Lots of Job Hunting, but No Job, Despite Low Unemployment - The New York Times

Lots of Job Hunting, but No Job, Despite Low Unemployment - The New York Times


Lots of Job Hunting, but No Job, Despite Low Unemployment - The New York Times

Posted: 31 Oct 2019 02:00 AM PDT

RIVER VALE, N.J. — Laura Ward flipped through the small, lined notebook where she had neatly recorded every job posting she had answered, résumé she had sent and application she had completed since being laid off in March 2016.

Laura Ward flips through one of her job hunting notebooks.

No. 28 was a job listing for a creative manager at Byre Group posted on the website Indeed.

No. 97 was about a brand marketing administrator job at Benjamin Moore.

No. 109 — marketing operations at AMC. No. 158 — associate project manager at Vitamin Shoppe.

Callbacks were circled in green. Rejections were marked with a red X. Most have neither, signaling no reply one way or the other. Bottled messages dropped in an ocean.

"I had to keep track somehow," said Ms. Ward, who has maintained job-hunting diaries since the 1990s.

Even in some of the hottest labor markets in the country — let alone lagging rural regions and former industrial powerhouses — workers, including skilled ones like Ms. Ward, say they cannot find jobs that provide a middle-class income and don't come with an expiration date.

After more than a decade as production manager at a small advertising agency, Ms. Ward was let go after the firm lost a major account. Over the last three and a half years, she has worked temporary stints, and bolstered her skills by taking a project-management course at a nearby college. But she has not been able to find a steady, full-time job.

So for her, the reports of low unemployment rates and employer complaints of labor shortages are puzzling.

"I don't know what all those jobs out there are," she said from her living room in River Vale, a New Jersey suburb within commuting distance of Manhattan.

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Credit...Mary Inhea Kang for The New York Times

The continuing strength of the labor market has been one of the most remarkable economic achievements since the recession petered out. One hundred and eight months of consecutive job gains have coaxed discouraged and disabled Americans back into the work force and raised wages and hours, particularly for those at low end of the pay scale.

But beneath the clear benefits of the economic expansion, there is an undertow of anxiety, heightened recently by fears of slowing growth around the globe and in the United States.

"We're not focusing enough on the people who have continued to be left behind by this recovery," said Martha Gimbel, a manager of economic research at Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative. "We have not talked enough about the workers who are still stuck even in a labor market that is this competitive."

Most of these people do not show up in the stunningly low official unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, the lowest in a half-century. Working even one hour during the week when the Labor Department does its employment survey keeps you out of the jobless category.

Many more show up in a broader measure, which includes people who are working part time but would prefer full-time employment, and those who want to work but have given up an active job search. That rate in September was 6.9 percent, some 11 million people.

But there are also many others, like Ms. Ward, who work temporary jobs for months at a time and are not necessarily captured in either measure. And millions of contract workers — freelancers, consultants, Lyft drivers — lack benefits, regular schedules and job security. They have found a foothold, but it rests on loose rock.

A recent survey by Gallup found that a majority of Americans do not consider themselves to be in a "good job."

Appealing to "Americans on the sidelines" and those who had not benefited from the "so-called recovery" was a key element of Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016. Now, Democratic presidential contenders like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are arguing that American workers have barely shared in the economy's gains.

And they have bypassed benchmark statistics like the unemployment rate, and focused instead on the system's fundamental unfairness, highlighting stark income inequality and worker rights.

The political pressures have even registered in penthouse suites. The Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives of some of the nation's biggest corporations, issued a new mission statement in August, declaring that companies should promote the interests of their employees as well as their investors.

"We know that many Americans are struggling," the group said in a release. "Too often hard work is not rewarded, and not enough is being done for workers to adjust to the rapid pace of change in the economy."

Such pronouncements have yet to produce a tangible change in many Americans' daily lives.

