It’s important to be stylish; just ask Pope Francis. (Page down once or twice to see the fake image. And we wish the 86-year-old a speedy recovery from a respiratory infection.) Being Pope has its pluses and minuses, from an occupational perspective, but, returning to mortgage banking, the next time you’re rolling your eyes at a difficult loan file, or exasperated with the behavior of a whiny client, remember that there are worse professions. Being a real estate agent is not bad either. (Remember, not all real estate agents are Realtors, with a capital “R,” and there are many fine agents that aren’t.) Per this source there are 1,548,058 Realtors in the United States as of January, 2023. There are only 578,000 active listings nationwide. You can do the math. Do you have the product set to help those buyers? I don’t know how much it costs real estate brokerages to have their name listed in HW (HousingWire)’s “1,061 real estate brokerage firms in the RealTrends Nation’s Best rankings are a compilation of the brokerages who did not rank in the top 500, but are no less impressive.” “No less impressive”… (Today’s podcast can be found here and this week it’s sponsored by MGIC. Since 1957, MGIC has insured more than 13.5 million mortgage loans with innovative products, tools and strategies that help customers solve problems and fuel growth. Explore tools and solutions to boost your business here. Interview with Equifax’s Craig Crabtree on financially inclusive lending and differentiated data sets.)

Lender and Broker Services and Software

“Eliminate HOA document collection headaches and cost tracking: Announcing an exciting new automation and cost saving workflow from Velma and InspectHOA. Save time and reduce the chance of errors or missing deadlines with our new HOA document collection, analysis, and automated process. Our integrated Encompass workflow automates the ordering, preparing, and tracking of an HOA documents request, and seamlessly completes the documents acquisition and HOA communication. Eliminate the hassle and potential fire drills of missing HOA documents at closing. Velma’s proven Connector automation and workflow tool provides easy integration and long-term flexibility to the solution. The automated process provides notice, tracking, document upload and fee collection as a turn-key solution to drive great value for your business. For more information on our automated HOA document collection solution; contact Velma Sales or call Mark Young (208.297.3022).

Are you still losing money, time, and patience using more than one CRM for your multi-channel mortgage business? Do you have a hard time getting comprehensive data from your convoluted tech stack? OptifiNow Flex is the solution. Say goodbye to the headache of managing multiple CRMs and hello to a unified system that enables you to effortlessly track and manage your entire sales and marketing organization. Workflows for wholesale, retail, reverse mortgage, recruiting, and more all fit into one powerful system. OptifiNow Flex is the undisputed omnichannel CRM for Mortgage Lenders. The best part? You can get all the benefits of OptifiNow Flex in as little as 30 days! It's time to experience the benefits of OptifiNow Flex for yourself. Take a big leap towards a more efficient and profitable mortgage business today. Contact us now to schedule a demo.

“From all of us at MCT, we would like to extend a huge thank you for those that were able to attend our MCT Exchange 2023 Conference last week in San Diego. We’ve received excellent feedback on panel discussions of current market challenges, the MSR landscape, and the impact of Wells Fargo’s exit in the correspondent space. We’d also like to thank Fannie Mae’s Chief Economist, Doug Duncan, on a robust keynote address. Mr. Duncan reviewed historical and current market insights with lots of laughs in between! For a summary and slide decks from these aforementioned sessions, check out our MCT Exchange 2023 Recap Blog. We can’t wait to continue our work together in 2023, so please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments.”

LoanCatcher® by Black Knight was launched in September, making it a Virgo — a star sign said to make a great partner. An all-in-one broker LOS, LoanCatcher is packed with the same technology used by enterprise lenders including a POS, Surefire℠ CRM and Mortgage Marketing Engine, and Loansifter® PPE. LoanCatcher’s turnkey functionality enables brokers to hit the ground running with a surpassed level of efficiency. Here are the 10 key features a top-of-the-line LOS like LoanCatcher offers time-strapped mortgage brokers.

What have over 250,000 MLOs and real estate agents adopted in just the past 6 months?? Emerging new technology company Milestones has hit the ground running since their July 2022 Series A and go-to-market announcement. The technology is fully white-labeled and gives homeowners an all-inclusive homeownership experience including: home value & equity monitoring, home maintenance reminders and how-to articles, cloud-based document storage, one-click access to hire professionals for various projects around the home, and much more. Their unique revenue model allows MLO’s to double down on their commitment to client retention and maturation, while substantially lowering their tech spend (and offering more value to both homeowners and Realtor partners). Connect with Milestones’ Chief Revenue Officer, Ashley Terrell, at #NEXTSpring23 or by email, and you can learn more at

TPO Product

CMG Financial’s TPO Division, which includes both Correspondent and Wholesale Lending, has been a powerful supporter for its respective partnerships since 2012 & 1995, largely due to a committed senior leadership team with over 25 years of industry expertise. We serve mortgage bankers, banks, credit unions, and brokers nationwide with a robust product menu including the proprietary All In One Loan, as well as competitive pricing and personalized service. Wholesale Lending has grown steadily for 28 years. By 2021, our Wholesale Division produced nearly $4.19 billion in volume and was recognized as a top 13 lender by Scotsman Guide. CMG’s Correspondent Division launched in 2012 and quickly became a top 7 lender just nine years later. Through investor partnerships, our Correspondent Channel tripled in growth from 2018 to 2023. If you’re ready to partner with an industry-leading lender, contact Ron Harrison, National Sales Manager, TPO Lending.”

