Here’s a tip of the day for anyone manning a conference booth: instead of a pen, or mouse pad, how about a locally made treat? Hats off to Aimee, Bobby, and Mark from Byte Software who earlier this week at the TMC event had chocolate-covered Oreos from a local bakery. Technology was a big topic at TMC… Technology thoughts from 50 years ago? Here you go. (There’s definitely a school of thought which believes that the iPhone changed tech overnight. Almost 20 years later, nothing else has come close.) Vendor news seems to be at every conference, and capital markets staff are certainly big users of tech. At the TMC enclave secondary marketing folks often gravitate toward each other, “shooting the breeze” about odds and ends. For the most part, no one thinks they earn a living by making predictions, instead providing accurate information to other managers and owners, and acting as an advisor about loan profitability, leakage, concessions, and margins. Capital markets staff are also involved in LO and executive recruiting efforts, and in developing strong product offerings to help the company be successful. (Found here, this week’s podcasts are sponsored by Stavvy. Stavvy offers a flexible and fully customizable loss mitigation solution. Servicers can easily adapt to regulatory updates and market conditions, providing a seamless, customer-centric digital experience. Today’s has an interview with AmeriCatalyst’s Toni Moss about the Extreme Climate, Housing and Finance Leadership Summit on April 18-19, in Washington, DC.)

Lender and Broker Services, Products, and Software

“Real estate valuations continue to be complex and ever-evolving, especially today with proposed regulatory changes and unpredictable market dynamics. Creating an effective valuation strategy is vital for lenders to manage risk and streamline operations. Attend our complimentary webinar to learn all about the world of automated valuation models (AVMs). You’ll find out why AVMs are considered a credible, objective option for collateral risk management, how they can help your business (from lead generation and portfolio management to cost reduction and more), and when to use an AVM to address challenges in the current valuation landscape. The webinar hosted by ICE is “When, Why and How AVMs Drive Business Performance” and will be on Wednesday, April 10, at 2 p.m. ET. Save your seat now: register today.

“Step by Step Quality Control Plan Checklist: Comprehensive Guide for Financial Institutions. By following this guide, financial institutions can not only enhance their operational excellence but also strategically minimize their risk exposure. Throughout this comprehensive guide, we dissect each facet of the QC plan, providing valuable insights, practical recommendations, and actionable steps. Our checklist aligns with industry requirements and best practices, ensuring lenders remain steadfast in their commitment to quality within the ever-evolving landscape of financial services. Access Guide.

Many industry vendors talk a good game when it comes to partnering with lenders, but there is a difference between treating a client like a partner and making them feel like a prisoner. Restrictive long-term contracts and financial penalties for not going live or for trying to exit failed implementations are hurting lenders and servicers. These developers make it difficult or impossible for the lender to move to a new, modern system. Lenders deserve better. You won’t get treated that way by MortgageFlex, the creators of the industry’s first cloud-native, unified system for origination and servicing. A re-engineered LOS built by developers that lenders have trusted for 40 years and the industry’s best new software platform operating on the same database makes this the must-see software. See it today.

Why do those in the mortgage space watch the 10-year U.S. Treasury note? Historically, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield has been considered a key benchmark for mortgage rates. Mortgage rates, however, are not actually based on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note (as is commonly believed). MCT released a blog, "How the 10-Year U.S. Treasury Note Impacts Mortgage Rates" that serves as an excellent primer for how mortgage interest rates respond to moves of the benchmark U.S. Treasury note. The piece discusses why mortgage rates and Treasury yields move together and how bonds are influenced by Treasury yields. With a trusted capital markets partner like MCT, you can rest assured that you will be notified of how economic trends could have the potential to impact your business. Sign up for MCT’s newsletter to receive educational articles like this one and learn more about variables that impact mortgage rates.

Sending your borrowers off on their home search hoping they reach out when they need you is one way to do things. Sending them with a QuickQual that lets them run payment scenarios and generate a letter when they're ready to submit an offer is another. Check out a sample QuickQual if you're interested in the latter.

Correspondent and Broker Products

“With spring in the air, Newrez Correspondent is springing into action by adding many exciting enhancements to our product line. We now offer a Closed End Second Mortgage program, Delegated Non-QM for our Smart Series products, and Fannie Mae HomeReady® and Freddie Mac Home Possible® affordable lending mortgage programs including the recent $2500 credits added for qualifying homebuyers. Take advantage of our expansive menu and become a valued customer at Newrez Correspondent by signing up here. You can also reach out to Sarah Johanns to set up a meeting at the Iowa Mortgage Association Conference in Coralville, IA, on April 1 and 2, and Beverly Jordan, Patty Devita, Rebecca Yonaka or John Dubisky at the Great River Conference in Memphis, TN, April 16 through 18. Don’t forget, we would love to meet at the MBA Secondary in New York in May. Set up a meeting here.”

