In real Commentary news, many folks who read this Commentary are workin’ for a livin’, and many of them are managers. On a recent Truv Zoom call, Lower’s James Duncan opined on how things change within companies. As he put it, if change is driven from the top down, it would be termed “leadership.” If change is driven from the bottom up, it would be termed “empowerment.” Either way, change is hard, and companies need to ask, “What is the reward?” But James suggested that perhaps the better question is, “What is the alternative?” Be thankful you’re not in the commercial sector. Banks don’t want to declare commercial loans as nonperforming because that hurts their balance sheets. So, there’s been refinancing & restructuring on more favorable terms than some anticipated & more than underlying economics justify… What some observers sarcastically call “extend & pretend.” (Found here, this week’s podcasts are sponsored by Loan Vision. With Loan Vision, the mortgage banking industry’s premier mortgage accounting solution, you can take your accounting department from “cost center” to “revenue generator,” operating more efficiently and profitably. Hear an interview with Bonzo’s Jason Perkins on customer relationship management (CRM) technology that helps companies manage and analyze interactions with customers and potential customers.)

Lender and Broker Services, Products, and Software

Lending marketing, sales, and operations leaders! This is what your teams need to hear right now to increase volume and run a more efficient business. Greg Sher, Managing Director, NFM Lending, Steve Majerus, CEO of Synergy One Lending, Brian Vieaux, CEO of Finlocker, and Richard Grieser, VP of Marketing at Truv, are going to share strategies and real examples of how you can fill the top of your funnel with a more informed and prepared borrower before loan application, during the application, and after closing. You’ll also hear firsthand how your technology can work with you to improve the borrower experience, as opposed to against you! Come join us on April 10 at 1 pm CT and invited your teams!

In 1981, Alprazolam was approved for medical use in the United States. Alprazolam, better known as Xanax, is used to manage anxiety disorders, panic disorders, separation anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and major depressive disorder. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to these ailments and are in the mortgage business, you may have UPD. Underwriting Panic Disorder (UPD) can best be treated by Lender Toolkit’s AI Underwriter™. To receive a free consultation, please contact us here. (Disclaimer…we are not doctors; this is not medical advice.)

Tailor your point-of-sale to fit your unique needs without the added cost of developers. Maxwell Blueprint Builder is a first-of-its-kind feature in the Maxwell Point of Sale that allows lenders to fully customize workflows, business rules, and user experience, without having to hire costly developers. With the Blueprint Builder, mortgage lenders can connect to over 60 third-party integrations to create a tailored workflow suited for their unique needs. Plus, lenders can adapt their digital experiences to the operations processes that work best across their products and channels. To learn more about the Blueprint Builder, schedule a call with the Maxwell team.

“On the heels of the MERS® eRegistry and its members’ major milestone in September 2023 (achieving 2 million eNotes registered since inception), we are seeing further indications of increased eNote and digital adoption. In February 2024, the percentage of registrations in the MERS® System including an eNote reached 8.37 percent, marking our highest percentage to date. This statistic underscores that leaders embracing digital solutions are not only leveraging digital assets at scale but also integrating them into their standard practices. Electronic promissory notes, known as eNotes, are demonstrating numerous benefits to originators and their business partners including cost savings, reduced errors, improved borrower experience, improved process efficiencies and security throughout the loan lifecycle. Whether you are just beginning your journey with eNotes or aiming to expand your eMortgage program, MERS is equipped to provide the necessary support and expertise. To learn more, explore our MERS® eNote Education Series.”

Training and Events in April

(A good place for longer term conference planning is to start is here, and click on “Conference List” for in-person events in the future.)

Take advantage of Rocket Pro TPO’s highly competitive VA loan pricing and elevate your service to veteran clients this purchase season. Register for IGNITE Live today at 2:00PM ET to discover strategies for thriving in today’s market and how Rocket Pro TPO can be your catalyst for growth. Are you looking to boost your exposure to generate more potential clients? Try out their Marketing Hub toolkits; customizable social tiles; open house flyers, and more can help your business in as easy as a few clicks. With a focus on fostering broker relationships, Rocket Pro TPO delivers the tools and products necessary for your success. For more information, contact Rocket Pro TPO today!

Tune in to MGIC's new on-demand webinar, The Remarkable Rise of Women in the Mortgage Industry. Hear guest speaker Patty Arvielo, CEO of New American Funding, discuss co-founding one of the largest independent mortgage lenders in the nation while fostering growth for women. MGIC’s Paula Maggio, EVP – General Counsel & Secretary, will lead the moderated discussion. Watch now!

