Category Archives: News

MBS RECAP: After Green Binge, Bonds Take "Sick" Day

For the bond market St Paddy’s day was a 2 week celebration of “green” (as in the color of price gains or falling yields on trading terminals) beginning on March 4th.  Eight of those 10 business days saw yields move lower with last Friday marking the 2nd lowest closing levels in well over a year.  

It’s only natural for bonds to need a bit of a break after all that partying.  They joined plenty of other revelers who may have had too much green recently in taking the day off today.  Granted, there wasn’t any sort of official market closure, but it would have been hard to notice if there was!  Volume was in line with the lowest levels of the year for a full business day and volatility was nowhere to be found.

The absence of volatility is a victory of sorts, considering yields are so close to long term lows and that the stock market broke above a key ceiling to make solid gains on the day.  

Participation, volume, and volatility are all expected to increase into (and especially after) Wednesday’s FOMC Announcement.

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Lori Loughlin left out of new Hallmark poster after college admissions scandal


Lori Loughlin has been erased from the Hallmark series “When Calls the Heart.” 

The western drama series featured Loughlin in a big part as the town mayor.

The show is a huge hit for the channel, with millions of devoted fans who call themselves “Hearties.” When Hallmark announced last week they were severing ties with Loughlin and halting all production of any shows and movies she was a part of, those fans were devastated. 

The Hearties took to Twitter, bombarding the producers to keep the show on the air and it worked.

“‘When Calls the Heart’ has always been bigger than the sum of its parts, and it has not been canceled,” the producers said in a statement. “With the full support of the network, we have gone on a creative hiatus to do some retooling on the remaining season 6 episodes.”

The producers also posted a series of images on Instagram over the weekend assuring fans the show would go on.

The episodes have already been filmed and edited, and now the plan is to cut Loughlin out.

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Anthropologie just debuted a plus size collection that is a springtime dream

It’s no secret that we are major fans of Anthropologie. From their statement-making textured handbags to their epic celeb collaborations, Anthro appeals to a wide audience and age range — and their latest collection just expanded their demographic once again.

APlus is the newest collection from the retailer and, as the name suggests, features plus size clothing that knocks the most popular fashion trends out of the park. With over 100 pieces to choose from, everyone will be able to find something that they love, thanks to the newly expanded size range of 16W to 26W (which comes as a welcome addition to Anthropologie’s standard petite and 00-16 sizes).

Find over 20 of our favorite APlus pieces below that are sure to elevate your warm weather wardrobe.

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MBA has a More Upbeat View on New Home Sales

Even though the January Census Bureau
report on new home sales published on Thursday wasn’t all that encouraging for
the spring market, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is predicting more
upbeat news
for February.  The Association’s
Builder Application Survey (BAS) shows a 6 percent increase in new home
purchase applications from the previous month and a 3-point gain from February 2018.  Those numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

MBA estimates new
single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of
690,000 units in February 2019, based on its survey data and assumptions
regarding market coverage and other factors. This is down 3.2 percent from the
January pace of 713,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, the estimate is for 59,000
new home sales in February 2019, an increase of 9.3 percent from 54,000 new
home sales in January.

“The housing market remains poised for a strong spring, with last month’s
increase in builder applications likely leading to a healthy 7 percent
year-over-year rise in new home sales
,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice
President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “We are starting to see signs
of more new residential construction and inventory, which increases buying
opportunities for the many home shoppers who have been hampered by the ongoing
lack of supply.”

Added Kan, “Slowing home-price growth, combined with stronger wage gains and
lower mortgage rates, is translating to improving affordability conditions for
spring buyers

Conventional loans accounted for 69.0 percent of loan applications and FHA
loans garnered 17.9 percent. VA loans had a 12.5 percent share and RHS/USDA
loans got 0.6 percent.  The average loan
size for new home purchases increased from $334,532 in January to $340,692 in

MBA’s Builder Application Survey tracks application volume from mortgage
subsidiaries of home builders across the country. Utilizing this data MBA is
able to provide an early estimate of new home sales volumes and information
regarding the types of loans used by new home buyers. Official new home sales
estimates are conducted by the Census Bureau on a monthly basis. In that data,
new home sales are recorded at contract signing, which is typically coincident
with the mortgage application. February census numbers will be published on
March 29.

