“Wet” January is going well for me. Wait… did I get that wrong? If food news is more to your liking, Krispy Kreme has rolled out donuts covered in Biscoff cookies through the end of January. More calories per bite, right? In other non-mortgage stories, the oldest person in the world has died at 118. Contrary to what LOs say, this photo is not her praying for stated income, stated asset loans to return with no consideration of credit. Speaking of which, the latest credit reporting news involving brokers comes from the UK. Layoffs aren’t happening only in residential lending, the latest example being 10,000 from Microsoft. (It had approximately 221,000 full-time employees globally as of June 30, 2022.) Yes, parts of the economy, especially high tech (how many new phones or laptops does one need?) are slowing. But in 2023 positive labor but slowing inflation and certain economic numbers, have sparked a rally in fixed-income prices, including securities backed by mortgages, and has eased a yield-curve inversion as investors become hopeful the Federal Reserve might become less aggressive in monetary tightening. (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. Listen to an interview with Planet Home’s Chris Lewis and Nick DeJesus on the benefits of a retail branch origination model and a day in the life of a branch manager.)

Lender and Broker Software, Products, and Services

When it comes to HELOCs, experience matters. Computershare Loan Services (CLS) has a 20-year reputation for subservicing HELOCs with tightly managed processes, air-tight compliance, and security checkpoints that protect their clients’ MSR assets. But don’t take my word for it. Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch consistently report top ratings for CLS’ proficiency in servicing HELOCs and many other asset classes. That’s just one reason banks, credit unions, IMBs and FinTechs choose, and stay with, CLS. Start 2023 off right by tapping into the time-tested strength of Computershare Loan Services, a recognized prime and default subservicer that gives clients a whole new level of portfolio protection. Contact CLS today.

ACES Quality Management Saw Record Growth and Made Numerous Enhancements in 2022. With a 22% increase in the company’s client base amidst significant market volatility and numerous software updates, 2022 proved to be a momentous year for ACES. “Given that the challenges we faced in 2022 are expected to extend into 2023, protecting the integrity and liquidity of the assets mortgage lenders and financial institutions are able to produce in today’s market is more critical than ever,” said ACES CEO, Trevor Gauthier. 2022 achievements included: Produced free quarterly Mortgage QC Trends Report, Various awards including HousingWire Insider and HousingWire Tech100 Mortgage, Enhanced visibility of question codes within ACES Managed Questionnaires, Released a new servicing-focused multi-answer managed questionnaire, and added and reviewed over 950 articles and 200 calendar items to ACES Compliance NewsHub. Read the press release.

“There is a reason why GHMC’s Prime Jumbo product is making noise in the marketplace! Our Prime Jumbo is now available with loan amounts $1 over conforming. Contact your Account Executive today or visit ghmc.com to learn more about this product offering as well as many of our other exciting products. GHMC has also been hard at work rolling out our new GAssist program. GAssist was created to offer our TPO partners an affordable, scalable Origination and Processing solution. It offers your own branded, borrower application portal and can be easily combined with our loan processing services. Put our technology and experience to work for you! GConnect, our TPO Portal, has exciting updates rolling out in the coming months such as Quick Disclosures and our new rewards programs GRewards! Stay tuned for more information on both! To learn more about GHMC and all things GLife, visit us today!”

“Give your business a competitive edge by leveraging innovative products with Newrez Correspondent. Our newly launched MH Advantage® program could be exactly what you need to close the deal. The MH Advantage® program offers more options for borrowers looking to purchase or refinance a manufactured home. A Hybrid AOT (Assignment of Trade) product will be joining our lineup soon, so keep an eye out for it. We want to thank our 2022 Preferred Partners for their ongoing support. With 2023 only just beginning, this year is the perfect time to align with a steady, stable, solid, and strategic partner. Ready to become an approved Correspondent lender with Newrez? Apply now or contact us to learn more.”

“Turn fixed costs into variable costs on a dime. When the market zigs, lenders need the flexibility to zag. Richey May Advisory brings the mortgage industry expertise and agility you need to convert fixed costs into variable costs. Our difference maker is your ability to outsource services to highly trained experts in a model that fits your needs. Whether that means loan-level accounting, advisory, business intelligence, compliance support, cyber services, internal audits or underwriting automation, we have the tools, knowledge, and experience to deliver value and improve your financial performance unlike any competitor, anywhere. You’ll feel it almost immediately in your day-to-day operations. Even better, you’ll notice the difference in your bottom line. Reach out or visit our website to learn more about how we can help your operation pivot to a better place, no matter which direction the market decides to go.”

