Signs of Life in Wholesale?


Wholesale lending is back! OK, not exactly. Citigroup announced its exit from the channel this past week and some trade journals—not knowing their stuff—seemed to think it was the biggest story since the Hindenburg disaster. Wholesale only accounted for 9% of Citi’s production. Meanwhile, we understand there are a handful of growth-oriented firms in wholesale including Cole Taylor Mortgage and United Wholesale. Others that are active in the space—companies that may not be immediately familiar to you—include Allied Mortgage Group, Maverick Funding and Clearing Point Mortgage. Of course the market leaders are still there: Provident, U.S. Bank Home, Wells Fargo, Flagstar and Stearns. In Monday’s National Mortgage News we analyze the third-party market. To subscribe to NMN call 800-221-1809

By the way, Cole Taylor’s mortgage chief is Willie Newman, who in a past life worked at InterFirst Mortgage, once a wholesale giant. Willie and CTM are based in Ann Arbor, Mich…

One reason wholesale may be gaining traction has to do with costs. The channel is cheaper than retail, right? Wholesale, in terms of market share, hit a multiyear low in the first quarter of 2011 (just 6.8%) but has been creeping up slowly the past three quarters. All those figures are in the Quarterly Data Report. To see a sample of the QDR drop an email to

Meanwhile, late in the week a source emailed us a rate sheet from a megalender. The firm in question was hiking some fees on cash-out refinancings by 175 basis points. Ouch. (They probably don’t want the business.) At press time details were sketchy…

Late in the week we were starting to hear reports that Bank of America was actively peddling a large MSR package. See the NMN website early next week for details…

Jumbo lenders take note: former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine is selling his Hoboken penthouse. Asking price: a cool $3 million. (Folks, Hoboken has come a long way since “On the Waterfront.” I lived there back in the 1980s before it gentrified.) Anyway, the former gov—who is in a bit of hot water over something called MF Global—originally paid $3.26 million for the 2,400 square foot condo. But don’t worry the local real estate taxes are a bargain at $38,000. If you’re a correspondent lender I know a jumbo conduit in California called Redwood Trust that wants to talk to you…

As for MF Global, we understand that it was a repo lender to several mortgage REITs. Yes, that is correct. You read it here first…

LOAN OFFICERS, BRAG A LITTLE: NMN and its sister publication Origination News, the most widely read news magazine in the broker/correspondent sector, has launched its annual loan officer survey. Eventually, we’ll publish features and rankings on the nation’s top LOs. To participate in our survey visit

LOAN PROGRAM NEWS: Less than 5% of originations backed by the Rural Housing Service last year were refinancings. But RHS wants to change all that. It has a new streamline refi product. The agency is charging a 1.5% upfront fee, with a 0.3% annual fee. The upfront fee can be rolled into the loan amount, but not closing costs or lender fees. (Reporting by NMN‘s Brian Collins.)

THE REVENGE OF HERB MARION: In case you didn’t know it, the Sandler Foundation (as in Herb and Marion of World Savings) is behind the investigative reporting unit known as ProPublica. About a week ago ProPublica did a hit job on Freddie Mac in a lengthy story that made it sound like the GSE was intentionally screwing over consumers by preventing them from refinancing. Among other things, PP reported: “Freddie Mac, the taxpayer-owned mortgage giant, has placed multibillion-dollar bets that pay off if homeowners stay trapped in expensive mortgages with interest rates well above current rates.” Now, I’m all for crusading journalists—and there’s plenty of dirt on both GSEs to keep the press busy for years—but it appears that two naive reporters are mistaking hedging for evil behavior. (Roughly $5 billion in hedges on a $1.4 trillion book of business?) Here’s a news flash for PP: Every lender in the nation and their secondary market outlets have severely tightened underwriting guidelines since the crash of 2008. (Look it up.) It would be nice if ProPublica turned its guns on the Sandlers, their promotion of payment-option ARMs, the sale of World Savings to Wachovia and how Wachovia almost tanked because of POAs. Herb and Marion, who retired (very) comfortably because of the sale of World, were never fans of Fannie and Freddie. I wonder if they planted this seed with PP. (Probably not.) Maybe PP reporters Jesse Eisinger and Chris Arnold should investigate the damage caused by POAs—and the Sandlers’ role in promoting the product? To read the real story see Kate Berry‘s American Banker article. Visit:

MORTGAGE PEOPLE: Fannie Mae has hired Adam Glassner, executive vice president in charge of capital markets for GMAC Mortgage. For the full story see:

VENDOR NEWS: Nationwide Title Clearing will attend and exhibit at the upcoming national servicing show sponsored by MBA. The company will spotlight its post mortgage closing services, among other things.

DATA STUFF: If you need a list of the nation’s top 100 residential retail funders drop an email to and ask about our Quarterly Data Report. It’s a 50-page Excel spreadsheet. Also check out our exclusive mortgage data website:

MUST ATTEND MORTGAGE SHOWS: From April 17-19 National Mortgage News and SourceMedia will hold their annual Mortgage Servicing Conference at the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Irving, Texas. For more information see the ads on our website or email or click here

I’m on Twitter, discussing mortgage matters, CDs, books to read and a good place to order cool t-shirts:

LAST WORD: The New York Giants by 10 points this weekend. OK, maybe two points. I’ve been a fan since 1972.

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