Today I head to Northern California, home of plenty of technology. The other day I went to the doctor and the receptionist handed me a tablet and said, “Please fill out these medical forms on the screen, which are identical to the ones you filled out earlier online, and have the exact same questions your doctor will ask you later in the exam room.” Great. There’s nothing like old-fashioned printed things. I am sure that menu Quick Response (QR) codes are fine, but plenty of other QR codes are not: beware! “The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned the public against scanning any old QR code in a consumer alerts blog last week. Naturally, the warning comes down to security and privacy: bad actors can put QR codes in inconspicuous places or send them via text or email, then just sit back and wait for a payday in the form of money, logins, or other sensitive information. Lord knows that the mortgage industry has enough challenges from lousy characters without more of it coming our way! (Today’s podcast can be found here, and this week’s is sponsored by Richey May, a recognized leader in providing specialized advisory, audit, tax, technology and other services to the mortgage industry for almost four decades. Today’s has an interview with Clear Capital’s Kenon Chen putting a bow on the real estate market in 2023 and why 2024 brings reasons for optimism.)
Lender and Broker Products, Programs, and Services
Are you missing out on originating more government-backed loans? A whopping 44 percent of purchase loans for 1–4-unit properties in the top 10 MSAs in the United States would be potentially eligible for down payment assistance. That’s according to a newly released Urban Institute (UI) study. UI partnered with Down Payment Resource (DPR) to analyze 2022 HMDA data and DPA data from the 10 largest MSAs. Among the findings, the report says that across channels, FHA and USDA loans are most likely to be eligible at 80 and 82 percent, respectively and that FHA and USDA loans are generally eligible for a greater number of programs than conventional or VA loans. For more insight into how DPA programs could help you fund more government-insured mortgages, schedule a demo with the DPR team.
TENA Companies, Inc. is your partner for achieving Mortgage Quality Control excellence in 2024 and beyond! In today’s challenging market, Quality Control remains paramount. Protecting the integrity of your firm’s portfolio, maintaining compliance, and reducing risk is critical in the current lending environment. TENA’s industry-leading team of skilled auditors have unmatched experience and knowledge of every facet of Mortgage Quality Control operations, ensuring your firm minimizes risk and stays compliant from Pre-Funding to Post-Closing to Servicing. Our tailored Mortgage QC services and SecondLook Software deliver all the tools needed to ensure loan quality remains high, providing your firm with peace of mind as we enter the New Year. Don’t just adapt; lead with confidence. Contact TENA today to get started and position your firm for Quality Control success in 2024!
“Technology for technology’s sake is useless.” That’s the mindset that drives the mortgage technology experts at ICE as they modernize the American homebuying process via digital solutions built with a purpose. Watch here as HousingWire’s CEO Clayton Collins sits down with Sandra Madigan, EVP of Product Strategy at ICE Mortgage Technology, to discuss the careful consideration it takes to effectively “digitalize” the mortgage industry. You’ll learn how ICE is unifying all parts of the homebuying journey and how that digitalization impacts homeowners, as well as back-office teams who support consumers. Catch the full interview here to hear how ICE is approaching product development and helping to improve the homebuying and homeownership process end-to-end, and which aspects of the mortgage experience the industry needs to digitalize next.
“If Fed fund futures are right, by the time we all meet at next year’s MBA Secondary, the Fed may have already cut once and may even be on their way to a second cut! Right now, MSR valuations are “hanging in there” but Fed cuts will likely erode some of the value from ‘float’ on escrow. Blue Water (“Blue Water Financial Technologies Services, LLC”) can assist lenders to sell bulk MSR, regardless of size. With BlueRATE™, a lender can obtain an instant portfolio valuation and then determine what to sell – whether it be a small geo carve or the entire MSR portfolio. Blue Water can also assist in moving your product quickly with Blue Water’s proprietary SuperTransfer™. With SuperTransfer™, transferring the portfolio to a buyer is easier than ever. Connect with our expert Sales Team to learn more.”
Have you heard about the laws the FCC and the TCPA have implemented for the new A2P 10DLC requirements, to try and stop the junk texting? Hopefully, you have because the fines for noncompliance are serious. Are your salespeople texting their databases? Since ALL texting through mortgage CRMs falls under this federal law, it is imperative that you utilize texting legally and compliantly. What have your CRM providers done to help you navigate this challenging compliance landscape? Usherpa is pioneering the way on this front, making sure they’re texting platform was built to the letter of the law, ensuring that their clients are not exposed and are utilizing texting legally. Click here to learn more about the regulations and what you need to do to be compliant. Share this Infographic with your team.
Correspondent and Wholesale Programs
“Long-term Rental or Vacation Rental? Visio Lending is the nation’s leader in Non-QM Investor DSCR loans for buy and hold SFR rentals with nearly a decade of experience and over $2.5 billion in originations. No-DTI, 30-year terms, rate buy downs, free 45-day rate locks; I/O and Sub-1 DSCR options available. Through our top-notch Broker Program, brokers are able to earn up to 2 points YSP, and 5 points total. Visio Brokers can count on a designated Account Executive and in-house processing.”
Yesterday, December 11, Symmetry Lending launched its new First Lien HELOC! This new solution presents an opportunity for mortgage brokers and loan officers to extend their reach and offerings to even more of their client base, helping to drive new business and extend borrower relationships in a still-challenging market. In addition, brokers will be able to collect 1.5 percent on the draw amount (with no maximum!) for Symmetry’s First Lien HELOCs! This new product launch is a major win for brokers, loan officers, and borrowers alike. Contact your Symmetry Area Manager for more product details and support with presenting this product to your clients.
