Today, as I head to Chicago (from the Native American word shikaakwa, for the wild onion) on my way to Philadelphia, I received this note. “Rob, why is PenFed exiting from correspondent?” Well, you should talk to your PenFed rep. But if anyone had to make a harsh guess, it would start by asking, “Why would any member-based organization with a branch network and thousands of members, in this environment, feel the need to offer wholesale or correspondent channels to others at very low margins who may be competitors?” There will be plenty of competitors under one roof at the MBA’s Annual starting Sunday. For many IMBs, their goals by going include searching for a great HELOC and/or 2nd program, seeing what’s new with down payment assistance programs, and seeing the latest in under-served markets. Another topic will of course include inflation and interest rates. Is your car insurance up 19 percent? Yesterday’s CPI said so. How about taking the family to Disneyland? A ticket to Disneyland on the most popular days is as high as $194, which is up 8 percent. A five-day ticket’s price will rise 16 percent to $480. Parking is $65. (Today’s podcast can be found here. This week’s is sponsored by NotaryCam, your partner for The Perfect Close! Ease of use, additional closing compliance, better borrower experience, reduced timelines, and cost savings, what is stopping you from getting on the RON train with NotaryCam? Listen to an interview with attorney Jay Beitel on arguments in the Supreme Court case regarding the CFPB.)

Lender and Broker Software, Products, and Services

It can cost up to 5X more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep one. So ask yourself, are you staying in touch with past borrowers the way you should? Sadly, only one in five borrowers return to their lender for their next mortgage loan. But that doesn’t have to happen to you. ICE can help you keep client relationships warm using automated marketing campaigns. Surefire℠ CRM and Mortgage Marketing Engine comes equipped with a five-year Client for Life workflow that can be used to engage past clients with award-winning content long after close. Watch borrowers pour in for their next loans when they’re ready to buy, sell or refi. To learn more, request a demo of Surefire today.

Is your focus to do more with less? A business intelligence solution should highlight where there are opportunities to incorporate efficiencies and reduce costs. The most forward-thinking industry leaders are turning to Richey May’s RM Analyze to learn what they need to know now more than ever: how to operate even leaner. It’s half the cost of a full-time employee, and you gain access to a strong bench of talent with a rich background in the mortgage industry and access to hundreds of reports, including real-time peer benchmarking data, in no time. With these insights you can make meaningful decisions for your business and do more than just survive. Learn how to operate leaner.

Capacity is bringing a brand-new feature to MBA Annual this week! Guidelines are complicated, and the search for that one specific answer can steal hours of time from your team. Get up-to-date, accurate guideline responses instantly with Capacity’s GSE Search, enabled by GPT. Just “ask Capacity” any question on regulations from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and more—and get answers within seconds. Want to streamline one of the most time-consuming processes in mortgage? Schedule time with Capacity this week at MBA Annual.

Are you paying for third party rescore services? What if you had a solution to convert more loans, grow your business and exceed the expectations of clients? Rocket Pro TPO offers its partners Credit Upgrade, an expert team of credit consultants who help clients qualify for the best loan products, rates, and pricing. In fact, in 2023, this service has helped save clients about $16 million on loan level pricing adjustments. Unlike programs that charge hundreds of dollars, Credit Upgrade is free, helping you retain more clients, build real estate agent relationships, and grow organic referrals affordably. Watch EVP, Mike Fawaz’ video for more details. Interested in learning more about a Broker or Non-Delegated Correspondent partnership? Contact Rocket Pro TPO to learn more.

Fun Fact: Philadelphia is home to the nation’s oldest inhabited road, Elfreth’s Alley, whose cobblestones date back to 1702. As the MBA converges on one of our nation’s founding cities, Click n’ Close will be on hand to help lenders to address the affordability challenges facing our industry through its SmartBuy down payment assistance (DPA) suite of loan products. With no income limits and other innovative features, such as a repayable option with a 30-year amortization, a 2-1 buydown and options for manufactured homes, SmartBuy is your one-stop shop for all your DPA and affordable lending needs. And, unlike state or municipal DPA programs, SmartBuy isn’t subject to budgetary shortfalls and offers tremendous flexibility to accommodate a wider range of borrower scenarios. Visit us at booth #733, schedule a meeting with Julas Hollie from our correspondent team or visit here to learn more.

