MBA Economic and Mortgage Finance Commentary


With the start of New Year just behind us, it’s a good time to take stock of the landscape for real estate in 2019 and beyond. As MBA’s President and CEO, I am often asked for my views on the outlook for the housing sector. There’s no doubt that a combination of low inventory, a significant drop in refinance activity, and uncertainty caused by trade wars, government shutdowns, and a volatile stock market have given many pause. Overall, however, I agree with MBA’s most recent forecast commentary that 2019 will be a good year for borrowers and lenders alike.

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The 2019 Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference


It’s been just over 100 days since I started as MBA’s President and CEO, and it’s been a wonderful experience meeting our members and hearing their priorities for MBA and our industry. It’s no secret that real estate finance is facing headwinds, with limited housing inventory, high home prices, and lower demand for refinancing due to climbing rates (although refis have rebounded somewhat in recent weeks). Bank, nonbank, or credit union — everybody is feeling the pinch, and MBA is working with all its members to see what we can do to help.

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Helping Homebuyers and Homeowners During the Government Shutdown


As the partial government shutdown drags on, MBA has been active in ensuring that interruptions in critical federal services needed to serve homebuyers, homeowners and furloughed workers are limited.  As The Washington Post reported in a front-page story, we were instrumental in advocating for the resumption of the IRS IVES (Income Verification Express Service) system for processing Form 4506-T tax transcript requests.  Why did we do this?  We wanted to avoid having home purchase transactions delayed or canceled, and we wanted borrowers closing on refinance loans to take advantage of today’s lower interest rates to close their loans before their interest rate lock-ins expired.

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Misconceptions Surrounding Cash-Out Refinancing

refi imgeLast week, The Wall Street Journal ran an article on cash-out refinances entitled, “Borrowers Are Tapping Their Homes for Cash, Even as Rates Rise.”

Because of the numerous misconceptions in the article, MBA submitted a letter to the editor in an attempt to address them. Unfortunately The Wall Street Journal decided not to run it—but I’d like to share the content of the letter with you.

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The 2018 Midterm Elections

Election 2018 Minnesota
With Election Day behind us, I wanted to reflect on the coming changes to Congress. I hope everyone got out to cast their ballot. Voting is a civic duty that I take very seriously. I spent fifteen hours on Election Day volunteering as an election judge at my precinct in Maryland to ensure the broadest possible access to voters of all political persuasions. It is so important to our democracy for citizens to stay engaged.

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MBA Annual 2018

New Dawn over Washington

It was wonderful to see so many MBA members here in Washington last week for our Annual Convention & Expo. Seeing how the sausage is made from behind the scenes for the first time, I can tell you that a lot of work goes into Annual to make it such a successful event. I can also tell you that the MBA family was only too happy to welcome the country’s largest gathering of real estate finance professionals, more than 4,200, to our home here in Washington. And hosting Annual in Washington gave MBA members the opportunity to hear directly from the policymakers whose decisions impact our industry.

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The Important Role of Non-Bank Lenders


Recently there has been a renewed interest in the role of non-bank lenders in the broader mortgage marketplace. Independent mortgage bankers (IMBs) currently originate more than half of single-family mortgages. Their success is based on a combination of local market knowledge, innovation, nimbleness, and commitment — in fact, the vast majority of IMBs are monoline institutions with mortgages as their sole line of business.

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