“I think it’s disgraceful that after 55 years, people don’t know who Neil Armstrong was… or even the type of trumpet he played.” Time flies. Did you know that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have their driver’s permits? I am kidding about the permit, but it has been 16 years since they were placed under conservatorship, under the FHFA. Of course, no regulator ever wants their job to go away, so it is doubtful that the FHFA will be an active proponent of “releasing them into the wild.” Besides, their focus has, in recent years, shifted to first-time home buyers and previously underserved markets. While we’re on the passing of the years, at a recent TMC session on leadership, First Community’s Keith Canter reminded everyone that it was four years ago that managers and companies sent everyone home due to the pandemic. Companies couldn’t hire fast enough. Two years later rates moved higher, and managers were dealing with layoffs. Since, management teams have been focused on what is working, what is not working, and what employees need from their supervisors. It is a good exercise to partake in several times a year. (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 Loan Vision’s Paul Loftus on the competitive landscape of the mortgage market and strategic direction of the mortgage accounting space.)

Lender and Broker Services, Products, and Software

Stay “in the know” with the MGIC’s Mortgage Connects knowledge hub, your single-source destination for 100s of resources and insights to build your referral network and educate homebuyers.

Your Legacy LOS May Be Costing You More Than You Realize! Let’s be honest: legacy mortgage solutions no longer cut it if you want to grow, and nurture, lasting relationships and key revenue opportunities. Today’s borrowers demand a fast, frictionless digital journey without sacrificing the personalized touch from their loan officer. 100 percent browser-based and cloud-native mortgage lending technology, such as MeridianLink® Mortgage LOS, is crucial to helping you attract and retain more business by prioritizing the borrower experience while reducing costs and enhancing ROI. Looking to make the switch but unsure where to start? Here are 5 questions to ask when beginning the search for a new mortgage LOS.

Free eBook: How to Lower Costs, Boost Profitability, and Surge Ahead of the Competition in 2024. Looking to improve your strategy as Q2 begins? By upleveling your plan, you can reduce fixed costs, improve your bottom line, and set the groundwork to win market share as volume begins to improve. Want to learn how? We spoke to senior members of the Maxwell team, each with decades of industry experience, and the result is our new eBook: an actionable guide that will teach you the likely path for rates and volume in 2024, strategies to bulk up your pipeline, why reevaluating your cost structure is vital to achieving profitability, and more. Get your free copy today to inform your 2024 planning: Click here to download Make More Out of ‘24: How to Win Market Share as Your Competition Lags.

“What do you need to know about fair lending compliance in 2024? That’s the question we answered in our recent webinar. With the HMDA submission window open, what better time to look at fair lending? In this new article, our team reviews the top 7 takeaways critical for your institution, including: Adverse Action Notices (AANs) are a cornerstone of your Fair Lending Compliance Program; Denying loans based on immigration status may violate ECOA protections; Don’t try to outsmart your borrowers; Marketing is critical to your fair lending lifecycle; Monitor pricing exceptions; Make sure you’re collecting HMDA/1071 data and reporting it correctly; and You must manage third-party and indirect fair lending compliance. Read the full article for more.”

First Colony Mortgage Corporation (FCM TPO): Introducing our revolutionary mobile app and most robust TPO portal! Say goodbye to time-consuming tasks and hello to efficiency. With our app, manage your pipeline seamlessly, access pricing and loan information, and get the resources you need, all while on-the-go or in meetings with clients. We understand your needs and are committed to delivering the solutions you deserve. Here is what our brokers are saying, ‘I just registered a new purchase with you, and it was probably the easiest portal to lock a loan I've ever experienced,’ Danielle O.” FCM TPO is up and running with some of the most experienced Account Executives in the industry including Robb Fordham, Mike Meyers, Matt McGuinn, Marcus Korth, Velvet Cordes, Rex Hagood, Kurt McLaughlin, Tom Carroll, Angela Lewis, Brennan Baim, Roger Quandt, Cassie Quinn Mead, Ralph Mesa, Mike Antrim, and Chris Agin. If you are not approved with FCM TPO, please reach out.”

