Sometimes there is no shortcut when you want to make a lot of money. Speaking of making money, and creating wealth for clients, owning real estate continues to be a good investment. The National Association of Realtors tells us that more than 85 percent of metro markets registered home price increases in the fourth quarter of 2023. Its latest quarterly report reports that fifteen percent of the 221 tracked metro areas experienced double-digit price gains over the same period, up from 11 percent in the third quarter. In the lending world, according to Curinos, January 2024 funded mortgage volume increased 3 percent year over year but decreased 4 percent versus the previous month. The average 30-year conforming retail funded rate in January was 6.86%, -39bps lower than December and 47bps higher than the same month last year. Curinos sources a statistically significant data set directly from lenders to produce these benchmark figures. (Today’s Commentary podcast can be found here and this week’s is sponsored by Vesta, the new, modern Loan Origination System (LOS) which helps lenders reduce their costs to originate and improve their ability to integrate with new technologies in the ecosystem. Hear the second and final part of an interview between attorney Brian Levy and Robbie on life outside of mortgage.)

Lender and Broker Software, Products, and Services

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%+ decrease in days to close the books, 20%+ 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.

“As a $100 billion asset bank committed to the mortgage space for over 35 years, Flagstar Bank knows a thing or two about the importance of providing an excellent client experience. That’s why Flagstar recently invested in tech enhancements to streamline the loan process for its valued correspondent partners. Now, non-delegated correspondents can generate LEs, application disclosures, and CDs directly from the Flagstar system. Key benefits include direct access to compliance testing before purchase review, which improves the quality of each deal, and COC alerts that keep everything on track every time. New templates add convenience and efficiency, as does requiring fewer documents for post-close purchase reviews. This streamlined process provides more control, saves time and money on every loan, and puts the focus on where it matters most: serving the end customer. Contact a Flagstar AE to learn more or visit us to get signed up today.”

Upcoming Events, Training, and Webinars

Have you ever met a lender that doesn’t want long-term success? Us either. The recipe for long-term success begins with talent acquisition. Mark your calendar for Friday, February 16, at 3 pm EST. MMI and NAMMBA will share insights into the current landscape of Loan Officer (LO) recruitment, covering topics such as leveraging digital platforms and social media for candidate outreach, building a compelling personal brand to attract top talent, and implementing effective techniques to enhance the recruitment process. If you’re a leader in Recruiting, Sales, Business Development, Marketing or the C-suite, you don’t want to miss it! Save your seat here.

A good place for longer term conference planning is to start is here, and click on “Conference List” for in-person events in the future.

Today is this week’s episode of The Mortgage Collaborative’s Rundown covering current events in the mortgage market for 30-45 minutes starting at noon PT, 3PM ET, in “The Rundown”. Listen in to Zillow’s Chief Economist Skylar Olsen!

National MI is offering “Educate & Elevate” with National MI University's February Webinars. Mastering LinkedIn for Mortgage Professionals, Session 2 ​​​​​with Brynne Tillman - February 13th at 3pm ET. The 4 Drivers of Sales Performance You Need to Know and Grow with Nancy Bleeke - February 14th at 2pm ET. The Basics of Underwriting the Self-Employed Borrower ​​​​​with Marianne Collins - February 15th at 1pm ET. Creating Top of Mind Awareness with Rebecca Lorenz - February 20th at 2pm ET.

MBA Education has tools and training you need to ensure your organization remains on track while maximizing value for its shareholders. Upcoming trainings include: Revisiting Your Servicing Retained Versus Released Decision Webinar: February 15, 2-3PM ET. School of Mortgage Banking (SOMB): Washington, D.C. in-person classroom training on February 13–16. School of Mortgage Banking (SOMB) II via Virtual Classroom: February 13 - March 8. Check out other online offerings, including webinars and select self-studies that are free to MBA members.

