Mar. 28: Letters on staying safe & sane while working from home, appraisals, and being bullish on IMBs

What a long year this week has been from talk of Federal prisoners being released to home confinement to sports fans morning the loss of the Globetrotter’s Curly Neal at age 77. “Work from home” edicts in India and the Philippines have raised cybersecurity concerns with lenders who have off-shored vital lending functions. Servicers are overwhelmed with forbearance calls from borrowers, and each one must be answered and the borrower educated. Servicers are hiring, remotely, people those from the travel industry – great phone skills. And now training virtually. Zoom has zoomed ahead of WebEx and GoToMeeting. What happened to Skype? Investors continue to not necessarily eliminate products altogether, but instead shift program requirements or adjust pricing hits.

The industry is dealing with a huge drop in the purchase market this year, impacting the expectations for 2020’s lender volume. “Nail salons closed. Lash salons closed. Hair salons closed. Tanning salons closed. Waxing salons closed. It’s about to get ugly out there…” It already is, although there is a bit of good news. The CFPB suspended quarterly HMDA reporting. And exams are being re-scheduled to not take away attention being paid to consumers. And supposedly the CFPB will take into account good faith efforts, or, put another way, lenders working their best to help consumers should not be worried about technical mistakes. (These pronouncements are not legally binding to the CFPB, but indicate where the Bureau stands.)

Appraisal Chatter

Changes in the mortgage business are happening hour by hour. Let’s start with a letter from Kenn Bartley that echoes thoughts that I’ve heard elsewhere regarding appraisals. “I was reading your commentary today about appraiser protocol to enter homes. Good idea. Here’s another one. I have a handful of very low LTV refinance loans (37.2%-61%) in my pipeline that did not get a DU or LP property inspection waiver. I was really surprised since, at that low LTV, any lender would want that loan on their books.

“So keeping in mind appraiser health protection concerns, not to mention how loosening PIW guides would help loans flow through lender processing, Fannie and Freddie should temporarily accept 60-65% of documented tax assessed value under PIW guidelines regardless of the automated findings. I’m sure there are holes in this, but given the circumstances, it would be a lift for appraisers, LOs, processors, underwriters, and most importantly the health of homeowners and appraisers.”

Sometimes appraisal policies are based on state. Kim Perotti, co-president of AXIS AMC, sent, “As part of our leadership with clients and appraisers, we have been closely tracking health orders. Until Thursday we believed that all of them exempted vendors of financial services who in turn have been exempted as essential. Therefore, we have been able to continue full appraisals in most areas. Vermont, however, has issued a new decree which might cascade. Real estate sales and brokerage firms must suspend in-person operations under the Vermont Governor’s Executive Order. Real estate functions that can be conducted online, by phone or email can continue. And as previously directed by the Governor, employees should be working remotely. Property appraisals, inspections, title services and other activities that require in-person business are not permitted during the term of the Executive Order. As a result, we are unable to complete full appraisals in Vermont until this order has been lifted. We will be reaching out individually to those of you with orders currently in process to determine what options you may have for a desktop solution.

Independent Mortgage Banks

And there’s this note from industry vet James Johnson. “Rob, I just changed out of my Grumpy Old Man Costume. I want to share my Bull Case for IMBs, not my usual MO. Historically, most of the money made by IMBs has come in refi markets, and I visualize this huge refi boom lasting all of 2020 and most or all of 2021. Purchase business will be down for the next 3-4 months before it bounces back. Even after that, the real opportunity right now is refis. But a mine field to get there with a pot of gold on the other side. Many dangerous and scary issues in front of companies today. Rule #1 is Cash, Capital, Liquidity. Rule #2, same as Rule #1.

“The way I see this, the Fed has two main goals in their MBS purchases right now. The first one is to restore liquidity to that market and have a return to somewhat normal trading. But I also think that they would like to see the industry REFINANCE THE WORLD. These stimulus checks of $1200 to individuals will cost the Government around $200-250 billion, and they may need to do that again every 4-6 weeks while the economy is shut down. Quite expensive to say the least.

“But what if we can refinance everybody at rates between 3.50% and 3.0%, or even less? That would have a smaller immediate impact, but a way larger impact over time. This is really free money for consumers, and it won’t cost the Government anything. I think the Fed will continue buying MBS until they restore liquidity to that market and bring MBS yields down to their desired level. In a sense, that is the easy part. But getting borrower rates as low as they want is pretty much out of their control.

“I see this back and forth cycle of lower rates, too much volume, lenders overwhelmed, margins expand, volume slows, margins come down, volume overwhelms, and we do it all over again. Margins should stay relatively wide if it plays out like this. So, a slow play path down to rates under 3.50%. The floor? Maybe 2.75%, which I know sounds crazy, but I think something like that is what the Fed would like to see. Rule #3, don’t fight the Fed. That would save borrowers $200-300-400, or more, per month, free cash for them. If this slow play back and forth market happens it would be pretty much a perfect scenario for IMBs.

“The larger IMBs are having some real struggles. I am not sure exactly what is going on, but I think it may go back to their huge MSR portfolios, which are continuing to slide in value. There is not much of a market for MSRs today, with some servicing valued at zero. Many of these portfolios are financed (50-70% of original value). If you go through the math, you quickly conclude that a lot of the equity in that trade could be greatly reduced or wiped out. Most likely the capital position of the larger IMBs is in the process of declining by some amount. Also a good portion of their cash might be going to meet margin calls on their MSR financing. I think they could end up being a less powerful force for some period of time, so the IMBs with limited MSR exposure could have an opportunity to take market share.

“On the surface, this all seems great. Huge and long-lasting refi boom and restrictions on some big players. But to increase market share IMBs need operations capacity and funding capacity. It remains to be seen to what extent WH lenders will or can grant line increases. Remember that they have some exposure to the MSR financing as well. Their clients want to leverage up while the rest of the finance world is trying to de-leverage. In addition there are concerns that IMBs will stretch themselves too thin in this race for market share. Maybe the slow play becomes an even slower play due to capital and funding capacity constraints. Personally, I think that is fine and will extend the duration of this refi cycle.

“So, I see a HUGE boom, a really nice slow play track, and a fantastic opportunity that will last for the next 18-24 months. It is hard to see what will take rates higher in 2020 and maybe 2021 as well. It will take the industry that long to process and close this huge stack of loans. Really, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Not to be a party pooper, but when this refi cycle is over, I think things will fall off a cliff. it will be worse than 2018 and last longer. But for the immediate future, I see the best of times if you can get through the next 30-60 days of market chaos.” Thank you, James. (If you would be interested in reaching out to James, he is at

Tips on Working from Home

Now nearly the entire industry working from home or remotely, and this is making the rounds. “I am reminded that as the world, our country and our communities continue to digest the impact of COVID-19, it can feel overwhelming. I know disruption is happening in all parts of life and navigating the circumstances is incredibly difficult. Even in normal times, we’re asked to play several roles simultaneously. At home, we are needed by parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, children and friends. At work, we are needed by our team, our peers and our leaders. Most people have come to accept that life is about tradeoffs.

“But what happens when we’re thrown into a situation where there doesn’t seem to be anything to actually ‘trade off?’ School closed for your children? Office closed for you? No problem! Just work from home and home school your children. While you’re at it, please make sure to keep everyone you care about healthy and happy. I know it is so much harder than that!

“Each of us are currently being asked to wear more ‘hats’ than ever before…and it’s hard. I encourage all of us to focus on what we can control and to never lose sight on prioritizing our health and the health of our families.

Given the current challenges, it is good to think about senior management expectations as we go through this unprecedented time together. Expect there to be interruptions. Embrace the interruptions. Laugh about them. Show empathy if others are interrupted. I know I am going to get interrupted. I expect everyone to be understanding of this and to embrace dogs barking in the background or kids trying to jump on a conference call. Who knows, maybe the kids will have some great ideas!

“I expect everyone to be flexible when possible. Some parts of our business have more flexibility than others. If a little flexibility is feasible for your party of the business and helps you meet your needs at home, talk to your manager. Managers, be open to this. We have to do things that are acceptable to run the business, but let’s try to be as flexible as possible while still meeting our business needs.

“I expect you will open your refrigerator at least 17 times more per day than usual. I’m hoping I’m not the only one with this quirk, but I often find myself killing a few minutes between meetings by walking through the kitchen and opening the refrigerator; each time I open the fridge, I have this great sense of anticipation that magically there will be different and better food than the last time I checked. I still haven’t given up hope that this trick will work at some point.

“I expect people to feel a little disconnected. I miss everyone already! Use video to connect. Send a picture of the craziness at your home to your team. Send a joke to your boss. Get your work done and try to have fun while you’re doing it. If you’re feeling disconnected, others are, too. Reach out and see how their day is going.

“I expect A+ effort but not always A+ results. One of the most frustrating things about life is when you put in A+ effort and aren’t rewarded with A+ results. If life were fair effort would equal results. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. In today’s environment, we are all juggling too many priorities and are asked to do too much. Do what you can but don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t go exactly as planned. We are all human. We are all going to make mistakes. It’s okay.


“Finally, I expect everyone to know that we are all in this together. When one of our team members needs help, let’s do what we can to lend our support. When we need help, let’s not be shy to ask. Our industry has great teams filled with great people who are all committed to supporting one another and our clients.”

During this “shelter in place” I went to Walmart to buy a bag of food for my dog.

Already in line, a woman behind me asked me if I had a dog.

I thought to myself, “Really?” If you know me you know my sarcasm.

So on impulse I told her no, that I didn’t have a dog, that I was starting the dog food diet again, and that I probably shouldn’t because I ended up in the hospital the last time, but 15 pounds less! I told her that it was the perfect diet and that all you had to do is carry the kibbles in your pocket and eat one or two every time you feel hungry (I have to mention that practically everyone in line was interested in my story).

Frightened, the woman asks me if I ended up in the hospital because the dog food had poisoned me.

I answered, “Of course not! I was admitted because I bent down to smell the butt of a bulldog and I was hit by a truck.”

I thought the man behind her was going to have a heart attack…he was laughing so hard!

Visit for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “Drinking from a Firehose is Not a Long Term Business Model” If you have the inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.


(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is designed for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to Copyright 2020 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)


Mar. 27: LO, Ops jobs; broker, credit products; IRS/tax transcript, jumbo, MISMO, RON changes across the biz

While in captivity it is important to have good communication. (Early anecdotal chatter indicates that the remote workforce has signs of improved productivity!) In the Northwest, Banner Bank’s mortgage group celebrated working from home with a short YouTube video of everyone’s home office (one is in the garage – bumper to bumper every day!) Thank you to Kris van Beever who sent along these cybersecurity tips for working from home to keep communication safe. Communicating with politicians in this crisis is critical. “Rob, do politicians understand that one year’s worth of forbearance would basically put every lender who services loans out of business?” I dunno. At this point the MBA, state, and industry organizations are working overtime on making sure they know. Fronting monthly payments would be a huge amount of cash coming out of servicers to the end-investors. The Treasury has the resources, but it is a matter of how they are deployed. Much more on the Bill’s impact on our industry below.


Carrington Mortgage Services, a national top 10 wholesale lender, is seeking mortgage underwriters for the following locations:  Anaheim & Scottsdale, AZ. If interested please send resumes to John Cervantes.

Earlier in the year, “Thrive Mortgage posted about our relationship with a Veteran-focused organization named Defenders of Freedom. Although many of us are blessed with record-breaking months, aided by incredible technology, other industries and organizations are not. Thrive is proud of our partnership with Defenders of Freedom, and we draw attention to these true heroes, their families, and their needs more than anything else. Please visit their pages and see how you might be able to also positively impact the lives of the valiant soldiers who have risked so much. Additionally, many in the industry have reached out to us seeking assistance or guidance regarding much of the technology we employ. If we can be of service to you regarding any similar request, contact us at We may be competitors, but we’re colleagues first with a common goal of moving our industry forward. Stay safe and stay healthy!”

Paul Conway of Conway & Greenwood executive search is retained by San Francisco wholesaler’s Parkside Lending for its EVP, Operations search. The EVP, Operations can work remotely and central to western time zones are preferred.

FirstClose has tapped Joe Dahleen as the company’s SVP of strategy and sales responsible for working with the company’s enterprise sales and product development.

Lender services and products


An Exciting New Partnership for Volly & FundingShield. Volly’s new integration partnership with FundingShield will allow lenders to utilize FundingShield’s wire fraud and settlement risk management technology through the Volly POS. This exciting integration will give lenders and borrowers alike a more secure loan closing experience. Click here to schedule a demo.

With refinances at record highs, chances are your team is under immense pressure to keep your pipeline moving during the COVID-19 crisis. And with social distancing guidelines at top of mind, it’s important to keep your borrowers safe, while obtaining the equity lending appraisal data you need. Don’t miss Data Facts’ next webinar: COVID-19, Interior Appraisal Inspections, and Possible Alternatives on Wednesday April 1stat 10:00 CST, where we’ll discuss alternatives to traditional interior appraisal inspections that are suitable for the current state of affairs. You can register here.

COVID-19 may force more branch office teams to start working from home as a general practice. Unprepared teams will struggle to service high demand for refis and new loans. LOs and processors are at risk of becoming less productive and unable to capitalize on the boom. How can branch offices meet demand if they must work from home? This case study may provide an answer and the results are impressive. The case study profiles Equity Mortgage Group, a division of American Pacific Mortgage. EMG’s team generally works remotely. But, after moving to a simple process management platform, TeamworkIQ, they became far more productive doing so. “We scaled up production and revenues by 280% in 10 days with $0 added headcount,” said Charlie Christensen, Branch Manager and Sr. Loan Officer. TeamworkIQ is easy to set up, simple, very affordable, online process management for teams. View the case study here.

The Association of Independent Mortgage Experts is extending the submission deadline for the inaugural AIME Broker Rankings to March 31. The rankings are the first in the industry to feature lists based on data from independent mortgage brokerages and loan originators who are working solely in the wholesale channel. AIME Broker Rankings will recognize the top-producing, fastest-growing and most accomplished independent mortgage brokers and brokerages. Those that qualify and are confirmed as part of the final AIME Broker Rankings will receive a digital recognition badge that individuals can use on their websites and social media. The AIME Broker Rankings are part of AIME’s commitment to increasing the visibility of the independent mortgage broker community by highlighting the achievements of the men and women working in their own communities to bring the best mortgage options to their clients. Click here for more information about the rankings.

“During this time of great uncertainty, some lenders are experiencing record-setting business while others are seeing a drop off. Both are challenges that can be hard to manage, even in a normal environment. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s greater anxiety and even more obstacles to overcome. Credit Plus appreciates your business and is here to assist you during this unprecedented time. We’re committed to helping you by offering time-saving tips, additional training and personalized solutions to meet your unique concerns. Consider Credit Plus your dependable verifications partner and know you can reach out to us for assistance whenever the need arises. Just contact (800.258.3488). We are confident that by working together, we’ll get through this tough time and emerge stronger than ever.”

QLMS continues its explosive growth. And the mortgage community has noticed. QLMS just reached another major milestone. As of March 25th, 7,000 mortgage brokers, regional banks and credit unions have chosen to partner with QLMS. It took 7 years for QLMS to reach 1,000 partners. It took another 2 years to get to 2,000 partners. But it only took 18 months to add 5,000 additional partners to get to 7,000. The mortgage community interest in QLMS is overwhelming. In fact, it took just a mere 100 days to go from 6,000 to 7,000 partners! In turbulent times, mortgage professionals are seeking the strength and reliability QLMS provides. To learn more about the value recognized by 7,000 of the very best mortgage companies, click here and become Stronger Together with QLMS.

While we all are dealing with this virus situation, Caliber Home Loans, Inc. continues to help customers to the best of our capacity. “We’re officially in Spring and that means customers need to purchase homes. While showings may be more virtual in nature right now, the reality of Open Houses and closing selfies will be here before we know it! Caliber stands ready to deliver the American Dream in all seasons with marketing resources in CaliberPRO, Regional Operations Centers that know your area, and seasoned Account Executives that get deals done. Plan for purchase success with your Caliber Account Executive today. If you’re not yet approved with Caliber Wholesale, contact Tony Kottenbrock.”

Corona-driven changes

In its just released March Insights Report, STRATMOR Group examines several areas affecting lenders as rates drop and coronavirus infections rise. In “Pipelines and Pandemic: Managing Through the Virus-Driven Storm,” STRATMOR offers insight into Capital Markets, MSRs, remote work, outsourcing and the customer experience. In a second article in this issue, “COVID-19 and the Customer Experience,” STRATMOR MortgageSAT Director Mike Seminari offers lenders four ideas to help sustain communications with borrowers during these uncertain times. Check out the March Insights Report.

National MI rolled out its response to Freddie and Fannie’s changes earlier this week.

AmeriHome sent out, “Effective for new locks taken on and after Friday, April 3, 2020, the minimum decision credit score for all government loans will be the greater of the program guide requirement or 640.” (As perspective, Wells Fargo’s is 680.)

The IRS has been busy. “The IRS is temporarily suspending acceptance of new IVES work at this time as we adjust to the impact of state and local shelter in place orders. We will keep all participants posted. We appreciate your patience as we navigate through numerous different challenges in this very rapidly changing environment.” Sandra James with checked in with her thoughts. “This is definitely an unprecedented time we are all experiencing and things are changing fast! The IRS told us this morning that they were at 4-9-day turnaround time due to staff shortages and closed offices. At noon we received the IVES suspension notice. But we are continuing to help lenders, so they should not hesitate to reach out to us as we are still able to complete manual VOE’s quickly!”

