Mar 30, 2011

Mortgage Tech Vendor Prices IPO, Hits the Road...just take a look.

Mortgage technology vendor Ellie Mae on Tuesday priced its initial public offering, laying out plans to raise between $40 million and $60 million.

The firm also officially launched its investor road show and will try to convince institutional buyers to gobble up its 5 million shares. (The offering range is $9 to $11 per share.)

In total, it will issue 7.5 million shares with the firm's executives retaining 2.5 million units. Its stock symbol will be ELLI with shares trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based software firm filed its S-1 registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in May of last year. In 2009 it managed a small profit of $1.7 million on revenues of $38 million. (No figures were available at press time for 2010.)

The 13-year-old firm got its start in mortgage banking by offering website technology aimed primarily at loan brokers. It then expanded out its business footprint by becoming a broker LOS with the acquisition of both Genesis and Contour, and eventually expanded further to cater to midtier mortgage lenders. Its was founded by industry veteran Sig Anderman.


Mar 25, 2011

Mortgage rates creep higher in latest week

NEW YORK — Mortgage rates edged up this week, but even 30-year fixed rates below 5% have done little to boost home sales.

Freddie Mac said, Thursday that the average rate on 30-year fixed mortgages rose to 4.81% from 4.76% the previous week. It hit a 40-year low 4.17% in November.

The average rate on 15-year fixed mortgages increased to 4.04% from 3.97%. It reached 3.57% in November, lowest level on records dating back to 1991.

Mortgage rates tend to track the yield on 10-year Treasury notes, which rose this week.

MORE: New-home sales plunge

Still, low rates haven’t helped the weak housing market. In February, sales of previously occupied homes fell 9.6% and new-home sales tumbled to the slowest pace in nearly a half-century.

High unemployment, a record number of foreclosures and tight lending standards have kept people from making purchases. Other would-be buyers are waiting for home prices to bottom out, which most economists predict won’t happen until midyear.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac collects rates from lenders across the country Monday through Wednesday each week. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a day.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable mortgage rose to 3.62% from 3.57%. The five-year hit 3.25% last month, lowest rate on records dating back to January 2005.

The average rate on one-year adjustable-rate home loans increased to 3.21% from 3.17%, which was the lowest level in a year for the one-year ARM.

The rates do not include add-on fees, known as points. One point is equal to 1% of the total loan amount. The average fee for 30-year fixed loans and 15-year fixed loans in Freddie Mac’s survey was 0.7 point. The average fee for five-year ARMs and 1-year ARMs was 0.6 point.

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Mar 18, 2011

Mortgage rates tumble; 15-year average falls below 4%

NEW YORK — Fixed mortgage rates tumbled this week and 15-year loans dipped below 4% on average for the first time in three months.

Rates follow the yield on U.S. Treasury bonds, which fell as bond prices rose on worries that the crisis in Japan could slow economic growth.

Freddie Mac said Tuesday that the average rate on 15-year fixed mortgages, a popular refinance option, dropped to 3.97% from 4.15%. The last time the rate was below 4% was in mid-December. It reached 3.57% in November, lowest level on records dating back to 1991.

The average rate on 30-year fixed mortgages fell to 4.76% from 4.88% the previous week. It hit a 40-year low of 4.17% in November.

Mortgage rates tend to track the yield on 10-year Treasury notes. Those yields have tumbled as investors bid up the price, seeking safer investments. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Low mortgage rates haven’t been enough to jumpstart the housing market. Home construction last month plunged to its lowest level in almost two years, while building permits, an indicator of future housing activity, sank to a five-decade low, the government said this week.

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Mar 10, 2011

U.S. mortgage rates hold steady

Long- and short-term mortgage rates saw little change this week, but they remain below year-ago levels.

A 30-year fixed-rate averages 4.88 percent this week, up from 4.87 percent last week. A year ago, 30-year mortgages averaged 4.95 percent.

The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.15 percent, unchanged from last week.

A one-year adjustable rate fell to 3.21 percent from 3.23 percent.

Mortgage applications jumped nearly 16 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, as potential buyers and existing homeowners continue to try to lock in rates before they rise. Applications to refinance rose 17.2 percent while purchase applications rose 12.5 percent, to the highest level of the year.

“An improving job market is beginning to pave the way for an improving housing market,” said MBA vice president of research Michael Fratantoni.

Low mortgage rates have continued to help nudge housing sales higher nationwide. However, home sales in Dayton have continued to lag and dropped 5 percent in 2010.

