If you’re in Chicago, the newest attraction is “the rat hole.” Here in Denver, besides the cat I saw in the airport yesterday being walked on a leash, one attraction is the National Ice Core Lab, where, you guessed it, ice sample cores from all over the world are kept for research purposes at temperatures even colder than those outside. It is around this time of year when plenty of people think about vacations or moving to warmer places… Like Phuket in Thailand. In 2023 it saw 6.24 million airport arrivals, up 88 percent from 2022, and the real estate market is booming. The island has 26 beaches and a population of 420,000. Phuket is trying to move away from over-reliance on tourism by simply selling to wealthy outsiders, often Russians: 27,000 Russians have moved to Phuket in the past 12 to 18 months, fueling a development boom. Follow the money, right? Today’s podcast can be found here, and this week’s is brought to you by nCino, makers of the nCino Mortgage Suite for the modern mortgage lender. nCino Mortgage Suite's three core products (nCino Mortgage, nCino Incentive Compensation, and nCino Mortgage Analytics) unite the people, systems, and stages of the mortgage process. Today’s features an interview with Polunsky Beitel Green’s Marty Green on mortgage spreads, why 2024 is a year of transition in the mortgage industry, and potential ramifications of NAR lawsuits.

Lender and Broker Services, Products, and Software

Anchor Loans Launches TPO Broker Channel for Flip, Bridge, New Construction and Rental Investment Financing! With so many banks and private lenders scaling back on fix and flip and construction lending, house flippers and builders are turning to mortgage brokers and other intermediaries to help identify reliable sources of capital. National private lending leader Anchor Loans has stepped up to launch a new Third-Party Originator (TPO) Broker Channel to serve loan brokers and other third-party originators whose clients are the real estate investors and developers building and refurbishing homes for America's buyers and renters. With 25+ years in business, $14B+ in loans funded to date and expert teams lending in 48 U.S. states, Anchor offers flexible loan programs, experience-based pricing, $100k to $10MM loan amounts, fast funding, and a speedy draw process. Mortgage brokers and loan originators can learn more here.

Lenders across the country are still looking for ways to cut costs without sacrificing revenue. Start off easy with collecting credit report fees upfront. Fee Chaser by LenderLogix makes it as easy as clicking a button... literally.

Rocket Pro TPO’s recent IGNITE Live showcased a powerful line up of new product & technology solutions designed to help broker partners exceed expectations with clients and outpace its competition. If you missed it, check it out here. Mike Fawaz, Rocket Pro TPO’s EVP reminded the audience of the benefits of the lender’s free credit report offer. He also featured Product Compare, an innovative new tool available from Pathfinder by Rocket. This platform enables partners to quickly and easily identify the ideal mortgage products for every client scenario. Also, the lender introduced a special discount for partners using Mobility Market Intelligence (MMI): a leading real estate and transaction database that will immediately impact broker’s business strategies. Be sure to review the IGNITE Live video for many other updates and special offerings. Interested in learning more about a Broker or Non-Delegated Correspondent partnership? Contact Rocket Pro TPO to learn more.

Wholesale and Correspondent News

A&D Mortgage launched its innovative ITIN Mortgage Program, designed to extend homeownership opportunities to a broader community. This groundbreaking initiative offers mortgage solutions to individuals who possess an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) but do not have a Social Security number, thereby catering to a previously underserved market. Tailored to meet the diverse needs of borrowers, ranging from first-time homebuyers to those seeking to invest in property, there are several attractive features such as eligibility for borrowers with minimum FICO score of 660 for Super Prime loans. A DSCR (Debt Service Coverage Ratio) option is available for applicants with a minimum FICO score of 700.

Discover more information about the ITIN Mortgage Program and other services offered by A&D Mortgage.