Lenders and investors acted swiftly. For example, “Effective immediately, PennyMac is temporarily suspending the PennyMac requirement for tax transcripts. Note that USDA transactions require tax transcripts. Correspondents remain responsible for complying with all USDA requirements. An announcement will be released when the tax transcript requirement is reinstated. Please note that PennyMac will continue to require signed 4506-T according to current guidelines.”

From Bedford Andy Cadorette, Senior Manager, Business Development, informed me that New Hampshire Housing is open for business and once again taking loan reservations.

Wells Fargo Funding “remains committed to purchasing your Non-Conforming Loans. However, due to unprecedented market conditions, we’re making the changes outlined below, effective with Registrations, Locks, relocks, and renegotiations on and after March 27, 2020, to help ensure the long-term viability of our Non-Conforming program. Ineligible transactions

The following transactions will be ineligible under our Non-Conforming program: Cash-out refinances, Investment properties, LTV/CLTVs >80%. We’re worsening FICO/LTV adjusters for Non-Conforming Loans.”

With Wells Fargo’s retail group eliminating the requirement for interior photos for existing construction (still required for new construction), the industry is reacting. For example, Kim Perotti, co-president of AXIS AMC, sent, “At AXIS, we are focusing on training and support for our appraisers as we begin ordering Desktops and Exteriors. Although appraisers are using the same forms to complete these assignments, they are developing their opinion of values without the benefit of the data they typically gather when inspecting the interior of the home. Now, they need to expand data sources to still complete every field on the form and as a result, data collection and analysis has new challenges as well as new opportunities. AXIS is here to help them rise to that challenge.”

TD Bank Correspondent Lending will auto-extend all commitments retroactive to 3/15/20 for 30 days, without cost, from the current expiration date. Any extensions previously made to loans that fall under these parameters will be provided a rebate back for extension fees incurred. These free extensions will be completed in the system by 3/31/20. Additionally, TD Bank Correspondent Lending will provide automatic extensions for 30 days, without cost, for new purchase money locks through locks received 4/30/2020. (*Note: Loans must be locked with TD Bank through the closing and funding dates. This includes the three (3) day right of rescission required on refinance transactions.)

All eyes are on the House of Representatives voting on the corona stimulus bill, probably today. The MBA sent out, “As it relates to mortgage forbearance, the most important language in the bill is on pages 567-570 (single-family) and 570-574 (commercial/multifamily). $454 billion for loans, loan guarantees, and investments in programs or facilities established by the Federal Reserve for the purposes of providing liquidity to the financial system that supports lending to eligible businesses, states, or municipalities. This funding would enable Treasury and the Fed to establish a liquidity facility for loan servicers to access for advancing payments, and we continue to press hard on all fronts for a speedy announcement of such a facility.

“Consumer Right to Request Forbearance: Applies to federally backed mortgage loans (Fannie/Freddie/FHA/VA/USDA) for those directly or indirectly impacted by the COVID-19 virus (if the borrower requests and affirms hardship). No signature or documentation is required, and the initial period is up to 180 days initially, with the option to extend for up to an additional 180 days. This broadly mimics the programs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have already announced.

“Moratorium on Evictions: For 120 days after date of enactment, applies to single-family and multifamily properties that participate in federal housing, homelessness, rural programs, or properties financed by federally insured, guaranteed, supplemented, or assisted mortgages, including mortgages purchased or securitized by the GSEs.

“Small-Business Assistance: $349 billion for SBA loans to help small businesses make payroll and pay rent and mortgage payments, with loans of up to $10 million. Proceeds may be used for payroll, rent, payment of mortgage interest (not principal), and utilities.”


Every lender knows that mortgage closings are at risk as coronavirus shutters title and recording offices. State, county and local governments have shut down or are limiting the number of people who may enter their offices, including property recording centers. Currently, nearly 2,100 counties provide some electronic access to their property records, but about a third of the jurisdictions still don’t have the ability to accept digital documents. Sens. Kevin Cramer and Mark Warner introduced Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020.

MISMO introduced the Digital Mortgage Resource Center web page to provide information on digital mortgage resources. The first posting includes a list of Remote Online Notarization (RON) Providers. If you believe your organization should be included on the list below, please contact MISMO at Included are Digital Delivery, Inc., DocMagic, DocuTech, DocVerify, eNotaryLog, Notarize, NotaryCam, Nexsys, Pavaso, SafeDocs, Signix, and SimplySecureSign.

Harry Gardner, EVP of eStrategies at Docutech and chair of the Electronic Signature and Records Association (ESRA), shot over a note. “On March 20 Sens. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Mark Warner, D-Va., introduced the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic (SECURE) Notarization Act of 2020. It permits immediate nationwide use of Remote Online Notarization (RON), a type of electronic notarization where the notary and signer are in different physical locations. The Act builds on the traditional interstate recognition of notarial acts on paper and expands that to remote online notarial acts.

“The primary benefit is that, if passed, the bill would allow nationwide use of RON immediately (with a set of minimum standards), which provides certainty for interstate recognition for title insurance providers and expands the market for loan originators and investors. This would let lenders offer many more borrowers a new option for closing their mortgage loans while remaining safely at home during pandemic social distancing orders and guidelines. Many states have already seen the value in such a service and have taken action to temporarily allow the process within their borders. New York, Connecticut, Florida, New Hampshire and others have issued executive orders allowing remote notarization in a variety of forms. New Jersey accelerated the passing of their full RON bill to give a full spread of capabilities to borrowers.

Docutech’s Solex eClosing will feature RON capabilities in the product’s April release. For more info, visit the website here to download the solution brief.”

Yes, Docutech put out a write up on, “Ramping up Support for RON.”

From Secure Insight, Andrew Liput sent, “We are in the process of supplementing our 80,000 strong nationwide database identifying attorneys, title agents, mobile notaries, and escrow officers who have eNotary and eClosing experience. Lenders nationwide are seeking trained professionals and we are fielding thousands of your emails and calls to verify and then update your profiles in our system to recognize your talents. We are also launching an online training program Friday, March 27th, in conjunction with the My Professional Educator online training academy, to help bring the basics of eMortgages and eClosings to anyone interested. The post-COVID-19 world for mortgage lending must embrace electronic transactions and we are doing our part to be innovative and lead when it comes to lenders and their closing professional partners.”

Capital markets

U.S. Treasuries rallied yesterday on continued pandemic fears. As expected, initial claims posted the highest ever number recorded, registering over 3 million when the prior record was just under 700k in October 1982. Both initial and continuing claims are expected to increase from here. The report should help provide some context for just how dire the market situation currently is. The third estimate for Q4 GDP showed a 2.1 percent annualized rate of growth, in line with the second estimate, though the report is inconsequential at this juncture. The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield closed the day -5 bps to 0.81 percent.


Internationally, it was reported Japan’s government is planning a JPY56 trillion stimulus package that would include direct payments to citizens. The European Central Bank announced that it began purchasing assets under its pandemic emergency purchase program (PEPP) today. Assets eligible for purchase include Greek debt, non-financial commercial paper, and all assets that can be purchased under the existing quantitative easing program. The Bank of England made no changes to its policy stance. Austrian officials opposed the issuance of joint euro debt. Finally Banxico lowered its target rate by 50 bps.


For the day, the Desk purchased $35.804 billion MBS of the estimated $50 billion, or 71.6 percent of the expected planned purchases. Total purchases since the Fed restarted QE purchases are now over the initial $200 billion announced, at $209.9 billion. The Desk will again conduct a total of $50 billion in MBS FedTrade operations today. Additionally, the Desk will kick off its buying in agency CMBS today, purchasing up to $1 billion FNMA DUS pools with a 10-year loan term (with maintenance protection term of 9.5-year) with an average life of at least 7-years.

If anyone cares, today’s economic calendar is already under way with February Personal Income and Spending (+.6 percent and +.2 percent), PCE Prices. Later this morning brings Final March Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better by .125-.250 and the 10-year yielding .77 percent

I received this note earlier this week:

We are a week into self-isolation and it’s very upsetting for me to witness my husband standing at the living room window staring aimlessly into space with tears running down his cheeks.

It breaks my heart to see him like this.

I’ve thought very hard of how I can cheer him up.

I’ve even considered letting him in. But rules are rules.

Stay safe, stay well.

Visit for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “Drinking from a Firehose is Not a Long Term Business Model” If you have the inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.


(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is designed for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to Copyright 2020 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)

Mar. 26: LO & Ops jobs; digital, compliance, servicing, cap. mkts. products; commercial & state bond products next to be impacted?

While in captivity it is important to keep busy. Every day people ask me where I think rates will be next week. Here you go: my forecast! After you check out that graph, it brought to mind that Kris W. sent, “For the third time this week I’m buying enough booze for the next two weeks.” Seeing large lenders in the mainstream press can drive one to drink, the latest example being Quicken Loans and a possible cash crunch. (Any servicer who has to advance payments they don’t receive will be hit. As a reminder, the top servicers include Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Nationstar, Bank of America, NewRez, QLMS, PennyMac, and Freedom.) “Being hit” brings to mind the secondary markets right now. “Hey, the price you’re showing me isn’t what the screen shows!” “Well, then sell it to the screen!” That is a common refrain, and without a well-priced and stable secondary market, the primary market goes away. Dean Brown from MCM posted this article addressing the Bulk Execution Problem seen by lenders everywhere. Check out capital markets below.


Are you currently in mortgage fulfilment and looking for a better company to build your career? Join an expert operations team at Flagstar Bank that is solely focused on closing loans on time, every time. You’ll experience the difference right away. With annual originations of about $30 billion, Flagstar ranks among the top 5 bank mortgage originators in the country and is looking to hire talented mortgage personnel to join Flagstar’s team nationally. If you are passionate about details, and want to be part of a team that cultivates a diverse, inclusive, and respectful work culture, search here to find the best position for you.

Put yourself firmly in control. Work when and where you choose. Take home more money by controlling your own pipeline. Choose from hundreds of loan options to offer borrowers the lowest rates available. The benefits of becoming an independent mortgage broker are many, which is why a rapidly growing number of borrowers are looking to them to buy or refinance a home. It’s still the perfect time to visit to learn more.”

Fear and uncertainty, especially during the COVID-19 epidemic, may negatively influence your feelings and behavior. By reaffirming our positivity and the steps we can take to quell fear and anxiety, we may be better at self-governing our reactions and behavior and thus the social impact of the epidemic. #weR1❤ is dedicated to defeating the COVID-19 threat together as a community through solidarity and support. GO Mortgage would like you to please consider signing the petition as an individual or as a business. For each commitment made, #weR1❤will donate $5 to the following foundations: CDC Foundation and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO. Please spread the word and feel free to share the link with your friends and colleagues who want to adhere to a set of commitments meant to inspire and change the way we look at and view our everyday lives and business practices.

Lender services and products

James “Jim” Bopp, a top renovation lending expert, has joined Planet Home Lending, LLC. Known for his incredible insight and knowledge of renovation loan programs, Jim heads the MBA’s FHA 203(k) working group. His leadership, coupled with Planet’s significant investment in resources, is taking Planet’s renovation offerings to the next level. Let Jim and Planet’s renovation lending team help you explore, start, or grow a successful program that captures your share of the $330 billion remodeling market. To make renovation a significant and profitable portion of your business, contact Jim Bopp (518-369-8242).

As COVID-19 continues to profoundly impact every aspect of business, Sourcepoint understands mortgage servicers must adapt quickly to a new normal. Its experienced Omnichannel Contact Center and Collections teams, and default support staff are available to serve your borrowers and ease their concerns, not only during normal times but also during periods of uncertainty. Backed by the most comprehensive set of servicing and collection licenses and a 3,500+ global workforce with US and Global centers, Sourcepoint’s teams are well equipped to help your borrowers through these difficult times, whether fielding customer service inquiries, navigating through a forbearance application and the approval process to ensure they get the assistance needed in a timely manner, or working through loss mitigation or modification strategies, they are here to help. To learn more about how Sourcepoint can help sharpen your customer focus during these challenging times, contact Sourcepoint.


In the current environment, digital strategies, including social media marketing, have become more important than ever. However, for mortgage lenders, one poor choice of words can have regulators on your back faster than you can type #bestratesintown. Is your organization prepared to monitor all of its accounts to ensure compliance? Don’t hesitate. Automate! MQMR now offers a social media monitoring platform designed specifically for financial institutions and independent mortgage lenders to help keep a close eye on the messaging loan originators are using on social media while also meeting regulatory requirements for web and social media content archiving. Ready to learn more? Schedule your demo here by April 15 and enter to win a $250 gift card. Need more tips? Download our free white paper on The 7 Deadly Social Media Sins.


Building intuitive digital experiences has arguably never been more important for lenders. Join Bob Meara (Celent), Eric Somers (BMO Harris Bank), and Alden Seabolt (Blend) for CBA’s webinar “Leveraging digital transformation to nail customer acquisition.” They’ll demystify what it means to transform your organization with strategies that support seamless customer onboarding experiences. Sign up for free with the promo code Blend0407.

Coronavirus adjustments continue

First, an apology about my post yesterday on ClearEdge Funding, a division of SG Capital, shuttering. Using the term, “bailed and sailed” was insensitive in this difficult time and is no reflection on the its staff of good employees. I am sorry; we’re all in this together.

Will state bond programs and down payment assistance programs be the next casualty? Down Payment Resource, in touch with all HFAs and other program administrators, sent this out.

From Oklahoma REI Down Payment Assistance sent, “Due to market volatility, REI is not going to be able to allow lenders to cancel loans without a cancellation fee. This will not be a permanent rule, but will be implemented during this crazy time. REI loans are hedged just like your company hedges loans and if we have numerous cancellations it will definitely affect our pricing in the coming days.”

Out of New Hampshire came, “Due to the impact of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the mortgage-backed security market is no longer properly functioning. Our financial advisors have informed us that New Hampshire Housing can no longer set interest rates as the secondary mortgage market is not functioning as normal and pricing is not clear. After exploring our options, we regretfully determined that it was necessary that effective immediately, New Hampshire Housing is suspending taking loan reservations until further notice.

Finance of America’s Commercial Division sent, “We are suspending all originations until April 1st due to market volatility. We will reassess at that time to see if the market has stabilized. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.”

Any questions about loan locks and purchases should be addressed to your Deephaven sales staff or management. But from within Deephaven came this note. “Unfortunately today we had to displace nearly 90% of our staff. Those remaining are continuing to source out liquidity and are looking at the stimulus package to see if anything in there can be tapped from a liquidity standpoint.” Note, this is a personal email, not a company memo.

Genworth supports the flexibilities and temporary measures announced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this week, effective for all loans utilizing Genworth Mortgage Insurance. The GSE measures are effective immediately for loans in process. MGIC issued a similar announcement, as did Radian and Essent.

Gateway First Bank Correspondent Lending is temporarily requiring a minimum FICO score of 680 on all newly locked Government loan programs. This includes FHA, VA, USDA, HUD-184, SETH Goldstar, CAFA Gold 100, and the GSFA Open Doors programs. Government loans currently locked prior to today March 25, 2020, will be eligible for extensions based on Gateway’s published extension policy, as outlined in Chapter 3 of our client guide. Gateway continues to monitor volatility and will provide updates and guidance throughout the market turmoil. Thank you for your partnerships and patience during these challenging times that are having an impact on your business and our industry; we are all in this together. In the meantime please prepare your borrowers for a variety of scenarios and potential rate changes throughout the day. We are committed to keeping you apprised of any and all changes. (*Please note, these FICO changes do not include the Texas Veterans Land Board Program.)

California’s Sierra Pacific got the word out that, “…we are only accepting brokered loan submissions. We are currently not accepting any Correspondent submissions…” Questions should be addressed to your rep.

Capital markets

Are you getting the guidance you need during market volatility? In the last month, MCT has sent nine timely MarketFlash updates, authored four articles, hosted five webinars, and provided daily market commentary along with a constant stream of support and communication to lender clients. One client shared, “Thanks for all you are doing during these unprecedented times, taking time to keep us informed has been awesome.” The wide-ranging topics covered include execution challenges, industry advocacy, Fed actions, BE to mandatory spreads, ensuring liquidity, mitigating margin calls, managing pull-through, and detailed market analysis. According to another client, “You are doing phenomenal given the circumstances. I feel blessed to have partnered with MCT.” As your trusted capital markets partner, MCT stands by you during times of market volatility – even if you are not an MCT client. Reach out for guidance and support or join the MCT newsletter.

We’ve had the end of the bull market in stocks, in part because of the Federal Reserve. The Fed had been a huge wind at the market’s back for a decade, but now faces a problem it cannot solve: It can’t print enough money to ensure that people don’t get infected. Put in a more dire way, many believe that nothing the Fed can do at this point is going to offset the full shock of the coronavirus, because its tools are just not well suited to making up for lost work hours or helping employees who have missed out on paychecks. Additionally, central banks around the globe do not have the firefighting power that they had going into the 2008 financial crisis. Of course Jerome Powell disagrees, but the fact stands that many central banks, like in Japan and in parts of Europe, already had very low or even negative interest rates. The Federal Reserve’s moves to increase dollar access are calming markets at the heart of the global financial system. What matters now is whether the outbreak turns out to be a short-term, painful blip, or a longer-term devastation that will kill companies entirely and have greater repercussions for financial markets.

