Enhancing Mortgage Operations: Updates on Products and Correspondent News

While strolling through Walmart, I couldn’t help but notice a woman with what I dubbed “March Madness teeth” – she was down to the final four! But amidst the basketball buzz, there’s a quiet murmuring about 30-year mortgage interest rates, hoping they’ll dip into the 4% range. Many would be content even if they settled in the 5% territory. But let’s not dwell on the whims of mortgage rates; instead, let’s focus on borrowers – potential and existing ones alike.

New data paints an intriguing picture: Americans are shelling out nearly as much on interest payments for credit cards and various other forms of consumer debt as they are on mortgage interest.

Yet, for those fortunate souls who have their debt under control, loan officers (LOs) can be invaluable. By providing Home Facts, LOs empower clients to conduct thorough analyses of potential living locations, helping them make informed decisions about their next move.

In other news, this week’s podcast is proudly sponsored by Richey May, a trusted name in providing specialized advisory, audit, tax, technology, and other services to the mortgage industry for almost four decades.

Tune in to hear an insightful interview with Lending Tree’s Jacob Channel, delving into the rent-versus-buy debate and discussing how far individuals should stretch their finances to realize the dream of homeownership.

Enhancing Mortgage Operations: Updates on Services, Products, and Software for Lenders and Brokers

Revolutionizing Interim Servicing: Say goodbye to the hassle of collecting interim servicing payments with Fee Chaser. Seamlessly integrated into Encompass® by ICE Mortgage Technology™, Fee Chaser not only automates upfront fee collection but also simplifies the handling of interim servicing payments. Discover the efficiency of Fee Chaser by LenderLogix today.

In today’s fast-paced mortgage industry, efficiency is paramount. Xactus, a leading verification innovator, offers a comprehensive solution to streamline the verification process and drive mortgage modernization.

With its integration into ICE Mortgage Technology Encompass Partner Connect™, Xactus enables lenders to effortlessly obtain essential verifications, including Credit ReportX, Flood ReportX, Undisclosed Debt VerificationX, Tax TranscriptX, and more. Experience the award-winning innovation of Xactus at the ICE Experience in Las Vegas or schedule a meeting by reaching out to sales@xactus.com. Stay updated on industry innovations by following Xactus on LinkedIn.

Did you know that McDonald’s® didn’t invent the combo meal? It was actually Burger Chef who introduced the iconic trio of burger, fries, and a drink as one meal, known as “The Triple Threat.”

While those prices are a thing of the past, lenders using Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) validation service can optimize their validation processes with AccountChek by Informative Research. AccountChek streamlines income, employment, and asset validation into a single report, leveraging direct deposit banking data to enhance borrower eligibility. Learn how to enhance your validation process with AccountChek by visiting Fannie Mae’s webpage and submitting a request form.

With loan origination costs on the rise, lenders are feeling the pressure in today’s market. However, Lower has found a solution to save up to 80 percent on operational line items like credit and verifications. Join an exclusive webinar on March 21 at 2pm ET featuring industry experts Rob Chrisman, James Duncan, Donielle Geiser (Lower), and Richard Grieser (Truv), as they discuss market insights and strategies to reduce operational costs. RSVP now to gain valuable insights and learn how to win more loans in today’s competitive landscape.

Introducing the Quarterly Conversations About QC Newsletter: Stay informed with the latest quality control news delivered directly to your inbox. QC Ally’s new email newsletter provides industry headlines, helpful tools, and regulatory updates designed to inspire your business. Sign up today to access eGuides, webinars, and conference takeaways that will elevate your loan quality processes and keep you ahead of the curve.

Product Updates for Third Party Originators (TPOs), Brokers, and Correspondents

Renovation lending has emerged as a pivotal force driving loan production, amplifying profits, and reinforcing housing inventory in fiercely competitive markets. Delve into the surging demand for renovation loans with Planet Home Lending’s comprehensive Guide to Renovation Lending, meticulously crafted for correspondent lenders. From seizing lucrative opportunities to nurturing robust partnerships, this guide offers a meticulous step-by-step roadmap to success. Secure your exclusive copy today.

Freedom Mortgage Wholesale underscores its unwavering commitment to the wholesale channel by showcasing robust performance metrics. In 2023, Wholesale expanded its sales force by an impressive 20 percent, with 25 percent comprising rehires. Furthermore, Wholesale bolstered its Ops staff by an astounding 125 percent, with 70 percent being rehires. Notably, Freedom Mortgage achieved the remarkable feat of doubling its production for two consecutive months, signaling sustained growth momentum.

Beyond its operational achievements, Freedom Mortgage is actively engaged in philanthropic endeavors through Freedom Cares. In the past year, the company donated a substantial $660,000 to various charitable causes. Initiatives such as holiday toy drives raised $60,000 in support of organizations like Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), The Salvation Army, and Toys for Tots.

Additionally, the company’s commitment to education is evident through its longstanding partnership with Rucksacks to Backpacks, where it has donated over $100,000 and nearly 2,000 backpacks filled with school supplies. Freedom Mortgage’s employees and vendors also contributed significantly, raising $50,000 to provide 500,000 meals to those facing hunger through Feeding America’s “Freedom from Hunger” initiative. Moreover, the company’s Project Gratitude initiative delivered 1045 heartfelt thank-you messages to active-duty service members, reflecting its unwavering support for the community.

