Carol K. writes, “Back in my day there was so much cheap toilet paper and eggs that we would throw them at the houses of our enemies.” And then there’s, “Money can't buy you happiness, but you can sure have a good time searching for it.” Speaking of a good time, are you single? Want to make $1,500? Shane Co. will pay you to go on 15 first dates. Search for dates at the grocery store, a dating app, whatever. Many lenders are searching for production, and with that in mind, is your company participating in the FHFA’s Special Purpose Credit Program? Rumor has it that those lenders in the pilot program must pay up to $5,000 per loan… but what do I know? If true, is that added to the $11k the MBA tells us it already takes to do a loan? There’s even a “tool kit.” And of course the CFPB is keenly interested in these types of programs. Any questions about participating or NDAs or procedures should be addressed to your Freddie or Fannie rep. Like I said, lots of rumors out there about lenders giving the program a shot. In other money news, identity thieves hacked into Experian credit reports. (This week’s podcast is sponsored by Candor. Candor’s patented automated underwriting decision engine, CogniTech™, is a state-of-the-art, 100% machine platform that can handle infinite loan scenarios. Today’s has an interview with Tom Booker and Tom Showalter on repurposing Candor’s technology into multiple segments in the mortgage space.

Lender and Broker Software, Products, and Services

Zillow recently announced a huge milestone for its platform. Since integrating with Down Payment Resource a year ago, more than 1 million unique consumers have engaged with its down payment assistance (DPA) search tool by providing their personal information to learn more about these programs. The good news for lenders: Down Payment Resource has lead generation and DPA management tools to help you capture the huge consumer demand for DPA too! As home shoppers learn more about DPA through sites like Zillow, Redfin and, if you aren’t prepared to finance using DPA in 2023, they’ll find a lender who is. What’s more, DPA doesn’t just attract new business. It rescues 33% of loan applications that would otherwise be declined. The DPA train is leaving the station, and Down Payment Resource is your ticket to ride. Are you going to get on board?

Rev your engines and prepare for an adrenaline-fueled event at the 2023 Lender Toolkit Supercar Experience. This exclusive exotic car racing event will take place on February 27th from 12:30-4:30 pm, just before the start of ICE Experience 2023. Choose from Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches and more to participate in the event. “Last year's event created tremendous buzz and is still being talked about,” says Lender Toolkit's CEO Brett Brumley. Be part of this year's event as one of the limited sponsors with prominent visibility and event tickets or submit a request to be considered as a driver or spectator here. Experience the speed of AI with Lender Toolkit. Its AI-powered mortgage automation as a service optimizes Encompass® with AI tools for loan manufacturing, including automated underwriting, disclosure automation, investor delivery, and more. Contact Brent Emler today to find out how to upgrade your digital mortgage process to make it faster and smarter.

A new year offers opportunities for growth and reinvention. Click n’ Close has always set its sights on new and innovative horizons, and its passion for driving growth in its TPO channels and uncovering untapped market opportunities is stronger than ever. In November, Click n’ Close announced SmartBuy, a suite of innovative loan products to help address the rate/affordability challenges facing borrowers in today’s market. In addition, brokers seeking to become full-fledged mortgage bankers are seeing tremendous success and realizing the cost savings eMortgages deliver through Click n’ Close’s eNote program for non-delegated correspondents. For those in high-cost title states, Click n’ Close will buy some products with the cost-reducing Attorney’s Opinion Letter to help reduce the financial burden on today’s borrowers. As Click n’ Close continues trailblazing innovation via technology and automation, learn more about its unique suite of loan programs by contacting Adam Rieke or Kerry Webb.

Find market share opportunities in 2023 by transforming your borrower experience and back-office operations. As major players continue to reduce their share of the market, small and mid-sized lenders have the opportunity to gain market share. Loan officers using Maxwell Point of Sale close 15% more loans per month, slash their time-to-close by 13+ days and save an average of 21 BPS in costs per loan. Beyond front-end improvements, Maxwell Processor Edge, a first-of-its-kind processing workflow technology, transforms the loan fulfillment process, accelerating document review, reducing errors, and boosting processor capacity. Set up a call with our team to learn how you can take advantage of current market share opportunities, close more loans with less work and centralize your processes with Maxwell technology.

“When is your projected return to profitability? Don’t wait: It’s time to truly understand the interactions between your originations, profitability, and servicing execution. Our mortgage banking industry experts have the knowledge, resources, and data to give you the visibility you need in today’s market. We dive deep to understand your goals and make recommendations to drive meaningful change. We can perform a deep analysis of your servicing cash flows, a review of the overall servicing retained/released strategy plus a review of the production side of the business. Leverage our real-time benchmarking to gain visibility into your financial and operational performance compared to your peers. Knowing when your return to profitability is projected is the first step to success in 2023 and beyond. Contact Seth Sprague, CMB to learn more about how Richey May’s Mortgage Banking Consulting Services can help you.”

If you are a David Attenborough fan or a science geek, you might know something about symbiosis, the relationship between two organisms that often form a win-win partnership. Such is the relationship between Indecomm’s AuditGenius mortgage QC technology and Indecomm’s QC talent. This one-of-a-kind alliance improves QC accuracy, reduces risk, and improves turnaround times for the Indecomm client. As AuditGenius accelerates mortgage QC tasks such as data validation, checklists, and reporting, Indecomm’s QC talent oversees the entire process from beginning to end, ensuring timely and accurate QC results. The strong bond between these two species is such that they work together seamlessly, benefiting clients and the entire mortgage QC ecosystem. Interested in benefiting from Indecomm’s symbiotic QC solution? Reach out to Linda Bomar to learn more.

