I head to Connecticut early today for the CMBA conference, but on another personal note, congratulations to Robbie Chrisman, host of the daily mortgage podcast based on this Commentary, who recently rode his single-speed bicycle from Manhattan, across the Appalachians, to Chicago, working when not pedaling. (In terms of physical prowess, I feel fortunate not cramping up putting my socks on in the morning.) The weather seems to have improved in most places, the Northeast included, and we’re approaching travel season. Here’s an interesting list of tourist scams to avoid during all seasons. (I’ve never had a baby thrown my way.) Perhaps the improving weather influenced homebuilder sentiment, as have falling lumber prices: sentiment has improved in May according to the NAHB off the lows of 2022. People need a place to live, but perhaps not one to work. “The ‘return to the office’ won’t save the office: More people are going to offices more of the time. Offices are still in trouble.” U.S. lenders, including banks who own those loans, are being warned that commercial property is “next shoe to drop.” Executives and investors fret about the impact of rising rates and empty buildings on the $5.6 trillion market. (Today’s podcast can be found here and this week’s is sponsored by Richey May, a recognized leader in providing specialized advisory, audit, tax, technology and other services to the mortgage industry for almost four decades, helping transform the mortgage business. Interview with Richey May’s Nathan Lee on the best ways for lenders to leverage data, benchmark, and analyze various metrics to achieve profitability.)

Lender and Broker Products, Software, and Services

Servicers of all types and sizes trust their portfolios to MSP®, Black Knight’s loan servicing system. Just ask 7 Servicing, a credit union service organization that recently chose Black Knight’s integrated solutions. In addition to MSP, which supports all aspects of servicing, from loan boarding to default, 7 Servicing will use Servicing Digital to give its members a convenient, self-service application. Accessible via a mobile app or the web, Servicing Digital gives homeowners easy access to personalized and timely information about their mortgage and home. What’s more, organizations like 7 Servicing that use Servicing Digital can build deeper relationships and engagement with their members. This can lead to higher member satisfaction and increased retention. Learn how Servicing Digital can help you improve the customer experience at your organization in the blog post ”5 Ways to Retain More Servicing Customers Through Communication.”

“Rain just after you wash your car. Being late and hitting every red light. Some things in life happen just like clockwork. You know what you can also count on? Working with a consistent team of processors when you pass your processing operations to wemlo®. Our processing pod set-up means you’ll have a go-to processor, dedicated backup processor, and manager you can count on for every loan submitted. We know you don’t want a bunch of random processors in your files or working with your hard-earned clients – that’s why we’ve designed a workflow centered around business continuity. Ready for dependable third-party processing support? Learn more about wemlo’s consistent third-party processing services today.

Best execution on a loan plus reduced repurchase risk at no additional upfront cost? A no brainer, right? Work with your hedge advisory firm and Plaza National Correspondent Lending for a “last look.” If Plaza Home Mortgage can match the pricing, you’ll get the best price plus Plaza’s Certified Loan Program that protects you from buybacks due to manufacturing defects. Reach out to Plaza for more information or see Plaza at MBA Secondary in NYC, May 21-24.

Still on the fence about DPA? Here what Click n’ Close client Steve Shelton, Managing Principal at First Choice Lending Services, has to say: “Click n’ Close’s proprietary DPA product has helped us tremendously grow our purchase money business and close more deals, especially when our borrowers don’t qualify for other programs because of income limits, or where seller-paid concessions weren’t available or in multiple offer situations. From management to account executives, inside reps and underwriters, everyone at Click n’ Close comes together to figure out how to make loans work and close them efficiently, truly a boutique style of service rarely seen in today’s wholesale marketplace.” Contact Adam Rieke or Kerry Webb (wholesale) or Julas Hollie (correspondent) to get started today. P.S. Don’t miss Michael Lima’s DPA session at the MBA Secondary Conference on Tuesday, May 23 at 11 am, or drop him a line to meet in person.