It’s certainly already had marked impacts. China’s economy shrunk in Q1 for the first time since 1976, an ominous sign for the rest of the world. Recent initial unemployment claims in the U.S. showed a spike, greater than any weekly jump that occurred during (or since) the 2008 financial crisis. The unemployment data is about to look much worse, as last week’s data is from before many cities and states took more restrictive measures to “flatten the curve” and forced closings of certain businesses. As entire sectors of the U.S. economy shut down, lawmakers are considering options that would dwarf the federal government’s response to the 2008 financial crisis. That crisis, which sent unemployment to 10 percent, centered on foreclosures and the banking sector, but this crisis is springing from dozens of places.

Despite Congressional leaders still not finalizing a $2 trillion fiscal stimulus package by the time U.S. markets closed yesterday, the risk-off sentiment continued as expectations of a deal coming together remained elevated. The package reportedly will include direct payments, a loan program for small businesses, and a support fund for industries, cities, and states. Some Republican senators threatened to block the package because it did not include limits to the unemployment insurance provisions for low-wage workers, but Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders emphatically warned he would be the one to derail the deal if the legislation was altered. The Republicans argued unemployment insurance provisions for lower-wage workers, as written, would provide more money in unemployment benefits than the workers make on the job, thus damaging the economy. Sanders also said he wants the legislation to include tougher oversight on aid for corporations and to require them to pay higher wages and stop offshoring jobs. The day also saw more chatter regarding funding at non-bank servicers amid talk for forbearance and foreclosure suspension by the GSEs while the market for servicing has also become challenging.

Outside of Washington, there was some valuable data for market participants to digest. February durable goods orders increased 1.2 percent when they were expected to decline -1.4 percent. Though, excluding transportation, durable goods orders declined -0.6 percent and were worse than expected. Business spending was soft in February, and that figure was made worse by the knowledge it will collapse from here due to the shutdown measures adopted to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The FHFA Housing Price Index increased 0.3 percent in March after increasing 0.6 percent in February. On a positive note, the day’s $41 billion 5-year note auction was met with solid demand. The 10-year Treasury yield closed the day +4 bps to 0.86 percent.

Adam Quinones at Refinitive addressed liquidity in the mortgage market. “Originator hedging liquidity has improved in TBAs, however it doesn’t feel like the mortgage market is functioning any better as a result. Yes, the basis tightened two points in two days but that’s resulted in upside-down positions and has triggered margin calls and an exodus from the lender triparty/AOT space. Pool execution is truly terrible (behind TBA), payups have disappeared, and new product ramps ‘trade negative’ if they trade at all. The economics of selling directly to the Agencies are becoming a moot point for many shops as the co-issue bid went missing almost overnight. No company retaining servicing can get a practical servicing mark and certainly can’t justify aggressive interest-only multiples when every new loan represents a potential payment advance liability. Speaking of multiples, the looming BU/BD reprice promises to be painful. Expect at least a full multiple reduction in buyups. That leaves few options if you can’t fund yourself. The only hope for many shops is selling bulk forwards to large aggregators, though these shops are dealing with their own capacity issues and a complete loss of pool execution. That pain point is becoming more and more apparent with every new rate sheet.” Does anybody have a better idea than taking your lumps as soon as possible? Thank you, Adam.

The Desk of the NY Fed conducted five FedTrade operations yesterday. The three morning operations saw purchases of $23.19 billion, out of a possible $32.6 billion. For the day, the Desk purchased $39.876 billion MBS of the estimated $50 billion, or 79.8 percent of the expected planned purchases. Total purchases since the Fed restarted QE purchases are now at $161.9 billion now. The Desk will conduct a total of $50 billion in MBS FedTrade operations today following the same schedule as yesterday and Monday, purchasing primarily “current coupon” product. The Desk will also report on MBS purchases for the week ending March 25 in the afternoon.

Looking at economic releases today, we’ve already had a whole spate of data: Weekly Initial Claims (3.3 million, a post WWII high), Q4 GDP (third estimate +2.1 percent, old news), and Advance February goods trade balance ($60 billion). Later this morning brings the KC Fed manufacturing index for March. We begin today with Agency MBS prices better .125-.250 and the 10-year yielding .78 percent after the historical jobless claims jump – we knew it was going to be bad.

(Thank you to P.C. for this one!)

During the quarantine, I’ve been reading a book on inner peace. Ever heard that old adage, finish what you start?

Sometimes it’s a really good idea, helps bring some calm to the storm.

I’m passing this on because it worked for me yesterday. Sure enough, while I was writing this commentary a doctor on TV yesterday agreed that to have inner peace, we should always finish things we start and that we all could use more calm in our lives.

I looked around my house to find things I’d started & hadn’t finished, so I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Chardonnay, a bodle of Baileys, a butle of wum, tha mainder of Valiuminun scriptins, an a box a chocletz. Yu haf no idr how fablus I feel rite now. Sned this to all who need inner piss. An telum u luvum

Visit for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “Drinking from a Firehose is Not a Long Term Business Model” If you have the inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.


(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is designed for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to Copyright 2020 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)

Mar. 25: LO, CFO jobs; doc, broker, eClosing products; locking, documentation, product changes roll on; PennyMac yanks bulk AOT

While in captivity it is important to have a hobby. “Dad, why is my sister named Paris?” “Well, uh, that’s because we were in Paris when she was conceived.” “Okay, that makes sense. Thanks!” “No problem, Quarantine.” Prince Charles, Jackson Browne test positive? Yup. People are adapting. Local strip club shuts down? Time for the workers to adapt and start a food delivery service. (Warning: Rated PG.). Those “in the know” are talking about MBS REIT hedge fund liquidation reminiscent of 2008. Investors are evaluating risk and adapting. They don’t need to entirely cut out a program to lower risk, right? Investors can lower the maximum LTV, raise minimum FICOs, eliminate non-owner loans or refis, lower maximum DTIs, change the geographic range, all kind of things! Individuals and corporations are always happy to have others take risk. (Look at the crowds in a casino that sit there watching others gamble.) The changes driven by the financial markets’ turmoil continue, and we’re already seeing lender casualties. More below.

Jobs & transitions

Mortgage Confidential is the #1 resource for mortgage professionals to find opportunities and maximize their value, allowing you to confidentially put yourself on the market to discover opportunities you may not have known existed. Most likely, you are happy and comfortable with your current situation, but that is no reason not to discover your true worth in the marketplace. Our site allows you to complete a profile that will remain 100% confidential. Lenders and banks will have the opportunity to view your profile without having access to your name or contact information. You control the process and the lenders you want to engage. 100% confidential. Guaranteed. Check us out”

National MI is excited to introduce Ashli Matson, its newest Account Representative in Atlanta, GA. Ashli will be covering the Atlanta market along with Linda Stooksbury. Ashli has over 17 years in the mortgage industry from processing to sales. She brings a wealth of mortgage knowledge and experience that will prove to be invaluable to our customers. Ashli is an Atlanta native and is well respected in the industry throughout Georgia. Ashli understands the importance of supporting our associations and has been active with the Atlanta MBA, Atlanta NAPMW, and SE CUREN over the years. Please feel free to reach out directly to Ashli: 510-788-8468, or cell phone 770-714-5417.

Towne Mortgage continues to add talent to its sales management team and its TPO sales force. We are very pleased to welcome Mark Mazzenga who will head up sales growth & talent engagement along with AE’s Ron Summers (Southern California) and Danette McGee (Louisiana). ‘As we continue to grow our sales organization its critical to add top talent. We are extremely excited to have attracted this type of talent and expertise to the Towne team,’ said Mark Zierott, SVP TPO National Sales. AEs at Towne can sell all three channels of TPO business including delegated and have access to a full FNMA/FHLMC/GNMA agency product set, renovation (203K & FNMA Homestyle), Construction, Jumbo, no minimum FICO FHA, manual underwrites and manufactured housing loans. And at Towne we service most of our loans! If you are an AE interested in learning more about open territory opportunities at Towne, please send confidential inquires to Mark.”

Paul Conway (Conway & Greenwood executive search) is retained by Hamilton Group Funding, for its CFO search. HGF originates over $1B/year, all retail, 10 states, and office is in Sunrise, FL (must reside or relocate to Sunrise area).

Michigan’s Ross Mortgage Corporation has added Len Wilczewski as VP of Mortgage Operations. Len will focus on managing the capacity, training, and accountability among Ross’ team members, as well as track performance and areas for improvement, increasing efficiencies, and decreasing expenses.

Congratulations to 40-year vet Burton Embry who is now the Panorama Mortgage Group’s EVP – Chief Compliance & Risk Officer, responsible for the Company’s risk management, quality assurance and regulatory compliance programs.

On the flip side, real estate brokerage Compass laid off 15 percent of its employees this week.

Lender services and products

Did you know that TMS has consistently provided amazingly fast 24-hour turn times on Initial Funding Review for three years running? In fact, TMS has hit their 24-hour turn times so often that, last fall, they started guaranteeing a complete initial funding review in 24 hours—or they’ll waive their funding fee. No other lender does this. They call this the TMS Turninator. Check it out on their blog and learn how you can partner with them to take advantage of their fast turn times today!

Ready to learn about and market new VA mortgage opportunities in 2020? The recently implemented Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 has provided new mortgage benefits for jumbo borrowers, active duty Purple Heart recipients and more. As a leading VA lender, Freedom Mortgage Wholesale’s No Down Payment VA Jumbo program enables eligible jumbo borrowers to exceed published FHFA county loan limits without a down payment requirement! No jumbo overlays or loan limits!  Want to learn more or receive training material? Email

In light of the current market conditions, Stearns Wholesale recognizes the importance of a fast, secure and customized experience to serve more borrowers effectively and keep referral partners euphoric. In a recent release, the Accelerator program was enhanced by 25bps, in addition to the already incorporated 25 bps totaling 50bps price improvement. Streamlining the process and improving the price on popular scenarios with the same best-in-class fulfillment was the driving force behind this development. There is no minimum credit score, just requiring the borrower is a W2 wage earner that owns no other REOs and has no recent major derogatory marks. Better value, faster, sustainable. Click HERE to learn more about this program or connect with a Stearns Account Executive.

Notarize and Mace announced eClosing integration for Encompass lenders nationwide, enabling Mace customers to offer their borrowers a seamless eClosing solution via Notarize’s award-winning closing automation platform. Notarize, the first company to power an entirely online mortgage closing process, today announces a new, out-of-the-box integration with Innovations to enable joint customers to offer every borrower a digital closing, from hybrids nationally to full remote online closings in as many as 38 states. The Notarize integration with Mace allows lenders to digitize their operations and reimagine the way they serve borrowers. Out of the box, the integration supports Hybrid and Fully Online Closings, as well as redraws and other transaction changes. Lenders can leverage Notarize’s Closing Automation platform to determine which loans should close as Hybrids vs. full remote online closings, without ever having to worry about loan eligibility again. Contact Mace Innovations to learn more.

Covid-19 is having a crippling effect on the economy and our thoughts and concerns are with everyone affected in any way. For Lenders, it has complicated what can potentially be another refi boom. Lenders are swamped with new refi business and staffing is now more challenging than ever. DocProbe is here to help you, by enabling you to focus on closing loans while we focus on your Trailing Documents. DocProbe is an extension of a lenders post-closing operation, your dedicated Trailing Docs team. From our NJ offices, we will manage all aspects of your Trailing Docs from retrieval, through auditing, processing and shipping. No long-term contracts, Easy integration. Use your staff to close more loans. Email or visit to learn more.

Corona-driven changes continue

A month or two ago your Ginnie servicing was on your books for a point, but now has the value of your Ginnie Mae’s servicing portfolio gone to 0 (zero)? Or is your capital markets crew assigning no internal MSR value, or a negative value to cover future cash drains? (Forbearance still results in the servicer having to advance during the forbearance period.) That isn’t all that’s going on.

I received this opinion note from a small mortgage banker in the West regarding Quicken Loan’s new policy of only locking approved/CTC Loans. “Rob, the big question here is who will be the next retail or wholesale lender to replicate QLMS’s new plan to lock loans once they are CTC (clear to close). Brokers and correspondents already price multiple investors and then lock with whomever has the best pricing. Try telling a broker or correspondent to substitute a loan, work conditions, get CTC, and then lock. The immediate response will be, ‘What if pricing is dramatically different?’ Just think of the fallout from clients who will walk away if/when pricing is worse. Think about the brokers who will double/triple submit loans and then ‘lock’ when they get CTC, only to then cancel out the files at the other lenders to which they’ve submitted files. Think about the operational costs and the nightmare that will unfold from the bottom up. Whomever at Quicken thought of this are not only setting up to lose thousands of borrowers who will shop, but more concerningly, brokers who will game the system to ensure that they don’t lose borrowers.”

Speaking of lock policies, loanDepot sent out a revised lock policy, effective immediately. Refinances can no longer be locked prior to “Request for Final Approval/Final Purchase Commitment,” all lock periods remain available (15, 30, 45, and 60 day), and there are no changes to the current CD request process. Upon “Request for Final Approval/Final Purchase Commitment” in the Broker Portal, the following message will appear, indicating lock eligibility: “You may now lock your loan and request CD. Loan will not be reviewed by an Underwriter for Final until the loan is locked.” For purchases, there are no changes to current purchase lock requirements or available lock periods.”

I received an update from Dean Huynh, President of Property Sciences, providing a correction to my post Tuesday reporting they had ceased activity in the Shelter-In-Place counties. Property Sciences had paused activity to enable a comprehensive review of the mandates and have since resumed appraisal services nationally. In addition, with the recent bulletins from the GSEs to allow temporary flexibility to appraisal inspections, Property Sciences has completed a retooling of their workflow and operations to accommodate desktop appraisals. These new GSE directives enable the appraisal industry to continue to keep housing finance markets open, efficient, and safe.

Redwood Trust made an assuring company announcement.

Wholesaler Clearedge Lending (SG Capital’s wholesale division) bailed and sailed. Brokers received, “Due to the continued volatility in the markets and the difficulties in underwriting credit risk, we are suspending all loan activity at this time. This includes the funding of loans. Our team will do its best to support our broker customers any way we can due to our change in direction.”

Chase correspondent is out and about. “CB20-11 Chase Correspondent COVID-19 Update – Non-QM Documentation Features Discontinued. Chase is discontinuing our acceptance of Non-QM Documentation Features, Pricing Bulletin PB20-03.

Arch MI is “aligning with the flexibilities unless otherwise noted.”

Brokers paid attention to loanDepot’s message yesterday. “Due to extraordinary market disruption, loanDepot Wholesale has temporarily suspended all Jumbo Advantage REFINANCE transactions, effective immediately. Any transactions that have closed/signed may proceed with no additional restrictions. Any refinance transaction that has documents out, but has not signed, has been temporarily suspended and will need to be reworked into another viable program. A purchase transaction, that is currently locked, can proceed subject to the following restrictions: Primary Residence & Second Home Only, Fixed Rate: Maximum 80% LTV/CLTV – or program maximum, whichever is less, ARMs: Maximum 75% LTV/CLTV – or program maximum, whichever is less, 15-Months Reserves – required on all transactions, regardless of previously committed approval, Verbal Verification of Employment (VVOE) on all borrowers no earlier than 48 business hours prior to funding (Reasonable assumption can be made that borrower’s income continuity will not be impacted due to COVID-10 restrictions, the borrower’s employment type is listed as “critical infrastructure industry” by the Department of Homeland Security).”

The memo went on. “Self-Employed Borrowers: to ensure business viability at final approval, additional due diligence must be applied, but not limited to: Business class listed as a “critical infrastructure industry” by the Department of Homeland Security, AND reasonable assumption can be made that business/income continuity will not be impacted due to COVID-19 restrictions, AND Business webpage is active and indicates open for business, OR Third party validation of business phone number confirms open for business, OR signed letter from borrower(s) attesting to future business & income continuity. Business NOT listed as “critical infrastructure industry” by the Department of Homeland Security: Reasonable assumption can be made that the business/income continuity will not be impacted due to COVID-19 restrictions, AND Business webpage is active and indicates open for business, AND Third party validation of business phone number confirms open for business.”

Guild Mortgage’s correspondent group sent out the following measures, effective immediately for application dates on or before May 17, 2020 for FNMA and FHLMC loans. “FNMA and FHLMC temporarily allow alternatives to the traditional appraisal required when an interior inspection and credit related issue due to the COVID-19 concerns. The parameters for use of alternative appraisal reports are (here).

Wells Fargo Funding let correspondent clients know about a COVID-19 temporary policy expansion: Gap coverage eligible – All Loans. “Loans with gap coverage are temporarily eligible for purchase if the: County recorder’s office is closed due to COVID-19-related disruptions. Closed Loan Package includes an affidavit signed and dated by all borrowers, providing indemnification against intervening liens. Effective date of the title policy is the same as the Note date in non-escrow states or notary date on the Security Instrument for escrow states (not the recording date). Coverage complies with Agency and investor requirements, as well as federal, state, and local laws.

AmeriHome sent out a 5-page document (with small type) regarding Fannie Mae published Lender Letter 2020-03, Impact of COVID-19 on Originations and Lender Letter 2020-04 Impact of COVID-19 on Appraisals providing temporary measures and clarifications to address the impacts of COVID-19 (coronavirus). The temporary measures are effective immediately for all loans in process and remain in place for loans with application dates on or before May 17, 2020. To support publication of the Lender Letters, Fannie Mae additionally published updates to COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions, providing additional information and clarifications, as well as implementation guidance for the interim policies.

As always, it is best to examine the AmeriHome’s announcement. But there are a couple things to note, on the hot topics of the day, namely verbal VOEs and appraisals. “VVOE: A verbal or written re-verification of employment must be in the loan file at the time of loan file delivery to AmeriHome. AmeriHome will not accept a paystub or bank statement in lieu of a written or verbal VOE. It is recommended that the re-verification be obtained within 3 business days of Note date, but it must be completed no sooner than 10 calendar days prior to Note date.” And AmeriHome accepts the temporary appraisal information set forth by Fannie.