One in four workers say they have unpredictable work schedules, which can have insidious effects on family life. One in five adults who are employed say they want to work more hours. Annual wage growth has struggled to reach 3 percent. And nearly 40 percent of Americans, a Federal Reserve report found, are in such a financially precarious state that they say they would have trouble finding $400 for an unexpected expense like a car repair or a medical bill.

Keenan Harton, 45, juggles two jobs, one at a Biscuitville fast-food restaurant that pays $8 an hour, and another at a hospital laundry in Durham, N.C., that pays $10.50 an hour. Often he shows up for work at the fast-food job for an eight-hour shift, only to be sent home after a couple of hours if business is slow.

"It's real hard to find a full-time job that's actually going to pay over $10 an hour," said Mr. Harton, who has a high school diploma.

Four hundred fifty miles north, in New Jersey, Sonia Johnson's last job was in August, a four-week assignment. "But my last full-time direct hire was back in 2009," said Ms. Johnson, who worked in the human resources department of a pharmaceutical company until she was laid off. "For me, it's been all through an agency, working as a contractor."

Ms. Johnson, 55, who has a college degree, said she had kept her skills up to date by using grant money from the state's labor department to take courses. "I have really good technical skills," she said.

Asked how many jobs she had applied for, Ms. Johnson hesitated. "It's almost embarrassing," she said. "At least 500."

Her impression is that the contract work that enables her to pay the bills may at times hinder her ability to get a full-time job. "Employers are not happy with people with a contract working background," Ms. Johnson said, adding that they are also suspicious of any gaps in a résumé.

National averages, of course, can mask distinct geographical differences. Workers may not have the specific skills a particular employer needs, or live where a job opening is. But research also shows that some employers have a negative view of people who have been unemployed for long stretches at a time.

"The longer you are unemployed, the more stigma is attached," said Carl Van Horn, the founding director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

African-Americans and older Americans are more likely to find themselves among the long-term unemployed, he said, a group that includes people out of work for more than six months. And age discrimination, particularly against women over 40, has been documented in several studies.

"There are very limited remedies in this country to deal with these issues," Mr. Van Horn said. Cash assistance runs out, and there are few retraining opportunities. He noted that a lot of higher education assistance, like Pell Grants, do not pay for short-term training, which is what many people lacking a particular skill could benefit from.

The Heldrich Center runs the New Start Career Network, a program for the long-term unemployed that provides online job-search resources, job fairs and career coaching.

Both Ms. Ward and Ms. Johnson are members, and that is where they learned about the state's grants for training.

"Every morning, I wake up and there's that one second when I realize I don't have a job, and it's scary and awful," Ms. Ward said.

Holding her notebook in her lap, Ms. Ward slowly ran her finger along the pages of color-coded entries of job leads.

"It's interesting to watch as time went on," she said. As the weeks, and then months went by, her search criteria shifted. "O.K., a little further away, 35 miles instead of 25," she recalled. "Maybe a little less money, maybe this title instead of that."

Her cellphone rang, and she excused herself to answer it.

"I applied to these three jobs yesterday, and I thought maybe they'll call me," she said when she did not recognize the number. It turned out to be a nuisance call.

Now that three years have passed since her last training, Ms. Ward is again eligible to receive unemployment insurance while taking up to $4,000 worth of classes. She has signed up for a social-media marketing class and an introductory design course.

"That should buy me till the end of the year," she said.

Working remotely: the pros and cons of working from home - Vox.com

Posted: 09 Oct 2019 12:00 AM PDT

From their ersatz offices in coffee shops, coworking spaces, and living rooms, a growing number of remote workers are quietly remaking the way we work and live.

Take Eden Rehmet, who was able to parlay her wages working in trade services at a New York City commodities broker into buying a home and opening a small business upstate.

Rob Osoria, a web developer, works remotely from Brooklyn half of the week to skip a commute to his Manhattan office.

And interior designer Meg Lavalette gets the best of both worlds by living and doing the majority of her work in rural upstate New York, while traveling to New York City every other week to meet with clients.

