“I had a cousin who created a cold air balloon. But it never took off.” Like the intricacies of residential lending, few people are aware of the world of balloons. Meteorologists launch high-altitude balloons from the United States dozens of times each day. What’s more, weather balloons, are deployed twice a day, every day, at the same time from almost 900 locations around the world. Plenty of balloons fall to the earth. I really don’t like sensationalist headlines like “U.S. House Prices Plummet.” Especially when they’re false. Ask anyone who is in an area with starter homes, for example. The National Association of Realtors released its latest quarterly report showing that nearly 90 percent of all metro areas saw housing prices go up last quarter. (Today’s podcast can be found here and this week’s is sponsored by the STRATMOR Group, the data-driven mortgage advisory. At STRATMOR, insights and knowledge are applied to guide mortgage clients to make sound strategic decisions and take actions that improve their success. Today is a talk with Partner Garth Graham containing tips for success in a purchase-centric market.
Lender and Broker Software, Products, and Services
“Want to add a new revenue stream while delivering value for borrowers? Matic, a home insurance platform built for the mortgage industry, provides personalized insurance offers to your borrowers from 40+ carriers you know, all within your existing systems. Borrowers save over $600 on average, and you’ll rest easy knowing the insurance process is fully automated. Interested in joining other top lenders who use Matic to automate insurance and generate revenue? Book a quick demo with our team of mortgage experts to learn more about partnerships.”
“Yesterday, acts of love were celebrated across the country. Here at AFR Wholesale®, we want to show that “love” to our Third-Party Originator (TPO) clients and celebrate their continued faith in us. Instead of flowers, now through 5/31/2023 all our TPO clients can earn a volume premium on funded loans with AFR. We remain committed in delivering the best with our vast program offerings, the most current technology, and an unparalleled customer experience we all know and expect. But don’t just take our word for it; See what our partners have to say, here! Interested in learning how you can earn more with our volume premium program? Contact us today by going here or email us or call 1-800-375-6071.”
“Ready to rekindle cold leads during the winter downturn? Or are you already gearing up for the busy spring and summer months? No matter the season, wemlo® understands the nuances, needs, and cyclical nature of your mortgage business. Our flexible “virtual in-house processing” services are like having a personal processing concierge when business is booming or during a downturn. Our team of qualified processors are trained in dozens of loan products and are here to keep you in the loop throughout a loan’s lifecycle. Mortgage professionals across the country are trusting wemlo with their business pipeline and are raving about their experience… Just look at wemlo’s 5-star broker satisfaction score*. Ready to learn more about wemlo’s month-to-month processing support? Book your 1:1 call today. NMLS ID 1853218. *2022 BO/LO Score: 23 responses / 5.0.”
Warehouse Lenders and Independent Originators are both winning with OptiFunder’s Warehouse Management System. Easy API integrations and automation for Funding, Wire Data Check and Shipping enable quick efficiency wins. Warehouse Lenders enjoy secure, complete, and automated funding requests and submissions, automated terms and an added layer of fraud protection. Originators enjoy the same, plus pipeline allocation management and full Purchase Advice Automation. OptiFunderSM integrates the LOS, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and supports over 50 warehouse lenders. Find out more at booth 327 at ICE EXPERIENCE 23 in Las Vegas or request a demo.
Clear to Close Podcast: Are there reasons for optimism in 2023’s market… Or are we fooling ourselves? Two and a half months into 2023, the question on every lender’s mind is: Are we seeing real signs of market recovery? Headline after headline announces the moderation of rates and the beginnings of volume returning. Still, challenges remain, and in many ways, the trajectory of the market continues to be uncertain. So, what lies ahead for lenders, and how can they plan for likely outcomes? In this episode of Clear to Close from mortgage solutions provider Maxwell, hosts Alan, Bryan, and Anthony dig into lender sentiment, recent data, and leading indicators to make predictions for 2023’s market and this year’s spring selling season. Listen to the Clear to Close podcast’s new episode, “2023’s Mortgage Market: Reasons for Optimism or False Hope?” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or your browser.