Plaza Home Mortgage notified clients, “Plaza Home Mortgage is here to help you and your clients alleviate some of the uncertainty with 60-day rate lock periods. The 60-day lock costs the same as 30 and 45-day locks (until further notice) and offers your borrowers more time to work on finalizing their transactions without the added stress of a lock that may be expiring. Of course, we still offer our 15-day rate lock option for those borrowers who have floated their interest rate, are clear to close, and want to take advantage of a shorter lock period.”

Julian Hebron from The Basis Point posted a note to help LOs with confusion about coronavirus mortgage and rental relief, sourced from gov’t agencies and put in plain language.

ProxyPics, Inc’s ProxyPics Direct is the risk-controlled solution lenders need to adapt to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s new appraisal flexibilities.

This note came from Andrew Liput with Secure Insight. “The current health crisis has created unparalleled challenges for lenders, title companies and attorneys. Now more than ever the industry needs to embrace the concept of eMortgages, eClosings and remote and eNotarization. Our company is working overtime to help support that endeavor and have a team of experts working on ways we can assist lenders by engaging with the closing agents registered in our nationwide database to identify relevant skills and to educate them how to conduct eClosings. We have already begun working to verify e-closing, e-notarization and RON licensing and experience from among our thousands of nationwide closing agents and those who are qualified will be so identified in our database as of April 1st. Furthermore we are working to launch an online training program to ensure more notaries, title agents, escrow officers and attorneys understand the eClosing concept and have the skills to conduct electronic and remote closing transactions. This online platform will be available within one week and we already have hundreds of closing agents registering to complete the course and become am available asset to lenders seeking trained professionals in this area. In a time of crisis innovation blossoms. At Secure Insight we continue to stay in the forefront on innovation affecting the title and closing industry in support of lenders everywhere.”


Capital markets

PennyMac, known to be a large buyer of FHA/VA production, “will be suspending the Bulk AOT delivery method effective immediately. No new locks under this delivery method will be taken. Available delivery options continue to include Bulk and Best Efforts.”

The big “news” yesterday as far as markets were concerned, was the optimism that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Schumer could hash out sticking points on a virus-related fiscal stimulus bill. The promise of a coming deal buoyed treasury and equity markets. Additionally, the Fed buying did help to steady liquidity in the MBS market, though retail volumes were still light. On a less positive note, much of the mortgage industry faced reported margin calls and forced liquidations with the REIT market as a whole asking for some Fed support. On the day, the NY Fed Desk purchased $36.4 billion MBS.

Today’s economic calendar began with mortgage applications from the MBA for the week ending March 20. Activity was expected to have fallen last week, and applications did just that, posting a 29 percent decrease from one week earlier. The Refinance Index decreased 34 percent from the previous week though was 195 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 15 percent from one week earlier and was 11 percent lower than the same week one year ago. We’ve also seen February durable goods orders (+1.2 percent, ex-transportation -.6 percent); the FHFA Home Price Index for January is later. The Desk will follow the same MBS FedTrade purchase schedule as yesterday when they purchase up to $50 billion MBS across five operations starting with $20 billion UMBS30 3 percent through 4 percent for T+3 settle. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better by .250 and the 10-year yielding .85 percent.

Coronavirus horoscope?

Aries: Best if you stay at home until at least tomorrow.

Taurus: Stay home until further notice.

Gemini: Both of you should stay home today.

Cancer: Don’t go outside for a while. Like until May.

Leo: Reorganize your closet today, and for a few weeks.

Virgo: Put a different wine in each room and go on a tour!

Libra: YouTube has some great yoga and jazzercise videos. Try them.

Scorpio: Don’t leave your house. Consider donating those 84 bottles of motel shampoo.

Sagittarius: Remember those board games you kept from when you were a kid? Break them out!

Capricorn: Support the local economy and order in food for the next month.

Aquarius: Prepare yourself for higher Amazon and Netflix fees.

Pisces: You’ve put off hand-scrubbing the kitchen floor. Today’s your chance.

Visit for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “Drinking from a Firehose is Not a Long Term Business Model” If you have the inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.


(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is designed for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to Copyright 2020 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)


Mar. 24: Sales job; sales, digital, processing products; FAM, QLMS, Mr. Cooper changes; appraisal & VVOE clarity; servicing smacked

While in captivity it is important to have discipline. Independent mortgage banks exercised discipline and had a great 4th quarter, profit-wise, but that was so… “then.” (Costs were $7,500 per loan.) Looking at the present, many are beginning to ask an ugly question: “Does the worldwide economic harm, spiraling out of control, outweigh the potential casualties of the coronavirus?” Fortunately the Federal Reserve and Agencies are providing support, but given that non-QM and jumbo loan production is reeling, and the servicing market, especially for Ginnie Mae loans, was dealt a blow yesterday, can government-backed FHA/VA lending be far behind? How much pain can small or mid-sized independent mortgage bankers absorb, given EPOs, margin calls, renegotiations, and now angst in servicing/market-driven valuations? Will the government step in to save non-bank, large servicers, like Mr. Cooper? More below on new developments. Sorry about the length of the commentary today – there’s a lot going on.


Zoral Group Inc., an international leader and innovator in the AI/ML/Digital Products/RPA/Big Data space, is seeking a National Sales Director for its Enterprise Business Development. Looking for a true “hunter” with banking and financial service industry knowledge and extensive contact database, plus demonstrated prior success selling lending solutions. Knowledge of Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics is a plus. This is a great opportunity to work with a fintech software company with over 15 years of experience and a broad global client base and help them broaden their reach in the US Market. Location agnostic, but will require some travel to attend industry conferences as well as visit client locations. 1099 Preferred. To learn more or to submit your resume, please contact Peter Sandler, SVP.

Lender products, services, & training

With so many borrowers employment being negatively affected by COVID-19 this is the time to remind lenders to make government insuring a priority. Once the borrower goes 30 days late then the loan can’t be insured forever. As a leading correspondent investor in Government loans, TMS has provided some reliable and practical best practices for lenders to ensure their FHA loans are sellable. Read more on TMS’ blog.

Looking for ways to stay engaged with prospective borrowers during this unprecedented time? Consider joining Optimal Blue as they host a highly informative webinar, “Engage & Convert Borrowers with Robust Social Media Automation,” on Thursday, April 2nd at 2:00 PM CT. During this webinar, attendees will learn about Optimal Blue’s social media engagement solution, current functionalities such as robust publishing, reviews, and compliance automation, as well as several innovations that will take the solution to a whole new level and will be announced for the very first time on this webinar. Most importantly, attendees will discover the social media techniques and best practices that successful Optimal Blue clients have already deployed to engage with prospective borrowers and convert them into new mortgage customers. Register now.

Day 1 of the MAXOUT 2020 “Unconference” presented by Maxwell and National MI is in the books and Day 2 & 3 boast some great sessions to attend. As a reminder, MAXOUT 2020 is a 100% Free, 100% Online “Unconference,” giving away great prizes to those that attend. As a reminder, I’ll be concluding the conference with my closing Keynote titled, “2020: CoVID19, Low Rates, Recession?” tomorrow morning. Check out the entire agenda and register for your sessions.

Join Golden State Finance Authority for an in-depth look at the new GSFA OpenDoors down payment assistance program! OpenDoors is a game-changer when it comes to helping homebuyers in California purchase a primary residence with little-to-no money out of pocket. The GSFA OpenDoors Program features homebuyer assistance up to 7% of the loan amount, FICO requirements as low as 620, flexible DTI requirements and enhanced pricing. FHA, VA, USDA and Conventional Loan financing is available. Plus, GSFA delegates the loan process to the Participating Lender so no additional compliance review from GSFA is necessary, making the process simple and easy for both borrower and Lender. Ready to start closing more loans?? Join us for a Lender Training Webinar and view program guidelines here. You don’t want to miss out on this EXCITING new Program!

With a lot of vendors sending their teams home, lenders might be worried about processing slowdown because of the potential higher turn times. Fortunately, Informative Research has digital tools that make it easier for clients to get things done without relying on a service team. With Informative Research’s Action Center, processors can instantly 1) remove a duplicate flag on a credit report and 2) check the status of rescore and supplement orders. And now they’ve added two more features: 3) Fix typos and 4) order/view a TriMerge credit report in a different report format. Clients can do all of these things automatically without waiting. Keep an eye out for more updates with even more functionality coming to the Action Center later this year! To learn more, just click here or call 800-473-4633.

Digital transformation can sound overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. Join Bob Meara (Celent), Eric Somers (BMO Harris Bank), and Alden Seabolt (Blend) for CBA’s webinar “Leveraging Digital Transformation to Nail Customer Acquisition.” They’ll demystify what it means to transform your organization with strategies that support seamless customer onboarding experiences. Sign up for free with the promo code Blend0407.

HomeBinder (new Encompass plug-in) gives Originators a way to ensure they aren’t forgotten post close. Join the growing number of mortgage originators giving HomeBinder to their clients. Show borrowers how to care for their greatest asset. Give them a reason to remember you with a branded complete home management suite of tools. The relationship doesn’t end with a closed loan for you or Agents you work with. Don’t get forgotten by your mutual clients.  Co-brand and share the wealth! Call 800-377-6915 or email Visit to learn more. If you are interested in a 3-minute demo video, click here!

Given the devastating impact on businesses throughout the country, and the financing pullback by lenders needed to ensure these merchants have the necessary capital to ride out the disruption caused by the Coronavirus, World Business Lenders has launched a COVID-19 RELIEF LOAN PROGRAM where it offers financing up to $2,000,000 to businesses impacted by the pandemic. The Program effectively loosens underwriting guidelines with respect to cash flow requirements so businesses shut down by the government or taking responsible action to limit the spread of the disease can still qualify despite little or no cash flow.  All loans are secured with adequate equity in virtually any form of real estate. The two-year COVID-19 Relief Loan Program is intended to give a struggling business the capital necessary to weather the economic storm by providing (1) a COVID-19 Shut-Down Period –no payments due for the first 3-months, (2) a Recovery Period – interest only payments for the next 9 months while the business is restored to a normal state, and (3) a Pay-Back Period – where the loan begins to amortize during the next year. Contact Phil Grossfield.

CV 19-driven updates

Quicken Loans Mortgage Services sent to its brokers: “… For most of your clients, the mortgage process will continue to move forward, but closings and appraisals in certain U.S. areas will be affected. Several U.S. locations have adopted mandatory shelter-in-place orders. If you are originating a loan in one of these areas, here’s how the mortgage process is being affected: All new registrations and floating pipeline loans will not be able to lock until “Ready for Final Signoff Pending” status. The timeline for shelter-in-place orders remains uncertain. However, we will continue to accept registrations and loan applications and will complete loans that are currently in process. You can view the most current list of affected U.S. areas here.”

Mr. Cooper? It “will temporarily suspend participation in the GNMA Co-issue space (and) will continue to monitor the market volatility closely, and remains committed long-term to the Ginnie Mae Co-issue space. Mr. Cooper will honor & fund all currently accepted pools & at this time will not be accepting new pools.” (Of course it hopes to “re-engage” in the future.)

How about the large non-bank servicers with varying degrees of capital to back varying sizes of servicing portfolios? “Mr. Cooper, the nation’s third largest residential servicer, made a public plea Monday calling on policy makers in Washington to pass legislation to provide federally backed lines of credit to mortgage companies that upstream payments to MBS holders. ‘When customers don’t pay us, we still must forward the customer’s payment to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae so they can forward the funds to the bondholders,’ writes Mr. Cooper CEO Jay Bray.

Inside Mortgage Finance reported, “In a new analysis, Mr. Cooper argues that if 25% of homeowners are unable to make their mortgage payments… our industry will need $40 billion in the first three months to make the payments on the customers’ behalf. We are asking for legislation to provide a liquidity facility to mortgage companies.’” IMF notes that, at last check, Mr. Cooper serviced $643.5 billion in home mortgages, giving it a market share of 5.8%.

loanDepot and other wholesalers are reported to be drafting similar policies, not allowing refinance locks prior to final approval.

Pingora Transaction Management released, “In the face of the unprecedented challenge of responding to COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the additional volatility this has caused in the market, as of March 23, 2020, we will be suspending all new MSR purchase commitments through FNMA SMP pursuant to Section 13 of the FNMA SMP Addendum/Agreement. Additionally, Lakeview Loan Servicing will be taking the necessary steps to terminate the existing Purchase Agreement pursuant to Section 11.1(e) of the underlying purchase agreement, effective 4/22/20. While we are terminating the purchase agreement, it is our preference to mutually agree to amend the existing agreement for a suspension period while we await some level of market stability as newly created MSRs have become increasingly difficult to value.” As always, check with your rep for specific details and plans going forward.

“Given the market disruption due to COVID-19 and the extreme volatility caused in both the mortgage and MSR markets, RoundPoint is suspending all co-issue MSR purchases effective immediately. Our hope would be to reenter the market in the future, and will continue to monitor the liquidity and valuation of the asset in an attempt to do so.”

This move has industry experts wondering, since Lakeview was about the only buyer of GNMAs, how long before the AmeriHome, Penny Mac, and Freedom stop buying whole loan service released? Or, to take another step, how long with lenders be excited about originating FHA & VA (the fodder for Ginnie Mae securities) product if there is no market for the servicing?

Finance of America told brokers of its, “Temporary Suspension of the following products: Apex, Flex, HBX and Reveal. All loan activities under Apex, Flex and HBX products, including loan fundings, have been ceased. Only those wholesale loans in our pipeline that have final loan docs signed and dated on or before 3/23/2020 or NDC loans purchased on or before 3/23/2020 will be accepted. Reveal products – no new application or locks are being accepted. Loans currently locked must close within the lock period. No extensions will be permitted.

FAM also cut manufactured home lending. “FAM will no longer accept applications for loans on Manufactured Homes. Only those wholesale loans in our pipeline that have final loan docs signed and dated on or before 3/23/2020 or NDC loans purchased on or before 3/23/2020 will be accepted. All other loans currently in the pipeline will be suspended until further notice.”

Appraisal (and VVOE) news

Yesterday the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) “directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide alternative flexibilities to satisfy appraisal requirements and employment verification requirements through May 17, 2020… the Enterprises will leverage appraisal alternatives to reduce the need for appraisers to inspect the interior of a home for eligible mortgages. In addition, in the event lenders cannot obtain verbal verification of the borrower’s employment before loan closing, the Enterprises will allow lenders to obtain verification via an e-mail from the employer, a recent year-to-date paystub from the borrower, or a bank statement showing a recent payroll deposit. Lenders should continue to utilize sound underwriting judgment to ensure these alternatives are appropriate to the borrower’s circumstances… Other actions include a suspension of foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days and offering forbearance for borrowers facing hardship due to coronavirus.”

Critics suggested that the FHFA took a “short view” instead of setting safe and sound standards in how to do things. AMCs can adjust (except if the FHFA pushes Waivers) but many lenders will probably still want full appraisals with interior inspections.

Fannie Mae issued Lender Letter LL-2020-03 providing reminders and temporary guidance on these loan origination policies: verbal verification of employment; continuity of income; notes, electronic records, and signatures; title insurance; and seller/servicer business continuity and submission of financial statements. And issued Lender Letter LL-2020-04 providing temporary guidance on appraisal requirements and completion reports, including allowing exterior-only and desktop appraisals for many transactions.

Freddie Mac sent out Bulletin 2020-5 that provides operational, credit and collateral requirements related to COVID-19. In it are updates on temporary guidance related to Freddie’s credit underwriting requirements, temporary guidance related to Freddie’s property valuation requirements, expansion of Freddie’s automated collateral evaluation eligibility, an extension to the deadline for certain annual reporting requirements, as well as reminders on the use of Electronic Records and Signatures, title insurance, and Seller/Servicer business continuity plan requirements and information about Freddie Mac’s business continuity plan.

PennyMac notified correspondents of its new VVOE and appraisal guidelines.

Last week loanDepot Wholesale sent this out to clients… “Effective immediately, we are not accepting new loan submissions for properties located in the following Bay Area Counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and San Mateo, with the following exception: Properties with a property inspection waiver (PIW) and written documentation that a notary can be retained for doc signing at the Borrowers’ shelter in place location. These submissions will also require a 60-day lock.”

Of course mandated self-quarantine may cause delays. Appraisers and homeowners who have or have not been in contact with COVID-19 are under self-quarantine. California, and other states, issued a mandatory self-quarantine for members of the community who are age 65 and older. Please be aware that this will impact many appraisers who will no longer be able to complete inspections, either because of their age or the age of one or more residents living at the property to be inspected. We will communicate issues as they arise and reassign orders as quickly as possible. In response to the spread of COVID-19 cases in the state of California, a legal order has been issued prohibiting non-essential business for the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey, and the City of Berkeley which has its own public health division. Unfortunately, all appraisal orders that have not yet been inspected will temporarily be placed ON HOLD.

Property Science ceased appraisals in all shelter in place counties until April 7th and that most lenders they work with are following. Others indicated their AMC will still perform appraisals so long as borrower is willing but require 60 lock on conventional loans. So not only are the county recorders an issue, but there are issues with appraisers either not able to physically appraise homes in ‘shelter areas’, but appraisers refusing to go inside homes for health fears…the best of times, in the worst of times…none of this feels very good.

