As Brian B. reminds me, “In the New England you can tell the changing of the seasons by the changing color of the leaves. In Florida you can tell the changing of the seasons by the changing colors of the license plates.” Speaking of moves, geography, and distance, if you’re a lender or a vendor, how’s your 2023 travel and entertainment budget shaping up? I figured. The Mortgage Bankers Association believes (some say optimistically) that total mortgage origination volume will decline to $2.05 trillion in 2023 from the $2.26 trillion expected in 2022. The “pie” will shrink, and every lender is striving to increase customer service. Under the category of “Know your clients,” buyers who bought homes in the year from June 2021 to June 2022 moved a median of 50 miles away from their previous residences, a huge increase. Over the preceding five years it was pretty much flat at a median of 15 miles, which was the highest going back to 2005. Many folks are leaving for the country: 48 percent were in small towns and rural areas, up from 32 percent going to the country in the year from June 2020 to June 2021. Companies don’t aren’t status-quo either. Luxury Mortgage is going away (note below). For example, Bay Equity’s parent Redfin Corp.’s stock price sank to record low after an Oppenheimer analyst downgraded the stock and said the real estate company’s model is “fundamentally flawed.” Ouch. (Today’s podcast is available here and this week’s is sponsored by SimpleNexus, an nCino company and award-winning developer of mobile-first technology for the modern mortgage lender. Listen to an interview with Change Wholesale’s Alan Lindeke on CDFI’s and getting more customers in a shrinking environment.)

Lender and Broker Services and Software

On November 17 at 2:30 PM ET, join Sue Woodard of STRATMOR Group and Kevin Peranio of Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, Inc. as they talk with hosts Dave Savage and Alex Kutsishin of Sales Boomerang and Mortgage Coach about tips and tricks for not only surviving but thriving in the market during this challenging time. Attendees will take away the mindset you must have, the marketing you need to be doing to engage with your borrowers, and you’ll learn how top performing managers and executives are leading their teams to create value for borrowers...and much more! Please register and join us on Thursday, November 17 at 2:30 PM ET.

Covius Settlement Services has announced that its title company, Covius Title, is now licensed in California. With the addition of this entity, Covius is now licensed to provide settlement services in 39 states, as well as the District of Columbia. Covius provides a range of title, escrow and closing services, including default title, to national lenders, as well as regional and smaller banks and credit unions. The decision to invest in a California license is part of the company’s continued commitment to expand the national reach of Covius products to support its clients. The new license expands Covius’ title footprint into the nation’s largest market and will enable it to write title for both origination and default clients in all 58 California counties. To learn more, email George Schultz, Covius VP-National Sales.

Calling all credit unions! Have you taken time to review and adapt your lock policies to the demands of the current market? Many lenders are facing financial stressors they haven’t seen since the 2008 housing crisis – and credit unions are no exception. Refining lock policies can help you support the evolving needs of your members, while also protecting your own profitability and mitigating risk. Plan to join Optimal Blue’s Mark Teteris, CMB, and John Dumonsau for their ACUMA Power Hour webinar, “Tailoring Your Lock Policies in Turbulent Times,” on Dec. 1 at noon CT. This session will cover lock adjustments you can make to address rising interest rates, reduced refinance and purchase market opportunities, supply-side constraints, and more. Register to save your seat today.

“Outperforming industry benchmarks for customer service. At Cenlar, we are always looking to improve the homeowner experience through our investments in people and technology. The results of our efforts are clear, with the kind of progress that is measurable. Our call center is consistently outpacing industry benchmarks. This performance reflects our philosophy to “think like a homeowner” and we have committed ourselves to anticipating homeowner needs. Through proactive communications like our chat bots and website, homeowners can get what they need, when they need it, in a manner they choose. While it is important to us that we are among the best in our industry, it’s an even greater importance that we are always improving the service we deliver to our clients and their homeowners. Let’s discuss how Cenlar can meet the mortgage servicing needs of your organization. Call 1-888-SUBSERV (782-7378) or visit us.”

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, especially at a time when companies need to operate with lean staffs. Our difference maker is your ability to outsource services to highly trained experts in a model that fits your needs. Whether that means outsourced accounting, business intelligence, compliance support, cybersecurity, internal audits or underwriting automation, we have the tools, knowledge, and experience to deliver services and recommendations unlike any company, 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 pivot to a better place, no matter which direction the market decides to go.

FREE EBOOK: Surviving the Remainder of 2022: How to Manage Rising Rates, Declining Volume & Challenges to Profitability. With interest rates hitting 7%, the mortgage market continues to pose serious challenges—but the truth is, it’s very possible to make money in tough markets like today’s. To dig into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, mortgage solutions provider Maxwell asked five experts (Serent Capital’s Amy Brandt, Richey May’s Seth Sprague, and Maxwell leaders Bryan Traeger, Anthony Ianni, and Kim Powers) for their thoughts on the rest of 2022. The result is a forward-looking game plan to help lenders best position themselves to compete in a tightening market. For expert advice on how to allocate spend, expand loan and product offerings, achieve peak efficiency, and more, don’t miss this free report (with accompanying webinar included!). Click here to download Surviving the Remainder of 2022: How to Manage Rising Rates, Declining Volume & Challenges to Profitability.

Other Broker Products, Updates

“Arm yourself with LoanStream’s 1-Year Self-Employed program this fall! It’s a Game Changer! Up to 80% LTV Purchase, Refinance and Cash Out available and a 660 Min FICO. Contact your LoanStream AE for full details! We are also welcoming Stephanie Balce as VP of Commercial Lending. Stephanie has almost 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry, and we are excited to have her onboard as part of the LoanStream family! Looking for a commercial deal? Check us out.

