“Scientists got together to study the effects of alcohol on a person’s walk, and the result was staggering.” The news impacting human life and property over the weekend was truly staggering, ranging from one (Bill Walton, basketball player) to possibly thousands (buried alive from a landslide in Papua New Guinea, north of Australia). More than 40 were killed in an Israeli strike against Hamas. Tornadoes tore through the middle of the United States, killing more than 20 and destroying thousands of structures. We talk about climate change, and global warming, yet now an airline has begun just to fly pets at $6k a pop. (What’s Bella’s money and carbon footprint now?) Meanwhile, at a micro level but impacting lives, lenders are continuing to try to save money, some by charging for VOEs (often based on regulations and practices at the state-level, but many loans have two or more VOEs run) or at least turning off the automatic running of VOEs and making the process manual. Lenders saving money and staying afloat has been a combination of many factors and will continue to be. (Found here, this week’s podcasts are sponsored by American Financial Resources, the mortgage lender that's shaking things up by streamlining processes, bringing on the best humans in the business, and putting the customer experience front and center. Today’s features an interview with Prudent AI’s Paul Gigliotti on empowering lenders to pre-approve loans in one click.)

Lender and Broker Services, Products, and Software

At a time when interest rates are high and volumes are low, your team needs to focus on driving business rather than mundane tasks. Dark Matter Technologies created AIVA Docs, an AI document assistant, to give lenders a crucial advantage. Developed with a deep understanding of the mortgage market, and a decade of research, development, and investment — AIVA Docs classifies documents and creates structured data from them, which allows AIVA Rules to flag discrepancies (like missing signatures, data fields, documents or data that doesn't match the loan) so your team can move faster. When you’re ready to automate manual tasks that make human eyes tear and minds wander, think AIVA.

Transform your lending operations with Vesta’s innovative LOS. Vesta's data-driven approach eliminates manual tasks, enabling your team to focus on what truly matters. With real-time analytics, automated workflows, and unparalleled efficiency, Vesta helps lenders achieve faster closing times, higher loan quality, and lower operational costs. Experience the benefits of a platform designed to evolve with your needs: Join the future of lending with Vesta and take your company to the next level. Learn more here.

If you have clients who are retired, or thinking of it, Wendy Barnett, most recently with Arch MI, is launching a new business: That Social Security Gal. As a Registered Social Security Analyst, RSSA®, she can help you and your 55+ clients crack the Social Security code with ease with a Personalized Social Security Analysis, because “winging it” isn’t a strategy. She will help you maximize your benefits and outsmart the system (legally of course!), and answer common misconceptions like, “When is the best age for me to start benefits?”, “Can my spouse start taking benefits before I do?”, “I never worked and we divorced 20 years ago, am I still entitled to benefits?”, and “If I continue to work and collect benefits, are they affected?” Visit her website and start the conversation! You and your borrowers will be in good hands.

Webinars and Training

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.

Join Kristin Messerli and Jeremy Potter today, Tuesday May 28th at 10am PT/1pm ET for the latest episode of Mortgages with Millennials as they chat with mortgage advisors Armando Novelo and Pinky Shah about marketing strategy and brand promotion for originators, especially when it comes to targeting first-time buyers. Topics will include confronting challenges in unaffordable markets, expanding channels and databases to capture clients, and some creative ways to meet the needs of the next generation of homeowners.

Webinar: Surprise: First-time home buyers are on the rise. Here’s how to earn their business. Presented by Maxwell tomorrow at 1 p.m. CT, we’ll dig into Maxwell’s exclusive data to better understand today’s first-time buyers and explore how to cater to this valuable segment. Click here to save your seat (and if you can’t make the live event, you can still register for the on-demand recording!).

There’s the 2024 NRMLA Eastern Regional Meeting May 29th, 9:30 am - 5:30 pm. A representative from the CFPB's Mortgage Markets division will discuss marketplace issues and trends that the CFPB is closely monitoring, and other initiatives related to reverse mortgages. In addition to the CFPB, you'll hear from FHA, Ginnie Mae, Urban Institute, NRMLA's legislative team, and other subject matter experts.

