A general discussion topic of those here at the MMLA conference in Michigan is the ups and downs we’re all facing. While mortgage applications drift down, and industry headcounts go down, and towns on Maui like Lahaina burn down, here’s something that isn’t going down: credit card debt. Talk to any underwriter or loan officer and they will tell you that loans have become more difficult, in part because of borrower debt loads, and sure enough credit card balances hit $1.03 trillion in the second quarter. And it ain’t going down. The number is up 4.6 percent from $986 billion in the preceding three-month period. For some good economist’s perspectives and interest rates in general, and one capital markets guy’s, tune in to “Unparalleled Insights into Trends and Bold Predictions” with Selma Hepp (CoreLogic’s Chief Economist), Michael Fratantoni (MBA’s chief economist), and Rob Chrisman” on Wednesday August 16th at 1PM ET/10AM PT, sponsored by TrustEngine. (Today’s podcast can be found here and is sponsored by SimpleNexus, an nCino Company, developer of mortgage technology uniting the people, systems, and stages of the mortgage process into one seamless, end-to-end solution. Hear an interview SimpleNexus’ Jay Arneja on closing technology initiatives, standardization, and digital transformation impacting the industry at the moment.)

Lender and Broker Software, Products, and Services

Mortgage leaders: The home insurance market is facing unprecedented volatility with carriers declining new business and increasing premiums to an all-time high. This can delay closings and even lead to DTI exceeding acceptable limits once accurate insurance costs are factored in. Matic, a home insurance marketplace built for the mortgage industry, helps borrowers save time by shopping multiple A-rated carriers at once and providing transparent pricing and coverage options. With flexible integration options for your company, Matic adds visibility and control, allowing lenders to foresee potential issues that could result in delayed closings. To learn how mortgage enterprises can gain efficiencies and add a new source of revenue with Matic, book a demo today. For more strategies on how to navigate the next phase of the housing market, get Matic’s latest report.

While free origination tools are tempting, they can come with hidden costs, including slowing down the mortgage process, increasing turn times, and halting productivity. Blend’s robust, comprehensive features, intuitive personalization, and automated workflows have proven results: 37% increase in transaction speed, 7 days cut from the loan lifecycle and 34% increase in pull-through. Click here to find out how Blend’s Mortgage Suite helps deliver value during every step of the process.

Problem! Your employees are wasting valuable time on tasks that aren't generating your business revenue! Solution! Automate the time-consuming parts of the mortgage origination process with Velma Connector! Connector is an easy-to-use, rules-based automation tool that enhances your LOS! Need to put your ECOA process on autopilot? Connector takes the human element out of it. Want to know which loans need attention before it's too late? Connector will send you the report. Want to automate borrower communications and info collection? Connector hits the send button for you. Stop wasting time and money on manual processes! Get Velma Connector today!

“Turn fixed costs into variable costs on a dime. When the market zigs, lenders need the flexibility to zag. Richey May Advisory brings the mortgage industry expertise and agility you need to convert fixed costs into variable costs. Our difference maker is your ability to outsource services to highly trained experts in a model that fits your needs. Whether that means loan-level accounting, advisory, business intelligence, compliance support, cyber services, internal audits, or underwriting automation, we have the tools, knowledge, and experience to deliver value and improve your financial performance unlike any competitor, anywhere. You’ll feel it almost immediately in your day-to-day operations. Even better, you’ll notice the difference in your bottom line. Reach out or visit our website to learn more about how we can help your operation.”

TPO Programs for Brokers and Correspondents

“Going to California MBA's 2023 Western Secondary conference? Let's get together and innovate! Deepen your product lineup with Planet’s Renovation and Manufactured Housing loan programs. Help your clients address today's housing challenges by adding buydowns and USDA loans to your product mix. We make it easy and profitable to offer niche products. Reach out to Regional Sales Managers Tiffany Ta / 714-376-3214 or Jennifer Salsbury Caldwell / 909-225-8444 to explore new products to build your sales.”

