The pine forest property lies within the landscape of the East Edisto Conservancy and is said to be one of the largest contiguous tracts on the market in South Carolina.

“There’s excellent higher and better use potential, mitigation potential and conservation easement potential,” listing agent C.J. Brown said.

Home decor store Heavens Marketplace is slated to close by mid-December after a 16-month run in Mount Pleasant. Warren L. Wise/Staff

Mount Pleasant home decor store closing after 16 months in operation

The Myrtle Beach-based business cited the economy, the size of the store and the inability to make a left turn exiting the site as reasons for the store’s demise.

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By the numbers

4: Number of new downtown Charleston retail shops celebrating openings as the holiday shopping season gets underway. 

+ 26 and counting: Charleston-area home sales slipped in October for the 26th consecutive month.

Mount Pleasant shopping center sold for $46.75M

Wando Crossing Shopping Center in Mount Pleasant now has a new owner. Carolina Retail Experts/Provided

Mount Pleasant-based Ziff Real Estate Partners now owns a long-established shopping center about three miles north of its office. Provided/Carolina Retail Experts

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Database Mining, Closing Cost, RON, AI, DPA Products; Vendor News Heading to Philly

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Database Mining, Closing Cost, RON, AI, DPA Products; Vendor News Heading to Philly


8 Hours, 13 Min ago

Today, as I head to Chicago (from the Native American word shikaakwa, for the wild onion) on my way to Philadelphia, I received this note. “Rob, why is PenFed exiting from correspondent?” Well, you should talk to your PenFed rep. But if anyone had to make a harsh guess, it would start by asking, “Why would any member-based organization with a branch network and thousands of members, in this environment, feel the need to offer wholesale or correspondent channels to others at very low margins who may be competitors?” There will be plenty of competitors under one roof at the MBA’s Annual starting Sunday. For many IMBs, their goals by going include searching for a great HELOC and/or 2nd program, seeing what’s new with down payment assistance programs, and seeing the latest in under-served markets. Another topic will of course include inflation and interest rates. Is your car insurance up 19 percent? Yesterday’s CPI said so. How about taking the family to Disneyland? A ticket to Disneyland on the most popular days is as high as $194, which is up 8 percent. A five-day ticket’s price will rise 16 percent to $480. Parking is $65. (Today’s podcast can be found here. This week’s is sponsored by NotaryCam, your partner for The Perfect Close! Ease of use, additional closing compliance, better borrower experience, reduced timelines, and cost savings, what is stopping you from getting on the RON train with NotaryCam? Listen to an interview with attorney Jay Beitel on arguments in the Supreme Court case regarding the CFPB.)

Lender and Broker Software, Products, and Services

It can cost up to 5X more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep one. So ask yourself, are you staying in touch with past borrowers the way you should? Sadly, only one in five borrowers return to their lender for their next mortgage loan. But that doesn’t have to happen to you. ICE can help you keep client relationships warm using automated marketing campaigns. Surefire℠ CRM and Mortgage Marketing Engine comes equipped with a five-year Client for Life workflow that can be used to engage past clients with award-winning content long after close. Watch borrowers pour in for their next loans when they’re ready to buy, sell or refi. To learn more, request a demo of Surefire today.

Is your focus to do more with less? A business intelligence solution should highlight where there are opportunities to incorporate efficiencies and reduce costs. The most forward-thinking industry leaders are turning to Richey May’s RM Analyze to learn what they need to know now more than ever: how to operate even leaner. It’s half the cost of a full-time employee, and you gain access to a strong bench of talent with a rich background in the mortgage industry and access to hundreds of reports, including real-time peer benchmarking data, in no time. With these insights you can make meaningful decisions for your business and do more than just survive. Learn how to operate leaner.

Capacity is bringing a brand-new feature to MBA Annual this week! Guidelines are complicated, and the search for that one specific answer can steal hours of time from your team. Get up-to-date, accurate guideline responses instantly with Capacity’s GSE Search, enabled by GPT. Just “ask Capacity” any question on regulations from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and more—and get answers within seconds. Want to streamline one of the most time-consuming processes in mortgage? Schedule time with Capacity this week at MBA Annual.

