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Prioritizing home equity solutions in a rising rate environment

HousingWire recently spoke with Barry Coffin, managing director of home equity title/close at ServiceLink, about the ways lenders can capitalize on these…

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The 2022 housing market has been underscored by interest rate spikes and refi decline and lenders are working hard to adjust to new borrower trends. HousingWire recently spoke with Barry Coffin, managing director of home equity title/close at ServiceLink, about the ways lenders can capitalize on these trends by revving up their home equity solutions.

HousingWire: Between inflation and additional interest rate hikes coming down the line from the Fed, why is now a smart time for lenders to start prioritizing home equity products? 

Barry Coffin: It’s a good time to prioritize home equity transactions for a couple of reasons. First, with the decline in refinance transactions caused by rising rates, origination volume is declining at a rapid rate. Secondly, home prices continue to surge, giving homeowners more tappable equity than they have had in several years. The combination of both allows lenders to seamlessly shift resources from refinance operations into home equity operations. 

In addition, the combination of the loss of refinance cash out transactions and also government stimulus payments due to the pandemic will prompt homeowners to use the equity in their home when needing to access cash.

We are seeing many lenders take advantage of this opportunity by increasing their share of the fast-growing home equity market.

HW: As lenders adapt their strategies to better align with our rising rate environment, prioritizing home equity options could prove pivotal, especially for older Americans. What are some of the most valuable home equity solutions lenders can add to their arsenal of offerings?

BC: With the increase in home equity volume, lenders should be looking to add the same type of digital solutions they focused on adding to their refinance business, to their home equity offerings. Over the last few years, lenders have focused on digitizing their processes with the goal of reducing the cycle time from application to closing. These digital solutions, especially those offered by ServiceLink, work just as well in the home equity title/close process. They include automated title, digital signing solutions and eClosing offerings.

Technology equals efficiency. A lot of lenders haven’t spent much money on technology for home equity processes. They’re still using legacy in-house technology for their loan origination system and their processes simply aren’t efficient. When you think of efficiency as a way of managing the cost of the product, investing in technology makes sense. Home equity lenders are paying the fees, unlike a first mortgage transaction where fees are paid as part of closing costs, home equity lenders generally will pay the costs of the transaction for their borrowers.

ServiceLink provides the technology to keep the process efficient and keep in-house costs down while helping lenders reduce the time it takes to close a loan. During recent years, even though home equity volume was less when compared to refinance, our home equity groups still participated in the development of the technology and refinement of the services and the products that we offer.

HW: As life expectancies continue to rise and more older homeowners face the possibility of outliving their retirement savings, the demand for home equity services is likely to increase. What should lenders be doing now to upgrade their home equity options and educate their customers about the risks and benefits of these products?

BC: As previously mentioned, from a home equity perspective, it is important to focus on efficiencies to reduce the cycle time to close a loan. There are lenders out there that are still taking 35, 40, 45 days or longer to close a home equity loan.

A lot of our lender clients are working with us to reduce the cycle time by taking advantage of our products and seeing major improvements in compressing the closing cycle, reducing it by several days. We have lenders talking to us continually about their goal of closing a home equity loan in as few as three to five days with our technology being the key to bringing speed and accuracy to the process.

HW: In a housing market that is constantly shifting and evolving, how can ServiceLink help lenders better serve the changing needs of their home equity clients? 

BC: A lot of what we’ve built in our Home Equity Operations is focused on customer service and on technology. From a customer service perspective, we focus on ensuring clients are getting the high end service they expect from a dedicated team of experienced, trained operators. From a technology perspective, our EXOS technology is specifically based on the changing needs of lenders and the demands of borrowers. 

Our EXOS Title offering allows us to provide an automated title product and we’ve streamlined many other steps along the way. From the borrower side, either lenders or consumers can schedule their closing appointment for the exact date and time of their choice using EXOS Close based on real-time signing agent availability. That way, they can control their own closing timeline. We give them the technology to be able to schedule that appointment, and we send a mobile notary to their home. They get the loans signed much quicker by using our technology and our data shows that consumers often select the earliest date and time available to them.

We also offer a variety of eClosing solutions, for wherever lenders are on their digital journey. We’ve seen increased interest from lenders and borrowers alike in virtual closing for home equity loans. ServiceLink offers to help lenders with the transition to eClosing with our array of products, with hybrid products for lenders that are not ready to commit to a full eClosing. We have multiple options for both insured and uninsured title, and we can offer eClosings that still facilitate in-branch or face-to-face closings.

