Rumors continue to swirl, this time about Orange County’s Americash. Yes, the drop in refi volume is showing, and even if you made it through the bad first quarter, it’s not a cake walk out there. On the other hand, I wish I owned stock in George Clooney. As if he needs help with two new twin mouths to feed, he received news that Diageo will purchase Casamigos, the tequila company he cofounded and owns roughly a third of, for up to $1 billion. But the jury’s out about owning stock in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway: it has committed $1.5 billion to a credit facility for Canada’s Home Capital Group Inc. “The investment in Home Capital, which has acknowledged responsibility for mortgage fraud, also lets Berkshire deploy a small piece of its $96.5 billion hoard of cash…”
Legal regulatory updates
The Trump administration’s new position in the U.S. Supreme Court that workplace arbitration agreements banning class actions do not violate federal labor law is garnering support from the least unlikely source: big business. Several organizations submitted friend-of-the-court briefs after acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall notified the court on June 16 that President Trump’s DOJ is taking a different position than the Obama administration. The justice’s next term will hear arguments in a trio of disputes will over whether arbitration agreements are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act or whether they violate the National Labor Relations Act.
The SCOTUS decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California had the effect of confiscating many plaintiffs’ all-access passes to venues considered more favorable to their side, such as certain state courts in California, Illinois, Missouri and Texas. And that’s not lost on litigators who make a living on so-called “mass actions.” “It clearly is a game changer for certain of these state courts that have been receptive to the mass actions.”
Focusing more on mortgages, remember that the Trump Administration released its report on core principles for financial regulatory reform. Any changes to the regulatory system will be generally slow, as rule changes require comment periods and coordination between the different agencies. The Treasury Department principles don’t necessarily eliminate the Obama Administration’s regulatory regime, but they refine some and attempt to eliminate some of the unintended consequences. Ultimately, ending regulation by enforcement action will go a long way towards increasing capital availability.
Speaking of which, earlier this month the CFPB ordered a mortgage servicer to pay up to $1.15 million in restitution for failing to provide borrowers with required foreclosure protections when handling loss-mitigation applications. The consent order alleges the servicer violated RESPA by failing to send critical information to consumers who were applying for foreclosure relief, and, in some circumstances, beginning foreclosure proceedings on borrowers who had submitted completed applications.
At the Comply2017 conference held earlier this week in New York City, Scott Steckel, a member of the CFPB’s Office of Consumer Response, gave a presentation in which he detailed the CFPB’s complaint process and how the CFPB shares complaint data through its complaint database. Law firm Ballard Spahr covered it.
The Federal Trade Commission has provided its annual Financial Acts Enforcement Report to the CFPB covering the FTC’s enforcement activities in 2016 relating to compliance with Regulation Z (Truth in Lending Act), Regulation M (Consumer Leasing Act), and Regulation E (Electronic Fund Transfer Act). Under Dodd-Frank, the FTC retained its authority to enforce these regulations.
The Mortgage Bankers Association is objecting to one of the three recommendations made by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in its annual report to Congress. The FHFA said it intends to ask Congress to allow it to add certain regulated counterparties, specifically non-bank servicers, to its examination schedule. Mortgage News Daily reports that, “The agencies said that its regulated entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) and the Federal Home Loan Banks, contract with third parties for services to support the secondary mortgage market. ‘While oversight of these counterparties is important to safety and soundness of FHFA’s regulated entities,’ the reports says, ‘it is currently exercised only through contractual provisions where possible.’ Critics point out that the FHFA already can set GSE counterparty requirements on servicers and the CFPB’s comprehensive mortgage servicing rules apply to all mortgage servicers.
The MBA sent letters to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and HUD Secretary Ben Carson, urging them to seek a moratorium on the Department of Justice bringing claims under the False Claims Act (FCA) against mortgage lenders who participate in the FHA’s Mortgage Insurance Programs. In both letters, MBA urged the Attorney General to suspend and establish a moratorium on such actions until FHA has completed its work on the comprehensive “defect taxonomy” by establishing proportionate remedies for each severity tier, and by revising the loan level certifications. The FHA has not articulated clear standards setting forth the errors that affect insurability and might support indemnification or a False Claims action, and those errors that do not.
Looking at our interest rates, things have been very tame as of late, including today. No one likes volatility, especially us capital markets folks. And LOs who do a lot of business seem more focused on “getting the deal done” than bickering over price. Yesterday agency mortgage-backed security prices closed narrowly changed, and the Treasury market didn’t do much either (our friend the 10-year closed with a yield of 2.15%).
For the first official Friday of summer there isn’t much news. The Markit Manufacturing and Services PMIs (whatever that all tells us) at 9:45am ET. For something we all understand May new home sales are due at 10AM ET, and there is a gaggle of Fed presidents speaking today. For rates, the 10-year’s yield is 2.15% and agency MBS prices are nearly identical to last night’s close.
