Don’t forget that today, 7-11, is Free Slurpee Day, but that this Sunday the price of a first-class mail stamp is going up from 63 cents to 66 cents, the second price hike of the year since the stamps cost just 60 cents as of January. Stamps are a case study in inflation and economics, especially as the ability to send things like payments or marketing materially electronically has increased and becomes more cost effective, further driving up the cost of stamps. (Fewer stamps are being sold but they still must help cover the costs of the post office.) Inflation, the economy, and the labor picture have certainly destroyed the predictions some had earlier this year about where interest rates would be now, and STRATMOR’s current blog is titled, “Interest Rates are Like the Weather. Or Like Signs of the Zodiac?” What has also gone up, besides rates, is the number of institutions reporting HMDA data: 4,460 institutions reported data for 2022, up 2.3 percent from 2021. That’s a lot of competitors, huh? (Today’s podcast can be found here and this week’s is sponsored by SimpleNexus, the homeownership platform that unites the people, systems, and stages of the mortgage process into one seamless, end-to-end solution that spans engagement, origination, closing, incentive compensation, and business intelligence. Hear an interview with Flagstar Bank’s Jeff Neufeld on the warehouse lending space.)

Lender and Broker Software, Services, and Products

As interest rates and home prices rise, savvy lenders are attracting coveted purchase business by supporting homebuyer assistance programs that are in high demand. (Did you hear about the CalHFA program that ran out of funding after 2,300 borrowers nabbed DPA over 11 days?) Luckily, lenders can do well while supporting DPA, and the MBA’s Profit & Succeed with DPA webinar reveals how. Tune in to let Mark Hasson of Lennar Mortgage, Kate McDougall of Lake Michigan Credit Union and experts from Down Payment Resource inspire you with how their organizations have profitably operationalized DPA and established themselves as valuable community resources in the process. Catch it on demand here. Ready to jump on the DPA bandwagon? Keep your referral network happy and your pipelines full by partnering with Down Payment Resource.

Don't miss the opportunity to meet with TMS Correspondent and Servbank Subservicing at the CMBA's Western Secondary Market Conference in Dana Point, CA, 8/21-8/22. Discover the advantages TMS Correspondent offers, including their agency-style direct credit box and comprehensive suite of renovation products designed to help you close more loans. Please take the opportunity to meet Servbank Subservicing to learn about their exceptional achievements in customer satisfaction, first-call resolution, and compliance ratings. Plan your schedule to visit TMS and Servbank’s meeting space at the Western Secondary Market Conference. Plan your schedule for Monday, August 21, and Tuesday, August 22, with TMS and Servbank at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort. Schedule a meeting today with TMS correspondent and Servbank subservicing.

“Loan Officer/Processor Automation! Zoral’s AI powered automation platform delivers amazingly accurate results! Improve LO/AE pull-through while reducing your Processors underwriting prep time from days to minutes. Zoral analyses, calculates, and compares LOS data to document data. Dynamic notifications and conditions provide your team with a concise roadmap of what is needed on every loan, and at every milestone. Our automation accurately categorizes, analyzes, and calculates eligible income from all income sources, including eVOE’s,’ handwritten VOE’s, including 3rd party providers such as Account Check, Plaid and Finicity. Bank statements are analyzed to identify EMD, NSF, large deposits, recurring debits, and credits etc. For the past 18 years, Zoral has creating the most advanced Fintech automation solutions anywhere in the world. Stop messing with headcount at every turn of the market. Zoral’s best in class automation will provide the elasticity and scalability to handle even the most unpredictable environments. Contact Dan Sussman to discuss further.”

Loan Officer Marketing Products

Prepare for the next market shift by using technology where it matters most! It can take months to acquire a new customer, but only seconds to lose them. If you aren’t prepared to meet their needs when the next market shift comes, they will find someone else who will. In the latest episode of ICE Mortgage Technology®’s “What Borrowers Want” series with Shred Media, Matt Dowd, VP of Product Management at ICE Mortgage Technology, shared insights into how lenders can leverage technology to deliver a high-tech, high-touch experience that drives repeat and referral business. Listen to the episode here to ensure you’re delivering in the areas that are most important to today’s borrowers.

