♣️ I am sick and tired.. - The Letter X

Mar 08, 2021 8:24 pm




Presented by: EPM


I have been in this industry since 2009 and I am sick and tired of seeing the industry settle for outdated tech that the entrenched market leaders are providing.


A case in point (no pun intended), is Calyx’s complete failure with the URLA rollout. I guess the extra year to prepare wasn’t enough?


I wish tech failure in our industry was far and few between, but it isn’t. Calyx’s failure has put many brokers in a bind and forced them to move to another solution, which is actually a good thing. It is time to hold the mortgage tech leaders accountable by moving away from their services. Only then will they have an urgency to update their offering.

You may ask, “why are they so behind and have not had the urgency to improve?”

The answer is simple: Us. All of us, with the “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” mentality.

Guess what? It’s friggin broke!

The entrenched mortgage tech leaders are counting on you to be complacent and to be happy in your comfort zone. They are betting on you not wanting to go through the trouble of learning a new system and the disruption it causes.

This is why the leaders have the market share they do right now. It isn’t because they are the best, it is because our will to change is the worst. It is time to change our mentality, we need to change our mentality.

We have to demand better from the service providers and it is time for new players to emerge. I will be working with new players and tech shops outside of our industry to create solutions to unseat the entrenched “old guard” that has allowed a stagnate and archaic tech stack to reign. It’s time for a change and that time is now.


And for those Brokers that have been suffering due to Calyx, you have options with ARIVE, Lender Price, and Lendingpad. I know it is painful but you will have a better and more modern platform for you, your team, and more importantly your consumers.


Let’s make this the decade of change!


Say Yes Every Day 

Laura Brandao - President of AFR Wholesale


This week Say YES to remembering all the amazing women who paved the way for our opportunities and ability to be limitless. Happy International Women’s Day!

Did you know that Laura Brandao wrote a book about Say Yes? Well, she did and you can get your copy today by going here. Make your days better by Saying Yes!


Next Level Mindset

Posted by: Kenneth Travis, Next Level Loan Officers 

Greatness is built with love!


If you don’t love it, you’ll never be great at it.

Love powers grit.

Love casts out fear.

Love fuels you and brings out the best in others.


Yes, I heard. I know what was said and who said it.


I posted yesterday on LinkedIn that Leaders Work and Opportunists Chirp, so I will choose to do the former and let others handle the latter as it relates to this topic.


At the end of the day, all the power lies with mortgage brokers and the community. They will either be ok with it or not and they will drive the change. As for me and my house, we will continue to improve every day to be the best lender we can be and focus on our mission of freedom through empowerment.



Diana Bajramovic of MBS Highway


CoreLogic released their results to a survey stating that 76% of non-homeowners have no plans to purchase a home in the next six months. 43% of these people claim that purchasing a home is unaffordable. If we do the math, there are approximately 44M households that are non-homeowners. What about the other 24%, or 11M households, that do plan to purchase a home? How many homes are available to these potential homebuyers? With only 1M homes in inventory, this doesn’t sound as bad as what the headlines claim.


CoreLogic also released their Home Price Index for January that showed that home prices are up 0.9% month over month and up 10% year over year. They also forecasted a 0.5% rise in home prices month over month and a 3.3% rise year over year, which is up from the 2.9% forecast from the previous report. This is still lower than most forecasts out there, and we have to remember that not too long ago, they were expecting a decrease of 6.6% year over year.


With the recent talk of inflation from the Fed, we are hosting a Facebook Live on March 9 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time with Barry Habib and David Rosenberg, President of Rosenberg Research. RSVP HERE!


// Have you signed up for TLX-M? TLX Masters is a new opt-in membership where you can receive more specialized content from me on a more frequent basis. If you would like to sign up for the new subscription you can do so here. //


Bowtie Economist Quick Hits


Existing inventory of residential homes is currently just 1.04 million units, or 1.9 months of supply, both record lows. It is partly due to insufficient homebuilding over the past decade, Boomers aging in place, Covid-19 preventing sellers from listing, huge demand by buyers to escape dense cities and decamp to suburbia and more space, low interest rates, forbearance plans, and the seven million single-family homes that have become rentals.


