Talk can be humorous. "That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it." (Attributed to a congressional candidate in Texas.) Here in Dallas, mortgage talk is certainly wide-ranging and varied as there’s a lot going on out there as we head toward Thanksgiving week, including cost cutting, M&A, and Fair Lending. Today’s Rundown features Feliks Viner, VP of Capital Markets with First World Mortgage discussing rate volatility at 3PM ET. We have the Wall Street Journal story about the union between hoops and loans: “Mortgage King Wants the NBA Crown, Too.” Some housing industry observers may only think it was “only a flesh wound,” but the Realtors™ antitrust case decision in Missouri, coupled with other recent settlements and an onslaught of new cases, likely portend real changes for how homes are bought and sold in the US with the assistance of real estate brokers. Attorney Brian Levy, breaks it down and offers his view of the crumbling dam for buyer broker commissions and the Realtors’ control over local listings in his most recent Levy’s Mortgage Musings. (Today’s podcast can be found here, sponsored by LoanCare, the mortgage subservicer known for delivering superior customer experience through personalization and convenience. Its award-winning portfolio management tool, LoanCare Analytics, supports MSR investors with a focus on customer engagement, liquidity, and credit risk. Interview with Calque’s Chandra Srivastava on the inner workings of a mortgage marketing department and how companies justify ROI on marketing spend.)

Lender and Broker Software, Products, and Services

“Truv is saving Lenders 60-80 percent over competitors. That’s the savings of multiple full-time employees. For example, Compass Mortgage saved roughly 60 percent in verification costs and maintained their same conversion rate. "Truv has given us the ability to lower costs, all while speeding up the verification process and providing better employment data" said Justin Venhousen, COO, Compass Mortgage. Stop wasting money. Contact TRUV today to discuss how we can help you with your income, employment, insurance, and asset verifications.”

The Work Number® can help streamline processes and provide greater value to employment and income verification processes. Wider data coverage can help streamline lending processes. The Work Number is the largest commercial repository for consolidated income and employment data with access to 641 million instantly returned records, updated each pay cycle, provided directly by employers and payroll providers, so there’s no need to collect an applicant’s private banking or payroll credentials, potentially exposing them and yourself to risk. Lenders and brokers have a choice: access The Work Number directly from Equifax OR through our pre-built integrations with over 60 Point of Sale (POS) and Loan Origination Systems (LOS). Not all methods for verification of income and employment are created equal. Discover why The Work Number is the leading choice for seamless, swift, and automated verifications.

In this market, hustle is everything. You can’t afford to waste a single deal, or a single minute. That’s why ReadyPrice has launched Shop, Lock, Deliver, an innovative platform designed to help independent mortgage brokers and their lenders save time and money. Now you can shop competitive loan offerings from multiple lenders, get rate lock guarantees in real time, receive underwriting findings, and deliver the borrower’s complete loan file to lenders, all on a single platform, at no cost to brokers. It’s already helping brokers around the country thrive and compete in the toughest market. Multiple lenders. One platform. Zero b.s. Come check us out today.

Join MAXEX at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 7, for a special webinar on how the company is expanding its role as the cash window for the non-agency market. MAXEX’s multi-buyer-to-multi-seller exchange now provides more than 300 originators with access to more than 25 leading jumbo, non-QM, DSCR, Agency-eligible (NOO and 2nd Homes), and scratch & dent investors through a single clearinghouse. Join this event to learn about how MAXEX can help your business stay nimble and prepare for profitable, efficient growth in 2024.

Homebot is making a move towards an even more connected consumer experience through its launch of the Homebot Mobile App, allowing clients to connect with their trusted home advisors in a single tap right from their mobile device. With this announcement, every Homebot customer has the opportunity to engage their clients more deeply while generating more relationships with first-time homebuyers. See full story here.

