When I was a teen, I worked a variety of jobs but never at a fast-food joint. No one made much money working at Mickey D’s or Dairy Queen. Now, in California, there’s AB 1228, which replaced the FAST Recovery Act and requires a $20-per-hour minimum wage for fast food workers, among other provisions, to be administered by the Fast Food Council. Is this for real? Moving up the age chain, millennials are finally leaving their parents' basements and in 2023 received nearly 54 percent of mortgage offers made in most of the country’s largest metros, according to a LendingTree report. Millennials made up the largest share of potential homebuyers in San Jose & San Francisco, CA, and Boston. In San Jose, 65 percent of mortgages in 2023 were offered to millennials. Millennials in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tampa made up the smallest share of potential buyers, though still substantial. In Las Vegas, 41 percent of mortgage offers in 2023 went to millennials. Offered loan amounts were largest in San Jose, San Francisco, and Los Angeles: $785,391, $731,062, and $627,322, respectively. Conversely, at $242,220, $268,484, and $268,900, average loan amounts offered in Buffalo, Cleveland, and Louisville were the smallest. (Found here, this week’s podcast is sponsored by Lender Toolkit. With Lender Toolkit’s AI-powered AI Underwriter and Prism borrower income automation tools, you’ll be able to get loans approved in under two minutes. Hear an interview with attorney Jay Beitel on Cantero v. Bank of America, the case that challenges New York's mortgage escrow interest law.)

Lender and Broker Services, Products, and Software

Sometimes, things are better in pairs: Ben and Jerry’s, peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese. The perfect technology pairing can make mortgage lending deliciously simple. Though now operated independently, Dark Matter Technologies and Optimal Blue are united by the belief that integrating their technologies creates better outcomes for mortgage lenders. In the latest episode of Dark Matter’s ‘The Spotlight’ podcast, Optimal Blue VP of Product Management Erin Wester shares the secret sauce behind her company’s approach to tight-knit API integrations. Listen today and find the perfect pairing for your technology stack.

Lenders using Maxwell Point of Sale close 40 percent more loans per month. With today’s changing market conditions, being able to meet the unique needs of your borrowers is essential. Maxwell Point of Sale is the only POS that allows lenders to fully customize point-of-sale workflows, business rules, and user experiences, so lenders can serve more borrowers quickly and efficiently. Loan officers using Maxwell POS close an average of 40% more loans compared to other POS technologies. Click here to learn how Glass City Federal Credit Union enhances their borrower experience and modernizes their mortgage lending with Maxwell.

“Supercharge your mortgage game with Lender Toolkit! Lenders who partner with us are able to unleash the ultimate automation experience and smoke their competition. Engage with our top-tier team to be successful on the journey to Encompass Web. Empower your origination with intuitive, guided, automated Task-Based Workflows. Imagine lightning-fast pre-approvals, leaving manual work in the dust with AI Underwriter™. Automate income verification, lower manufacturing costs, and reduce cycle times with Prism™ Income. Enable your production staff to easily validate and deliver accurate disclosures, saving you time and sanity with Disclosure Automation. Eager to revolutionize your production? Seize the moment at EXP24! Book your live demo now; spots are disappearing quickly. Discover firsthand the solutions that'll leave your competition scrambling to catch up. Visit us at booth #626 next week: Our world class professionals can transform your business outcomes with cutting edge Encompass expertise.”

It’s Monday morning and all across America there are borrowers who didn’t pull the trigger on a home purchase over the weekend because they needed an updated pre-approval letter or needed some reassurance from their loan officer about a payment or closing costs. That never happens for lenders that use QuickQual by LenderLogix. Need an updated pre-qual letter? Pull out your phone. Need an updated payment or closing cost scenario? Pull out your phone. It’s like the loan officer is riding along to every house!

