“Ain’t I rough enough? Ain’t I tough enough?” Ain't I rich enough? In love enough?” So Mick Jagger sang. This can apply to many parts of life, but in this case it seems that it is not enough for CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) requirements to apply only to depository institutions. CRA battles within the states are alive and well that apply to non-depository, independent mortgage banks, unfortunately. The MBA has a nice write up on the latest state-specific news. In other challenges for our residential lending biz, the controversy in the normally sleepy world of credit and verification costs continues to confront lenders who in turn pass the costs on to borrowers. As lenders received their January invoices, the cost of pulling multiple credit reports for a given applicant is clear, and troubling. Also troubling is this article on how “Equifax Mark Begor presented at a Goldman Sachs conference for investors, and openly told the investors how much market power his firm has in the business of selling income verification services to creditors. ‘We have meaningful pricing power,’ he said, because ‘only Equifax has that income and employment data.’” (Today’s podcast can be found here and this week’s is sponsored by SimpleNexus, an nCino company and homeownership platform unites the people, systems, and stages of the mortgage process into one seamless, end-to-end solution that spans engagement, origination, closing, and business intelligence. Today’s has an interview with Union Home Mortgage’s CEO Bill Cosgrove on lowering origination costs and raising company culture standards in 2023.)

Lender and Broker Software, Products, and Services

There may be only one way to rock, but there are thousands of ways for lenders to help would-be homebuyers afford the dream of homeownership! In its Q4 2022 Homeownership Program Index (HPI), Down Payment Resource found that U.S. down payment assistance (DPA) flourished for the fifth consecutive quarter. 42 new programs were added in Q4 alone, bringing the total number of homebuyer assistance programs in Down Payment Resource’s DPA database to a whopping 2,351! With programs designed for first-time homebuyers, repeat borrowers, educators, healthcare workers, veterans and much more, Down Payment Resource can help you find the perfect DPA offering for any borrower’s unique situation. Read the Q4 2022 HPI report for a full analysis of homebuyer assistance programs available to borrowers today.

Vista Point Mortgage is excited to announce the expansion of its Equity Solutions program. A closed-ended 2nd mortgage option to go behind an Agency or NonQM 1st Trust Deed, the program has added 2–4 unit eligibility and increased loan amount to $450K. This is an excellent opportunity for delegated Correspondent lenders to expand their program offerings and utilize the tremendous $7 trillion of built equity in the housing market. Equity Solutions is available for owner-occupied, 2nd homes and Non-owner occupied properties and can qualify with full documentation or 12 / 24 months of bank statements. Reach out today for more information on this amazing equity program!

Mortgage servicing is a complex endeavor. It requires delivering the right customer experience, fostering a productive client relationship, staying on top of a changing regulatory environment, and a skilled subservicer committed to top-tier servicing. In the current issue of HousingWire Magazine, Jason Kwasny, TMS’s Chief Servicing Officer, boils servicing down to a straightforward 5-step checklist of best practices. With more than 20 years of mortgage industry experience and dedication to growing happiness for customers and clients alike, Jason is the ideal person to contribute to the February/March issue’s theme: Servicing. Check out the article here on page 60.

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas… Unless you spend time discussing your secondary marketing goals with Optimal Blue during ICE Experience 2023. In that case, the insight you gain will return home with you. Whether your processes could benefit from pricing, hedging, or trading automation, or your competitive strategies could be strengthened by actionable data, Optimal Blue has the tools and expertise to optimize your business. As a proud platinum sponsor of ICE Experience 2023, our experts will be on site at the Wynn Las Vegas and ready to chat about your needs from Feb. 27 – March 1. Stop by the Optimal Blue booth or request a meeting with our team.”

Going to MBA Servicing? Come by the Covius & NTC booth (#609) and learn more about why Covius is trusted by 8 of the top 10 lenders and servicers, 14 of the top 20 banks and thousands of settlement agents and attorneys. Covius’ solutions are designed to help servicers control risks and assure compliance. They include default title, loss mitigation, title curative, REO & auction, document prep, compliance solutions and more. RSVP to the Covius Servicing kickoff party at Cuba Libra on Tuesday, 2/21 now.

Free report: Maxwell 2023 Hispanic American Borrower Report sheds light on segment set to represent 56 percent of all new homeowners by 2030. Increasingly, today’s homebuyers are diverse, with native Spanish speakers growing in presence nationwide. According to Freddie Mac, the Hispanic American homebuyer segment has increased by 25 percent in the last decade. Still, Spanish-speaking borrowers often don’t find the home-buying process easy or accessible. To help lenders better serve this demographic, Maxwell conducted a study of Spanish-speaking borrowers, surveying over 1,100 Hispanic American home buyers who completed the mortgage process in the past six months. The findings are eye-opening: For instance, a whopping 96 percent opted for a national or local lender rather than an online-based option. Want to learn how to become the go-to lender for this rapidly growing borrower segment? Click here to download your free copy of Maxwell’s 2023 Hispanic American Borrower Report.