LenderLogix will be showcasing their mortgage technology at ICE Experience 2023 in Las Vegas later this month! The team is looking to partner with IMBs, banks, and credit unions interested in improving lead flow, increasing conversions, streamlining operations, and enhancing the digital mortgage experience for borrowers. They’ll be giving live demos of LiteSpeed (a slick point-of-sale that compliments Encompass Consumer Connect®), QuickQual (the most popular pre-approval tech on the market), and Fee Chaser (an automated payment solution for upfront fee collection). You can schedule time to meet with them or stop by booth 113 to learn more about what these guys are up to.
Another Exit: Isn’t the First, Won’t be the Last
“We are notifying you today that due to unanticipated events we must terminate your employment today (February 13, 2023) at 5pm EST. In addition, we are unable to process our full payroll obligations on 2/16/2023. This means that you will not receive compensation during this pay period. We understand the impacts this may have on you and your family, and we deeply apologize. During this period, you may qualify for a hardship withdrawal or loan from your 401k. Please contact ADP for additional information by logging in to www.MyADP.com or calling 1-866-695-7526. In addition, our EAP program also offers resources and programs to help you. For more information visit www.guidanceresources.com or call 1-888-628-4824.
We are anticipating additional funds and believe this is only a timing issue with our sincere intent to provide you all compensation that is owed to you over the next several weeks. We would also recommend that you submit any outstanding healthcare claims as soon as possible to avoid any interruptions in coverage. If you have any additional questions, please contact…”
Employees of Celebrity Home Loans received this note earlier this week. The jungle drums have OnQ picking up all the production side of Celebrity and nothing else. One loan officer wrote to me saying, “I received an email from the payroll lady, and she was very clear that they didn’t need her as there wouldn’t be ANY payroll on the 16th. I’m not sure how management is going to close out the pipeline he has; I can’t imagine the warehouse lines are going to stay with him, but then again, he knows more than I do.”
This is happening about six months after Illinois’ Celebrity officially shut down Cypress, its correspondent lending division. Celebrity has imposed several layoff rounds on its workforce over the last three weeks, but it seems that sales personnel have been given the opportunity to move over to On Q, headed up by Pat Lamb. But the nitty-gritty production/branch details become muddled quickly, as companies besides On Q have been welcoming branches and loan officers from Celebrity in recent months. Celebrity-affiliated Neo Home Loans branches in California, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada transitioned to Minnesota-based mortgage lender Luminate Home Loans in December, along with Apex Home Loans and the Robert Coomer Group.
Celebrity is no slouch in terms of production volume, although, like everyone else, numbers plummeted in the latter part of 2022 and into 2023. On Jan. 31, Celebrity announced it partnered with Fortuna to offer exclusive bridge financing to consumers transitions from one home to another. According to the program, the bridge loans and the new purchase loan will be originated by the same Celebrity loan originator.
Ginnie Mae is transitioning from GinnieNET to their new delivery platform, Single Family Pool Delivery Module (SFPDM). With the retirement of GinnieNET fast approaching (July 2023), are you prepared to make the move? If not, the Mortgage Delivery Specialists (MDS) can help! MDS, a division of MIAC Analytics, is a third-party delivery agent with 30+ years of experience helping Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae Sellers and Issuers sell and securitize their residential mortgage loans. We are actively engaged with Ginnie Mae as we transition our clients from GinnieNET to SFPDM and have been using SFPDM since 2022. Our experienced team and established methodology can help you get your loans sold quickly and accurately. Contact us today if you’d like to hear more about how we can partner together to make your GinnieNET to SFPDM transition a smooth one.