Broker and Correspondent Products

Spring EQ Wholesale is now offering investment property HELOCs for 1st and 2nd lien positions! There is high demand for this product, and now is a great time to reach out to your clients who own investment properties and offer a way to access the equity in those homes. Need help with pricing? Click here to submit a scenario to Spring EQ’s team of Account Executives. Don’t forget, with Spring EQ you can earn up to 2.5 percent in traditional broker compensation on HELOCs and HELOANs. Looking for new opportunities in the mortgage space? We’d love to speak with you! Explore our job postings and come join our growing team of fun and experienced mortgage professionals! At Spring EQ our primary focus is second mortgages. So, think of us first for all your seconds. Become a partner now or contact your Account Executive to learn more.

“Now is the perfect time to align yourself with a top-tier correspondent partner like Newrez Correspondent. How are you going to meet and exceed your 2024 goals in this challenging market? By choosing a partner with the strength, size, and quality of Newrez. We provide competitive pricing, an expansive product line and an unwavering commitment to service. Don’t take it from us. Visit our website to read what our valued clients have to say. More reasons? We offer multiple affordable lending options, a comprehensive monthly client training calendar and access to marketing materials you can customize on The Marketplace by Newrez. Non delegated/Non-QM product availability with access to LoanNEX (pricing and product eligibility platform). Contact your RSM to learn more by clicking here. At Newrez, there is much to be thankful for: our team, our clients, and our families. Wishing you and yours a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.”

What if you had a powerful tool that could help you close your purchase pipeline at four times the rate? Rocket Pro TPO’s Verified Approval (VAL) goes beyond typical pre-approvals by providing a fully underwritten solution that includes a review of your client’s credit, income, and assets. As a result, you will realize the benefit of more committed clients with a clear picture of affordability and the confidence to start shopping. And partners can rely on fast Verified Approval reviews to jump start the purchase process: VALs are available to partners from their portal in as little as 24 hours after the request. Plus, clients using a VAL have the option to lock their rate before finding their new home! Interested in learning more about a Broker or Non-Delegated Correspondent partnership? Contact Rocket Pro TPO to learn more.

STRATMOR on Customer Relationships

What if our response to the prolonged market downturn was less about waiting it out, and more about learning and improving? What if we became learners and doers, not just survivors? In his November Customer Experience Tip, STRATMOR CX Director Mike Seminari talks about the need for being active in the downtime, building relationships, gaining product knowledge, reading books and listening to podcasts, always in pursuit of self-betterment and excellence in customer care. He shares three lessons that 2023 has taught us and how we can parlay them into success in 2024. Check out, “Top Three CX Lessons That Will Drive 2024 Success.”

M&A is not Lender-Exlusive

Lenders are not the only ones in our biz with shrinking balance sheets, competitive pressures, and owners looking at strategic alternatives to battling it out every day.

Stavvy, a fintech firm specializing in digital and remote collaboration for lending and real estate companies, acquired SigniaDocuments, a technology suite from Texas-based lender Evolve Mortgage Services. “Stavvy will acquire assets, including eClosing tools, eNote and eVault services, eRegistry capabilities for agency and non-agency loans and SigniaDocuments’ SMART Doc technology – a data-driven electronic document engine.” Stavvy will offer eNote, SMART Doc disclosures and loan documents for all 50 states across all loan programs and Evolve’s Charlie Epperson and Tim Anderson will join Stavvy as chief product officer and EVP of digital mortgage strategy, respectively. Recall that in August, Stavvy acquired digital mortgage servicing tech firm Brace to provide a streamlined platform for mortgage servicers and homeowners.

Equity and the Future of Refinance

A report from ATTOM shows that in Q3 2023, fewer homes were equity-rich, meaning their loan balances were less than half of their market values. The share of equity rich mortgaged homes was 47.4 percent. This is a drop from 49.2 percent in Q2 2023, making it the largest quarterly decline since 2019. The decline in equity-rich properties happened despite recent home value rebounds. That said, the percentage of seriously underwater mortgaged homes continued to improve. Only 2.5 percent were considered seriously underwater in Q3 2023. That’s the lowest point in the past four years. It’s down from 1 in 36 homes in Q2 2023 and 1 in 35 homes in Q3 2022.

Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D. writes, “As of 9/23, the percentage of home mortgage holders with negative equity is just 383,000 or 0.7 percent, less than half the percentage prior to Covid and prior to the Housing Bust. The percentage peaked in 2009 at 30 percent. Currently, the city with the highest percentage of underwater mortgage holders is Austin at 2.1 percent, because prices are 14 percent off 2022 peaks, followed by Las Vegas at 1.7% and Phoenix at 1.6 percent.”

Capital Markets

Have you stopped your spending? Inflationary price tags, high interest rates and the return of student loan payments were thought to prompt many Americans to hold back on opening their wallets, but that doesn't appear to be the case. A strong labor market has helped keep spending afloat across the economy, with new revisions even showing that the blowout retail reports from the summer were even better than initially estimated. Those trends are expected to continue with Black Friday only a week away, followed by the traditional holiday spending spree.

But as the fabled “soft landing” for the U.S. economy comes more and more into focus, we have seen mortgage rates and other bond yields drop as of late. Yesterday morning's batch of data showed a larger than expected increase in weekly jobless claims coupled with a two-year high in continuing claims, fitting the Fed's preferred script of seeing some softening in the labor market. Initial claims are at their highest levels since August and continuing jobless claims are at their highest level since November 2021. Export prices were down 1.1 percent month-over-month in October and down 4.9 percent year-over-year. Import prices were down 0.8 percent month-over-month and down 2.0 percent year-over-year. And total industrial production declined 0.6 percent month-over-month in October while the capacity utilization rate fell to 78.9 percent, though all figures were adversely affected by the UAW strike. Today’s calendar kicked off with housing starts and building permits for October (+1.9 percent and +1.1 percent, respectively). As has been the case all week, there are plenty of Fed speakers, and today features Boston President Collins, Vice Chair for Supervision Barr, San Francisco President Daly, and Chicago President Goolsbee. Today is also 48-hour notification for Class D MBS. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better by .125-.250 and the 10-year yielding 4.40 after closing yesterday at 4.45 percent.


“If you are looking for a lifeline to save your people and your business in this challenging rate environment, you have an opportunity to partner with a well-capitalized independent mortgage company with over 40 years of experience. We offer a portfolio product line that gives our origination team the opportunity to quote unique scenarios for DPA, 2nd liens, ARMs, non-owner, Jumbo, Doctor/Professional, and more. Our proprietary coaching program is free to all Loan Officers. Even in this market, we’ve doubled-down on the support we provide, from a dollar-for-dollar marketing match to in-house creative & design services, video marketing, social media, training, and credit services. With unmatched operations support at the branch and corporate levels, your clients and referral partners will be more than impressed. Our company is Fannie and Freddie seller/servicer, FHA, VA, and USDA approved. For a confidential conversation, please contact Anjelica Nixt and mention this opportunity.”

“It’s all part of the Plan! Operating as MWF Home Loans in Tennessee, Mountain West Financial is continuing our expansion plans in Tennessee. Throughout this year, we have continued our growth with recent launches in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and several other states east of Texas. The expansion is part of our overall growth strategy to expand our footprint. EVP and Board member, Ben Holloway has relocated to Tennessee in an effort to help drive our expansion. For more information about our growth plans and career opportunities, contact Ed Adams or Ben Holloway. Or visit us here for more information.”

“At Evergreen Home Loans™, we've always believed in supporting our associates and team members in their commitment to local causes. With the establishment of the Evergreen Cares Foundation, we've provided a powerful tool to help them do just that. The Evergreen Cares Foundation is our way of enabling our team to make a difference in the community. Whether it's addressing hunger, promoting education, or providing assistance during crises, this foundation reflects our dedication to community well-being. Our associates are passionate about giving back, and this foundation allows them to channel their energy and resources toward causes they care deeply about. By doing so, we strengthen our community and embody our core values of empathy and support. Learn more about the Evergreen Cares Foundation and the remarkable impact it's making. Together, we can build a brighter future for everyone.”

Explore Spring EQ’s job postings and come join our growing team of fun and experienced mortgage professionals! At Spring EQ our primary focus is second mortgages.”