Today is World Breast Cancer Research Day, a global recognition of the life-changing research (past, present, and future) to end breast cancer. That would be nice. What is also nice, so far, is the lack of named storms in the Southeast. Lenders, and servicers, and of course homeowners, in the Southeast dread “hurricane season.” Back in May, NOAA's outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season (June 1 to November 30) called for “above normal” storm activity. But the prediction, like interest rate predictions, has so far been wrong, and it has been surprisingly quiet to date, thankfully. In the housing market, things are also quieting down somewhat as the summer season winds down. Or is it due to recession fears? Time will tell. Meanwhile, every week I receive questions about market dynamics and individual lender performance. How much did “X” produce last year? In which states? What is their product mix? What was their growth YoY? Where can I access this data? There are various dashboard products, but the latest is Gallus’ new data visualization tool that provides answers to such questions and much more, including multi-year trends for all market participants. (Available here, this week’s podcast is sponsored by Agile, the mortgage industry's MBS fintech. Bringing the mortgage capital markets into a new digital era. From lenders to dealers, Agile is the new way to quote MBS. Today’s has an interview with Megan Sinclair, millennial home buying expert, on current millennial sentiment and living trends.)
Broker and Lender Programs, Services, and Software
This year NBC sold Super Bowl ads for a record price of $6.5 million per 30-second spot (up a cool $1 million from last year). Even if your organization does not have the budget to run Super Bowl ads or support a dedicated call center for mortgage inquiries, you still need a strategy to compete with those who do. With the right marketing tactics and tools like Black Knight’s Surefire CRM and marketing automation platform, you can compete with the billboard guys by creating content that frees you up to deliver consultative, value-rich service that wins leads and earns referrals. Download Surefire’s free eBook, Beat the Billboard Guys, for strategies on how to communicate at scale and boost speed-to-lead without the seven-digit spend.
Scale up or down on demand. Cycles will always come and go in the mortgage industry. If you’re still trying to manage the market’s cyclicality by adding or reducing headcount, you need a better solution. You’ll find it with the Mortgage Automation Suite by Richey May Automate and Zoral. Intelligent automation not only helps you weather downturns with fewer layoffs. It also helps you retain talent because there's less risk of jobs being eliminated and allows employees to focus on higher-level work. Hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Mortgage Automation Suite scales up or down on demand. So, you get a built-in backup virtual workforce that alleviates pressure on your staff from loan officers to underwriters and back-office employees. Learn more about how to decrease costs and increase productivity with the Mortgage Automation Suite by Richey May and Zoral. Sign up for a demo today.
In search of lower costs, lenders are finding that traditional OCR doesn’t enable automated workflows and deliver efficiency. For that, you need intelligent content recognition (ICR) and it’s a game changer. LoanComplete from Fiserv can read just about any letter that appears on any document. Unlike OCR, which looks for specific words to classify documents, ICR uses artificial intelligence and machine learning and applies “fuzzy logic” to the problem to allow the machine to have a contextual understanding of the text before classifying the document. Going beyond OCR to ICR offers multiple benefits, including cost savings, speed, and better compliance through a repeatable and auditable process. Contact Fiserv today to find out how some clients using ICR have saved up to 70% of their back-office costs. And Fiserv recently wrote an article about this. Read it here.
Winning available borrower business in today’s competitive market requires a best-in-class, frictionless digital origination experience. Maxwell Point of Sale helps you stand out with robust integrations that reduce the time-to-close, slash the time LOs spend on organizational tasks, and empower your team to focus on your borrowers. Beyond seamlessly integrating with the LOS, Maxwell connects with hundreds of partners, from eClosing and pricing to credit and verifications, bringing the services your teams use every day into one place, customizing the workflow to fit your specific situation and saving you money along the way. In fact, the over 300 lenders using Maxwell Point of Sale save an average of 21 BPS in costs per loan and reduce their time-to-close by 13+ days. Ready to save money on each loan? Schedule a call with our team to see how Maxwell Point of Sale can improve your bottom line.
There is no better way to create value for a customer and show you are invested in their success than improving their financial literacy. According to FinLocker President and COO Brian Vieaux, lenders need to meet customers not only before the point of sale, when they are actively seeking a loan, but even before the “point of thought,” when they are just starting to consider getting one. Brian joined Total Expert Founder and CEO Joe Welu on the Expert Insights podcast, where they discussed going beyond a transactional mindset to deliver value to consumers. Read more from Brian and Joe and listen to the full episode of Expert Insights.
