While virtual learning students bemoan the elimination of snow days, the U.S. Census Bureau recently came out with dozens of holiday-related facts and figures from its collection of statistics. For example, the U.S. imported $484.9 million of Christmas tree lights in 2019, with Cambodia leading the way at 47.3% of those total U.S. imports. That was actually less than the $546.8 million imported of tapered candles in 2019. Most of these came from Vietnam, representing more than 46.8% of America’s imported tapered candles. I don’t buy many new things that have instruction manuals. But every time I do, why do I feel a sense of relief when I find out that most of the pages of the instruction manual are due to them being in several other languages? Lumber doesn’t need an instruction manual, but one thing is for sure: wood prices are on fire. (Excuse the pun, West Coast residents.) After drifting lower from mid-September to mid-November, lumber prices are on the rise again. Prices peaked at an all-time high of roughly $950 per thousand board feet in September before gradually moving down to around $550 per thousand board feet last month. Lumber prices, however, are now above $650 per thousand board, up nearly 20% over the past four weeks.
Lender Services and Products
Have you heard? Connector by Velma® added an automated NOI letter to its ECOA-Adverse Action compliance workflow solution for Ellie Mae’s Encompass™ Digital Lending Platform. The new ECOA workflow tracks loans nearing the 30-day notification window and automates the LO file update. Multiple manual steps for the loan officer and the operations team are eliminated and no loans are missed. Best of all, no time is spent by anyone logging into Encompass! Exciting stuff; get more information here.
“Looking for an easier way to pay out your appraisers? Reggora helps mortgage lenders by streamlining appraisal workflows, from scheduling to review, and enabling you to pay appraisers directly via ACH at no additional cost. Our robust payment processing workflow also handles borrower payment collection, pricing change notifications, and appraiser 1099s. We’d love to show you the platform in action and talk about the many other ways Reggora can save you time. Learn more here.”
As we approach 2021, there’s a lot to reflect on when looking back on this unprecedented year. Despite COVID, the mortgage industry has persevered and provided a beacon of hope to homeowners across the United States. Stearns Wholesale Lending has many reasons to be grateful and many achievements to celebrate. Stearns experienced exponential growth in operations and sales in the wave of a tumultuous market and economy. Its tech offerings saw significant improvements and innovative advancements, specifically within the Snap platform, which continues to evolve and provide a better experience for brokers. These additions include a brand-new look and feel, ease of use to register a loan, access to funded pipeline, pinning of conditions, added credit vendors and even more to come in the new year. Everyone at Stearns Wholesale would like to thank all of the mortgage professionals for a great year and would like to wish you and your families a very happy holiday! If you want to learn more or partner with Stearns, click here to be contacted.
Investor Agency Changes
“Rob, if and when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are recapitalized and released from conservatorship, does that mean they’ll stop being known as GSEs (Government Sponsored Enterprises)?” Yes, I suppose so, and it appears that the noise about this happening prior to inauguration day is just that, noise. This Wall Street Journal interview with Secretary of Treasury Mnuchin confirms that any possibility of release from conservatorship at this juncture is not a viable option. Also gone, apparently, is the possibility of a consent order in the remaining five weeks of the Trump Administration.
Meanwhile, lenders and investors continue to adapt to what the Agencies/GSEs do.
Monday the PennyMac Correspondent Group posted a new announcement: 20-79: Updates to Conventional LLPAs.
AmeriHome posted information on the 2021 loan limit changes. Freddie Mac loans may be eligible solely due to exceeding the 2020 loan limit only; LPA implementation date was 12/13. Fannie Mae may be delivered immediately with DU® Approve/Eligible findings or Approve/Ineligible findings that are ineligible solely due to exceeding the 2020 loan limit only, DU implementation date was 12/12.
UWM is accepting the new 2021 conventional loan limits. Watch the December Video to hear UWM’s president and CEO, Mat Ishbia, provide perspectives on the new Conforming Loan Limits, possible changes in the mortgage industry with the Biden administration, and the impact on the mortgage industry with top executives leaving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
LHFS is accepting the new 2021 loan limits, however, loans will not be allowed to close/fund without an AUS Approval. Click here to view the 2021 loan limits.
FAMC announced updated temporary guidance for Conventional Conforming Products regarding Appraisal, Condo Project Eligibility Review Not Required, Condo Project Budget, and VVOE – Wage Earner outlined for these topics in the COVID-19 Interim Guidance document has been extended to all loans with application dates on or before January 31.