Looking to gain a competitive advantage in today’s tough market? Lenders across the industry are catching wind of HELOC benefits and leveraging this tool to increase their book of business. Let us help you get a leg-up on the growing competition. Symmetry's Piggyback, Post-close, and Stand-alone HELOCs are unlike any other HELOCs on the market, offering service, speed, simplicity, and pricing that stands up against the competition. Here are just five of the ways Symmetry’s HELOC solutions can help you win and keep more borrower business: cash for borrowers, jumbo avoidance, more second home business, increased condo business and client retention. Symmetry is ready to help you build a strong, resilient growth strategy: Contact your area manager or email us to get started!

Wholesaler Earnings and TPO News

Someone in residential lending is making some coin besides Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae ($2.9 and $5.0 billion respectively in the 2nd quarter).

Last week we learned that Rocket Companies (which, as the name implies, contains several companies) generated total revenue, net of $1.236 billion and net income of $139 million. “Generated total adjusted revenue of $1.002 billion and adjusted net loss of $33 million, or an adjusted loss of $0.02 cents per diluted share.”

Focusing on mortgage banking, “Rocket Mortgage generated $22 billion in mortgage origination closed loan volume with a gain on sale margin of 2.67 percent. Rocket gained purchase market share in the quarter, both year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter. Servicing book unpaid principal balance, which includes subserviced loans, was $504 billion on June 30, 2023. As of June 30, 2023, our servicing portfolio includes 2.4 million loans serviced. The portfolio generates approximately $1.4 billion of recurring servicing fee income on an annualized basis.”

Yesterday United Wholesale reported second quarter earnings with origination volume climbing to $31.8 billion, was up 43% compared to the first quarter and up 6.4% compared to a year ago. “Gain on sale margin compressed to 88 basis points in Q2 compared to 92 in Q1 and 99 a year ago. Purchase volume was 88% of total volume. UWM is guiding for third quarter volume to come in between $26 and $33 billion, and gain on sale to range between 75 and 100 basis points. Adjusted earnings per share came in at $0.11, which covers the $0.10 dividend. At current levels, the stock has a dividend yield of 6%.”

Speaking of UWM, “spec pools” are indeed a thing as certain investors pay up for certain loan attributes that the investor desires. In this case, UWM announced “sharper pricing on loans under $200,000, in addition to major enhancements to its Control Your Price program on non-agency Jumbo loans… UWM has removed loan-size pricing adjustments on loans under $100K and will be paying up premiums for market-based pay-ups on 30-year fixed conventional loans $200K and below.”

“UWM also announced it has increased the number of Control Your Price basis points brokers can apply to Jumbo loans, up to 40 basis points. UWM will also double or triple the Control Your Price basis points brokers apply on all non-agency Jumbo loans, up to 120 basis points.”

The FHFA, which is the conservator of Freddie and Fannie? FHFA Working Paper 23-04: How Do Students Value an Elite Education? Evidence on Residential Location and Applications to NYC Specialized Schools.

Pennymac is aligning with the adoption of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Form 1103, Supplemental Consumer Information Form (SCIF) as announced in FHA ML 2023-13. Use of the form is effective with FHA loan applications dated on or after 8/28/2023. View Pennymac Announcement 23-51 - FHA Mortgagee Letter 2023-13 SCIF for details.

CBC Mortgage Agency (CBCMA), a Native American wholly owned and federally chartered housing finance agency, has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide 30-year mortgage loans for borrowers outside of urban and suburban areas. Because the USDA loan program offers 100% financing, CBCMA enables correspondent lenders to help low- to moderate-income families in rural areas achieve homeownership. USDA loans provide low- and moderate-income borrowers with “the opportunity to own adequate, modest, decent, safe and sanitary dwellings as their primary residence in eligible rural areas,” according to the agency. Up to 90% of the original principal amount of USDA-based 30-year notes are guaranteed by the agency.