The US savings rate jumped from 13.4% of disposable income in December to 20.5% in January. This means only 20 cents/dollar the government provided in the $600 stimulus checks was spent. This suggest most of the next round of stimi money will probably also be saved, making one question the wisdom of sending out another $1,400/person. But, it also means inflationary pressures are likely to be somewhat lessened.  


Through 20Q2, the value of US farmland was $2.6 trillion, and investment grade bonds (BBB rated debt and higher) were valued at $6.4 trillion. That pales compared to Treasury bonds which were worth $19.9 trillion, and US commercial real estate at $20.4 trillion. Equities were almost double that at $37.2 trillion, but top spot goes to residential real estate at $39.3 trillion, almost double 2019 US GDP of $21.4 trillion.


Biden’s proposed American Rescue Plan is large, almost 10% of GDP, and is a short-term, one-off event. Other similar historical events include the Korean War, at 4% of GDP, and, as far as the US is concerned, WWI at 13%. Neither of those events led to sustained inflation; inflation rose and then dissipated. Given that the economy now has substantial slack resources, it’s highly likely we’ll see an inflationary replay.



Have you joined the Mortgage X Mastermind yet? It is our FREE Facebook Group. 


The Vieaux

Brian Vieaux - President of FinLocker


Educating Consumers on Credit


A low credit score is one of the major hurdles first-time homebuyers must overcome to apply for a home loan successfully. FinLocker works with a couple of prominent credit counseling companies, so I see firsthand many of the credit challenges consumers face on their journey towards homeownership.


In a recent Fannie Mae survey, half of those interviewed were unsure of the minimum credit score needed to qualify for a home loan, 14% thought the FICO score needed to be higher than 680, and 32% thought it needed to be higher than 620.


The reality is that many first-time homebuyers may have the credit score for an FHA home loan but don’t even know it. In contrast, others have a low credit score because they have a short credit history. That’s not a difficult challenge to overcome, but it takes credit education to learn how to improve their score.


How are you attracting potential first-time homebuyers to your business and helping them overcome any credit challenges they have?


My millennial son recently became a homeowner after diligently working on improving his short credit history. Fortunately, he was able to use the FinLocker app to guide him through the process of building his credit history, diversifying his credit mix, and learn how to keep his credit utilization below 30%. You can read his journey to homeownership here.


As March is Credit Education Month, I challenge you to promote the minimum credit score required to apply for a home loan with your company and provide tips to build credit. If we all do our part to educate first-time homebuyers, we’ll each reap the benefits of better educated first-time homebuyers.


Be Empowered

Quotes from Women in Business

“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”- Estée Lauder


The Edumarketer

Ginger Bell - Author, Speaker, and found of Edumarketing


Why Isn’t Everyone Producing Videos?

We know that right now, the reason no one is producing videos is because everyone is slammed. But this is not going to last forever and creating videos and having a plan for creating videos is important for 2021. The real reason everyone is not producing video all the time is that they have a plan for creating videos. Many originators set out to add video to their marketing strategy without having a clear idea of how much it's going to cost them or a clear idea of the process.

The truth is that the most important part of the creating videos happens before you hit record.

Planning and figuring out what you are going to talk about is really where most of the magic happens. This is long before you hit the “record” button.

You can’t create knockout videos without first making a plan of what you are going to talk about. You can hire a professional video production team who comes in and shoots video and you can hire editors who will edit and produce your videos, but most video production staff do not have the industry expertise to help you create your content. Taking the time to plan your videos will not only save you time, but money, too.

Recording a video begins with knowing your audience, so begin by figuring out who you are making your video for. You will have a different slant on your video when you are talking to realtors than you are when you are talking to your borrowers, so know your audience. 

Know Your Audience

We offer a lot of different products in the mortgage industry and you cannot make a video about everything, so knowing who you are targeting as your audience to is critical.  We have first-time homebuyers, investors, veterans and retirees. There are those who want to refinance a home and those who want to buy a home. You can create content for consumers or real estate agents. Don’t ever fall into the trap of assuming that all consumers want to see the same content. They don’t and they are looking for different information online. So, dialing into a specific audience for your video is important. You can make different videos that speak to different audiences. 

After all, your audience is made up of more than just one customer with one interest. The group of people you’re targeting is likely to have overlapping interests that you can exploit when planning your video content.