Citi Correspondent Lending Bulletin 2020-23 discusses the 2021 loan limit changes.
loanDepot Wholesale announced both Conventional and VA 2021 loan limits are now available for pricing in the mello® Broker Portal for unlocked/floating loans. For loans locked prior to 12/11/2020; update the loan amount by submitting a change request in the mello® Broker Portal noting 2021 loan limits as reason for change. loanDepot Wholesale will process request and re-disclose loan as needed. Effective on December 13, 2020, the 2021 loan limits were applied to LPA. Visit its website or log into mello® for more information.
Arch MI will support the new FHFA loan limits. Read Customer Announcement, CA 2020-12 for more information.
PCF is allowing conventional loans with the increased standard and high balance loan limits to be submitted and locked immediately. Access FHFA’s website to determine maximum loan limits available by county. Loan must not fund before January 4, in order to qualify for increased standard and high balance loan limit.
Mountain West Financial Wholesale Bulletin 20W-136 Fannie Freddie New Guidance Self Employment COVID-19 December 2020
Plaza Home Mortgage is accepting the new loan limits for new conventional conforming and high balance commitments effective immediately Loans locked under the new limits may be purchased prior to January 1, 2021.
Despite my personal irritancy towards the subject, markets still think a stimulus package is imminent. The MBS basis ended mixed yesterday with supply coupons modestly wider while 2.5% and 3% closed tighter and treasuries steepened amid optimism around stimulus and the vaccine(s). Outside of Congressional chatter, industrial production increased 0.4% month-over-month in November, beating expectations while the capacity utilization rate jumped to 73.3% largely due to growth seen in the production of motor vehicles and parts. As mentioned above, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said he’s all but ruled out letting Fannie and Freddie exit U.S. control before he steps down, which prevents a major policy change in the last days of the Trump administration that could have disrupted the mortgage market.
Despite no change in rate stance expected, today’s bond market highlight will certainly be the latest Fed events, with the Statement and updated SEPs followed by Fed Chair Powell’s press conference. Ahead of the Fed, we do have a busy economic calendar. Mortgage applications increased 1.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending December 11. We’ve also received November Retail Sales (-1.1 percent, worse than expected) and Retail sales ex-auto (-.9 percent). Later this morning brings December preliminary Manufacturing PMI, preliminary Services PMI, October Business Inventories, and the November NAHB Housing Market Index. Today’s Desk support is the largest of the week and includes over $5 billion in UMBS30s. Purchases begin with $2.7 billion UMBS30 1.5% and 2% and will be followed by $1.6 billion GNII 2% and 2.5% and $2.6 billion UMBS30 2% and 2.5%. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices worse/down .125 and the 10-year yielding .94 after closing yesterday at 0.92.
Employment, and an Industry Notable Passes Away
“If you enjoy a culture that is inclusive, fast-paced, and change-inspiring, consider this an open invitation to live your best life. Loansteady, a small-by-design mortgage lender based outside of Washington, DC is looking for a Director of Capital Markets to manage and execute secondary market activities, and define, implement, and manage a long-term capital markets strategy. Our ideal candidate is a talented up-and-coming leader with 2-5 years of experience as a secondary market manager. Must have in-depth experience working with FNMA, FHLMC, and Ginnie Mae, as well as established working relationships with networks of investors, correspondent banks, and whole loan investors. If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out to Angie Abbe directly or apply here.”
Flagstar Bank continues to grow at a record pace and is looking to add to its mortgage ops team in the following positions: Processors, Team Leads, Senior Processors, Closers, Underwriters, Delegated Auditors and Managers. Flagstar Bank is committed to the health and well-being of its employees, and offers 100% remote opportunities on all positions, both now and into the future. In addition, right now, Flagstar is offering very competitive signing bonuses. Click here to learn more about all of the exciting opportunities that await you at a company that truly cares about its employees’ well-being.
Greater flexibility to work (and play) harder. When is the best career move also the best thing for your work/life balance? When you become or join an independent mortgage broker! Going independent lets you take control of your pipeline and your schedule, and get the technology to work anytime, from anywhere, so you can move loans along even when you’re away from the office. Whether you’re joining or becoming an independent broker, your opportunities will multiply while you enjoy more freedom to determine your schedule beyond the traditional 9-5 that online retail lenders and banks offer. See how you can work smarter while being your own boss at BeAMortgageBroker.com/Wholesale-Mortgage-Guide.
