CA Marijuana Vote Attracting Lender Notice; Credit Unions’ Mortgage Biz Exploding


Loan officers are very interested in guidance on things like Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact. What would happen if an originator offered a discounted commission structure to one person and not another – is that a violation? What
if real estate agents did that
If a lender can’t do that but a real estate can do it, is that a “double
standard?” Are consumers impacted?

This November Californians
will vote on Proposition 64, basically legalizing marijuana use. (California
already allows medical marijuana.) Will other states be “under the influence”
of California? It is worth thinking about since California has the largest
mortgage market, and at nearly 40 million people has over 10% of the nation’s

Although marijuana is legal
with several
 at the state level, it is not legal at the Federal level. Which of
course leads to the issue that any bank, or government agency like Freddie,
Fannie, or Ginnie, not being able to accept marijuana-related income on loans
in their programs. But what about banking the marijuana industry. Same thing – many
banks that report up to federal regulators can’t accept that income
and won’t handle those deposits. But banking marijuana businesses is not
illegal. It’s a permissible activity but banks need to be very thorough in
their review of all the risks involved. A recent American Banker article noted
that there are 301 banks providing banking services to marijuana-related

What about someone who owns a
rental house, and the tenant’s income comes from a marijuana-related business?
What about problems caused by marijuana cultivation in and around residences?
The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) issued a
white paper
 that warned of problems. “The growing of marijuana requires
significant amounts of water, heat, and humidity,” the IREM white paper stated.
“These conditions can create mold issues in properties. These requirements can
also increase utility costs for the landlord, and if tenants don’t pay
individual electric and water bills. Further, the property could be subject to
civil asset forfeiture if you permit growing.”

California law on medical
marijuana starts with a determination of whether a person qualifies as a
“Qualified Patient” under Prop 215. As long as the person is in
compliance with the provisions of this law, they have limited immunity from
criminal prosecution (at the State level). Subsequent related laws extended
this limited immunity to Collectives and incorporated entities that cultivate
and/or distribute medical marijuana.

But a landlord is not required
to rent to a person that is a Qualified Patient under Prop 215. Nothing in
California can compel a landlord to rent their property for a use which
includes the use, growing, cultivation, or distribution of medical marijuana.
Legally any marijuana use is illegal under Federal law and no property owner
can be compelled to allow an illegal action on their property.

What about smoking medical marijuana?
The Federal Government says “no” but plenty of states are okay with it.
California, for example, considers the denial of a request to smoke medical
marijuana a fair housing violation under state law. But what if the housing
complex has its loan with Fannie Mae, or receives subsidies from the Federal
Government? Things can become complicated, and conflicting in a hurry. The
Agencies and investors’ contractual agreements with lenders place the burden on
the lender to assure that they are conforming to existing rules, regulations,
and laws.

Sacramento law firm BPE
did a fine three-part write-up
 on marijuana and current
laws in California – a must read for owners of property, especially non-owner
occupied properties in that state. (Thanks to Scott S. for passing this along.)

The Colorado Association of
Realtors wrote a blog posting entitled “Recreational
Sales and Property Values
,” which assured its
membership that home values would not suffer due to the changes in law. “For
homeowners or buyers concerned about the possibility of a marijuana business
springing up next door, the impact may not be as prevalent as some
expect…Although state law allows pot shops to exist, amendment 64 gives local
governments the authority to regulate commercial activities associated with the
recreational use of marijuana. The majority of counties in Colorado have either
already passed bans on recreational marijuana retailers or have delayed making
a decision and placed a moratorium on pot business…”

An article written by Phil
Hall notes, “‘Private institutional lenders have overwhelmingly refused to do
business with legal marijuana sellers,’ observed Les R. Kramsky of the
Marlboro, N.J.-based Law Offices of Les R. Kramsky LLC. ‘These businesses are finding
it difficult to obtain credit lines, loans or even bank accounts. While
marijuana has been legalized in some states, the Controlled Substances Act of
1970 still has cannabis listed as a Schedule I narcotic, meaning its classified
as most harmful with no medical use. And therein lies the problem: Marijuana’s
drug classification has banks nervous about working with legal business owners
and the lenders are fearing a backlash like massive fines and perceived
instances of money laundering from federal regulators and law enforcement if
they conducted business with legalized marijuana sellers.'”

In terms of criminal justice,
the Democratic platform calls for reforms allowing legal marijuana companies to
operate which appears supportive of efforts to increase industry banking

Are credit unions growing like
a…weed? Yes: TransUnion research has found that credit unions continue to grow at a faster rate than
other financial institutions
, and millennials are both a key
driver and target market for sustained loan growth. TransUnion found that in
the first quarter of 2016, credit union membership grew at more than three
times the rate of credit activity among consumers across other lender types,
such as regional banks or finance companies.

According to TransUnion data,
25% of credit union members in Q1 2016 were millennials. In Q1 2013,
millennials made up only 20% of credit union membership. Millennial growth for
non-credit unions grew at a slower pace, up to 25% in Q1 2016 from 23% in the
first quarter of 2013. This is indicative of credit unions’ strategic focus on
millennial growth.

Credit unions are actively
building their millennial membership, and have experienced growth in this segment
every quarter since 2010. Millennials are likely candidates for new mortgages
and other credit products as they age, offering credit unions a way to further
their market share.

Credit union memberships via
mortgage origination have increased in recent years. In Q1 2016, credit unions
had 3.8 million mortgage members, an increase of 4% from 3.67 million in Q1
2015. Compared to five years ago, credit union mortgage memberships have grown
13% from 3.29 million in the first quarter of 2011. Credit union executives are
strategically focused on gaining membership growth through mortgage
originations, as well as offering products such as credit cards to their
existing member base.

