Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Construction Warehouse Product and Bad News from Wells, HomeStreet, Banc of California, Citi, and Others

Depository banks know that, per the AARP, more than 67% of US assets are controlled by individuals age 50+, with this group representing more than 67% of all bank deposits. If you don't think that lenders view reverse mortgages as a growth industry, you're wrong - it may be the last chance to lend to this generation, right? There is a lot of bank M&A going on and it is not always confined to banks: Fifth Third Bank ($141B, OH) will acquire Retirement Corporation of America (RCA), a registered investment adviser providing retirement education & planning nationwide.
 In warehouse news, First Tennessee Warehouse Lending announced expanded support for construction loans.  Now best-in-class reliability and ease-of-use comes with even more flexibility. Frankly, warehouse lines often seem like they are all the same.  But First Tennessee can really make a difference with expanded hours for wire transfers, virtually perfect reliability, broad product support, high marks for ease-of-use, and the knowledge and experience needed to smoothly and quickly deliver your securities and distribute your cash.  Whether you originate 100 loans per month or 1,000, First Tennessee will make your life easier. You can meet them at the IMBA in Palm Springs, or call Scott Walker (901.759.7770).
 Parkside Lending has expanded its guidelines on FHA, and you are going to want to take note.  "Effective January 23, we have removed all DTI overlays and will now accept ratios evaluated by FHA TOTAL Scorecard/DU. In addition, our minimum FICO is now 620 and we allow downgrades to manual underwrites per FHA Handbook. For more details, contact your AE or sales@parksidelending.com. Come experience the power of caring on your next FHA loan with Parkside Lending."
 But there is plenty of bad news to go around.
 HomeStreet Bank ($6.2B, WA) has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle SEC charges of improper hedge accounting violations, including unsupported adjustments to effectiveness testing that led to more favorable accounting practice.
 Citigroup Inc. ($222 billion) saw its mortgage units fined $28.8 million for keeping home borrowers in the dark about options to avoid foreclosure and making it difficult for them to apply for relief, per the CFPB. CitiMortgage will pay an estimated $17 million to compensate wronged consumers, as well as a civil penalty of $3 million; CitiFinancial Services will refund approximately $4.4 million to consumers, and pay a civil penalty of $4.4 million. The CFPB said the subsidiaries neither admitted nor denied the findings in the consent orders. (We've heard that one.) The lesson? Don't give "the runaround to borrowers" on mortgage servicing by keeping borrowers in the dark about options to avoid foreclosure or making it difficult for them to apply for relief.
 The Banc of California ($11 billion in assets) had its CEO and Chairman Steven Sugarman "resign." It doesn't help that the company is being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about whether the bank misled investors. Banc of California has named Hugh Boyle, its chief risk officer, as its interim president and CEO. J. Francisco A. Turner, chief strategy officer and principal financial officer, will partner with Boyle as interim chief financial officer and president. Robert D. Sznewajs, the board's chair of the Joint Audit Committee, will assume the role of chairman.
 The returns have been good, but stockholders have $100 million less since the Banc of California ponied up that sum for the naming rights on Los Angeles's new soccer stadium. There are concerns raised about deals benefiting Sugarman's family and board members, and Sugarman's brother is a minority investor in the soccer team. The bank's shares plummeted in October after the financial website Seeking Alpha published an anonymous short seller's report alleging ties between its leadership and an imprisoned con man.
 There is more negative press about Wells Fargo's retail bank behavior. Bloomberg reports that WFC charged some homebuyers fees to extent promised rates when the bank failed to process their mortgage applications on time.
 Another day, another settlement. Societe Generale SOGN.PA agreed to pay a $50 million civil fine to settle U.S. claims that it defrauded investors in connection with the marketing and sale of residential mortgage-backed securities. The U.S. Department of Justice announced the settlement on Friday, and said the French bank acknowledged having committed misconduct.
 A U.S. judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to hold Deutsche Bank AG liable to investors, including dozens of portfolios from BlackRock Inc and Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO), for losses on poorly underwritten residential mortgage-backed securities. The proposed class-action lawsuit sought to recover "significant monetary damages" arising from Deutsche Bank's alleged "failure to discharge its essential duties" as trustee of 62 trusts created between 2004 and 2008, and which issued notes backed by about $90.3 billion of home loans. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan denied its request to dismiss representations-and-warranties, servicer-notification and event-of-default claims.
