EVP: Rocket’s “Inflation Buster” Result Of Listening To Clients’ Needs

By KIMBERLEY HAAS As interest rates climb towards seven percent and loan applications fall to their slowest pace since 1997, leaders at Rocket Mortgage say they have a solution and it has a name: Inflation Buster. Rocket’s new Inflation Buster program was announced on Sept. 16. It gives homebuyers a reprieve by reducing their monthly mortgage payment by one percentage point for the first year of their loan, according to a press release. Bill Banfield, EVP of Capital Markets at Rocket Mortgage, sat down for an interview with The Mortgage Note to explain how the program is the result of leaders at the company listening to the needs of their clients. “You, me, everybody is talking about inflation. You can’t…

This Spooky Weare, New Hampshire House Listing Is Getting National Attention

By KIMBERLEY HAAS A New England couple’s house listing has gone viral because it features photos of the fictional character Michael Myers from the “Halloween” series of slasher films. A man is seen holding a knife on the property and inside the house, which is listed for $375,000. It is located at 73 Guys Lane in Weare, New Hampshire. Realtor Tommy Bolduc of Keller Williams Realty-Metropolitan said on Tuesday morning that the two-bedroom, two-bathroom house has been popular online since it hit the market on Sept. 30. “Anybody who is looking for a house in Weare knows about it now,” Bolduc said in an interview with The Mortgage Note. As of 6:45 p.m. on Oct. 5, the listing had been viewed…

Officials: Beware Of Scammers, How To Get Help After Hurricane Ian

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency are warning survivors of Hurricane Ian they should be aware of con artists and criminals looking to take advantage of the situation. Predators may promise homeowners a disaster grant in return for payment or fill out an application for assistance without a person’s knowledge, according to the FEMA website. “If a FEMA Inspector comes to your home and you did not submit a FEMA application, your information may have been used without your knowledge to create a FEMA application. If so, please inform the inspector that you did not apply for FEMA assistance so they can submit a request to stop further processing of the application,” the website says. People…

Look At A Newport, Rhode Island Mansion Where “The Gilded Age” Is Filmed

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Fans of HBO’s “The Gilded Age” can take a guided tour of one of the mansions where the popular show created by Julian Fellowes is being filmed this fall. “The Gilded Age” begins in 1882 with the character Marian Brook moving from rural Pennsylvania to New York City to live with her thoroughly old-money aunts, Agnes van Rhijn and Ada Brook after the death of her father. The show’s first-year finale earned 1.6 million viewers across HBO platforms, according to Alexandra Del Rosario at Deadline. Rotten Tomatoes critics said the show has “an outstanding cast making the travails of the rich a compelling watch.” In real life, The Elms was the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward…

Q&A With SingleSource COO: Ed Austin Speaks About Services, Protecting Neighborhoods

The Chief Operating Officer at SingleSource Property Solutions said in a recent interview with The Mortgage Note that their mission is to protect neighborhoods. Ed Austin has been working in the mortgage industry for 25 years on the vendor management side. He has been COO of SingleSource in Pennsylvania for seven years. In August, the company celebrated its 20-year anniversary of the launch of home equity service offerings. The company’s second mortgage services are available in economical bundles and include valuations, title products, and online closings, according to a press release. Austin said in a statement that with their specialized home equity bundles, lenders are significantly reducing the amount of time and expenses associated with closing a second lien transaction.…

Wells Fargo Downsizing Mortgage Business As Pandemic High Wears Off

By TYRONE TOWNSEND and KIMBERLEY HAAS Wells Fargo leadership has laid off employees in a move that is being blamed on a dramatically smaller originations market. In a statement to The Mortgage Note, Spokesperson Jennifer Langan said the latest Mortgage Bankers Association forecast has total originations for 2022 at $2.4T, down 40% year-over-year, with refinances down over 70%. “The home lending displacements are the natural result of cyclical changes in the broader home lending environment, as has been acknowledged by most mortgage providers across the industry. Employees affected by these changes have each been an essential part of our success. We are carrying out displacements in a transparent and thoughtful manner and providing assistance, such as severance and career counseling,”…

Bank of America Funded Holocaust Documentary By Ken Burns

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Leaders at Bank of America provided corporate funding for a new documentary exploring how people in the United States grappled with the Holocaust. “The U.S. and the Holocaust,” a three-part, six-hour series by Ken Burns is running on PBS this week and all the episodes are available online. On a PBS website promoting the documentary, it says, “Americans consider themselves a ‘nation of immigrants,’ but as the catastrophe of the Holocaust unfolded in Europe, the United States proved unwilling to open its doors to more than a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of desperate people seeking refuge… Did the nation fail to live up to its ideals? This is a history to be reckoned with.” Burns…

Business Development: Rocket Mortgage Seeking Partners

By KIMBERLEY HAAS The senior vice president of business development at Rocket Mortgage says their partnership with Boston-based Santander Bank is an example of the kind of relationship they hope to cultivate. Tom Dempsey recently sat down for an interview with The Mortgage Note. He said partnering with Rocket Mortgage gives companies access to their technology. “We’re offering partnership models that externalize our models and systems,” Dempsey said. “The key thing is that at Rocket we’ve created a number of partnership models for banks and credit unions.” Dempsey called this a holistic approach to offering customers what they are looking for as lenders pull into and out of markets. On Aug. 5, leaders at Santander Bank and Rocket Mortgage announced…

Leaders: Putting People First Pays Off

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Three providers of customer relationship management services say that as the housing market changes and technology becomes better, focusing on the people behind the transactions pays off. Petra Cephas President Bishoi Nageh, Bonzo CEO Chad Jampedro, and Big Purple Dot CEO Roxana Davidoff recently sat down with The Mortgage Note and this is what they had to say on the topic. Leaders at Petra Cephas in New Jersey recently announced that its sales team has grown by 100 percent over the past 12 months. They attribute that growth to the boutique mortgage company’s human-based customer relationship management system and their ability to free up loan officers from non-sales related tasks so they can spend all of their time…

Bad Behavior In Lending: Sham Job Interviews, “Rampant” Fraud

By CHUCK GREEN Alleged bad behavior and fraudulent activity in the mortgage industry have made news headlines in recent years and despite attempts to get lending leaders to shape up their ships, at least one person who reports on these issues says problems are common, even “rampant.” One of the most recent examples of these alleged incidents involved sham job interviews for Black and female candidates at Wells Fargo & Company. Wells Fargo in California has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets. They serve one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the United States. According to former executive Joe Bruno, company leaders at Wells Fargo allegedly put minority candidates through the interview process for positions…