“At Impac, NQM is our DNA™. We continue to work hard to support our brokers by offering some of the most competitive LTV maximums in the industry. For example, we allow up to 90% on purchase transactions or rate/term refinances, and 80% on cash-out for our Full Doc, Bank Statement, and 1099 products (primary residence properties); and a no-minimum DSCR option is available (up to 70% LTV, full details here) for our Investor product. Brokers new to Non-QM appreciate having the ability to speak directly with our experienced in-house underwriting team, who consistently deliver 24-hour turn times. And Impac’s Underwriting Special is well underway: receive $500 off the underwriting fee if the loan funds by 11/30/22 (loan must be submitted on or after 10/25/22). Contact an Impac AE regarding our robust offerings or become an approved broker! NMLS #128231.”

Misconceptions about reverse mortgages may be costing you 10,000 leads/day†. Did you know that Senior home equity now exceeds $11.5 trillion*? There are many myths out there about reverse mortgages, but here’s a fact: this year, 3.65 million Americans will age into reverse mortgages, a safe and strategic solution for your business via home equity. Go FAR With the #1 Wholesale Reverse Lender** Finance of America Reverse LLC (FAR). FAR offers the most innovative product suite in the industry, comprehensive training programs, customizable marketing material, and a dedicated account team. What are you waiting for? Power your business with reverse. † Bureau. *Provided by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA). **Source: Reverse Market Insight.

Turning to industry chatter… Who can keep track? As always, ask your AE or contact the company for details. The retail portion of Angel Oak Home Loans rumored to be heading to Cross Country, who just supposedly laid off 100 people in Colorado. Alliant Credit Union… “Due to the persistent volatility in the secondary markets and to align with strategic initiatives, effective Tuesday, November 8th, Alliant Credit Union will no longer accept new lock requests.” There are rumors of OpenDoor’s retail group shutting down.

And this spells things out. “Many of you may have already received our corporate communication indicating that Luxury Mortgage Corp paused all new file submissions as of Monday, November 7th, 2022. Over the past several months we have been doing our best to successfully navigate through a series of market challenges that have caused unprecedented disruption to the secondary mortgage markets and our industry, and the economy as a whole. As most of you know, for the past several years Luxury Mortgage Corp has worked almost exclusively with one primary business partner to execute our secondary market strategy.

“Unfortunately, we were notified that due to the enormous challenges in the mortgage backed securitization markets our partner has decided to step back from the residential space at this time. Because of that development, we have made the difficult decision to pause our new originations. We are exploring a variety of alternative capital market relationships to allow us to execute with a broader spectrum of counterparties providing us with a stronger base moving forward. We are working around the clock to do our due diligence and establish new relationships that will allow us to re-enter the space with better pricing, better product options and more diversity of execution.”

Capital Markets: Quiet

We had a little rally yesterday in the bond markets, meaning prices went up and rates down for mortgage-backed securities and any loans linked to them, amid expectations of a divided government. Gridlock helping rates? Without many headlines, supply and demand took center stage and the Treasury auctions saw a strong $40 billion 3-year note auction, which precedes a $35 billion 10-year note sale today, and a $21 billion 30-year bond offering on Thursday. Small Business Optimism declined again, largely due to inflation and the tight labor market, according to the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index. Business reported that the rising cost of capital in a labor-constrained environment is making more and more investment outlays unprofitable and thus impacting employment and income in affected sectors.

Ahead of tomorrow’s latest inflation report, today’s economic calendar kicked off with MBA mortgage applications. As the 30-year fixed rate remained above 7 percent for the third consecutive week, applications decreased 0.1 percent from one week earlier. Later this morning includes updates on wholesale inventories and sales and a Treasury auction of $35 billion 10-year notes. Two Fed presidents are scheduled to speak: New York’s Williams and Richmond's Barkin. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices unchanged from Tuesday and the 10-year yielding 4.14 after closing yesterday at 4.13 percent.

Employment and Transitions

“Do you stay up late at night wondering about where your next lead will come from? You need a full-service agency that’s working for you, which is exactly what Guaranteed Rate Affinity offers. We give you the tools and take care of all the details behind the scenes. We’re here to build your brand and drive leads directly to you. The Guaranteed Rate Affinity platform supports you day in and day out, traditionally and digitally, through our seamless automated marketing tools that make your job easier. We got your marketing covered, so you can focus on growing your purchase business. Want to learn more? Contact our SVP of Marketing at (312) 804-3884 or via email Vinod Jotwani to get started. Guaranteed Rate Affinity is an equal opportunity employer that welcomes and encourages all applicants to apply regardless of age, race, sex, religion, color, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital or parental status, ancestry, citizenship status, pregnancy or other reason prohibited by law.”

“The Land Home Financial Services (LHFS) team is growing, and we are looking for experienced mortgage professionals for the following roles: Business Analysts, Project Managers and a Sales Engineer to implement the next generation of workflow automation! LHFS, a leader in community-based lending programs, services and technology solutions is looking for team members that can assist the Business group leads with documenting, managing and presenting their technology objectives. Why LHFS? We support retail and TPO production channels in 50 states, offer one of the broadest set of lending programs, retain over 90% of our servicing and investing in the next generation of technology. Interested candidates can send inquiries and resumes to Erika Brown.”

Mortgage Capital Trading, Inc. announced that Jennifer Kennelly has been appointed as the new Senior Director of MCT’s quickly expanding Investor Services team, “leveraging her unique background to grow MCT’s Bid Auction Manager (BAM) MarketplaceTM, the nation’s first open mortgage loan exchange where buyers can bid regardless of approval status, and sellers receive automated live pricing from every buyer on the platform.”