A popular TikTok video demonstrates just how quickly and effectively a moveable lane barrier changes the flow of traffic on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. (Several U.S. cities also use these machines, but if you’ve never seen one in action, it’s pretty wild.) If only loan officers could change course so easily! If your sales force is struggling to close deals because they can’t sell on rate, give them an approach that moves the conversation from price to sound advice. That’s what PRMG did, and the results have been enviable: PRMG loan officers that use TrustEngine’s Mortgage Coach generate an average of 237 percent more annual loan volume than their peers. Read more about how Mortgage Coach keeps deals moving at PRMG.

Certain things come and go. Just take Netflix password sharing, for instance. But when it comes to your customers, it’s time to remove “go” from the equation. If you’re heading to the Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association (MMLA) Annual Conference, make plans to attend a special session, “Using Technology for Customer Acquisition and Retention,” on Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 1 p.m. Moderated by Rob Chrisman, this panel will include expertise from Optimal Blue Capital Markets Solutions Specialist Colleen Flynn. Attendees will learn about the latest trends and tools to improve retention, as well as ways to increase productivity and reduce time and costs. Don’t miss this timely and relevant session that’s perfect for anyone in the industry, from loan officers to business owners.

Relationships. Products. Technology. @Lenders: Where is your focus?! After a difficult year, the lenders still standing have a good opportunity to grow their market share – but only if they are ready. In HousingWire and Polly's latest white paper collaboration, they outline three key strategies lenders can use to take advantage of pent-up demand, compete more effectively, and drive growth. Download the Lender Roadmap: How to Meet the Pent-up Demand for Homes.

Here’s a true story about the power of a SmartCRM™: a loan officer we know made the President’s Club… from a hospital bed. On a mortgage company’s production cruise not long ago, a winner slipped near the pool and landed on the back of his head. He was unconscious for 20 minutes, but when he woke up, he felt fine. Turns out he wasn’t fine. In fact, he almost died and spent a year in the hospital. That same year, from his hospital bed, he originated $12 million. How? Great relationships, a great assistant, and automated marketing. His Realtors and clients had no idea he was even sick. They continued to get great service from his assistant and targeted, personalized marketing from Usherpa. According to the Loan Officer, “Without Usherpa, I’d be out of business.” Find out how to originate more loans from anywhere with this free eGuide.

Events, Webinars, and Training

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” (Jack Welch) Whether you’re in the before or after stages of your leadership growth, TMCU has an information-packed course at the ready to take your leadership skills to the next level. What’s more, TMCU’s summer special is happening now. For TMCU members, the Strategic Leadership Course is $395 per student for 3+ students (reduced from $495 per student). For Non-TMC Members, the sale price is $550 per student for 3+ students (reduced from $650 per student). This sale will run through July 31.

The Knowledge Coop's new membership platform offers all state and federal Continuing Education courses in an engaging and exciting video format that you're sure to actually enjoy. Want to give yourself a sharper competitive edge? They also offer in-depth training on specific topics like VA Loans and FHA within their Coop Academy. Get access to industry experts and connect with other mortgage professionals all in one space. Use Code Chrisman10 for 10 percent off your first year of membership here.

A list of upcoming conferences and major events can be found here under the “Conferences” tab. Meanwhile, today we have:

If you've ever wanted to get a book published on Amazon, you'll want to attend this webinar! Join Ginger Bell's Live Webinar on July 11th at 11 am PT. Discover the secrets to effortlessly publishing your own book and unlocking the power of having a published book on Amazon.

Learn more about a Rocket Pro TPO partnership, and save the date for the next IGNITE Live on Tuesday, July 11th at 2PM ET. Mike Fawaz, EVP of Rocket Pro TPO, is sharing some lesser-known facts about Rocket Pro TPO that can benefit your business! Sign up with the link here!