The post Prioritizing home equity solutions in a rising rate environment appeared first on HousingWire.

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Government

New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Ivermectin Bill

New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Ivermectin Bill

Authored by Alice Giordano via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

New Hampshire’s Republican…

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New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Ivermectin Bill

Authored by Alice Giordano via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

New Hampshire’s Republican Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed a bill that would have made Ivermectin available without a prescription.

Ivermectin tablets packaged for human use. (Natasha Holt/The Epoch Times)

The Republican governor vetoed the bill on June 24, the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Some fellow Republicans questioned the timing.

It certainly seemed like a convenient way to bury a veto of a bill that won support from the vast majority of Republicans in New Hampshire,” JR Hoell, co-founder of the conservative watchdog group RebuildNH, told The Epoch Times.

Hoell is a former four-term House Republican planning to seek re-election after a four-year hiatus from the the New Hampshire legislature.

Earlier this year, the New Hampshire Department of Children Youth and Family (DCYF) tried to take custody of Hoell’s 13-year old son after a nurse reported him for giving human-grade ivermectin to the teen months earlier.

Several states have introduced bills to make human-grade ivermectin available without a prescription at a brick and mortar store. Currently, it can be ordered online from another country. In April, Tennessee became the the first state to sign such a measure into law. New Hampshire lawmakers were first to introduce the idea.

Both chambers of the state’s Republican controlled legislature approved the bill.

In his statement explaining the veto, Sununu noted that there are only four other controlled medications available without a prescription in New Hampshire and that each were only made available after “rigorous reviews and vetting to ensure” before being dispensed.

“Patients should always consult their doctor before taking medications so that they are fully aware of treatment options and potential unintended consequences of taking a medication that may limit other treatment options in the future,” Sununu said in his statement.

Sununu’s statement is very similar to testimony given by Paula Minnehan, senior vice president of state government regulations for the New Hampshire Hospital Association, at hearings on the bill.

Minnehan too placed emphasis on the review that went into the four prescription medications the state made available under a standing order. They include naloxone, the generic name for Narcan, which is used to counter opioid overdoses, hormone replacement therapy drugs, and a prescription-version of the morning after pill.

It also includes a collection of smoking cessation therapy drugs like Chantix, which has been linked to suicide, depression, and other neuropsychiatric conditions. Last year, Pfizer, the leading maker of the FDA-approved drug, conducted a voluntarily recall of Chantix. Narcan has also been linked to deaths caused by severe withdrawals that have led to acute respiratory distress.

Rep. Melissa Blasek, a Republican co-sponsor of the New Hampshire ivermectin bill, told The Epoch Times, that one could veto any drug-related bill under the pretense of overdose concerns.

The reality is you can overdose on Tylenol,” she said. “Ivermectin has one of the safest track records of any drug.”

The use of human-grade ivermectin became controversial when some doctors began promoting it for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. Government agencies including the FDA and CDC issued warnings against its use while groups like Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) heavily promoted it.

Some doctors were  disciplined for prescribing human-grade ivermectin for COVID-19 including a Maine doctor whose medical license was suspended by the state.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/30/2022 - 20:30

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Economics

The One Housing Chart That Shows A ‘Buyer’s Market’ Has Returned

The One Housing Chart That Shows A ‘Buyer’s Market’ Has Returned

The red hot pandemic-era housing market is cooling as historically tight…

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The One Housing Chart That Shows A 'Buyer's Market' Has Returned

The red hot pandemic-era housing market is cooling as historically tight available inventory shows signs of reversing. 

An affordability crisis has removed millions of new home buyers as the number of active US listings soared 18.7% in June from a year earlier, the most significant increase in Realtor.com's data going back to 2017, according to Bloomberg. The days of insane bidding wars, waiving home inspections, and putting in an offer 20% or more over the list price appear to be over. In other words, a buyer's market could be emerging. 

"While we anticipate that more inventory will eventually cool the feverish pace of competition, the typical buyer has yet to see meaningful relief from quick-selling homes and record-high asking prices," said Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com. 

