their leadership teams, providing attendees with the opportunity to network and do business with industry peers, power players, innovators, and experts. Additionally, attendees will hear new solutions, actionable advice, and the data and analytics needed to improve their organizational bottom-line. Join the 2024 IMB Conference, Monday, January 22 – Wednesday, January 24 at Sheraton New Orleans.

Now available on the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Single Family Housing Events and Training web page under Single Family Housing Self-Paced, Pre-Recorded Training

The first self-paced training module, the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook (Handbook 4000.1) is an evergreen presentation that walks new and/or existing stakeholders needing a refresher through Handbook 4000.1’s structure and style. It is designed to help viewers understand its benefits, where to access it online, how to read Mortgagee Letters (ML) in context, and how to locate content updates.

The second self-paced training module — the Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM) Origination and Servicing Overview, focuses solely on the newest and final Handbook 4000.1 section that was released on October 31, 2023, and announced in a press release and FHA INFO 2023-84. It begins with a review of the new HECM section’s style and structure, consistent with the rest of Handbook 4000.1 for HECM originators, servicers, and other interested parties. Additionally, it provides viewers with an overview of some of the more recent HECM policy updates that have been incorporated into this new Handbook section, making it easier for HECM originators and servicers to locate the information needed to do with business with FHA in one place.

National MI: Highlights from the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers with Rebecca Lorenz –

January 23rd at 2pm ET. Build a Prospecting Follow-Up Strategy with Kendra Lee - January 25th at 1pm ET.

Arch MI: Conquer the Components Understanding the Aspects of a Loan File -

Wednesday, January 17 at 3 p.m. ET | 2 p.m. CT | 1 p.m. MT | Noon PT. Income Fundamentals 201 The Components of Paystubs and W-2s - Tuesday, January 16 at 1 p.m. ET | Noon CT | 11 a.m. MT | 10 a.m. PT. Income Fundamentals 202 Calculating Employment Income -

Thursday, January 18 at 3 p.m. ET | 2 p.m. CT | 1 p.m. MT | Noon PT.

Capital Markets

The end of 2023 brought unbridled optimism that the Fed would precipitously cut rates this year, but bonds dropped to open 2024 as traders trimmed rate cut bets. The “risk-off” selling from investors reconsidering year-end optimism coincided with weakness in other sovereign debt around the globe amid renewed uncertainty and rising tensions surrounding shipping routes through the Red Sea, and about wars in Ukraine and Gaza spilling over into larger conflicts.

By yesterday’s close, market movement marked one of the worst-ever concerted drops in stocks and bonds to start a year. While the first-day performance says little about what markets will do for the rest of 2024, the retreat signaled at least some hesitation among investors to chase a fourth-quarter rally that lifted long-dated U.S. Treasuries by more than 10 percent.

On the data front, total construction spending increased 0.4 percent month-over-month in November, less robust than expected following an upwardly revised 1.2 percent increase (from 0.6 percent) in October. Total private construction was up 0.7 percent month-over-month while total public construction was down 0.7 percent month-over-month. On a year-over-year basis, total construction spending was up 11.3 percent. Strength seen in new single-family construction is badly needed as the supply of existing homes on the market remains severely constrained.

The rest of this short week will be dominated by the jobs report on Friday but we’ll also have the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes from the December meeting today and the Institute of Supply Management Manufacturing Index on Friday. We will also receive December prepayments after Friday’s close. What about prepayments? According to IFR's consensus, FN30 and GNII speeds are still expected to decline 6 percent month-over-month on average with FN15s slowing closer to 4 percent. Weaker turnover seasonals and a near 5 percent decline in day count are seen as the main drivers. Gross issuance came in at its lowest level, $71.6 billion, since March’s $68.1 billion.

Today’s economic calendar kicked off with mortgage applications decreasing 9.4 percent from two weeks earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. The results include adjustments to account for the holidays. While activity usually slows around the holidays, the recent decline in mortgage rates was (wrongly) expected to provide a boost into the year-end. Later today brings remarks from Richmond Fed President Barkin, Redbook same store sales, ISM manufacturing PMI for December, JOLTS job openings for November, and the minutes from the December 12/13 FOMC meeting. We begin Wednesday with Agency MBS prices worse about .125 and the 10-year yielding 3.98 after closing yesterday at 3.95 percent.

Employment and Transitions

“Happy New Year and yuletide greetings for 2024! Congratulations on surviving 2023 and if you may be looking to thrive in 2024, our boutique bank, FLCBank, has limited openings for an account executive in TX and another opening in mid-west/Minnesota and surrounding states. Interested in learning more, reach out to Bob Eisendrath, Strategic National Account Manager at 414-350-3986. If you are not located in a specific area but still have interest, we welcome your call. FLCBank is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.”

“It is a great honor to welcome Patrick McGrath, Midwest Sales Division Vice President, to the Kind Lending team! The Kind team comprises incredible people who are always willing to learn more and offer their best. Patrick joins our team with over 30-years of experience in sales management. He understands the macro views of mortgage lending and its many iterations, as well as the loan specifications of meeting timely closings and building fruitful relationships. His skills are an excellent fit for leading our Midwest sales team and setting high standards. With Patrick's extensive background and successful career trajectory, we know he will be an extraordinary addition to our team, and we look forward to working together on a variety of projects under his direction. Welcome to Kind! Interested in expanding your career opportunities? Join the #kindmovemovement and come grow with us! Contact: Delfino Aguilar, SVP TPO Production, 619.726.0377.”

“’Thrive Mortgage and Lower are joining forces, hoping to create a super-lender that’ll be the envy of the mortgage world.’ That was written in NMP Magazine’s article about the merger between Thrive and Lower announced this past December. To no one’s surprise, the buzz has continued into the new year. Most notably, Thrive interviewed a number of our own top producers to get their takes. Nick Steinhauer, Branch Manager in Thrive’s Columbus, OH market, stated, “When you take two big brands like Thrive & Lower, it’s a win-win for everybody involved. I’m pumped that we have a runway to infinity!” Long-time Thrive veteran, Alana Dorbandt, said, “For (Lower’s) leadership to be so authentic and welcoming… you can see the passion they have for this industry and delivering for the teams and families that we serve!” To learn more about opportunities to Thrive with Lower, contact us and we’ll show you why we’re so excited!”