Bill Dallas answers five questions on the industry’s response to COVID-19

Mortgage & Real Estate

To help lenders navigate the uncertainties in the mortgage industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic, HousingWire filmed an interview with Finance of America Mortgage President Bill Dallas to get the latest feedback on what’s happening. He also gives valuable insight on how the industry is working together to find ways to move forward. 

Here are two of the five questions HousingWire asked Dallas to answer, with the full video below.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

HW: What messaging are you and other lending executives hearing directly from the GSEs during this period of uncertainty? 

Bill Dallas: The message is twofold. One is trying to create temporary lending program shifts that enable us to close loans in the current environment. The second thing is really sustainable homeownership. The concern about putting people into homes and then they’ve already lost their job or they’re not going to be able to sustain it. That’s their biggest position. Our issues are the standard, “What do we do with income? What do we do with appraisals?” We’re asking all these questions about lending, and they’re trying to make sure there’s sustainable housing. We have to be concerned about post COVID-19 and post this disruption on how a particular employee performs potentially. I think the jury’s out really on how.

What happened in the jumbo and non-QM markets? Will they make a comeback and if so, when?

Bill Dallas: These real estate investment trusts own a lot of the non-QM players. A lot of them have either filed bankruptcy or are already in trouble, so you saw an immediate suspension of non-QM programs. In the private loan securitization, non-agency market, on one side, you have HBX, or what we’re going to call high balance conforming, and you would then have traditional, what you would say is jumbo, non-agency, loans over the agency limit, and then you have this non-QM market, which could be a couple things.The immediate piece was no liquidity for the non-QM market, which left you with a few REITs like Two Harbors, Redwood, PennyMac, and some of these companies that actually provided jumbo financing and had to have a securitization market in order to execute. That group pretty much has cut off, so that leaves you with Chase and Wells Fargo, or 3 or 4 people on the planet that actually do jumbo loans. This market will actually come back fairly rapidly. To use a Jaws example, in my view, when it’s safe to go back in the water, they will come back fairly fast.

Be sure to also check out the video interview HousingWire conducted with Mountain Lake Consulting’s CEO David Stevens about the economy’s recent turbulence and what the Fed’s decision means for the mortgage industry.

Watch the full video interview with Bill Dallas below.

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