Michael Simmons with AXIS AMC sent, “Outside of the ‘normal’ challenge of a rock bottom rate-fueled mortgage market, the lending and appraisal industries are now having to confront an epidemic that’s morphed into a global pandemic. What’s more, we found ourselves hostage to the same set of fears and uncertainty that’s gripping everyone else in our communities.

“So, AXIS took that as a challenge and set a goal to define and establish a uniform set of inspection protocols in tandem with our lender-partners and general healthcare initiatives. This set of protocols is designed to protect both the appraiser and the customer, and instill best practices into inspections in this new environment. Here are some things you should know beforehand that have shaped how we’re addressing appraising today:

“It started last week when 6 Bay Area Counties in California issued Health Orders. From there it’s grown to include numerous other Counties and a burgeoning list of Executive Directives and Proclamations from Mayors of Big Cities to State Governors. (A list of all current Orders, Directives and Proclamations can be found here. One may also contact us with questions, feedback, or additional information).

“We have reviewed everything published to date and, after consultation with our Corporate Counsel and other industry sources, that a reasonable interpretation can be made that the professional services provided by AXIS and the appraisers we engage qualify as Essential Business services that support banking and related financial institutions. While Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had been silent until this Monday, their release greenlighted the use of alternation appraisal products (Drive-by and Desktop appraisals utilizing the 1004 form but with a modified scope of work). It is noteworthy to point out that under Appraisal Preferences in that release, the #1 Report type listed in every case is a full appraisal – which requires an interior inspection. It’s also important to note that both FHA and the VA continue to support and require appraiser-provided appraisals that include full interior inspections.

“The following will be observed by all parties to an inspection. The lender will contact the borrower and/or homeowner prior to the appraiser scheduling the inspection appointment to determine that no one in the household has knowingly been exposed to COVID 19 nor is anyone in the house currently sick. The appraiser will re-confirm that there has been no change in the health of the occupant (or person providing access to the property) upon scheduling the inspection and prior to entering the property. Confirmation must be documented within the order. To minimize face to face interaction, the appraiser will conduct a phone interview with the inspection contact prior to visiting the site. Appraisers may request a list of improvements that homeowners have made to their home, the plat survey, and/or tax bill if applicable. These documents provide support for legal descriptions, dimensions, easements, and measurements included in the appraisal report. The homeowner will, if present, maintain social distancing as much as possible while the inspection takes place. The appraiser should always wear gloves and mask at all times while inspecting a home and endeavor not to touch any surfaces, door handles or light switches. Goggles are also recommended.

“Hand washing (or use of a hand sanitizer) before and after each inspection is a prerequisite – but not at the subject property! The homeowner will agree to turn on all lights in the home and see that all interior doors are open for easy access to every room. Although the CDC has not published protocols outside healthcare settings, a baseline of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)used during inspections may ease concerns and may provide a level of mutual protections. PPE considerations include gloves, masks, eye protection, hygienic shoe covers, and a supply of hand sanitizer. Any questions or concerns at a property, simply stop and call AXIS.

“We believe appraising is a not-so-small and essential part of the lending equation – and appreciate the enhanced partnership our lender-clients have placed in us. As an aside, one of the more sobering results of the last several days has been the universal gratitude every homeowner has expressed for our appraisers being willing to come out. We captured some of the comments here. It’s been a very humbling and uplifting experience.”

Mike’s note finished with, “We hope more lenders encourage the GSEs, other investors and the industry’s regulators to be creative and offer to accept exterior appraisals with interior photos by homeowners as a temporary alternative to help those folks who are too unsettled by the thought of a stranger in their home for an interior inspection to take place. While we believe these challenges may be with us for longer than many expect, when this pandemic threat eventually abates, we hope these lessons and experiences will have added in a positive way to the strength of our industry.” Thank you, Mike!


Capital markets

Mortgage rates? U.S. Treasury yields were pressured lower to begin the week, including the 10-year closing yesterday -17 bps to 0.76 percent. Though, as I have explained recently, lower Treasury yields aren’t necessarily translating to lower mortgage rates. We saw monetary and fiscal authorities in Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Germany active, but in the U.S., Congress failed to reach agreement on a spending plan, which helped cause the rate decline/bond rally. The Federal Reserve announced readiness to buy an unlimited amount of Treasuries and MBS, with nearly $700 billion in asset purchases planned for this week alone. The Fed will also establish a secondary market corporate credit facility, which will be able to purchase investment grade corporate bonds and U.S.-listed ETFs with exposure to investment grade corporate debt. (The first FedTrade operations of the day saw the Desk purchase $15.7 billion in the morning and then in the afternoon $30.2 billion MBS purchases.)

Today’s economic calendar is already underway with the Philadelphia Fed non-manufacturing survey for February (-12.8, region-level -35.1). Later today brings Redbook same store sales for the week ending March 21, preliminary March Markit manufacturing and services PMIs, Richmond Fed manufacturing and services for March, and the headline release of the day: February New Home Sales. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better by .250 and the 10-year yielding .83 percent.

“They said, wear a mask and gloves when going to the store. They lied. Everyone else was wearing clothes!”

Visit for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “Drinking from a Firehose is Not a Long Term Business Model” If you have the inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.


(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is designed for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to Copyright 2020 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)

Mar. 23: COO, AE jobs; anti-fraud, servicing products; borrower satisfaction survey; corona-driven product shifts

While in captivity it is important to have a goal. And remember, “It’s only quarantine if it comes from the quarantine region of France; otherwise, it’s just sparkling isolation.” YouTube views of yoga classes have skyrocketed. Families are arguing over the dog, the hat, the canon, the shoe, or the iron. As millions of women around the nation remember how to do their own nails at home, and men are wondering about haircuts, the lending industry continues in turmoil. Some things have been cleared up, however: California and Ohio have ruled that finance sector (e.g., mortgage) workers are essential. And CEOs are forcing LOs to go through pipelines to make sure loans in process and locks are “real” and aren’t using up hedge costs in a volatile time.


A leading national title insurance and settlement services agency is looking for its next great Chief Operating Officer to help take it to the next level. The agency is located in the northeast, has a well- deserved reputation as an innovative partner to its numerous lender clients and on the leading edge of e-closings. The ideal candidate would have worked their way to a senior level or c-level at a mortgage banking firm or title company, have had experience integrating people, process and technology into the customer experience, and importantly, is ready for a new challenge. The company has decades of experience, high customer satisfaction scores and a diverse client base. If interested, contact Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt with your resume.

Carrington Mortgage Services is hiring inside Wholesale Account Executives in its Orange County (CA), Plano (TX) & Providence (RI) offices. “Great tech, great pricing, hundreds of accounts ready to be called on, first class product line up. (USDA, VA, FHA, Non-QM & Conventional), and a top tier compensation plan.” Contact Kevin DeLory or call (401) 298-7000 to learn more.


The wholesale market is growing and so is Commerce Home Mortgage. CHM is excited to announce the addition of James Hooper (SVP Production) and Mel Freyre (SVP of Sales) to the CHM family to help spearhead its growth. With the launch of its TPO division seven months ago, CHM has experience phenomenal growth and is quickly becoming a leader in the NON-QM space. CHM is one of the nation’s only Community Development Financial Institutions (“CDFIs”) in the residential mortgage lending space. This certification allows CHM to offer increased access to credit allowing members of underserved markets to realize the American Dream of homeownership through products like its Community Mortgage. This market is estimated to include more than 32 million homeowners. CHM is looking to further expand its family by adding experienced account executive in all markets, as well as operational support in its Irvine and Phoenix locations. Click on Apply Here to apply for any open sales or operations positions.

Lender services and products

“Our team at CMC Funding, part of the Computershare Group, was honored with Freddie Mac’s Servicer Honors and Rewards Program (SHARP) Award. CMC Funding’s Silver designation recognizes their superior servicing portfolio performance, outstanding customer service to borrowers, and positive efforts to prevent and alleviate delinquencies in 2019. “CMC Funding and our servicing partner, Specialized Loan Servicing, take great pride in providing a superior borrower experience, from loan boarding through the servicing of the loan,” says Richard Dybel, National Sales Manager. Click here to learn more about CMC Funding’s co-issue servicing acquisition program.”

Gateway First Bank, one of the largest banking and mortgage operations in the United States, has selected Black Knight’s Origination Technologies Suite to support both retail and correspondent growth. Gateway will use AIVA, Black Knight’s artificial intelligence solution, to improve document classification, extract data and streamline the buying process by organizing documents into a complete, indexed file. Gateway will also implement Empower enterprise LOS to electronically capture, process, underwrite and close loans in support of their retail, wholesale, consumer direct, correspondent and home equity channels. “The combined power of AIVA and Empower will help reduce origination costs and risk as we continue to expand lending operations,” said Stephen Curry, CEO of Gateway. “Leveraging AIVA’s innovative capabilities increases processing speed, simplifies compliance and improves accuracy. With Empower, we are utilizing best-in-class technology to enable our lending teams to deliver a great customer experience.”

Mad Mortgage, a show for those passionate about the mortgage industry, officially launches with Episode 1 featuring Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae. Mad Mortgage is hosted by Mace, CEO and Founder of Mace Innovations, as he interviews Jonathan to discuss how Covid-19 affected Experience 2020, the new URLA, Ellie Mae strategy, and mortgage technology innovation. Mad Mortgage will continue to release new episodes featuring interviews with mortgage industry leaders, in-depth discussions, and provide the latest strategies to help lenders stay cutting edge in the rapidly changing digital mortgage space. The show’s topics cover the entire loan process, from origination to post-closing, compliance, secondary, and technology. Watch Mad Mortgage on YouTube or stream audio from popular podcast sources.

Sourcepointa leading provider of products and services to the US mortgage industry, continues to innovate its offerings to help servicers reduce operating costs and elevate borrower experience. Sourcepoint recently launched its Servicing Solutions suite to help servicers accelerate digital transformation across the mortgage servicing lifecycle by identifying areas ripe for automation along with the tools and resources needed for transformation and ongoing support. The suite comprises innovative digital solutions: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to streamline post-closing functions and loan boarding; firstCustomer Intelligence – a speech and text analytics solution to gather rich customer insights and transform traditional call centers into thriving, omnichannel contact centers; firstChat – AI-powered customer support to provide immediate assistance for client requests; and Intelligent Automation – RPA, automated document classification and unstructured data extraction to automate workflows. Contact them to learn how they can help you transform into an agile, customer-focused organization.

FundingShield’s analytics reported an additional 62% increase in wire fraud and regulatory compliance violations within the last 10 business days alone.  It is crucial to take the necessary steps to prevent wire and title fraud with FundingShield’s fintech solutions- now more than ever. During this volatile time, leveraging an API driven digital strategy is paramount to success. FundingShield’s partnership with EllieMae in addition to our APIs deliver you integrated solutions to help you originate more loans, lower costs, and reduce time to close- all without skipping a beat as America makes the transition to being a remote workforce that is Working From Home (WFH). In just two weeks FundingShield has seen an additional 62% increase in Wire Instruction errors, Perpetuated fraud attempts, Incorrect/altered wire instructions, Phishing attempts, Requests to fund unauthorized/unrelated 3rd party accounts.  These items were found, corrected, validated, and protected by FundingShield. Contact for more information or a demo or to join our distribution list.


Borrowers still matter

In this time of market volatility and interest rate uncertainty, lenders must ramp up communications with borrowers or risk serious damage to their reputations. According to data from STRATMOR Group’s MortgageSAT Borrower Satisfaction Program that surveys more than 130,000 borrowers annually, borrowers are much more likely to be delighted and refer business when they receive phone call updates versus email updates (Net Promote Score of 89 vs. 75). Yet, only two percent of originators are making the phone calls. “Now more than ever, the more you can personalize communications with the borrower, the more you differentiate your service and set yourself up for referrals,” says MortgageSAT Director Mike Seminari. In his March MortgageSAT Tip, “COVID-19 and the Customer Experience,” Seminari offers four ideas to help lenders ensure the borrower experience thrives in these uncertain times.

Product shifts

Are you going to be a “hero” and try to fund that non-QM or jumbo loan despite warehouse banks not lending on that product, or taking a 10% haircut, or the investor for that particular program just eliminated it? How long would you be in business if you produced a car, or a suitcase, or anything, if no one wanted to finance your operation or buy the product?

Athas Capital Group sent out a note that represented many. “Market liquidity is currently volatile to nonexistent, with uncertainty of funding, selling, and securitization. In response, Athas Capital Group is focusing its efforts working with capital markets and banking partners, as well as industry leaders, to determine the anticipated target state of mortgage lending and secondary market appetite. To accomplish (this), we are temporarily suspending all new lending activity in order to determine the appropriate products and programs for our customers moving forward. We appreciate your patience during this challenging time, as these steps are necessary to restoring stability to an otherwise unstable Non-QM lending environment…”

A loss of liquidity is the fastest way to close a company. If you don’t have a market for your production, or Is this 2008 all over again? Perhaps, or worse, since in 2008 we weren’t faced with a worldwide health crisis and political strife in the United States. it being an unprecedented time of market volatility and disruption in the financial markets. Rumors are rampant about companies ceasing taking locks in anything non-Agency, especially non-QM and jumbo. It is indeed reminiscent of 2008 when the lenders would lose their warehouse lines overnight and close the doors.

Over the weekend the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Conference of State Bank Supervisors, CFPB, FDIC, the National Credit Union Administration, and the OCC reminded institutions to “work constructively” with borrowers impacted by the coronavirus. “The agencies encourage financial institutions to work with borrowers, will not criticize institutions for doing so in a safe and sound manner, and will not direct supervised institutions to automatically categorize loan modifications as troubled debt restructurings (TDRs).”

Caliber? “Like so many others in the industry who have opted to not accept applications for Non-QM loans, we are temporarily no longer accepting applications for our Caliber Portfolio Lending (CPL) product suite. But to be clear: Outside of CPL, we are open for business and we are lending robustly!… Effective immediately, Caliber is temporarily suspending Caliber Portfolio Lending (CPL) new submissions and locks. For any loans in the pipeline we will issue additional clarifications by Monday morning, March 23.”

Ginnie Mae has added “Ginnie Mae Statement on Covid-19”.

Due to market volatility, Alabama Housing Finance Authority (AHFA) is suspending acceptance of new reservations effective immediately. Updates will be sent when the acceptance of reservations resume.

Lakeview Correspondent posted COVID-19-02. This announcement covers updated COVID-19 Correspondent FAQs.

AmeriHome is suspending the Core Jumbo and Non-QM Income Flex programs. No new locks/commitments will be accepted.

Effective immediately, the MWF Jumbo A Product will be temporarily suspended. This product is currently not available for new registration or locks. Loans under existing locks/commitments will continue to be processed. Lock/commitment extensions will not be granted. MWF will remove this suspension as soon as conditions permit.

“Due to illiquidity in the markets, Land Home Financial Services, Inc our Expanded (Non-QM) programs. As of now, we are temporarily suspending new locks, submissions and approvals on the following programs: Expanded Suspended Product Lines – Peak, Flex, Alpine and Select We value your business and recognize this may cause a disruption…”

Guild Mortgage published Memo PO20-03-20 COVID-19 specifying the temporary suspension of certain products and measures taken, effective immediately, regarding Conventional Refinance Loans in the state of CA, NV, and PA.

Wells Fargo Funding weighed in on the potential disruption of the ability to obtain verification of employment (VOEs) caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Wells noted it is actively working with industry peers and partners on options and will communicate guidance as soon information is received. It updated its Non-Conforming underwriting guidelines to clarify documentation timing requirements for income, assets, collateral, and verbal verification of employment (verbal VOE) requirements.

The Fifth Third Trading Desk will begin closing at 4:00PM ET daily effective immediately. All bid sheet business must be concluded prior to the early close.

loanDepot Wholesale/Correspondent discontinued its jumbo and non-QM product. It posted an Announcement regarding its loanDepot Advantage Programs, Jumbo Advantage, Credit Advantage and Non-Borrower Spouse Debt in Community Property States.

Join MCT on Monday, March 23rd at 1:00PM Pacific for a 30-minute webinar on MCT’s response to the coronavirus. MCT remains fully operational but recognizes the need for increased communication during this time.

David Burner, Strategic Planning and Partnership Manager with Notarize, sent, “I’ve heard some really concerning chatter in the industry around folks using Skype/FaceTime in an attempt to conduct remote online notarizations (RON). Lenders need to know that this is not an acceptable way to conduct a RON session because that technology does not support any of the requirements that the existing legislation requires for compliant RON transactions. As lenders evaluate RON technology as a strategy for business continuity in the time of COVID-19 and social distancing, the MISMO RON standards give them a playbook to understand what to ask potential vendors while they do their due diligence to make sure they’re working with a compliant RON solution provider. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also have great resources available to support their efforts.”

Mountain West Financial told its brokers, “Due to the increasing confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., Mortgage Works LLC has proactively implemented our Business Continuity Plan. Accordingly, our customer support and quality specialists are already set up and successfully working from home. This will ensure that our team members and communities are safe. It also mitigates the risk to our daily operations and ensures we are able to deliver sustained service to our customers.

In a recent AmeriHome message, the mortgagor relayed its’ dedication to the protection of employees, clients, and communities, as well as to ensure business continuity. “Our thoughts are with those affected by this virus. In accordance with recommendations from the CDC and local governments, we have suspended all business travel and internal events, and the vast majority of our staff has moved to secure, remote workstations. Despite these adjustments, we have maintained our productivity and service levels. Our Operations Account Representatives, Account Managers, Sales Representatives, and the entire AmeriHome team are available and ready to help”.

