In this Issue        

December 2020 Edition


Presidents Message

State News & Events

Legislative Update

Dues Renewal

Mortgage Boot Camp

Foreclosure Law event

Best in Business

Real Estate & Finance Conference

Peer Chat

Online Event Calendar

Chapter News & Events

Milwaukee Chapter Events 

Madison Chapter Event

MBA Updates

Upcoming Educational Webinars


Dear WMBA Members,

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.  With the new year upon us, this is a time that many of us reflect on the past year and look forward to what the new year has to bring.  I have heard many people say that they just want to forget about 2020 and move on to 2021.  2020 was a tough year but, it was a year that taught us many things and, in many ways, will improve the way we work as we move forward.  We have learned that working remotely is a possibility and not something to be afraid of.  We have learned that technology can be our friend and, if we are not up to date, our nemesis.  It has taught us about patience. 2020 put us all under stresses that we have not seen before that have taught us valuable lessons.  I know that I have learned a lot about myself and I am sure you have as well. 
We have been in a very dark place for what seems like a very long time.  As we take the lessons we have learned in 2020 and look forward to 2021, all I can say is the future looks bright.  We have a real estate market that is thriving, low rates that appear to be sticking around for a while, and a vaccine that will hopefully bring an end to the pandemic.  We still have a lot of work to do but, the future looks bright.   As we close out 2020 and move into 2021, I would like to take a minute to thank all of the people on the WMBA Board of Directors, the Executive team, the guys and gals at The Firm, Morgan Data and all the members of the WMBA.  You are what makes this organization great!

Best wishes,
Rob Helvey

Rob Helvey
WMBA President 2020-2021
Vice President
Manager of Mortgage Lending
Waukesha State Bank


Legislative Update - Buddy Julius


COVID-19 news...

Cases continue to decline after November surge; but record day for deaths.

The 7-day average of positive cases continued to decline to 2,816 from a peak of 6,563 in mid-November.  It's still well above the average of about 700 per day in mid-August.

The WI Hospital Association reports 1,308 current hospitalizations, including 272 ICU patients.  Those numbers are down 163 and 47, respectively, from a week ago.
The state recorded a record 120 deaths on Tuesday.  About 10,000 Wisconsinites have been vaccinated so far.

State receives first doses of Moderna vaccine.

Wisconsin is expecting 16,000 doses delivered this week with 100,000 coming in just the next few weeks.  With the different storage temperature requirements, the state is planning to prioritize rural areas for the Moderna vaccine.

WI received fewer doses than expected of Pfizer vaccine.

Similar to reports in other states, Wisconsin received far fewer initial doses than it had expected, 35,100 instead of 49,725.  Gov. Evers called on the federal government to increase shipments and provide more clarity for future expectations.

DHS begins offering free at-home testing.

Wisconsin residents can order a collection kit online and have it shipped to their home. The kit will include detailed instructions on how to collect the saliva, which includes a video call with a testing supervisor through Vault Medical Services, and ship it back via UPS dropbox to the lab for processing.
New Outpatient Infusion Clinic Opening for COVID-19 Patients.

DHS announced that the alternate care facility at State Fair Park in West Allis will now make available Bamlanivimab, an FDA approved treatment for mild to moderate COVID-19 cases.  The outpatient service will be available 7 days per week.

LeMahieu sees Senate backing a slimmer COVID-19 package than Assembly GOP.

The incoming Senate Majority leader said the Senate package will have no new appropriations and fewer items overall than the Assembly package.  The Legislature is expected to begin debating a bill in January.
LeMahieu also said the Legislature will need to review the new $900 billion federal stimulus bill before putting forward its own proposal.

Evers urges Legislature to pass COVID relief legislation now.

Evers sent two bills to Republican leaders this week.  The first, described by the Governor as a compromise bill, includes items he claims Republicans have already agreed to such as giving the Administration flexibility to move up to $100 million from other agencies to fund COVID efforts.

The second bill includes other measures the Governor has proposed, including $465 million in new spending.

Neither bill is expected to pass the Legislature.

In other news...

State's GAAP balance positive for first time since at least 1990.

The Evers Administration announced the elimination of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) general fund deficit for the first time since the state began publishing its Certified Annual Financial Report in 1990.  The state budget has always been balanced on a cash accounting basis, but never before on a GAAP basis.  

Eliminating the GAAP deficit has been a longtime priority for Legislative Republicans who passed a number of reforms over the last decade to achieve it.  The state's credit rating is expected to improve further as a result, lowering borrowing costs.

Alliant Energy forgives up to $5 million in unpaid bills.