If you are struggling in figuring out your audience for your video, answer these questions:

1.    What are their challenges?

2.    What are their fears?

3.    What are their questions?

4.    What are their goals?

Narrowing down your video to a specific audience, rather than a generic audience will help you create a much more targeted and effective video.

Too often, video campaigns are built to include everyone but result in interesting no one. Be sure to create your video message to your targeted audience. Find out what will interest them, answer their questions and position yourself as the expert. 

Videos are the future, so if you are not doing it, now is a great time to start! You have the knowledge, you just need to get in front of the camera and share it.


Non-QM X: Highly Qualified Non-QM News

Tom Hutchens - EVP of Production at Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions


So, you’re interested in originating non-QM loans. Picking the right non-QM partner does matter so where do you start?  Ask yourself these 6 questions to

ensure you’re making the right choice for your mortgage business:


Are they focused on non-QM? 

The lender should make non-QM their primary focus, not a secondary service.

Do they offer useful technology options? 

They should utilize efficient technology and have strong processes in place to

create a smooth customer experience.

Do they provide a full line-up of non-QM options? 

Such as: Bank Statement, Jumbo, No Income Investor Cash Flow, Asset Qualifier, and an option for borrowers with credit events. This will show they understand the full range of options that non-QM loans can provide for borrowers.

Do they offer competitive rates? 

Non-QM is changing quickly and being in-touch with capital markets allows the lender to stay competitive. 

Do they focus on your growth by offering abundant resources?

A dedicated non-QM lender will go so far as to present on your behalf at meetings with real estate agents or other partners. You want to work with someone who wants to help you grow. 

An excellent example is this webinar that Angel Oak recently hosted


Finally, their non-QM experience. 

Look for a team of operations and account executives with years of non-QM

experience. Wouldn’t you rather work with someone who has looked at 10,000

deals rather than just 10?

Contact Angel Oak to learn more about its services and how we can help you grow your non-QM business the right way.



Beyond The Numbers

Fobby Naghmi, EVP, National Sales Mgr. of First Option Mortgage


We have something pretty unique here in DC, and no, it’s not the politicians! We have a park called Gravelly Point that is a mere stone’s throw away from Reagan National Airport. Here people can watch the planes take off and land all day long while picnicking, exercising or my favorite, walking my beloved Sam-Dog.


To me, the planes look the best when they’re taking off. It’s like this long silver capsule, streaking up towards the clouds to some fabulous destination. So smooth, but yet the sound of the engines let you know just how powerful it is. On one my business trips, as the plane was taking off, I thought to myself someone must be watching us at this exact moment and feeling exactly what I feel when I see the planes take off. 


However during most take offs, I can be a nervous wreck. Once that plane has come onto the runway I will cue Five for Fighting’s “Superman” on my iPhone; as the plane starts barreling down the runway, I can now hear the overhead bins and the aisle seats start to shake; the speed picks up faster so that the plane can tilt the nose up towards the sky, while at the same time letting the cabin air expand, which causes my ears to clog; I can no longer hear “Superman” through my headphones, just my voice reciting a prayer inside my head because I read once that 14% of all fatal issues occur during a plane’s take off. And I don’t know if I’m part of the 86% this time.


Bu then I realize, here lies the difference between those who just watch and those who are all in!


 Mortgage X Marketing Manifesto

Andew Pawlak, CEO of Leadpops

The Mortgage Marketing Silver Bullet


A lot of loan officers I've spoken with are in search of a silver bullet for success with mortgage marketing.


It doesn't exist. 


There are too many variables and dependencies. 


The competition is fierce. 


You have to do a lot of things well, and be consistent. 


And if you're new to marketing and lead generation, I recommend going into it with the mindset that it can take several months to get a rhythm — understanding how to work the leads, which also includes learning how to effectively connect them with your referral partners. 


One thing is for sure, generating your own leads puts you in a position to be less reliant on others for referrals, while making you a stronger referral partner by giving you more opportunities to connect leads you generate with your sphere of influence. 


So while there is no silver bullet, any activity that has you talking to and engaging with more people is an opportunity to generate business. So ask open-ended questions and look for ways to help!


Thanks, and I'll catch you on next week's The Letter X! 


I hope you enjoyed TLX #43! Now go crush this week!