“Join Chase and ICE Mortgage TechnologySM for an informative webinar! In conjunction with our $30 Billion commitment to advance racial equity, Chase Correspondent Lending created our Community Lending Program (CLP) to support our clients’ dedication to helping underserved customers and communities. Recently, we worked with Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (ICE) to deliver CLP pricing automatically on eligible loans via their pricing engine. As a result, our mutual clients are now able to see the amount of CLP incentives in real time without ever leaving Encompass Product and Pricing ServicesTM (EPPS). Chase and ICE are hosting a webinar on Wednesday, August 24 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET to discuss the use of geocoding capabilities in the EPPS pricing engine to identify properties that may qualify for Chase’s Community Lending Program. Click here to register and learn how to secure the best pricing for your customers.”
Mergers and acquisitions are not strictly the purview of lenders and vendors. Yesterday the Community Home Lenders Association (CHLA) and the Community Mortgage Lenders of America (CMLA) announced they are merging, renaming the combined organization the Community Home Lenders of America (CHLA). The Executive Director will be Scott Olson, with Rob Zimmer and David Horne continuing their government relations work. More members, more clout for IMBs!
Wanna Sell, or Keep Selling Loans to the Agencies?
The demand for mortgage loans in the secondary markets help drive the rates borrowers see. And part of that, of course, is the safety and soundness of the companies originating those loans.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and Ginnie Mae issued a joint announcement of their updated minimum financial eligibility requirements for seller/servicers and issuers yesterday. Prompted by the changing nature of the U.S. housing finance system, these enhanced eligibility requirements reflect Ginnie Mae’s and FHFA’s shared goals to promote confidence in approved issuers and seller/servicers and improve the safety and soundness of the U.S. mortgage-backed securities (MBS) ecosystem through all economic cycles. “The updated eligibility requirements represent an ongoing commitment to the safety and soundness of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by strengthening the capacity of seller/servicers to meet the financial responsibilities associated with doing business with the Enterprises,” said FHFA Director Sandra L. Thompson. “FHFA and Ginnie Mae’s effort to coordinate on financial eligibility requirements provides greater consistency for Enterprise seller/servicers and Ginnie Mae issuers.
The effort is still being analyzed, although some initial thoughts were that risk weighting on mortgage servicing rights will do nothing to help banks stay in the loan servicing business. The vast majority of seller-servicers and issuers meet the final standards as of the end of Q2, and over an extended back-test to 2010. FHFA and Ginnie emphasized that the standards are not intended to drive-out any issuers or seller/servicers, and that Ginnie and the GSEs will work closely with individual companies to meet the standards, and recognize that some issuers may need additional time which they will accommodate as long as good faith progress is being made.
Customer Experience News
We’ve all heard of the fight or flight survival response, but there’s a third one that many lenders have adopted recently: the “freeze” response. In other words, stop all spending and go into self-protection mode. Self-preservation is a powerful force, and rightly so, but the path to victory cannot be forged with defensive measures alone. A handful of lenders are not only surviving but are inching forward. What’s their secret? A long-term commitment to providing a best-in-class customer experience. In his August Customer Experience Tip, STRATMOR CX Director Mike Seminari offers three CX strategy ideas for thinking with a long-term mindset and three low-cost, high-impact things you can do today to start moving down the path toward a winning CX strategy. Don’t miss Seminari’s article, “A CX Strategy to Put the Odds Ever in Your Favor.”
Looking for ways to maintain or grow your cash in down market cycles? MCT and Freddie Mac recently teamed up for a two-part video series discussing strategies for managing your MSR portfolio in a volatile market. Part 1 of this series features Freddie Mac’s Hakan Beygo, MCT’s Bill Shirreffs, Azad Rafat, and David Burruss discussing leveraging options in your execution strategy. Topics include leveraging MSR transaction options in a volatile market, using tools for granular pricing considerations, and how servicing programs, cost structures, and capacity filter into best execution. Visit the web page to watch the video, view helpful resources, video highlights, and additional information about the presenters. For more MCT partnership releases and to stay up to date on upcoming news and educational content, join MCT’s newsletter.