United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) announced that it will sunset the name of its consumer-facing website, FindAMortgageBroker.com, and replace it with Mortgage Matchup. “Mortgage Matchup will continue to be a consumer-facing website geared toward homebuyers and real estate agents and will offer both educational material around the homebuying and refinancing processes, along with a searchable database of independent mortgage brokers near them. The goal is to connect this audience with a local mortgage broker in their area and they understand the vast array of loan options available to them based on their specific financial situation.”

According to IHDA, nearly 10 percent of all first-time homebuyers use IHDA Mortgage products to help receive the additional leverage needed to bridge the gap of homeownership. An IHDAccess Forgivable loan is for both first-time and repeat homebuyers and offers a very competitive interest rate to help keep costs down over the length of the mortgage. IHDAccess Forgivable highlights include 4 percent of the purchase price up to $6,000 in assistance for down payment and closing costs, forgiven monthly over 10 years and does not have to be repaid. 30-year, fixed rate mortgage with an affordable interest rate. Available to first-time and repeat homebuyers statewide. Interested homeowners can learn more about IHDAccess Forgivable and eligibility requirements by contacting any INB mortgage lender.

Rocket Pro TPO, the wholesale arm of Rocket Mortgage, has just announced updates to its ONE+ program aimed at making it easier for prospective homeowners to obtain a low-down-payment conventional mortgage. ONE+ allows buyers to make a down payment of as little as 1 percent of the home’s purchase price. The program now includes Freddie Mac’s Loan Product Advisor. Use of the automated underwriting system could increase buyer eligibility by 16 percent, Rocket Pro TPO executive vice president Mike Fawaz said in a recorded statement.

Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions DSCR Loan (Investor Cash Flow) program has been enhanced to accommodate an impressive 85 percent Loan-to-Value (LTV). Loan highlights include Purchase Only, Minimum DSCR 1.00. SFR, PUD, Condo, Multifamily 2 - 4 units. ​Minimum loan amount $150,000, Maximum loan amount $1 million, and minimum FICO 720.

Plaza Home Mortgage® is kicking off the New Year with improved updates to its Solutions Non-QM, DSCR, Jumbo AUS 1 and Jumbo Champion loan programs. Details are available in the updated Solutions Non-QM Program Guidelines, DSCR Investor Solutions Program Guidelines, Jumbo AUS 1 Program Guidelines, and Jumbo Champion Program Guidelines.

Citizens Correspondent National Bulletin 2024-01 includes information on Conventional Conforming Products- FNMA- Income Calculator, FNMA- Restricted Stock Income Units, Non-Taxable Income-DU, LPA Cash-Out Occupancy and Condo Eligibility, VVOE Alternatives - DU and LPA, FHA and VA Loan Limits- AUS update, USDA Product Update, Secondary Marketing Contact Info and Disaster Tax Filing Relief. See the bulletin for additional information and all lock, delivery, and purchase by dates, if required.

The average annual number of business applications rose to 4.9 million between 2020-2022. This is an 89 percent increase compared to 2005-2016. This strong and steady market of non-traditional, high-quality borrowers presents a clear opportunity for Non-QM program options. How to capitalize on this growing segment of borrowers? Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions range of products for self-employed borrowers can help you unlock this market. Bank Statement Mortgage, 12- or 24-months business or personal bank statements, Profit and Loss (P&L) statements are a valid form of income verification, non-permanent residents allowed, ​​​Closed End Second Mortgage, Borrowers receive a lump-sum payment, no restrictions on how borrowers can use the funds. Owner-occupied, second homes, and non-owner occupied.