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Katy Perry cries after watching ‘Idol’ contestant sing with her egg donor mom

American Idol has also been a family-oriented show, and this Sunday, it showcased a special, different sort of American family story – when 19-year-old Elizabeth Gaba showed up for her audition with both her mother and her biological egg donor.

Elizabeth’s rendition of Adele’s “All I Ask” was technically impressive; like all Adele songs, it is not easy to sing, and she pulled it off. But it was a very theater-schooled performance, and judge Luke Bryan told her: “You have a very pretty, polished voice. Don’t ever be afraid to throw in a little grit.”

The real emotional impact came when the judges, upon hearing Gaba’s unique family background, invited her “two mamas” into the audition room. Elizabeth, who goes by the simple stage name Gaba, was conceived by anonymous egg donation, and she recently found the donor, a woman named Amy, who she now considers to be one of her closest friends.

AMERICAN IDOL – ‘101 (Auditions)’ – The gold standard of all music competition series, American Idol, will make its highly anticipated return to television as superstar judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie set out on a journey across the nation to discover a new crop of inspiring talent with a touch of Disney magic, as it premieres its first season at its new home on Americas network, The ABC Television Network, SUNDAY, MARCH 11 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT). (Eric Liebowitz via Getty Images)

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And it turned out Gaba has inherited Amy’s talent: She’s a member of the same USC a cappella group, the SoCal VoCals, that Amy sang with years ago.

Amy joined Gaba for an audition-room duet on a second song, and their lilting voices were astonishingly similar, proving that music is indeed in Gaba’s genes. The moment was so magical that a crying Katy Perry – who told the three women, “Your story is a miracle” – attempted to call her own mom. Sadly, her mother’s voicemail box was full. But thankfully, so were everyone’s hearts. 

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Trump threatens ‘SNL’ with federal investigation because they mock him

Donald Trump threatened “Saturday Night Live” and other late-night shows with a federal investigation for poking fun of him, calling it in a Sunday tweet, “one sided [sic] media coverage.”

“It’s truly incredible that shows like Saturday Night Live, not funny/no talent, can spend all of their time knocking the same person (me), over over, without so much of a mention of ‘the other side.’ Like an advertisement without consequences. Same with Late Night Shows,” the POTUS wrote.

“Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this?” he added in a subsequent tweet. “There must be Collusion with the Democrats and, of course, Russia! Such one sided [sic] media coverage, most of it Fake News. Hard to believe I won and am winning. Approval Rating 52%, 93% with Republicans. Sorry! #MAGA”

Gallup’s last Donald Trump’s Presidential Job Approval Ratings (for March 1-10, 2019) stood at 39 percent, while 57 percent disapprove.

“SNL” ran a repeat Saturday of the Christmas 2018 episode in which the cold open — titled “It’s a Wonderful Trump” — had Trump get his wish that he had never become president, and the circle of people around him led happier lives as a result. The president was clearly fired up when that episode originally aired on Dec. 15, tweeting at the time, “It is nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials. Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal?”

“Comedy programs are under exactly zero legal obligation to be even-handed in their satire, regardless of whether the butt of their jokes is a political figure,” LawCrime columnist Elura Nanos wrote Sunday. “Similarly, news programs are legally permitted to be as one-sided as they like. As an agency of the federal government, the FCC must adhere to the limitations set out by the First Amendment — which means that censoring speech based on its political content is as illegal as it gets.”

“Saturday Night Live” is a satire show that has mocked every president since Gerald Ford in 1976,  along with a number of political figures. President Trump hosted “SNL” on April 2004 and Nov. 7, 2015.

Read original story Trump Threatens ‘SNL’ With Federal Investigation Because They Mock Him At TheWrap

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Broker Products; UK says no to "no deal"; Shall We Call UMBS "Unis?"