Citibank, N.A. is excited to announce that Edgar Swope has joined the Correspondent Lending division as the Manager of Strategic Partnerships within the Correspondent Business Support and Strategy team. Edgar joined the team in August and has been charged with supporting many key strategic initiatives through forming and cultivating Third Party relationships and providing leadership to cross-functional efforts within Citi. Please contact Edgar if you want to learn more about Citi’s current initiatives. Our people have been the drivers of our growth and we are looking to continue to grow and add several key positions to our dynamic team. The 2021 roadmap includes new products and programs supported by technology designed to make loan delivery simple and efficient while providing a best-in-class experience. We are hiring the following positions to support our growth: Underwriter 3, Sr. Underwriter 4 , Client Excellence Team Manager, and 2 Senior Loan Specialists (requisitions 20230322 and 20215188).
How many companies, of any kind, make it to their 20th anniversary? If you guessed fewer than 25%, you’d be right. Now narrow the scope even more: how many pure TPO lenders have survived and thrived over the last 20 years? The number gets a lot smaller. Plaza Home Mortgage® is at the top that list. Commenting on turning 20 in 2020, Kevin Parra, Co-Founder and CEO, said: “In many respects, the Plaza of today is very different than the one that James Cutri and I started 20 years ago, and that Mike Fontaine has helped us grow for the last 16 years. But what hasn’t changed is our focus on clients and our belief that there will always be room in the TPO market for a lender that competes with superior service and broad array of products. This anniversary is a testament to those beliefs, our amazing associates and loyal clients.”
Continued M&A activity exists, including this inquiry. A new well-capitalized mortgage organization is looking to acquire a “shell” corporate entity that currently has active seller/servicer approvals with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. All three are not required, so please reach out with other options. If you are interested, please email Anjelica Nixt with the “Shell entity for sale” in the subject. All inquiries remain confidential.
Evergreen Home Loans™ is honored to be consistently recognized as a best workplace on local and national lists. In 2020, Evergreen appeared on 5 best workplace lists, often appearing in the top 10 of companies. Recent national recognitions include #1 Best Workplace for Women™ and #13 Best Workplaces in Financial Services and Insurance™ from Fortune and Great Place to Work®. They’re especially proud that 98% of surveyed associates say Evergreen is a great place to work. The secret? Commitment to maintaining a culture of Trust, Integrity, Family, Fun, and a lot of WOW. Interested in working with a great company? Check out the Careers page or contact Chuck Iverson. (Great Place to Work®, Best Workplaces for Women™, and Best Workplaces in Financial Services and Insurance™ are trademarks of Great Place to Work® Institute Inc.)
“Too busy to grow your business the absolute best way possible right now? Some might say you are making excuses. I have built mortgage companies as a CEO from startup to billions in monthly volume in record time/profitability, beating STRATMOR/MBA industry benchmarks. ME: Award winning ultra-high growth retired CEO looking to coach 1-2 retail/wholesale lenders. My talents: Eliminating growing pains, frictionless scale, maximizing profit, business development, building out C-Level, optimizing productivity and accountability. My companies were small and scrappy until we became industry names you will know and recognize. YOU: Smart, humble, disciplined leaders interested in growing like crazy in every market, maximizing your ROI, trimming fat, maintaining record high employee morale, and preparing for the eventual increasing rate environment. Only rock stars who really want to grow with a beginner’s mind need apply. The time to fix your business is all the time. If interested please email Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt to forward your note of interest.”
GO Mortgage would like to acknowledge all the hard work and dedication the employees have put forth during this trying year. Employees are critical to the success of the organization and GO Mortgage would like to thank every employee for an outstanding job through such a challenging time. GO Mortgage looks forward to continued momentum and providing the best rates, products, and service to its clients. GO Mortgage would also like to wish everyone a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season. Feel free to reach out at GO Mortgage or [email protected]
“Shamrock Home Loans is America’s oldest ‘start up’ in the mortgage industry. With a 31-year track record of originating loans for consumers across the North East, Shamrock has reinvented itself with investments in 3 key areas to enhance the consumer and loan officer experiences. First, in technology to make the online application process seamless, second, in people to ensure underwriting and support, yield 48 hour underwrites and on-time closings, and third in next generation media to help Loan Officers, Branch & Area Managers take advantage of ad agency quality video and design production to make their presence known. Agency direct, no overlays, accommodating sales culture and an aggressive ad agency quality marketing approach to building relationships with Realtors and Borrowers. Come join a company where your contribution and leadership matters and is developed. Dean Harrington, founder of Shamrock Home Loans, talks about building your goals with us in the widely watched Morning Huddle. Email us: [email protected]”
Don Frommeyer died Monday night. He was hospitalized last week for COVID 19, and eventually put on a respirator but could not overcome this dreaded disease. Vince Valvo let me know that his wife Barbara was also infected, but not as badly as he was and she was quarantined at home while he was alone in the hospital: An inseparable couple, kept apart at the end. Don served for the last five years as Chairman of the Originator Connect Network.