May 9: LO jobs; sales, anti-fraud, affordable housing products; fintech cap raise; Agency news; remember QE?

Attributes like trust, humility, honesty, and transparency aren’t traits assigned to websites focused on originating loans. Human capital is valuable, although one can’t ignore the march of technology. (Boeing is going ahead with plans to eliminate some 900 human inspectors over this year and next, “replacing their jobs with technology improvements.” That’s out of a total of some 3,000 at its Seattle operations, eliminating “the second set of eyes on thousands of work packages” per the union.) Certainly humans are determining the direction of Freddie, Fannie, and the FHA, speaking of which, today at 2:30ET plenty of humans (including me) will be turned in to the FHA’s Brian Montgomery making important proposed changes to lender requirements.

Jobs

Sierra Pacific Mortgage continues its growth in the central region with new offices in both Milwaukee, WI and Madison, WI. “Our business model as a direct lender with a full menu on first time homebuyer options is a great match for eastern Wisconsin” said Regional Manager Mike Cass. The effort will be led by veterans of both our industry and our military with Dan “Sarge” Greene and Bill Meisel, with Anne Schrage, Neal Letteney, Bruce Lussier and Jeff Vanderburgh all now actively deployed for Sierra Pacific in eastern WI.

Caliber Home Loans, Inc.congratulates 15 of its top producers who made Scotsman Guide’s inaugural list of Top Women Originators this month! These women represent a range of production roles, including Loan Consultant, Branch Manager, Sales Manager, and Builder Sales Manager – as well as all regions of the country. Caliber is an industry leader in production volume, with recent rankings putting it at the #2 spot for non-bank purchase lenders (IMF) and the #5 spot among non-builder owned lenders for home builder production (Metrostudy) in 2018. Caliber can attribute much of its success in the rankings to this group of 15 women originators. Caliber is excited about the momentum its producers have built to-date this year and is looking to add to its roster of top producing originators nationwide. For information you can visit www.joincalibernow.comor reach out to Jeremy DeRosa.

Lender products & services

As you may have read on Tuesday, a digital mortgage POS company is up for sale. The team at Maxwell reached out to let me know that they are not the aforementioned company. In fact, in the midst of multiple POS platforms exiting the market over the last year, Maxwell continues to exceed its growth goals, with over 150 lenders using the platform across the country to facilitate more than $2B in volume each month, with the help of new, impactful integrations with Optimal Blue and Encompass® by Ellie Mae®. The product team at Maxwell has always believed that putting users at the center of the product is the only way to build a sustainable, growing software business. As lenders explore the digital mortgage space, it’s critical to make bets on software partners who have the right priorities, demonstrate a healthy growth trajectory, and boast a leadership team with a successful track record of bringing leading software products to market. To learn more about Maxwell, visit its website or request a personalized demo here.

How is your digital presence?  Industry veteran, Jerry Devlinhas launched a reputation management platform for loan officers. Recognizing the need to recognize lenders based upon performance, LENDAID is the first of its kind search engine for skilled loan officers. The proprietary engine combines production data with independent customer reviews to help consumers connect with a highly rated mortgage professional. LENDAID also offers best in class SEO allowing consumers to easily search and check out an MLO.  Easy social sharing of reviews to social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter help lenders and loan officers boost their online brand. If you would like to find out more on how you can affordably secure more business, look for Jerry at next week’s Maryland Mortgage Bankers Conference or email Jerry.

Recruit and retain a future-ready workforce. Learn how top lenders are preparing their workplaces, and teams, for a new era in lending. Download the white paper.

Affordable Lending is featured at the MBA’s Secondary Marketing Conference: Don’t miss the Overcoming Barriers to Affordable Lending Programs panel on Monday, May 20 at 2:30pm. The panel will be moderated by Down Payment Resource CEO Rob Chrane and includes a great line-up of affordable lending experts including Danny Gardner at Freddie Mac, Geoff Cooper at MGIC, David Battany at Guild Mortgage and Mounzer Aylouche with MassHousing. Experts will dig into the complexities of down payment assistance programs and steps lenders and others can take to make affordable housing solutions easier to execute. Contact Joe Whitaker to set up a meeting with Down Payment Resource during the MBA Secondary Marketing Conference.