Make powerful connections at ICE Experience 2023 When navigating market shifts, the relationships you have can make all the difference. ICE Experience 2023 is taking place at the end of this month, and there is no better place to expand your network. This is the one industry event that brings together thousands of mortgage professionals to discuss trends, technology, compliance, and more. Connect with colleagues, friends, and influencers on the show floor, in sessions, and during a variety of specially curated events. Visit the conference website here to see everything the industry’s premier conference has to offer.

Are you using your mortgage tech to build new referrals? The old script of offering to take prospective Realtor partners out for coffee is dead. So while your favorite spot in town might make the best caramel macchiato with two pumps of brown sugar and cold foam you’ve ever had… that’s not putting money into either of your pockets. “When I set up new Realtor meetings, I give them a demo of QuickQual. Sure, all the lenders say that they have an app. But theirs can’t touch the on-demand insight QuickQual provides. It sells itself because Realtors immediately see the value,” shares Adriana Bates, Owner of Clear Mortgage. “It has definitely helped grow our business and set us apart from the competition.” See what QuickQual by LenderLogix is all about on their site.

“Senior homeowners have record amounts of home equity but on average have saved less than $60,000 in retirement savings, which is why many observers believe reverse mortgages will become more mainstream. Already more banks are starting to offer reverse programs and financial planners are recommending HECMs. Plaza Home Mortgage has been a leader in reverse mortgages for more than 15 years. We are one of the only reverse mortgage investors, if not the only, with no traditional retail channel that competes with our clients. Plaza offers a full range of reverse products including traditional fixed and adjustable HECMs, as well as ongoing training programs for reverse mortgage originators. At Plaza National Correspondent, we’re a consistent source of liquidity for reverse mortgages and know how to close deals quickly. Try us and see. Contact us to learn more.

New Wholesale Products

In product news, Newfi offers both in Consumer Direct and Wholesale Channels as a part of its Non-QM offering. More information can be found here on Newfi’s Non-QM 2-1 Buydown and its Graduated Payment Mortgage.

If you are looking to move from brokering to banking as a Mini-Correspondent lender [also known as non-delegated correspondent], Plaza Home Mortgage®.offers service packages designed for both small and large Mini-Correspondent lenders that allow you to bank loans the only way they know how – with your best interests in mind.

Capital Markets

Primary dealers are trading counterparties of the New York Fed in its implementation of monetary policy. They are also expected to make markets for the New York Fed on behalf of its official accountholders as needed, and to bid on a pro-rata basis in all Treasury auctions at reasonably competitive prices. An updated list just came out.

In economic news, both the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision and January’s jobs report dominated economic news and investor sentiment over the last week. As expected, the FOMC increased the fed funds rate by 25-basis points and indicated further increases are necessary to reach its desired inflation target. The plural implies at least one more increase past March, which many market participants had hoped would be the last. If so, that would put the peak fed funds rate above 5 percent.

Fed Chairman Powell, who is back on the stage today, reiterated during his press conference following the policy statement that the job market was still exceptionally strong and there remain risks that may prolong inflation. He also said he expects the U.S. economy to continue to grow throughout the year. Friday’s jobs report showing 517,000 jobs added in January shifted expectations for a rate hike in May from about one in three early last week to over 70 percent today from 59.5 percent on Friday.

Today’s calendar kicked off a couple of minutes ago with the December trade deficit ($67.4 billion… pre-pandemic numbers). Expectations were for $70.0 billion versus $61.5 billion previously. Later this morning brings Redbook same store sales, December consumer credit and remarks from Fed Chair Powell and Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Barr. Regarding supply, the Treasury will auction $40 billion 3-year notes in the first leg of this week’s refunding supply. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices unchanged from Monday evening and the 10-year yielding 3.63 after closing yesterday at 3.63 percent. We’re looking at 4.43 on the 2-year.

MLO Jobs

“Not all mortgage companies are created equal, and many advertisements can be misleading. At Ross Mortgage Company, we believe in transparency and honesty, and we stand behind the promises we make to our loan officers. Our compensation and benefits are competitive and fair, and our technology is top-notch, making it easy for you to close loans and serve your clients. Don't be fooled by other mortgage companies claiming to offer more, only to deliver less. Join Ross Mortgage Company, where you will build a successful career based on integrity and hard work. Contact VP of Sales Kevin Coleman for a confidential conversation.”

“At Homestead Funding, we do NOT subscribe to the adage, ‘change is hard!’ We pride ourselves on making the transition pain-free. Even before your first day, we’re here to support all your needs! Homestead’s Transition Success Team is comprised of the same key people who will be there to support you during, and long after onboarding. The onboarding process begins with our esteemed Corporate Trainer. She’ll guide you through one-on-one and group training, tailored to meet YOUR specific needs. You’ll have direct access to members of our Executive Team, HR, Marketing, Licensing, IT, and Operations. Our number one priority is to have you locking loans ASAP! Just recently, we hired a team of 11 Loan Originators with their support staff. To hear why they selected us over the competition, click here! To learn more about being a valued part of the Homestead Family, contact Michele Teague today by calling 518-368-1494.