Are you paying for third party rescore services? What if you had a solution to convert more loans, grow your business and exceed the expectations of clients? Rocket Pro TPO offers its partners Credit Upgrade, an expert team of credit consultants who help clients qualify for the best loan products, rates, and pricing. In fact, in 2023, this service has helped save clients about $16 million on loan level pricing adjustments. Unlike programs that charge hundreds of dollars, Credit Upgrade is free, helping you retain more clients, build real estate agent relationships, and grow organic referrals affordably. Watch EVP, Mike Fawaz’ video for more details. Interested in learning more about a Broker or Non-Delegated Correspondent partnership? Contact Rocket Pro TPO to learn more.

Fun Fact: Philadelphia is home to the nation’s oldest inhabited road, Elfreth’s Alley, whose cobblestones date back to 1702. As the MBA converges on one of our nation’s founding cities, Click n’ Close will be on hand to help lenders to address the affordability challenges facing our industry through its SmartBuy down payment assistance (DPA) suite of loan products. With no income limits and other innovative features, such as a repayable option with a 30-year amortization, a 2-1 buydown and options for manufactured homes, SmartBuy is your one-stop shop for all your DPA and affordable lending needs. And, unlike state or municipal DPA programs, SmartBuy isn’t subject to budgetary shortfalls and offers tremendous flexibility to accommodate a wider range of borrower scenarios. Visit us at booth #733, schedule a meeting with Julas Hollie from our correspondent team or visit here to learn more.

“Accenture’s analysis finds that within three years, generative AI could magnify a lender’s operating income by two to three times compared with consensus forecasts by driving revenue growth and reducing costs. On the revenue side, we anticipate it could create a 17% increase in time allocated to client interactions and advice, which are responsible for ~80% of banking revenue. This additional time could translate into a 9% surge in revenue. No lender can afford to ignore growth like that. If you’re not sure where your generative AI journey should begin, our top advice is to form a generative AI SWAT team today. This should include leaders from both the business and tech sides of the bank, and its mandate should touch on strategy, policy, talent, technology, and data. (Yes, this touches everything). We would love to hear from you and show you what we are delivering today. If you are attending the MBA Annual in Philadelphia and would like to meet with us, please ping us here.”

Post-season baseball is in full swing, and when the game and a chance at the World Series is on the line, the closer can make or break a team’s post-season success. The same can be said for real estate closings. With California passing RON legislation, now is the perfect time for The Perfect Close using NotaryCam’s eClose 360 platform. As trailblazers in RON and eClosings, NotaryCam boasts a team of highly skilled notaries who understand the unique requirements of your borrowers. With continuous updates and improvements, NotaryCam services remain at the forefront of mortgage digitalization, including recent advancements such as eNote and eVault services. If you’re heading to Philly for MBA Annual, make sure you “wind up” visiting NotaryCam at booth #721 or schedule a one-on-one meeting to ensure your mortgage closings are clutch.

Are your borrowers computing payments with a “Dumb” calculator or a “Smart” calculator? Dumb calculators are everywhere, and they’re dumb because they’re generic, inaccurate and not personalized. Smart calculators are what borrowers want. Smart calculators are personalized to the borrower. They give accurate payments and accurate closing costs because they use the borrower’s qualification criteria. You can issue Smart Calculators to your borrowers right from within Encompass® by ICE Mortgage Technology™ with QuickQual. Check out what a Smart calculator looks like here and they’ll text a sample right to your phone.

Vendor News

Attendees of next week’s MBA Annual conference in Philadelphia will be keeping an eye on the “LTV ratio:” lender to vendor. Something tells me that lenders will be in high demand. Ahead of it, let’s take a quick glance at who’s doing what.

FundingShield has entered a partnership with SitusAMC to further protect financial institutions from the rapid increase in wire and title fraud in recent years. It will create an “integrated offering for SitusAMC’s client to have direct access and straight thru processing, which is roughly 80 percent of warehouse lenders… FundingShield’s live ecosystem of service provider source bank data is the largest in the industry with over 95% coverage. Clients of SitusAMC’s warehouse lending platforms ProMerit and WLS can now benefit from direct access to FundingShield’s cost-saving and risk-reducing ecosystem via API and data integrated solutions, allowing them to uphold superior standards in data integrity, bank account verification, and counterparty compliance. ‘SitusAMC has great relationships with over 1500 financial institutions that will allow FundingShield to deliver integrated cutting-edge financial technology to combat wire fraud,’ said Ike Suri, CEO of FundingShield.”