Fundingshield, the market leading solution for wire fraud prevention, closing agent vetting and closing document certification is pleased to announce that its Wire Account Verification System (“WAVs”) is fully integrated into Ellie Mae’s Encompass LOS. Lenders can now access the WAVs system to conduct validations of settlement party bank accounts directly through Encompass at the loan level with a single click! FundingShield has the industry’s largest database of over 50,000 closing party accounts with current valid data allowing lenders to lower their cost, shorten SLAs and add to the bottom line by using FundingShield’s cloud-based, plug ‘n play, AI and machine learning cognitive solutions. FundingShield is the only product offering of its kind in the industry, allowing lenders to access services at the loan level with current and valid data with warranties that can cover good settlement up to $5mm per loan. Contact Sales@Fundingshield.com or 800.295 0135, ext. 2 to discuss their solutions or to set up a demo.

If every loan submitted had it “i’s” dotted, “t’s” crossed, and came in with proper financial documents, your only problem would be finding more loans. This is exactly what PerfectLO’s intuitive multi-language cloud-based software ensures. They designed an unintimidating loan interview that asks all the 2nd and 3rd level questions that don’t exist on the 1003. PerfectLO’s logical and well-designed user interface minimizes the LO’s responsibilities, allowing them more time for originating. Their rules-based engine creates a spot-on doc checklist and provides a secure 2way upload tool. PerfectLO has a banker solution as well, offering banks and credit unions the ability to customize their applications for Commercial Loans, HELOCS, Auto Loans, Personal Loans, etc. PerfectLO has an API & webhooks that can talk to your CRM and other 3rd party vendors. Sign up for a live demo & visit its website for more details (800-277-1687, or sales@PerfectLO.com).

Capital raise

Figure Technologies, Inc. (Figure™), a leading fintech company in both the home equity and blockchain space, has closed an up to $1 billion uncommitted asset-based financing facility on the Provenance.io blockchain with Jefferies and WSFS Institutional Services. As part of the facility, Jefferies may make periodic advances to Figure under a variable funding note, which is secured by Figure home equity lines. The facility is custodied on Provenance.io, which was developed by Figure, a leading fintech company founded by former SoFi CEO Mike Cagney. Figure leverages Provenance.io to originate, finance, and sell its HELOC loans to banks, asset managers, and credit funds – all entirely on blockchain. Last month, Figure originated over $59MM in HELOCs on chain, providing members with 5-minute approval and 5-day funding, all online.

Lots going on wit’ dem Agencies

New FHFA (overseer of Freddie and Fannie) Director Mark Calabria gave an interview to Bloomberg in which he noted that an administrative recapitalization and release of the government-sponsored enterprises (F&F), without Congressional action, is a real possibility, but he also suggested that recap and release could take longer than thought – like after the 2020 election. So we can all jawbone about it for more years. Look for the profit sweep to continue (at least for now), the GSEs to possibly hold more capital than they have in the past, and for more credit risk transfers. KBW points out that it has become evident that the administration would give Congress more time.

In a blow to shareholders, Calabria said he has no immediate plans to end the net sweep. But future capital ratios at the GSEs would need to “look like any other large financial institution,” which suggests that the GSEs will need to hold more capital than they have in the past.

What about that whole government guarantee thing? KBW points out that, “how the market would function without an explicit federal guarantee (which only Congress can grant) and whether the absence of such a guarantee could undermine confidence in the companies and the mortgage market, Director Calabria said he believes the companies and the housing market could still function and, furthermore, that with ‘more off-laying of the credit risk, more capital, we could get to a point where the creditors should feel pretty comfortable that there’s a lot of people in line ahead of them.’ The private MI companies rejoiced with the thought of deeper mortgage insurance coverage.