What's an internal audit anyway and do you need one? An internal audit acts as a third line of defense for your mortgage operation. It provides comprehensive assurance based on the highest level of independence and objectivity to evaluate the effectiveness of management’s internal controls. This function should advise your mortgage operation on plans to achieve the company's strategic, operational, financial and compliance goals. An effective internal audit should go far beyond just checking a compliance box; it should be an integral part of protecting your company. If you want to ensure you’re adhering to regulatory requirements and demonstrating good faith business practices, a Richey May internal audit is a good fit. If you’re looking to be Fannie Mae approved in the future or want to maintain your approved status, it’s required. If you’re unsure whether you need an internal audit, ask one of Richey May’s experts today or learn more here.

There are over 200 different species of chameleons in the world, each optimized for their own environment. Their ability to adapt and change color in their surroundings is key to their survival. In a rapidly evolving mortgage industry, lenders need to be able to adapt just as quickly. As home equity increases HELOCs present lenders with new opportunities, and innovative technology can help lenders offset the risks involved in home equity lending. In a Q&A with the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU), Wolters Kluwer’s Mark Mackey explored the effects of the shifting industry and the growing importance of Home Equity, particularly in regard to credit unions. He also examines the risks and benefits of HELOCs. Learn more about the importance of HELOCs in the shifting industry by reading the Q&A today.

You do everything to create a perfect origination experience, yet you send a link to some random AMCs your borrowers never heard of where they’re expected to share personal information and a credit card. For lenders with less than 50 loans per month, is it likely your AMC will create a dedicated page featuring your brand? Not likely. Well, enter Jaro. Not an AMC, but technology that empowers AMCs. This technology creates a branded landing page for your appraisal orders. Additionally, Jaro offers a suite of products to provide more predictability with your borrower's values. On Tuesday, May 23rd at 2 pm ET/11 am PT, National Mortgage Professional, we’ll deep-dive into the appraisal process, identify its flaws, and discuss potential remedies made possible by Jaro, all without switching your AMC. This session will feature Jaro’s Managing Director, Gareth Borcherds. To be a part of this enlightening discussion, register here.

Capital Markets

Mortgage rates rose to the highest level in nearly two months yesterday as prices on the front-end of the yield curve were weighed down by better-than-expected data and long-end yields were pushed up due to Pfizer’s $31 billion duration-heavy, multi-tranche, fourth largest ever offering of bonds. There were also FDIC sales, $12.5 billion over Monday and yesterday in total, which contributed to the widening of MBS spreads to roughly 315 basis points. Retail sales, which factor into GDP, rose in April despite still-high inflation and borrowing costs as slow unemployment and steady wage growth continued to support demand. The 0.4 percent month-over-month advance in sales would normally be good but follows larger declines in February and March (-0.7 percent) and doesn't take into account price changes, meaning that on an inflation-adjusted basis retail sales are actually down. Declining sales will eventually be a headwind to economic growth this year.

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index rose to 50 in May, meaning an equal number of builders have as positive a view of the market as a negative view of the market. Though the figure beat both expectations and April’s reading, the index has been trending under 50 since last August and fell a record twelve months in a row over the entirety of last year.

The housing boom over the past couple of years was mostly in home prices, not in home building, and this report dampens expectations for much new home building leading up to and continuing during the spring season. This report, and the lack of home building in general, suggests that the dire shortage of new home construction is not set to change anytime soon, which is quite a head scratcher considering the extreme dearth of home inventory for sale.

As every lender knows, the inventory of homes for sale has dried up. So, where have the spring home selling seasonals gone? Ask the millions of American homeowners paying 4 percent or less on their mortgages who are deciding to stay put rather than trade up. One-third of housing inventory hitting the market is new construction, compared to historical norms of a little more than 10 percent. The annual rate of home building currently resides at 980k, less than half its 2.3 million average since 2000. Existing home sales are due out tomorrow morning and are expected to drop to a 4.3 million annualized rate, or down 3.2 percent compared to March, which in turn was down 2.4 percent compared to February. It’s rough out there.