All of them told Recode that apart from a few downsides, they have improved the quality of their lives by working remotely and releasing their tether to specific places near their employers. While remote work has blurred some of the boundaries between their work lives and their personal lives, they say they're happier and often more productive than they'd been at traditional offices.

Depending on how you measure it, remote employees like these make up anywhere from 5.3 percent (those who typically work from home) to nearly two-thirds (who work remotely ever) of the US workforce, a number that has been rising since the advent of a reliable and robust home broadband connection earlier this decade.

The changes remote work has introduced have happened so gradually you may not have noticed. But its growing popularity is remaking how we work, the tools we use to work, how we communicate at work, and even the hours we work. It's also connected to population shifts from big cities to less populated areas, and it's upending sectors of commercial real estate, both in terms of how spaces are designed and where they're located.

What was once a rarity among a select set of workers is quickly becoming a defining feature of the future of work.

The ups and downs of remote work

When the Great Recession hit back in 2008, many US companies downsized their office space to save money and began allowing, or even encouraging, employees to work from home. But what was born from necessity has stuck around long after the economy rebounded. It turned out that remote work has benefits besides cheaper office rent.

While the broad impacts of remote work have yet to be measured across industries and for extended lengths of time, initial studies have found that it can increase productivity and lower employee turnover. A recent Harvard Business Review study of US Patent and Trade Office workers found their output increased by 4.4 percent after a transition to remote work, with no significant increase in having to rewrite patents due to appeals. And a Stanford study of a 16,000-employee Chinese travel agency found that remote work increased employee satisfaction and helped halve the agency's previous employee attrition rates.

"There's less distraction from people talking in the office," Rehmet, who was the first in her office to work remotely, said. "I'm more productive. I have the ability to concentrate and create my own environment."

Inside a coffee shop in Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, California, a man writing code has transformed a cafe table into a standing desk.
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Osoria, who's a lead developer at the Council of Foreign Relations, says he's just as productive at home. "If I'm in the office, there are coffee breaks, interruptions, socializing — that's not happening at home."

Lavalette, who owns an interior design business called LAVA Interiors, says she's markedly more productive working remotely.

"It's required me to be more organized and thoughtful about my schedule," she said.

In its State of Remote Work survey, social media management company Buffer found that 99 percent of remote workers would like to continue working remotely at least part of the time for the rest of their careers, and 95 percent would recommend it to others.

This type of work has also been a boon for parents who need more flexibility in their schedules to accommodate child care, school events, and sick kids, though trying to work from home with children has its own pitfalls.

In general, companies' growing acceptance of remote work signifies wider acknowledgment that it's important to offer employees flexibility and more options for balancing work and their personal lives.

And in a near full-employment economy, to be competitive in recruiting the best talent, employers are under pressure to offer remote work as a perk.

Countless startups operate remotely from their launch. The computer manufacturer Dell, which is headquartered in Texas, wants to have 50 percent of its workforce working remotely at least some of the time by next year. Amazon recently hired 3,000 remote customer service workers, putting it in the top 10 for most remote jobs listed in 2018, above other well-known remote-friendly companies like UnitedHealth Group, Salesforce, and SAP.

"It became a strategic initiative rather than just a tactical one," Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, told Recode.

"I don't look at it as a perk; I look at it as a requirement," Osoria, whose team has increasingly moved remote even though his overall organization hasn't, said. "Whoever I work for next, if they tell me I can't work remotely, I'm not working for them."

Osoria is surprised more people don't work remotely.

"Everyone who has to crack a laptop potentially has the freedom of working remotely," he said.

Remote work does have its share of problems. Some people dislike working in the same place where they live and relax, and it can be difficult to create and maintain a company culture without people being in the same room.

"For some situations, it's good to have a face-to-face connection," Rehmet said. But she added, "I still talk to everyone every single day."

Also, when people are always connected through technology, it can be hard to stop working.

"I think it's hard as a business owner who also works remotely because I do sometimes work on weekends. That's just what it takes sometimes," Lavalette said.

