A panel of independent judges has chosen AnnieMac Home Mortgage President and CEO Joseph Panebianco as a finalist for 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year in the Greater Philadelphia Region.

The prestigious awards program, in its 31st year, recognizes entrepreneurs who excel in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

Joseph said he’s very pleased with the recognition, which comes at a time when AnnieMac Home Mortgage is poised to introduce some initiatives that he expects will take it to new levels of success. He was quick to emphasize that it reflects on the efforts of employees throughout the company.

“I am very grateful to have such hard-working, dedicated and culturally additive people working at AnnieMac,” Joseph said.

Award winners will be announced at a special gala event on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, Perelman Theater Plaza, in Philadelphia.

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration in the Entrepreneur Of The Year National competition, which culminates with an awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 18, 2017.

Founded and produced by EY, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored in the US by SAP America, Merrill Corporation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In Greater Philadelphia, sponsors also include PNC, Pine Hill Group, Murray Devine, SolomonEdwardsGroup, BallardSpahr, Morgan Lewis, Pepper Hamilton, Philadelphia Business Journal and Simkiss & Block.

For the fifth year in a row, AnnieMac Home Mortgage has won a 2017 Top Workplaces award from The award recognizes 125 Philadelphia-area companies based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey.

The award is not a popularity contest, according to Doug Claffey, CEO of WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, the research firm that conducted the surveys. Nor is it all about fancy perks and benefits.

“To be a Top Workplace, organizations must meet our strict standards for organizational health,” Claffey said. “And who better to ask about work life than the people who live the culture every day — the employees. Time and time again, our research has proven that what’s most important to them is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together.”

AnnieMac Home Mortgage is based in Mt. Laurel, N.J. Since its founding in 2011, the company has emerged as a major national lender, with branches nationwide.

According to WorkplaceDynamics, the following are some of the reasons that survey respondents provided for why they like working at AnnieMac:

  • “The people care.”
  • “The people and the culture. I've never had a job I enjoyed going to every morning until starting here. It is truly such a great company.”
  • “Their humility.”
  • “That you can feel that all levels of management operate with strong values and ethics.”


Daily Quote: “Sorry losers and haters but my I.Q. is one of the highest and you all know it.  Please don’t feel stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.”  Donald Trump

The Art of the “No Deal”

If Democrats and Republicans had anything in common last week it was their mutual dislike for the GOP’s attempt to replace Obamacare.  As such House Speaker Paul Ryan didn’t even allow the bill to come up for a vote.  So, at least for now, Obamacare will remain the law of the land. 

Great…But What Does That Have To Do With Mortgages? 

Well, some see this failure by the Trump administration to pass healthcare reform as a real blow to Trump’s ability to carry a mandate on other important topics like tax cuts, infrastructure spending, and deregulation.  These are some of the things that made mortgage rates shoot higher post-November 11th and gave the equity market a launch above 20,000.  So both the stock and bond markets are starting to hedge their position on the “Trump Trade” as evidenced by the 10-year Treasury yield coming down from its recent peak of about 2.60% to its current 2.37%.  Stocks are also off but in reality the stock market seems so overvalued anyway that an adjustment lower might just be a healthy thing.

So What Does This Mean For Mortgage Participants?

I wouldn’t take this as a sign the refi-spigot is about to turn back on.  So please don’t begin honing your refi call scripts and/or increasing the amount of refi’s you think you’ll be doing into your Q2 pro-forma.  The Trump Administration is going to begin pushing hard for corporate tax cuts and if they get traction on it the balloon will quickly reflate.  As the chart below shows, we’ve been trading within a 30 basis point range on the 10-year and we’re clearly at the lower end of that range (thank you Ron).  So in order for rates to break lower we’ll need some triggering event…and we already know where rates will retrace to if Trump can get his team back into a favorable position.  So in the short run take advantage of this slight reprieve in rates with the understanding that they might be as fleeting as a Presidential Tweet.  



Daily Quote: Discipline is the bridge between goals and achievement. - Jim Rohn

        (Note: If you don’t know Jim Rohn’s teachings you’re probably not the best version of your professional self.)


