Happy Hanukkah (or Chanukah), which began yesterday. Others are looking ahead to Christmas, with some companies closed Friday the 23rd and some closed Monday the 26th. (The Federal Reserve and the stock market are closed Monday the 26th and then Monday the 2nd.) I am in Chicago where the weather could be termed as “brisk.” There’s a different term that the residents of Fairbanks, Alaska, and my Navy vet father, for that matter, would use to describe their weather, expected to have a high of -35 degrees F today! (To be blunt, which I can be since I’m not reporting to anyone, he’d probably say, “That would freeze the balls off a pool table!”) Weather like that does much more than cause goosebumps, although anyone who knows this song often has them at the 3:08 mark. Plenty of lenders are feeling trapped by current margins and volumes, which probably aren’t going to shoot up in the near future, and some have shifted a portion of their production to home equity lines, with more volume but even less margin. I mention this because the CFPB issued an update to the “What you should know about home equity lines of credit” brochure (HELOC Brochure). The new edition of the HELOC Brochure, available in English and Spanish, is updated to align with the Bureau’s educational efforts, to be more concise, and to improve readability and usability. (Today’s podcast is sponsored by Richey May, a recognized leader in providing specialized advisory, audit, tax, technology, and other services in the mortgage industry and in banking.)

Lender and Broker Software, Products and Services

“What is a call according to the TCPA? When, what, and how can you compliantly communicate with your borrowers? Whether you’re responding to or initiating borrower communications, the playing field is changing. Live calls, dialer calls, emails, text messages, snail mail, and more are all communication methods to facilitate important notifications and disclosures. They must each be auditable, and many fall under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Are you staying ahead of communication innovation? The TCPA certainly is. Far from being a dinosaur, requirements under the TCPA continue to evolve as new communication methods and solutions push on the requirements that discern ‘what is a call?’ Mortgage servicers need innovation in this area while engaging today’s borrowers. Our blog, ‘Are your borrower calls compliant with the new TCPA ruling?’ looks at how you can meet this challenge effortlessly with modern automation capabilities offered through CLARIFIRE CONTACT® and CLARIFIRE COMMUNITY®.”

“Are you ready to join tons of other satisfied brokers and start working with Towne Mortgage Company? Our 40 years of experience working with Brokers, Mortgage Bankers, Credit Unions, Community Banks, and Agricultural Banks means you can expect flexible solutions and reliable service. Work directly with your Underwriter, contact the Business Support Hotline for updates and technical help. As an approved FNMA/FHLMC/GNMA seller/servicer offering full Agency and Renovation product sets you are guaranteed program options and expertise at Towne Mortgage Company. ‘I stopped using other lenders, the only time I go elsewhere is when the scores don't meet Towne's Matrix. Simple submission process, awesome Account Executive support, excellent business support team and 1st rate closing team.” (Michael R.) Let our years of experience work for you! Get started with Towne Mortgage Company today, call (888) 653-9037or visit us.

“Happy Holidays from Advantage Credit! For the last nine years, to say ‘Thank you’ to our customers, Advantage Credit has made an end-of-year donation to a charity on behalf of our customer partners. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of this program, Advantage Credit has chosen a charity to donate to for each quarter of 2022! For Q1 2022 we donated to the Elevations Foundation, for Q2 2022 we made our donation to Fairway Cares, and for Q3 2022 we chose Southwest Funding Hearts to Homes Foundation. For our final donation of 2022, and as a Christmas gift to all our customers, we will be making another donation to these organizations on their behalf. Given the tumultuous year we’ve had, it is important to us to stay true to our commitment of giving back where we can and showing our sincere gratitude for all our customer partners! From the Advantage Credit family to you, we wish you Very Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year!”

“Hey you. Yes you! How would you like to pull in more loans by doing nothing? “Nothing?” We hear you ask. Yes, nothing. Automated marketing is the key. Velma Connector automates your LO’s marketing process by automatically sending out targeted and branded emails, post cards, and text messages tailored to where your prospects are in the home buying process. It does all this with a little help from your LOS. That’s a match made in marketing heaven. With Connector your LOs can be marketing from the office, at home, the golf course, even at Christmas dinner. And hey since it’s the holiday season, we’ve got a gift for you. Book a demo by December 30th and you’ll get your first 3 months free, plus we’ll give you a nice discount on implementation. Merry Christmas indeed.”