The Buffer survey cited the most common downsides to remote work are the inability to unplug, loneliness, and difficulty collaborating. That same flexibility remote work enables can create an always-on culture. Perhaps surprisingly, working at home can lead to longer hours than they would have in a traditional office setting.

"The good news is the 9-5 boundaries have broken down; the bad news is the 9-5 boundaries have broken down," Steve King, partner at small business consulting firm Emergent Research, told Recode. "Most people so far are happy to make that trade-off, to have flexibility in how they live life and work in exchange for sometimes knowing that at 9 o'clock at night you'll be answering emails."

How we work

Remote work has come to mean a spectrum of somewhere between always in the office and always remote. The constant is that there is choice.

But while remote work is becoming increasingly common, it's still only an option for certain kinds of workers. First, remote work requires reliable, secure at-home broadband connections that can power video conferences. Because much of rural America lacks broadband internet, remote work is restricted to areas with access to that tech.

And the growth of remote work has been mostly concentrated among knowledge workers, who tend to be more educated and wealthier, though more manual or in-person labor has elements that can be — and are being — done remotely.

Technology advancements enabled remote work, but now remote workers' demands are driving technology forward. New workplace communications software is coming out seemingly every month, promising to be the next, better, and more productive Slack. Video conferencing software company Zoom went public this spring, and video hardware makers are promising better and better cameras and viewing experiences, all in the hope of making video communication more natural.

It's important to note that these same technologies are all used in-office, too.

"In reality, whether you're nine feet, nine floors, or nine miles away, you're probably communicating with colleagues remotely," Lister said. "The tools to make sure everyone succeeds are the same tools you need for working remotely."

The type of work people do has also changed as companies seek to cut costs and time in order to be more agile.

"We used to sit in our silos and do work," King said. "Now it's more cross-functional. If you're working on marketing, you'd better have IT involved. If you do the marketing right and increase sales, you've got to have the supply chain involved."

Working between departments, which may already be located in other offices, requires flexibility and remote communication because it's unlikely all of these teams can be in the same place at the same time.

And when people have the choice, they're opting out of commutes: The fastest-growing commute is not having one at all.

"This is New York City. Who wants to deal with being packed like sardines on the subway every morning?" said Osoria.

Morning commuters crowd into a Metropolitan Transportation Authority subway car.
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

When Lavalette does take the bus into the city, she spends that time sketching designs on her computer and sending emails. "I'm not wasting time doing a commute every day," she said. "It was such a time suck, whereas now I can be a lot more productive."

Physical office space

Remote work, in addition to causing office attendance to decline, is having a profound effect on the design of physical offices that goes beyond just better wifi and more power outlets.

"Home has become the place for concentration," Lister said. "Companies are completely transforming workplaces to be places of collaboration."

According to Julie Whelan, head of occupier research at real estate firm CBRE, only about 50 percent of office space is now dedicated to "heads-down work," which once took up the vast majority of office space.

That means fewer walls and more meeting spaces. Whelan sees four main types of space necessary for a modern office: focus space, collaborative space, private space for private conversations, and social space.

In a lot of ways, the office now "feels more like home," Whelan said, with "softer finishes, colors more neutral, not typical grey cubicles everywhere."

Lavalette is also seeing this shift in her own interior design work.

"People are investing more in the comfort and luxury of their homes because they're spending more time there," she said.

As for offices, she's swapping in rugs instead of carpets or bare floors, vintage and custom desks instead of industrial furniture, and adjustable halogen or LEDs instead of fluorescent lights.

"I'm using more of a residential approach in my office design," Lavalette said. "It is making the office feel more like home instead of a workspace."

All these upgrades are a way to get people into the office — and to work for a company in the first place.

"It's an outward sign of how you value employees," Whelan said. "It tends to be what a lot of younger employees are expecting."

Remote work has also contributed to the expansion of coworking spaces like WeWork, where remote workers can go to get some of the structure and amenities of an office without having to show up five days a week.