MISMO®, the real estate finance industry’s standards organization, announced that the industry standard dataset mapping for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Verification of VA Benefits (Form 26-8937) has reached “Candidate Recommendation” status, which means it has been thoroughly reviewed by a wide range of organizations and industry participants and is available for use across the industry. MISMO developed this dataset to facilitate the transformations underway at the VA. This dataset provides an industry standard for the exchange of the information required on the VA Verification of Benefits form, creating efficiency and improved interoperability within the system.

Xactus Appraisal FirewallX is connecting mortgage lenders with vetted and trained property data collectors to deliver the value acceptance + property data, PDRs, and hybrid appraisal solutions. Capable of fulfilling orders from lenders supporting Fannie Mae property data collection and Freddie Mac’s Property Data Report (PDR). Upon submitting a loan application to Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) or Freddie Mac’s Loan Product Advisor® (LPAsm), the lender will receive a notification indicating the collateral valuation option for which the loan qualifies.

Solve Mortgage, a Non-QM wholesale lender based in Calabasas, California, is implementing the OptifiNow TPO CRM. OptifiNow TPO is a CRM platform built exclusively for wholesale mortgage lenders that includes tools designed to market to and manage mortgage broker accounts efficiently. The platform is integrated with numerous mortgage loan origination systems (LOS), includes email and SMS capabilities, and can be deployed in just 30 days.

Mobility Market Intelligence (MMI), a leader in data intelligence and market insight tools for the mortgage and real estate industries, announced the addition of a suite of new dashboards to its growing Custom Dashboard Hub. Built to assist lenders in researching areas to expand their Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), low-to-moderate income (LMI) and majority-minority census tract (MMCT) lending initiatives, the six new dashboards allow lenders to penetrate areas of high growth and increase the span of actionable insights and applications for users.

The new suite of dashboards, including Census Tract, Community Reinvestment Planning and Minority Community Lending dashboards, can help lenders formulate business plans in high growth / high reward areas, identify recruiting candidates and referral partners entrenched in these areas and gain insight into baseline and comparative performance metrics.

FormFree is launching FormFree Exchange (FFX®), an industry-first marketplace where mortgage lenders can find high-intent, financially verified borrowers that meet lenders’ credit risk profiles. “Lenders can search FFX for borrowers who have demonstrated that they are ready to transact by electronically verifying their assets, income, employment and other core underwriting data. Borrowers’ financial profiles are captured and continuously updated in anonymous Qualified Borrower (QB) Medallions. Because QB Medalliions also contain CRA eligibility, DPA eligibility and a host of alternative underwriting data, FFX supports lenders who would like to extend financing more inclusively without taking on additional risk.”

Capital Markets

“Struggling to find the liquidity you need to compete? Need multiple investors for a new program? Looking to expand your options in 2024? MAXEX continues to add new sellers to its growing platform of more than 25 leading buyers of jumbo, non-QM, Agency-eligible, DCSR, scratch & dent and second lien loans. Every day, originators like you are finding best execution on a flow, forward or bulk basis via MAXEX’s exchange. Adding new investors is hard. We simplify it. Ready to learn more? Meet MAXEX at MBA Annual in Philly or visit us online.”

Driving interest rates, we learned yesterday that price growth in September came in somewhat stronger than expected, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rising 0.4 percent month-over-month versus expectations for a 0.3 percent gain. There was no sequential change in the year-over-year inflation rate of 3.7 percent. Excluding food and energy, prices also rose 0.3 percent. Core CPI is set to recede further in the coming year as shelter disinflation resumes, supply-related pressures ease, and consumers grow more price sensitive. However, Treasuries extended the recent selloff that’s pushed up yields in the past month, which has also driven up borrowing costs

September import and export prices kicked off today’s calendar. Later today brings preliminary October Michigan sentiment and remarks from Philadelphia Fed President Harker. Bank earnings also get under before the open when JP Morgan, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo reporting along with BlackRock and PNC Financial. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better by .125-.250 and the 10-year yielding 4.62 after closing yesterday at 4.71 percent; the 2-year is hovering around 5.03 percent.


“Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the mortgage company you built. IMBs are experiencing pressure unseen since 2008. If you’re considering selling, closing, or merging, ensure you weigh all options. Consider your financial interests and your team’s future. Companies and Teams are partnering with Service First Mortgage. When contemplating reducing perks, benefits, staff, or M&A, Trust and Transparency are key. It starts with Leadership and affects the entire team. Consider companies like Service First with financial stability because of a Significant Servicing Portfolio and Full Agency Approvals: FNMA, FHLMC, and GNMA. A Strong Balance Sheet and Multiple Warehouse Lines offer security. Robust Product Offerings provide opportunities to build relationships with controlled partnerships like builders and affinity partners. Service First recently brought on Great Western Home Loans with a commitment to preserving culture, the GW brand, while ensuring stability and growth. If you’re considering a change, email us.”

Homeowners Financial Group announces that its Founder, President and CEO Bill Rogers has been named to the HousingWire Vanguards list for 2023. The HW Vanguard Awards program recognizes C-level industry professionals whose leadership moves housing and mortgage markets forward. In the challenging post-Covid lending environment, Bill has consistently created collaborative solutions that have kept his sales force confident, upbeat, and motivated. His abundant positive energy infuses every aspect of the organization, from personal and business development initiatives that lift employees to new heights in their careers to the company’s many charitable endeavors. “Bill is a true servant leader who is exceptionally connected and accessible to his people and puts them first at all times,” says Homeowners Chief Strategic Officer Ron Stowers. “With someone like Bill at the helm, it’s no surprise that our employees are the biggest advocates for Homeowners.”

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When you buy a pet insurance plan, coverage doesn’t begin immediately. Instead, a waiting period applies before you can make any claims. Pet insurance companies set their own waiting periods, so they’re not the same across the board.

In rare cases, you may be able to get pet insurance with no waiting period, but it still won’t be instant. You’ll have to wait a few days while the company reviews your pet’s medical records and makes a decision.

What are pet insurance waiting periods?

A pet insurance waiting period is the time between when you buy a policy and when coverage begins. If your pet needs to visit the vet during the waiting period, you’ll have to pay for those expenses out of pocket.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Waiting periods generally apply to new policies or those reinstated after a lapse in coverage. If you renew your policy continuously, you usually won’t have to go through another waiting period.

Do any pet insurance companies have no waiting periods?

Most pet insurance companies have waiting periods, but the best ones don’t make you wait long. For example, MetLife’s accident coverage begins immediately, and illness coverage starts after 14 days.

One of the only pet insurance companies without a waiting period is Companion Protect. But you’re eligible only if you adopt a pet from one of its partner shelters, and coverage isn’t instant. There’s usually a delay between sign-up and policy activation while the company reviews your pet’s medical records. Also, a vet visit may be required if your pet hasn’t had one in the past 12 months. This delay acts as an unofficial waiting period.

How long do waiting periods last?

Pet insurance waiting periods may vary depending on where you live and the plan you choose. Below are typical waiting periods for some of the best pet insurance companies.

Can you get pet insurance retroactively?

You can’t buy pet insurance retroactively. If your pet shows signs of an illness or injury before you buy the policy or during the waiting period, it’s considered a pre-existing condition and typically won’t be covered.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If your pet insurance policy lapses, anything your pet has been diagnosed with up until that point can be considered a pre-existing condition and be excluded from coverage. Keep your policy active by paying your premiums on time and renewing before the expiration date.

Types of waiting periods

Pet insurance policies often have different waiting periods for different types of coverage. Here are some common waiting periods.

Accident waiting periods

Accident waiting periods typically last one to 14 days. They apply to accidental injuries like broken bones, fractured teeth, swallowed objects or bites from other animals.

Illness waiting periods

Illness waiting periods tend to be longer than accident waiting periods and can last from 14 to 30 days. They apply to illnesses like cancer, stomach issues, ear infections, heart conditions or allergies.

Waiting periods for orthopedic conditions

Some pet insurance plans have separate waiting periods for orthopedic conditions like hip dysplasia, patella luxation or ligament injuries. These waiting periods sometimes apply to dogs only and can be from 14 days to six months or longer.

For example, Embrace pet insurance coverage for orthopedic conditions in dogs begins after six months, but you can reduce it to 14 days by having your vet do an orthopedic exam. Healthy Paws’ hip dysplasia coverage begins after a 12-month waiting period and is available only to pets enrolled before age six.