The Fed Giveth and the Fed Taketh Away…

The Fed raised rates yesterday and reiterated their desire to increase the Fed Funds target an additional two times this year if economic activity continues at its current pace.  I know…old news and something you’re already aware of.  But what you might not be aware of, and what’s critically important to interest rates from now until the Fed’s next meeting in June, are the following 4 items and please pay close attention to #4:

  1. Forecast: The Fed’s median forecast for economic growth this year (i.e. GDP growth), what they call the “Dot Plot”, remains at a muted 1.8%.  This is far from the 3% growth target the Trump administration is aiming for.
  2. Inflation: Their inflation estimates remain within an acceptable range (~2%) which means they don’t foresee any real chance in price instability.  (Granted they leave out everything you need to eat, drive and heat your home but that’s another story)
  3. Approach: The Fed doesn’t much care about rhetoric coming out of DC in terms of tax cuts and deregulation which will spur economic activity.  They look forward to it happening but they’re waiting to see the whites of the eyes of legislation before considering it as a factor to increase rates further.
  4. Purchases:  In my limited opinion the single most significantly good thing which came out of the Janet Yellen’s press conference was the discussion around whether they would maintain their purchase of Treasury and Mortgage-Backed Securities.  For those who aren’t aware the Fed has about $4.2 Trillion (Yes…trillion with a T) Treasury and MBS on its balance sheet.  Each month some of these securities mature, pay down principle and kick off interest.  The Fed has been reinvesting these monthly cashflows back into the same securities they own.  This helps keep a strong bid in both Treasury and MBS markets (meaning it helps the Mortgage Participant and Borrower).  If the Fed were to stop reinvesting, or Heaven forbid if they decided to begin liquidating this huge position, it could have disastrous consequences for our markets.  In essence, the Taper Tantrum of 2015 would look like a walk in the park compared to this.  So although most Folks aren’t looking at this closely I’m here to tell you this is as important as it gets. Luckily, thankfully, fortunately, happily, mercifully, gratefully, appreciatively (I think you get the point) the Fed seems content to continue their current practice of holding their portfolio AND reinvesting interest and principle repayments.


So What Does This Mean For Mortgage Participants?

We wait until we get closer to the June FOMC meeting and keep our eyes on items which we know the Fed is looking for.  Inflation, growth, global concerns and legislation which can change the Fed’s “Dot Plot” and therefore effect monetary policy.  I promise you that if you all focus on originations and providing exceptional service to your internal and external customers I’ll do the more tedious work of making sure we’re ready for any eventual change in the operating environment. Deal?

Daily Quote: The moment you are ready to quit is usually the moment right before a miracle happens. Don't give up.

You Know Things Are Different When…

You know things are different when big money is now more afraid of a weak Employment Situation Report (aka Jobs Friday release) then a strong one.  Let me explain.  Remember the days when the economic nerd in you would sit around the TV the 1st Friday morning of each month, precisely at 8:30 a.m., and wait for CNBC to release the latest jobs report?  Do you remember what you and most other Mortgage Participants were praying for?  I’ll remind you.  You were praying for a weak jobs number so the Federal Reserve would either increase or at a bare minimum maintain their current easy monetary policy stance so mortgage rates would (hopefully) go lower.  Ringing a bell yet?

Well today is one of the first times I can remember where you could almost feel the entire market praying for the opposite of that.  The world has grown tired of a weaker-than-expected economic growth, tired of having to rely on Fed stimulus, and is yearning for a return of the Goldilocks times when the US economy could stand on its own but rates and inflation were still low enough to make financing affordable and stock valuations reasonable.  

Well the market got what it wanted today.  Between Wednesday’s very strong ADP private payroll report and today’s favorable jobs report (which included a 0.2% increase in income) the market seems content.  We got enough evidence of growth to keep the animal spirits interested but not so much evidence of growth to be concerned with runaway inflation(or stagflation). 

Trust me when I tell you this is exactly what Mortgage Participants want too.  Yearn all you want for a return of the refinance market but I got to tell my friend…it ain’t coming back anytime soon.  So recognizing that your operating environment has permanently changed now ask yourself the same question – “What kind of Jobs report would I like to see?”  Your answer should be something like this: “I’d like a jobs report strong enough to make the average consumer living in an apartment, in their parents basement, graduating from college, or returning from the military strong enough to make buying a new home something I feel confident in being able to do.”  Trust me once again when I say this is far, far better for us all than living at the mercy of a refinance market that went on far too long.  Jobs are far more important to home ownership than interest rates!

So What Does This Mean For Mortgage Participants?

It means that despite an end to the “Halcyon Days of Refi”, when you could fill any purchase production gap with a slew of refinances, we’re beginning to enter an era of added growth and greater confidence. This is great for the housing market.  The downside to this is higher interest rates – the upside is the potential for a long period of increased home purchase activity.  So at the risk of sounding like a broken record, what are you waiting for?  Business plan, focus, build, be accountable and create a more lasting income stream by recognizing the microenvironment and taking action.

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