Accenture’s analysis finds that within three years, generative AI could magnify a lender’s operating income by two to three times compared with consensus forecasts by driving revenue growth and reducing costs. On the revenue side, we anticipate it could create a 17% increase in time allocated to client interactions and advice, which are responsible for ~80% of banking revenue. This additional time could translate into a 9% surge in revenue. No lender can afford to ignore growth like that. If you’re not sure where your generative AI journey should begin, our top advice is to form a generative AI SWAT team today. This should include leaders from both the business and tech sides of the bank, and its mandate should touch on strategy, policy, talent, technology, and data. (Yes, this touches everything). We would love to hear from you and show you what we are delivering today. If you are attending the MBA Annual in Philadelphia and would like to meet with us, please ping us here.”

Post-season baseball is in full swing, and when the game and a chance at the World Series is on the line, the closer can make or break a team’s post-season success. The same can be said for real estate closings. With California passing RON legislation, now is the perfect time for The Perfect Close using NotaryCam’s eClose 360 platform. As trailblazers in RON and eClosings, NotaryCam boasts a team of highly skilled notaries who understand the unique requirements of your borrowers. With continuous updates and improvements, NotaryCam services remain at the forefront of mortgage digitalization, including recent advancements such as eNote and eVault services. If you’re heading to Philly for MBA Annual, make sure you “wind up” visiting NotaryCam at booth #721 or schedule a one-on-one meeting to ensure your mortgage closings are clutch.

Are your borrowers computing payments with a “Dumb” calculator or a “Smart” calculator? Dumb calculators are everywhere, and they’re dumb because they’re generic, inaccurate and not personalized. Smart calculators are what borrowers want. Smart calculators are personalized to the borrower. They give accurate payments and accurate closing costs because they use the borrower’s qualification criteria. You can issue Smart Calculators to your borrowers right from within Encompass® by ICE Mortgage Technology™ with QuickQual. Check out what a Smart calculator looks like here and they’ll text a sample right to your phone.

Vendor News

Attendees of next week’s MBA Annual conference in Philadelphia will be keeping an eye on the “LTV ratio:” lender to vendor. Something tells me that lenders will be in high demand. Ahead of it, let’s take a quick glance at who’s doing what.

FundingShield has entered a partnership with SitusAMC to further protect financial institutions from the rapid increase in wire and title fraud in recent years. It will create an “integrated offering for SitusAMC’s client to have direct access and straight thru processing, which is roughly 80 percent of warehouse lenders… FundingShield’s live ecosystem of service provider source bank data is the largest in the industry with over 95% coverage. Clients of SitusAMC’s warehouse lending platforms ProMerit and WLS can now benefit from direct access to FundingShield’s cost-saving and risk-reducing ecosystem via API and data integrated solutions, allowing them to uphold superior standards in data integrity, bank account verification, and counterparty compliance. ‘SitusAMC has great relationships with over 1500 financial institutions that will allow FundingShield to deliver integrated cutting-edge financial technology to combat wire fraud,’ said Ike Suri, CEO of FundingShield.”

MISMO®, the real estate finance industry's standards organization, announced that the industry standard dataset mapping for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Verification of VA Benefits (Form 26-8937) has reached “Candidate Recommendation” status, which means it has been thoroughly reviewed by a wide range of organizations and industry participants and is available for use across the industry. MISMO developed this dataset to facilitate the transformations underway at the VA. This dataset provides an industry standard for the exchange of the information required on the VA Verification of Benefits form, creating efficiency and improved interoperability within the system.

Xactus Appraisal FirewallX is connecting mortgage lenders with vetted and trained property data collectors to deliver the value acceptance + property data, PDRs, and hybrid appraisal solutions. Capable of fulfilling orders from lenders supporting Fannie Mae property data collection and Freddie Mac’s Property Data Report (PDR). Upon submitting a loan application to Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) or Freddie Mac’s Loan Product Advisor® (LPAsm), the lender will receive a notification indicating the collateral valuation option for which the loan qualifies.

Solve Mortgage, a Non-QM wholesale lender based in Calabasas, California, is implementing the OptifiNow TPO CRM. OptifiNow TPO is a CRM platform built exclusively for wholesale mortgage lenders that includes tools designed to market to and manage mortgage broker accounts efficiently. The platform is integrated with numerous mortgage loan origination systems (LOS), includes email and SMS capabilities, and can be deployed in just 30 days.