Angel Oak Companies’ real estate investment trust (REIT) reported a commendable profit of $28.6 million in the fourth quarter, marking a significant turnaround from the previous year’s loss of $187.8 million. The REIT’s robust performance was bolstered by its participation in four non-qualified mortgage securitizations in 2023, contributing $662 million in unpaid principal balance. Notably, the company strategically sold off non-QMs with lower interest rates, resulting in increased earnings.

The REIT’s portfolio expansion is evident, with $380 million in whole loans held at the end of the fourth quarter, reflecting a substantial increase from the previous quarter. Furthermore, the weighted average coupon (WAC) on the REIT’s whole loan portfolio saw a notable uptick to 6.78 percent, highlighting its strategic asset management approach. Fannie Mae has introduced a groundbreaking update, allowing lenders to validate assets, income, and employment using a single 12-month asset report in Desktop Underwriter®.

This enhancement streamlines the loan application process, offering faster cycle times, reduced paperwork, and improved access to credit. With Day 1 Certainty® enabled, lenders can enhance loan quality and mitigate repurchase risks. Fannie Mae’s commitment to modernizing the mortgage finance experience underscores its dedication to empowering lenders and aspiring homeowners alike.

Market Capitalization and Investment Strategies

Curious about transitioning from best efforts to mandatory loan sales? Whether you’re contemplating the move or seeking ways to optimize profitability and minimize risk in your current strategy, join MCT’s upcoming Moving to Mandatory Loan Sales webinar on April 4th at 11am PT. Led by MCT’s Scott Holtz, Vice President of South Regional Sales, this webinar will explore how mandatory loan sales can enhance profitability, manage risk through pipeline hedging, and facilitate operational adjustments for a seamless transition.

Register now or subscribe to MCT’s newsletter for access to insightful educational content.

Yesterday saw significant developments in the Federal Reserve’s stance, with Fed Chair Powell’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee and the release of the latest Beige Book. Stronger-than-expected economic indicators have sparked concerns that the FOMC may scale back its anticipated easing measures for 2024.

While Powell indicated no immediate plans to lower rates, he acknowledged the possibility later in the year, asserting that the economy currently does not face recession risks. Today, Powell will address the Senate Banking Committee, although market impact is anticipated to be minimal.

The Fed’s March Beige Book reported modest economic expansion since the previous update, with consumer spending showing sensitivity to rising prices and businesses encountering challenges in passing costs to consumers. Manufacturing activity remained stable, while residential real estate demand improved.

Employment experienced slight to modest growth, with persistent price pressures. If economic conditions align with expectations, the Fed is likely to implement gradual rate hikes between three and four times this year.

In anticipation of Friday’s February payrolls report, yesterday brought key labor market indicators. Job openings slightly declined in January, while the ADP Employment Change report signaled the addition of 140k payrolls in February, slightly below expectations.

The labor market appears to be stabilizing, supporting wage inflation moderation without significant job creation disruption. Today’s economic agenda includes Challenger job cuts for February, ECB decisions and remarks from ECB head Lagarde, jobless claims, trade deficit, productivity, unit labor costs, Chair Powell’s testimony, Treasury’s mini-Refunding details, remarks from Cleveland Fed’s Mester, Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, and January consumer credit data. As the day begins, Agency MBS prices show slight improvement, with the 10-year yield at 4.07% and the 2-year at 4.53%.

Career Advancement and Workforce Changes

Dive into the world of mortgage success with PrimeLending’s exclusive podcast series, “East Meets West.” Led by Executive Vice Presidents Karen Blakeslee and Al Velasco, the dynamic duo from PrimeLending’s Eastern and Western divisions, this podcast offers an insightful exploration of the housing market’s pulse.

Discover firsthand how PrimeLending empowers its loan officers to not just compete but emerge victorious. Blakeslee and Velasco delve into the strategic utilization of new products to unlock a myriad of opportunities in today’s ever-evolving landscape.

Furthermore, gain invaluable access to the wisdom of Mark Raskin (NMLS# 176513), a Dallas-based Branch Manager and perennial top producer. Raskin shares exclusive insights and proven strategies, providing listeners with a backstage pass to navigating and succeeding in today’s dynamic market.

Tune in to “East Meets West” and discover why PrimeLending loan officers consistently rank the engaged and experienced leadership as a true game-changer. If you’re a top producer eager to elevate your career to new heights, reach out to Nic Hartke today and take the first step towards unlocking your full potential!

In other exciting news, Landmark Bancorp, Inc. proudly announces the appointment of Abigail (Abby) Wendel as the President and Chief Executive Officer of both the company and its wholly-owned bank subsidiary, Landmark National Bank, effective March 29.

Wendel’s illustrious career journey will also see her joining the boards of directors of both entities. She succeeds the esteemed Michael Scheopner, the current President and CEO, who will transition into a non-executive role until his well-deserved retirement at the end of the year. Join us in extending heartfelt congratulations to Abby Wendel on her new role!

Matthew Graham
Matthew Graham
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