Robert K. writes, “My Mom always said, ‘Work until your bank account looks like a phone number. Well, I did it! ‘Available balance: $911.’” Speaking of numbers, thank you to those who wrote to me correcting the GDP of Mexico here as being $1.4 trillion and not $1.4 billion. Numbers certainly tell the story with vendors and lenders. Owners of vendors and third-party providers are looking at middle layers of management, cutting back, certainly cutting salaries, or ridding themselves of unproductive salespeople. Lenders continue to cut staff (Wells Fargo being the latest example) or furlough employees for a portion of their workweeks and implementing salary cuts. Meanwhile, managers report that end-of-year reviews are resulting in employees asking for raises due to inflation. On a lager scale, uh, larger scale, mergers and acquisitions continue. The latest to cross the tape is that "Guild Mortgage is excited to announce the acquisition of Inlanta." (STRATMOR acted as the advisor.) (Today’s podcast is available here and this week’s is 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 Software and Services

“How is your profitability by loan officer? How is your profitability by branch? By region? If you want the answers to these questions, Richey May’s RM Analyze business intelligence can give you that visibility. Our platform is designed and implemented by mortgage industry experts to quickly set you up with the critical reports you need to run your business. We understand that having visibility into your profitability at all levels enables you to make powerful decisions that help your business succeed. If you don’t have the data at your fingertips that tells you how you’re performing in real time, you may not be able to act quickly enough in this fluid market. It’s time for you to get a deeper look at your business. Contact the RM Analyze experts to learn more.”

“In today's grueling mortgage market, working harder than your competition won't cut it. You'll have to work smarter. That's why Usherpa is so excited about our new strategic partnership with MonitorBase. MonitorBase keeps you connected to your database with borrower intelligence alerts. Now Usherpa users can send contacts automatically to MonitorBase, saving time and effort. And remember, these are contacts who originators have built strong relationships with using Usherpa's Relationship Engagement Marketing. Borrowers are more likely to pay attention to information from their LO than from a stranger. MonitorBase alerts automatically hit the user's dashboard and are pushed to their UsherpAlert app so that the originator can instantly act on alerts, ensuring important follow-ups occur. In the words of Louis Zitting, Founder and CEO of MonitorBase, ‘We love the flexibility Usherpa built into its platform and its ability to create custom workflow easily.’ Click here to read the press release.”

Twas’ a month before New Year’s, when all through the town, loan officers were stirring, for sales were down. Complex CRMs went unused everywhere, dashing hopes that new customers soon would be there. The LOs sat all stressed at their desk, for a downturn in the market had grown quite grotesque. When out on the web there arose such a clatter, Velma’s Marketing Solutions will see to this matter! Automated drip emails could be sent in a flash, create customized flyers for your next open-house bash! Contact tracking and approvals that glow, all the things to help your business grow! Being purpose-built and cost-effective, Velma helps reach your sales objective! So away with the CRM, overpriced and bloated; Sign up for Velma’s Solutions to get your business promoted! But here I must say, before you scroll out of sight, “Get your first month free, if you book a demo, alright?”

“Do you offer a Down Payment Assistance Program? We know there are many options out there for loans and lenders, but let us throw our hat in the ring and we think you’ll see why we’ve been in business since 1986. There are many benefits to a DPA loan with Essex Correspondent Lending. No underwrite from a separate Agency required. Efficient delivery and purchase process. Zero down payment required from the borrower. No income limit options available. Flexible credit score requirements. 0% interest options available. Caring and attentive Account Executives ready to assist you anytime. Partner with Essex Mortgage Correspondent Lending today. Contact Kimberly Schenck.

