As I watch it snow here in the Sierra, hey, if you’re going to watch one video this week, watch this 15-second classic (with sound) on how our banking system works. You’ll watch it at least twice, and let your kids figure it out. Since its all-time high of 30,456 in 1921, the bank population in the United States had declined to only 4,377 at the end of 2020, a decline of about 86 percent. Thousands of residential lenders hope they’re not involved in the same trend. I mention this because, speaking of numerical trends, the United States is producing more oil than any country has ever produced in the history of the world: 13 million barrels per day. It’s been economically punishing for the countries in OPEC+, which has seen its global market share drop to a new low of 48 percent. This is an interesting issue when it comes to inflation, which helps drive mortgage rates, and will be a very interesting issue in the next eight months when it is expected that two octogenarians will be vying for the top job. (Found here, this week’s podcast 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. Hear an interview with Nerdwallet’s Kate Wood on housing market supply and advice for potential homebuyers.)

Lender and Broker Services, Products, and Software

To access the largest subset of home buyers in the market, lenders are redefining their go to market strategy. Milestones' homeowner engagement solution goes well beyond a "What's my home worth?" assessment. It enables lenders to proactively guide consumers through the entire homeownership journey with weekly touchpoints that are relevant and specific to their home. With essential resources for home services, home improvements, home document storage, and a homeowner dashboard to monitor and track their activity in one place, this platform is the one-stop shop for all things home. What sets them apart is its fully white-labeled capabilities that provides a seamless consumer experience that keeps YOUR lending products and partners top of mind. Adopt the ultimate homeowner engagement solution to connect more meaningfully with your prospects and borrowers and uncover new opportunities to boost your revenue. Book a meeting with sales today.

“Innovation-Powered Precision, Time-Tested Excellence! With a foundation built on 43 years of experience, PCV Murcor brings a deep understanding of our clients’ goals that complements appraisal modernization. Over our long history, we have honed our processes to provide reliable and unparalleled appraisal management services, setting the standard for excellence in the industry. Our use of state-of-the-art AI technology ensures precision and efficiency in every aspect of our service. AI’s ability to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility is reshaping the way properties are evaluated with distinct advantages. To learn more about our future-ready solutions for today’s appraisal management, visit here.”

PlainsCapital Bank National Warehouse Lending, a subsidiary of Hilltop Holdings (NYSE: HTH), focuses on relationship-driven business with long-term success, by-the-way, have you heard about our BTW Services? We are pleased to offer all customers our Broker-Dealer, Treasury Management and Warehouse Lending (BTW) services. Our Broker-Dealers can help customers hedge their origination pipelines by buying and selling TBAs, specified pools and whole loan trading. Our Treasury Management team helps customers with escrow and cash management. Finally, the Warehouse Lending team provides customers with confidence to meet their loan funding needs. If you are interested in learning more about our BTW Services please contact Deric Barnett or Justin Tannen.”

TPO, Broker, and Correspondent Product News

“It’s been a busy first quarter for the Newrez Correspondent team! Delegated pilot programs for both 2nd Mortgages & Non-QM have been launched with more exciting news on the way. Enhancements to come include HomeReady® & Home Possible® $2500 grant products; FHLMC’s GreenCHOICE; FHA HUD 184/Heritage; Co-Issue offering, along with improvements to our Non-QM Smart Series programs, Enote expansion and more. Soon, our sales team will present our top 2023 clients their Premier Partner Plaques (PPP). This PPP award recognizes the partnership and is awarded to our lenders who finished at the top for loans funded in 2023. There are so many reasons to be aligned with a top tier partner, and Newrez Correspondent is that partner! For those not signed up with Newrez and looking to take advantage of these enhancements, or existing partners who want to become Premier, contact our sales team to learn more.”

Rocket Pro TPO has announced an update to its offerings, including its Credit Upgrade program. This initiative, previously exclusive, is now available to all partners. It provides a no-cost, rapid rescore service for clients with credit scores between 570 and 779, aiming to help them qualify for better loan products and rates. Additionally, Rocket Pro TPO offers a Home Equity Loan product that allows clients to protect their low mortgage rates while tapping into their home's equity at a competitive rate. This option provides a fixed-rate, lump-sum payment, offering a stable alternative to variable-rate loans. For those interested in learning more about Rocket Pro TPO's cost-saving products, the replay of their latest IGNITE Live seminar is available on their YouTube channel: IGNITE Live Replay. For more information on Broker or Non-Delegated Correspondent partnerships, contact Rocket Pro TPO to learn more.

Angel Oak Mortgage Solution is now offering Bank Statement Loans tailored specifically for self-employed individuals who have been in business for 1-year.

Reach more clients with LoanStream's Non-QM Programs with loan amounts up to $4 Million. LoanStream NaNQ / Non-QM Programs are proprietary programs specifically created to fulfill mortgage program options for LoanStream brokers with non-prime programs.

The 5 Cs of Credit

A good trivia question for underwriters, or loan originators, is, “What are the 5 C’s?” The answer is character, capacity, capital, collateral, and conditions. Those are from a simpler time, but the fundamentals still apply despite all the hubbub about credit costs, scores, monopolies, hard pulls versus soft pulls, and… tri-merge versus bi-merge. I bring this up because it appears that the “new” scoring and bi-merge will be done at the same time, at the end of 2025. So, the industry has some to adjust and accommodate.

“Dear Stakeholders,

“Thank you for your continued engagement with FHFA’s Credit Score Initiative. As many of you likely saw, FHFA just announced a series of updates related to the implementation of the new credit score requirements for single-family loans delivered to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises). We are also pleased to announce the schedule for upcoming stakeholder forums to be hosted by FHFA, which is outlined below.

