Think you can predict the future? I don’t think so. (Click on that link and think about that caption.) Some foresaw the drop in volume and income after cramming 4-6 years’ worth of production into 2020 & 2021, others were too busy funding loans to make predictions. But things have certainly changed. According to Curinos, March 2024 funded mortgage volume decreased 11 percent YoY but increased 22 percent MoM. The average 30-year conforming retail funded rate in March 2024 was 6.88, 8bps higher than February 2024 and 58bps higher than the same month last year. (Curinos sources a statistically significant data set directly from lenders to produce these benchmark figures.) (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 Lereta’s John Walsh on a recent survey that shows nearly half of respondents would be unable to pay their monthly mortgage payment if their escrow accounts increased by 25 percent.)

Lender and Broker Services, Products, and Software

Looking for insights to help drive your business strategy? Richey May’s 2023 Interactive HMDA Dashboard is now live! The mortgage industry experts at Richey May have scrubbed the raw 2023 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data, offering a window into mortgage origination trends nationwide, and organized it into a dynamic dashboard that allows lenders to drill down on specific markets and companies to aid in strategic business planning. This dashboard allows you to compare your loan characteristics to your peers’ so you can see where you stand. Lenders will also find this dashboard valuable for identifying new markets for expansion, understanding market share trends, seeking out M&A opportunities, measuring the success of sales efforts, and more. Access the dashboard on our website today and reach out to with any questions you may have.

As AmeriHome Mortgage Company welcomes its new leadership team of company and industry veterans, they will be focused on the company’s growth and evolution by relying on the building blocks established by its founders: Relationships, Reliability and Results. Make sure to join AmeriHome Correspondent’s quarterly webinar with Freddie Mac, “Down Payment Assistance 101”, on Wednesday, 4/10, at 10AM PDT. Join for a discussion moderated by AmeriHome’s Managing Director, Correspondent Sales, Steve Kolker, and hear from Freddie Mac Single-Family’s Erik Nore, Director of Affordable Lending, and Sandeep Kaur, DPA One® Senior Product Manager as they discuss the different types of DPA programs, how they work, guidance on identifying the right program for your borrowers, a live DPA One demo, and live Q&A. Register here! Don’t miss AmeriHome at the Great River Conference later this month: check Upcoming Events for details, find your sales rep here, or send them an email to learn about partnering with AmeriHome!

Home equity is easier to sell and will make you more money than first liens. Work with Button Finance as a correspondent, making over 7.5 percent of our loan balance. We closed numerous $250k HELOCs last week using an AVM within 10 days. Each loan generated over $18k in revenue for our correspondent partners. A quote from one of our bankers: "We're so happy we found you, 6 months ago, we were losing money, and I was thinking of leaving the industry, now we're pulling in over $250k a month in profit." For your more rate-sensitive borrowers, Button’s closed-end second rates are 8 percent. Button Finance allows FICO scores as low as 660, CLTVs to 90 percent, and debt ratios to 50 percent. Please feel free to contact Button at to learn more.

Mortgage Capital Trading, the de facto leader in innovative mortgage capital markets technology, recently released its April Lock Volume Indices Report showing an increase of 15 percent in mortgage lock volume from the previous month. Despite facing headwinds of increasing rates, mortgage lock volume continues its upward trajectory as we enter the buying season. Read the latest MCT press release and download the full report to learn more. As volume starts to increase, you may be interested in how MCT clients saved an average of $97,000 in 2023 leveraging bid tape assignment-of-trade (AOT) executions. In their educational post on AOT executions, MCT experts delve into the nature of an AOT execution, the impact of bid tape AOT on TBA positions, and how bid tape AOT affects the best execution strategy.

Finally, an LOS that can do it all. Mortgage Machine™ is an out-of-the-box, all-in-one LOS designed to accelerate lenders’ operational velocity and support an end-to-end digital origination process. Mortgage Machine’s key platform features include AI-powered data management and task automation, which allows you to easily locate and retrieve documents using intuitive search functionalities powered by AI. You can now streamline mortgage

document handling with AI-powered automation, reducing manual errors and processing time. Mortgage Machine provides a scalable cloud-based infrastructure, flexible APIs, pre-configured workflows for retail and TPO channels and POS functionality. Mortgage Machine also offers eClosing capabilities, including an eClose room, eNotes, eVault and RON, and utilizes MISMO SMARTDoc® data and security standards. If you’re ready to harness the time- and cost-savings digital mortgages deliver, register for the live demo on April 18th at 12 pm CT. Can’t make it? Schedule some time with the Mortgage Machine team.

Wholesale and TPO News

First, a follow up to a note that was published in this Chrisman LLC Commentary. Lima One Capital did not “close wholesale” this week. Per Jeff Tennyson, CEO, “We terminated 3 LOs and a sales manager on Monday who worked in our Broker Channel. There’s no department to ‘exit’ and all the performing LOs who originated 90 percent+ of the loans in this group were retained and still originating in our Broker Channel.” I apologize for mis-stating this termination.

Anyone can sue anyone, of course, and word broke yesterday of a class action lawsuit involving United Wholesale Mortgage. Borrowers filed a class action lawsuit against United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) and CEO Mat Ishbia, alleging the lender violated the RICO Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), civil conspiracy and unjust enrichment among other claims.

