Last week my son asked if I had seen the dog bowl. I replied, “I didn’t know he could!” The weather here in Palm Springs, California is much different than that of Anchorage, and yesterday’s Commentary’s mention of the fabled Iditarod prompted Fairway Independent’s Susan Hawkins to send, “I was there when I lived in Anchorage! Here are some photos.” Looks cold, which is to be expected. What is not expected is when a lender or vendor makes headlines. Huh? CoreLogic in the headlines again? Yup. What is also in the headlines is the move in interest rates: The bond market price selloff came after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell warned in his testimony that the "ultimate level of interest rates is likely to be higher than previously anticipated." So, any loan originator, or lender, praying for lower rates soon is likely to be disappointed. (Today’s podcast can be found here and this week is sponsored by SimpleNexus, an nCino company and homeownership platform that unites the people, systems, and stages of the mortgage process into one seamless, end-to-end solution that spans engagement, origination, closing, incentive compensation, and business intelligence. Todays has an interview with SimpleNexus’ Andria Lightfoot on crafting a modern customer experience.)
Broker and Lender Products, Software, and Services
The assertion that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is put to the test each year by the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, which is accepting entries now through June 21. The homeliest mutt will take home a top prize of $1,500. Unfortunately, those winnings won’t even come close to offsetting the mortgage opportunities lenders could miss this Spring without the right sales and marketing strategies. On March 9 at 2 pm ET, uncover the tools and tactics lenders MUST prioritize if they want to take full advantage of seasonal demand in TrustEngine’s (formerly Mortgage Coach and Sales Boomerang) free webinar featuring Dave Savage, Melissa Wright from American Pacific Mortgage, and Ben Miller from SimpleNexus, an nCino Company. Register and help your organization become the top dog of this Spring homebuying season.
“Regulatory anxiety is on the rise! What’s your defense? Working amidst the current regulatory triggers, we’re facing recessionary pressures, increasing MSR sales, LIBOR sunset, fair lending oversight, margin compression, and more. It’s no wonder we’re experiencing increasing regulatory anxiety. It’s time to take a serious look at overcoming the strain of rapid change management, minimize the possibility of enforcement action, understand what to expect from the CFPB, and create an ecosystem of efficiency while facing ongoing regulatory burden. Read our latest blog, “The Best Regulatory Defense is Modern Workflow Automation,” and learn how to combat regulatory anxiety. CLARIFIRE® is uniquely designed to readily automate your operational processes and digitize your customer experience. Experience intelligent workflow automation, sophisticated decisioning, and bulk processing that you and your customers can access 24/7. Transform your approach to regulation and process automation with CLARIFIRE, delivering seamless servicing, proven innovation, and truly BRIGHTER AUTOMATION®.”
Are you tired of managing multiple CRMs for different sales channels? Do you have different DBAs or brands that require their own workflows and integrations? Do you wish you could have everything in just one CRM? OptifiNow Flex is the answer. OptifiNow Flex consolidates all your CRM needs from different channels into one single platform. Retail, wholesale, consumer direct, and even recruiting capabilities are all available simultaneously in OptifiNow Flex. Lower your tech costs and simplify your tech stack with OptifiNow Flex. Too good to be true? Contact us and we’ll demonstrate how all this can be applied to your business in as little as 30 days.
“The industry’s only Warehouse Management System has been honored with a HW Tech 100 Award and Progress In Lending’s Innovations Award, for using optimization and automation to significantly cut IMB’s warehouse finance and funding ops expense. But at OptiFunder, we’re most excited about our client’s results. See case studies here (15.8% saved) or here (9.8% saved). How much could you save? Seeing is believing! Request a demo and free back test of your actual data. Over 35 of the nation’s top 100 IMBs are already saving with OptiFunder; do not wait. Contact us today.”
“Maxwell is offering lenders complimentary access to its powerful mortgage analytics solution for a limited time. This product replaces complex spreadsheets, expensive business intelligence tools, and other data-wrangling tasks to help executives manage their P&Ls and forecast more efficiently. By securely connecting with your LOS, Maxwell unlocks real-time dashboards around team performance, pull-through, closed volume, product mix, team capacity, and more. These visual dashboards provide actionable insight, no data analyst required, and were built with input from dozens of mortgage business leaders who use data to effectively manage market changes and P&L initiatives. Ready to improve quality, cut costs, and arm your decision-making with eye-opening data points? Request your free access here or contact us.”