I didn’t know that America has a “most hated” type of home loan until Bloomberg “informed” me that reverse mortgages are… hated. Hated? Couldn’t the author have focused on the positives? Did you know that 87% of properties across the country are in an area eligible for 1 or more home ownership programs? Apparently.

Lender Products and Services

For a limited time only, NewRez Wholesale is offering free appraisals for Smart Series loan products (up to $650) and for FHA loan products (up to $550) through the month of March. This offer is available for new submissions only and loans must be locked by March 31st. Contact your AE today to learn more about how you can get an appraisal fee credit at your borrower’s loan closing. Some exclusions and restrictions apply. NewRez is a national mortgage lender that offers agency and non-agency lending solutions to brokers and community banks.

Caliber Home Loans, Inc. is celebrating the one-year anniversary of launching its suite of mobile apps. Since launching the three apps in the App Store and Google Play, the relationships customers, agents, builders, and business partners have with Caliber has changed. With real-time information on everything from accounts to loans in-process, working with Caliber has never been easier. The Caliber Home Loans app has been downloaded over 110,000 times by customers and received almost half a billion dollars in mortgage payments! The CaliberH2O app has widely been adopted by Caliber Loan Consultants, Account Executives, and its Wholesale Business Partners and even has a five-star rating among Android users. Agents and builders have rated the Caliber MyPipeline app as five stars in both the App Store and Google Play. Caliber is celebrating its one-year APPiversary today on social media, and invites you to say ‘Congrats Caliber’ with a LIKE.

Are you a retail loan originator, retail branch manager, direct lender or banker? Tired of losing clients and the up and downs at your retail shop? Have you considered making the move from retail to independent? can help. We are your single, no-cost source for the information, support and tools you need to become an independent mortgage broker. We can help you take the next steps toward opening your own mortgage broker shop or help match you with an independent mortgage broker in your area. Call us for a free, confidential consultation and continued support throughout the process at 800.229.6342 or learn more at”

Capital Markets

Rates could very well sit around these levels all year. (Margins may do the same, as well as volume – is your company ready for the last six months of 2018 for all of 2019?) Regardless, there are still questions from LOs about long-term locks or float-down options (reminding me that this biz gives borrowers a free “put” – who else does that?). Sure, some of these products may just to provide conversation fodder with builders or real estate agents, require an up-front commitment fee, or have extra margin initially priced in. Most locks past 90 days include a float-down option. Once you start trying to hedge products past the typical settlement period of MBS, things become complicated. A good primer can be found at MCM’s site that is worth a review – the mechanics haven’t changed.

The creation of the UMBS (and its rare that capital markets folks have something new to deal with) has sparked some chatter. First, Julian Gutierrez, Director of Fixed Income with Stifel, shot me a note saying, “What to call UMBS? ‘Uni’ ‘Puni.’ I received tremendous feedback on the email I sent out from customers and market participants. Rumor has it that the chairman of SIFMA has the suggestion in the in-box. The Uni/Puni train got rolling last week, I think it makes sense and we should have fun with it.”

And RiskSpan has been publishing a series of prepayment reports for the FHFA. Bernadette Kogler, CEO of RiskSpan, writes, “FHFA publishes these reports on a quarterly basis and they can be found on the FHFA website. We are happy to answer any questions.”

With nearly all indications for the Fed being on hold for much of 2019, we’ll probably see rates in a narrow range but still see them go up and down. Yesterday they moved a little higher, with the 10-year closing at 2.63%, despite a weaker-than-expected New Home Sales. Why? I don’t know, and it could just as easily reverse this today. Jobless Claims showed that employers are reluctant to cut staff due to tight labor market conditions, and import/export prices showed no inflation pressure.

The British Parliament rejected a second Brexit referendum, but voted in favor of extending Article 50 until June 30 at the latest. The UK House of Commons voted 412-202 to postpone Brexit. The delay will be short if lawmakers approve a Brexit agreement by Wednesday but will be longer if Parliament remains undecided. The delay still needs to be approved by all 27 member states of the European Union. Japan’s government might slightly downgrade its economic assessment in the March report. But overall kind of a snoozer of a day.