And last week, disastrous for the non-QM sector and partially jumbo sector, Angel Oak, Redwood Trust, SG Capital, NewRez, Caliber, Sprout, Deephaven, Verus, Galton, PRMG, and AmWest Funding all made announcements or notified clients privately.

Capital markets

People are scared, investors are nervous, and with products disappearing and the volatility, lenders are pricing defensively. Despite the NY Fed coming to the rescue of the markets last week (heavy treasury buying across the curve, extending asset purchases to include short-term munis as part of the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility, and extending FX swap lines to daily from weekly with a number of central banks), the CBOE Volatility Index, known as the “fear gauge,” is almost back to 2008 levels. Most everybody was taken aback by the stock market collapse last week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing more than 30 percent of its value, wiping out all of its gains since President Trump took office over three years ago. Economists are predicting that the U.S. economy will shrink anywhere from 12 to 24 percent in the second quarter, but until the virus is contained, who knows?

Monday has very little going on in terms of economic news (Chicago Fed National Activity Index for February, rebounding to +.16). With no other economic data of note today, things pick back up tomorrow with New Home Sales for February. Economic releases continue Wednesday with Durable Orders for February and the FHFA Housing Price Index for March, before Thursday brings advance indicators and the third estimate of Q4 GDP. The week closes with Personal Income and Spending for February, the PCE Price Index and final March University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment. We begin today with Agency MBS prices better by 1-1.5 points and the 10-year yielding 0.76 percent after closing last week at 0.94 percent.

I’ve begun my quarantine exercise routine. When you do squats, are your knees supposed to sound like a goat chewing on an aluminum can stuffed with celery?

Visit for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “Drinking from a Firehose is Not a Long Term Business Model” If you have the inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.


(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is designed for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to Copyright 2020 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)

Mar. 21: Sample of vendor & tech updates; changes in home buying; Finastra & ransomware?

I receive many thoughtful notes throughout the week. For example, “Rob, you mentioned Tom Hanks in your Friday commentary. He survived four years on an island alone as a castaway, a whole year inside an airport without being able to leave, caught AIDS in Philadelphia, fought in WW II and saved Private Ryan, fought in Vietnam and rescued Lieutenant Dan, landed an airplane in the Hudson River, was kidnapped by Somali pirates, and survived Apollo 13 trying to reach the moon. If Tom dies from the coronavirus, we are all pretty much screwed.”

Social distancing… for the rest of 2020? Tell that to any single person in their 20s or 30s. Elbow bump in the car at the end of the first date, and every date afterward? Amazon and Walmart are hiring hundreds of thousands. Millions of people around the nation are working from home, and using technology (such a vague, all-encompassing term) to do their jobs and help their clients. Companies are taking travel budgets and rerouting the money toward a) survival, and b) beefing up contingency plans.

Let’s take a breather from all the “Co-V 19” mortgage decimation and take a random look at what individuals and companies/vendors have been doing, tech-wise.

Changing technology has become the name of the game, not just in lending but in many areas that touch residential mortgages. For example, home buying. I received this note from Joshua Tatum, President/Senior Advisor of Tatum Technology Consultants. “Rob, readers should know that, even without the coronavirus, home buying technology is undergoing a massive change here in 2020. Home buying service companies are focused on three main areas: consumer acquisition costs, operational technology to reduce spend, and the UI/UX focus for top of funnel platforms. Today, I wish to focus on the first, the race to be the best and most frugal with consumer acquisition cost.

“There are roughly 13 parties involved in the home buying process with the majority spend coming from five (lead aggregation companies, real estate brokerages, lenders, closing companies, and insurance brands) that are jockeying to be the ‘captain’ of the homebuyer. With all these companies vying for a piece of the action, consumers need to be given a transparent view of how this all works. And consumers should have the option to be empowered in today’s market.

“While there are a decent amount of cooperatives and other groups that assist with giving everyone a level playing field inside lending (think Lenders One or The Mortgage Collaborative), do we really give the consumer a fair chance to make an informed decision on their largest single purchase and most critical asset? We ask ourselves, ‘Why are our overall costs going up and our margins are getting thinner?’ Rarely do we turn it around and ask, ‘Am I spending money where others already have positioned themselves in a most favorable light?’ Examples of market change are already out there. Look at Lemonbrew, Homelight, and other real estate agent matching services that are building steam. This is a method we all should stay cognitive of, and employ in the finance space. (If you have asked yourselves these questions or have had similar mindsets, contact Joshua to have a conversation on how to operationalize these very concepts.)

“Actionable Intelligence” isn’t necessarily a new concept in the lending world but a tool that many lenders are not taking advantage of in their loan process. For many lenders to take the next logical step of implementing Actionable Intelligence into their lending processes, many lenders need to better understand the relationship between borrower application data and known outcomes such as loan performance, fraud, and misrepresentation. This white paper reviews the role of Actionable Intelligence throughout the lending process and how lenders may benefit by implementing it into their current workflow.

Unfortunately Finastra was in the headlines yesterday with a suspected ransomware attack. Many lenders have experienced the pain. As a reminder, last month Finastra “took to the Cloud” with its Fusion Phoenix core banking platform. Commerce National Bank & Trust of Winter Park, Florida, and Commencement Bank of Tacoma, Washington are the first US banks to access the core solution via public cloud.

AI Foundry announced that AmeriHome Mortgage Company and Allied Mortgage Group are now in production use of Agile Mortgages. “Agile Mortgages’ robots assist the loan lifecycle by auto-classifying documents, auto-extracting data, executing pre-loaded business rules, and updating the LOS to accelerate loans, reduce costs, and remove human error in key stages of the loan lifecycle. There are 17 cognitive robots in the Agile Mortgages solution that assist loan application, processing, underwriting, closing, and sale of the loan to GSEs or correspondent investors. A cognitive robot is truly an AI assistant that can prevent loan defects while automating more than 50% of manual tasks.”

Calyx announced a new version of its cloud-based Path loan origination system (LOS), designed for lenders that are looking for quick implementation, as well as efficiency and productivity. “Path Express delivers superior functionality for retail, delegated, non-delegated and correspondent lending. It is pre-configured with standard settings based on industry best practices for a quick and simple implementation process. Lenders using this version of Path, on average, can be up and running within 4-6 weeks.”

OpenClose has partnered with Genworth Mortgage Insurance establishing a direct integration to access mortgage insurance (MI) from the LenderAssist™ LOS platform. The new integration works by leveraging OpenClose’s RESTful API Suite, IntegrationAssist, which makes interfacing with disparate systems easier to develop, quicker to implement and cost effective to maintain. Genworth is a full-service MI provider known for exceptional coverage, service and value. The Fortune 500 company has provided secure mortgage products for nearly 40 years. Its offerings are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. OpenClose customers can expect a seamless user experience within the LenderAssist LOS that optimizes the mortgage insurance pricing and certification process, eliminates data re-entry and returns MI commitment data and documents to the LenderAssist™ LOS.

Ninety percent of loan officers at LendUS are using SimpleNexus to collaborate on loan applications with borrowers and referral partners. “SimpleNexus’ disclosure toolset enables borrowers and loan officers to securely review and eSign documents inside the app, with no additional login and without disruption to the lender’s existing disclosure desk processes.”

Black Knight announced a new release of its CompassPoint™ and CompassPPE™ solutions that delivers new enhancements to help improve accuracy, efficiency and automation in origination and secondary marketing. Expanding its suite of fully integrated loan sale automation and business intelligence reporting, new functionality was added to the CompassPoint™ Pooling Optimizer that streamlines high-balance loan optimization based on month-to-date delivery parameters, including individual investors’ note rate and coupon rules. Additionally, the Rate Sheet & Margin tools were enhanced with fresh, dynamic user interfaces that allow lenders to efficiently model their margin structures at the channel, branch, product and originator levels. CompassPPE™ includes a new side-by-side product comparison feature which allows originators to compare up to three eligible loan programs at once. This scenario analysis, along with originator-entered notes, can be saved as a PDF and emailed to the borrower from a desktop or mobile device.

ACES Risk Management (ARMCO) has added questionnaires related to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) to the ACES Intelligent Questionnaire (ACES IQ) functionality contained within the ACES Audit Technology™ system. With this set of HMDA-specific questions, ACES users can quickly and easily conduct quality control on their HMDA data before reporting this data to their assigned federal HMDA regulator. Using both managed and custom quality control audit questions, ACES IQ assists lenders in addressing regulations and guidelines set forth by state and federal regulators, private investors, the GSEs and agencies.


SimpleNexus released three major product enhancements that give LOs lending functionality from their mobile or desktop devices. These enhancements include: On-the-Go Price Locking via Optimal Blue – Loan originators can now lock in an interest rate from Optimal Blue at any time, from any device. The ability to quickly lock in a loan interest rate is especially critical to helping loan originators reduce fallout for applicants with tight debt-to-income ratios. URLA Readiness – SimpleNexus has updated its tech stack to support lenders’ use of the redesigned Form 1003, also known as the Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA). URLA support is in live production for users of select loan origination systems, and the SimpleNexus team is prepared to support additional LOSs as they adopt URLA. In-app review of DU findings – Loan originators who are licensed to use Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) can review their DU findings within the SimpleNexus app.

Indecomm Global Services announced that it has been approved by DBRS Morningstar as a third-party due diligence provider for securitizations. Based in New York, DBRS Morningstar is a globally recognized provider of timely credit rating opinions that offer insight and transparency across a broad range of financial institutions, corporate entities, government bodies and various structured finance product groups.

Roostify and TD Bank issued a joint press release announcing more digital lending opportunities between the two companies. In 2019, TD Bank and Roostify partnered to launch a digital mortgage platform, now, together they are offering a home equity loan process on the platform. Customers are offered educational resources to begin the application on their own or with the assistance of a mortgage loan officer.

A while back Broadridge announced its centralized Trade Assignment Portal (TAP) to help mortgage originators and broker-dealers transform the execution of Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) Trade Assignments through improved efficiency and error elimination on a web-based platform. “TAP’s automation allows originators and broker dealers to electronically send and receive trade assignments thus processing at a much faster rate and providing transparent tracking capabilities.”

Toward the end of 2019 the StoneHill Group announced the introduction of several new technology solutions. Mortgage Driver – Intelligent Visual Document Classification and Dynamic Data Extraction and LESTM SaaS – Intuitive Loan Evaluation Software for QC. “Mortgage Driver is the next-gen visual document classification and data extraction tool developed with BeyondRecognition.” Also, in development, HMDA Driver, an automated approach to validating critical HMDA compliance to your underlying loan documents. Finally, the StoneHill Group introduced the SaaS version of its proprietary Loan Evaluation Software (LESTM). “This highly tuned QC software application can support all your loan review needs, enabling the process from loan selection, to loan review and customizable dynamic reporting.”

International Document Services, Inc. (IDS), signed a preferred partnership agreement with Mortgage Builder. As part of the agreement, IDS and Mortgage Builder have begun to develop a fresh integration between idsDoc and Mortgage Builder’s LOS platform. “With the enhanced interface in place, lenders will be able to achieve even greater efficiency while protecting the integrity of the origination process by generating all general loan documents using direct-source data from the Mortgage Builder platform. Mortgage Builder users will also be able to complete all relevant state- and investor-specific information using corresponding fields within idsDoc. The more than 1500 rules, warnings and edit checks available through this integration will also ensure all documents are as compliant as possible, while the embedded eSign functionality from IDS will enable efficient initial disclosure and closing processes.”

Entrust Solutions created a service in helping clients create the Best Practices Manual following the Guidelines of ALTA and in compliance with Gramm-Leach Bliley and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau established under the Dodd-Frank act. The manual and its content are intended to assist lenders in satisfying their responsibility to third parties customized to reflect the Policies and Procedures of individual offices. Entrust will consider ALTA Best Practices Framework for: Title Insurance and Company Best Practices, Assessment Procedures and Certification Package when compiling the manual. You provide the information and Entrust will prepare the manual. Entrust will offer suggested changes or procedures to comply with the Best Practices standards. Entrust does not currently offer a Best Practices Certification but will provide you with a “Self-Certification” for the lender.

ClosingCorp acquired WESTvm. The first loan-centric ordering technology available in the market, WESTvm significantly streamlines the ordering and management of critical settlement services needed to originate or service a loan. It allows lenders to order appraisals, flood certifications, title and closing services and documents in less than sixty seconds. ClosingCorp renamed the WESTvm platform as ClosingCorp Order Management, and its fee management service, SmartFees, as ClosingCorp Fees. Both solutions were immediately available through Ellie Mae Encompass Digital Lending Platform and ClosingCorp’s standalone web portals.

Carrington Mortgage Services has implemented LoanScorecard’s non-agency AUS, Portfolio Underwriter as its Non-QM Pricing & Scenario Tool. Greg Austin, EVP of Carrington Mortgage Services, stated, “By implementing LoanScorecard’s technology in our IQual AUS tool, our broker and correspondent partners can quickly and confidently inform potential borrowers of automated loan approvals through an easy-to-use solution to help them select the best Carrington non-agency loan product for their customers.”

(Thank you to Joe H. for this one, suitable for all ages.)

One day the first-grade teacher was reading the story of Chicken Little to her class. She came to the part of the story where Chicken Little tried to warn the farmer.

She read, “…. and so Chicken Little went up to the farmer and said, ‘The sky is falling, the sky is falling!’”

The teacher paused then asked the class, “And what do you think that farmer said?”

One little girl raised her hand and said, “I think he said: ‘Holy Moly! A talking chicken!’”

Visit for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “Drinking from a Firehose is Not a Long Term Business Model” If you have the inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.


(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is designed for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to Copyright 2020 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)


Mar. 20: LO, remote Ops, AE jobs; CRM, , bid tape, warehouse products; non-QM sector walloped – why?

Today, with the official start of Spring, and while the industry waits for the FHFA to answer concerns about appraisals, VVOEs, and other issues, there are other pressing questions. “Rob, does my wife quarantining on the 1st floor and me staying on the 2nd floor count as ‘social distancing’? Or ‘conscious uncoupling’?” You’ll have to ask Dear Abby that one. People adjust to the “corona-cation,” like having virtual Happy Hours with friends via Face Time. And here’s Ah-nold with some advice from his hot tub. Here’s what Tom Hanks has to say. Envoy’s CEO Ron Millard sent his employees a video on values we should remember: faith, confidence, and focus. Coronavirus aside, according to the United Nations World Population Prospects report, approximately 7,452 people die every day in the United States from various causes, and about 150,000 around the world. We’re all hoping that the coronavirus doesn’t tip these statistics. But many believe that this is more like 9/11 in that, unlike 2008, this is based upon fear of death versus fear of economic loss. Of course the mainstream press rarely prints good news. Rarely mentioned are the 80,000+ people who have recovered already. Things will turn around.


Citizens Bank is committed to taking our mortgage business to new heights in 2020. Sonu Mittal, Head of Mortgage – Retail, recently announced the creation of a new role dedicated to growing distribution across all markets, as well as looking for new ways we can better serve our customers and colleagues. Mittal named Ace Watanasuparp as National Director of Strategic Sales, SVP. Ace has been with Citizens Bank for more than five years and has led tremendous growth for the bank in the New York market. With Ace’s focus on what we bring to the industry on a broader scale, we are deepening our commitment and drive to become a top mortgage lender nationally. Forward-thinking leadership is critical to our success and we want the best of the best to join our journey. If you are looking to bring your career to a company with a passionate vision on the future of the mortgage business, you need to be at Citizens Bank. Jump in and join us by applying to Citizens Bank today! For questions, please email”

A “well capitalized loan aggregator is looking for a Non-QM Sales Executive to assist in a building a nationwide closed loan Non-QM correspondent platform. Candidate will provide market color, advise on loan programs, cultivate & manage account relationships, and assist with the correspondent approval process. Ideally, the candidate will have experience working with a top 10 loan aggregator in the Non-QM correspondent space. Having a national account base would be preferred, though a strong regional presence will be considered. Relocation is not required, though there will be some travel”. Please send resumes to Anjelica Nixt if interested.

ACC Mortgage is open for businessThese are difficult times for everyone in the United States but based on the nearly 21-year track record, ACC is confident we can weather this COVID-19 storm. We continue to originate AND close Non-QM business and we have room for a handful of experienced AEs who are being displaced by their current lender. ACC is offering our AEs up to 75 bps plus a base and bonuses.  This recent article shows you that leadership is prepared. If interested in joining our team, please send your resume to”

PRMG is hiring experienced underwriters remotely! Underwriting has drastically changed over the years and even more recently. You can’t just expect to be asked to work longer and harder hours in times like these. At PRMG we’ve invested millions of dollars to make underwriting easier on the underwriters. We fully believe in Underwriters doing more with technology and not being replaced by it. Our support and Leadership for Ops is rivaled by few. If you want to join, now is the time! PRMG employs over 2000 people across the country and is licensed in 48 states with nearly 180 branches located throughout the nation. Contact for a complete job description or confidential inquiries.”

Lender services & products

Now more than ever, lenders need a robust technology platform to fund sharp increases in loan volumes, adjust capacity, manage bulges, and funding ever-changing funding restrictions that can turn on a dime. OptiFunder’s Warehouse Management Systemwinner of HousingWire’s 2020Tech Award, provides real time decisions on where to fund every loan to achieve maximum interest spread, reduce errors, and connects all interested parties in the warehouse process with single-click funding requests. CFO’s and Treasurers can learn how lenders are realizing up to 300% ROI with a comprehensive funding analysis and warehouse optimization report. Contact Brian Abbott (312-624-1956) to learn more.