"Whether you believe WeWork is a real business, after all the drama surrounding its IPO, there's a huge demand for coworking spaces," Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork, a freelancing platform that went public last year, told Recode.

"You see more and more people in coffee shops and libraries, but also more in coworking spaces."

People gather around a speaker during a lunchtime seminar at a WeWork coworking space in Washington, DC, in 2013.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

These spaces allow office renters to forgo traditional 10-year leases in exchange for shorter-term leases, from three to five years or even on a monthly basis. This type of flexible office space now makes up nearly 2 percent of all office space in the 40 markets CBRE measures and is expected to grow to 13 percent by 2030.

That means companies leasing office space are not as locked in as they were previously. It also means more uncertainty for building owners as well as coworking spaces in the event of a recession, though Whelan says companies forced to downsize during a recession will move into these spaces and would create more demand for them.

Where we live

Ten years ago, even as technology came online that would enable people to work from anywhere, people continued to cluster in the biggest cities in what King calls the "paradox of place."

That's changing.

As King put it, "The societal impact of remote work is, we're finally starting to see what was promised in the first internet boom: more flexibility in where we live."

After years of growth following the recession, America's three biggest metro areas are now shrinking. Part of the reason is that Americans, particularly millennials, are "moving toward sun and some semblance of affordability," Derek Thompson wrote in the Atlantic. Those areas include smaller, secondary cities, as well as rural areas.

Detail of office space at the home of David Cottrell and his wife Kristen Moeller near Deer Creek Canyon Park, Colorado.
Cyrus McCrimmon/Denver Post via Getty Images

Working remotely helps workers compensate for stagnating wages by making city salaries go further in less expensive locations. (A study by Owl Labs, a company that makes smart videoconferencing cameras, found that more than a third of workers said they would take a pay cut of up to 5 percent in exchange for the ability to work from home some of the time.)

Remote work is also helping to bring in money and talent to smaller communities, some of which are even incentivizing remote workers to relocate there.

Vermont is offering $10,000 grants to encourage people from out of state to spend their time — and money — in the state. Utah is offering businesses grants to create remote jobs in less economically prosperous parts of the states. Massachusetts is proposing to reduce traffic by giving people $2,000 tax credits to work from home.

"What we're starting to see is people saying they can't deal with the cost of living, congestion, or they have other constraints in their lives and they say, 'I want to be out of San Francisco,'" Kasriel said. (San Francisco has some of the highest cost of living of any city, meaning that even highly paid tech workers can't afford to buy homes.)

Kasriel believes the shift is happening now for two reasons: Millennials, who are more amenable to remote work, are aging into management positions where they're able to decide if people can work remotely, and a tighter labor market is forcing employers to acquiesce to employee demands.

Rehmet, who had attempted to leave her job when she was offered the ability to work remotely, is now able to afford a mortgage for a fifth of the $2,500 she was paying monthly for rent in Brooklyn.

"What we were spending on general existence dropped substantially," she said.

She also sees the move as a way to revitalize her area upstate, where she opened a bar and restaurant called Hollow.

"These are communities that have been hit by hard times through the financial crisis and through outsourcing and through manufacturing and things like that going away," she said. "Working remotely really provides an opportunity for people to move back into a more rural existence that otherwise wouldn't be an option."

Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham recently wrote a book about how working remotely enabled him to leave urban Baltimore for small-town Minnesota.

"My wife and I had 2-year-old twins. We were living in a 950-square-foot row house. I was commuting three hours every single day for work. We had no time, no money, no space, and were trying to figure out what to do," he told Vox of his situation in Baltimore. Moving to Minnesota halved his mortgage payments.

What the future brings

As remote work becomes more common, its effects are going to increase.

"Multiple trends are driving the growth of remote work, and these trends, if anything, are getting stronger," King said. "So we're confident remote work will increase in the coming years."