Jobs and Announcements
Homeward Residential is pleased to welcome Scott Houp as the Western Division VP of Sales, overseeing the division’s Broker, Emerging Banker and Non-Delegated origination channels. Mr. Houp comes to Homeward with over 30 years of mortgage banking residential lending experience. He has held senior leadership sales roles for some of the top money center banks and non-banking entities in the country, focusing specifically on business-to-business third party origination (TPO) for the last 22 years. “Scott’s knowledge and leadership are a great addition to our already highly experienced sales team,” says Greg O’Connor, President of Homeward. “He will be a fantastic resource for our originators and play a key role in the continued growth of Homeward’s TPO business.” Homeward is currently hiring experienced account executives nationwide. To learn more, contact Craig Drouin (561-682-7145) for a confidential consultation.
New Penn Financial, a nationally-recognized mortgage lender, recently announced the promotion of Kevin Harrigan to the position of Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Harrigan will lead the organization’s four business channels as well as New Penn’s corporate operations teams. “This is an exciting time to be part of New Penn,” said Harrigan. “We have a great team in place and I look forward to leading New Penn through this next stage of operational maturity and sustained growth.” New Penn offers residential mortgage loans through four business channels – Direct-to-Consumer (Call Center), Traditional Distributed Retail, Joint Venture, and (TPO). The organization has over 2,000 employees, operates 160 offices across the country, and is Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie, HUD, FHA, VA, and USDA approved. Since inception in 2008, New Penn has forged a national industry presence built on a deep menu of competitive products, exceptional customer service, and healthy lending practices. For more information on opportunities, contact Jennifer Smith.
The Compliance Group announced the release of a refreshed brand identity including a new logo and website. Annemaria Allen, CEO at TCG, explained that TCG was originally founded to provide quality care to our clients while also staying on top of the cutting edge of the complexities of compliance and credit risk. She believes the brand refresh will better reflect the current and future direction of the company and that TCG’s exciting new technology, enhanced website and brand refresh will leave the user wanting more. The Compliance Group is looking to the future with growth at the forefront. The newly launched TCG brand and website features a sleek, user and mobile friendly experience. Visitors will find a transformative new look including a new logo, modern website and formalized branding surrounding TCG service offerings.
WealthMaker, an Australian-based financial service company (mortgages and investments), is seeking merger and acquisition partners, as part of its expansion into the US market. You can visit WealthMaker at http://www.wealthmakerfinancialservices.com.au and also see www.facebook.com/WealthMakerFinancialServices). With the re-finance market drying up and increasing competitive pressures this is an opportunity to grow with a company that has a reputation for innovation (See Aspire Video on Facebook page). Please email confidential enquiries to Michael McAlary.
REX is “a well-funded, game-changing real estate technology startup located in Woodland Hills, CA. With the goal of improving the lives of homebuyers and sellers, REX created a digital platform and real estate service that eliminates traditional agent commissions, sells homes faster and shifts control away from agents over to those who matter most: consumers. Since 2015 REX has grown rapidly and is expanding nationwide. REX is seeking a mortgage broker who will work with us to establish a national REX mortgage brokerage that will make the experience of obtaining a home loan easy and positive for homebuyers. The principle role of the REX mortgage broker will be to help prospective home buyers secure financing for their dream home. The mortgage broker will guide these home buyers through every step of the loan process and create great experiences for those buyers. Contact: email@example.com
Most loan officers I meet are always looking for ways to grow their business. The great ones stand apart from the competition by not accepting status quo. They’re not afraid to try new tactics, to experiment with new lead acquisition efforts, and to continually hone their borrower experience along the way. As consumer expectations continue to shift, it is incumbent on any loan officer to meet prospects where they are to scale your business in a predictable way. A recent eBook from Maxwell, “6 Ways to Master Inbound Leads” provides a guide to increase your inbound leads and grow your business. From website optimization to digital campaigns to creating an “ideal borrower profile,” the eBook provides tips and links to free resources to help loan officers get ahead of their competition from the start. Download it free here.
Continuing to expand its West Coast Retail Division, PRMG announced Marlene Hoover as one of the newest Regional Managers for the Southern California Territory. “As an accomplished mortgage professional with over 29 years’ experience, known in the industry for her professionalism and high level of ethics, Marlene Hoover has demonstrated herself as a motivated leader, top-producer and an influential ambassador in supporting her teams. In her new role with PRMG, Marlene will support local retail Branch Managers and LOs with their career advancements and helping to expand their Retail footprint throughout Southern California. Prior to joining PRMG, Marlene held various management and senior leadership roles at several national retail lenders. Marlene will report directly to PRMG SVP, Director of National Retail Production; Chris Sorensen. Voted No. 1 of the 50 Best Companies to Work for in America 2015; No. 1 Best in the Desert 2017; and TOP 25 of 100 Mortgage Companies in America! PRMG employs over 1,300 people across the country! Contact Chris Sorensen (909.262.0452) for other opportunities.
Home Point Financial Corporation announced the formation of its new Institutions Group. This group will include Correspondent Lending, Capital Markets and Home Point’s wholly-owned warehouse lending subsidiary, NattyMac. Led by Maria Fregosi, Chief Capital Markets Officer, the Institutions Group will be able to efficiently and effectively serve correspondent clients with services and products that capitalize on the financial resources, technology and expertise of Home Point Financial.
ACES Risk Management (ARMCO), a provider of financial quality control and compliance software ACES Audit Technology, announced that it has hired Ben Mahan as chief technology officer (CTO).