 In CFPB news, last week republican senators Deb Fischer (NE), Ron Johnson (WI) and John Barrasso (WY) introduced a bill (S. 105) that would amend the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 to replace the CFPB's current single director with a bipartisan, five-member board. The proposed leadership structure would be like that of other financial regulators, including the FDIC, SEC and CFTC.
  Mortgage rates...
 Longer term mortgage rates are set by supply and demand - the magical hand. So what if the New York Fed, which has been buying agency MBS to the tune of $1-2 billion a day recently, stopped? Last week Philadelphia Fed President Harker reiterated that the Fed should consider ending reinvestments once the Fed funds rate reaches 1%, consistent with other earlier statements from Fed officials.
 And look at the impact the FHA MIP about-face had on things. The Ginnie market has been roiled by the surprise FHA MIP cut of 25bp weeks ago followed by its rollback last Friday. And there are prepayments to grapple with based in changes like that: the rollback removes the longer-term impact but short term disruptions may alter January and February FHA prints. MIPs present an easy lever for reducing the government mortgage footprint, and Congressional Republicans have called for them to go higher.
 Unless you've been living under a rock you know that Donald Trump is now our president and that is all that has been talked about for some time now. So let's change the subject to something that NEVER gets talked about here, interest rates and the housing market. The Federal Reserve has talked nonstop about how they would like to see inflation reach their benchmark rate of 2% and it looks like that has finally happened. Last week we learned that both headline and core inflation rose above 2 percent over the year for the first time since mid-2014. This bodes well for the future of interest rate hikes - if you want to see them.
 The housing market has continued to improve in most areas. Housing starts jumped 11.3% in December. Wells Fargo noted that, "The jump was not all that surprising given November's drop, but the bounce back was larger than expected." It also seems that this growth is set to continue. "Looking at 2016 as a whole, the annual average for permits is running ahead of starts, which points to a pickup in activity in the year ahead."  However, existing home sales are expected to fall for the month of December. On top of that, "Homebuilder confidence retreated 2 points in January from its cycle high of 69 in December, as the recent jump in mortgage rates slightly offset builders' post-election confidence bump."
 Breakeven inflation expectations for five-year and 10-year horizons have risen since election day-by 31 basis points for the five-year and 27 basis points for the 10-year. This is important to note for the future of FOMC interest rate hikes. Some people are projecting that inflation is going to continue its rise, however we have witnessed FOMC members consistently over-forecast inflation as well as their response via the fed funds rate. Policy proposals to scale back financial regulations and reduce the tensions between regulators and the regulated, however, may free up bank capital and allow for greater lending.
 Moreover, if there is a greater expectation for domestic economic growth, then both bank and non-bank credit may open up. Thus, interest rates may not rise as much or as quickly as some analysts are projecting. Perhaps the increase in inflation will not be sustained significantly in the future. If so, then the Fed may be able to live with less than the three funds rate increases projected for 2017.
 For example, Monday U.S. Treasuries and agency MBS rallied/improved, and rates moved back to where they were in the middle of last week. The MBS market opened the week in impressive fashion amidst light volumes, closing tighter on the day led by lower coupons which were supported by solid demand with treasuries rallying in "risk off" fashion ahead of today. The 10-year improved more than .5 in price to close yielding 2.40% while the 5-year note and MBS prices improved .250-.375 depending on coupon and maturity.
 This morning we're influenced by overseas news. Britain's Supreme Court has ruled that the UK government must hold a vote in parliament before beginning the process of leaving the European Union. Turkey raised rates (9.25% overnight funds), and the Italian Constitutional Court ruled on the legality of current election laws.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Non-QM on the rise? Guild and Quicken in the Media Two Sides to the FHA About-Face, Mortgage and Bank Conferences

An elderly, but hardy cattleman from Texas once told a young female neighbor that if she wanted to live a long life, the secret was to sprinkle a pinch of gunpowder on her oatmeal each morning.
She did this religiously and lived to the age of 103. She left behind 14 children, 30 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, five great-great-grandchildren and a 40-foot hole where the crematorium used to be\Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those that lost their lives in storms in the South and East. On the other coast, Los Angeles has received more rain over the weekend than in all of 2013! And while we're talking about extremes, the definition of "mansion" can be relative. Whatever it means, exactly, is unknown, but Bruce Springsteen is selling his.