Join AGENT U on July 11th at 12:30-1:30pm ET for the next installment of its free monthly webinar. This month, the hosts are speaking with top-producing agent Josh McGrath to learn about his strategies for building a reputation in one’s hometown to improve lead generation.

National MI July 2023 webinar sessions: Creating Infinite Referrals ​​​​​with Rebecca Lorenz - July 11th at 1pm ET.

October Research, LLC will host the next webinar in the Economic Forecast Series featuring Brandi Snowden, director, member and consumer survey research, National Association of Realtors (NAR) at 2 p.m. July 11th. Register at

Which direction will the economy go next? What trends are we seeing in the housing market? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) Director of Member and Consumer Survey Research Brandi Snowden will be sharing her insights on those questions and more: July 11th at 2:00 p.m. ET

Register for Appraiser eLearning 3hr Live-Zoom CE Course on Tuesday, July 11, Attorney Peter Christensen will offer 15 takeaways and lessons from legal situations and cases involving appraisers. What can appraisers learn from their colleagues’ legal misfortunes?

Capital Markets

Since 2001, Vice Capital Markets has been a place “where everybody knows your name,” and from day one, clients are treated like the beloved regulars they are. The high levels of personalized trading, care and attention are some of lenders’ most-cited reasons for transitioning to Vice Capital. This was certainly the case for a recent convert, whose COO stated, “After several years of being just another number with our old hedge firm, we decided to take a different approach. After meeting with Vice Capital, we realized we could have the expertise offered by a full-service hedge firm and the quality of service we expect from our vendors. Vice Capital has made our transition easy, worked with us to create custom reports and managed our pipeline like it was their own.” To learn how Vice Capital can help your organization safely maximize its execution, contact Troy Baars or Chris Bennett.

In interest rate news, as investors attempted to decipher Friday’s payrolls report, the week began on a cautious note in the bond markets which led to a rally. Two non-voting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) officials spoke in favor of more rate hikes (Cleveland’s Mester: rates have been that restrictive so far; San Francisco’s Daly: a couple more rate hikes will likely be needed this year). On the flip side, Atlanta Fed President Bostic argued that inflation could slow to 2.0 percent without additional rate increases. And on a different note, Fed Governor and Vice Chair for Supervision Barr spoke about bank capital requirements, proposing stricter capital rules for banks and bank holding companies with assets above $100 billion on the balance sheet.

As evidenced by all the Fed speak, inflation concerns and a slowing global economy remain front and center in investor’s minds. The quiet period for the July meeting starts next week. Keep in mind that the minutes from June’s FOMC meeting that were released last week highlighted the preference of some members to hike 25 basis points rather than skip, even though all members were aligned that more hikes were necessary in 2023.

This week will have some important inflation data with the consumer price index and the producer price index. Low unemployment as well as low labor force participation will likely keep inflationary pressure driven primarily by wages and therefore reaffirm the need for the Fed to keep tightening monetary policy. Recent economic data has been filled with conflicting signals. Manufacturing activity remains quite weak, while consumer spending has held up somewhat better, and new home construction and sales have picked up.

It remains the most likely scenario that the FOMC will raise the federal funds target another 25 basis points at its meeting later this month, and fed funds futures are pricing more than a 92 percent chance of a 25-basis point hike at the July meeting. Despite a mild recession being forecast for later this year as the effects of the Fed’s monetary policy work their way through the financial system, December futures are pricing in a roughly 30 percent chance for a subsequent 25 basis point hike by the end of the year.

Today’s calendar got under way before the open with NFIB small business optimism for June. The only other data point is Redbook same store sales, though markets will receive remarks from New York Fed President Williams and the U.S. Treasury will auction off $40 billion in 3-year notes, testing the level of demand. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better about .125, the 10-year yielding 3.97 after closing Monday at 4.01 percent, and the 2-year down to 4.84.