May the 4th be with you! The force is with the US Treasury Department as it prepares to take steps to cover a rapidly growing deficit. The government is increasing long-term debt to be auctioned this quarter to $73 billion, and is getting ready to introduce a two-month bill.
Strategic Company Moves and Bad Press
As lenders continue to not publicize layoffs, or closing regions with sales and support staff, other changes are more…public.
Mutual of Omaha Bank has reached a definitive agreement to acquire San Diego’s Synergy One Lending, Inc. in June, pending regulatory approval. “Licensed in 45 states, Synergy One offers a full suite of home financing products and services including mortgages and reverse mortgages through a wide network of loan officers, mortgage brokers as well as direct sales channels. It will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Mutual of Omaha Bank. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Mutual of Omaha Bank, the company will continue to operate under the Synergy One name and its headquarters will remain in San Diego” running both retail and wholesale business channels, while operating under the brand Retirement Funding Solutions for its reverse mortgage lending activities and More Lending for its specialty product wholesale channel.
In MBS-related news, Annaly Capital, which reported Q1 earnings Wednesday night, announced that they would purchase MTGE from AGNC Investment for $900 million split about 50/50 between cash and equity and pay AGNC $42 million to terminate the current management agreement.
On the other hand, some banks continue to have CRA issues, are grappling with assets around the nation, margins, and reliance on mortgage income as non-depository lenders gain share. What is Howard Bank up to? “We have made the difficult decision to not only proceed with the rightsizing of the mortgage division – to balance the oft stated and continuing desire and need for a recurring source of noninterest income against the inherent volatility of this business line – but to further shrink the business to allow us to focus on a local footprint of purchase money mortgages – a more value-added approach in an increasingly commoditized business. We have decided to exit the national, leads based, cash out refinancing business by closing the Consumer Direct division of our mortgage operation. This mortgage rightsizing analysis was referenced in our fourth quarter 2017 press release, but only after the acquisition and consolidation of the First Mariner mortgage division were we fully able to both quantify the impacts and to execute on this initiative.”
In Philadelphia, Berkshire Hathaway’s Trident Mortgage Co. is making headlines by purportedly primarily only lending to “white people.” “All of Trident’s offices are in white neighborhoods, where it makes the overwhelming majority of its loans to white homebuyers. And Trident employs a nearly all-white team of mortgage consultants.” I won’t opine, but the stories sprang from this report.
Advice for Those in the Industry
For important historical perspective, Elaine Roccio of Southern California remembered back to when she began in the industry. “Women entering our profession should know about the perils of being the only woman in an all-male environment. Maybe I go back a lot further than some women, when I had to fend-off advances, crude jokes and comments. I had to make the decision early not to trade ‘favors’ for loans, as one builder wanted me to do. And of course, the project went to a male rival in another company. It wasn’t easy being one of only 5 female loan officers in a basically large corporation, but still an all-male company, like so many of them were back then (1980’s). I was never paid the same as my male counter-parts, nor received the same titles as my male counterparts, despite winning numerous sales awards. I had to be better than the ‘men’ and I was, but, that just brought more unwanted sexual advances. I was the ‘trophy’ the guys wanted to bring down. I never yielded and I’m still in the business while most of them are NOT!”
Juan Rodas, CMB and SVP of Secondary Marketing, put some thought into the boldest move that he ever made to advance his career. “Two bold moves come to mind that helped shape my career. I learned that I was going to be a father at the age of 16. Luckily, I had recently been promoted to supervisor at L.L. Bean where I worked in the stock room unloading trucks. I did not see a future in this and an opportunity opened up to work in the file room at FGMC. This would result in a $9k p/year pay cut. Considering that I was about to have a daughter and knew nothing about mortgages it did not seem like a wise decision, but I decided to give it a shot. It completely changed my life.
“I proceeded to take every opportunity that presented itself and soaked up all the knowledge I could literally from the ground up. I quickly transitioned from the file room to various positions including Funding, Insuring, Post Closing, Final docs, and Secondary while learning many other aspects of the business along my journey. The company began to experience some hurdles and some folks jumped ship. An opportunity for different employment presented itself but FGMC had treated me so great that I decided to ride things out. Best decision I ever made.
“Shortly thereafter, an opportunity to engage with our newly appointed CEO and executive management team presented itself. I must admit, I was very nervous. I created and presented a business case to restructure a part of the organization, which to my surprise, they welcomed and allowed me to execute. This led to further promotions and invaluable experience. We turned the ship around and a few years later we were purchased by one of the biggest leaders in financial markets.
“I went from a teenage father unloading trucks, to file room clerk, to eventually SVP Secondary Marketing. Now, at 32, I consistently realize how fortunate I have been to be exposed to things at such a young age that most do not get to experience in their entire career. It is humbling, and I am forever grateful for all of those that have helped me along the way…and I am still learning.”
U.S. Treasuries continued a dull week yesterday, further digesting the Federal Reserve’s latest (non)decision ahead of today’s April employment numbers. Trade talks between the U.S. and China got underway though American delegates said a breakthrough is unlikely as Beijing won’t agree to abandoning its advanced manufacturing program and agree to cut the trade gap by a fixed amount. Talks are expected to resume today, though the Americans have threatened to leave early if unsatisfied.