“At Button Finance, we say YES. That is why more and more brokers and correspondent lenders are choosing to fund their HELOANs and HELOCs with Button Finance. Is it the lighting quick turn-times and aggressive pricing, or the limited UW overlays? Can you make up to 5% compensation as a broker or 8% as a correspondent on HELOCs or even originate to our bank statement and investment property programs? The answer is YES, YES, YES, YES, and YES. Available equity is at historical levels, so now is a great time to offer your past and prospective borrowers Button Finance HELOAN or HELOC to pay off high-interest revolving debt. Button Finance programs allow FICO scores as low as 660, CLTVs to 90%, and debt ratios to 50%. We have excellent correspondent offerings as well. Correspondents typically make $18,500 on a $250k HELOC closed in 10 calendar days without an appraisal. Contact us today.”

Department of Labor and Whistleblowers

The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered a former senior vice president and two managers employed by PrimeLending to pay $35,000 in emotional damages and the legal fees of two California employees who the company fired illegally after they reported a branch manager pressured them to pass on fees to loan applicants caused by the company’s internal processing delays.

“Investigators with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found the nationwide lender violated whistleblower provisions in the Consumer Financial Protection Act by terminating the employees who raised their concerns with a regional manager and senior vice president of Human Resources.

“’Employees who report potential consumer fraud are protected by federal law against retaliation of any kind. Under the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s whistleblower provisions, managers can be fined personally for retaliation,’ explained OSHA Regional Administrator James D. Wulff in San Francisco. ‘In this case, OSHA fined three PrimeLending managers for trying to prevent workers’ concerns from coming to light. The U.S. Department of Labor will not tolerate retaliatory actions against workers exercising their rights and those responsible for such actions will be held accountable.’”

“In addition to payment of personal damages, OSHA ordered PrimeLending to pay an undisclosed amount in lost back wages and interest to the employees. The company must also expunge the employment records of both employees, post an anti-retaliation notice at all its branches and train its employees about their rights under the Consumer Financial Protection Act.

“The company and the managers sanctioned may appeal OSHA’s order to the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

“OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Consumer Financial Protection Act and 24 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various motor vehicle safety, commercial motor carrier, airline, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, healthcare reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, securities, tax, antitrust, and anti-money laundering laws and for engaging in other related protected activities. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.”

Capital Markets

Not a whole lot to report from yesterday. Consumer confidence was little changed in March with consumers remaining concerned about elevated price levels, according to the Conference Board. Consumers expressed more concern about the U.S. political environment compared to prior months. The market saw a bit more buying than in previous days in reaction to a strong $43 billion 7-year note offering.

Since we can’t go a day without talking about the Fed, you’ve probably noted that some Federal Open Market Committee voters ratcheted back their estimates to two rate cuts in 2024 from the group consensus of three 25 basis point rate cuts. However, of potentially more interest to the mortgage industry is the central bank's massive balance sheet of Treasuries and Agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that remains from the past 15-ish years of aggressive experimental monetary policy.

The Fed has been open about wanting to eventually get back to an all-Treasury balance sheet, so it is expected that the central bank will not halt the run-off of Agency MBS that has averaged about $16 billion per month over the last six months. The central bank is expected to reinvest those proceeds into Treasuries, so where will demand for Agency MBS come from? Hopefully, domestic banks. U.S. domestically chartered commercial banks' total holdings of securities as a percentage of their balance sheet, and Agency MBS in particular, has ticked up over the last six months. This trend should continue as long as the relative value of Agency MBS remains favorable compared to investment-grade corporates and Treasuries.

Tomorrow the markets are closed, and today brings a busy schedule in terms of data ahead of a SIFMA recommended early close, which also happens to be month and quarter-end, ahead of Good Friday. There will be a commentary tomorrow that includes the PCE reading, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation. This morning we’ve had the final look at Q4 GDP (3.4 percent, higher than previously but viewed as old news) and weekly jobless claims (210k, 1.819 million continuing claims). The core PCE deflator was (3.3) versus an expectation of unchanged at 2.1 percent. Later today brings Chicago PMI for March, Michigan sentiment, pending home sales for February, KC Fed manufacturing, several Treasury auctions of short duration bills, and Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

We begin the day with Agency MBS prices little changed from Wednesday, and little changed all week! The 10-year is yielding 4.23 after closing yesterday at 4.20 percent and the 2-year is at 4.62… little movement after a salvo of news.


Canopy Mortgage in National spotlight: Massive sales growth, onboarding an average of 1 producing loan officer every other day! What’s attracting LO’s to move in droves? Canopy is “Giving Loan Officers the Power to Grow” - read full article on Canopy’s magnetic growth is coming from relationships, referrals and jaw-dropping tech demos. If you haven’t heard about Canopy yet …ask a friend! Canopy is building the future of mortgage lending through relationships and innovative mortgage tech, and is hiring producing LOs nationwide (except NY). Don’t miss out! Schedule a Tech Demo, or simply look at your numbers with Josh Neumarker today 888-696-9076.

Planet Home Lending, a national mortgage lender, servicer, and asset manager, has hired Andy Insua as Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast. Congratulations!