 In broker & AE job news, FundLoans.com is a residential wholesale jumbo non-QM lender. "At FundLoans.com we take a common-sense approach to looking at your loan. We don't underwrite like a bank, we underwrite like a private fund. We thrive in the super jumbo area and love working with self-employed borrowers. FundLoans.comis looking for experienced Account Executives who thrive when challenged, inspired to deliver a level of service unparalleled in the mortgage industry. Come join the nation's newest Jumbo Non-QM lender as we grow and thrive in this lucrative new space. We are hiring in the following markets: CA, FL, TX, AZ, CO, WA, OR."  Email your resume today for additional information and consideration to David Hidy (760-388-5888).
 Mortgage companies in the news? Sometimes, even when it is good news and helpful to the borrower, the tone of the reporter(s) makes it disdainful. Take this TV story on Guild Mortgage offering the loan program from Unison that splits the down payment in exchange for future equity. ("Do you mean, the borrower actually has to pay something back?")
 Quicken Loans received some press over the weekend. The government has filed a lawsuit accusing Quicken of aggressive FHA underwriting practices. Quicken denies the charges and notes how it has some of the best credit performance in the FHA program.
 Who can work in the mortgage business without training, or attending some related events?
 Don't miss early bird registration for Lenders One's Winter Conference on March 5 - 8 at the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando. This members-only event will deliver valuable insights and includes access to brand-new 2017 Lenders One programs and services. Hear from keynote speaker Kevin Carroll, who has worked with organizations such as Walt Disney, Nike, ESPN and Starbucks, to learn how to elevate your business through the power of play. With education session tracks including leadership & growth strategy, compliance, business development and operational efficiency, plus multiple networking opportunities for sharing best practices - this is an event you'll want to attend. Contact Susan Malpocker for questions or more information about Lenders One.
 Expect a different conference experience at ABA Real Estate Lending Conference March 29-31st in Orlando. Sessions have been crafted in close collaboration with bankers and our corporate partners to provide practical, relevant content. The conference format has been changed to fully encourage conversations and open exchange of insights and experiences. ABA has extended its early bird registration deadline to February 1st. Members will save $200 if they register before the cut-off. Plus, ABA member banks can benefit from an additional team discount.
 FHA's annual recertification deadline is around the corner and the certification language is new. Are you ready? Join BuckleySandler for a complimentary webinar on January 31st. Guest speaker from FHA's Lender Approval and Recertification Division, and BuckleySandler partners Michelle Rogers, Melissa Klimkiewicz, and Katy Ryan, will help mortgagees navigate this year's FHA annual recertification.
 Politics and lending are intertwined, and we'll see if that changes much in the next four years. The very first executive action by the new Trump administration was to, as one newspaper put it, "block an Obama administration (move) that would have reduced the cost of mortgages for millions of home buyers." In the first hour of Trump's presidency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sent a letter suspending the 0.25 percentage point premium rate cut for Federal Housing Administration-backed loans. The FHA published Mortgagee Letter 2017-07, which immediately suspends Mortgagee Letter 2017-01, Reduction of FHA Annual Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP) Rates, until further notice.
 One headline read, "In First Act as President, Trump Raises Mortgage Rates on Struggling Homeowners." HUD's letter implied that they felt the insurance fund was not yet stable and couldn't afford it, and suspended the cut "indefinitely ... effective immediately."
 But all along, since that January 9 announcement, Republicans cast the move as hasty and said it threatened to undermine the stability of the system. And on Friday General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing Genger Charles announced that HUD would "suspend indefinitely" the rate reduction, saying "more analysis and research are deemed necessary." Dave Stevens, President of the MBA, conjectured that the new administration "haven't had their own chance to look at the state of the reserves, the strength of the fund and make their own analysis. My view of this is that it is not ideological whatsoever. It is a technical decision."
 On reader asked, "Where do the Mortgage Insurance Premiums go?" The premiums fund the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, which would bail out lenders if borrowers default on their mortgages. The balance in the fund that backs FHA mortgages is just 16% higher than the legal minimum. One politician noted that, "This strikes me as very little buffer above the minimum. And after all, as recently as 2013, the FHA needed a bailout."