The next public hearing of the Appraisal Subcommittee on appraisal bias is on Feb. 13 from 10AM-1PM. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) will host the fourth public hearing of the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) on appraisal bias. The subcommittee panel will consist of representatives from five Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) regulatory agencies, including the CFPB, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The subcommittee panel will hear from David Bunton, President, The Appraisal Foundation, E.C. Neelly IV, Executive Director, Mississippi Real Estate Appraisal Board, Maureen Sweeney, Principal, Maureen Sweeney, Real Estate Appraiser Ltd., Melissa Tran, Director, Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board, and Jillian White, Chief Executive Officer, Appraisal Insights. Where: OCC headquarters, 400 7th Street SW, Washington, D.C.

Fair Lending: In this latest webinar, Ncontracts discusses what financial institutions need to know about Fair Lending in 2024, including where regulators are focusing scrutiny, what new guidance means for your Fair Lending program, how Fair Lending has evolved over the past year, and how to prepare your lending compliance management program for 2024. Watch the full webinar for more.

Wednesday the 14th, looking for more in-depth commentary on weekly mortgage news? Register here for "Mortgage Matters: The Weekly Roundup” presented by Lenders One. Every Wednesday at 2:00 PM EST/11:00 AM PT is a dive into a range of mortgage-related topics, including market trends, interest rate fluctuations, innovative mortgage products, and industry advancements. Listen to a unique mix of age perspective, expertise, and charisma to the screen, ensuring that the information is not only educational but also entertaining. Hear from Todd Maki, of Snapdocs!

Compliance Experts Report on 2024 Mortgage Servicing Outlook! Join ACES’ EVP of Compliance, Amanda Phillips, and Reid Herlihy of Ballard Spahr on February 14th at 11:00AM PDT as they discuss the most recent mortgage servicing news, CFPB Supervisory Highlights, and expectations and predictions for 2024 and beyond. Reserve your spot.

The MBA of Florida Education Committee has a webinar outlining the upcoming changes to the Credit Scoring Model on Thursday, February 15th at 2:00 pm EST. Speaker Elizabeth Karwowski, Executive Board Member with Starting Now, will discuss Holding Wrongdoers Accountable, Overview of FICO Score, FICO Score10 & 10T, Differences & Similarities between Classic & FICO10T Scores, What FICO score means to you, Overview of Vantage Score Model and Vantage Score 4, What Vantage Score means to you and consumers.

Strategies to Grow and Expand Your Construction Lending Program! Join TMBA’s panel discussion February 15, 11:30am-12:30pm with industry veterans to provide insight into strategies that will help grow your programs and provide more value to your customers: opportunities in construction lending, expanding your loan offerings, building a strong team, reaching new markets, and scaling your operations.

Join MQMR and MCT for a webinar on February 15th at 11am PT entitled MSR Risk Management, Compliance, and Current Market Strategies, where panelists will dive into operational and regulatory best practices, share invaluable tips to avoid common MSR management pitfalls, and provide insights into current pricing trends. The joint webinar will also explore crucial topics such as servicing regulatory developments (FHFA, GSEs, NCUA, GAAP compliance), a bulk MSR market update, trends in retained vs. released vs. co-issue, and understanding the value of your portfolio.

The Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) announced offering live and in-person training at no cost to its lending partners. The training will offer one and half days of loan origination training and one day of loan servicing training. The training will be held February 13–15 at PennyMac Loan Services, 6101 Condor Avenue, Moorpark, CA. This is an in-person event only and will not be streamed live.

Loan officer compensation is one of the most discussed topics in the industry. Join MBA of Eastern PA on Thursday, February 15 at 1:00 p.m., topics covered include Terminology, what's allowed and what's not with Marketing Service Agreements, Bond loans, brokered loans, Loan Sources, Construction loans and more. Exempt vs Nonexempt employees, best practices, and tips.

Join FirstClose, Curinos, and Fifth Third Bank on Thursday, February 15 for a one-hour deep dive into today’s home equity market. Take a look behind the scenes at the products and processes that fuel home equity lending, new financing options that are creating opportunities for both depository and non-bank participants and, most importantly, learn how to capitalize on this market. Register today.

Capital Markets

Lower rates 2-4 years ago are helping millions of borrowers with their monthly budgeting. On the flip side, rates moved higher, and these higher interest rates are weighing on the U.S. government's finances and will likely be the main cause behind a nearly two-third increase in the country's budget deficit, according to the Congressional Budget Office. It predicted the U.S. budget deficit will rise over the next 10 years to $2.6 trillion from $1.6 trillion currently. That would increase debt as a percentage of GDP to 6.1 percent from 5.6 percent in 2024, above the 3.7 percent average of the last 50 years.