Austin, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; and Raleigh, North Carolina saw active listings more than double from a year ago. Nashville, Tennessee, active listings jumped 86%, and 72% in the Riverside, California. 

The Federal Reserve's most aggressive tightening campaign sent the 30-year fixed-loan mortgage rate from 3% to over 6% this year (back in March, we warned coming rate explosion would trigger a housing affordability crisis), removing millions of new home buyers who can't afford the cost of homeownership as the median existing-home sales price was around $407k in May. 

Even though inventory is historically tight, supply is expected to increase in markets across the country as demand for loan applications among prospective buyers slumps. Fewer buyers equal more inventory. 

The takeaway is that inventory is rising as homes stay on the market longer because demand evaporated thanks to the housing affordability crisis -- this could mean a housing top is nearing. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/30/2022 - 18:50

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Economics

States Need To Avoid ‘Cures’ That Can Make Inflation Worse

States Need To Avoid ‘Cures’ That Can Make Inflation Worse

Authored by Regina M. Egea and Danielle Zanzalari via RealClearPolicy.com,

Across…

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States Need To Avoid 'Cures' That Can Make Inflation Worse

Authored by Regina M. Egea and Danielle Zanzalari via RealClearPolicy.com,

Across the United States, state governments are awash in cash. In a sharp contrast, American taxpayers are enduring a rate of inflation unseen in four decades, with the costs of everything from food to gasoline at record highs.

In our home state of New Jersey, Trenton is looking at an unprecedented surplus of $8 billion through a combination of increased tax revenue, federal pandemic aid and borrowing.

A natural impulse among residents and policymakers is to offer residents “relief” in the form of rebate checks.

The reality is that relying exclusively on rebates or direct cash transfers to individuals will only lead to more inflation as this puts more money in consumers’ hands exacerbating the same problem as today - too many dollars chasing too few goods.

Rather, it is prudent that states focus on long-term investment and responsible budgeting to ensure economic growth now and in the future. This is especially important in high tax, big spending states due to the greater flexibility in work arrangements that have exposed the reality that wealth is mobile.

With more residents fleeing high tax states to low tax states, states will need to reevaluate their tax and regulatory climate to stay competitive. 

Regulation can raise the costs for consumers and slow job growth. A series of studies shows the regulation raises prices and worsens poverty.

Working with local governments to revisit restrictive laws that contribute to higher housing prices, such as building height restrictions and zoning rules, as well as removing unnecessary restrictions on business operations will lead to more economic growth.

Another way states can aid productivity and long-term economic growth with their temporary budget surplus, is to fund training programs for middle-skilled jobs.

Nearly every industry has experienced labor shortages and that reality is especially acute in trades like auto, refrigeration, HVAC, electrical, welding, and manufacturing.

States can invest in these skills through high school and vocational school programs. With college borrowing costs astronomically high, this encourages individuals to pursue careers that are lucrative and budget friendly, as well as fill the over 75,000 job openings that our state of New Jersey is projected to need in just a few years.

To further long-term economic growth many states should also concentrate on fixing their unfunded pension liabilities for public employees. This impacts red and blue states alike, with massive liabilities in California ($1.53 trillion), Illinois ($533.72 billion), Texas ($529.70 billion), New York ($508.70 billion) and Ohio ($429.53 billion). Here in New Jersey, our liability is nearly $40,000 for every resident of the state, which can dramatically deter future growth. Beyond using some of states’ budget surplus to shore up pension liabilities, states should move public employees to defined contribution plans, which are used by more than 100 million Americans. These are found to have better investment returns than state-wide pension plans and cost taxpayers less.

Our final recommendation is perhaps our most important: Save for a rainy day. If the U.S. economy enters into a recession, this will mean fewer jobs and less tax revenue for states. To prepare for the future when states again face a budget shortfall, which may be sooner than we think, states should follow best practices of reserving 10% of their budget in a rainy day fund, to sustain essential programs should a downturn occur in the future.

As state leaders consider their budgets, they should focus on long-term economic growth initiatives. Proposals like funding middle-skilled job trainings ensure workers are ready for the next decade, whereas eliminating unnecessary regulations and focusing on pro-growth tax reforms encourages residents to build businesses and create jobs. Lastly, taking care of state finances by properly funding state employees’ retirement plans and saving for a rainy day will ensure that no state is left behind in the next economic downturn.

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/30/2022 - 17:50

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