Volly has been named a HousingWire 2020 HW Tech100 Mortgage company. The Volly Platform is utilized by banks and mortgage companies from across the country, including several top 20 mortgage lenders. The Platform gives lenders the ability to provide a borrower journey that uniquely blends leading-edge technologies with hands-on, personal interaction. Click here to schedule a demo.

Traditional CRMs may offer bells and whistles but often fail to engage both clients and originators. Does your CRM help you create relationships that last a lifetime using data intelligence and multi-channel marketing? Does it prioritize simplicity, or does it require an advanced IT degree to manage effectively? Now more than ever it’s imperative to engage with your relationships in ways that build trust. Scotsman Guide recently featured Dan Harrington quoting, “Modern mortgage professionals require frictionless, user-friendly tools that enhance sales… The right technology not only simplifies day-to-day life, it helps users and management strengthen relationships.” You worked hard to build your relationships. What you need is a Relationship Engagement Platform that delivers content that resonates, and tells you exactly who, when, and why to call so your pipeline is always full. Guarantee client loyalty and explode your sales with Usherpa’s uniquely easy technology and engaging multi-channel marketing.

Jumbo & non-QM industry sea change

As the industry waits for Agency guidance on appraisals and verifications of employment, there’s no candy-coating what happened with the non-QM sector. Recent rumors spread of warehouse banks charging a 10% haircut to lenders who put the loans on their books or to stop advancing on these types of loans. But yesterday the market “took a MAJOR step back”. Attribute it to investors not wanting that product/securitization disruption, given the flood of Agency MBS hitting the market, or/and ATR difficulties with unemployment skyrocketing. Will someone who qualified on one month’s worth of bank statements meet ATR requirements?

There are mixed signals as some securitizations have recently been sold probably due to forward contractual obligations. But the lenders below discontinued or repriced product lines immediately due to their own cash constraints or being forced by warehouse lenders. (Questions should be directed to them, as always.) Those in decent shape have take-out investors committed to purchasing loans in process, granted they meet employment verification at time of purchase which is after the loans are funded.

We’ve seen this movie back in 2008, right? Except this time we’re being hit by a pandemic, political strife and finger pointing, and now a weakening world economy. MLOs are reminded that if there aren’t investors for products, they won’t be offering the product in the primary markets to borrowers. Non-QM lenders either stopped honoring locks, stopped taking locks, or backed prices off to the point of being 3-4 percent above QM loans. And of course, no non-QM lender wants to be the last to find a chair when the music stops.

Angel Oak reps sent out, “What a difference a couple of days can make. Obviously, market conditions and liquidity issues (not a credit issue) have disrupted the market and Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions. We are taking measures to handle this crisis. We are analyzing all pipelines and will inform everyone how we can proceed shortly. Going forward, we will be revising programs, rates and compensation. Immediately all programs will be capped at 80% LTV (still doing Bank Statements), minimum credit scores of 680 and only allow Borrower Paid Compensation.” Angel Oak Companies plans to issue a non-QM mortgage-backed security, according to filings with the SEC.

And then there was, “Due to the continued disruption in all financial markets, SG Capital has suspended taking new loan submissions and new locks. Please contact the SG Capital lock desk regarding any updates to your current lock pipeline. Any updates, including but not limited to, requests for lock extensions and/or relocks, will need to be preapproved in writing by an SG Capital Lock Desk employee.

Redwood Trust, known for its jumbo products, stopped taking locks, or at least did a reprice of several programs. It was reported that Luxury also stopped taking locks, as well as NewRez on its Non-QM Smart Series and High Balance Extra loans. Caliber repriced, as did Sprout and Deephaven, which also did a guideline tightening (maximum premium reduced to 101.50 from 103). Verus shut off bulk/mandatory and went best efforts only. Galton’s bank statement program is suspended; full doc only.

While PRMG is offering a full line up of other products, it “has suspended taking new loan submissions and new locks on the following Non-QM product lines: Expanded Access (All Credit Grades), Hybrid Conforming and Jumbo, Investor Solution/ DSCR Debt Service Coverage Ratio & No Ratio, Choice Conforming & Jumbo/Choice Plus Conforming & Jumbo.”

Aggregator AmWest Funding? “Due to the recent stress in the global financial markets, extreme market volatility, and illiquidity in the non-QM markets, we have repriced our ‘Portfolio’ products to market clearing rates,” AmWest Funding Corp. said in a note to mortgage brokers late last night.

theLender shifted its production resources to QM earlier this week and is “temporarily suspending originations of non-QMs.” (It is also known as Hometown Equity Mortgage.)

For the most part these are all investors without a balance sheet to put loans on. And the securities market has stopped bidding on non-conforming/non-Agency product. This will lead to a flight to lenders with balance sheets (also known as “banks”), but banks and credit unions only have so much operational capacity in their retail, wholesale, or correspondent channels, and turn times are bound to extend. The clever MLO will manage their transactions appropriately.

Capital markets

MCT has announced the release of automated bid tape AOT executions and electronic TBA trading in the MCTlive! mobile app. “This release is consistent with our roadmap to untether the capital markets professional from the office desk, which is now more important than ever,” stated Phil Rasori, COO. “In addition to increased telecommuting convenience, these features support lender profitability in this volatile market.” During 2019, MCT clients assigned more than 26,000 trades saving each client an average of over $80,000. Bid-offer spreads have since widened from 3-8 BPS to 25-50 BPS, which can be avoided without sacrificing execution or convenience using MCT’s bid tape AOT automation. Electronic TBA trading allows lenders to manage more competitive bids and broker dealers, increasing liquidity and improving execution. Leveraging these two unique functions are now the difference between 3/8’s to a half point of execution – with both now available in the MCTlive! mobile app.

It is certainly a tough, liquidity-stressed, market right now. Credit risk is increasing, and servicers are uncertain about the financial impact of the delay in handling delinquencies and foreclosures. Before the Fed announced it will buy $32 billion in MBS today, yesterday was a day of slaughter in the MBS market. Treasury prices barely budged, while MBS were down another couple points amid bouts of liquidity that deteriorated further into the settlement close as lower coupon bids fell by over a point in some cases in the last 30 minutes of trading as bid/ask spreads blew out despite the Fed conducting three times the scheduled MBS buying in an attempt to inject more liquidity into the market.

Central bank news anyone? Back in 2008, it was possible for central banks to work out roughly how big the crisis would be, and respond accordingly. But the current pandemic doesn’t allow for that kind of certainty. Nobody knows how long it will go on, how much economic activity will be curtailed, or how much permanent damage will be done, making it hard to judge central bank and government actions until it’s all over. That being said, the People’s Bank of China lowered its loan prime rate, the European Central Bank announced that it will buy EUR750 billion worth of government and corporate bonds and commercial paper yesterday, the Bank of Japan announced a JPY1 trillion special bond buying operation, the Reserve Bank of Australia lowered its cash rate by 25 bps (and announced it will try to keep the 3-year yield at 0.25 percent through asset purchases), and the Bank of England announced an emergency bank rate cut to 0.10 percent and a GBP200 billion increase to its holdings of government and corporate debt. Interestingly, the Swiss National Bank made no changes to its policy stance.

Today’s sole economic release is February Existing Home Sales, due out later this morning. The Desk will conduct MBS FedTrade operation in which they will purchase up to $2.519 billion GNII 2.5 percent ($810 million), 3 percent ($1.298 billion) and 3.5 percent ($411 million). We begin today with Agency MBS prices better .125-.250 and the 10-year yielding 1.01 percent after closing yesterday at 1.12 percent. The decoupling of Treasuries and MBS is a big concern.

(Thank you to Spencer D. for this timely humor.)

The heck with toilet paper. I just bought dryer sheets and my rump smells like Lavender and Roses and there is no static electricity. Oh, and by the way, my old butt is, for the first time in 20 years, now wrinkle free!!

Visit for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “Drinking from a Firehose is Not a Long Term Business Model” If you have the inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.


(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is designed for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to Copyright 2020 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)

Mar. 19: LO jobs; digital, notary, QC, broker products; developments in warehouse, Agency, eClosing, & cap mkts

“I’ve started investing in stocks: beef, chicken, and vegetable. One day I hope to be a bouillonaire.” There might be a few less “bouilonaires” owning PennyMac stock after yesterday. If you want to know what the market thinks of lenders/investors/servicers, public companies like PennyMac are a bellwether. And its price was down yesterday over 40 percent at one point. (Take a gander at the one month graph; CRT exposure? HUD suspending foreclosures for 60 days, impacting servicers?) Impac has suffered a similar fate, down more than 50 percent from earlier this month. Any lender with servicing rights, well, good luck. In the primary markets, retail organizations with branch networks are shutting down the branches and requesting LOs work from home or common areas. Lenders everywhere are keeping their “work from home” staff apprised of developments. For example, LendUS CEO Rob Hirt sent out this video discussing the company’s policy and procedure moves, “the latest on the LendUS family,” and how it is navigating the effects of the coronavirus. Other good news? I’ve worn the same set of sweats for three days in a row now. And I’ve stopped shaving my legs!

Employment & promotions

2019 was a year for the record books for 100% employee-owned USA Mortgage, Missouri’s largest home lender since 2014. The St. Louis-headquartered firm generated $2.45 billion in loan volume, a 41% increase over the $1.74 billion it posted in 2018. According to CoreLogic, Inc. analytics, the record-setting performance vaulted USA into the Top 100 lenders in the U.S. The St. Louis Business Journal recently took this behind-the-scenes look at the factors powering the rise of the company which now has 91 locations in 37 states plus the District of Columbia. With more than 700 employees, USA offers cutting-edge marketing and technology, a strong benefits package, an extensive portfolio of loan products and a spirited “can do” corporate culture. USA also has a charitable arm, DAS Gives, which in 2019 donated $130,000+ to charities important to team members. Seeking entrepreneurial advancement? Reach out today to USA Mortgage at

At Finance of America Mortgage we provide our Chief Xperience Officers, or CXO’s, with the tools they need to succeed, including: an industry leading technological platform, products that fit our borrowers’ needs, and an arsenal of educational and marketing materials at your fingers tips. We are creating a complete “Two-X Platform” for our CXO’s. We’ve invested tens of millions into a new proprietary suite of tools, including websites, CRM, POS, and more. This advanced suite of technologies allows us to execute our usual services, even in the face of today’s challenging and unprecedented circumstances. Our loan process is transparent, mobile, and instant for every Finance of America Mortgage employee who touches that customer. And for the entrepreneur in you, Finance of America Mortgage believes in providing you with the autonomy you need to succeed in your own way. Click HERE to learn more.”

Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. announced the promotions of Brandi Hume to SVP of Risk Management and Hollie Wylie to VP of Compliance. Congratulations to both!

Lender products & services

“Are you ready for VA IRRRL and purchase opportunities in this market? Considering VA mortgage lending for the first time? Join Freedom Mortgage Wholesale for our final live webinar primer on VA mortgage products and origination processes. Plus, learn more about the recently enacted Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which has provided new mortgage benefits for jumbo borrowers, active duty Purple Heart recipients, and more.  Freedom Mortgage is a leading VA lender and our Wholesale Channel’s No Down Payment VA Jumbo program enables eligible jumbo borrowers to exceed published FHFA county loan limits without a down payment requirement! No jumbo overlays or loan limits! Sign up for a VA Mortgage Product & Process Primer on 3/20.”


Informative Research (IR) announced earlier this month its integration with Blend where lenders will be able to order IR’s TriMerge Credit Report and SoftQual solutions directly on the digital platform. “Our goal at Informative Research is to get our clients as close to a true digital loan process as possible,” stated Matthew Orlando, Head of Client Success and Strategy at IR. “Our integrations ensure that lenders can speed up the process, so integrating with Blend is a huge step for offering that improved digital experience.” Through Blend, users can order Informative Research’s comprehensive TriMerge Credit Report, along with SoftQual, which will be available soon. SoftQual is IR’s pre-qualification solution that lets lenders pull a soft inquiry on an applicant’s credit report before pulling a hard inquiry. Through prequalification, lenders can save up to 70% on upfront credit costs and avoid getting their leads poached. Read more about the integration here!

With COVID-19 and higher than usual loan volume, what’s going on with mobile notaries? According to Marc Trachtenberg at Silk Title Co., notaries and attorneys they work with have been proactive putting safety first by calling borrowers before arriving to explain steps they will be taking to ensure a safe closing experience. “So far, we see the majority of closings being completed as scheduled. We are receiving more phone calls though from lending executives asking about steps they can take now to convert to digital closings by switching to RONs and eClosings,” said Trachtenberg. Definitely a good time to consider options. For questions, you can email

Ellie Mae and Optimal Blue recently announced the expansion of their strategic partnership to include collaboration on multiple next-generation, API-based integrations between the Ellie Mae Digital Lending Platform and Optimal Blue’s Marketplace Platform. With their mutual focus on creating a seamless, end-to-end workflow between lenders and investors, Optimal Blue’s unrivaled Hedge Analytics and Loan Trading solutions now join Optimal Blue’s Product & Pricing as recommended solutions in the Ellie Mae Marketplace. Initiatives are already underway to enable a completely automated data and document exchange between lender and investor clients. The companies plan to collaborate on these new integrations and efficient workflow improvements throughout 2020 to create the most comprehensive, end-to-end offering for the mortgage industry.

ARMCO is presenting a live webinar: “Understand Your Loan Quality, Control It and Convey It – How Leading Consumer Lenders Are Leveraging Quality Control Automation to Achieve Optimal Loan Quality.” In response to the recent global pandemic, conference cancellations and mass transition to a remote work environment, ARMCO has scheduled a live webinar targeting Consumer Bankers encapsulating all major Quality Control topics we planned on covering at the CBA Live conference which was recently postponed. Why QC is critical in today’s volatile market conditions, the importance of loan quality across multiple product lines, and how to achieve loan quality through QC automation.

We are in challenging times. The spread of Coronavirus mixed with the current low rate environment has caused a groundswell of uncertainty in the mortgage industry. Some lenders are better prepared for this than others. At QLMS, their team members are all working from home – practicing social distancing to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. What is truly amazing about that is it has gone on without any disruptions or changes in service for its partners and their clients. QLMS is not turning away partners or their clients due to capacity issues. If anything, it understands that rates may dip again and QLMS is extremely prepared to handle any surge in volume. Click HERE to become stronger together with QLMS and join a lender who is ready to jump over any hurdle that comes its way.

Digital transformation can sound overwhelming, but in practice, it doesn’t have to be. Join Bob Meara (Celent), Eric Somers (BMO Harris Bank), and Alden Seabolt (Blend) for the CBA webinar “Leveraging digital transformation to nail customer acquisition.” They’ll demystify what it means to transform your organization with strategies that support seamless customer onboarding experiences. Sign up here.

Corporate shifts

As always, questions regarding polices and procedures should be directed to the companies involved. That said…

There are certainly shifts in warehouse lending. For example, recently Texas Capital Bank shut off refinances.

And in a separate incident, “UWM has decided to discontinue our relationship with Independent Financial AKA Goldome. We are working on winding down our relationship with them over the next 45-90 days. We will fund all loans in the pipeline with them until May 31st, 2020 to not harm our clients. UWM will continue to support all other warehouse providers and our Correspondent partners. If you are in need of a different warehouse provider please feel free to reach out to me or my team and we will assist you in finding one. Simmons Bank, First Funding, Coastal States Bank and others are all great partners that we feel good working with for the long term.”

Andrew Liput with Secure Insight sent, “Today I read a title binder with new language included: ‘The Company reserves the right to raise exceptions and requirements or determine that it will not issue a title policy based upon the details of the transaction, a review of the closing documents, and changes in recording and title searching capabilities resulting from the COVID-19 virus.’

“This language raises serious questions whether a lender will be able to obtain a timely title insurance policy to complete a loan file for sale into the secondary market. Also without a marked-up binder or some other proof, a lender will not be certain what is insured and what is omitted from coverage. The language is very broad and is not simply focused on recording delays. It implies that any defect at closing in documents, in the transaction, in the suspicion and sole determination of the title company, could result in NO POLICY ISSUED. Lenders need to educate themselves regarding this change and the title industry needs to be clearer about when they might determine not to issue a policy.”

On the topic of remote notarization, David Burner, Strategic Planning and Partnership Manager with Notarize, sent, “MISMO’s RON workgroup developed industry standards for compliant remote online notarization (RON). This group of industry stakeholders that included lenders, Fannie/Freddie, title agents & underwriters, notaries, vendors like Notarize and anyone else with a stake in making sure eClosings are done properly & safely.

“Within those standards are requirements around ‘credential analysis’ to prevent fraudulent IDs from being used. Software is used to identify if an ID is real or fake before the signer can join the audio/video session with the notary. Prior to that process is knowledge-based authentication (KBA) challenge questions that are based on the signer’s unique experiences. Borrowers are required to answer these questions correctly within 2 minutes, such as past addresses or the make/model of a car you financed a decade ago! Finally, all RON transactions require a full, uninterrupted audio/video record of the signing process.

“Potential fraudsters would have to commit their crime while being recorded. It’d be like robbing a bank vault while staring at the camera the entire time. MISMO’s RON workgroup went out of their way to solicit feedback for over a year while these standards were being developed, and I would encourage everyone to read them here.” Thank you, David.

No mo’ foreclosures (in the near term)

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the coronavirus national emergency. The foreclosure and eviction suspension applies to homeowners with an Enterprise-backed single-family mortgage. Earlier this month, FHFA announced that the Enterprises would provide payment forbearance to borrowers impacted by the coronavirus. Forbearance allows for a mortgage payment to be suspended for up to 12 months due to hardship caused by the coronavirus.