Looking for more in-depth commentary on weekly mortgage news? Register here for "Mortgage Matters: The Weekly Roundup” presented by Lenders One. This Wednesday at 2:00 PM EST/11:00 AM PT Robbie Chrisman and Justin Demola will interview Elizabeth Burton, managing director and senior client investment strategist in Client Solutions Group (CSG) at Goldman Sachs in New York.

Operations Masterclass for lenders looking to drive change in their organizations! Join some Ops heavyweights as they share a framework with tangible paybooks for success and apply it to Truv's cutting edge income and employment verifications platform as a real-world example. May 29 at 1pm CT. Register here.

Webinar: Surprise: First-time home buyers are on the rise. Here’s how to earn their business. In this webinar, presented by Maxwell on May 29 at 1 p.m. CT, we’ll dig into Maxwell’s exclusive data to better understand today’s first-time buyers and explore how to cater to this valuable segment. Click here to save your seat (and if you can’t make the live event, you can still register for the on-demand recording!).

American Banker’s webinar on Thursday, May 30, 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT has executives from Plaid and American Bankers Association will discuss the impact open banking could have on the digital financial ecosystem, challenges and opportunities for small and medium sized financial institutions, and what they can be doing now to prepare.

Thursday the 30th will be another episode of The Big Picture at 3PM ET, Rich Swerbinsky is interviewing industry vet Sue Woodard from The STRATMOR Group.

Friday the 31st will see an episode of The Mortgage Collaborative’s Rundown with Melissa Langdale and me covering current events in the mortgage market for 30 minutes starting at noon PT, 3PM ET, in “The Rundown”.

Learn how the MCT Base Rate Generator is changing the pricing landscape from Chris Anderson and Luke Chang of MCT as well as Brian Gilpin of Embrace Home Loans and Jessica Chen of Inspire Home Loans. The solution combines live agency API connections, co-issue executions, aggregator pricing, and custom TBA indications with decades of experience advising clients on custom rate sheet creation. Originators interested in learning more about the industry-first features included in Base Rate Generator should register for the upcoming webinar on June 4th.

National MI June 2024 webinar sessions include The Power of Mindset and Mid-Year Reflection ​​with Rebecca Lorenz - June 5th at 1pm ET.

There’s the MISMO Spring Summit, June 3-6 in San Francisco. Don't miss the opportunity to tune into panel discussions and working group sessions focused on some of the most pressing topics in the mortgage finance industry at the MISMO Spring Summit. Get in early and save a lot. Early registration savings expire on Monday, April 8. Additionally, MISMO Summit attendees can earn huge savings on the AI Workshop: Artificial Intelligence & Mortgage - The Art of the Possible, June 3rd, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM.

NAR Settlement and Its Implications for Real Estate Agents and Lenders Explored at Special Regional Conference Session on June 5th at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City.

This important session has a panel of industry leaders and subject matter experts delving into the implications and ramifications of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Settlement. The Panel will also explore what to expect as a result of the Settlement and how to prepare for the changes to come.

The Plaza team is ready to ROCK at the Hard Rock Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ for the 40th Anniversary of the Northeast Regional Conference of MBAs, June 4-7. If you’re attending, make sure to stop by the Plaza booth to say hello. They have an impressive lineup of affordable housing programs to talk about. From the ever- popular FHA 100 percent CLTV Combo Loan Program, to the cutting-edge Closed-End Seconds program and our suite of Renovation loan options.

Capital Markets

Are you capital markets curious? Want to build your capital markets knowledge and network? CapitalW Collective is a new, exciting non-profit focused on educating, elevating, and empowering women and their allies in our industry. Follow them on Linkedin, and get involved.

Turning to bonds and rates, the European Central Bank will likely become the first major central bank to cut rates when it meets next week. ECB chief economist Philip Lane said that "barring major surprises, at this point in time there is enough in what we see to remove the top level of restriction," and markets are now pricing in a quarter percentage point cut when the ECB meets next week.

