I could tell that my cat Myrtle was miffed. Not only had the work on her “2024 Vision Board Statement” languished, but either there was no line-caught halibut in her bowl, or the laser pointer’s battery was dead. It turned out that it was neither. Instead, it was news that the CFPB was not meeting its goals. the Office of Inspector General of the Federal Reserve Board released a report assessing the CFPB’s process for conducting enforcement investigations and making two recommendations. First, noting that the CFPB has not met its stated goal to file or settle 65 percent of its enforcement actions within two years, the OIG recommended that the CFPB Office of Enforcement incorporates the timing expectations for key steps in the enforcement process into the tracking and monitoring of matters. The OIG also recommended improvements to enforcement staff training on document maintenance and retention requirements for the CFPB’s matter management system. The report states that the recommendations were accepted by the CFPB, with a follow-up to ensure full implementation. Today’s Commentary podcast can be found here and this week’s is sponsored by Calque. With The Trade-In Mortgage powered by Calque, lenders help their clients negotiate a lower purchase price, reduce their interest payments, and eliminate PMI. Hear an interview with Broker Action Coalition’s Katie Sweeney on her transition from leading the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME) to leading the Broker Action Coalition and the Political Action Committee that she started with AIME.

Lender and Broker Software, Products, and Services

Are you looking to source new third-party originators (TPOs) for your wholesale and/or correspondent channels in 2024? If so, be sure to start by considering important factors such as production volume, branch total, number of loan officers, and product types. While it can be overwhelming to manage all these factors, Optimal Blue’s Comergence Prospect Marketing solution makes it easy. As the most comprehensive prospect marketing and data analysis tool in the industry, Comergence simplifies how you research the marketplace, understand client volume and trends, identify and develop new business opportunities, and empower your field sales staff. Plus, production numbers are updated every week. Contact Optimal Blue to take the first step toward more effective TPO sourcing with Comergence Prospect Marketing.

Make your general ledger profitable and run your business more efficiently with Loan Vision and LV-PAM. Instead of “staying alive until ‘25”, with Loan Vision, a software built BY the mortgage industry FOR the mortgage industry, you can “produce more in 24!” Customers on Loan Vision see improvements of 30 precent+ decrease in days to close the books, 20 percent+ reduction in accounting headcount, complete LOS to G/L automation, and improved reporting and visibility. Interested in learning how Loan Vision can help you run a more efficient and profitable company? Contact Carl Wooloff to schedule a call today.

HELOCs, AVMs, PCRs... when it comes to home equity lending and its corresponding appraisal solutions, it can start to look like alphabet soup. Thankfully, Class Valuation put together your one-stop shop for all home equity appraisal solutions, specifically for brokers. The Home Equity Playbook by Class Valuation is a must-have guide for navigating the intricacies of home equity valuations. It provides essential insights and detailed explanations, ensuring you're equipped with the knowledge necessary for accurate and efficient appraisals. This guide is more than just a resource; it's a roadmap to understanding various appraisal methodologies and their use cases in HELOC lending. When you download the playbook, you’ll find everything you need to know about AVMs, evals and more, including what they are, what they’re used for, and how Class’ solutions may differ from others. You'll find that navigating home equity appraisal solutions is no longer a daunting task, but a streamlined, manageable process. Download it here.

Want to make it easy for your borrowers to opt out of pre-screened credit offers to keep them from being bombarded by your competition when their credit is pulled? Your POS can do that. Well, maybe not yours, but LiteSpeed by LenderLogix can!

You need more than just a license to make money as a Loan Officer, but you probably already knew that. For starters, you’ll need to know three things to be successful: how to talk to your clients, how to process a loan application and how to seal the deal. At Madison Chase Academy we teach Loan Officers how to become successful in a short period of time. There are so many mistakes to avoid and I'm here to teach you how to do things the right way… the first time! 6 Months to 6 Figures. I will walk you through exactly what is necessary for you to build a profitable Loan Officer business. For more information contact Tanya Blanchard (770-851-9334).

