I received this just now from INDYMAC. They are a large thrift based lender that does retail and wholesale.
"Time to shift our focus…
The mortgage industry is changing rapidly and oftentimes without warning. In order for you to continue to succeed in this industry, you must embrace change. Today, another one of our lending competitors, GreenPoint Mortgage, closed their wholesale operations. It is definitely a time to focus on what we can do rather than what we no longer can.
Income Documentation: Embrace Full Doc.
Stated, No Doc, NINA, etc. are still being offered by IndyMac Bank for conforming loan limits. However, the shift in our industry has definitely gone to Full Documentation. Don’t be afraid of W2s, Pay Stubs, and 1040’s. We even allow you to document income via a fully executed VOE for your wage-earning borrowers. We also allow Non-Occupant Co-Borrowers to be on the loan if you need more income. Also, Fannie Mae MyCommunity loans are designed to help your lower income borrowers qualify.
Conforming Loans and DU Approved Loans: Currently 50% of the National Mortgage Market – Soon to be 90%.
We, along with our competitors, are shifting to lending on conforming loan amounts. In the 48 mainland US states, the conforming loan limit is $417,000 for SFRs and $533,850 for 2 units, and higher for 3 and 4 units. Alaska and Hawaii have their own limits. Whether you believe it or not, there are customers out there that need loans within these limits in CA – you just have to find them. With full doc conforming loans comes a world of excellent products. These Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac based products will allow you to reach more customers.
Alt-A Jumbo / Super Jumbo / Ultra Jumbo
These products are still here, however, focus on business that are of higher credit quality and lower LTVs. Although we live in CA where the median home values are above $500,000, we need to shift our focus to the business that we can do. If you’re going to do jumbo loan sizes, your efforts would be best spent on deals with lower LTVs, higher FICOs and higher liquid assets."
What does this all mean to the average hard working american homeowner? INDYMAC and other lenders are saying that the only loan market that is functioning is the conforming end of the spectrum. I have heard this throughout the day but this was one of the largest to issue a warning to their wholesale channels.
The jumbo market which is about 12% of all mortgage loans nationally but is a huge portion of the market in Southern California is showing increasing signs of distress. A week ago the mortgage market felt that the lack of investors in the secondary market would recover for the best mortgage paper. We got a discount rate cut on Friday, the stock and bond market cheered but we haven't seen any liquidity move to relieve the constipated state of the non-conforming market. We are not talking subprime slime or alt-a loans. This is prime full doc refinance or purchase loans that lenders/investors are avoiding. Anything above 80% loan to value is having pricing trouble and I have seen rates in the 8% plus range for jumbo mortgages. I believe this will get worse before it gets better. Refinance your jumbo mortgage while you can.The jumbo mortgage market completely depends on mutual funds, pensions, hedge funds, and foreign governments. They are in the slow process of repricing the risk and we will likely will see rates about 7% for the best credits for the next few months.