More data points are rolling in: The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in March by the most in two years, while last week’s unemployment filings were below estimates and productivity gains remained lukewarm in the first quarter. Growth in U.S. service industries cooled in April to a four-month low and hiring eased, adding to signs the economy is off to a softer start this quarter. The report will feed into the slowdown narrative that has been building with the flattening yield curve. Separately, all 18 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in April. Factory orders showed a dip in business spending in March, evidenced by the 0.4% decrease in orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft.
Today sees the return of Fedspeak following the recent blackout around Wednesday’s FOMC decision with New York’s Dudley on the docket along with five Fed speakers participating in a conference at Stanford University. In terms of economic releases, we’ve had April Nonfarm Payrolls (expected 190k, it was only +164k), the Unemployment Rate (expected 4.0%, it came in at 3.9% surprisingly), Average Hourly Earnings (it was +.1% but expected 0.2%), and Average Workweek (as expected at 34.5). After the employment numbers we find rates lower versus Thursday: the 10-year is yielding 2.92% and agency MBS prices are better .125-.250.
NRL Mortgage, an Inc 5000’s Fastest Growing Company, headquartered in Houston, Texas is looking to expand into the Pacific Northwest. “Originators and branch managers join NRL for many unique reasons. Whether it’s the company culture, flexible branch models, competitive compensation packages, dynamic marketing platform or best-in-class support, we create a solid foundation for our sales team to not only produce loans but create a solid, successful and profitable career with NRL.” Highly-motivated Loan Originators, Sales Managers and Branch Managers are encouraged to apply by emailing CEO Ron Zach.
Caliber Home Loans, Inc., the nation’s fourth largest non-bank residential mortgage originator, is proud to announce the appointment of Justin Lally as Senior Vice President, Recapture and Direct to Consumer. Justin will report to Executive Vice President Chad Smith. In his new role, Justin will directly leverage the Caliber servicing portfolio of more than 650,000 customers. Justin previously held senior positions in Production for First Direct Lending, Discover Home Loans and LendingTree. Smith said, “I’m excited to have Justin join our team as we continue to build an industry-leading team providing financial solutions for Caliber’s extensive customer base, which continues to be among the largest of any non-bank financial institution.” Learn more about a career at Caliber here or contact Jeremy DeRosa.
Flagstar is seeking an Assistant Group Manager for its Warehouse Lending Team at Flagstar Corporate Headquarters in Troy, MI. Responsible for the management of a team who focuses on new business development, portfolio management, credit quality and overall relationship management of their assigned portfolio of customers – within the Warehouse Lending industry. Team may focus on designated geography. Ensures the generation of revenue by cultivating Warehouse account relationships and ensuring strong credit quality thresholds are met. The assistant group manager will be the point of escalation for complex or challenging relationships/transactions. Please use this link to learn more about this excellent opportunity.
Recently, Merchants Bank of Indiana announced it is approved by FNMA and FHLMC for delivery of eNotes. Today, they announced they purchased their first eNote from Georgetown Mortgage, LLC, headquartered just outside of Austin. Michael Jones of Georgetown Mortgage noted, “We believe in providing the best customer experience for our borrowers, loan officers and trusted referral partners and have embraced eNotes to provide such an experience. Rob Wilson of Merchants Bank of Indiana stated, “We are very excited to be able to offer an eNote solution for both our Warehouse and Correspondent customers. Georgetown Mortgage is a perfect example of a customer who has embraced technology and is looking to provide the best experience possible for their customers. We see eNotes as an important way for our clients to provide a great customer experience and do it efficiently. ENotes are an important driver for the industry, Merchants Bank of Indiana and our customers and we are ready to help assist our clients as they progress toward a complete end-to-end eMortgage.”
Envoy Mortgage has continually focused on improving and adding new technology that makes life easier for its employees, partners and borrowers alike. Envoy is a recipient of the 2018 HW Tech 100 award. Spanning across the investment, mortgage servicing, mortgage lending and real estate industries, 100 companies are recognized by one publication as the most innovative technology companies. Last year, Envoy Mortgage launched several new technology platforms and tools including Envoy EDGE, its marketing and recruiting platform. Envoy revamped their mobile app. Using downloads with a simple text, their borrowers have welcomed this time-saving technology. As a result, Envoy has seen a noted increase in its mobile application month over month. In Q2 Envoy is launching its fully integrated CRM platform providing its loan originators even more tools to reach the diverse marketplace and enable partnership with more Realtors. Visit www.joinenvoy.com to learn more.
If you’re considering non-agency lending but still need some convincing, meet with Versus Mortgage Capital (VMC) at the RIU Plaza – New York during the MBA National Secondary Conference May 20-23. This growing market is a tremendous opportunity for lenders but requires a committed partner who knows how to create programs that serve the non-agency market. VMC is a correspondent investor that specializes in non-agency and offers expansive programs that apply common-sense lending guidelines. To schedule a meeting, email Jeff Schaefer, Executive Vice President – Correspondent Sales. For more information about VMC’s lending programs, click here.