Looking for more in-depth commentary on weekly mortgage news? Register here for "Mortgage Matters: The Weekly Roundup” presented by Lenders One. Every Wednesday at 2:00 PM EST/11:00 AM PT join Robbie Chrisman and Justin Demola for a dive into a range of mortgage-related topics, including market trends, interest rate fluctuations, innovative mortgage products, and industry advancements.

Join capital markets experts Mark Teteris, CMB and Jordan Palmer for the upcoming ACUMA Inside Track webinar, Pipeline Productivity: Creating Value for Members in Competitive Markets, on April 4, at 1 p.m. CT to learn more about achieving this important balance. These experts from Optimal Blue will cover how to use data and business intelligence to establish competitive mortgage pricing and leverage agency financial instruments to mitigate risk. They will also share how the valuation of mortgage serving rights (MSRs) factors into competitive pricing and member retention while improving bottom-line results. Registration is open to all: Save your seat today!

Check out National MI’s upcoming April 2024 webinar sessions: Coaching for High Performance with Andrew Oxley - April 4th at 2pm E.T. Mastering LinkedIn for Mortgage Professionals – Session Four ​​​​​with Brynne Tillman - April 9th at 3pm E.T. P&L and Balance Sheet Analysis for Self-Employed Borrowers ​​​​​with Marianne Collins - April 11th at 1pm E.T. Conquering Call Reluctance for Loan Originators with Rebecca Lorenz - April 16th at 1pm E.T. Navigating Today’s Appraisal Process ​​​​​​​​​​with Luke Tomaszewski - April 18th at 1pm E.T.

Friday the 5th is the next episode of The Mortgage Collaborative’s Rundown covering current events in the mortgage market for 30-45 minutes starting at noon PT, 3PM ET, in “The Rundown”. This Friday’s is co-hosted by a special guest!

Angel Oak’s Non-QM webinar series will provide information on industry trends, strategies for finding Non-QM borrowers, and actionable tips for growing your mortgage origination business. Join the panel of Non-QM experts on Tuesday, April 9th and take a detailed look at innovative solutions for self-employed borrowers, real estate investors, and other underserved borrowers.

Join FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Policy Update Virtual Webinar sessions:

Session I will begin with an overview of the HECM section’s style and structure, followed by origination processing and credit policy. April 10th │2:00 PM – 4:00 PM (Eastern).

FHA is offering In-Person, Free Underwriting Training in Denver, CO., April 10, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM MST. Training will provide an overview of FHA underwriting procedures as outlined in FHA’s Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1 and addresses several industry-related frequently asked questions (FAQs). This training will also take an in-depth look at a variety of topics including credit, income, and asset (CIA) documentation; manual underwriting; automated underwriting systems (AUS); closing; and more.

FHA is offering In-Person, Free FHA Appraisal Training in Denver, CO., April 10, 1– 4 PM MST. Training will provide an overview of FHA appraisal protocol and updates to FHA appraisal policy as outlined in FHA’s Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1. This training will also take an in-depth look at a variety of appraisal-related topics including property acceptability criteria; minimum property requirements; property defects; appraiser responsibilities and requirements; and more.

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.

Join the MBA of NJ, in partnership with HUD for the 2024 HUD Housing Counseling Session, April 11th, 2:00PM – 4:00PM at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY., Keys to Homeownership: Building Strategic Partnerships. Session II will cover policies for underwriting the property, closing, and endorsement requirements. April 11th, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET.

Capital Markets

With bond markets closed for the Good Friday holiday, any requested locks and hedge trades were put on in advance of Thursday’s close. However, the holiday didn’t stop our government from releasing some important data. Personal Incomes rose 0.3 percent in February, while spending rose 0.8 percent. Incomes were boosted by solid job growth, slightly higher hourly earnings, and a longer workweek. The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, the PCE Price Index, rose 0.3 percent month-over-month, which was a deceleration from the 0.4 percent increase in January, but higher than figures from the fourth quarter of last year. Year-over-year, the headline figure fell to 2.5 percent and the core rate to 2.8 percent, continuing their general downward trend.

