I was walking down North Wabash in Chicago yesterday and a beggar (is that politically correct?) yelled out at me, “You’re the reason this country has to put directions on cereal boxes!” Simple things like cereal boxes, shampoo, or soup didn’t used to have directions, but things are always changing. Including our industry. Another non-QM company appears to be exiting: As one AE wrote, echoed by a few others, “Athas Capital Group is shutting down its doors. We will be open for about two more months to fund out our remaining loans in the pipeline. But we are not allowed to submit any newer loans.” For confirmation or details, you should contact Athas Capital or your AE. Certainly the Agencies (namely Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) are always changing, and Chicago is one of six cities (along with Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, Memphis, and Philadelphia) that are targeted by Fannie Mae for an Equitable Housing Finance Plan. Freddie has a similar plan with somewhat different approaches. Homeownership rate differences of up to 30 percent need to change, and that change is certainly coming from “the top.” (Today’s podcast is available here and this week’s Sponsored by Candor Technology. Home of the One Touch Underwrite, supporting lenders from Point of Sale to Post Close QC, to reduce repurchase risk, increase underwriter productivity by 400 percent, and decrease turn-times by 10.)

Lender and Broker Services and Products

They say sugar brings happiness, but I bet after a week of eating Halloween candy our tummies aren’t feeling so happy. Here is something to keep you on that sugar high. While many of us are working hard to finalize our 2023 budget, Subsequent QC (SQC) and MQMR, just published its 2023 Subservicer Audit Calendar. Schedule your subservicer audit before year-end and save money now when you lock in early bird pricing. Spoiler alert: it's a requirement to audit your subservicer annually, so reach out to learn more about our detailed audits and how we can help you budget for compliance!

Last year, a lot of servicers with in-house tax operations were overwhelmed and ended up throwing bodies at the problem, adding costing, putting additional stress on overworked and (often inexperienced) staff. It also potentially exposed companies to compliance and reputational risks as well as the prospect of writing “make-up” checks to cover errors. With more than 35 years in the tax business, LERETA is the industry’s most experienced tax service partner. LERETA's flexible outsource solutions are designed to support diverse business rules and the unique nuances of your portfolio and processes. Check out LERETA’s COO, Jim Micali's take on how this year’s tax season will be different and how technology is solving legacy issues servicer have historically had with taxes. Experience the LERETA difference today, contact Kelly Hebert for more details.

How much do you spend on your CRM? We’re guessing it’s way too much, especially with all those “features” you never use. Not to mention 90 percent of your LOs aren’t logging in anyway! What if we told you Velma has a purpose built, cost effective, automated marketing solution that can save you thousands of dollars a year and countless hours of work? Timed and automated email campaigns, customizable open house flyers, efficient contact management, and much more in an intuitive easy to use solution! Velma cuts out the fluff and gives you exactly what you need at a great value. More details here.

Do you have the tools you need to succeed in this market? Ushepra’s Master Ascent Plan consists of strategy sessions with customized tactics that focus on your team’s unique needs. MAP helps you leverage the techniques of top producers, specifically ways to make effective calls to Realtors, builder partners, prospects, and past clients. Usherpa will help you provide value and differentiate yourself in a crowded market. Schedule a demo to learn proven techniques to get ahead in this challenging market. In the meantime, download this free Field Guide for Success to begin building money-making habits and read the free eGuide 3 Essential Habits of Top Producing Loan Officers.

LoanCraft is delivering a customized virtual sales experience for Home Equity and Mortgage. ViLO is LoanCraft’s “Virtual Loan Officer” system, which they now deliver as a standalone web app, or through a API. The unique system, which has a patent pending, provides an outstanding customer experience that tailors recommendations to the life needs of the customer. For more information, contact Ron George.

Training, Events, and Webinars

Yes, I know that I wrote about an entire week of webinars, training, and events yesterday. But there’s a whole ‘nother batch in the week after next and before Thanksgiving as organizations and companies grapple for attendance and viewers. Let’s see who’s doing what.

Let’s assume you take on 150 leads per year, 60% of those convert to pre-approvals, 50% of those pre-approvals convert to applications, and 90% of those applications close. With an average loan amount of $225,000 and a 90 BPS commission rate, that’s roughly $9.2 million in annual volume and $83k in annual income. What if that pre-approval to application conversion rate increased from 50% to 60%? That would result in $11 million in annual volume and $99k in annual income. Lenders have the power to create confident, assertive buyers with digital tools that give them instant answers - and confident buyers convert. LenderLogix is hosting a webinar next Wednesday, November 9, at 2:30 ET to discuss tactics and technologies lenders can use to convert more leads to loans and optimize their mortgage funnel. Click here to register for the webinar.

Free Webinar: “Planning for 2023: How to Recoup Revenue, Save Costs & Drive Loan Volume in an Uncertain Market.” Now is the time to plan for a strong 2023. In this webinar from Maxwell in partnership with TMC, industry veterans, including Maxwell’s Jim Smith, Peggy Rubadue, and Alan Parris, along with Thrive Mortgage VP of Operations Donielle Geiser, combine expertise from past downturns with insight into today’s unique market. Tune in to uncover outside-the-box ways to save costs and bolster revenue. You’ll learn how to leverage overlooked areas of the lending process, such as QC, to tangibly boost the bottom line; better use technology to drive efficiency and borrower leads; grow product and channel offerings sustainably; and shift fixed costs to variable to costs to offload overhead and avoid costly hire-and-fire cycles. Click here to save your seat for this webinar taking place Thursday, 11/17 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Join the MBA of Metropolitan Washington at Congressional Country Club on Tuesday, November 15, 11:30 am - 2 pm. Lunch and Learn about Mortgage Mindset: Selling in a Changing Market with presenter Jason Abell, President, Rewire Coaching.