“Sell” was the call yesterday in the bond markets after the Consumer Price Index report for January showed that inflation is decelerating, but at a slowing pace that is not as precipitous as many had hoped. Consumer prices rose 0.5 percent in January, the most in three months, with the annual inflation rate coming in at 6.4 percent, higher than expected and only slightly less than a year ago. Overall, the report suggests that more rate hikes are probably on the way, and there were increased bets for a fourth 25 basis points increase in June. Federal Reserve officials, led by Chair Powell, continued to beat the drum on their aggressive inflation fight, saying that the central bank will keep hiking interest rates until inflation is under control.
As mortgage rates were pushed higher last week by market expectations that inflation will persist (which would require the Federal Reserve to keep monetary policy restrictive for longer), mortgage applications decreased 7.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. We’ve also received January retail sales (+3.0 percent, much stronger than expected, ex-auto +2.3 percent) as well as Empire manufacturing for February.
Later this morning brings industrial production and capacity utilization, the NAHB Housing Market Index for February, and a Treasury auction of $15 billion 20-year bonds in the early afternoon. No Fed speakers are currently scheduled. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices roughly unchanged, the 2-year up to 4.67, and the 10-year yielding 3.77 after closing yesterday at 3.76 percent.
MLO Employment, and Transitions
University Lending Group/University Bank has one of the Nation’s Top lending suite of tools and loan manufacturing processes. Originating in today’s challenging market, the “How” and the “What” should be most important to you and your customers. With the increase of recent mortgage company closures, M&A, Realtors and Borrowers require more confidence in their Loan Officer’s ability to deliver accurately and on time. University Lending Group offers the confidence and proven reliability of a Bank-owned organization with the flexibility of an independent mortgage banker. With a wide product selection, from Conventional, Government, Construction, Jumbo, to Bank Portfolio products, and everything in between, you can’t afford not to explore your options. While other organizations are retreating from the proverbial mortgage “Battlefield”, University Lending Group continues to grow. Let us help you! For a confidential conversation, please call Rory Ballard at 586-484-0500. “ULG is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer”
“You’ve had your loans to the grindstone building your borrower pipeline over the last few years. And if we’re putting all the cards on the (closing) table... we have to say that you should be the one benefitting from your hard work. A Motto Mortgage franchise could be just what the originator ordered: it’s the easier way to open your own brokerage because we’ll be there with you from start to finish. Our mortgage brokerage model allows you to find highly competitive rates for your borrowers while you create a business of your own. We provide professional marketing content, product mix, wholesale lender relationships and compliance support. From. Day. One. So why grow someone else’s book of business when you can grow your OWN? Email for all the details.”
“The top Loan Originators in the country are taking their talents to UMortgage to access unique benefits unavailable anywhere else. Each UMortgage LO has access to a dedicated Operations team with streamlined loan processing timelines to foster a best-in-class client experience. An innovative tech stack allows them to originate from anywhere with accessible loan options best suited for every type of borrower. The UMortgage platform connects more than 300 selfless Loan Originators who offer support to help each other get better every day. The result of this support? Lasting client relationships that help us maintain our industry-best 95+ NPS and a continued growth in loan production in an otherwise challenging market. If you're ready to take the leap and scale up your production, register for our weekly Discovery Meeting, hosted by President & CEO, Anthony Casa, every Thursday at 2pm ET!”
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. announced that on 3/1 Tim Bowler, previously President of ICE Benchmark Administration, will succeed Joe Tyrrell as President of ICE Mortgage TechnologyÒ, the company’s business segment focused on automating elements of the mortgage industry. (Joe Tyrrell is leaving for a new opportunity outside the organization having joined Ellie Mae in 2002, which ICE acquired in 2020, and served as that company’s longtime COO, among other roles.) Tim Bowler joined ICE in 2017 to lead ICE Benchmark Administration.
Mutual of Omaha's Wholesale Division has brought on AE veteran Farzad “Fuzz” Heidari after a successful 10 year run another wholesaler. “While I will miss my previous family and forever proud of our achievements, I am incredibly excited for the opportunity with Mutual of Omaha. There is a strong commitment to the independent mortgage broker, dedicated and consistent operations, and a simple process where competitive pricing and common-sense underwriting are at play. We’re building something here that is going to be special.”