Freddie Mac reissued Guide Bulletin 2019-9 to provide Sellers time to implement the new requirement for “Seller disclosure on contaminated sites, hazardous substances or other adverse conditions”, effective date for this requirement is extended from May 1, 2019 to August 1, 2019. There were no changes to the other topics in this announcement. Other topics include Property eligibility and appraisal requirements, Modification construction conversion documentation, Income starting after the note date, Loan Product Advisor® resubmissions,

Mandatory cash contract extensions and new relock capability for Best Efforts Contracts.

The Fannie Mae Selling Guide 2019-04 covers lender updates regarding preparations for the implementation of the Single Security initiative by including references to: To Be Announced (TBA)-eligible Uniform Mortgage-Backed Securities (UMBS), simplifies policies by removing references to designated document and full-service certification custodians, clarifies requirements for electronic transactions, and more.

Freddie Mac’s CHOICEHomeSM financing, available to eligible lenders, brings conventional mortgage financing to factory-built homes to increase the availability of quality, affordable homes that borrowers want. Eligible lenders have access to flexible financing options and flexibilities to help borrowers finance them. Freddie’s GreenCHOICE MortgagesSM is currently broadly available to all lenders nationwide. GreenCHOICE Mortgages enable Freddie Mac to better assess mortgage loan performance between homes with energy-efficient enhancements and includes broader financial options to help families with very low-, low- and moderate-incomes reduce home utility costs through energy-saving home repairs and improvements. Both finance options are available with Freddie Mac’s Home Possible® low down payment mortgage.

Capital markets

Remember Quantitative Easing? Where the NY Fed would come in every day and buy Treasury securities and agency MBS, adding them to its balance sheet? Minutes from the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting showed that Fed officials are closer to announcing an end to the reduction of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet later this year. This would complete the normalization of the size of the balance sheet that has been underway for the last few years. The expectation is that the Fed will continue to let maturing Treasuries and MBS roll off through the end of 2019. Once the balance sheet reaches the lower limit of excess reserves the banking system deems desirable, however, the balance sheet will begin to grow organically. At that time, the Fed will likely begin buying Treasuries once again dividing its purchase between T-bills and Treasury notes. Prior to the crisis, T-bills were roughly one third of the Fed’s holdings before being reduced to zero during “Operation Twist”. Should the Fed enter the T-bill market once again it is likely to result in a steepening of the yield curve due to the increased demand on the short end of the curve. Regardless of the mechanisms used, the Fed maintaining a historically large balance sheet should result in lower yields than would normally be the case.

In terms of interest rates yesterday, U.S. Treasuries reversed course from the early week rally, including the 10-year edging higher to 2.48%, after no firm news on the trade front despite several tweets and reports from Washington eager to show that trade talks haven’t been derailed completely. China’s Ministry of Commerce responded to President Trump’s weekend threat to increase tariffs, warning that countermeasures will be employed if tariffs are increased tomorrow. Other international news of note included The Reserve Bank of New Zealand cutting its official cash rate and signaling another cut may be imminent, the spread between Italy’s 10-year yield and Germany’s 10-year yield increasing to a three-month high after the European Commission issued a growth forecast that could force Italy to plug a budget gap, and Germany’s Industrial Production easily beating expectations.

Today’s busy calendar kicked off with Producer Prices (+.2%, core +2.2%), international trade (widened to $50 billion), and weekly jobless claims (228k). Also, Fed Chair Powell is currently delivering opening remarks before the Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference. March wholesale inventories and sales are due out later this morning. Additionally, Atlanta Fed President Bostic and Chicago Fed President Evans both speak around midday. We begin today with Agency MBS prices better by .250 and the 10-year yielding 2.43%.

Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business.

Several members did not approve of her extracurricular activities but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon.

She emphatically told George (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.

George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away.

He didn’t explain, defend, or deny.

He said nothing.

Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house and walked home… and left it there all night.

Visit www.robchrisman.com 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, “Are You Ready for CECL?” If you have both the time and 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.

Rob

(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. Currently there are hundreds of mortgage professionals looking for operations, secondary and management roles. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to www.robchrisman.com. Copyright 2019 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)