“Headed to Memphis April 16-18 for the Great River MBA Conference (GRC24)? The Optimal Blue team would love to connect and discuss your Q2 goals! This year, our capital markets solution specialist, Brad Eskridge, will join in the 7-in-7 presentation on April 17. In this seven-minute presentation, he will showcase how Trade Assistant, available in Optimal Blue’s CompassEdge hedging and loan trading platform, can add next-level precision, enhanced accuracy, and increased speed to your hedging process, making it all but foolproof! After the session, visit Brad and the Optimal Blue team at Booth 20 in the Peabody Grand Ballroom to learn how our capital markets solutions can help you operate more profitably and efficiently. Better yet, schedule a personalized meeting with our experts to discuss your business goals and current challenges!”

Loan officers are the lifeblood of any successful lender. Lenders who can recruit and retain talented producers will be able to ensure an active pipeline and exceed their revenue goals. Competition and compliance challenges in the current market demand that you set up a scalable recruiting function to target the right talent that aligns with your business. Join Total Expert on Wednesday, April 17 as we sit down with InGenius CEO Jeff Walton to discuss strategies for identifying, engaging, and converting loan officers who are the right fit for your business. Save your digital seat.

FHA and USDA Updates

FHA published in the Federal Register (FR), Mortgagee Review Board: Administrative Actions [Docket No. FR-6455-N-01]. The FR Notice provides a description of, and the cause for, the Mortgagee Review Board’s administrative actions against HUD-approved mortgagees in 54 fact-based cases; five cases where mortgagees failed to timely obtain a required Unique Entity Identifier; and 15 mortgagees that had annual recertification violations and were withdrawn from the program for one year. Read the entire FR Notice by viewing the Mortgagee Review Board: Administrative Actions.

Pennymac is aligning with the recent USDA changes to technical Handbook 1-3555 Chapter 8. Effective 4/1/2024. For details, view Pennymac Announcement 24-29.

Pennymac will update Government LLPAs effective for all Best-Efforts Commitments taken on or after Friday, March 29th. Details shown in Pennymac Announcement 24-32.

DPA Direct by Unified Reliance Wholesale (URW) is a 100 percent financing option pairs a primary FHA loan with down payment assistance in the form of a second lien. This means more homebuyers can take advantage of the benefits of an FHA loan without having to come up with a 3.5 percent down payment. And better yet, this program is available in most states*, unlike some location-specific assistance programs. *Not available in MA, NJ, or NY.

Capital Markets

Market reaction to the inflation numbers from Friday, which showed core prices in February cooled relative to the spike observed in January while personal spending rose more than anticipated on the heels of the largest gain in wages in the past year, was a little sour to open this trading week. Bonds and MBS prices were down, and thus rates moved up toward their highest levels of 2024.

Both that report and yesterday's data releases from the manufacturing sector supported ongoing hawkishness among Federal Open Market Committee officials. The S&P Global U.S. Manufacturing PMI dipped slightly in the final reading for March while the ISM Manufacturing Index unexpectedly returned into expansion. U.S. manufacturing expanded in March for the first time since 2022 on a sharp rebound in production and stronger demand, while input costs climbed.

Keep in mind that March nonfarm payroll employment data will be the headline this week. Growth likely decelerated in March, holding the unemployment rate unchanged and indicating the modest margin of slack in the economy is slowing wage growth to a pace more typical of a balanced job market. We learned yesterday that total construction spending, which was expected to have risen, declined 0.3 percent during February, the second consecutive monthly drop. Construction spending was expected to be buoyed by single-family construction and non-residential building subsidized by government incentives for renewables and semiconductor reshoring.

Fed Chair Powell reminded market participants at the end of last week that the Fed is in no hurry to begin cutting rates. He mentioned that there might be some seasonal noise in Q1 data as it encompasses more than just inflation and perhaps Q4 was understated which makes January and February overstated. Bond traders are now pricing in fewer Fed rate cuts this year, and the solid U.S. factory data reinforced speculation the central bank will be in no rush.