Mobility Market Intelligence (MMI), a leader in data intelligence and market insight tools for the mortgage and real estate industries, announced the addition of a suite of new dashboards to its growing Custom Dashboard Hub. Built to assist lenders in researching areas to expand their Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), low-to-moderate income (LMI) and majority-minority census tract (MMCT) lending initiatives, the six new dashboards allow lenders to penetrate areas of high growth and increase the span of actionable insights and applications for users.

The new suite of dashboards, including Census Tract, Community Reinvestment Planning and Minority Community Lending dashboards, can help lenders formulate business plans in high growth / high reward areas, identify recruiting candidates and referral partners entrenched in these areas and gain insight into baseline and comparative performance metrics.

FormFree is launching FormFree Exchange (FFX®), an industry-first marketplace where mortgage lenders can find high-intent, financially verified borrowers that meet lenders’ credit risk profiles. “Lenders can search FFX for borrowers who have demonstrated that they are ready to transact by electronically verifying their assets, income, employment and other core underwriting data. Borrowers' financial profiles are captured and continuously updated in anonymous Qualified Borrower (QB) Medallions. Because QB Medalliions also contain CRA eligibility, DPA eligibility and a host of alternative underwriting data, FFX supports lenders who would like to extend financing more inclusively without taking on additional risk.”

Capital Markets

“Struggling to find the liquidity you need to compete? Need multiple investors for a new program? Looking to expand your options in 2024? MAXEX continues to add new sellers to its growing platform of more than 25 leading buyers of jumbo, non-QM, Agency-eligible, DCSR, scratch & dent and second lien loans. Every day, originators like you are finding best execution on a flow, forward or bulk basis via MAXEX’s exchange. Adding new investors is hard. We simplify it. Ready to learn more? Meet MAXEX at MBA Annual in Philly or visit us online.”

Driving interest rates, we learned yesterday that price growth in September came in somewhat stronger than expected, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rising 0.4 percent month-over-month versus expectations for a 0.3 percent gain. There was no sequential change in the year-over-year inflation rate of 3.7 percent. Excluding food and energy, prices also rose 0.3 percent. Core CPI is set to recede further in the coming year as shelter disinflation resumes, supply-related pressures ease, and consumers grow more price sensitive. However, Treasuries extended the recent selloff that’s pushed up yields in the past month, which has also driven up borrowing costs

September import and export prices kicked off today’s calendar. Later today brings preliminary October Michigan sentiment and remarks from Philadelphia Fed President Harker. Bank earnings also get under before the open when JP Morgan, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo reporting along with BlackRock and PNC Financial. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better by .125-.250 and the 10-year yielding 4.62 after closing yesterday at 4.71 percent; the 2-year is hovering around 5.03 percent.


“Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the mortgage company you built. IMBs are experiencing pressure unseen since 2008. If you’re considering selling, closing, or merging, ensure you weigh all options. Consider your financial interests and your team’s future. Companies and Teams are partnering with Service First Mortgage. When contemplating reducing perks, benefits, staff, or M&A, Trust and Transparency are key. It starts with Leadership and affects the entire team. Consider companies like Service First with financial stability because of a Significant Servicing Portfolio and Full Agency Approvals: FNMA, FHLMC, and GNMA. A Strong Balance Sheet and Multiple Warehouse Lines offer security. Robust Product Offerings provide opportunities to build relationships with controlled partnerships like builders and affinity partners. Service First recently brought on Great Western Home Loans with a commitment to preserving culture, the GW brand, while ensuring stability and growth. If you’re considering a change, email us.”

Homeowners Financial Group announces that its Founder, President and CEO Bill Rogers has been named to the HousingWire Vanguards list for 2023. The HW Vanguard Awards program recognizes C-level industry professionals whose leadership moves housing and mortgage markets forward. In the challenging post-Covid lending environment, Bill has consistently created collaborative solutions that have kept his sales force confident, upbeat, and motivated. His abundant positive energy infuses every aspect of the organization, from personal and business development initiatives that lift employees to new heights in their careers to the company’s many charitable endeavors. “Bill is a true servant leader who is exceptionally connected and accessible to his people and puts them first at all times,” says Homeowners Chief Strategic Officer Ron Stowers. “With someone like Bill at the helm, it’s no surprise that our employees are the biggest advocates for Homeowners.”