Here in the States, it seems like it’s been a long time since markets closed early on Friday ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, but let’s quickly recap the end of last week. The final reading of the University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment survey showed that year-ahead inflation expectations slowed to 3.3 percent from 3.5 percent in the preliminary reading, good news for the Fed. The final Index of Consumer Sentiment checked in at the lowest level in five months. Pricing in fed funds futures now implies that the most likely scenario will be a single 25 basis points rate cut this year, occurring in November.

Total durable goods orders increased 0.7 percent month-over-month in April when the figure was expected to decline. That follows a downwardly revised 0.8 percent increase in March. Excluding transportation, durable goods orders were up 0.4 percent month-over-month from order increases in most components, underscoring the idea that manufacturing activity remains supportive of ongoing growth for the U.S. economy.

The folks in our biz are particularly interested in housing. Purchases of new homes in the U.S. declined last month 4.7 percent month-over-month to a 634k annual pace last month, as buyers were deterred by high prices and mortgage rates. The takeaway? The Federal Reserve can create new credit out of thin air, but it can't do the same for houses. On the credit front, mortgage rates in the U.S. dipped below 7 percent (to 6.94 percent, according to Freddie Mac), for the first time in more than a month.

This week brings plenty of economic data, most of which will be crammed into today and Wednesday, as well as some higher tier data including house prices, the second look at Q1 GDP, and Fed favorite PCE. Fed speakers continue, down in quantity from last week, while the Beige Book will be released on Wednesday afternoon.

Markets return today to a busy calendar that kicks off shortly with house price indices from Case-Shiller and FHFA. Expectations are for both increasing 0.5 percent month-over-month and 7.1 percent and 7.5 percent year-over-year, respectively. Those indices will be followed by consumer confidence for May, Dallas Fed manufacturing for May, Treasury auctions that will be headlined by $69 billion 2-year notes and $70 billion 5-year notes, and remarks from Cleveland Fed President Mester and Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari. We begin Tuesday with Agency MBS prices unchanged from Friday’s close, the 10-year yielding 4.46 after closing last week’s abbreviated Friday session at 4.46 percent, and the 2-year is at 4.92.

Jobs and Transitions

What are you doing for the next 25 years? ACC has been doing Non-QM for the past 25 years. ACC is seeking five (5) well-qualified Account Executives or a team that is looking for support, pricing, culture, and stability. ACC is the company that continued lending throughout COVID and the GFC. Recent articles discuss ACC’s vision, and include ACC's Senko talks non-QM outlook. Please send your resume for confidential interview.

Canopy Mortgage is on the rise, attracting top-producing loan officers nationwide and maintaining profitability as we advance through Q2! In a challenging market, how many national lenders can claim profitability this year? Few, if any. Canopy Mortgage is charging ahead with significant momentum, seeking branch managers to join our success story. We empower LOs with cutting-edge technology that streamlines processes and significantly reduces the cost to fund a loan. Come meet us in person at the Mastermind Summit in Vegas June 5-7 or call Josh Neumarker at 888-696-9076. For more information or to schedule an exclusive Tech-Demo and see our innovative solutions in action.”

Informative Research celebrates Ryan Kaufman, IT Manager - Integrations, for being named a Rising Star by HousingWire magazine! His dedication to excellence and commitment to leveraging technology for tailored solutions make him a standout in the mortgage industry. Ryan's exceptional leadership and innovative contributions have propelled Informative Research forward, driving transformative change and enhancing operational efficiency. Under Ryan's leadership, groundbreaking initiatives have led to substantial cost savings and operational improvements, benefiting Informative Research and its clients. His passion for excellence and drive to shape the industry's future make him invaluable to the Informative Research team. The Rising Stars award selection committee considered factors such as professional achievements within organizations, contributions to the housing economy, community outreach, client impact and personal success. Congratulations, Ryan!

Incenter has promoted Sara Parrish to Chief Operating Officer. She will also remain President of Incenter company CampusDoor, “where her focus on operational excellence, creativity, and team empowerment has propelled new growth since she took the reins in 2022.”