Waiting periods for pre-existing conditions

There are two common types of pre-existing conditions: curable and incurable. Most pet insurance companies will cover curable pre-existing conditions that have been symptom-free for at least 180 days to 12 months.

Curable pre-existing conditions are temporary health issues that were treated and resolved before you bought insurance. They can include things like respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, vomiting and diarrhea.

Most pet insurance companies won’t cover incurable pre-existing conditions, but AKC is one exception. Once you’ve had your policy for 365 days, AKC may cover pre-existing conditions other companies may consider incurable, like allergies and chronic ear infections. (This coverage isn’t available in all states.)

Wellness plan waiting periods

Some pet insurance companies offer optional wellness plans to help cover routine services like check-ups, vaccinations and flea and tick prevention. Wellness plans often have no waiting periods.

Why do pet insurance companies have waiting periods?

Waiting periods protect insurance companies from people who sign up for coverage only after their pet gets sick or injured. Without waiting periods, pet owners could sign up for insurance as soon as an emergency happens, file a claim, then cancel their policy once they get a payout. This would increase risk for the pet insurance company and drive up premiums for everyone else. Waiting periods help lower this risk.

How to handle waiting periods

Waiting periods can be frustrating, especially if your pet needs medical attention during that time. Here are some tips for handling waiting periods.

Get insurance early

One way to minimize waiting periods and avoid pre-existing condition exclusions is to get pet insurance early in your pet’s life. The younger and healthier your pet is when you sign up for insurance, the less likely they are to have pre-existing conditions that could limit coverage.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If your pet already has pre-existing conditions, pet insurance may not be worth it. Think about your vet bills over the past few years. If most of them are related to incurable or chronic conditions that a new policy won’t cover, you may be better off creating an emergency fund for your pet.

Look for ways to limit out-of-pocket costs

If you need emergency pet care during a waiting period, there are things you can do to manage costs. Some veterinary clinics offer payment plans through third-party lenders. You can also look into CareCredit, a credit card for medical expenses.

If your pet needs expensive medications, ask your vet about generic alternatives or look into pet prescription discount programs from GoodRx or AARP.


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An $18.4 million mortgage-subsidy fund resulting from the 2022 Trident Mortgage redlining settlement is now open to eligible borrowers in three Eastern states.

After a combined state and federal investigation last year found Trident — one of the largest mortgage lenders in the Philadelphia area before it ceased originations in 2020 — had regularly engaged in practices to discourage minority borrowing, the now-defunct company agreed to establish the fund under conditions of the settlement. The fund will support Black borrowers and majority-minority neighborhoods in a region that includes parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. 

“This subsidy program will make a difference to many hundreds, possibly thousands, of families impacted by historic redlining practices in Philadelphia,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry in a press release. 

The fund, called Pathway to Prosperity, includes two different programs — HomeAssist and HomeAccess — which will provide as much as $10,000 in financial assistance per qualifying mortgage. The rollout comes after Trident conducted a study to determine the needs of majority-minority communities in the Philadelphia area. Trident is contracting with nonbank lender Prosperity Home Mortgage to administer the fund. 

HomeAssist will provide funding for the purchase or refinance of a primary residence located in a qualifying census tract. HomeAccess, meanwhile, is aimed at assisting current residents living in eligible neighborhoods to purchase a primary residence located in any state Prosperity is licensed. 

“For too long, companies have avoided offering mortgages in neighborhoods that are home to predominantly people of color, denying them equal access to mortgage credit. This is one small step toward correcting that injustice,” Henry said.

Per the settlement, Trident will also provide consumer financial education and engage in community development partnerships within affected communities. Prosperity will open offices in some minority neighborhoods as well. 

Although no longer conducting business as a home lender, Trident had agreed to continue operations to implement terms of the settlement. Both Trident and Prosperity are mortgage subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway-owned HomeServices of America, a consortium of companies serving real estate interests. 

Following a four-year investigation, Trident was fined a total of $24.4 million, which included a penalty of $4 million owed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for various violations. Among the investigation’s findings were derogatory language, including racial slurs, used in emails between Trident staff, and marketing campaigns that excluded minority consumers. More than half the population of Philadelphia is Black or Hispanic.

Attorneys general of the three affected states participated in the investigation, along with the CFPB and the U.S. Justice Department. All voiced approval of Trident’s program.

