“What did people from the Midwest call a small can of pop? A Minnesota.” (Say it out loud to your 3rd grader.) While we’re on a “pop,” lenders in the nation’s midsection are cheering the numbers as large cities in the Northeast and Midwest popped in 2023, reversing earlier population declines, according to Vintage 2023 Population Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The South still rocks, however. Cities with populations of 50,000 or more grew by an average of 0.2 percent in the Northeast and 0.1 percent in the Midwest after declining an average of 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively, in 2022. Those in the West went up by an average of 0.2 percent from 2022 to 2023. Cities in the South grew the fastest, by an average of 1.0 percent, and 13 of the 15 fastest-growing cities were in the South, with eight in Texas alone. (Today’s podcast is found here and this week’s is sponsored by Candor. Candor’s authentic Expert System AI has powered more than 2 million flawless, hands off underwrites. Every credit risk decision Candor makes is backed by a warranty, eliminating repurchase worries. Hear an interview with American Pacific’s Bill Lowman on motivating people, change management during M&A, and retaining origination staff.)

Software, Products, and Services for Lenders and Brokers

With Truv, Revolution Mortgage saves 70 percent on verifications (+5 BPS savings per loan). What does Femi Ayi, EVP Operations, Revolution Mortgage, have to say about Truv? “Since we started our partnership, we’ve taken our costs for verifications from 8 basis points per loan down to 3 basis points per loan.” Truv has helped hundreds of lenders, from the biggest banks, IMBs, and Credit Unions, to the smallest, greatly improve their income, employment, asset, and insurance verifications strategy. You could be one of them: Get started!

ActiveComply, a leader in social media monitoring and virtual office inspections for the financial industry, recently announced that it has officially launched its highly anticipated website monitoring tool: WebCompass. WebCompass will automatically Discover custom employee websites, co-marketing pages, corporate websites, blog posts, news articles, event pages, and other brand mentions. Similar to ActiveComply’s social media monitoring tool used by many institutions today, ActiveComply’s WebCompass tool will not only monitor for compliance and brand reputation concerns, but will also scan for ADA compliance, SEO scoring, provide automated archival to meet record retention requirements, and more. WebCompass is leveraged by financial institutions for ongoing monitoring of corporate and employee-controlled websites alike. Learn more about managing your compliance confidently with ActiveComply or schedule a demo today to see real findings for your institution.

PDF Insights and Thumbprint® are a powerful combination that helps lenders streamline their loan analysis, speed up their underwriting, and enhance fraud prevention, helping them get to “Yes" or "No" faster and more confidently. Our product is well-suited for alternative mortgage and commercial lenders who rely on bank statements to underwrite loans. MoneyThumb’s tools are faster, more accurate, and significantly lower cost than other solutions. Plus, our customer service is second to none and we don’t require contracts. PDF Insights is a comprehensive financial document evaluation and data extraction tool that enables mortgage lenders to process and analyze hundreds of pages of bank statements accurately and in under 5 seconds. Our patent-pending fraud detection tool, Thumbprint®, uses AI algorithms and machine learning to evaluate and score the authenticity of PDF bank statements. Each document is given a fraud score from 1 to 1000 that indicates the likelihood of fraud.”

Picture this... your borrower completes their mortgage application and shortly after, receives a text asking if they have any pets. When the loan closes, their furry friends get a welcome package including new customized pet tags featuring your brand. The best part? Operation Fido runs automatically from Encompass® by ICE Mortgage Technology™ and you don't even have to lick the envelope! What would you spend to deliver that kind of joy to your borrower?

STRATMOR on Preparing for the Tough-to-Find Refis

“Rising tides lift all boats.” And many lenders believe that the next wave of refinances will be the surge they need to lift their business back above water. However, some of them may be wrong. In STRATMOR Group’s June Insights Report Senior Partner Garth Graham explains why. “The latest industry forecast predicts a rising tide of refinancing, but there are reasons that the coming wave, when it appears, will be very different from the past,” says Graham. “The typical mortgage banking firm has been taking on water, with the industry showing losses for eight quarters. Many have been selling off servicing rights and stopped retaining servicing on new production because they need the cash. This will put them at risk because while having the cash is good, it also means you have likely sold off the client relationship and the potential refinance when the rate drops in the future.” Check out STRATMOR’s June InFocus article, “Why a Refi Wave Won’t Save Every Lender and How to Prepare,” for more from Garth on what smart lenders are doing now to ensure they survive and thrive when the market improves.

Events, Training, and Webinars

A good place for longer term conference planning is to start is here for in-person events in the future.

Today will be another episode of The Big Picture at 3PM ET… Rich Swerbinsky is interviewing Tabrasa’s Bill Bodnar about the economy and its impact on lenders

Join A&D Mortgage today for an exclusive webinar designed for mortgage brokers and broker owners. Titled "Next-Level Brokerage: Harnessing the Power of Self-Securitizing Lenders," this session, in collaboration with Jared Neale, Associate at Imperial Fund, will explore the significant benefits of partnering with self-securitizing lenders. Discover how these partnerships can streamline your operations, enhance service offerings, and drive business growth.