That said, despite Fed Chair Jay Powell ruling out a rate cut in March, it's clearly the end of a rate-hiking cycle, unless some incoming economic data throws a curveball at the central bank. So, expect rates to go up a little, down a little, for months. Traders continue to celebrate that in style, especially if holding off on policy easing guarantees a significantly softer landing for the U.S. economy. The latest figures have also continued to boost sentiment, with GDP growth expanding at a 3.3 percent clip in Q4 and another 353k jobs added in January, highlighting the strength of the macro story.

In terms of actual news, the week after payrolls is released is historically a quiet week from a data perspective, and this week is no exception. Headlines this week have revolved around multi-family commercial real estate showing cracks as massive amounts of supply hit the market, which has led to a situation where investors have concerns over NYCB’s liquidity and deposits. The Fed is not ready to start cutting rates, but a banking crisis could change the central bank’s mind: a decrease in interest rates would help to recapitalize banks quickly.

This week witnessed a strong note and bond auction slate from the U.S. Treasury, including another large auction yesterday in the form of a $25 billion 30-year bond sale, which met strong demand. Yesterday, we also learned that the latest weekly jobless claims report showed a solid decrease.

The National Association of Realtors reported that 86 percent of metro areas posted single-family home price gains in the fourth quarter of 2023, up from 82 percent in the previous quarter. The national median single-family existing-home price rose 3.5 percent from a year ago to $391,700. The monthly mortgage payment on a typical, existing single-family home with a 20 percent down payment was $2,163, up 10 percent from a year ago. 15 percent of markets experienced double-digit annual price appreciation, up from 11 percent in the third quarter.

Today’s economic calendar is without any data of note, though markets will receive remarks from Dallas Fed President Logan. We begin Friday with Agency MBS prices roughly unchanged and the 10-year unchanged from Thursday night (yielding 4.17 percent) while the 2-year is up to 4.48.


A top residential bank and mortgage lender headquartered in the Midwest is seeking Loan Officers and Sales Teams to join its retail lending division nationwide. Along with a robust product line of traditional, non-QM, and portfolio loans, the bank has an unwavering commitment to technology, streamlined fulfillment, and unparalleled marketing support. Plus, since it’s a bank, there’s no need for loan officers to deal with pesky state licensing; you can originate in all 50 states. Learn more about this unicorn (a bank with home lending at its core) and contact Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt to arrange a confidential discussion.

“In 2023, a year of extraordinary impact, Evergreen Home Loans' Evergreen Cares Foundation proudly contributed $77,858 to various causes. Focusing on educational empowerment, we allocated $26,736 towards educational assistance, underlining our commitment to learning and development. Team spirit shone brightly as our employees collectively donated $74,225, with an additional $3,633 matched by the foundation to individual contributions. Evergreen supported 60 diverse organizations, extending our reach across numerous community sectors. Our team's dedication went beyond financial aid, contributing 167.55 hours in volunteer work, showcasing our commitment to hands-on community involvement. This collaborative effort underlines our mission not just to build homes, but to foster resilient, thriving communities. If you value philanthropy in the work place, see all available positions here.

Main Street Home Loans, a division of NFM, just celebrated its 5th anniversary in January. Six loan officers (each with 25+ years of experience) started the company and they still produce to a high level and manage the company today. The president and cofounder Darran Anthony is one of the top originators in the company. Main Street recently welcomed Chris Lowis to the team, in the newly created role of Recruiting Manager. Lowis had an amazing run with a large retail lender for the previous 10 years. Main Street offers all the resources of a "big box" lender thanks to its successful partnership with NFM, as well as a supportive and entrepreneurial work environment. Main Street leads with an employee first culture and the in-house processing, underwriting, closing, and marketing allow their sales teams to stand out from the competition by providing unparalleled service to their referral partners and clients. Based in Northern Virginia, the company’s footprint extends from New England to Florida with plans to continue its growth throughout the east coast and beyond. To learn more, please call/email Chris Lowis at 401-662-0588.