After mortgage rates increased last week (even as Treasury yields were essentially flat), mortgage applications decreased 5.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from MBA. We’ve also received housing starts and building permits for April (). Markets were looking for 1.44 million and 1.46 million compared with 1.42 million and 1.43 million previously. Later today brings a Treasury auction of $15 billion 20-year bonds. We begin the day with the 2-year back up to 4.07, Agency MBS prices better by a few 32nds, and the 10-year yielding 3.52 after closing yesterday at 3.55 percent.

I, and an estimated couple thousand industry execs, head up Manhattan soon. Adam Quinones, Founder of dataQollab and former Head of Mortgages at Refinitiv, has some advice for anyone going to New York for the MBA’s National Secondary. (Part 3 of 5.) “Be careful crossing the street: the yellow cars don’t stop. If you’re hailing a cab, look for yellow tops with their numbers lit up. That means the driver wants a fare. Once you’re in the cab, give the driver a cross street, not an address. “9th and 57th” for example. If you give them an address, they will know you’re a tourist and will be more likely to take you on a joy ride.”

Employment and Transitions

Evergreen Home Loans™ is passionate about changing the world one relationship at a time through homeownership. That passion has established Evergreen as one of the Western states’ leading residential mortgage lenders for over 36 years. Consistently named one of the best workplaces in America, Evergreen is known as a people-powered local lender with big advantages, committed to providing high-touch service that’s complimented by a robust portfolio of products that meets the needs of today’s buyers and real estate agents and an exclusive technology platform that brings mobility and convenience to mortgage origination. “When it comes to tools of the trade, our loan officers are armed for success. Modern technology helps us super serve customers and streamline the process for everybody,” said Todd Miles, executive vice president, loan production, at Evergreen. If you’re passionate about impacting lives through homeownership, visit the careers page and discover what’s possible with Evergreen.

“In an ever-changing industry, it’s more important than ever for a mortgage company to be able to pivot, adapt, and grow. Homestead Funding has been assisting borrowers with their home financing needs for nearly 30 years, and we continue to expand our programs, enhance our technology stack, and grow our sales team. Aletha of North Carolina joined our team for two main reasons: Homestead’s resilience in the mortgage industry, and the confidence in knowing there are colleagues, support staff, and senior management behind her. Dave from New York signed on for our focus on superior service for our borrowers and emphasis on partners’ experience. To learn more about why Loan Originators choose Homestead Funding, watch our video here. For more career information and confidential talk, contact Michele Teague today: (518)-368-1494.”

You’re obviously the kind of mortgage professional who stays in the know. Why else would you be reading the Chrisman Newsletter? If we have you pegged, you’ll love this: we tracked down 4 surprising mortgage stats that will change the rest of 2023. Just click here for the free infographic. Stat-savvy and looking for your next business move? Motto Mortgage brokerages are hiring talented loan originators in: AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, and WA. Get all the info here.

“Are you a proven, high-performing Non-QM Account Executive? We're looking to add YOU to our roster. Join the team of elite Account Executives who have access to uncapped commissions allowing you to earn what you’re worth, dedicated Scenarios Desk with HERO Broker Portal assistance, and exclusive loan products outside of what traditional Non-QM lenders offer including CDFI financing. Borrowers are leaving the 9-5 model and need solutions. Fill their financing needs & grow your own book of business while making an impact for diverse and underserved markets. Ready to change your jersey and dominate the Non-QM market? Reach out to Angela Castillo, VP of Talent Acquisitions, today for a confidential interview at 602.848.2967 or click here.”

Opus Capital Markets Consultants is excited to announce the addition of Pete Thomas to the company, to focus on creating new opportunities for the organization. “Pete has a tremendous industry background, particularly in Capital Markets, having been with Clayton/Covius, PHH, Freedom, and Bear Stearns, with deep relationships across the country,” said Pete Butler, EVP Strategy and Growth at Opus.

Dovenmuehle has appointed Ron Malik as SVP of default servicing to oversee Dovenmuehle's special servicing initiatives and maintain a high level of compliance and service satisfaction in all areas of default servicing,