 There is a reason that FHA insures about 16% of new mortgages in the United States. Lenders will admit that FHA loans are still a great deal even with the old MIP rates. The loan amounts can be very high, depending on county, with 3.5% down, non-occupant co-borrowers allowed, all gift, seller credit, no termite report necessary, lower credit scores are OK, and so on.
 As one would expect shares of publicly traded mortgage insurance providers such as MGIC Investment or Radian Group moved higher on Friday. Recall that on January 9, shares of MGIC & Radian fell 3-5% when the FHA said it would reduce the annual premiums on mortgage insurance on home loans agency insures by a quarter point on Jan. 27. But not to worry: both stocks have been big gainers since the election: Radian is up roughly 36% since Nov. 8, and MGIC is up about 27%.
 "Based on the prior administration's lack of communication on the FHA premium reduction, we believe the decision to review such action prior to implementation is prudent. We are confident the review will support a premium cut," said Scott Olson, CHLA's Executive Director. "Our hope is the Administration will conduct a comprehensive review of housing policies and implement changes that will help millions of Americans who have been left out of homeownership for far too long."
 And the AEI International Center on Housing Risk applauded the move as well, saying it is good news for both first time homebuyers and taxpayers. "The fact is that little of the price cut goes to expand access to new homebuyers not already intending to purchase. Research by the AEI International Center on Housing Risk has demonstrated that implementing a mortgage premium price cut during a seller's market (defined as <=6 months of homes for sale inventory at current selling rate) does little to expand access to new borrowers. 
 "Suspending the premium cut will benefit taxpayers, as it will result in additional needed capital accumulation by the FHA. There is general agreement that the current 2% minimum standard is just that, a minimum... suspending this price cut may well forestall the usual tit-for-tat responses from the FHA's tax-payer supported competitors-responses that only serve to fuel a race to the bottom."
 Investors and lenders were, of course, quick to act. "This is an operational nightmare," one doc drawer sent me. The MBA sent out a bulletin highlighting the most common operational and compliance challenges that will arise as a result of this action. 
Franklin American sent out, "...The MIP Charts that are currently in effect and were published as of 9-14-2015 must continue to be utilized for all FHA transactions."
 Pacific Union sent, "...With this change, all FHA loans must be disclosed at the current MIP requirement for the program. Pipeline loans disclosed with the lower MIP will need to be re-disclosed within the next three business days (1/20/2017-1/25/2017) to reflect current MIP rates.  Announcement of suspension of the MIP reduction is considered a valid change of circumstance, allowing for re-disclosure within three general business days. Please note that, upon re-disclosure, a new three specific business day waiting period will be required if: 1.A CD was already disclosed on the file; and 2.       The new increased MIP amount causes the previously-delivered CD to become inaccurate (i.e., the APR increases by more than .125%).
 From the primary markets to the secondary markets...
If anyone wants to know what made rates scoot up last week they have no further to look than Janet Yellen's speech. It seems that the U.S. economy is closing in on the Federal Reserve's goals: the long-run unemployment rate is around 4.75%, and inflation slowly inching back towards 2%. Ms. Yellen suggested that "As the economy approaches our objectives, it makes sense to gradually reduce the level of monetary policy support... Our foot remains on the pedal in part because we want to make sure the economic expansion remains strong enough to withstand an unexpected shock, given that we don't have much room to cut interest rates."
 For actual rates, Friday we prices didn't do much and ended the day near Thursday's levels. Following the FHA MIP announcement, G2/FN swaps popped 1 to 3 ticks vs. prior to the announcement. But that was then, this is now, and let's see what we have for economic news this week. Zip today; tomorrow will be December Existing Home Sales and a $26 billion 2-year Treasury auction. Hump Day are the MBA Mortgage Index for last week, November FHFA Housing Price Index, and a $34 billion 5-year Treasury auction.
 Thursday contains the December Advance International Trade in Goods figure, Initial Jobless Claims, December Leading Indicators, December New Home Sales, and a $28 billion 7-year Treasury auction. Friday we wrap things up with the Q4 GDP and GDP Deflator, December Durable Goods Orders, and January Michigan Sentiment. Friday the 10-year note closed yielding 2.47%. This morning it is floating around 2.46% with agency MBS prices roughly unchanged versus Friday end-of-day.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Vendor News and Their New Products, Agency News and Updates - They Don't Stop

A psychotherapist returned from a conference at Vail in the Rocky Mountains, where the delegates spent more time on the steep and very icy ski slopes than attending lectures and seminars.