If your LOs have recently closed a deal, it’s likely their clients have already forgotten them. In fact, 4 out of 5 LO’s are forgotten by past clients, but Velma has a way of keeping past clients coming back. Velma Connector turns your LOS into a post-close marketing powerhouse. Connector integrates with your LOS and uses its data to automatically send your LO’s clients timely emails, texts, and postcards to remind them your team is there for them. That you’re there when a life event happens and it’s time for a refi or to buy a new house. Don’t wait until your clients are with another lender, get Connector today and keep your clients yours!

“Looking to become an expert in alternative financing options for investors? This in-depth session will cover specific program features and guidelines for Deephaven’s DSCR product. You’ll learn how we use rental income to qualify these DSCR loans, basic borrower eligibility requirements, and why our DSCR loans are ideal for multiple property types. You’ll also learn when and how our Expanded Prime Bank Statement loan may be a good option for investors, along with tips on how to use our scenario calculator and bank statement analysis tools. The session will include a brief overview of our most popular products and guidelines, so you’ll be thoroughly equipped to match investors with exactly the right Deephaven Non-QM loan. Register today here. To view our calendar of events, please click here.”

Home Equity Lending and the MBA

I received a note from the MBA’s Marina Walsh, VP, Industry Analysis, Research, and Economics. “Rob, you have been writing a lot about the increase in home equity lending, given where mortgage rates are these days. The home equity market grew in 2022 and is expected to grow further in 2023 and beyond. We too have heard from our members. That’s why we are re-launching MBA’s Home Equity Lending Study which collects data on home equity lending and servicing functions, for both open-end home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and closed-end home equity loans, including: origination and servicing Volumes, HELOC utilization over time; operational and efficiency metrics; production and servicing costs; and growth expectations.

“Participating companies receive a customized summary report that compares their data to the industry aggregates, as well as a chartbook of highlighted metrics that include three years of historical data for 2018-2020. We will also host a participants-only meeting to discuss study results with peer companies. There is still time to participate. Click here to be part of this benchmarking study. Study kick-off is in mid-February.”

Capital Markets

“Feeling a little lost trying to navigate the uncertain waters of pipeline risk management? You aren’t alone! Fortunately, the Optimal Blue team is ready to serve as your compass at the Texas MBA Southern Secondary Market Conference in Houston. Stop by our booth to visit with our experts and make plans to attend a special panel session featuring Optimal Blue’s Alicia Nagla, hedge account manager. This session, titled “Exploring the ‘Uncharted Waters’ of Pipeline Risk Management,” will explore strategies for navigating today’s unprecedented market conditions. The panelists will also grab their binoculars to look into future changes that may impact the way you hedge and execute production. Topics will include liquidity, execution trends, servicing decisions, investor pricing, guidelines and much more. Don’t miss this event on Feb. 7 at 9:45 a.m.”

Turning to the economy and therefore interest rates, the December Consumer Price Index report confirmed that the high inflation that resulted from a combination of the limited supply of goods, massive fiscal stimulus, and longer-than-necessary accommodative monetary policy is slowing. On a three-month annualized basis, year-over-year inflation is running at 1.8 percent, indicating the headline number will continue to move towards the Fed’s target of 2 percent. It is widely expected that housing inflation, which contributes 30 percent to headline CPI and significantly lags current market conditions, is near its turning point.

While it is too soon to declare the battle against inflation over, it is moving in the desired direction. Only 24 percent of firms surveyed in December expected to increase prices over the next three months, a 10 percent drop from November’s survey. Due to the evidence of slowing inflation market expectations are now for a 25-basis point rate hike at the FOMC’s February meeting and another 25-basis point hike in March.

This week’s calendar includes some higher tiered data including Fed surveys, PPI, retail sales, industrial production/capacity utilization, business inventories and several housing-related releases. Currently scheduled Fed appearances are light ahead of next week’s blackout period, though the Beige Book will be released on Wednesday afternoon. Besides T-Bills, the Treasury will auction $12 billion reopened 20-year bonds on Wednesday and $17 billion new 10-year TIPS on Thursday. The domestic economic calendar is already underway with New York Fed (“Empire”) manufacturing for January (a collapse to -32.9 from -11.2, matching the depths of the pandemic). Today’s lone Fed speaker sees New York’s Williams delivering remarks. Yes, it’s Tuesday already, and we begin the trading week with Agency MBS prices down a few ticks from Friday and the 10-year yielding 3.55 after closing last week at 3.51 percent, and the 2-year unchanged yielding 4.24.

Employment, Recruiting

“SWBC Mortgage believes in exceptional service, and it starts at the top. Our leadership team cares about the employees and deeply values having direct communication to the field. The success of our loan originators is priority #1 and we strive to provide an unsurpassed level of support that will grow their business to remarkable heights! Last week, on January 12th thru the 13th, we hosted our National Sales Rally in Nashville Tennessee themed “UNSTOPPABLE.” With over two hundred members of our production team in attendance, the event included keynote speakers, top realtor and loan originator panels, breakout sessions and much more. Join SWBC Mortgage and become part of a culture that promotes you and your future and celebrates your accomplishments! Contact James Clark, Director of Strategic Growth. To learn more about why SWBC Mortgage was awarded #5 Best Large Mortgage Companies to Work For in 2021, visit here.”

Have you or someone you know been displaced by the recent market? Model Match Connect is an environment dedicated to connecting impacted individuals with employers, looking for talented producers. Model Match Connect allows you to create a personalized profile, share information with lenders and become discoverable to hiring managers. From operations to producing roles, take advantage at no cost to the employers or the individuals: Model Match Connect.

Chris Martin has joined Western Alliance Bank as director of treasury management sales for the Specialized Mortgage Services group, which offers solutions for warehouse financing, MSR financing and note financing as well as correspondent seller partners for AmeriHome Mortgage, a Western Alliance Bank company.