Last week Dale Vermillion said “2022 was a year of conversion and 2023 is going to be more of the same.” If your team isn’t trained to convert in 23’ you might as well expect the same terrible outcome as this year. Give your team the best conversion and ROI platform in the industry, the combination of Sales Boomerang and Mortgage Coach. Why do you think 74 lenders signed up with both of these leading tech stack partners in 2022? What do these lenders know that you don’t? 74 lenders put their trust into Sales Boomerang and Mortgage Coach to get them through this storm and beyond. These 74 lenders join hundreds of other lenders who are way more confident going into 2023 than those without these tools. Calculate your additional CONVERSIONS!

NEW EBOOK: How to plan for profitable mortgage lending in 2023, according to industry veterans. With interest rates volatile and loan volume uncertain, planning for 2023 might feel daunting. Luckily, mortgage solutions provider Maxwell is here to help! To arm you with confidence, Maxwell interviewed four mortgage veterans (Maxwell’s Jim Smith, CMB, Alan Parris, and Peggy Rubadue, along with Thrive Mortgage’s Donielle Geiser) on best practices to tackle 2023’s market. With this free 12-page download, you’ll receive actionable advice to better use technology to improve efficiency and drive borrower leads, grow product and channel offerings sustainably, and flex your business to changing borrower needs. Ready to view 2023 as a call-to-action instead of an insurmountable challenge? Click here to download Planning for 2023: How to Recoup Revenue, Save Costs & Drive Loan Volume in an Uncertain Market.

“If you’re in the mortgage business, it’s been a rough ride lately. Soaring rates, crushing inflation, and rampant layoffs have pummeled the industry. It may seem like there’s no end in sight, and you just need to hunker down and wait for brighter days. While the mortgage industry can be a wild ride, there are ways savvy professionals can continue thriving, even in crazy times like the ones we’re living in. We tapped into the most knowledgeable industry experts and put together this complimentary eBook, 6 Ways Mortgage Professionals Can Fuel Their Pipelines… Even During an Economic Downturn. Use it to shake things up and keep your pipeline full of lucrative customers. Birchwood Credit Services has provided credit reporting solutions to financial institutions for over three decades. Our proprietary bundled pricing models guarantee all add-on fees and back-end processing costs up front so there are never any additional “surprise” fees. Visit our website today.”

Global Experience, Local Relevancy. Zoral’s intelligent automation solutions are eliminating antiquated industry workflows and replacing them with technology that is years ahead of domestic capabilities. Zoral’s Processing & Underwriting solution offers the most sophisticated set of intelligent automation tools that Processors and Underwriters can use to dramatically increase productivity, improve accuracy, reduce risk, eliminate manual data entry, and stare & compare tasks. For the past 18 years, Zoral has operated one of the largest intelligent automation labs in the world. Whether you close 500 loans a month or 5000, leveraging Zoral’s intelligent automation should be your priority in reducing your overall cost to operate. Ask about a no-risk, complimentary trial. Contact Zoral to schedule a quick call to learn more.

STRATMOR on Bank vs Non-Bank

When it comes to residential mortgage lending, is it better to be a bank or a non-bank? According STRATMOR Senior Partner Jim Cameron in an article in the just-released December Insights Report, it’s all a matter of perspective. “Non-banks have been gaining market share for quite some time now,” says Cameron. “HMDA data shows that bank share has dropped from 76% in 2010 to 37% in 2021 and there are many reasons for this shift. But in today’s extremely challenging market, banks have an opportunity to regain some market share from non-banks by leveraging their liquidity and capital to offer products that non-banks are simply not able to offer.” Cameron examines the products that create advantages for banks in the current market in his article, “In Times Like These, It’s Good to be a Bank” in the December STRATMOR Insights Report.

HUD, FHA, and VA Changes

HUD posted Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2022-23, announcing and providing requirements for a new property charge repayment plan option for senior homeowners with HECMs who are behind on their property charge payments due to COVID-19.