Training, Webinars, and Events to Wrap up January

In this arena, time means money. Spending hours and hours on a 20-page business plan may not be the best use of your time or resources. On the next upcoming National Mortgage Professional Magazine webinar, $350M+ Producer, Top 15 Loan Officer, and Founder & CEO - InstaMortgage, Shashank Shekhar, shares his plan including the top three strategies for how he wins in any market condition. A plan that includes a Data, Product, and Referral Strategy with plans for daily, weekly and monthly activities will be your best route to success. Join us on Thursday, January 19 at 2:00 p.m. as Shashank will discuss what data you should share with your audience, hot products that can fill pipeline gaps, and low effort, but highly effective activities that you should fill your calendar with while still maintaining a balanced life. Register for Top 3 Strategies to Make 2023 a Wildly Successful Year here.

This Friday at 3PM ET is the next edition of The Mortgage Collaborative’s Rundown with Rich Swerbinsky, and me. We’ll will be covering current events in the mortgage market for 30 minutes starting at noon PT in “The Rundown with Rich and Rob”!

Where is Non-QM Headed in 2023? Find out on Tuesday, January 24th, 1 PM EST, at the A&D Mortgage end-of-year webinar. Joined by leading industry experts, Rob Chrisman, Max Slyusarchuk, Alex Suslov, Billy Abrams and Derick Mildred will share their insights on what went down in 2022 and what we can expect in the coming year. From market analysis to regulatory changes to product innovation, this is one webinar you won't want to miss.

Registration is open for the largest industry event designed exclusively for MBA’s Independent Mortgage Banker executives and leadership of all sizes and business models. IMB23 Conference, scheduled for January 23-26 at Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, CA., is the place to build your relationships, learn from other IMBs, and hear customized and curated programming focused on topical issues of the moment.

Starting January 23rd, Freddie Mac will have three new Loan Selling Advisor® Mandatory Cash Specified Payups available for your 30-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgages. To help you prepare, access the pre-production customer test environment (CTE) to test your systems and integrations. For the Cash Pricing and Cash Committing APIs, your pre-production API endpoints and updated related documentation including technical specifications and sample files, are available in the Developer Portal.

In the first webinar of the new Valuation Review Compliance Series, Proposed Updates to USPAP, top experts will discuss the latest proposed changes to USPAP by the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB). They will provide more clarity about these possible changes and help appraisers understand what they mean for their practice. Join them live at 3 p.m. ET January 23rd.

Join UCLA Housing on January 24th at 11:00 AM for a research seminar where Dr. Ong will discuss his project that examines the spatial distribution of tenant-based Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) units and Low-income Housing Tax Credit units to understand whether geographic patterns and trends are consistent with climate change and equity goals.

Are you looking for the right Non-QM partner that will actually help you increase originations? Carrington Mortgage Services free comprehensive Non-QM training program will provide you with the knowledge and skills to confidently offer Non-QM loans to your borrowers.

Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em, and Know When to Portfolio Your Loans. Originating to portfolio comes with its own set of risks and things to consider. Register for ACUMA’s webinar, Wednesday, January 25, at 1 p.m. CT and discover how to successfully engage in this critical strategy. Join Peter Benjamin, CMB, President of ACUMA as he sits down with Russ Brady, CMB, owner of Blue Loans LLC, to answer your questions about portfolio pricing strategies.

By 2028, the outsourcing market is set to grow 200%. Benefits of outsourcing peripheral tasks are clear. Discover tips for successful outsourcing strategies and how to, join SIFMA SmartBrief Webinar Thursday, January 26.

Capital Markets: Early Payoff Penalties Ahead?

Ever wondered how to hedge a mortgage pipeline? Historically, hedging has been dismissed by some lenders, but hedging one’s loan sales on the secondary mortgage market can produce the greatest return over longer-term macroeconomic cycles. In MCT’s latest whitepaper, Hedging 101, their experts explain what hedging is and why it is a valuable strategy for maximizing profitability in the secondary market. Looking for more knowledge in the mortgage capital markets? MCT & Mr. Cooper recently released a whitepaper, Getting Started with Co-Issue Transactions, that reviews the basics of co-issue transactions, helps dispel common MSR myths, and explains how to incorporate various strategies to achieve your business objectives. Additionally, sign up for MCT’s newsletter to receive the latest capital markets content.

“Ever wish you had an ‘easy button’ to solve best execution challenges? At Optimal Blue, we’ve been committed to delivering tools that save secondary marketers time and money for more than a decade, and our Pool Solver may just be the ‘easy button’ you need. Pool Solver helps you solve complex aggregate best execution issues, including high balance de-minimization for pools and monthly investor limits, pool minimums and maximums, cash commitment creation, buy down percentages, investor requirements, representative mix and more! Pool Solver uses an algorithm to create thousands – potentially millions – of iterations of loan execution combinations. In just minutes, it will propose the most efficient and profitable way to manage your pipeline, while also maximizing your loan sale and pool executions. In today’s market, squeezing every basis point and maximizing every minute in your day is critical – and Pool Solver does both.”