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Mar 8, 2011

GROVER: Dismantling overbearing financial reforms Repeal is unlikely, but they can be taken down brick by brick

washingtontimes says,the 2,300-page Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act signed into law by President Obama last year, enshrines “too big to fail,” further politicizes the Federal Reserve by planting diversity czars at each of its banks, imposes a huge regulatory burden on the consumer financial services industry, and does nothing to prevent what caused the financial crisis: easy Fed credit and politically driven weakening of mortgage credit underwriting.

Doughty Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, has introduced legislation to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act in its entirety. A laudable goal, but while conceivably repeal can pass the House, mustering 60 votes in the Senate will be tough. A two-thirds majority necessary to override an all-but-certain Obama veto is unlikely. Nonetheless, a repeal vote would be symbolically valuable.

In the absence of outright repeal, it should be dismantled, brick by brick.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and debit-card interchange price controls are two worthy targets to start with. The CFPB will wield vast authority to define and ban consumer financial products and suppress innovation, reducing the availability of consumer financial services.

An animating CFPB sentiment is the perception that financial institutions are fat-cat bankers - rapacious and untrustworthy - and many American consumers should not be trusted to manage their own financial affairs. Rather, Washington mandarins are better equipped to decide what’s in Joe and Sally Sixpacks‘ best interest than they are.

Before 2009, the Fed’s regulatory approach was to work toward full disclosure of consumer financial products’ material facts. Consumers were considered sovereign - a notion few questioned for the first several centuries of the Republic.

How radical is it to suggest Americans who can vote, serve on a jury and join the Army ought to be considered competent and free to choose a credit card?

But today, many members of Congress and regulators are at heart paternalists. Most Americans, however, want to govern themselves.

Those who want to roll back Mr. Obama’s regulatory onslaught on the financial services sector should propose narrowing the CFPB’s mandate to ensuring products’ material facts are fully disclosed. Then consumer choices in the market can determine what financial products succeed and fail.


Mar 3, 2011

Mortgage Pricing Hits Wall. Loan Demand Declines ..

According to the mortgage news daily says,The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending February 25, 2011.

The MBA's loan application survey covers over 50% of all U.S. residential mortgage loan applications taken by mortgage bankers, commercial banks, and thrifts. The data gives economists a snapshot view of consumer demand for mortgage loans. In a falling mortgage rate environment, a trend of increasing refinance applications implies consumers are seeking out lower monthly payments. If consumers are able to reduce their monthly mortgage payment and increase disposable income through refinancing, it can be a positive for the economy as a whole (may boost consumer spending. Also allows debtors to pay down personal liabilities faster). A trend of declining purchase applications implies home buyer demand is shrinking.

Excerpts from the Release...

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 6.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 5.5 percent compared with the previous week.

The Refinance Index decreased 6.5 percent from the previous week. The four week moving average is down 2.7 percent. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 64.9 percent of total applications from 65.7 percent the previous week.


Mar 1, 2011

Commercial lending beginning to gain momentum...?

Sam Spatter says,( Pittsburgh Tribune-Review )

Lending by banks to real estate developers, small business and other companies is picking up slowly, according to Pittsburgh-area financial experts.

They say there is some easing of lending requirements for developers and larger businesses, but small businesses still are having a difficult time. Even those that survived the recession -- showing they have the ability to grow and repay loans -- are struggling to get loans, said Marilyn Landis, vice chairwoman of advocacy for the National Small Business Association and owner of Basic Business Concepts Inc. on the North Side.

"Banks are definitely moving in the right direction, but the lending parameters remain tight," said C.J. Handron, management consultant with the University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development.

In Western Pennsylvania, the Small Business Administration last year guaranteed 428 loans with total value of $110.39 million after guaranteeing 384 loans valued at $85.39 million in 2009. By comparison, before the recession hit the region hard in mid-2008, the local SBA office approved 571 loans for $94 million.

So far in 2011, 20 loans have been approved, valued at $3.82 million.

The latest data from the Federal Reserve Board showed economic activity expanded "at a modest pace" in the fourth quarter in the four-state district that includes Western Pennsylvania. Bankers here and in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky said commercial loan demand was "stable or showed modest growth" since September, but loan balances had declined.

Lenders are looking for assurance they will be repaid, Handron said. Two years ago, banks required 10 percent to 15 percent equity from the borrower. Today, they want 20 percent to 25 percent, Handron said.

James Kunkel, executive director of St. Vincent College Small Business Development Center, said that strict lending standards banks installed in 2009 and 2010 remain in effect.

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