The Public Service Commission voted 2-1 Tuesday to approve a debt forgiveness plan that could become a model for other utilities trying to manage growing past-due balances as they have been prevented from disconnecting customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the Alliant plan, roughly 4,000 low-income residential customers who owe at least $300 for more than 60 days will be automatically enrolled in the program and have their balance reduced by 25%. Each subsequent payment will reduce the debt by another 1/12.

Former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson passed away at 87.

Abrahamson was the first woman appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the state's longest serving justice.  She was first appointed in 1976 by Gov. Patrick Lucey and retired in 2019.

Amendment to Foxconn's contract could come with reduced tax credits.

Records obtained Friday by the Wisconsin State Journal provide additional details on the ongoing efforts between the Taiwan-based company and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to reach an agreement on an amended contract. While Foxconn objected to WEDC's denial of tax credits in October, the company now says it's willing to accept a reduction in subsidies in exchange for a more flexible agreement.

Judge reverses Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission; reinstates former Chief of Police.

In a ruling Friday, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Christopher Foley reversed the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission's August decision to demote Chief Alfonso Morales.

Morales subsequently retired, sued and requested a judicial review of the decision.  What will happen next remains uncertain.  Attorneys for Morales met this week with City attorneys with no resolution yet on how to move forward.

Reigning NBA MVP (twice over) Giannis Antetokounmpo decides to stay in Milwaukee.

The supermax deal, a 5-year, $228 million dollar extension, is the largest in league history.  After 2020, Milwaukee needed this one.

Campaigns & elections & lawsuits...

Federal appeals court still considering Trump appeal.

After losing at the district level in its bid to invalidate over 221,000 Wisconsin votes, the Trump campaign filed an appeal.  Both sides issued briefs this week to the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals.  State attorneys argued that losing a similar state case last week before the State Supreme Court should be grounds for rejecting this appeal as well.  Trump attorneys argued that the outcome of the other case should have no impact on this one.
Another state lawsuit filed.
This one lists Republican State Reps. Jeff Mursau and David Steffen as plaintiffs, joining the Wisconsin Voter Alliance, a conservative political group.  It makes many of same claims as other lawsuits including challenging various absentee ballot procedures.
Trump slams conservative State Supreme Court Justice.
In a tweet, the President criticized Justice Brian Hagedorn for siding against him in several election-related lawsuits.  The President claimed credit for helping elect Hagedorn in 2019.

Senate Majority Leader supports counting absentee ballots before election day.

It's one of a few voting reforms Sen. Devin LeMahieu would like to see the Legislature adopt in 2021.  Wisconsin is one of just four states where election workers are not allowed to pre-process absentee ballots until Election Day. Pre-processing could cover a range of tasks including slicing open envelopes, fixing damaged ballots and feeding them through tabulator machines.

Evers sets special election dates for 89th Assembly District and 13th Senate District.

The 89th was vacated three weeks ago by longtime Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair John Nygren who is taking a job in the private sector.  The 13th will be vacated on January 1st when incumbent Sen. Scott Fitzgerald resigns to take a seat in Congress.

Both special elections will coincide with the spring general election and, if needed, have primaries on February 16th.  Both are considered safe Republican seats and won't affect control of either chamber.

2022 election season kicks off with new ad from Republican Governors Association.

The ad, on both TV and digital, knocks Gov. Tony Evers for removing from the capitol rotunda two Christmas trees put up by Republican legislators.  Evers had previously announced there would be no state Christmas tree this year due to the pandemic and the capitol being closed to the public.
Apologies to anyone who thought you'd get a break from campaign season.

Happy holidays,

Ryan, Buddy & Cynthia
The Firm Consulting



WMBA Dues Renewal

Have you renewed your WMBA annual dues? Reminder mails were sent via the database to all current members with a link to your online profile for payment. If your company has an Unlimited Regular or Unlimited Associate membership, your Bundle Administrator received the renewal email.

Payments can be made by credit card online or by company check. If you prefer to renew by mail, complete the application form and submit with your payment.

For more details about membership, go to the WMBA Membership page.


Upcoming Statewide Events

2020 WMBA Mortgage Boot Camp

November 12 - April 28, 2021

Registration is still open - next virtual session is January 13, 2021


Did you miss signing up for Boot Camp?

The first session is finished, but you can still register and watch Session 1 - Taking the Application online.

Join us for WMBA’s 3rd ANNUAL BOOT CAMP!

This year the Mortgage Boot Camp will be a combination of four virtual online sessions and a half day in-person session. The virtual sessions will start in November and conclude in March. The in-person session will be the afternoon before the Best in Business Award Ceremony and Dinner on April 28, 2021 at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. Each registrant for Boot Camp will receive a complimentary registration for the Best in Business award ceremony and dinner.