But as one broker wrote to me, “I don’t see UWM’s fees as being higher; they’re usually the same or less than most. Yes, there are the Provident’s of the world, but closing atypical non plain Jane is not an option. And UWM’s system lets my clients close faster than the competition and that’s why my clients have been buying houses over others.” Another wrote, “As brokers we look for the best deal for our clients. The ‘best deal’ is not only price but performance of the people we sell loans too. Borrowers are free to shop brokers to get the best price and often do. It is not like they are forced to do business with any company. All fees are disclosed to the borrowers upfront who can then shop the deal just like any other product.”

Ocwen (“Newco” spelled backwards) Financial Corporation, the parent company of PHH Mortgage and Liberty Reverse Mortgage, spread the word that it is planning to rebrand to OnityTM Group Inc. Ocwen Financial Corporation expects to formally change its name to Onity Group Inc. and begin trading on the NYSE under the new stock symbol “ONIT” in June, subject to shareholder approval. “Ocwen’s primary mortgage brands, PHH Mortgage Corporation and Liberty Reverse Mortgage, will retain their names at this time. We expect to begin rebranding PHH Mortgage Corporation and Liberty Reverse Mortgage to Onity Mortgage later this year.”

“Our decision to rebrand is a result of the extensive transformation of our Company over the past five years to a balanced and diversified business and represents the evolution of our Company. Following comprehensive research, analysis, and testing, Onity (pronounced ON-it-ee) was selected as our primary brand name. Within the name Onity is the phrase ‘on it,’ as in ‘we’re on it,’ which conveys action and the promise of dependability, performance, and support.

Pennymac will update the Best-Efforts rate sheet effective for all Commitments as listed in Announcement 24-30.

AmeriHome Mortgage 20240308-CL General Announcement summarizes previously published changes made during March, additional changes made with the announcement, and recent Agency and regulatory news.

Capital Markets

Our Federal Reserve Open Market Committee can’t see into the future any better than anyone else. Many critics will say that the FOMC dropped rates too far, and bought too many securities, during the pandemic and now we’re paying the price. Occasionally the question comes up, “During the pandemic, the U.S. Federal Reserve stepped in and bought Agency mortgage-backed securities (not private label/non-Agency securities). How much does the Fed own?” Well, here you go.

The first week of the month is traditionally heavy on labor market indicators, and we learned yesterday that employers added 184k jobs in March, according to the ADP Employment Survey. Job openings were more or less unchanged in February, but down 11 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to the JOLTS jobs report. The quits rate was flat month-over-month at 2.2 percent, and down significantly from a year ago. Tomorrow’s session brings the highlight of the week, non-farm payrolls data for March, where expectations are for the economy to have added 214k jobs over the course of the month. A surprise to the upside will potentially give the Fed more power to hold rates steady, which would put additional pressure on bond prices.

Investors continued to unwind rate cut bets ahead of and after a speech by Fed Chair Powell yesterday. His speech came on the heels of a string of healthy economic data releases from and during the first quarter. The Fed chief said recent inflation figures, though higher than expected, do not “materially change” the overall picture. And in sticking to his recent comments, Powell said that decisions would be made “meeting by meeting.” It's clear that policymakers need greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably down to the 2 percent target before cutting rates. He added that it is too soon to say that recent strong prints are “more than just a bump.” Powell said decisions would be free of politics despite this year’s presidential election. He reiterated that the policy rate is likely at its peak for the cycle and that the central bank has time to let data guide the direction of policy. He also said that he doesn't expect inflation to reaccelerate.

Ahead of tomorrow’s payrolls report, today’s calendar is already under way with some other labor market indicators. March job cuts from Challenger, Gray and Christmas. U.S.-based employers announced 90,309 cuts in March, up 7 percent from February, and about the same as March last year. We’ve also had weekly jobless claims (221k, a shade higher than expected but the jobs market is doing just fine) and the February trade deficit (on target).

Later today brings Treasury announcing the details of next week’s mini-Refunding (consisting of $58 billion 3-year notes, $39 billion reopened 10-year notes, and $22 billion reopened 30-year bonds), Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, and another heavy calendar of Fed speakers: Philadelphia’s Harker, Richmond's Barkin, Chicago’s Goolsbee, Cleveland's Mester, Minneapolis’ Kashkari, new St. Louis Fed President Musalem, and Fed Governor Kugler. Remember the days when the Fed's thought process was cloaked in secrecy? We begin the day with Agency MBS prices roughly unchanged from Wednesday and the 10-year yielding 4.36 after closing yesterday at 4.36 percent. The 2-year is yielding 4.69… the inverted yield curve continues with no sign of an impending recession.


Allen Middleman wrote, “Hey Rob, you mentioned the other day we at Freedom Mortgage Wholesale were looking to hire wholesale account executives. I was really happy with the response, but I still need more Account Executives! We need the best Account Executives nationwide. The best are not just product experts but also relationship builders. At Freedom Mortgage Wholesale we believe Account Executives are vital to our success. We have been creating success for 30 years. Our people and processes are time-tested, giving us trusted stability, no matter the market conditions. Freedom Mortgage is 4EVER Wholesale. Join our strong group of Account Executives who average 15 years in industry and 10+ years at Freedom Mortgage. If you are the best and want to work with a financially stable company to build your future, contact me now. “

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