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Monday, November 24

 Well we have finally reached the week of Thanksgiving, and boy does time fly by! I would like to wish everyone a great Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday. In doing this, I really think that we are in a position that we need to give THANKS for everything that we have today. NAMB—The Association of Mortgage Professionals has fought the fight for all of us over the past 40 years and this is a good time to reflect over our jobs and what we have that is important. 

NAMB is continually trying to find out how we are doing on training as an industry. For those of you involved in compliance and training and don't mind taking a short survey, we all know the cost of compliance has increased over the past several years and one of those costs, specifically, compliance training, can be viewed as a negative or a positive depending upon how a company utilizes it. While it is an upfront cost it will, if done correctly and over time, help to reduce a company's overall compliance cost by having more educated employees. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reviews a company's compliance training program as a part of their examination. We are starting to see a trend in many state exams as well, especially with anti-money laundering (AML) training. Companies need to be developing comprehensive training programs based on the size of their company. I have had conversations with many companies to determine how they are going about developing their compliance training programs and have created an informal survey to determine the allocation of time, costs and resources that companies are dedicating toward compliance training and what kind of a positive/negative impact they are seeing.

I have been contemplating something new and I am going to start something new about letting all of you get to know people in the NAMB organization. I am thinking about highlighting a short introduction on these individuals every two weeks so that you get an idea of who we are and what we do in our normal everyday lives. I am developing a set of questions to be completed and this information will be shared with all of our members. These will begin in December and run throughout next year. I really look forward to letting all of you get to know these people that work so hard for you, the NAMB member. Remember, all of these volunteers work a tremendous amount of hours for no pay. They do it to make our profession a better place to work and to protect your jobs. All that I ask is that if you ever are given the chance to say thank you to these people, you do. I will also be including an e-mail address for these people and that would be a great time to drop them a line to just say “thanks!” 

Being NAMB’s CEO has also been a challenge to get started. I have been working on a few items to get out and my first priority has been to put together an ongoing education (if that is what we call it) class for all future leaders of this association. It is not going to be something that will be a “run the organization this way,” but a synopsis of what each one needs to make their future as NAMB’s president more successful. Every president of NAMB will put their mark on the association themselves, but there are things that must be done in order to make sure the organization runs smoothly. This will be a benefit to all of these people. We have a lot of great individuals who are up and coming, and I just want to share this information with them as they progress. My goal is to involve a few past presidents to round out the class. 

And speaking of future leaders, a few months ago I asked that if you know of anyone who might want to get involved in the organization as a future leader, to let me know. As the first of the year is right around the corner, we will be asking for nominations for the board of directors. As the chairman of the NAMB Nominations Committee, I want to open the door to anyone who has any aspirations of moving up to step up to a leadership position. I have actually discussed this with many of NAMB’s state past presidents and these are excellent candidates to step up. But there are also many others from NAMB state affiliates who may want to step up. We need people, not only on the board, but on committees … we need you! The way you learn is by participating. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE step up. Let me or any other board member know of your interest today. Let us put you on a committee. Every committee has teleconferences and you do not need to fly somewhere to attend these meetings. We have a lot of committee members who never leave the confines of their office and do a great job for us. And you get the satisfaction of being an active participant in your profession. The only requirement that we have is you have to be a member of NAMB. So what are you waiting for? Join the association today and get involved. You have opinions, and we want to know what we can do to make this a better organization. Send an e-mail to me at namb.ceo@namb.org or e-mail NAMB President John Councilman at president@namb.org and let us know how you want to become involved. I look forward to hearing from you and let us all work together to make our association better and working on our mission. 

As a final thought, I mentioned earlier that Thanksgiving is this week. America has a large and diverse group of people, both adults and children who are homeless and others who are going to group homes and churches and food pantries for their food for this holiday season. In an effort to give thanks, drop off a bag of food to one of these places or donate your time to one of these places. Every city has shelters and pantries, so you should not have a problem finding one. We need to give thanks and give back. It may be a gesture of love or respect, but we do live in the greatest country in the world and we do have the best jobs, even with the large oversight, that allow us to make very good money. Make this Thanksgiving a meaningful one and give back. THANKS!!!

Until next week!

Donald J. Frommeyer, CRMS, CEO 
NAMB—The Association of Mortgage Professionals 
namb.ceo@namb.org www.joinnamb.com


News from NAMB

From John Councilman, NAMB President

At the end of each week, NAMB will bring you a recap of the top news stories affecting the mortgage industry. We’re calling it “News From NAMB.” If you’re as busy as I am, you often don’t get a chance to read all of what is happening throughout the week. News From NAMB will bring you up to speed in a matter of minutes. I hope you enjoy it!

The Director of FHFA, Mel Watt, testified before Congress yesterday. Senate Banking Committee Chair Tim Johnson seemed to try to push Watt to end the Fannie/Freddie conservatorship by stating, “However, if Congress cannot agree on a smooth or certain path forward, I urge you Mr. Watt to engage the Treasury Department in talks to end the conservatorship.” Watt’s response did not seem to indicate he would have an inclination to act without Congress. He spoke more conservatively than one would expect from the consumer housing advocate he was considered as a congressman.

Making even more news than Watt’s testimony was Senator Warren’s attack on FHFA’s reluctance to implement principal reductions. Warren Barked at Watt, “You’ve been in office for nearly a year now and you haven’t helped a single family, not even one, by agreeing to a principal reduction. So I want to know why this hasn’t been a priority for you.” Watt came back with, “We have to do this in a way that is responsible, otherwise we just reduce principal for everybody across the board.” Warren claims the Treasury Department has found that principal reductions could save Fannie and Freddie nearly $4 billion and CBO says it would save $2.8 billion.

Again this week, Richard Cordray stated “I talked about how we are working to create a level playing field for all consumer financial products and services – among banks and nonbank firms in both the mortgage origination market and the mortgage servicing market.” In his speech to the ACH Clearing House, Cordray said the CFPB is “striving to strike the right balance as we write rules, conduct examinations.” Mortgage Brokers look hopefully for a level playing field in mortgage origination.

FHA’s actuarial report for fiscal year 2014 reports it will have a 0.41% capital ratio, somewhat below expectations. Although much better than the negative-0.11% reported last year, it is still well below the statutory minimum of 2%. The fund was weighted down by the losses in the HECM program where the economic value of the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program fell from $6.541 billion last year to negative-$1.116 billion in FY 2014. NAR is still calling for a drop in FHA premiums based on the positive news despite the disappointing report.

Jeb Hensarling, House Banking Committee Chair, announced his new sub-committee chairs. These are the people where legislation starts. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) will chair the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation; Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) will chair the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises; Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) will chair the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) will chair the Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade; and Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) will chair the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.

The FHFA reported G-Fees have steadily increased since 2009. In 2009 G-Fees averaged just 22 basis points while in 2013 the average guarantee fee increased to 51 basis points. This is a significant weight on mortgage credit that is somewhat masked by today’s low interest rates.

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported 30-year mortgage rates dropped below 4%. The 15-year dropped to 3.17% and the 5-year T-Bill ARMs dropped to 3.01%. Things look very good for consumers and mortgage originators.


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