This morning we’ve already had the NY Fed Manufacturing Index for March (+3.7, lower than expected). Coming up are February industrial production and capacity utilization, preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment readings, and January JOLTS job openings. Friday begins with rates and agency MBS prices little changed from Thursday night’s close (the 10-year is yielding 2.61%).


Employment and Business Opportunities

A seller/servicer of MSRs is looking to partner with an investor looking to purchase $10B+ of Ginnie Mae and Agency MSRs on a subservicing retained basis. Ideal partner will have an appetite for ongoing flow/bulk purchases of MSRs in excess of $10B+/yr. Seller is specifically looking for a partner who is interested in Ginnie Mae MSRs. Interested parties should email Anjelica Nixtfor forwarding a note of interest.

Symmetry Lending, the “HELOC specialist that’s committed to service, speed, and simplicity, is growing and adding to the team! As we celebrate the launch of additional geographies, Symmetry is seeking Area Managers in several locations: California, Nevada, Maryland/DC/Virginia, Connecticut/Massachusetts, and Florida. Symmetry is currently active in 21 states, with many more scheduled for launch this year! With Symmetry’s commitment to Service, Speed, and Simplicity, this is a unique opportunity to join the team early, capture your own territory, and deliver a special experience to your wholesale broker/banker relationships. Contact us at”

If you are assessing whether you are getting the support you need to thrive, now is the time to check out the American Pacific Mortgage Spring Sales Summit. This highly anticipated event is crafted specifically for Mortgage Originators and Branch Managers so they can interact and collaborate with leadership, top producers and industry thought leaders. Come join us as our guest and discover first-hand how APM operates and commits to supporting our Originators with the tools, strategies, and resources to deliver exceptional customer experiences to grow your production. The Summit is happening in 5 key cities. Watch this short video to get a taste of what to expect and see what you are missing! For qualified candidates that want to take a serious look, contact Dustin Block (303-378-3166) for a complimentary VIP guest pass.  

AHP Servicing is a socially responsible loan servicing company located in Chicago. It has an innovative and crowdfunded business model – using funds raised from many individual investors to purchase past due mortgages. Staff works with homeowners to find a way to modify or settle the debt, keeping borrowers in their homes and investors earn a preferred 10% annual return. AHP Servicing is excited to be adding a Chief Operating Officer. The COO will oversee corporate administration, technology, servicing, and more. The COO will lead a team of experts in their respective fields and ensure that their business systems, processes, and team are designed to scale. AHP Servicing provides great benefits, a collaborative environment, and the chance to know that the work you do makes a difference. If you’re an expert in mortgage servicing with a high degree of regulatory knowledge, let’s talk.  Please submit your resume to Kim Rociola.

Congratulations to Aaron Duca on his move to Synergy One Lending, a Mutual of Omaha Bank company. Duca has been a top producing loan originator, branch manager, area manager and District Manager for over 15 years. Duca joined Synergy as VP, Market Production Leader and is responsible for helping Aaron Nemec, EVP, National Head of Production, drive Synergy’s sales, recruiting, market expansion, and business development across the country, among other responsibilities. Synergy is one of the fastest growing mortgage lenders in the country. If you’re looking for opportunities to learn more about the power behind Synergy’s bank-backed value proposition, please contact Aaron Duca at (469-964-0481), Aaron Nemec at (208-794-7786) or visit


Mergers and Acquisitions

I received this cable from STRATMOR Partner Garth Graham. “As you know, there is a lot of MA activity going on, in fact STRATMOR has been involved in more deals in the last three months than we did the entire year prior. Most of these deals are asset deals, leaving behind the corporate entity that is then available as a ‘shell’ for other entities who may be wanting to enter the space or obtain the agency tickets. These shells are marketable, especially if the selling entity has been well run, originating low risk product and thus has a low tail risk associated with their legacy production. In fact, STRATMOR has such a ‘shell’ available now, which has Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie approvals and multiple state licenses.” Interested buyers should Garth Graham directly.