Lister estimates that by 2025, some 70 percent of the workforce will work remotely at least five days a month. "I think the percentage of people with compatible jobs will expand as knowledge-based work continues to edge out jobs that require a physical presence," Lister said.

And current acceptance of the practice will only make it more ubiquitous over time, Whelan told Recode.

"The idea of anyone needing to work from one location every day 40 hours a week will seem even more antiquated than it already does today," she said.

What is now an incentive or perk will soon become a necessity, especially as aging boomers and millennials alike both try to square their desire to travel with the need to make money.

If remote work is the product of demand for a better work-life balance, the future could tip in favor of the life side of that equation.

"You can run off and do exciting things you couldn't do otherwise," Rehmet said. "That's what life's about."

Capital Markets Jobs; Pricing Products; Loan Processing Survey Results - Mortgage News Daily

Posted: 31 Oct 2019 06:09 AM PDT

Halloween already! Who wouldn't want to live in the scary Tombstone, AZ, Sleepy Hollow, NY, Kill Devil Hills, NC, Yellville, AR, Transylvania County, NC, Slaughter Beach, DE, Casper, WY, or Scarville, IA? What is also scary for many is that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is considering relaxing post-crisis structured mortgage product rules. Many industry vets are rightfully worried about guideline erosion in the primary markets, likening it to watching a "slow motion train wreck" and "sliding back down the curve." In the secondary markets, are disclosure rules discouraging firms from issuing SEC-registered residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS)? Feel free to submit comments.


Lender Products and Services

Moody's Investors Service Upgrades NMI Holdings, Inc. and National Mortgage Insurance Corporation financial strength rating to "Baa2" from "Baa3."  Moody's also upgraded the rating on NMIH's $150 million senior secured term loan and revolving credit facility to "Ba2" from "Ba3."  The outlook for all ratings is Stable. Moody's indicated that the upgraded ratings reflect the continued progress made by the company in scaling its U.S. mortgage insurance platform and improving its business and financial profile, and noted additional strength related to the company's high-quality insured portfolio, lack of legacy MI exposure and comprehensive reinsurance program. National MI has been insuring mortgage loans since 2013 and is the fastest-growing U.S. mortgage insurance provider as measured by rate of growth in insurance-in-force.  

PHH Mortgage, a leading mortgage servicer and provider of mortgage lending solutions, announces the expansion of its correspondent lending channel after a successful launch in June. PHH is rapidly growing its correspondent channel and expects its current estimated monthly origination volume of $150 million to continue on an accelerated growth trajectory over the next 12 months. By partnering with PHH, sellers can gain access to attractive pricing, industry leading cycle times (averaging four days), exceptional customer service and predictable underwriting. "Growing our lending business is a top priority and establishing sustainable sources of MSRs is a key component of our strategy. We have built an efficient, scalable correspondent lending platform that is focused on delivering a consistent quality service experience for clients and their customers," said Tim Yanoti, EVP and Chief Growth Officer. Learn more at PHHfunding.com or contact Bob Marseilles, VP, Correspondent Sales.

LoanCraft is working to develop and expand its vision for how pricing technology should help wholesalers deliver their product. LoanCraft's technology goes beyond automating rate sheets and providing pricing for standard QM agency programs. LoanCraft's variety of tools embraces a wide range of loan types and non-agency or non-QM business. If you're a wholesale lender who wants pricing technology to help you deliver innovative products, they want to talk to you. Contact Ron George or visit LoanCraft's website to obtain its white paper: Engineering Pricing Technology So Wholesalers Can Deliver Innovation.


Loan Process and Processing News

As rumors swirl about HPS Investment Partners buying non-QM lender/servicer Citadel Servicing Corp. (which Inside Nonconforming Markets reports is fifth among all non-QM originators based on first-half volume of $920 million), investors and lenders are focused on fine-tuning their lending procedures, and with good reason.