“Axos Bank’s Wholesale & Correspondent and Warehouse lending teams wish you and yours a happy and prosperous 2024! Our teams are here to help you achieve your goals in the year ahead. Axos’ innovative mortgage solutions include Super Jumbo ($3MM+) loans, buy-before-sell options, and cross-collateralization programs. Check out our rates on our Quick Pricer today or contact J Shoop, National Sales Director, for additional details. And our Warehouse Lending team can help you gain the flexibility and liquidity that’s needed to become a top originator in today’s market. With our expanded product eligibility, investor relationships, and extended cutoff times (6:15 p.m. ET), achieving success has never been easier. Take the opportunity to meet our team at the IMB conference in New Orleans Jan. 22-24. To secure a meeting time, simply reach out to Eric Nelepovitz and Justin Castillo via email, or call 888-764-7080.
Conforming Conventional News
Freddie Mac has launched DPA One® to help mortgage lenders quickly find and match borrowers to down payment assistance programs nationwide. DPA One is an innovative new tool that aggregates and showcases down payment assistance programs in a single, standardized, insights-rich tool so lenders can quickly and efficiently access and compare programs to help make home possible for more families. Loan officers and down payment assistance program providers can visit the DPA One website for more information and to request a demo.
Fannie Mae posted Lender Letter LL-2023-09, confirming Conforming Loan Limit Values for 2024. The new loan limit for most of the country will be $766,550 — a 5.56 percent increase over the 2023 limit and is effective for whole loans delivered to Fannie Mae and loans in MBS pools with issue dates on or after Jan. 1, 2024. View the Loan Limit Look-Up Table.
Fannie Mae is partnering with Freddie Mac to develop standardized subordinate lien documents. This is part of a comprehensive effort to expand access to down payment and closing costs assistance programs. Access down payment assistance information.
Freddie Mac Guide Bulletin 2023-24 announced updates pertaining to 2024 conforming loan limit values, An additional 10-day pre-closing verification type, Cash-out refinance mortgages, Condominium projects, GreenCHOICE Mortgage® enhancements, Market condition adjustments. Watch the Q4 2023 Policy Highlights Video. See highlights from all of the Guide updates this quarter in the Q4 2023 Policy Highlights video.
The Uniform Property Dataset (UPD) was implemented into Fannie Mae’s Property Data API on December 1st and is now available for lenders to use with Fannie Mae’s value acceptance + property data offers. Use of the UPD will be required as of April 1, 2024, when Fannie Mae’s proprietary Property Data Standards v6 will be retired. Visit the UPD page for more information.
Hasbro, the toy company, is laying off 1,100 of its employees, equal to 20 percent of its workforce. An isolated situation or an indication of the overall economy?
The Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day meeting kicks off today in Washington D.C. The Fed is nearly assured to maintain interest rates at current levels of 5.25 percent to 5.50 percent for its last decision of the year. The Fed’s policy statement will likely acknowledge the recent decline of inflation and the bank will release its latest dot plot, which will indicate how many rate cuts the Fed expects next year. Chair Powell will likely emphasize that the Fed is still willing to hike if inflation proves stickier than expected. Forecasts are for the Fed to make the first rate cut of this cycle in June.
Outside of the Fed, there was a 10-year note auction yesterday and there is a 30-year bond auction today. The $37 billion 10-year note auction met underwhelming interest, but the market held its ground. The 10-year Treasury yield has fallen around 80 basis points from its mid-October peak as more confidence that the Fed will start reducing interest rates in the next six months has been priced into the markets. Agency MBS have followed to some extent, but prepayment fears are not helping MBS investor appetites.
Prior to the start of the FOMC’s two-day meeting, today’s economic calendar kicked off with the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for November. More importantly, the consumer price index for November is also out. Headline CPI came in +.1 percent, +3.1 percent year over year, versus 0.0 percent month-over-month and 3.2 percent year-over-year previously. Core CPI increased .3 percent as expected month-over-month and 4.0 percent year-over-year expectations. Later today brings the aforementioned $21 billion reopened 30-year bond auction and the Federal budget for November. Remember that the last 30-year bond auction was weak, so this one will be closely watched. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better than Monday afternoon by a solid .250, the 10-year yielding 4.16 after closing yesterday at 4.24 percent, and the 2-year at 4.65.
Movement Mortgage is looking ahead to more in 2024! Movement is investing in LOs through its More in ’24 bootcamp, a ground-breaking curriculum designed to help build momentum in business and drive new levels of success in 2024. Weekly coaching call topics include mining for gold in your database, setting a strategy for your 2024 business plan, creating stellar follow-up systems, building referral partnerships that last and more. More in ’24 is just one of the ways Movement is helping LOs close out 2023 strong and set a plan to jump start 2024. Are YOU ready for more in ’24? Reach out to Sarah Middleton, Movement’s Chief Growth Officer, today to learn more about Movement! Plus, Movement offers new loan officer hires 90 days of free one-on-one coaching with Movement top producers. Reach out today and join the Movement!
A veteran group of mortgage bankers is interested in purchasing a small wholesaler in good standing and that has its “tickets” with Fannie, Freddie, and Ginnie. Loan production volume is not a priority. Interested parties should send me a confidential note for forwarding.