Exciting industry news. Another strong mortgage lender has approved the Usherpa Smart CRM for use by its loan officers. Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, a lender with over 2,400 loan officers serving communities across the country, has made Usherpa marketing automation and relationship engagement technology available to its loan officers companywide. Read the full press release here.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. and Black Knight, Inc. announced that, in connection with their previously announced merger agreement for ICE’s acquisition of Black Knight, they have agreed to sell Black Knight’s Empower loan origination system (LOS) business, including its Exchange, LendingSpace and AIVA solutions, to a subsidiary of Canada’s Constellation Software Inc.. ICE and Black Knight have also amended the terms of their merger agreement.
FHA, VA, and USDA Government and Investor News
FHA announced, through Mortgagee Letter 2023-05, a 30 basis point reduction to the Annual Mortgage Insurance Premiums (annual MIP) it charges borrowers for FHA-insured Single Family Title II forward mortgages. This reduction supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of making homeownership more accessible and affordable for the nation’s homebuyers.
Mortgagee Letter 2023-05 provides additional information for mortgagees to implement the annual MIP reductions effective for mortgages endorsed for FHA insurance on or after March 20, 2023.
Current FHA regulations found at 24 CFR 202.5(k) require FHA-approved mortgagees and lenders to register all branch offices where they originate Title I or II loans or submit applications for mortgage insurance. As the mortgage industry has evolved to better leverage technology and remote service delivery, the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) requirement to register branch offices is inconsistent with current industry practices. FHA has proposed a rule, Docket No. FR-6321-P-01 in the Federal Register which would revise 24 CFR 202.5(k) to give mortgagees and lenders the option to register and maintain branch offices with HUD, which allows them to be placed on the HUD Lender List Search page.
FHA published the Adjustable-Rate Mortgages: Transitioning from LIBOR to Alternate Indices final rule, Docket No. FR-6151-F-03, in the Federal Register. In the final rule, FHA establishes the spread-adjusted Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) as a Secretary-approved index for the transition of existing FHA-insured adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) from the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) index after the one-year and one-month LIBOR indices cease to be published after June 30, 2023. The regulations in this final rule are effective on March 31, 2023.FHA will soon publish a Mortgage Letter that provides implementation guidance for the provisions in the final rule.
On January 30, USDA Rural Development announced Interest Rate Decrease for SFH Direct Programs.
USDA Rural Development’s bulletin sent on 02/13/2023, announces Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) revisions to technical Handbook-1-3555, Chapter 18, Servicing Non-Performing Loans – Accounts with Repayment Problems. These changes became effective upon the recent issuance of a Procedure Notice (PN).
Carrington will apply the new monthly mortgage insurance rate to all qualifying FHA loans that are not cleared to close prior to March 8th, 2023 in addition to any new loans that are submitted. (The MIP reduction does not apply to Streamline and Simple Refinances.)
Communiqué 2023-2-3.3.23 edition from Fifth Third Correspondent Lending has the following topics: LLPA Changes on Agency Products and MIP reduction on FHA Products.
PRMG Product Update 23-14 provides information on the new annual (paid monthly) MIP reduction on FHA Products and excess gift funds clarification based on direction from HUD. VA Products update to reflect the new (reduced) Funding Fee for purchase and cash out transactions that apply to loans closed on or after 04/07/23. Rental payment updates on Chenoa Fund FHA. UT Utah Housing FHA clarifications.
Posted in PennyMac Announcement 23-15, effective immediately, Pennymac is aligning with the Housing of Urban Development (HUD) Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2023-05, which announced the reduction of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) annual Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) rates.
PRMG posted information on FHA Annual MIP and VA Funding Fee Reduction. Details are available in PRMG Product Update 23-13.
LoanStream Mortgage is accepting submissions for qualifying FHA Loans submitted and scheduled to close on or after Wednesday, March 1, 2023 can receive the annual MIP Reduction.
FHA’s new Annual MIP structure will be applied automatically as of March 1st, 2023, Kind Lending posted the status specifics.
With Mortgagee Letter 2023-05, FHA announced a 30-basis point reduction to the Annual Mortgage Insurance Premiums for mortgages endorsed on or after March 20, 2023. See AmeriHome Product Announcement 20230301-CL for details and a summary of the updated process requirements.
PRMG Product Update 23-08 provides information regarding Fannie Mae cash out refinances with a note date on or after 04/01/23, Agency Texas Home Equity cash out refinances using a DU approval with a note date on or after 04/01/23, updates to FHA Products Transmittal and HUD 4000.1 Handbook and USDA policy guide changes.