Registration is now open for FreddieMacCONNECT, November 15-16, Single-Family’s premier annual event that provides you with an opportunity to network with industry leaders and peers while learning more about our latest programs, products and initiatives. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘The Power of 2’, focusing on partnership to tackling today’s housing challenges. Better insights. Better outcomes. Better 2gether.

Registration is open for the NALHFA 2022 Fall Educational Conference, November 15-17 in Washington D.C. There’s a brand-new preconference workshop: Local Housing 101: Getting Back to the Basics, intended for those either new to the industry or for those simply interested in learning more on the topics discussed which will help guide the discussions for the rest of the conference.

Join COAMP on November 17th from 2pm-4pm at 7979 E Tufts Ave in Denver, 1st Floor Conference Room for a self-employed income analysis seminar. Not your standard class on how to calculate self-employed tax return, hear from underwriting on the TOP Pitfalls. One class pricing for Member’s is $29, non-Members is $79.

Join your industry colleagues at ALFN FORECLOSURE INTERSECT, November 16-17 at the Marriott Dallas Las Colinas. This in-depth training is focused on the intersection of mortgage servicing and the ever-changing foreclosure process. ALFN FORECLOSURE INTERSECT’s event will include detailed sessions on national issues and trends, and additional issues that have a broad impact on the industry. Intersect is a can't miss opportunity to close out your year with a highly rated, Attorney-led training session for your team.

Register for the MMBBA Breakfast & Learn: IPEN -The Simple Way to Close Loans Electronically and Efficiently on Wednesday, November 16. Cost includes breakfast, Members: $25, Non- Members: $35.

Please say hello if, on Thursday, November 17th, you come to the MBA Kansas City’s Membership Luncheon at 11:30AM. Come to the Blue Hills Country Club for a fun, educational session!

In Ohio, the OMBA, through its partnership with Diehl Mortgage Training and Compliance, is offering a detailed 8-hour live webinar training in two 4-hour segments on the VA Handbook. This training will bring you up to speed on current guidelines and procedures. Participants will have the ability to ask questions throughout the presentation. Register for this VA underwriting, processing and origination Training Webinar, November 8 & 15, 1:00 - 5:00 pm EST. Registrants from OMBA member companies receive a $100 discount! Call Jay Pascoe at 202-731-6495 to receive the discount code to input when registering.

Capital Markets: Employment Data

If one were to only look at the weekly initial jobless claims that is released every Thursday, the U.S. labor market is hot, but cooling. Initial jobless claims for the week ending October 29 decreased by 1k to 217k, indicative of a tight labor market and a data point for the Fed that will prompt the Fed to continue raising rates more aggressively, as it has been doing. Additionally, Americans are still quitting at near-record levels as job openings rise.

The mortgage, and bond, market had already pretty much priced in the latest Fed move, bonds continued to be sold yesterday as global markets responded to the November FOMC Statement dashing hopes for a policy pivot in the near term. That’s as mortgage rates are near 20-year highs, impacting affordability and hurting potential home buyers. But making existing mortgage holders feel better about their interest rate.

Today’s lone economic data point set is an important one in the form of the October payrolls report (261k, 233k private sector; a positive back month revision of 29k). Expectations were for 240k jobs of which 225k are private. The unemployment rate was expected to remain unchanged at 3.5 percent but came in at 3.7 percent. And hourly earnings for October were +4.7 percent on an annualized basis, as expected. One Fed speaker is also scheduled, Boston Fed President Collins. After the employment data showed an upside surprise, we begin Friday with Agency MBS prices are worse .250 and the 10-year yielding 4.19 after closing yesterday at 4.12 percent.

Employment and Transitions

“NOW is the time to speak with Mortgage Confidential to find out if you are with the best platform for your needs and goals! There is a lot of consolidation on the horizon and you owe it to yourself to make sure you have options if your company changes hands. The last thing you want to do is put your head in the sand and hope for the best. Take control of your own destiny. Don’t sell yourself short, let lenders and banks compete over you! Mortgage Confidential is the #1 resource in the industry for Mortgage Professionals to find top opportunities and maximize their value. Check out our site and put yourself on the market, confidentially. Email us: 100 percent Confidential, guaranteed!”

“Are you losing more loans than you’re winning? Does your pricing seem out of line with the market? Are you wanting to take your Originating career to the next level but feel held back? When an originator hits a plateau it’s because the platform they are in doesn’t allow them to grow beyond what they’ve already achieved. One of the Top Originating teams in the nation is looking to help 1 Originator achieve their goals and reach the next level of their career. Looking for a new opportunity is scary, but with our proven track record, individual coaching, dedicated operations, and unmatched pricing fear turns into excitement! Top producers have some advantages not available to everyone. It’s time to give yourself those same advantages, start dominating your market, and take your career to the next level. If you close $20M or more per year and are looking for a breakthrough, contact Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt to forward your note or click here to schedule a confidential conversation.”

Synergy One Lending, Inc. welcomes Brandon Kimball as VP, Production! Synergy One Lending, Inc. is back at it again! The rapidly expanding lender welcomes Brandon Kimball as VP, Production in the Southeast. Having served in multiple growth and sales leadership roles for a top industry peer the last eight years, Kimball is the perfect fit to build Synergy One’s footprint in the region. “Joining such a powerful platform so early in the growth story presented an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Kimball said. “Brandon is an elite builder and a perfect culture match for us, we couldn’t be more excited for what’s ahead in the Southeast,” added Synergy President Aaron Nemec. For more information on what has so many top-producers joining Synergy One please visit here or reach out to SVP, Strategic Growth Ben Green.