When she got back, her husband asked her, "So, how did it go?"
"Great," she replied, "but I've never seen so many Freudians slip."

How many people find fault seemingly every day with the FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac programs or structure? Plenty - see below - they can't seem to catch a break. What I really meant to ask is how many people live in the United States of America? The Census Bureau projected that the U.S. population was 324,310,011 as of January 1st. This is an increase of 2,245,347 (0.7%) since New Year's Day 2016. Overall, the U.S. population is expected to increase by 1 person every 16 seconds. (It's a global phenomenon. Throughout the world, the population increased by 77,849,375 from 2016 New Year's Day to 2017 New Year's Day. During January 2017, 4.3 births and 1.8 deaths are expected worldwide every second.)
 Alight, Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based applications for real-time, dynamic scenario comparison and analysis, announced that GEM Mortgage, a division of Golden Empire Mortgage Corporation Inc., has selected Alight Mortgage Lending for continuous reforecasting. "Built by mortgage professionals, Alight Mortgage Lending is the industry's only application for
real-time multiple scenario and what-if analysis." David Chesney, EVP and CFO at GEM, noted, "We need to be nimble, and Alight's ability to forecast various economic scenarios will enable us to move quickly in response to changing economic conditions."
 Movement Mortgage reported launching "Movement Mortgage Marketing," or M3, a new proprietary marketing, sales and customer engagement platform powered by technology from Total Expert Inc. "This is a difference-maker for our organization and our vision to be a movement of change in the mortgage industry," said Movement Mortgage Chief Brand Officer David King in a press release. Movement reported that the platform will help 2,000 sales professionals to better "manage their contact databases, connect with clients and prospects and spread their message through multiple media channels, including video, social media, email and print." Joe Welu, CEO of Total Expert stated, "Movement Mortgage is deeply passionate about innovation and building a company designed for the future of mortgage lending which makes them an ideal partner for Total Expert." To learn more about Total Expert, visit totalexpertinc.com
 Freedom Mortgage has begun using the Simplifile Collaboration service in its wholesale division to quickly and easily exchange data with its settlement partners. Simplifile Collaboration enables lenders to share, receive, and validate documents and data with their settlement partners via a secure platform and provides visibility into settlement partner processes, resulting in faster, transparent, and more compliant mortgage closings. The system also automatically notes file changes, updates, deficiencies, and statuses to craft an audit-ready compliance trail.
 Credit Plus announced the availability of its Lost Sales Analysis by Equifax*, a new product that helps lenders gain a better understanding of the applicants they've lost, who they lost them to, and why. It provides loan-level competitive intelligence that can help them maximize their marketing ROI while improving closing rates and customer retention. With the detailed data contained in the Lost Sales Analysis, lenders can determine if their applicants closed their loans with a competitor, monitor portfolio run-off trends, and assess pipeline fallout. The specific output contained in the Lost Sales Analysis includes: Name of the lender associated with the lost sale, purchase/refinance flags and Characteristics associated with the consumer's new loan, such as the origination date and amount, loan type, estimated balance, purchase price, sale amount, and more.
 Credit Plus' newest installment of America's Mortgage News is now available and reviews some of the things Credit Plus anticipates will impact our industry this year. There are some educated guesses based on the data that's out there and what mortgage experts are saying about the months to come. Certainly, as with any other year, events may happen that none of us could possibly predict. In this episode, Credit Plus does its best to shine some light on a few things that are likely to occur in 2017 and the mortgage industry's expected response to them.
 Do you know what Day 1 Certainty can do for you and your borrowers? CoAmp provided links to Fannie Mae Day 1 Certainty overview, an audio collateral underwriting webinar and
Fannie Mae Day 1 Certainty You Tube video.                
 In Agency & government program lending news, the news is coming fast and furious.
 Yesterday's questioning of Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin resulted in some news.  For example, he said that although he favored the Volcker rule for FDIC-insured banks, it was overly complex and needed modification. Mnuchin also suggested that a "21st century Glass-Steagall" act might be worth considering.
 His testimony didn't do the Agencies' stock price any favors. Fannie Mae turned negative, dropping as much as 11%, with Freddie Mac down as much as 11%, after Trump's Mnuchin said at the Senate hearing that he never endorsed the idea of "recap and release." He said that Fannie & Freddie are very important entities, that we need housing reform, and that we shouldn't leave Fannie, Freddie without a fix.