“The launch of this important loan subsidy fund marks a critical step in our efforts to redress Trident Mortgage Co.’s mortgage redlining practices, and to begin the process of making whole the communities that have been harmed by generations of systemic housing discrimination,” said New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin.

“It will take generations to truly repair that harm — but this subsidy program will make a real, tangible difference for hundreds of redlining’s victims,” added Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings. 

Redlining, defined as a systematic practice of underserving or discriminating against predominantly Black, Hispanic or other ethnic neighborhoods, has been prohibited since the 1960s with the enactment of the Fair Housing Act. But violations continue decades later, with multiple financial institutions this year involved in redlining lawsuits. 

This past spring, Pennsylvania-based Essa Bank and Trust was also fined $3 million for purported infractions in the Philadelphia area. And in January, City National Bank of Los Angeles resolved allegations against it by agreeing to pay more than $31 million, the largest redlining settlement in history. Allegations have similarly hit the likes of KeyBank and HSBC in 2023.  


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The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it has entered into a settlement with American Bank of Oklahoma (ABOK) to resolve allegations that ABOK engaged in unlawful redlining in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The DOJ opened its investigation of ABOK after receiving a referral from the FDIC.

In its complaint, the DOJ alleged that from 2017 through at least 2021:

  • All of ABOK’s branches and loan production offices were located in majority-white neighborhoods;
  • For purposes of the CRA, ABOK designated its Tulsa Metropolitan Services Area (MSA) to exclude all of the majority-Black and Hispanic-census tracts in the MSA;
  • ABOK did not assign a single loan officer to conduct outreach in majority-Black and Hispanic areas and did not market, advertise, or take steps to generate loans from majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods;
  • ABOK failed to implement effective fair lending compliance management systems;
  • ABOK significantly underperformed its “peer lenders” in generating home loan applications from majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods;
  • ABOK made a smaller percentage of HMDA-reportable residential mortgage loans in majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods compared to its peers; and
  • ABOK loan officers and executives sent and received emails via their ABOK email accounts containing racial slurs and racist content.

Notably, in addition to alleging that ABOK’s redlining practices violated the Fair Housing Act, the DOJ alleged that such practices violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.  The question whether the ECOA applies to prospective applicants is currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Townstone Mortgage.  The CFPB appealed to the Seventh Circuit from the district court’s decision in the CFPB’s enforcement action against Townstone in which the district court ruled that a redlining claim may not be brought under the ECOA because the statute only applies to applicants and not to prospective applicants.

The actions that ABOK must take under the proposed consent order include:

  • Hire or designate a full-time director of community lending to oversee the development of ABOK’s mortgage lending in majority-Black and Hispanic census tracts and ABOK’s compliance with the consent order;
  • Establish a community-oriented loan production office in a majority-Black and Hispanic census tract in Osage, Rogers, Tulsa or Wagoner counties within the Tulsa MSA (Tulsa Lending Area) that has a no-fee ATM for ABOK customers and with lower fees for non-customers than what is available at nearby ATMs for non-customers;
  • Assign at least two full-time loan officers to solicit mortgage applications primarily in majority-Black and Hispanic census tracts in the Tulsa Lending Area;
  • Invest at least $950,000 in a loan subsidy fund with the goal of increasing credit for home mortgage loans, home improvement loans, and home refinance loans made in majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in the Tulsa Lending Area (with no more than 25% of the fund to be used for refinances);
  • Partner with one or more community organizations that provide residents of  majority-Black and Hispanic census tracts in the Tulsa Lending Area with services related to credit, financial education, home ownership, and foreclosure prevention and, through these partnerships, spend at least $20,000 per year ($100,000 over the term of the consent order) on professional services to majority-Black and Hispanic census tracts in the Tulsa Lending Area that increase access to residential mortgage credit;
  • Spend at least $20,000 per year ($100,000 over the term of the consent order) on advertising and outreach directed to residents and prospective residents of  majority-Black and Hispanic census tracts in the Tulsa Lending Area;
  • Advertise its mortgage lending services and products to majority-Black and Hispanic census tracts in the Tulsa Lending Area at least to the same extent that it advertises its mortgage lending services and products to majority-white census tracts in the Tulsa Lending Area; and
  • Provide at least six financial education events per year, with translation and interpretation services in Spanish, targeted towards residents of  majority-Black and Hispanic census tracts in the Tulsa Lending Area.