“Following valuable and thoughtful feedback gathered from the sessions held in late 2023, FHFA is aligning the implementation date for the bi-merge credit reporting option with the transition from the use of Classic FICO. This aligned transition is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2025. We expect this update will reduce cost and complexity for market participants.

“To better support the transition, the Enterprises are accelerating the publication of historical data on the VantageScore 4.0 model. This publication, originally targeted for the first quarter of 2025, is now expected early in the third quarter of 2024. FHFA and the Enterprises continue to work towards providing similar data to support the transition to the FICO 10T model.

“We would like to thank all those who participated in the stakeholder forums for sharing their perspectives on the sequencing of project milestones, as well as the expected uses of the historical data to support the new models. Your input helped inform the latest updates to the Credit Score Initiative.

“FHFA will be hosting the next series of virtual stakeholder forums in the coming weeks. The schedule is planned as follows: Bi-Merge Implementation Considerations (Tuesday, March 12, 3:00-4:00pm Eastern), Bi-Merge Implementation Considerations (cont’d) (Tuesday, March 26, 3:00-4:00pm Eastern), Transition Period Loan Delivery Considerations (Tuesday, April 9, 3:00-4:00pm Eastern), and Transition Period Loan Delivery Considerations (cont’d) (Tuesday, April 23, 3:00-4:00pm Eastern).

“As a reminder, these virtual stakeholder forums are open to the public, but they are not intended for media purposes. FHFA will provide agendas, materials, and links to access the sessions as they approach. Thank you again for your continued engagement. If you have further questions or thoughts, please contact us at”

After 2023’s jarring price hikes, the credit bureaus and FICO are raising their credit reporting costs once again, passing this on to credit reporting agencies (CRAs). This latest price increase affects both hard and soft pull credit reports. In response, CRAs everywhere have updated their pricing options, allowing the customization of lender’s prequalification options to suit budgets.

And compliance departments noted that the FTC, which has authority to enforce the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) against most types of non-depository financial services providers, issued a report in February describing its enforcement actions and related activity under ECOA during 2023: Annual Report on Its ECOA Enforcement and Policy Development Activity.

Capital Markets

The Fed has been preaching patience from markets when it comes to enacting rate cuts, a sentiment that was further bolstered yesterday after the central bank’s preferred price gauge rose in January at the fastest pace in almost a year (2.4 percent). Inflation rose 0.4 percent month-over-month compared to a downwardly revised 0.1 percent increase in December. The core rate increased 2.8 percent year-over-year. Personal Incomes rose 1.0 percent in January, which was also much higher than expected, driven primarily by growth in the annual cost of living increase in social security. Fed policymakers took the data in stride, repeating that easing can begin in the summer and there is room to be patient.

Yesterday also saw the release of a weaker-than-expected Chicago PMI for February and a disappointing Pending Home Sales report which came in down 4.9 percent for January. Initial jobless claims for the week ending February 24 increased to 215k, which is still a relatively low number for this series. Continuing jobless claims for the week ending February 17 increased by 45,000 to 1.905 million, which is the highest level for that series since November. It has become more challenging to find a new job right away, which indicates that the labor market is not running as tight as it once was. The four-week moving average for continuing claims of 1,879,750 is the highest since December 11, 2021

Today’s economic calendar contains no “first tier” scheduled market-moving news but has no fewer than seven Fed speakers scheduled. Go ahead and add in the final February S&P Global manufacturing PMI, ISM manufacturing PMI for February, January construction spending, and Michigan sentiment for February. (Unemployment data, normally released on the first Friday of the month, is next Friday.) After the 10-year yield rose 28 basis points in February, we begin March with the 10-year yielding 4.23 after closing yesterday at 4.27 percent, Agency MBS prices better about .125, and the 2-year at 4.59.


Mark Pasternak appointed as the newest SecurityNational Mortgage Company VP to Spearhead Operational Excellence. In a significant move to bolster its leadership team, Security National Mortgage Company has announced the appointment of Mark Pasternak as Vice President of Mortgage Operations. Pasternak joins the company with over three decades of industry experience, including his most recent tenure serving as EVP of Operations at Academy Mortgage. His leadership background in both sales and operational management is sure to provide an operational edge for SecurityNational Mortgage. Andrew Quist, President of SecurityNational Mortgage Company, stated: "Mark is joining us with a wealth of experience and his innovative nature will be highly valuable to our operations team. Even in this challenging mortgage rate environment, SecurityNational is still dedicated to recruiting elite industry talent like Mark that align with our growth focused business objectives. We're excited to see the impact Mark will have in our operations." The addition of Mark Pasternak to the SecurityNational team underscores the company's commitment to recruiting top talent to lead its strategic initiatives. With Pasternak at the helm of operations, SecurityNational is poised to enhance its operational capabilities and achieve new milestones in service and efficiency.

In the Northwest and California, Banner Bank is searching for Mortgage Loan Officers looking to create lasting Realtor and builder relationships at a bank focused on the market today. Banner has opportunities for lenders looking for local decision making with FHA, VA, USDA, state bond and true Portfolio lending opportunities along with servicing retained Fannie and Freddie loans to assist in client retention. Additional highlighted products cover CRA lending with private label no payment down payment assistance to help assist all borrowers with the right opportunity. Banner is the right fit for an established team, or the individual looking to grow their business and take the next step in their career. Please send resumes to Aaron Miller.