Don’t forget that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is suspending all evictions and foreclosures on HUD-backed properties until the end of April. Impact on big Ginnie servicers?

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) also announced it was directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend all foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days for homeowners with mortgages backed by the GSEs. Additionally, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released servicing announcements outlining notable updates to the GSEs’ forbearance plan. The GSEs are working with mortgage servicers to ensure that borrowers are granted assistance during this time, and updated forbearance guidelines will outline specific measures that will be taken to ensure that borrowers receive adequate support during this time. The program also allows servicers to evaluate a borrowers’ situation based on updated criteria as it relates to determining hardships related to COVID-19.

Capital markets

Optimal Blue recently co-authored an article with Andrew Davidson & Co., Inc. (AD&Co), a leading provider of risk analytics and consulting for residential lending and MBS, titled Market Volatility and the Anatomy of Mortgage Rates. This timely article examines mortgage market pricing dynamics and how they have been impacted by the recent extreme market volatility spurred by the global impact of COVID-19. These are unprecedented times and the mortgage industry is no exception: record low rates, record high volume, overflowing pipelines, and the challenges of processing and closing a loan under tight restrictions on social interactions. Things are moving extremely fast! Explore how quickly changing behaviors, market volatility, and lender capacities are all driving the dynamics of primary market mortgage rates and their determining factors.

And join Chris Sorenson, SVP/Director of National Retail Production at PRMG, via Facebook Live today at 10AM PT as he is joined by Barry Habib to discuss the current market. Go to Facebook at 10AM today, locate Chris Sorensen and “gain knowledge borrowers absolutely need right now.”

A third of my emails yesterday were price changes for the worse from nearly every lender and investor. Current coupon MBS prices were down two points when they’re usually up or down .125 or .250. Not 2.00! Why? Despite the Federal Reserve’s moves on Sunday, the market remains illiquid. Typical MBS investors aren’t buying, and there is no demand. The basic tenets of supply and demand say that with lots of supply and limited demand, prices have to sink to find buyer interest. No one knows quite what is going on, or when it will end, certainly enforcing why lenders are pricing conservatively as nobody wants to lose money for their company with this volatility.

Speaking of volatility, the 10-year yield shot up another 27 bps yesterday to close the day at 1.27 percent as U.S. Treasury securities, and MBS, dropped pricewise for the second consecutive day. There was selling pressure even though equities had another bad day that featured a midday volatility halt. The selling was driven by a belief that the fiscal standing of the U.S. will look much worse once all planned spending measures are enacted. Administration officials provided some details about the plans, which call for $50 billion in funds for the airline industry, $300 billion for small businesses, $150 billion relief for other distressed sectors, and two rounds of direct payments that will total $500 billion. Both the treasury and MBS markets challenged the Fed efforts to restore liquidity to these sectors (including another $6.2 billion in MBS purchases yesterday) making it only a matter a time before the Fed considers increasing the current asset purchase programs.

Economic news, pre-coronavirus, means little compared to more recent news. And one hopes that Central Banks around the world consider this. We’ve already seen central bank decisions from the Bank of Japan, the Swiss National Bank, and Norges Bank. The U.S. calendar is also underway with the Q4 current account balance ($109.8 billion, as expected), weekly jobless claims (281k, up 70k!), and the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey for March (down over 49 to -12.4). Later this morning brings February Leading Indicators, a $12 billion auction of reopened 10-year TIPS, and the Desk of the NY Fed $5 billion of Uniform Mortgage Backed Securities (UMBS). We begin today with Agency MBS prices worse .5 and the 10-year yielding 1.14 percent after weekly jobless claims and Philly Fed came out.

It is hard to believe that George Carlin has been gone 12 years, dying of “heart failure” in 2008. Thank you to David S. who sent along this clip of George’s thoughts on germs, our immune system, and health. (Warning: Rated R for language, and if you don’t like a few minutes of opinionated ranting, don’t watch it.)

Visit for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “Drinking from a Firehose is Not a Long Term Business Model” If you have the inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.


(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is designed for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to Copyright 2020 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)


Mar. 18: AE jobs, exec searching; broker, appraisal, eClosing products; coronavirus-driven operations changes everywhere

Thank you to Susan M. for, “Your Grandparents were called to war. You’re being called to sit on a couch. You can do this!” I was speaking with an acquaintance yesterday, and I asked him if he was doing “self-quarantine.” He replied, “Of course! ‘Shelter in place,’ ‘self-quarantine,’ why wouldn’t I? Like yesterday, after I went for a run, to the bank & dry cleaner’s, and then Panda Express, and then my wife and I self-quarantined all afternoon.” “Corona-ing” has become a verb as Apple stores and AMC theaters have temporarily shut down. Marriott has placed thousands on unpaid leave as have other travel-related businesses. Gyms, oil-related businesses, restaurants, the list goes on of businesses going through hard times. There’s talk of the Fed buying corporate debt, as it is Treasuries and MBS. But American’s generosity is also coming out, and thanks to CM who passed along this Feeding America site. Lenders and vendors are taking extraordinary steps; a random sample is below.


A seasoned mortgage banking executive with a proven track record is seeking to join a Mortgage Bank that’s looking to grow or start its mortgage banking platform, specifically in the Southeast. The candidate has over 20 years of experience in successful mortgage startups and has teams assembled in retail, wholesale, non-delegated correspondent, & consumer direct that are ready to make a move for the right opportunity. The candidate has vast experience in all aspects of mortgage banking; risk management; capital markets, sales management, servicing, multi-channel platforms & has orchestrated FNMA, FHLMC, & GNMA approvals, and is open to working with a bank or a well-capitalized independent mortgage banker. Please contact Anjelica Nixt to pass along a note of interest.


Are you being rewarded for your hard work and dedication? An Irvine, CA based national mortgage company offering a full spectrum of non-conventional loan products including FHA & VA and specializing in Non-QM, is aggressively hiring throughout the US as it celebrates 25 successful years in the industry. If you are a seasoned account executive looking to grow, there is a great opportunity for you! The company offers wide-open territories throughout the U.S., aggressive comp plans, highly competitive products and pricing, product training and support. A streamlined ops team, meeting 24-hr turn times on approvals, help get your loans closed on time. The company is looking to hire both inside and outside account executives for wholesale and correspondent channels. If you are ready to join a leader in Non-QM who knows how to close loans and get you paid, while providing you with leads and unlimited possibility for growth, then send your resume or contact Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt for forwarding.


Looking to wrap up another record quarter, non-QM lender Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions added to its impressive roster of Account Executives in March. They proudly welcomed the following: Corrina Ardizzone in Phoenix, Randall Arroyo in Baton Rouge/New Orleans, Kimberly Barron in San Antonio, George McGrath covering North and South Carolina, and Joshua Tolle in Los Angeles. These AEs have gone through the first round of training and have been teaching brokers and correspondents how easy it is to work with Angel Oak. Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions is continuing to add Account Executives in many additional markets including Virginia Beach, Denver, and Las Vegas. To learn more, view the Careers Page or email National Business Development Manager, Andy Looker.

Lender services and products

Ever wish you could find the right appraiser for the right job, right at your fingertips? Well, now you can! Connexions just launched a comprehensive vendor directory that gives lenders access to thousands of appraisers and lets them search by location, license number, certification and more. In addition, you can view performance stats like Turn Around Time (TAT) and Collateral Underwriter® (CU®) scores to determine the best appraisers to suit your needs. Using the Connexions Directory you can even invite appraisers to join your panel. Connexions is the software solution that helps lenders better navigate appraisal and risk management processes. Its cloud-based technology offers best-in-class automation, reporting, data analytics and integration to real estate valuations, and works with over 150 national AMCs and 13,000 independent appraisers. Request a demo or click here for more information!

Appraisal Management Companies are necessary for a mortgage company’s scalability, profitability, and compliance. But it can be frustrating to work with AMCs when your staff and team feel like your orders go into a black hole and you don’t know when to expect delivery. Deadlines pass and you can’t get anyone on the phone who can quickly resolve it! Meet Triserv, a 50-state AMC that obliterates that negative experience with client-specific, dedicated teams on both coasts that get to know their lender partners. Triserv’s high-touch, personalized order follow-up means that every appraisal’s milestones are managed to strict timelines and your staff always knows when each order is accepted, scheduled, inspected and delivered. Join Triserv’s customers like the lender who said, “They kill me with service. They make me feel like I’m their only customer. They find their success in making me successful!” Contact Triserv at


Are you looking for digital fulfillment solutions to help with high application volumes? Would you like to better understand the different loan closing options that now available? Stewart Title can provide insight into eClosing, Remote Online Notarization (RON) and hybrid options. In addition, consumer bankers and lenders can visit Stewart’s Home Equity Solutions to see how we make home equity origination easier. To learn more about these digital solutions, contact Rich Kuegler, National Director of Lender Sales, to set up a virtual meeting.

In light of the current market conditions, Stearns Lending is taking measures to ensure a smooth broker experience relative to lock durations. This action will support the client focus of capitalizing on market opportunity and most importantly providing customers with time. Stearns has issued a 60-day lock for a 30-day price. Effective with new locks on March 16th, all transactions will receive a 30-day price for a 60-day lock duration.  Stearns is committed to being an important source of capital and fulfillment infrastructure for the wholesale community during this time while continuing to meet & exceed service expectations. Click HERE to partner with a strong lender.

LoanScorecard has more than doubled its non-QM client base and its customer list reads like the “who’s who of non-QM lenders.” The advanced technology is powering the eligibility portals used by leading wholesalers and providing operational efficiencies for their correspondent channel by delivering automated underwriting findings reports for non-QM and non-agency loans with the same ease and instant decisioning found in the agency AUS platforms. So whether you’re already in the space or looking to enter the non-QM market, learn how LoanScorecard can enhance broker and lender connectivity and confidence, and increase underwriting accuracy and efficiency. Contact LoanScorecard’s Managing Director Raj Parekh for more information.

Coronavirus operations changes

Tomorrow we will focus on appraisal policy changes. Today, operations!

Chase sent its correspondent clients an Operational Update.

Andrew Liput, President & CEO of Secure Insight, sent a note on potential recording delays and their impact on loan closings.

loanDepot Wholesale/Correspondent issued an Announcement regarding Final 1003 signature requirements, VA – LGY HUB, and Tennessee disaster information.

Sun West Mortgage sent out, “If you are refinancing a Sun West serviced loan, DO NOT PULL THE CREDIT REPORT! Save money. Stop notifications to our competition. Prevent solicitations of our customer from other lenders. Sun West will use the prior credit score to price the loan.”

Carrington Wholesale sent out a note about adapting to the changing circumstances involving the COVID-19 Coronavirus situation. “Carrington offices are open, and even with the increased loan volume, we want you to know that you can count on us. We are closely monitoring the evolving situation and have created a COVID-19 informational page to keep you updated.”

In response to disruption in industry services due to COVID 19, Flagstar Bank is providing automatic no cost lock extensions for 30 days from the existing expiration date on the following loans: existing broker/table funded and non-delegated correspondent locks, current locks with expiration date of 3/16/2020 or later, loan already submitted to underwriting but not yet closed. Customers do not need to take any action just continue to review pipeline to confirm updates.

In anticipation of delays of essential industry services due to coronavirus, Sun West will auto-extend all commitments for 15 days, without cost, from the current expiration date. These free extensions will be completed in the system by Monday, March 16, 2020. You may check the updated expiration date after this date by going into ‘Extend / Cancel Lock’ screen within

AmeriHome is providing an update on coronavirus-related actions taken as a company. Although AmeriHome has not experienced any impacts at this time, it is taking certain actions out of an abundance of caution: Activated an Incident Management Team meeting daily to review the situation. Conducted business continuity testing at all locations to ensure that employees can work remotely if needed. Providing training to all employees on working from home and remote login. Engaging all critical vendors to re-confirm that sound Business Continuity Plans are in place. Suspended all business travel. Required that all Company meetings offer an on-line web conferencing option.

theLender is temporarily suspending fundings of all NON QM Loans effective immediately. “All NON QM loans in process will be put on a temporary hold, no registering of new loans and no locking or processing of current NON QM loans. We are still accepting submissions and funding FHA/VA/USDA/Conventional loans.” theLender goes on to tell clients that, given the huge influx of QM loans, it is shifting its resources. “With U.S. interest rates at historic lows, unprecedented Government stimulus, and the re-entry of the Fed into the agency and Government lending markets we recognize that there is now not enough capacity in the agency markets to serve a hurting America… we have decided to put the full force of our platform behind the American people. To support the US economy and be a beacon of hope during challenging times, theLender will be prioritizing QM loans for as long as America is in need.”

New York pushed off its servicing rule changes for 90 days. (The industry was originally given 90 days to implement the changes.) Everyone viewed this originally as a short time frame for substantial changes, so any NY servicers are relieved.

The MBA of Greater Philadelphia informed its members that the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities will not take exception to licensees and registrants working from alternate site locations, whether licensed or not, only while the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is under a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency.” Licensed mortgage bankers, correspondent mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers (“Companies”) may allow or require some or all of their personnel to work from home on a temporary basis until fears about the spread of the coronavirus subside, without concern of being deemed in violation of Department regulations.

Webinars & training

With the Fed rate being cut to 0%, the government buying mortgage back securities again, largest stock loss in history and the wild ride with rates and lender pricing, I will be doing a special podcast and live webinar with Josh Friend CEO of Insellerate on Thursday at 12pm PST to discuss the current market conditions, what to expect and how lender should be looking at this and preparing for the rest of the year. We will have a Q&A session to answer questions that our mortgage community has. (If you are unable to attend, please register as we will be sending it out for those who miss it.)

Maxwell is offering a three-day MAXOUT 2020 “Unconference”, which will take place March 23-25th. MAXOUT 2020 is 100% web-based and 100% FREE, and three lucky attendees will win a $500 Amazon Gift Card, $250 Amazon Gift Card, or $100 Amazon Gift Card.


Join Total Expert and Motto Mortgage for a live webinar on March 18 at 1 p.m. CST to learn how you can implement proven sales and marketing strategies that will deliver maximum profitability.

To assist with capacity challenges and limited staff, XINNIX can train new operations and sales support talent FAST! Its solutions are on-demand and require as few as 10 days to complete, with no travel requirements.

Solve the Mystery of FHA Manual Underwriting with a Carrington Wholesale webinar today.

MBA NJ is offering a webinar on Thursday, March 19, from 11:30AM-12PM ET. Register for Compliant Lead Generation, Protecting Your Company.

Join National Mortgage Professional Magazine and Spring EQ, Thursday, March 19 at 2:00 PM Eastern / 11:00 AM Pacific, for “How To Originate 2nd Mortgage-Home Equity Products” Case Studies with top producing home equity expert Lauri Preedge, the final webinar in a series of 3 unpacking all aspects of Home Equity Lending. Register for this webinar here.

Today MMLA members are invited to a FREE and timely webinar: Coronavirus – Employment and Regulatory Implications to Lenders. Provided by MMLA Corporate Partner, Offit Kurman.

LoanDepot Wholesale/Correspondent rolled out its new Broker mello® Portal. Webex Training opportunities will be available every Tuesday at 11am PT through May 26th.

On March 10, New York became the first state to require lenders to submit a coronavirus contingency plan to face the employment and regulatory challenges that may lie ahead. Lenders may need to update employment practices/policies and/or take steps to avoid incurring losses associated with pending loan applications. During this free webinar on Friday the 20th, attorney’s Daniella Casseres and Ari Karen of the Offit Kurman law firm will discuss the legal and practical issues facing lenders associated with the coronavirus, as well as addressing avoiding lock extensions fees, LO Comp on interest rate reductions, Americans With Disabilities Act, FMLA, WARN Act, remote work station regulatory requirements, sick leave policies and state laws, and closed offices and employee wages.

Capital markets

The 30-year 2.0% coupon began trading approximately 3 weeks ago and liquidity has been slow to gain traction. Fannie Mae opened a Major pool to help lenders build liquidity in the coupon and TBA markets have been made, but bid/offer spreads remain wide given the volatility.

U.S. Treasuries pulled back yesterday, including the 10-year yield closing the day +27 bps to 1.00 percent, a to a two-week high say risk sentiment improved. The Federal Reserve announced the reinstatement of a commercial paper facility, which will provide up to $1 trillion in 90-day unsecured credit. Additionally, the New York Fed announced a $500 billion repurchase operation. Finally, President Trump suggested using direct stimulus as part of a $850 billion fiscal package.

As far as economic releases went, The February Retail Sales report declined when it was expected to increase. Brace yourselves for the March report in a month, as soft spending activity before the coronavirus impact (and reaction) truly hit the U.S. was all that was captured in the February data. Industrial production for February met expectations but March output will look much worse given the economic shutdown measures employed to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Today’s economic calendar began with the usual mortgage applications from the MBA for the week ending March 13, which declined 8.4 percent from one week prior. After last week’s 55 percent increase in application activity, a decline in this report was expected considering the 10-year yield rose 25 bps during the reporting period and the average 30-year rate went back up to around/above 4 percent. Later this morning brings February Housing Starts and Building Permits (-1.5 percent, -5.5 percent, respectively). Later this morning, the Desk will conduct two FedTrade morning operations purchasing up to $6.2 billion followed by $1.1 billion in the second operation of the day. The previously scheduled Fed events have been canceled due to Sunday night’s announcements. We begin today with Agency MBS prices unchanged and the 10-year yielding 1.09 percent.

A ship carrying blue paint has collided with a ship carrying red paint. Both crews have been marooned.

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(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is designed for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to Copyright 2020 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)