A spike in first mortgages,
along with increases in new and used auto loans, helped to push credit union
loan balances up to a record high in the second quarter, according to Q2 data
from Callahan
 from 5,959 credit unions. Mortgages and car loans accounted for
82% of loan growth at credit unions last year – which continued into this year.
In Q2 2016, a 10.7 percent over-the-year increase resulted in credit union loan
balances topping $834.3 billion and surpassing the 1st quarter’s $809 billion. In Q2, first
mortgages accounted for 38% of total loan growth at credit unions after a spike
of 10% over-the-year. The substantial increase resulted in an aggregate loan
balance of more than $340.7 billion in first mortgage loans for credit unions,
the highest balance ever reported for any one quarter.

up some, down some. Yes, there’s been some intra-day volatility but end-of-day
numbers show how flat things have been. Let’s use the yield on the 10-year as a
proxy for the general interest rate environment. These are the closing yields
over the last week: 1.58% (Friday), 1.59% (Monday), 1.55% (Tuesday), 1.51%
(Wednesday), and 1.57% (Thursday). Just as there wasn’t much behind the gradual
move down earlier in the week, there wasn’t much news driving the move higher
yesterday – so I won’t waste your time trying to rationalize it.

during yesterday’s sell-off agency MBS prices were champs. The 10-year worsened
.625, the 5-year price was down .375, and mortgages, which usually follow the
5-year, were “only” worse about .250. Hey, we’ll take what we can, right? And
if you’re thinking about what the Fed might do for the rest of the year, even
though we’re not even halfway done with August, the Fed rate hike odds are currently
at 18% for September and 45% for December.

This morning we’ve already had
the Producer Price Index and Retail Sales, both for July: -.4%, core -.3%, and
unchanged – both dramatically weaker than expected. And that about does it for
market-moving numbers although later are Business Inventories for June, and
preliminary August Consumer Sentiment. What is probably more important is what
the Federal Reserve thinks about U.S. economic growth, and both the Federal
Reserve Banks of New York and Atlanta release their respective GDP updates on
Q3 in the late morning.

As mentioned above the 10-year
closed Thursday yielding 1.57%. After the covey of numbers this morning it is down to 1.50% with agency MBS prices better

Jobs and Announcements

Nations Direct Mortgage, a national wholesale lender, is proud to announce a new service for mortgage brokers, Lead Link. NDM closely monitors mortgage-related credit pulls from its servicing portfolio. Beginning in August, these leads will be linked back to the brokers that originated the loan so they can reclaim the business. “We are thrilled to offer this service at no cost, and it’s a perfect example of how committed we are to third party origination. More importantly, we value our broker partnerships and vow not to compete with them for business,” said Martin Warren, Director of Lending. NDM continues to expand and is looking to add to its sales and operations teams and broker partnerships. To learn more, please contact Alex Falas, Recruiting Manager, or contact Martin Warren to sign up to become a broker partner! Nations Direct Mortgage, LLC is licensed in 32 states plus D.C. Leads provided will include information regarding are potential candidates for mortgage financing. Brokers will not be required to submit any mortgage loan applications resulting from the leads back to Nations Direct.

In job news, a wholesale lender with aggressive growth plans has exciting opportunities for two top talent regional sales leaders – one in the Central Region and one on the East Coast.  The candidates selected will have the unique opportunity to shape their respective region’s vision and culture by building out and running his/her dream team, backed by an inside team dedicated to their bottom line.  The ideal candidates have a solid, performance-based reputation, and are relentless in their pursuit of success.  Candidates should send their confidential resumes to me and please specify the opportunity.

New Penn Financial’s TPO Channel is searching for a strong and experienced TPO Operations Manager in Concord, CA to oversee all Operations for TPO West. “Founded in 2008 and licensed in 48 states, New Penn Financial has been recognized in the top 20 Third Party Originations Lenders and was recently voted as being a great mortgage lender to work for by sales professionals. Our Mission is to exceed the expectations of our residential mortgage borrowers and business partners through superior service, simple processes, and effective communications. If you also believe in this mission and expect this and more from your employer, please email your resume or confidential inquiries to Aubrie Cusumano, Manager, Corporate Recruiting. 

I am not a sales coach, but I hear from plenty of LOs who seem to be looking for a little extra “oomph.” A book recently crossed my desk titled, “Reset” that they might be interested in which is for sale on Amazon. Written by a “real-live” licensed originator who has moved into management at his company, Michael Jones with Georgetown Mortgage penned an easy read dealing with some simple ways to increase motivation and production. Check it out.

Congrats to Steve Alonso who is AmeriFirst Financial, Inc.’s new National Sales Manager. “In this role, Alonso will primarily be responsible for managing and developing client relationships in the Southwest region in order to expand the sales pipeline and drive overall company growth…Steve’s career in sales began at the age of 19 upon opening and operating an independent call center. (If you want to give him a shout: 480.339.1880.)

And congrats to The Mortgage Collaborative, an independent mortgage lending cooperative. Management announced the formal approval of twelve new preferred partner companies to its national network (bringing its total to 57):  Assimilate Solutions, Collingwood Group, Compass Analytics, ComplianceEase, LBA Ware, Lending Manager, Mortgage Banking Insurance Group, Mortgage Coach, Office Depot/Office Max, Peoples United Bank Warehouse Lending, SimpleNexus, and String Real Estate Solutions. The preferred partner network offers special pricing, discounts, or incentives to the cooperative’s national network of lender members.

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