The odds of a first cut in June are moving down toward 50 percent, while three 25 basis point cuts for 2024 (at the June, September, and December FOMC meetings) are currently pricing in as the highest probability. Fed Governor Waller echoed Chair Powell’s comments yesterday, saying there is no rush to lower interest rates and emphasizing that recent economic data warrants delaying or reducing the number of cuts this year.

Today’s economic calendar gets under way shortly with Redbook same store sales for the week ending March 30, and will be followed by February factory orders, JOLTS job openings, several short-duration Treasury auctions, and a litany of Fed speakers (all current FOMC voters). After the bearish mood yesterday sent the 10-year yield climbing 12 basis points to 4.33 percent, we begin Tuesday with Agency MBS prices worse .125 and the 10-year yielding 4.35; the 2-year is up to 4.72.

Jobs and Transitions

Are you an experienced mortgage banking professional with a passion for building and leading high-performing teams? An ongoing mortgage banker is seeking a talented individual to join its Northern California team as the Vice President of Mortgage Banking, ideally in, or within driving distance of, the Greater Sacramento area. In this role, you will have the opportunity to shape the future of the company’s mortgage banking division and drive growth through strategic recruitment and operational excellence. The company is looking for a leader with the ability to drive production, to work closely with operation management to build a streamlined process and provide overall management. If you are a dynamic leader with a strategic mindset and a passion for excellence, you’re invited to apply for the VP of Mortgage Banking position. Take the next step in your career and join in shaping the future of mortgage banking. Apply now to be considered for this exciting opportunity: send me your confidential resume for forwarding.

“It’s 1999: Californication and Slim Shady dominate the charts, the iconic films Fight Club and The Matrix are released, Serena Williams wins her first Grand Slam to kick off an outrageous career and with inspiring greatness being born all around Seth Fass founds East Coast Capital. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, East Coast Capital has scored incredible victories for clients to achieve their homeownership goals. Once a small broker, NY-Based East Coast Capital is now a licensed bank across the nation, approved with Fannie, Freddie, and FHA and also specializes in underwriting Non-QM loans. Committed to providing homeowners access to capital and supporting loan officers with a diverse range of products and common-sense approach to underwriting, the movies and songs may have fallen off the playlist and Serena has retired from the courts, but born among the best, East Coast Capital still remains! Ready to Join? Email us.”

Homecomings Mortgage & Equity, a division of AnnieMac Home Mortgage, is thrilled to announce Rocky Bergante's appointment as the new Regional Manager based in Chicago. Rocky brings an impressive track record of over 25 years in the mortgage industry. His strategic planning, sales, and growth expertise have led to remarkable achievements. His recent roles include SVP of National Business Development at Amres Corporation and VP of Sales for Interfirst Mortgage. "Rocky's past success in growing teams is evidence of what Rocky will do at Homecomings," said Fobby Naghmi, SVP at Homecomings Mortgage & Equity. "We are eagerly anticipating the innovative strategies and exceptional leadership he will bring to our company. “Rocky’s appointment marks a significant step in Homecomings Mortgage & Equity's journey toward excellence and innovation in the mortgage sector. Mortgage professionals interested in exploring opportunities with Homecomings Mortgage & Equity are encouraged to Fobby.

AFR Wholesale® is on an exhilarating growth trajectory, and on the lookout for forward thinking Sales and Operations Leaders. Are you a modern mortgage leader with a knack for crafting strategies that turn customers into raving fans and elevate the experience beyond expectations? Then you're exactly who we need to steer our expanding team towards unparalleled success. At AFR, we value leaders who are leveraging technology to battle the complexities of the industry but are also passionate about making homeownership dreams a reality. As an equal opportunity employer, we’re dedicated to fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment. Joining AFR means being part of a dynamic team that’s dedicated to helping families achieve their dream of homeownership. Don't miss this exciting opportunity to be part of AFR’s growth journey and make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Want to have a confidential discussion about your career? Email us.”