Is perfection in the loan process too much to ask? According to Mike Seminari, director of STRATMOR Group's MortgageSAT Program, miscues in the loan process equate to big shifts in the Net Promoter Score (NPS). For example, failing to call a borrower before closing to discuss numbers drops the NPS by 95 points. In a recent MortgageSAT study of 37,000 borrowers, 41 percent reported a "perfect" loan experience, meaning no missteps in critical areas of the process, and had NPS scores 20 points higher than borrowers who experienced one or more failures in critical areas. What can a lender do to make perfection part of the company's culture? Seminari offers three suggestions in his October MortgageSAT Tip.

U.S. Bank has updated the Annual Recertification section within its Correspondent Seller and HFA Division Lending Guides. Changes will be effective with all annual recertifications requested after October 1, 2019. Earlier this year, U.S. Bank launched the enhanced Correspondent Underwriting Customer Care Help Line and dedicated email address. Lenders are encouraged to utilize this resource with questions. Dedicated Email Address is UWCustomerCare@usbank.com. Correspondent Underwriting Customer Care Help Line is 800.200.5881. Lenders are prompted to 'select Option 2 for Underwriting Customer Care.

Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions has made enhancements to its Platinum, Portfolio Select, and bank statement which include guideline changes and significant rate improvements. Call 855.910.9787 for more information.

PRMG issued a reminder, when requesting an appraisal transfer; lenders must follow its Appraisal Transfer Policy as outlined in the Resource Center.  It is important to remember that you cannot reach out directly to the AMC to request the transfer, it must be coordinated through PRMG.

Plaza Home Mortgage is accepting FHA's new Single-Unit Approvals (SUAs) for condos. This new condo approval process, effective as of October 15, 2019, makes it easier for individual condominium units to be eligible for FHA-insured financing when they are in projects that are not currently FHA approved. To submit a condo to FHA for a SUA review, the project and loan will need to meet certain criteria, but key eligibility requirements to note are LTV < 90% OR the application has an "Accept" from TOTAL Scorecard. Condo project must have at least five units. Project needs a Certificate of Occupancy issued at least 12 months prior or has been occupied for that duration. Manufactured Housing is not eligible.

Plaza Home Mortgage is bringing back up to 100% LTV on VA Cash-out refinances. View Plaza's latest VA Fixed and ARM program guidelines.

A recent FAMC Correspondent National Bulletin included updates including the HomeReady $75 Framework course fee will no longer be charged. The payment fields will be removed from the online HomeReady Framework course registration page on October 23rd. Also, the DU Texas 50(f)(2) transactions are now eligible for a Property Inspection Waiver (PIW).

Bayview | Lakeview Correspondent's C2019-40 Announcement provides information on the New HFA available in over 27 Areas in Colorado, UCDP and UCD Update for all HFAs and DSHA Conventional Program Change.


Capital Markets

Let's start with the big, albeit expected, news from yesterday. The FOMC called for the third consecutive 25 bps reduction to the Fed Funds rate range (now 1.50-1.75%). Market participants were keen to decipher the language of the statement, in which the Fed did not signal that another rate cut is imminent. Fed Chairman Powell repeated during his subsequent press conference that the rate cut was made in order to "insure against downside risks" and that monetary policy was in a "good place," which both helped flatten the yield curve and diminished December rate cut odds.

U.S. Treasuries rallied in response, reclaiming losses from earlier in the week. The 10-year yield ended the day -4 bps to 1.80 percent. The ADP Employment Change report for September and the advance reading of Q3 GDP, despite both exceeding expectations, failed to have any tangible impact on Treasuries or mortgage prices. Following the cut by the Fed and no movement from the Bank of Canada, the Bank of Japan was out with its latest decision overnight.

Moving forward, the main news remaining in the week for markets is tomorrow's payrolls report, but today has already kicked off with a couple labor market indicators: Job cuts from Challenger, Gray & Christmas (+21% in October, YTD +17%) and Initial Jobless Claims for the week ending October 26 (218k). Also we've seen September personal income (+.3%) and spending (+.2%) and Q3 employment costs (+.7%). Releases later this morning include Chicago PMI and Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Additionally, the Desk of the New York Fed will then conduct a Class B FedTrade operation when they purchase up to $257 million UMBS15 2.5 percent. We begin the day with not much change to rates from Wednesday.