Miscellaneous Lender and Investor News

Sometimes it is good to see what various companies are doing out there. For example…

Recognizing the challenges facing first-time homebuyers, loanDepot has introduced a holistic suite of digital tools designed to support first-time buyers through every stage of the homebuying journey, from preparing for homeownership to navigating the process to closing on their first home. Sustained housing shortages, elevated home prices, soaring interest rates and inflation continue to erode home affordability, and disproportionately impact first-time homebuyers. loanDepot’s new digital portal provides multiple resources, all in one place, simplifying one of life’s most significant financial transactions. View loanDepot’s full suite of first-time homebuying tools and resources.

Don’t forget that FEMA declared federal disaster aid with individual assistance has been made available to 4 additional Florida counties affected by Hurricane with Amendment No. 8 to DR-4673.

On 11/21/2022, with DR-4677, FEMA declared federal disaster aid with individual assistance available to South Carolina counties of Charleston, Georgetown and Horry affected by Hurricane Ian from 9/25/2022, to 10/4/2022. View AmeriHome Mortgage 20221110-CL Disaster Announcement for inspection requirements.

In Newsflash C22-027nc, Wells Fargo Funding provided Policy expansion information.

Private master flood insurance policies on Non-Conforming Loans, with deductibles that exceed the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) maximum are acceptable in certain situations.

LoanStream Mortgage is offering Rate & Term Refi, Streamline and Purchase option on USDA Loans, excludes cash out. Find out more, visit LoanStream Mortgage.

Carrington Correspondent announced its implementation of underwriting fee changes, effective for all loan submissions received on and after January 1, 2023. Visit Carrington Mortgage Services to view its Correspondent fee schedule. These fees are not in the loan origination fees and will be charged when loan is purchased and netted from wire.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) granted two temporary partial waivers to its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) loss mitigation policies. Both waivers continue the same flexibilities outlined in prior waivers dated June 16, 2022, that expire on December 31, 2022.

Temporary partial waiver of Mortgagee Letter 2015-11, Loss Mitigation Guidance for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) in Default due to Unpaid Property Charges. This waiver allows mortgagees to offer repayment plans to HECM borrowers with unpaid property charges regardless of their total outstanding arrearage and is effective through December 31, 2023.

Temporary partial waiver of Mortgagee Letter 2016-07, Expanded Permissive Loss Mitigation for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) and Mortgagee's Optional Extension to Submitting a Due and Payable Request. This waiver permits mortgagees to seek assignment of a HECM immediately after using their own funds to pay unpaid property taxes and insurance on or after March 1, 2020, by temporarily eliminating the three-year waiting period for such assignments. The waiver is effective through December 31, 2023.

Is non-QM sweeping the nation and profitable? Perhaps not so much. Angel Oak Mortgage, the publicly traded non-QM REIT, disclosed in a public filing that it sold $343.4 million of mortgages for just $284.2 million, or just 83 cents on the dollar. The average coupon on the loans: 4.5%.

The information was contained in 8-K filed just before the Thanksgiving holiday. Although the UPB was $343.4 million, AOM said the net book value of the mortgages was $349.7 million.

But JPMorgan Chase is set to issue its first non-prime MBS stocked exclusively with investment-property loans underwritten using debt service coverage ratios, according to a presale report from Kroll Bond Rating Agency. Secured by 980 loans, JPMorgan Mortgage Trust 2022-DSC1 is sized at $308.2 million. The collateral has seasoned for roughly 11.8 months.

The loans were originated by more than 100 lenders, led by Sprout Mortgage (remember Sprout?) with a 19.9% share and Interfirst Mortgage Company (11.0%). JPM will provide representation and warranty coverage for the loans originated by Sprout, given that it is no longer in business.

Stronghill Capital of Austin, TX, this month announced the launch of a new residential lending division that will focus on non-QMs, non-agency jumbos and loans for investment purposes.

And don’t forget that Mutual of Omaha has entered the Wholesale Mortgage Lending arena. Providing a variety of financial services, including Reverse mortgage and traditional mortgage products. In early March 2022, the firm announced the hiring of Colin Treend (President – Wholesale) and starting approving brokers in late April 2022 and are available to add as investor in Loansifter (upon request), ReadyPrice, and LenderPrice.