On December 15th, FHA issued Mortgagee Letter 2022-22, revising conflict of interest and dual employment policy to clarify when individuals may perform multiple roles in a single FHA-insured transaction.

HUD posted Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2022-23, announcing and providing requirements for a new property charge repayment plan option for senior homeowners with HECMs who are behind on their property charge payments due to COVID-19.

In FHA news, we have https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/OCHCO/documents/2022-22hsgml.pdf

On December 15th, FHA issued Mortgagee Letter 2022-22, revising conflict of interest and dual employment policy to clarify when individuals may perform multiple roles in a single FHA-insured transaction.

PennyMac posted Updates to Government LLPAs in Announcement 22-81 and FHA and VA Loan Limit Increase for 2023 in Announcement 22-79.

PRMG Product Update 22-74 includes information on VA and VA High Balance construction to perm loans, Diamond Jumbo loan limits, Pro Teck AAR use in Choice Products, and waiver of Origination Fees on HELOCs submitted to Symmetry. Refer to the actual profiles for additional information. PRMG announced the release of the Utah Housing Corporation (UHC) FHA DPA Program for the Wholesale channel in Product Update 22-73.

FHFA has announced that, in most of the U.S., the 2023 maximum conforming limit for one-unit properties is increasing to $726,200, and the loan limit ceiling to $1,089,300. HUD has announced that the FHA floor will increase to $472,030. For AmeriHome Mortgage implementation information, see product announcement 20221202-CL.

The maximum base loan amount for VA Purchase and Cash-Out Refinance transactions is increasing to $1.5 million subject to program requirements. View AmeriHome Mortgage product announcement 20221204-CL for details including other changes to VA program guidelines.

Citizens Correspondent National Bulletin 2022-23 includes information on VA 2023 Loan Limits and Non-U.S. Citizen Borrowers.

Help your customers ease the burden of the higher interest rate environment with Hometown Equity Mortgage 2-1 Buydown Option. Eligible for Conventional Primary and Second home purchase transactions and FHA Owner occupied purchase transactions.

Capital Markets: Holiday Trading

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) slowed its pace of rate hikes when it raised its overnight lending rate 50-basis points to a range of 4.25 - 4.50 percent last week. Though the 50-basis points hike was widely expected, the Committee’s dot plots indicated a higher-than-previously-expected Fed Funds rate at the end of 2023. This put a damper on the hopes of anyone thinking the committee would begin to decrease the Fed Funds rate towards the end of next year and engenders belief that higher rates will persist for at least the near-term. The FOMC also projected significantly slower economic growth in 2023 and an unemployment rate roughly one percent above the current level. Inflation is projected higher in 2023 than the committee projected in September and the Committee does not foresee reaching its goal of 2 percent inflation over the next two years. Based on the Fed’s economic projections and Powell’s press conference, it appears unlikely that a higher unemployment rate will deter the Committee in its fight against inflation.

Turning to the here and now, this week’s economic calendar includes an early close on Friday ahead of the Christmas holiday on Sunday and full close next Monday. Economic releases during the week including updates on housing and leading indicators, with durable goods orders, final Q3 GDP, PCE, and Michigan sentiment all on Friday. Fedspeak is light and supply will consist of $12 billion reopened 20-years bonds and $19 billion reopened 5-year TIPS. This week gets off to a quiet start with today’s only data point coming later in the form of the non-market moving NAHB Housing Market Index for December. We begin the week with Agency MBS prices worse .250 and the 10-year yielding 3.54 after closing last week at 3.48 percent.


It’s a New Year and a new start! To compete in 2023, Loan Officers will need to increase their efficiency and lower their costs by using D1C, SSV, DVS, and CU scores in their loan workflow. Don’t know those acronyms? Your competition does! Contact MegaStar to see how our high-tech and high touch assists our successful Loan Officers. Competitive rates rely on having a low cost-to-produce. We want to show you how we can help you grow your business in 2023. MegaStar is actively recruiting Loan Officers and Branch Managers. We don’t have any recruiting gimmicks; we just want to empower you to compete and grow your business! If you want the best tech, competitive pricing, and unique programs, contact us or visit us.

FHA has 3 Underwriter vacancies in multiple locations, Telework eligible. Details are available on the USAJobs website, job announcement 23-HUD-338-P.