 

Jobs

Navy Federal, a top 10 direct lender and best place to work award winner, is looking for a seasoned mortgage executive to head the Credit and Underwriting area for the fast-growing lender. NFCU, headquartered in Northern Virginia, funds over 5,000 loans a month for NFCU members. NFCU is building a modern tech platform, and is looking for an executive to report to the head of Real Estate Lending and revamp the underwriting process for first mortgages and home equity products. This is for the experienced professional who is looking for that next step opportunity. Must be a strong leader, with a total staff of over 250 across three sites, and have a desire to retool the process and continue to build out automation to meet the future of the digital mortgage. Please contact Jose Santiago if interested.

Northpointe Bank is seeking a senior trader to manage its mortgage-backed securities trading and pipeline risk hedging program. This role is responsible for the bank's best execution sale of mortgage loans in the capital markets, including evaluation of mandatory and best effort whole loan sale pipelines, trading agency MBS, oversight of internal and vendor supported pricing models, pool allocation and business reporting. The successful candidate has several years' experience with mortgage pipeline hedging and loan sale deliveries and securitization with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae and private investor sales, and is results-oriented, an effective coach and enjoys working in a collaborative and thriving company. Northpointe Bank is ranked as a top performing bank in the nation and is predominantly focused on mortgage banking. To confidentially inquire, contact Anjelica Nixt and please specify the opportunity.

"Mountain West Financial, a prominent leader in the affordable housing space has a rare opportunity for the right individual. We are searching for a VP of Community Lending. This position requires knowledge of affordable housing programs, agency overlays, HFA guidelines, and lending requirements. They will join a strong team with a passion for affordable housing and oversee all aspects of programs, relationships with agencies, and have influence with operations, marketing, and sales. MWF was named CalHFA's #1 lender in 2018, a Freddie Mac RISE award winner, and has received other notable accolades in the affordable housing space. Join a team where your legacy leaves lasting marks in communities across America. Are you our VP of Community Lending? Contact Michael Delehanty."

Evergreen Home Loans™ is excited to announce breaking its all-time funding record for the THIRD consecutive month. Loan funding in September outpaced the August record by nearly 8% and Evergreen is on track to have its best year ever. President and founder Don Burton credits the hard work and dedication of the company's associates, as well as Evergreen's superior digital mortgage experience. The Lender ranks top among peers for adopting and executing an eClosing process and is proud of this great milestone and look forward to breaking even more records. Interested candidates can find more information on the Evergreen Careers Page.

Congratulations to Nicole Abraham on her move to Synergy One Lending, a Mutual of Omaha Bank company ("Synergy") as EVP, National Operations over the forward distributed retail division. Abraham most recently served as SVP, National Operations for Academy Mortgage Corporation where she oversaw operations in 14 regions consisting of more than 400 employees supporting annual production exceeding 40,000 loans per year. At Synergy, Abraham will oversee national operations, which include processing, underwriting, closing/funding, appraisal and disclosure desk, among other responsibilities. Synergy is one of the fastest growing mortgage lenders in the country. If you're looking for opportunities to learn more about the power behind Synergy's value proposition, please contact Aaron Nemec at (208) 794-7786.

Norcom Mortgage, headquartered in Avon, CT, now offers borrowers extra piece or mind with their Appraisal Assurance program. Appraisal Assurance offers a borrower a free appraisal credit up to $500 for a new property purchase if their existing purchase falls through for a bad home inspection or low appraisal. Additionally, with Norcom's Appraisal Assurance there is no need to wait until the home inspection is complete to order the appraisal! To learn more about Appraisal Assurance and other exciting opportunities at Norcom call 1-855-NORCOM1.

 

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