TPO, Broker, and Correspondent Product News

“Introducing our simplified pricing for Symmetry's HELOCs! We've made it easy as 1, 2, 3. Check out our latest Rate Sheet, specifically designed for first liens. Enjoy reduced rates across different credit tiers and HCLTV categories. We've also shortened the draw period to 5 years, with a comfortable 25-year repayment term. Last year, we launched a new 1st Lien HELOC solution, enhancing our offerings even further. Additionally, borrower-paid broker fees for Standalone & 1st Lien HELOCs have increased to 1.5%, without any maximum payout cap. All these program changes are designed to support mortgage brokers and loan officers, especially in a sluggish first-mortgage market. Connect with your Symmetry Lending Area Manager today to explore these exciting new options.”

Quarter 1 is almost gone. With 3 quarters left, now’s the time to discover Axos’ highly competitive rates to expand your borrowers’ mortgage options. These options range from No-Ratio DSCR, Closed-End 2nds to Super Jumbo portfolio loans to $30MM+. Join us on March 19th for an exclusive webinar on Expanded and Express mortgage products or visit the WCPL website to see all our product offerings. We’ll be at the Housing Wire conference in Scottsdale, AZ, April 21-24. To chat with us, schedule a meeting with our National Sales Director, J. Shoop. And if you are also looking for a Residential Warehouse line from $10MM to $250MM, contact the Axos Bank Warehouse Lending team. Please visit the warehouse website or schedule a call today with Eric Nelepovitz at 888-764-7080 to receive strategic direction that can help grow your business.

Slam Dunk Specials are here from LoanStream on Prime, Non-QM & Closed End Seconds. Includes 50 BPS Price Improvement on all Non-QM loans < $2MM loan amount, take another 50 BPS Price Improvement on all Closed-End Seconds (exclusions apply on our CES special37.5 BPS Price Improvement on FHA/VA loans 660 – 719 FICO (excludes DPA and CalHFA) and 50 BPS Price Improvement on FHA/VA loans 720+ (excludes DPA and CalHFA) on Prime! Restrictions apply. Talk to your Account Executive.

The MBA, President Biden, and Closing Costs

To start off, if you’re not a member of a free mortgage group, why not? The Mortgage Action Alliance (MAA) is a voluntary, non-partisan and free nationwide grassroots lobbying network for real estate finance industry professionals, affiliated with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

MBA President and CEO Bob Broeksmit, CMB, issued a warning to the CFPB last week in response to its “baffling” blog post on mortgage closing costs.

MBA President Bob Broeksmit released a statement warning the CFPB that MBA will “vigorously oppose politically motivated proposals that only increase regulatory costs, reduce competition, or otherwise make it more difficult for Americans to get the credit necessary to achieve homeownership.”

If you think politics can stay away from housing and lending, think again. The lack of inventory and new homes being built aside, President Joe Biden has floated plans to address the country’s affordable housing issues, including new tax breaks for first-time homebuyers and “starter home” sellers. “If inflation keeps coming down, mortgage rates will come down as well. But I’m not waiting,” he said. Biden has proposed a “mortgage relief credit” of $5,000 per year for two years for middle-class, first-time homebuyers, which would be equivalent to lowering the mortgage interest rate for a median-price home by 1.5 percentage points for two years, according to an outline released by the White House on Thursday.

The administration is also calling for a one-year credit of up to $10,000 for middle-class families who sell their “starter homes” to another owner-occupant. They define starter homes as properties below the median price for the seller’s county.

Via LinkedIn, Greg Sher, Managing Director of NFM Lending had some comments which sparked several others to jump in, including Lindsay Moss Frangie, Kris Willoughby, Warren Goldberg, Keith Canter, Colin Robertson, Joseph Wiggins, Beth Rosenbaum, Eddy Perez, and Danelle Roberts-Tallarico. “The mortgage industry did not cause a pandemic that created record low rates/lock in effect, housing affordability at historic record lows, and rates sustained above 7 percent. What about lowering LLPA's and MIP? Isn't there an opportunity there?