Fannie and Freddie Updates

When a lender originates a conventional loan, the usual next step is to sell it to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, and retain the servicing, sell it to them and sell the servicing, or sell the loan servicing released. Or the servicing can be sold in bulk transactions later. Who’s buying the servicing that many lenders are selling to stay afloat? Well, among others, AmeriHome, Pennymac, Carrington, Newrez, and… Planet Home. During 2023, Planet Financial Group, LLC, parent of national mortgage lender and servicer Planet Home Lending, LLC and Planet Management Group, LLC, Owned Mortgage Servicing Rights (OMSR) portfolio rose to $92.48 billion at yearend 2023, up 47 percent from yearend 2022. 2023 origination volume hit $25 billion, down only 5 percent versus 2022. The company reached and estimated #2 government correspondent lender and the #3 correspondent lender overall, and acquired $14 billion of MSR's through bulk and Co-Issue channels.

Planet's servicing portfolio ended 2023 at $104.69 billion, up 42 percent from $73.64 billion in December 2022. At yearend, Planet was the 9th largest Ginnie Mae servicer, according to Inside Mortgage Finance data. Sub-servicing volume ended the year at $10.95 billion overall, up 68 percent from $6.5 billion at yearend 2022. Planet's residential origination volume ended at $25 billion, down just 5 percent from 2022. Correspondent volume held steady in 2023, ending at $23.78 billion, off 1 percent from 2022 volume. Planet's correspondent market share rose from 4.2 percent at yearend 2022 to 6.4 percent at Q3 2023, according to the latest data available from Inside Mortgage Finance. At yearend 2023, Planet was the #3 correspondent lender, up from #5 at yearend 2022 and the #2 government correspondent lender, up from #3, according to data from Refinitiv.

On January 23, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the “Enterprises”) announced an updated Single-Family Social MBS and Corporate Debt Bonds Framework, and updates to mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”) disclosures. As part of the framework updates, the Enterprises will rename the Social Index to the “Mission Index” in February. Additionally, Fannie Mae will update the formulation of the index in February, and Freddie Mac will update the formulation of the index in May. The Mission Index offers MBS investors insights into the Enterprises’ mission-oriented lending initiatives, enabling investors to allocate capital towards those activities. The revised Mission Index will apply to pools issued by Fannie Mae starting in March and for Freddie Mac starting in June.

The updated frameworks define criteria beginning in June for the Enterprises’ mortgage collateral that may be pooled, issued, and labeled “Social MBS.” That label is applied when the Mission Index score of the underlying pool exceeds a specified threshold. The Enterprises also announced they plan to provide impact reporting annually beginning in 2025, “which will help the market understand the associated impact of the loans underlying their investments.”

Fannie Mae is implementing two enhancements for the HomeReady® mortgage product. For creditworthy very low-income purchase (VLIP) borrowers, Fannie’s Mae is offering a new temporary $2,500 credit for use towards down payment and closing costs. Along with this enhancement for borrowers, lenders who take HomeReady product commitments in Pricing & Execution-Whole Loan® (PE-Whole Loan®) can now reduce hedging costs and lock in margins with an enhanced best-efforts commitment. Fannie Mae Lender Letter (LL-2024-01).

Fannie Mae’s Press Release announced Single-Family Social Bond Framework. The updated Social Bond Framework describes the Fannie Mae mortgage collateral eligible to be pooled, issued, and labeled as Single-Family "Social MBS."

Fannie Mae posted the January Appraiser Quality Monitoring (AQM) list.

Leverage key learnings and observations from calibrations to enhance your quality control (QC) program. This Fannie Mae Quality Insider features opportunities and tips aggregated from QC calibration exercises across a larger segment of lenders.