Tonight, in San Francisco, CAMP presents, “An Evening with Rob Chrisman.” It should be a fun, informal event if you’re in the area!

Tomorrow, Friday the 28th, 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. Tomorrow features Dan Cantinella, Chief Lending Officer for Total Expert.

Class Valuation is hosting a webinar on Friday, June 28, titled “Navigating New Reconsideration of Value (ROV) Requirements for Lenders.” Expert panelists will provide a clear and actionable guide to understanding what changes need to be made and how to make them. You will learn the impact of the new ROV guidelines on lenders, how the borrower-initiated ROV process works, and your responsibilities as a lender under the new guidelines.

Next week is July already…

National MI upcoming July 2024 webinar sessions. Leading a Team​​with Andrew Oxley - July 11th at 2pm ET. How to Plan and Attack the Week for Loan Officers with Dr. Bruce Lund - July 18th at 1pm ET. Become an Open House Success Partner​​​​​with Rebecca Lorenz - July 23rd at 1pm ET. Mortgage Industry Updates Impacting the Balance of 2024 and Beyond ​​​​​with Scott Weghorst, July 25th at 2pm ET.

Newrez Correspondent offers a comprehensive training curriculum on Newrez products and processes, to keep your staff informed of the latest developments in products, technology solutions, compliance issues and process improvements. Each of these programs is offered by its training and development staff on a monthly basis and is updated regularly to reflect recent changes in the industry.

Tuesday the 2nd at 11am PT, two veteran LOs discuss all things mortgage with Industry Leaders. Mortgage Pros 411 with Audrey Boissonou and Kevin Casey.

Now Next Later Mondays at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET (45 minutes). Hosted by Jeremy Potter and Sasha Stair. Now Next Later is a show intended to provoke thoughtful challenges to the assumptions and strategies common to the housing finance industry. The show believes that looking at the mortgage businesses from a different perspective is critical to staying ahead of constant changes. The show's goal is to get to better answers by asking better questions. Join each week for new insight and perspective on some of the industry’s most persistent problems. The show includes expertise in product development, go-to-market, data analytics and innovation, and answers well to the high expectations we’ve set for ourselves and our colleagues.

The Last Word Fridays at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET with two of the following four hosts. Kevin Peranio, Brian Vieaux. The Last Word is your ultimate destination for incisive analysis and spirited discussions on the hottest topics affecting the mortgage sector each week. Hosted by industry veterans, the show delivers expert opinions, forecasts, and critical insights to keep you informed and ahead of the curve. The show offers a comprehensive and engaging analysis of the week's most important mortgage industry news, providing viewers with the knowledge and insights they need to make informed decisions in a rapidly changing market.

SAVE THE DATE for NMMLA’s upcoming event, The current and future state of Digital Mortgages, on Wednesday, July 10 at 11:00 AM.

The Ultimate Mortgage Expo returns to New Orleans July 10 – 11 and it's bigger and better than ever before. Join OCN in the beautiful and historic Hotel Monteleone for a jam-packed event featuring 2 days of sessions and 2 days of exhibition hall opportunity. Also, come earlier on July 10 to enjoy complimentary access to the Mortgage Star Conference for women. Enjoy free access to this can't-miss event using the code OCNFREE.*

MSR holders know that a great subservicing relationship can help reduce costs, lower delinquency rates, and improve borrower relationships. But the fear of a rocky transfer process keeps many from realizing all these benefits. Join Servbank’s cohosted webinar with the Mortgage Bankers Association on July 11 at 1-2p ET to learn how handling thousands of service transfers has gotten Servbank’s transfer plan down to a science. With a battle-tested plan and a laser-focus on customer experience, the painless service transfer is a reality. Register for the webinar today! The webinar is free for non-members by creating an account and entering the campaign code “SERVBANK100” at checkout.

Join ACES EVP, Nick Volpe and ACES President, Phill McCall on July 17, 11:00 AM - 11:45 AM PDT for a QC NOW webinar as they take a deeper dive into these analytics and how it aligns with the current state of the industry and how to best navigate through the volatile financial landscape.

Monday, 5 August 9:00 AM - Tuesday, 6 August at 6:00 PM PDT join the California Association of Mortgage Professionals on August 5th -August 6th for our Annual Summer CAMP at Hyatt Regency Newport Beach, 1007 Jamboree Road, Newport Beach, California.

Capital Markets

Have you heard about the Fannie Mae Mission Score product grids? MCT announced today that they are the first to integrate with the Mission Score API, which empowers originators to take advantage of market incentives for mission-oriented lending. “Fannie Mae changed the market in 2016 by bringing spec programs to the cash window,” said Phil Rasori, COO of MCT. “Now they have done it again by pushing the Mission Score pay-ups available on the securitization side toward front-end borrower pricing.” Learn how you can improve margins and price competitiveness in the upcoming webinar featuring Olga Gorodetsky, Director, Capital Markets at Fannie Mae as well as Phil Rasori of MCT.Pete Skarnulis, Single-Family Business Account Management Solutions – Vice President at Fannie Mae, shared, “through close partnership and collaboration with our industry partners, we’re able to introduce innovative solutions to the market at scale, helping to promote positive change across the mortgage industry.”