Turning to the bond markets, rates are on the decline! We had a sharp rally yesterday on better-than-expected inflation data, the Bank of Japan’s decision to keep policy unchanged, and a spate of weaker than expected economic data that will fuel the narrative that the Fed’s most hawkish days are in the rearview mirror. The 2-year U.S. Treasury yield fell to a level not seen since early October while yields on 3-year, 5-year, 7-year, and 10-year U.S. Treasury notes reached the lowest levels since September. In addition to the December PPI falling 0.5 percent month-over-month driven primarily by a decrease in energy prices, December retail sales posted a larger than expected decrease (though this doesn’t bode well for Q4 GDP), and industrial production recorded a larger than expected decrease in December due to weakening manufacturing activity. Even with the recent declines in inflation, the Fed will still want to see the labor market come more in balance.

We also learned yesterday that homebuilder sentiment rose slightly in January after a string of declines driven by rising interest rates, according to the NAHB Housing Market Index. Home construction is historically one of the first sectors to recover after a recession. “It appears the low point for builder sentiment in this cycle was registered in December, even as many builders continue to use a variety of incentives, including price reductions, to bolster sales,” said NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter. “The rise in builder sentiment also means that cycle lows for permits and starts are likely near, and a rebound for home building could be underway later in 2023.”

Today’s economic calendar is already well under way, with weekly jobless claims (190k, less than expected and “crazy low”), housing starts / building permits (-1.4 and -1.6 percent, respectively), and Philadelphia Fed manufacturing (-8.9, and improvement) all released. Later this morning brings a Treasury announcement of month-end supply consisting of 2-, 5- and 7-year notes, an auction of $17 billion 10-year TIPS, Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, and remarks from three Fed speakers (Boston Fed President Collins, Fed Vice Chair Brainard, and New York Fed President Williams). We begin the day with Agency MBS prices worse a few 32nds and the 10-year yielding 3.41 after closing yesterday at 3.38 percent. The yield on the 2-year Treasury, which hit 4.80 at one point, is down to 4.11.

Employment and Transitions

A national, Top 20, full-service mortgage company is actively recruiting branches with an emphasis on small- to mid-size teams who would like to take their customer relationships, production, and careers to the next level. The company offers excellent onboarding, dedicated marketing support, a broad range of loan products for multiple credit levels, and particular expertise in government lending. MLOs can anticipate an excellent recapture rate from existing clients as it services the majority of its loans, as well as access to a robust tech stack and experienced leadership dedicated to long-term career growth. The Company has a strong commitment to diversity and a social responsibility platform. Do you feel sidelined? Not getting the attention you deserve? Too many layers of management impeding your growth? Concerned about your current company’s long-term stability? Please email your resume to Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt for forwarding to be connected to your future.

“Hey buyers—why wait? Let’s deflate!” Embrace Home Loans’ “Deflate the Rate” program is ideal for your customers who are on the fence about purchasing a home or waiting for lower rates. The program offers homebuyers a reduced rate for the first one to three years of their mortgage, at no cost to them. “The seller pays the upfront fees on the buyer’s behalf to lower the rate, so your customers can get their dream home today,” says Steve Adamo, president, national retail production. It’s just one of many tools Embrace gives its loan officers to help them succeed. Along with the best marketing and technology tools in the industry, Embrace provides a supportive culture where team members are never left on their own. The nationwide lender continues to hire talented loan officers, so if you’re interested in joining a winning team, contact Adamo here.

We began 2023 with some huge news from one of the largest mortgage lenders working with mortgage brokers. Rocket Pro TPO Executive Vice President Austin Niemiec has been promoted to Chief Revenue Officer of Rocket Mortgage. Mike Fawaz is stepping in to lead Rocket Pro TPO as Executive Vice President. Many of you already know and love Mike Fawaz. You have gotten to know him not just through your partnership with him, but on a personal level. He has spent the last two years traveling to meet face-to-face with thousands of brokers across the country. Now, he’s taking what he’s learned directly from brokers to help them have a successful 2023. Congrats to Fawaz! If you don’t know him already, I encourage you all to reach out to Fawaz on LinkedIn. He’s a great person to know in the industry and he will help however he can!

Accurate Group announced that Michele Golden has joined the company as Chief Appraiser. Michele will report to Steve Baczkowski, COO of Accurate Group, and will manage Accurate Group’s staff appraisers, appraisal compliance and regulatory issues.