In its press release about the settlement, the DOJ indicated that it is part of the DOJ’s initiative to combat redlining, which it announced in October 2021.  Other redlining cases that have been part of this initiative include settlements with ESSA Bank & Trust and Park National Bank.


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Today, Zillow announced its “1% Down Payment” loan program, making them the latest lender to join the near-zero down fray.

The move comes as mortgage rates hit 20-year highs, with the 30-year fixed now being quoted in the 7% range for many borrowers.

Of course, this program simply addresses the down payment burden, but any little bit helps at the moment.

Initially, the new offering will be available to applicants purchasing a home in the state of Arizona only.

But the company does have plans to expand to other states if the pilot goes well.

How Zillow’s 1% Down Payment Loan Program Works

Zillow notes that most of the country is in the midst of an affordability crisis, thanks to a combination of high asking prices and equally high mortgage rates.

At the same time, renters are grappling with asking rents that are 3.6% higher than they were a year ago, making it difficult to set aside funds for a down payment.

This means 64% of first-time home buyers are putting down less than 20% when purchasing a property, and 25% are only able to muster 5% or less.

Many others don’t even have the necessary funds to bring in a minimum contribution, which could delay their home purchase.

Looking at a hypothetical $275,000 purchase in Phoenix, Arizona, it would take only 11 months for someone saving 5% of their income (earning 80% of area median income) to save 1% down payment.

Meanwhile, someone who needed a 3% down payment would see that timeline rise to 31 months, which obviously could delay starting a family, or simply the goal of homeownership.

That’s where this new loan program comes in.

Similar to other 1% down mortgages, the lender chips in 2% of the down payment to effectively make it a 3% down loan.

This is important because doing so will allow borrowers to meet the minimum 3% down payment required for conforming loans, such as those backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

It also gives the home buyer instant equity, along with a slightly smaller loan amount. Taken together, it could make homeownership attainable for more borrowers.

Who Qualifies for Zillow’s 1% Down Mortgage?

While Zillow has so far been a little light on details, it appears to be geared toward those with limited incomes in the state of Arizona.

As noted, it could expand to other states, but at the moment they’re trialing it in the Copper State.

My assumption is there are also income limits, as the 2% down payment appears to be a grant from the company.

Similar to Rocket Mortgage ONE+, you might only qualify if making 80% AMI (or less), which you can look up here.

Additionally, you will likely need to meet other conforming loan requirements, such as a minimum 620 FICO score.

And the program is probably reserved solely for those purchasing a primary home, including single-family residences and condos. No second homes or investment properties.

It’s unclear if you need to be a first-time home buyer as well, which means no ownership interest in the past three years.

In order to meet the 97% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) maximum, Zillow Home Loans will contribute 2% on top of your 1% down payment at closing.

There will definitely be a max dollar amount contribution here as well, as there is with other programs. That too hasn’t been divulged of yet.

Is This a Good Deal?

While we don’t have all the details, it appears to be similar to other 1% down mortgage options currently available with other lenders.

And some of the existing alternatives might actually offer a little bit more, such as reduced closing costs, no private mortgage insurance, and more.

So to determine if it’s better, you might start by looking at the mortgage rates and closing costs, collectively known as the mortgage APR.

In other words, don’t get stuck on the down payment. Look at the big picture. As noted, there are other lenders that provide grants toward the down payment.

In July, Guaranteed Rate launched OneDown, which offers a 2% grant (up to $2,000) and $1,000 toward closing costs.

A month earlier, Guild Mortgage announced 1% Down Payment Advantage, which comes with a temporary buydown the first year. Their non-repayable grant is up to $5,000.

We’ve also got a similar offering via the mortgage broker channel from wholesale lender United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM). It is tougher on the maximum income (up to 50% AMI), but offers up to $4,000.

Lastly, there’s the U.S. Bank Access Home Loan, which comes with up to $12,500 in down payment assistance if you buy in a minority census tract.

To sum things up, there are lots of homebuyer assistance programs out there, especially now that home prices and mortgage rates are so high.

Be sure to take the time to comparison shop as you would anything else. You might be surprised what you come across.

As you can see from the handful of examples above, the perks can range tremendously.