Hey, credit unions! Your members are your top priority, right? That’s why you’re willing to lock mortgage interest rates for future dates. This benevolent act gives your members peace of mind, but it also gives your institution unquantifiable financial risk tied to the daily fluctuations of the bond markets. Unfortunately, many credit unions have only limited visibility into this risk and less-than-optimal methods of mitigating it. That’s why Optimal Blue is presenting an ACUMA Inside Track webinar on March 15 – Pipeline Perils: Managing Interest Rate Risk in Uncertain Markets. Capital markets experts from Optimal Blue will discuss how to apply analytical tools and straightforward financial instruments to mitigate the risk of financial loss, ways to improve bottom-line results for your institution, and how you can be more successful in the competitive mortgage lending arena. Save your seat today for this webinar tailored especially for credit unions!
Fed Chair Jerome Powell told the Senate Banking Committee yesterday that the central bank (i.e., Federal Reserve) is likely to lift interest rates higher and potentially faster than previously anticipated. The turnabout was met with a volatile reaction given last month’s step down in the pace of hikes. Notably, the Fed Chair said, “As I mentioned, the latest economic data have come in stronger than expected, which suggests that the ultimate level of interest rates is likely to be higher than previously anticipated. If the totality of the data were to indicate that faster tightening is warranted, we would be prepared to increase the pace of rate hikes. Restoring price stability will likely require that we maintain a restrictive stance of monetary policy for some time.”
As industry vet Adam Quinones put out, “Jerome highlighted ‘significantly’ slower economic growth in his speech but added a rate policy asterisk thanks to ‘extremely tight’ labor market conditions. He's basically saying macro growth is slowing but inflation remains high because people have jobs and earn enough income to cover stubbornly expensive housing costs. STIR traders responded by waiving the white flag on any hope for a rate cut in 2023. ‘Higher for longer’ is officially here when looking at the front-end.”
For some good news we turn to the Mortgage Bankers Association who reported that last week mortgage applications increased 7.4 percent from one week earlier. “The Refinance Index increased 9 percent from the previous week and was 76 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 7 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 9 percent compared with the previous week and was 42 percent lower than the same week one year ago.”
Today sees Chair Powell back on the Hill to testify on the Monetary Policy Report before the House Financial Services Committee. Before that, however, markets will digest the latest payroll processor ADP’s employment data for February 242k versus 106k previously. Finally, the January trade deficit deteriorated to -$68.3 billion from $67.4 billion. Also coming up are JOLTS job openings, a Treasury auction of $32 billion reopened 10-year notes, and the latest Beige Book from the Fed ahead of the March 21/22 FOMC meeting. We begin Wednesday with Agency MBS prices, after taking it on the chin yesterday, roughly unchanged and the 10-year yielding 3.95 after closing yesterday at 3.98 percent; 2-year at 5.04 percent!
Employment and Transitions
Enact MI (formerly Genworth Mortgage Insurance) is hiring and looking for an Account Executive in the Southern OH/Southern IN/KY region. This role provides a great career path for an up-and-coming sales candidate to continue developing themselves in a well-established territory. To learn more about this position, visit the Enact Careers page here or contact Enact’s Sales RVP Mike Haboush.
“We’re looking to the future at PrimeLending…and hiring! You read that correctly. While other companies are worried about making it through another month, we’re opening branches and adding talented loan originators all across the country. In fact, we added 53 producers already in 2023. One reason why so many top LOs are joining us is the strength and stability of our ownership, Hilltop Holdings, a $16.3 billion financial holding company. We’re part of a diversified and proven family of companies (PlainsCapital Bank, Hilltop Securities and PrimeLending) that strengthen and complement each other. It's a win-win relationship! So, if you’re tired of losing sleep over the security of your position, maybe it’s time to make your move to lender that can support you now and in the future. Contact Nic Hartke today and sleep easy tonight.”
Evergreen Home Loans™ is excited to announce that David Floan returned to the company as Area Manager for Central and Eastern Washington. Floan brings a deep career in the mortgage industry, most recently Executive Vice President of Loan Production for Evergreen until he retired in 2020. "Those of us that have worked in this industry long enough know that once it’s in your blood, it’s hard to stay away, and I'm thrilled to be back home at Evergreen," said Floan. "We are excited to welcome back David," said Don Zender, President of Production. "He is a respected leader in the mortgage community and will be key as we expand our business in his area." Loan officers seeking a company where personal and professional growth are a priority, a place that embraces their core conviction of FAMILY, should visit the Evergreen Careers page.