It's no more fair to look at the mortgage industry for housing's blunders, than it is to point to the Biden administration for their failure to deliver on their housing mandates laid out during the last election cycle. There are factors largely out of everyone's control that have caused housing's slump. Why can't the administration, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Mortgage Bankers Association work in unison to find solutions? It can be done! Lastly, this is a for profit industry. Some of the rhetoric makes it seem shameful for IMB's to turn a profit. IMB's make up roughly 80% of the home financing in America today. The CEOs of these institutions take on enormous risk and pour in personal capital to do so. We are essential to the health of our economy and the GDP, and most importantly, we are instrumental in making so many dreams come true.

The conversation in LinkedIn included, “They should eliminate agency G fees and many LLPAs. My 2 cents. The closing costs aren’t the issue, it’s the high rates, high prices, shortage of homes and PMI/MMI that could use revisions. Fannie reported record profits… The only things that will make homeownership more affordable are interest rates must come down which will help buyers and encourage sellers to put their homes on the market, and more inventory is needed to equalize supply and demand. In addition to more sellers selling, we must make it easier and profitable again for builders to build!

“I will take any help we can get, but IMO, it won't move the needle. Real change would come from less regulation in mortgage and housing. Second, if IMBs cannot make a profit, fewer people will get into homes. They have no idea of what it takes to put together a hard deal. And FYI, most deals are hard these days… I wish the Fed would also consider not letting its balance sheet continue to run off and simply replace it so rate spreads might come back down from their elevated levels. That would immediately make rates more affordable to countless potential homebuyers without having to do tax credits.

The LinkedIn chat continued. “When will we have industry experienced professionals embedded within leadership roles of these government agencies? These agencies lack knowledge and understanding of our industry while not concerned about learning what we are to govern with sound discernment and direction. All parties just need to try harder every day to understand one another. A mortgage person in government would be a positive, you’d think.”

Capital Markets

The latest U.S. jobs report released on Friday revealed a mixed picture of a resilient, but cooling, labor market. While nonfarm payrolls exceeded expectations at 275k in February, a significant downward revision to the prior two months and a rise in the unemployment rate to 3.9 percent suggest a gradual downshift. Wage gains slowed without risking inflationary pressures. Despite the positive headline figure, the report indicates a potential trajectory that will likely prompt the Federal Reserve to consider rate cuts later in the year (odds are for a 75 percent chance of a cut in June). The Fed remains cautious, expressing a willingness to cut rates but emphasizing the need for sustained confidence in inflation moving toward its 2 percent target.

Contrary to recession predictions that were popular throughout 2023, the U.S. economy continues to exhibit strength, having gained over three million jobs during the past 12 months, all the while maintaining low unemployment. Look for key economic indicators, including the consumer price index, producer price index, and retail sales report, to influence the Fed’s decision making and investor sentiment moving forward. Amid global economic concerns and uncertainties, particularly related to the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, the prospect of a soft landing has sparked optimism in the markets, with both the Fed and the European Central Bank considering lowering interest rates in June. Fed Chair Powell’s comments before congress (What’s the opposite of Pro? Con. What’s the opposite of progress? …) last week helped push the 10-year bond yield to the lowest level in over a month.

This week’s economic calendar includes the $117 billion mini-Refunding which gets under way today with $56 billion 3-year notes. Key economic updates this week include CPI on Wednesday, PPI, retail sales, and business inventories on Thursday and Empire manufacturing, import prices, industrial production/capacity utilization, and Michigan sentiment on Friday. No Fed speakers are currently scheduled with the Fed heading into its blackout period ahead of next week’s FOMC meeting. Today’s calendar has the February Employment Trends Index and the aforementioned Treasury auction. We begin the week with Agency MBS prices roughly unchanged from Friday, the 10-year yielding 4.07 after closing last week at 4.09 percent, and the 2-year at 4.49.


Kind Lending's TPO channel is looking for a passionate non-QM specialist to join its growing team. The ideal candidate will have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, a deep understanding of non-QM mortgages, and a passion for helping others succeed. As a go-to expert, you will guide account executives through the comprehensive non-QM product suite, assist with the scenario desk, and lead broker and account executive training initiatives to ensure a seamless lending experience for all. To learn more about this position and other sales opportunities, please contact Delfino Aguilar, Chief Production Officer - TPO.

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