Capital Markets

Economic data yesterday held some good news for U.S. consumers, with signs of improvement in the job market and some relief on mortgage rates. Initial jobless claims (187k) fell to the lowest level in over a year, a bigger drop than any forecaster expected. After two weeks of increases, mortgage rates fell to the lowest level in eight months, per the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. For the week ending January 18, the 30-year and 15-year mortgage rates fell 6 basis points and 11 basis points to 6.60 percent and 5.76 percent, respectively. Both rates have fallen more than 100 basis points from the October highs. (Unfortunately, the more timely data already shows rates moving quickly higher - MND)

LOs looking for an increase in inventory in homes for sale aren’t seeing much help from builders. The overall direction of economic data recently has given Fed officials some cover to maintain their “hawkish” rhetoric. That is of little comfort to homebuilders, evidenced by housing starts falling in December for the first time since August. Housing starts showed a smaller than expected decrease in December (actual 1.460 million, expected 1.417 million).

There’s historically been theory that “an enemy of my enemy is my friend.” We’ll see. Something to keep an eye on is an expanding conflict in the Middle East. Pakistan’s military carried out targeted strikes against militant hideouts in Iran on Thursday, responding to an attack by Tehran a day earlier. Historically strife around the world leads to a flight to quality and the buying of U.S. fixed income securities. Now, not so much.

Today’s economic calendar sees some key data later this morning with existing home sales for December, a preliminary January look at Michigan sentiment, November TIC data from the U.S. Treasury, and remarks from Fed Vice Chair of Supervision Barr and San Francisco Fed President Daly. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices roughly unchanged from Thursday’s close and the 10-year yielding 4.12 after closing yesterday at 4.14 percent on little financial news.


Logan Finance Welcomes Paul Jones as SVP, Business Development! Logan Finance is happy to announce that Paul Jones has joined the organization as SVP, Business Development. "Paul is an industry giant with an uncanny ability to identify and develop winning strategies and educate the industry on the benefits and opportunities within Non-QM. We're thrilled to have Paul join the team”, said Logan’s Chief Revenue Officer, Aaron Samples. Paul Jones has spent 30 years in Operations and Sales and he’s developed a methodology for parlaying the many aspects of Non-QM into a cohesive strategy for Account Executives and Originators. This strategy is instrumental in scaling Non-QM production, expanding referral sources, and refining customer outreach. "The spotlight is on the world of Non-QM right now, and I'm ready to help focus that spotlight on Logan," Paul said. "We have a lot of things in play for 2024, and I'm looking forward to contributing to Logan's exciting future."

Primis Mortgage was born out of a belief that we, as an industry, can do better. We decided that to do this, we needed to act like an Independent Mortgage Bank, but leverage the stability and resources of a traditional bank. And the results speak for themselves. We saw a 107 percent increase in funded loans from 2022 to 2023, and while most companies were cutting back, we decided to step up: increasing our sales staff by 160 percent in that same time period. Primis Mortgage is a place where proven all-stars come to win. Our in-house support staff averages just 22 days from ITP to Docs Out, and leadership constantly motivates and educates our loan officers to strive for continued growth. If you’re a highly-successful loan officer ready to take your career to the next level, reach out to Chris Blevins, National Sales Director.”

Last week, Sales and Operations leadership from both the Lower and Thrive Mortgage teams got together in Columbus, OH to collaborate and discuss the way forward. Not just for the merger between the two entities, but what they see for the industry. After two days together, the response was clear… this is a powerful move for both companies. The game-planning, engagement with new colleagues, and enthusiasm continues to grow as each side returned to share what they’d learned. Above all else, the most commonly referenced statement was, “It felt like we’ve known each other for years.” Ready to find out what the insiders already know? Let’s talk about how you can Thrive with Lower.

A well-capitalized IMB, based in the NJ/PA tri- state market, is seeking Loan Officers, Sales Teams, or possible acquisition opportunities of small to midsize IMBs in NJ, NY, CT, FL, PA, while expanding in MD, DC, VA, NC and SC. The IMB’s focus is a highly personable and high touch experience for LOs and Realtors. Organizationally lean, very competitive pricing, a wide array of products, and much higher LO Comp than what is offered by other larger IMBs. The focus is to attract serious loan officers who want an unparalleled service, where your voice matters and you have a seat at the table in growth. If interested, message Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt for a confidential discussion.