STRATMOR and Customer Experience

STRATMOR Group congratulates the winners of the MortgageCX Borrowers Satisfaction Program's 2022 Best-in-Class Lender Awards! The awards are presented annually and go to the top performing lenders in eight categories: Overall Borrower Satisfaction, Net Promoter Score, Likelihood to Use Again, Loan Officer, Loan Processor, Application Process, Products and Costs and Online Tools. Winners this year include: Certainty Home Loans, Guild Mortgage, HomeStreet Bank, PrimeLending, Universal Lending Home Loans, and Wintrust Mortgage. Visit the MortgageCX awards page on the STRATMOR Group website for more details and to see the list of winners.

MISMO: at the Forefront of Industry Standards

Attention, Lenders! The role that MISMO industry standards play in helping market participants improve efficiency and reduce costs for originating, selling, and servicing loans is more important than ever before given the economic challenges facing the mortgage market. In fact, my cat Myrtle was telling me just the other day that just about every residential loan out there already utilizes MISMO standards, and the importance of that work will only grow. Support MISMO and the future of the mortgage finance industry by paying the voluntary MISMO Innovation Investment Fee. Special thanks to MERSCORP for its willingness to serve as billing agents for the fee as a service to the industry. Learn more about the Innovation Investment Fee or contact MISMO for more information at

Capital Markets

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, attributed to a social media driven run on deposits, has triggered extreme volatility in the Treasury and mortgage-backed security markets, resulting in the most turbulent period since the global financial crisis and in doubling of daily trading volume. Market functioning has held up, but market participants say the turmoil has raised concern about a potential financial accident. Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser has warned that banks and regulators face new challenges in dealing with liquidity issues, as the rise of mobile apps to manage money has accelerated the pace of such events. "It's a complete game changer from what we've seen before," Fraser said. "There were a couple of tweets and then this thing went down much faster than has happened in history. And frankly I think the regulators did a good job in responding very quickly because normally you have longer to respond to this."

In testimony before the Senate banking committee, Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chair Martin Gruenberg outlined potential regulatory steps in response to recent bank failures. The proposals could include enhanced banking stress tests, as well as changes to FDIC coverage and "a long-term debt requirement" for banks with assets of $100 billion or more that aren't categorized as being systemically important.

Fannie’s trading desk reports that, “The Silicon Valley Bank's ~$90bn securities and Signature Bridge Bank's ~$28bn securities remain in FDIC receivership. More than 90% of these securities are agency securities. The timing around any FDIC sales is unclear as we're in unprecedented territory, thus weighing on the pricing action in the deep discount coupons.”

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra asks, “What if a large mortgage servicer went down?” Speaking this week at the Consumer Bankers Association’s CBA LIVE 2023 event, Chopra said, “A major disruption or failure of a large mortgage servicer really gives me a nightmare,” noting such an event would disrupt households and communities, especially if paired with changes in the macroeconomic environment that hurts the ability of homeowners to pay their mortgages. “We have a lot of interests and are asking a lot of hard questions about mortgage servicing capital liquidity resilience.” IMF pointed out that Chopra said the CFPB is working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, state regulators, and others to make sure nonbank servicers are resilient. Chopra reminded the audience that the CFPB can designate nonbanks for supervision with requirements on capital and liquidity.

Turning to mortgage rates, there wasn’t much rate movement yesterday despite the overhang of potential MBS FDIC sales from the failed bank portfolios. We learned that consumer expectations for inflation over the next 12 months remain elevated at 6.3 percent. That’s not good news, as the Fed pays close attention to inflationary expectations in consumer confidence surveys. Separately, the forward-looking pending home sales index grew in February for the third consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors. However, year-over-year, pending transactions dropped by 21 percent.

Today’s economic calendar kicked off with the final look at Q4 GDP (old news, but core PCE is shown rising 4.4 percent on an annual basis) as well as weekly jobless claims (198k, 1.689 million continuing). Later this morning brings the latest Primary Mortgage Markets Survey from Freddie Mac, with the prior week’s 30-year mortgage rate sliding 18 basis points to 6.42 percent. Three Fed Presidents are scheduled to speak: Boston’s Collins, Richmond’s Barkin, and Minneapolis’ Kashkari. We begin Thursday with Agency MBS prices roughly unchanged and the 10-year yielding 3.56 after closing yesterday at 3.57 percent. (Talk about a “whipsaw,” the 2-year yield, which now is at 4.11, was at 3.55 just a few weeks ago!)

Jobs and Transitions

Bob Niemi, CMB® has joined Weiner Brodsky Kider PC as Director of Government Affairs. Many of you will recognize Bob from MBA committees or as a frequent speaker. But Bob has been in the mortgage industry over 35 years spending time on state & local MBA boards, and then Executive Director for the Ohio MBA. While working for Ohio MBA, Bob was appointed as the Deputy Superintendent for the Ohio Division of Financial Institutions. During this time, he also served as the NMLS Ombudsman. Since returning to the business side of mortgage, Bob has been a strong advocate for mortgage lenders and coordinated the team that developed MBA’s branch licensing flexibility model language. Bob has advocated for this guide to be the basis of 25 state remote work laws and rule modernizations to date. In addition to WBK, Bob serves as the Secretary of the CMB Society and Director for the MBA of Florida. Reach out to Bob to learn more about remote work flexibilities or becoming a CMB.

“At Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, customer service is a way of life. #FairwayNation mortgage loan officers are dedicated to finding great rates and loan options for our customers while offering some of the fastest turn times in the industry. Our goal is to act as a trusted mortgage advisor, providing highly personalized service and helping you through every step of the loan process, from application to closing and beyond.”

Congratulations to Jordan Fuchs, a wholesale industry vet with 25 years under the belt who has recently made the move to Plaza Home Mortgage to work with mortgage bankers and direct lenders in the New York area. (Plaza Home Mortgage offers financing via the agency product, coops included, FHA, VA, USDA, renovation, jumbo, various Non QM documentation options, and reverse mortgages.)