Certainly the “seller’s market” for lenders has diminished as the difficult financial environment continues. But buyers still encounter some degree of seller resistance. Owners are “serial entrepreneurs” who are reluctant to forego their independence. After running their own show for a long time, will they be happy reporting to a boss? Culture is a huge determinant, and any LO comp differences must be ironed out. Retaining the seller’s current management team is often mentioned as an issue despite the potential cost savings to the buyer from eliminating duplicate positions. The companies don’t need two HR departments, two IT departments, two compliance groups…

Recall that when President Trump signed legislation modifying regulations imposed after the credit crisis, banks with assets greater than $10 billion immediately surged onto the radar screen as acquisition targets. That’s due in large part to the fact that the new law raises the asset threshold for systemically important financial institutions to $250 billion from $50 billion. As such, banks with assets of $25 billion on up to about $200 billion can now buy smaller banks without having to deal with onerous regulatory scrutiny and limitations as to how they deploy capital. Banks $10 billion or larger in assets will likely see a significant surge in selling in the next few years, as larger banks ramp back up their MA activity. In the last three weeks it was announced that…

BancorpSouth Bank ($18B, MS) will acquire Summit Bank ($472mm, FL) for $100.3mm in cash (20%) and stock (80%) and it will also acquire Texas Star Bank ($378mm, TX) for $86.7mm in cash (20%) and stock (80%) for an aggregate transaction price to tangible book of 1.89x. UMB Bank ($23B, MO) will acquire the corporate trust business of Bankers Trust Co ($4.6B, IA). In Wisconsin Horicon Bank ($756mm) will acquire Markesan State Bank ($127mm). In Oklahoma High Plains Bank ($95mm) will acquire State Guaranty Bank ($50mm). In Pennsylvania Somerset Trust Co ($1.2B) will acquire First Bank of Lilly ($21mm) for $3.4mm or 1.0x tangible book. Arkansas’ Stone Bank ($372mm) will acquire De Witt Bank and Trust Co ($94mm). In Illinois Wintrust Financial (31B) will acquire Oak Bank ($196mm) for $46mm in cash and stock. In Florida Fairwinds Credit Union ($2.3B) will acquire Friends Bank ($95mm). Up in Massachusetts Abington Bank ($314mm) will merge with Pilgrim Bank ($266mm).

Citizens Financial Group ($161B, RI) will acquire MA advisory firm Bowstring Advisors (GA). Exchange Bank ($2.6B, CA) will acquire the CA trust and wealth management business of American Trust and Savings Bank (IA) for about $375k and get $85mm in assets under administration. Texas First Bank ($1.1B) will acquire Preferred Bank ($283mm. River Road Financial (LA) was formed to facilitate the acquisition of a commercial bank and is doing just that with the proposed acquisition of Mississippi River Bank ($112mm, LA). German American Bank ($3.9B, IN) will acquire Citizens First Bank ($476mm, KY) for $68.2mm in cash (23%) and stock (77%).


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Kellyanne Conway says ‘shut up and pray’ after New Zealand massacre

Kellyanne Conway has a message for media covering last week’s New Zealand mosque shootings: dial back the scope of coverage.

During a Fox News appearance on Saturday, the White House counselor chided reporters for what she said she viewed as a politicization of the Christchurch massacre in which at least 50 people were killed by an alleged attacker who appears to have shared a manifesto online about his hatred for Muslim immigrants.

“They insert themselves ― ‘I must speak! I must say something!’” she said of journalists. “No, you don’t. You can actually shut up and pray for people and wait for the authorities to make their judgments.”

Doubling down on her routine criticisms of the press, Conway told the media to “look at what the president said right away, condemning violence, condemning hate, standing with the people of New Zealand.”


Those Trump comments were reported and broadcast, though news stories also took note of the president’s record of Islamophobic and xenophobic rhetoric. Also reported were criticisms that his response was inadequate and that he should give a speech explicitly denouncing anti-Muslim bigotry.

While there are no indications the alleged gunman was inspired to embark on his killing spree by Trump, his 74-page manifesto pointed to the president as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”

Trump also spurred criticism by claiming during a White House press conference hours after the New Zealand attacks that he didn’t see a rise in white nationalism that poses an increasing threat of violence in many nations.