When I’m asked about the FHFA encouraging the “release” of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae from conservatorship, I ask, name one government agency that voluntarily ceased operations. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released the latest report on the sale of non-performing loans (NPLs) by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises). The Enterprise Non-Performing Loan Sales Report includes sales information about NPLs sold through December 31, 2023. Borrower outcomes reflect NPLs sold through June 30, 2023. This report shows that the Enterprises sold 168,364 NPLs with a total unpaid principal balance (UPB) of $30.9 billion from program inception in 2014 through December 31, 2023. The loans included in the NPL sales had an average delinquency of 2.8 years and an average current mark-to-market loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 83 percent (not including capitalized arrearages).

While chatter about the Fed and its decisions does have slight bearing on overall mortgage rate movement, events directly tied to the housing market are of arguably higher importance to readers of this commentary. We learned yesterday that the New Home Sales report for May missed expectations, coming in at 619k versus 650k expectations. New home sales fell 11.3 percent month-over-month to the weakest pace in six months as the new home market has softened recently alongside higher mortgage rates, increased availability of existing homes, and moderating economic growth.

Despite hawkish tones continuing to emanate from the Fed, Treasury security prices have rebounded recently due to bets that cooling prices will convince the Fed to cut rates sooner, and by more, than officials have signaled. More accommodative conditions are at odds with recent Fed rhetoric suggesting it’s still too early to consider policy easing. However, hope springs eternal, and investors continue to price in nearly two full 25 basis point rate cuts for the year, including a nearly 60 percent chance of a cut in September. As a reminder, the Fed’s latest dot-plot predicted one 25 basis point cut in 2024.

Today sees a busy calendar in terms of data and supply, and is already under way with the final look at Q1 GDP +1.4 percent (versus expectations of 1.1 percent), durable goods orders for May was +.1 percent (when it was supposed to be unchanged at +0.6 percent), weekly jobless claims (233k), and core PCE. Later today brings pending home sales for May, KC Fed manufacturing, several Treasury auctions that will be headlined by $44 billion 7-year notes (after yesterday’s solid $70 billion 5-year note sale), and Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Before the open, Sweden’s Riksbank held rates steady, but forecast two to three rate cuts for later this year. We begin Thursday, after the salvo of numbers, with Agency MBS prices roughly unchanged from Wednesday’s close, the 10-year yielding 4.31 after closing yesterday at 4.32 percent, and the 2-year at 4.73.

Jobs and Transitions

This week, Lower, LLC announced the hiring of industry veteran Craig Montgomery in the role of Chief Strategy Officer. This move signifies a milestone moment in the company's history as they have added another all-star industry leader to their executive team. In their release, Co-Founder & CEO Dan Snyder commented, "Getting someone with Craig’s experience and proven track record is a big win for the company." Adding to the celebration, Randell Gillespie, Chief Production Officer for Lower, also commented, "Craig is a consummate pro with a reputation born from success and he is a stellar fit for the Lower community. Couldn't be more thrilled for him to join our team!" When asked about his transition, Montgomery stated, "I’m so impressed by the Lower platform. I know what originators need to achieve the success they desire… and Lower has it." Visit Join.Lower.Company for more information about “Life at Lower” and available growth opportunities.

“Join our family-owned Midwest lender as an Account Executive! Operating in 40+ states with a wide-open territory and unlimited growth potential. Ideal for seasoned mortgage pros, or those looking to break into Wholesale Sales. Enjoy competitive pay, benefits, and a supportive team environment. Develop new business opportunities, build strong client relationships, and deliver exceptional service. Interested? Please submit your confidential resume to Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt for forwarding.”

“Leadership changes for Chase Correspondent Lending! Chase Correspondent Lending is a relationship-driven, forward-looking investor focused on helping our clients and the communities we serve. Kim Salvo, our East Division Manager and a 33-year veteran of Chase, retired in May. We thank Kim for her years of service and wish her the best. With Kim’s departure, we’re excited to announce several changes to our Client Management Leadership team. Effective July 1, Tim Yezbick, current CFO for Correspondent Lending, will be our new East Division Manager. Lisa Plaien, current Director of Client Strategy & Support, will now lead our newly formed Central Division. Chris George will continue as our West Division Manager. Lisa, Tim, and Chris will report to our Head of Client Management, Bhavesh Patel. Please join us in congratulating our new leaders who will continue our commitment to providing a best-in-class experience for our clients. Visit us at www.chaseb2b.com.”

(Remember: employers can view posted resumes for several months for a nominal charge and job seekers can post their resumes for free on www.lendernews.com.)