Last week’s economic data reaffirmed the recent trends of strong consumer demand and slowing, but elevated, inflation. The latest GDP revision saw growth revised up to an annualized 3.4 percent rate in the fourth quarter from the previously reported 3.2 percent pace. The increase was attributed to a large upward revision in private non-residential construction as manufacturing construction continues its recent boom. Additionally, consumer spending on services also contributed to the upward revision in GDP. Consumer spending is a double-edged sword as the encouraging bump to economic growth is also contributing to the reluctant slowdown in services prices. Real services spending, which accounts for inflation, rose a healthy 0.6 percent in February; the largest monthly jump since the summer of 2021. Until consumers pullback on services spending businesses have no incentive to ease pricing. Pre-tax corporate profits rose a higher than expected 4.1 percent in the updated GDP report which translates into a $105 billion increase.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is driven by jobs and housing, and home prices continue to rise despite increasing supply and still high mortgage rates. The January S&P Case-Shiller National Home Price Index was 1 percent above its prior peak set in June 2022. On the bright side, higher home price appreciation can lead to greater use of cash-out refinances and higher turnover as people sell to move to lower cost areas. According to a LendingTree analysis of the latest housing data, even though home values in some areas have more than doubled since 2012, more people have become homeowners.

The share of owner-occupied homes in the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas increased by 108 basis points from 2012 to 2022, an increase of 6,155,379 owner-occupied housing units. As of 2022, almost 43.5 million of the 70.4 million occupied housing units in the nation’s 50 largest metros were owner-occupied. The overall homeownership rate across these metros is 61.72 percent. Homeownership rates are highest in the Detroit, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh metros. The homeownership rates in these metros are 71.5 percent, 70.5 percent and 70.4 percent, respectively. Homeownership rates are lowest in the Los Angeles, New York, and San Diego metros. At 47.9 percent, Los Angeles is the only metro among the 50 largest where the homeownership rate is lower than 50 percent.

This week’s economic calendar gets off to a quiet start, with the only data points scheduled today being February Construction Spending and the March ISM Manufacturing Index, both due out later this morning. Highlights from the rest of the week include February Factory Orders, March ADP Employment, and March Nonfarm Payrolls. We begin the week with Agency MBS prices unchanged from Thursday, the 10-year yielding 4.21 after closing last Thursday at 4.20 percent, and the 2-year at 4.62.


“While other companies burn through their AE workforce every 2-3 years, why not join a team that actually cares about your long-term growth and stability: MAI Wholesale. Are you looking to join a group that values human connection just as much as innovative technology? "It's a rough market" is not an excuse for poor support and outdated technology. For 30 years, MAI Wholesale has been helping our AEs foster strong, consistent, and lasting broker relationships. At MAI, we prefer measured growth and developing existing markets. Hearing the phrase “We are rapidly expanding!” should raise a concern about stability and your access to resources. We are looking for AEs in territories east of the Mississippi (Texas included!). We are expanding like the SEC. Explore career opportunities with MAI Wholesale! Connect with Kevin Green, VP TPO Production to learn more.”

“Loan Officers, it's time to upgrade to Market Place Mortgage. We combine advanced technology with industry expertise to enhance the loan officer experience, and the pay is great! We're a lender and broker, allowing you to choose the best path for each client. Our in-house team provides fast, reliable support for conventional, governmental, and non-QM loans and extensive broker options. Our expert underwriters simplify income calculation and set new standards with same day turn times. Loan Officer Assistants handle documentation and application submission, freeing you to focus on loan origination. Looking to grow? MPM offers mentoring programs for professional development and industry-leading compensation packages. Our robust marketing strategies, including advanced CRM techniques and targeted ads, help expand your client base. Don't settle for the outdated, upgrade to Market Place Mortgage. Connect with Gavin Beal, VP Retail Production to learn more.

Homebuilders call loanDepot their joint venture partner of choice. According to EVP of National Joint Ventures Dan Peña, creating sustainable long-term relationships with its partners enables loanDepot to build successful joint venture teams that deliver exceptional service for partners such as LGI Homes, Meritage Homes, and Brookfield Residential. Brian Hall, President of Financial Services at Meritage Homes, which has one of the longest-standing homebuilder joint ventures in the business with loanDepot says, “For more than 20 years Dan and his team have prioritized and supported our needs, helping us consistently sell homes. In turn, this has allowed us to scale for growth through multiple market cycles. The flexibility in their model gives us a distinct competitive advantage.” If you’d like to hear more about how a joint venture with loanDepot can drive success for your business, reach out to Dan Peña directly.