He downplayed the threat, speculating that the white nationalist movement involved only “a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.”

Earlier this month, Anti-Defamation League data showed that in the U.S., white supremacist propaganda skyrocketed by 182 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.

Those efforts include “the distribution of racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic fliers, stickers, banners and posters,” with 1,187 such cases reported last year ― a sharp contrast to the 421 reported the year before.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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Kacey Musgraves shares where she’s keeping all of her GRAMMY awards

Kacey Musgraves has been having an incredible year!

The country superstar took home four GRAMMYs last month, sweeping all four categories that she was nominated in, including Album of the Year for Golden Hour and Best Country Song for “Space Cowboy.” ET’s Lauren Zima caught up with the stunning singer at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles on Thursday, where she revealed where she keeps the coveted trophies.

“Well I’m gonna give one to my grandma, one to my mama,” she shared, before jokingly adding, “One on the hood of my car, you know, so everybody knows.”

“I don’t know,” she continued, laughing. “I have a really small house and I have very limited book space, but I do have a framed joint given to me by Willie Nelson. So, it seems like kind of a nice place to put it.”

During the ceremony, Musgraves took the stage to sing her beautiful ballad, “Rainbow.” Sitting atop a giant rainbow, the singer looked stunning in a bright yellow dress, as Coldplay’s Chris Martin played the piano.

While talking to ET ahead of the show, Musgraves reflected on the overwhelming positive response she’s received for Golden Hour.

“This album is very personal to me, and I just feel like the people who have connected with it have shown it so much love and so much positivity,” she expressed. “It’s just gone and done things I just really could’ve never dreamed of and it just makes me really happy. It represents a really beautiful time in my life, full of lots of change and I just want to keep doing what I’m doing. The music makes me feel good and I’m really happy that it made other people feel good.”

After the GRAMMYs and the Oscars carpet, then I had four shows at the Ryman in Nashville, which was really awesome hometown shows,” she detailed. “And then I finally was like, I’m getting my damn cheat day. So I Postmated from bed, pizza and a burger at the same time, and then I ate that. And for dinner had some pasta. I like, carbed out and then [had] handfuls of gummy bears.”

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MBS Day Ahead: Not Another Ides of March Headline

People who write articles every day love holidays and other dates that offer some reprieve from the need to be creative when it comes to writing headlines.  On February 14th, they can incorporate love.  On Halloween, it’s a good bet that you’ll see plenty of tricks, treats, and various iterations of “spooky.”  And on March 15th, “Beware The Ides of March” is king.

I asked myself if we had anything to be wary of, and I got nothing–well… nothing I haven’t already mentioned.  For the record, the only negative risk at the moment is that bonds choose to bounce in the low 2.6% range ahead of next week’s Fed Announcement for some reason.  So far this morning, that doesn’t look like a threat.

In fact, both sides of the market (stocks and bonds) have generally been willing to push the boundaries of their best recent levels, as seen in the following chart (stocks in blue, 10yr yields in yellow).

2019-3-15 open

This is the sort of thing we tend to see when markets are betting on friendly central banks–the rising tide that lifts both debt and equity markets.  Let’s not overcomplicate things!  The Fed was looking unfriendly at their December meeting.  A few days later, stocks were at their lowest levels in more than a year and a half (and bonds continued doing great thanks to the stock crash). Then the Fed suddenly got much friendlier.

At first, bond yields rose in concert with stocks.  But then the Fed started talking about ending its balance sheet normalization much earlier than previously expected.  That’s precisely when the yellow line above swooped back down to the low 2.6% range (and although it’s not highlighted, stocks also began to rally much more aggressively).  Simply put, a premature end to balance sheet normalization amounts to 10s of billions of dollars of additional bond buying each month.  It is effectively another “QE” program relative to the status quo.  Simultaneous gains in stocks and bonds is exactly what we’d expect to be seeing.

Keep in mind that all of this is building toward next week’s Fed announcement, where market participants are pretty sure they’ll get a lot more detail on how/when/why the Fed is abandoning normalization.  If there’s anything to beware of around mid-March, it’s the possibility that the Fed underwhelms in that regard.

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