 In other stock-related agency news, Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) announced that its request to delistits debt and mortgage securities from the Luxembourg Stock Exchange was granted on Jan. 17, 2017. The securities, as detailed in ANNEX A, will be withdrawn from trading effective Feb. 15, 2017.
 Turning to FHA news, for quite some time everyone in the biz has been talking about the increased market share that non-depository banks compared to "regular" banks. And this is especially evident to the FHA program which has been a lightning rod for HUD and DOJ lawsuits against lenders. These penalties and the process of fighting them have caused some like Chase to scale back their desire to even originate these loans.
 Residential lending veterans weren't surprised at the Wall Street Journal article yesterday pointing out how FHA-backed loan balances have topped $1 trillion for the first time in November and the rise of non-bank lenders in this corner of the market. It is creating concerns - again no surprise that those in the industry were already aware of. But yes, the nonbank share of FHA lending is worrying some in Washington. As banks have retreated from FHA lending, nonbank lenders like Quicken and Freedom have taken up the slack. GNMA is conducting a push to lure banks back into the business. But if GNMA offers preferential pricing to some, isn't that a form of discrimination?
 The boss of Freddie and Fannie (the FHFA) requested input on the Duty to Serve Program.  The statute requires the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to serve three specified underserved markets manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing by improving distribution and availability of mortgage financing in a safe and sound manner for residential properties that serve very low-, low- and moderate-income families in these markets.
 Fannie Mae's  DU Validation Service Verification Report Vendors list showing vendors that can provide eligible verification reports to lenders has been updated and expanded.
 The Fannie Mae Servicing Guide has been updated to include changes related to Investor Reporting Requirements, Retirement of Non-Eligible List and Miscellaneous Revision. Policy changes not applicable to Reverse Mortgage Loans. The full release is available for viewing. Or, if you prefer, view the video presented by Bill Cleary, Vice President of Single-Family Servicing Policy & Solutions.
 The question was posed, "Does Freddie Mac require employees of each approved Seller/Servicer to complete annual fraud training?" MQMR sent out, "Yes. Chapter 3201.1 of Freddie Mac's Single Family Seller/Servicer Guide addresses Fraud Prevention and Detection. It indicates, in relevant part, that Sellers/Servicers must train employees, and certain non-employees, who are in a position to notice and report fraud or suspected fraud at least annually to ensure that these employees are aware of emerging fraud scenarios. Such individuals must be trained in all applicable areas of the Seller's/Servicer's mortgage business regarding: (1) Common and emerging fraud schemes; and (2) Red flags that may signal fraud and the need for further review. Non-employees who may require fraud prevention and detection training include, but are not necessarily limited to, contract underwriters and processors, contract quality control firms, borrower outreach companies, loss mitigation providers and collection companies. Trainings may be conducted by the Seller/Servicer or by a qualified third party. Alternatively, the Guide permits Sellers/Servicers to meet the training requirements by obtaining annual written verifications from the individuals requiring training.  Verifications must confirm that training has been received from a third party and meets the requirements of the Guide."
 Capital markets news...
 Recently Freddie Mac spread the news that it had transferred $8.4 billion in potential credit losses on nearly $215 billion of single-family mortgages to private market investors across its four single-family credit risk offerings in 2016. "Since 2013, the company has led the market in credit risk transfer on approximately $602 billion of single-family mortgages -- providing approximately $25 billion of loss protection to taxpayers."
 Any LO waiting to lock in a rate for a borrower was disappointed yesterday when U.S. Treasuries and MBS prices declined for the second-straight session. (The 10-year yield hit 2.496% but closed at 2.46%; mortgages worsened .250-.375.) The European Central Bank rate decision and accompanying statement was just what the market expected this morning, but U.S. housing starts beat economists' estimates and saw an upward revision to the prior month's data. And the Philly Fed Index of manufacturing activity in mid-Atlantic states registered a two-year high. If that wasn't enough, initial jobless claims fell to a 43-year low for the week ending January 14.
 For economic news today... there is none. There are a couple Fed speakers. (It is actually more noteworthy when there are NO Fed Presidents speaking.) In case you haven't heard today is Inauguration Day when Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. We find the 10-year's yield, as a barometer of the general interest rate environment, at 2.50% this morning with agency MBS prices worse .125 versus last night.