Bond prices once again pulled back yesterday, thus raising rates, largely due to the release of the U.K.'s inflation report showing its consumer prices accelerating to 10.1 percent year-over-year, a pace not seen in 40 years. Fortunately, U.S. consumers are standing firm in the face of inflation and rising interest rates as consumer spending persisted in July across most discretionary categories. Retail sales, excluding the drop caused by falling gasoline prices and slowing car purchases, rose more than expected last month. While the headline figure was flat, U.S. retail sales are not adjusted for inflation, so on an inflation-adjusted basis, sales were up year-over-year. Yesterday afternoon brought the release of the Minutes from the July Federal Open Market Committee meeting, confirming the Fed’s data dependency. There was no talk of MBS sales or the size of September rate hikes. A lot has happened since the meeting, but officials in late July continued expecting ongoing increases to the fed funds rate, though many expressed concerns about potential over tightening and expressed the need to eventually dial back the pace of rate hikes. The committee members also wanted to gauge how their monetary tightening was working toward curbing inflation, and most believed that the bulk of the effects from higher rates have yet to be felt due to the transmission lag. The Minutes noted “little evidence” that inflation pressures were subsiding with some feeling that policy would have to reach a “sufficiently restrictive level” and remain there “for some time.” The bond market had been hoping for a Fed pivot, which was at least partly behind the decrease in rates since mid-June. Today’s calendar is under way with weekly jobless claims (-12k to 250k, continuing at 1.437 million) and Philadelphia Fed manufacturing for August (big jump to 6.2, an upside surprise). Later today brings existing home sales from July, Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, a Treasury auction of $8 billion reopened 30-year TIPS, and remarks from both Kansas City Fed President George and Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari. Today’s MBS purchase operation from early payoffs, the last of the week, sees the Desk in UMBS30 4 percent through 5 percent for up to $776 million. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better by .125 and the 10-year yielding 2.87 after closing yesterday at 2.89 percent.
“Sierra Pacific Wholesale (SPW) is a sought-after career destination for AEs with a highly competitive comp plan and average team tenure of 9 years. With over 25-years’ experience in third-party origination, SPW has built a reputation as the reliable, resourceful, and collaborative lending partner Brokers love doing business with. From cutting-edge technology and full-service operational support to a comprehensive marketing system and corporate commitment to continual growth, we equip our employees with the tools and resources they need to be successful in any market. Sierra Pacific is one of the mortgage industry's best kept secrets that is financially strong and looking to recruit top talent across the country. If you are an Account Executive looking for an opportunity to work with some of the best leadership in Wholesale today, send a note to Rob Saunders (SVP TPO Sales West) or Cindy Ferrentino (SVP TPO Sales East).”
“As we move through the heart of Q3, it should be very clear the industry has never seen a year like 2022. So many changes, twists, trends coming and going, plus a few haymakers thrown in unexpectedly. At Unite, we’re still standing strong and growing. Our recent products that benefit our brokers are DSCR No Ratio and Foreign National. They give brokers an even greater punch with greater versatility, especially for Foreign Nationals. See for yourself on Unite’s Product Page. Did we mention we are still growing? Now licensed in 48 states, Unite offers experienced wholesale AEs a great opportunity. Plus, a competitive compensation plan and a company culture that is sales oriented. Schedule a confidential interview today! Just email Unite Mortgage Co-Founder James Hooper. Be sure to visit us and follow us on all our social channels. ‘Let’s Unite!’”
“You’ve seen our growth. You’ve heard about our leadership. You’ve witnessed our strategic actions as the market shifts. Now take a look at the Planet Home Lending niche products that our MLOs use to keep their pipelines full despite the challenges of rising rates. Our Bridge Loans enable consumers to take equity from their current home while selling and use those funds to purchase another home. Our Cash 4 Homes guarantee equips borrowers to go toe-to-toe with cash buyers. Not to mention OTC and Builder finance options, plus a full suite of products that lift borrowers over affordability hurdles. Why haven’t you emailed EVP, National Production, Caleb Mittelsted or SVP Talent Acquisition Brian Miller? Check out this video of Caleb describing the possibilities, then get in touch. Grow your business with Planet Home Lending: Right Place, Right Size, Right Now!”