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Everything we know about the lead business from everyone at the Leads360 family. From online lead providers like LowerMyBills.com to Mortgage Lead Management best practices. We'll tell you what we know and what we've learned.  

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Credit crunch hits universities as they struggle to keep enrollment high.

Keeping enrollment up during the credit crunch is a difficult task faced by the nation’s colleges and universities. Moody’s Investor Service recently downgraded their rating of the nation’s colleges and universities. Half a year ago they indicated that the financial outlook for such institutions was stable, but in light of the persistent downturn in the economy, they have reconsidered.
Having diversified sources of income, Colleges and universities have always fared well, even when tuition outpaces inflation. But the credit crunch resulting from the subprime lending crisis has lenders everywhere tightening their purse strings. Federal regulators have recently loosened restrictions on student and parent loans to make it easier to keep students enrolled. Even so, lenders are dropping their less profitable loan products. With fewer lenders and dwindling home equity, all the usual sources of extra money to keep students enrolled are drying up.
Universities across the nation are scrambling to find other ways to make attending school cheaper. Some schools are offering classes only four days a week, so students don’t have to drive to campus five days a week. Schools across the country are seeing increased enrollment in their online classes. While online classes aren’t any cheaper, enrolling in them does cut down on gas prices, which continue to climb.
The more challenging it becomes to hit target enrollment numbers, the more universities are making use of lead management software to find more students to fill their classes.

California makes another attempt at reforming the insurance industry

Efforts to pass a universal health plan failed earlier this year. But the issue is still alive in the hearts and minds of legislators. They are keen to avoid fully scrapping the two years of work they put into wholesale health care reform.
If government requires that certain services are included in insurance policies, it drives up the cost of these policies and leaves people who can’t afford them uninsured. When the government doesn’t stipulate the details of insurance policies, cheaper plans come available, but these cheaper health plans aren’t made available to elderly or infirm, who need them most.
There is an equal but opposite reaction within the insurance industry for every bit of regulating the government does.
California is trying to chart a third course that limits the insurers’ profits on individual health care plans, as well as limit the annual spending of the insured.  Governor Schwarzenegger opposes stipulating specific services to be included in policies, but proponents of such limits suggest that it’s the only way to provide consumers with meaningful healthcare reform.

Mortgage rescue bill will not be vetoed

President Bush has dropped his threat to veto the housing rescue bill. His threatened veto was based mostly on $4 Billion to be given to states to enable them to buy and rehabilitate foreclosed properties. Questions were raised by Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., after learning that one of the bills architects, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., received a mortgage deal through a VIP program at Countrywide. Unsure how much Countrywide and other retail mortgage lenders stand to profit from that $4 Billion, DeMint and Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., attempted to send the bill back to committee but were defeated, 70-11. Other attempts to send back the bill to be rewritten were similarly defeated. This bill which offers some relief to homeowners on the brink of foreclosing, have broad bipartisan support in this election year, indicating there may be enough votes to override a veto. Eager to avoid a protracted veto fight, President Bush dropped his threat, indicating that restoring confidence and stability to the financial markets was a goal that was better tended to sooner than later.

Fannie and Freddie Bailout Price Tag - $25 Billion?

A price has been put on the potential Fannie and Freddie bailout. The price tag could be as much as $25 billion. It is not a fait accompli, however. Peter R. Orszag, Director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office put the odds at better than half that Fannie and Freddie will not use need any cash. Critics of the bailout maintain that homeowners should be the first to benefit from any taxpayer help. But if it is approved by congress, restoring confidence to investors in the U.S. and internationally is the bailout’s aim.  We will continue to closely watch the developments at Fannie and Freddie along with our mortgage broker and mortgage banker clients.

More DP news: Here comes insurance hot-transfer leads

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, DoublePositive has dropped another bit of news:  they have started to provide hot-transfer insurance leads.  They are looking for more lead generation companies to work with them.   Here’s an excerpt from their LeadWire newsletter:

DoublePositive releases new live-transfer lead options

DoublePositive has announced a bevy of new products aimed at providing increasingly customized hot-transfer leads for their clients.  The new products include:

PositiveExpress ARM - Hot leads facing an ARM reset.

Name-Your-Filters - Hot leads can now be filtered on the fly just as you would filter traditional leads in Leads360.

Name-Your-Script - This is certainly the most premium hot transfer lead availible.  DoublePositive will customize the leads as well as the contact and qualification process, just for your company!

Visit DoublePositive to learn more.

Mortgage Insurers Seek to Reduce Risk

In a post boom world, mortgage lenders have been requiring more borrowers to get private mortgage insurance. During the boom, fewer lenders required insurance from borrowers who would traditionally have needed to purchase it, i.e. borrowers who couldn’t cough up a big enough down payment. During those days of more relaxed lending practices, a piggy back loan was a much more common way for borrowers to come up with a satisfactory down payment. But Piggy Back loans have largely gone the way of the dodo. Concurrently, the amount of mortgages that have PMI have more than doubled in the last year, in part because of the growing number of loans funded by Fannie and Freddie. Fannie and Freddie require PMI if the down payment on the mortgage is not great enough.

Wachovia will waive pre-payment fees on Pick-A-Pay loans.

Negative Amortization (NegAm) Mortgage products are increasingly hot-potato like for the banks. Wachovia has hatched a plan to drop more of these mortgages and look good doing it. They announced today that they are waiving all fees associated with their Pick-A-Pay Products.  It makes them look good, offering an easier way for borrowers to refinance out these loans.  And it reduces their risk that comes from borrowers holding NegAm loans which draining the equity from their homes. With the economy slowing and falling property values, it is crucial that they dump as much of these kinds of mortgages as possible.

The Blame Game—Who are you pointing a finger at?

“Home prices in 20 major U.S. cities have dropped a record 15.3% in the past year. We are back to where we were in 2004, according to the Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday by Standard & Poor’s.” Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article started a firestorm of opinion and thoughts amongst my friends and colleagues and I wanted to share it with you. While home prices are at their lowest in the last five years, market saturation is at its highest; no one is buying or selling homes.


Mortgage turnaround only 12 months away?

Banks are insolvent, foreclosures and REO’s are up 100% this year, and the mortgage Implode-o-meter continues to grow at a frightening rate. Many of us knew that this was coming, the housing bubble had to burst at some point and the industry that has served us all so well has receded a great deal since early 2007. As many have pointed out there continue to be opportunities out there for savvy mortgage companies and the industry that remains in place today is fundamentally stronger and of a higher quality than ever before. There’s been a necessary clear out of the were in it for a quick buck, that cared less about the consumer. The companies that remain today are more ethical, and more focused on efficiency and best practices than ever before. At Leads360, where we are focused on enabling mortgage best practices, in some ways it’s actually been a good thing. We’ve been one of the few companies in the industry to grow during this downturn and the customers that we have lost have not tended to be the ones that were prepared to fully embrace best practice sales efforts.