AmeriHome Mortgage Announcement 20230707-CL summarizes previously published changes made during July, additional changes made with this announcement, and recent Agency and regulatory news.

Recently, the GSEs announced updated policies addressing critical repairs, deferred maintenance, and special assessments in projects with five or more attached units effective for loan applications dated on or after September 18, 2023. View AmeriHome Correspondent Product Announcement 20230801-CL for additional information.

PRMG Product Update 23-36 includes clarifications regarding FHA Standard and High Balance cash out transactions on Manufactured Homes, borrowers living rent free requirements on Investor Solution, self-employment verifications requirements of Ruby Jumbo and Express Jumbo. Additional updates and clarifications for Ruby Express and Onyx Jumbo.

Capital Markets

A slide in big tech equities yesterday due to President Biden's Executive Order announcement prohibiting investment in certain Chinese technologies, as well as higher energy prices, helped mortgage-backed security “sentiment” and further flattened the yield curve, which at this point is to say it increased in inversion: “bear flattening.” Fortunately, MBS prices were not very reactive to the initial selloff in Treasuries which tightened spreads further. Investors squared positions ahead of today's Consumer Price Index inflation data that will help shape the outlook for the Fed’s next steps.

What was the result of all this noise? The U.S. 10-year note and the 30-year bond prices, along with them MBS, pushed to fresh highs in the afternoon after the completion of the day's solid $38 billion 10-year note offering while 5-year notes and shorter tenor prices slipped to fresh lows as the market prepared for July CPI. Some movement was driven by European equities rebounding after Italy walked back Tuesday’s windfall tax announcement, saying the tax would be capped at 0.1 percent of assets.

Today brings the CPI report for July, as expected. Headline CPI increased .2 month-over-month and () year-over-year when it was expected to increase 0.2 percent month-over-month and 3.3 percent year-over-year compared with 0.2 percent and 3.0 percent in June. The core reading, ex-food and energy, was .2, as expected, and 4.7 percent year over year versus 4.8 percent previously. Weekly jobless claims have also been released: 248k, higher than expected, 1.684 million continuing claims. Later today brings a Treasury auction of $23 billion 30-year bonds, and remarks from Atlanta Fed President Bostic and Philadelphia Fed President Harker. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better by .125-.250 and the 10-year yielding 3.96 after closing yesterday at 4.01 percent after the inflation data.

Employment and Transitions

“Attention homebuilders and other potential joint venture partners! In today's volatile market, a reliable lending partner is non-negotiable. Enter PrimeLending, backed by the strength of Hilltop Holdings and PlainsCapital Bank. We're not just surviving; we're thriving. With over 37 years in the mortgage industry, we bring more than stability and experience. We bring game-changing insight to boost your revenue. Join us at PrimeLending Ventures Management, LLC. Our proven track record, streamlined operations, and cutting-edge technology speak for themselves. Imagine this: together, we're not just about making profits, but about evolving your brand. What are you waiting for? Reach out to Mike Matthews today to talk about a partnership built on shared success.”

Mortgage Capital Trading, Inc. (MCT®), the de facto leader in innovative mortgage capital markets technology, today announced the appointment of Steve Pawlowski as Managing Director, Head of Technology Solutions. Mr. Pawlowski will be responsible for expanding upon MCT’s proven record of driving efficiency and liquidity in the secondary market. “MCT was the fastest and most comprehensive technology partner I worked with on API development while at Fannie Mae,” said Steve Pawlowski, Managing Director, Head of Technology Solutions at MCT. “I couldn’t be more excited to apply my institutional expertise to this agile and committed technology development team.” Mr. Pawlowski will provide leadership on all MCT technology development. He brings extensive industry experience to MCT, including 30+ years with Fannie Mae’s Capital Markets and Single-Family Digital Products and Services organizations. Read the full press release or join MCT’s newsletter to stay up to date on recent news and educational content.