And earlier this week that FHFA published its conforming loan limits for 2023: announcement. As a quick aside, jumbo rates are still lower than conforming, given the gfees, in many places and for many programs, but still, people pay attention to conforming limits. The increases are significant, but reflective of slower home-price appreciation in 2022 compared to 2021. The baseline maximum conforming loan limit for one-unit properties will increase 12.21 percent from $647,200 to $726,200. The maximum conforming loan limit for one-unit properties in high-cost areas will increase to $1,089,300, or 150 percent of the baseline limit, which is the "ceiling" set by Congress for high-cost area loan limits.

Capital Markets

Some of expectations of the Federal Reserve continuing to raise short term rates without stopping are coming out of the market. The rally in the bond markets that took root after Wednesday's dovish speech from Fed Chairman Powell continued yesterday. Powell emphasized in his latest remarks that the Fed's policy tools are better designed for working on core inflation, and we saw yesterday the core-PCE Price Index, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.2 percent month-over-month and 6.0 percent, year-over-year versus 6.3 percent in September. The improvement in the inflation readings has been welcome, particularly the core-PCE Price Index given it’s the Fed’s preferred measure. Separately, the manufacturing economy contracted in November after expanding for 29 consecutive months, according to the ISM Manufacturing Survey.

Inflation data continues to garner the most attention, but this morning’s payrolls numbers certainly are important. The November payrolls report is the highlight of today’s economic calendar. Headline nonfarm payrolls, expected +200k, were +263k, a strong “beat”, with a higher October revision. The unemployment rate was 3.7 percent when it was seen slipping to 3.6 percent. And hourly earnings were +.6 percent, stronger than expected and +5.1 percent year-over-year. Without any other scheduled market-moving economic data today, we do have remarks from two Fed speakers (Richmond’s Barkin and Chicago’s Evans), we begin the day with Agency MBS prices worse .250 and the 10-year yielding 3.59 after closing yesterday at 3.53 percent after the strong payrolls numbers and as the yield curve continues to become less inverted.

Employment and Promotions

Milestone Home Lending, part of the Newrez Family of Companies, is looking for ambitious Loan Officers in Greenwood, IN. This unique opportunity provides an outstanding platform for Loan Officers to expand their pipeline. “Elevating the consumer experience, driving efficiency, and removing complexity for our agents is a constant focus. Our Loan Officers with Milestone Home Lending are embraced by our agents as an important partner for their buyers. It’s rewarding to watch careers grow as we focus on the customer experience and leverage the expertise of one another.” said Tracy Hutton, CEO of Century 21 Scheetz. “When someone joins our company, not only are they joining Milestone Home Lending, but they are also joining a team that works closely with Century 21 Scheetz. Together, we set the standard for the homebuying experience!” said Brittany Wineinger, Joint Venture President of Milestone Home Lending. Ready to make a move? Apply now or contact Brittany Wineinger, or the recruiting team.

“America's best FHA and VA lender is looking for Loan Officers and Branch Managers that are tired of passing up good loans because their company has an overlay that kills the deal. Mortgage Solutions is looking specifically for military and government markets. We have been around and have successfully executed this model for over 26 years. We have the most aggressive VA and FHA underwriting platform in the industry, 100% servicer with maximum latitude to serve the best interest of military and public servant families. Ask yourself this: How many Approve/Eligible loans have you declined in 2022 because of an overlay? And, How many times did you not even bother submitting a file that requires a manual underwrite due to an overlay? In this market, every deal matters, we understand that! Confidential inquiries can be sent to Rob Clennan, President of Mortgage Solutions; I will call you to discuss sales/producing leadership opportunities.”

Triserv Appraisal Management Solutions announced that Ted Venhorst has been promoted to SVP, Director National Sales & Marketing. With this promotion, he assumes leadership of both the sales and marketing teams nationally.