Freddie Mac published Guide Bulletin 2023-24 announced several changes, including updates to 10-day PCV types and occupancy requirements for a cash-out refinance to require all borrowers to occupy the mortgaged premises if occupied as a primary residence. See AmeriHome Mortgage Announcement Number 20240109-CL for more information.

Capital Markets

Credit conditions loosened as Treasury yields and mortgage rates decreased, so businesses and individuals are taking advantage of the borrowing opportunity. The Wall Street Journal has examined eight charts that detail the state of credit, from an increase in corporate bond issuance and consumer borrowing to a decrease in secured bond issuance. Despite long-standing concerns about a recession, some indicators suggest the economy and credit markets are at the beginning of a cycle of growth! Of course, with too much growth comes higher rates.

In supply and demand news, the Treasury Department has pared its borrowing estimate for the first quarter to $760 billion from the $816 billion projected in October. “Experts” had predicted the opposite, but Treasury officials say less borrowing is needed because of improving fiscal flows and higher-than-expected cash on hand.

Speaking of predictions that did not come to fruition, the U.S. economy is healthier than what economists expected a year ago. But some Federal Reserve officials emphasize a need for caution as they determine how to proceed with monetary policy. Per Fed Governor Waller, "Inflation of 2 percent is our goal. But that goal cannot be achieved for just a moment in time. It must be sustained."

With the items above as a backdrop, in news of interest to the mortgage market, the latest home price data from S&P/Case-Shiller for November was another reminder that affordability remains challenging for home buyers. Despite the U.S. National and 20-City Composite Indexes recording their first month-over-month declines since January 2023, November’s year-over-year gain saw the largest growth in U.S. home prices in 2023, with the National Composite rising 5.1 percent and the 10-city index rising 6.2 percent. Rates falling around 100 basis points since October could support further annual gains in home prices.

Today’s highlight is the FOMC statement followed by the post-meeting press conference with Chair Powell, but the economic calendar kicked off with mortgage applications decreasing 7.2 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 26. Last week’s results included an adjustment to account for the MLK holiday. Prior to the Fed, we’ve also received ADP employment for January (107k, much lower than expected), and the Q4 employment cost index. Later today brings the Quarterly Refunding announcement, then January Chicago PMI. No change in the fed funds target rate range is expected with the release of the latest FOMC policy statement, but the market will be eager to hear if there is any softening in the hawkish rhetoric. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better by .125-.250, the 10-year yielding 4.01 after closing yesterday at 4.06 percent, and the 2-year at 4.30.

Employment, and Transitions

Stronghill Capital, LLC, an Austin, TX-based Wholesale and Correspondent lender, is hiring across the country! If you’re a relationship-focused Account Executive with experience in Non-QM and Investor Financing, including multi-family and mixed-use properties, we’d love to speak with you! Stronghill’s Account Executives enjoy open territories, multi-channel opportunities to work with clients as correspondents or brokers, and consistent communication and collaboration with the Executive Leadership team. Stronghill Capital is a non-bank, balance-sheet lender specializing in commercial and investment property loans. We can help your clients meet their needs. If you’re looking to join a rapidly-growing, dynamic organization with a focused commitment to growth and expansion in Non-QM, reach out to our SVP of Sales, Matt Brammer, or 440.382.3183 to learn more.

Cenlar FSB announced the promotion of several senior leaders and the appointment of one Vice President: Owen Amster, to Vice President and Controller, Nick Brett, to Senior Vice President of Client Management, Mike Day, to Vice President of Executive Client Management, Trevor Friel, to Vice President of Workforce Management, and Rena Madia, to Vice President of Customer Interaction. Heidi Carter is now the Vice President, Business Information Officer, serving as the dedicated Business Information Officer (BIO) lead for our corporate functions across the enterprise.

Dark Matter Technologies announced that Tony Fox as its chief of client engagement responsible for directing the company’s account management and client success teams and will report to Sean Dugan, chief revenue officer at Dark Matter.