Who should attend?
The WMBA Mortgage Boot Camp is designed for anyone who works in the mortgage industry! Our seasoned presenters will walk you through the mortgage loan cycle from start to finish to provide each participant with advanced knowledge of each step of the mortgage process. There are many opportunities to learn and interact with your peers throughout the sessions.
Any and all in the mortgage profession are welcome. This is not just for newbies!

Click here to download the Mortgage Boot Camp flier.

Thank you to our Event Sponsor!

Dates/Times:      VIRTUAL SESSIONS 
                            November 12, 2020 - 10:00 - 11:30am - COMPLETED, but recorded for viewing
                            January 13, 2021- 10:00 - 11:30am
                            February 10, 2021- 10:00 - 11:30am
                            March 10, 2021 - 10:00 - 11:30am
                             IN PERSON SESSION
                            April 28, 2021 - 12:30 - 5:15pm
                            Hyatt Regency Milwaukee

Registration Fee: WMBA Members - $150
                                Non-Members - $300

To see all of the details and list of presenters in the AGENDA, go to the 2020 Mortgage Boot Camp web page.

Registration is still open - next virtual session is January 13, 2021


2021 General Overview of Foreclosure Law in Wisconsin
January 20, 2021
1:30 - 2:30pm
Virtual Event

Sponsored by the Milwaukee WMBA Chapter. Presenter Emily Thoms, Associate Attorney from Cordilis, Moody & Circelli. 

For all of the details and to register, go to the event page.

2020 Best in Business

Watch for new details soon!

Thank you to our 2020 Event Sponsor: 


2021 Real Estate & Finance Conference

Watch for new details soon!


2020 Statewide Peer Chat

A new feature on the member website page is a discussion forum where you can add your comments to a posted topic or suggest another topic. There are currently three topics posted including: 

- eClosings - Remote Online Notarization
- Closings at your bank or company
- How are you effectively managing your remote staff?


You can find the Peer Chat at:

2020 Online Event Calendar

Check out the new Online Event Calendar on the WMBA website that will include Statewide events, Board Meetings, Chapter Events and Educational Events. If you have an event to add, use the Suggest Event feature to give us the details to add to the calendar.

The calendar can be found at:

Milwaukee Chapter Events

See the Milwaukee Chapter sponsored event "General Overview of Foreclosure Law in Wisconsin" in the Statewide event section above. 

For chapter updates, go to the Milwaukee Chapter page.

Madison Chapter Events

Chapter update from Mike Odden, President of the WMBA Madison Chapter:

The Madison Chapter is all about giving back this month. We have recognized the great need in our area due to the impact of COVID-19. We decided to identify and donate to a variety of local non-profits in order to help feed the most vulnerable. Our Chapter is proud to have donated over $12,000 to various non-profits in 2020.

2021 Lender's Down Payment Assistance Training  

The Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association and Home Buyers Round Table of Dane County are offering training for lenders to make you aware of the various products available for your buyers.

Sessions will cover down payment assistance options available in the City of Madison, Dane and surrounding counties and statewide.


Location:    Virtual event - Zoom

Date:            February 18, 2021

  Registration deadline February 17, 2021. Space limited to 100 participants so register early!

Time:            Choose Your Session!

                       AM Session:

                        9:00 - 11:00 am   Session

                       PM Session:

                       1:00 - 3:00 pm    Session 


Cost:            Free

AM Session Registration

Registration Deadline  - February 17, 2021

PM Session Registration 

Registration Deadline  - February 17, 2021

For chapter updates, go to the Madison Chapter page.

MBA Update

MBA:  Advocacy Update - End of 2020 Report


In 2020, MBA was at the forefront of advocacy for the real estate finance industry. Specifically, MBA led the charge to delay and narrow the scope of the GSE Adverse Market Refinance Fee. This included leading a broad coalition in opposition to the near-immediate implementation of the fee. Members of MBA’s Mortgage Action Alliance (MAA) sent more than 85,000 emails to Congress, which generated strong bipartisan and bicameral opposition. MBA’s advocacy on Capitol Hill resulted in a number of letters to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) discouraging implementation of the fee, including: (1) a letter from the Chairs of the Financial Services Committee and its Housing Subcommittee; (2) a bipartisan letter of over 40 House members; (3) a letter from the Senate Banking Chairman; and (4) a letter from the Senate Banking Ranking Member and 14 other Democratic senators. 

 Our efforts saved lenders and consumers an estimated $750 million in fees on the locked and unlocked portions of the existing pipeline of loans.

 Additionally, MBA achieved long-advocated process reforms from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that will help reduce “regulation by enforcement.” While engaging regulators on this matter, MBA also educated members of Congress on the need for CFPB reforms in anticipation of congressional oversight hearings and briefings, ensuring relevant questioning for the Congressional Record. The Bureau has announced an advisory opinion program, no-action letter program, and trial disclosure program to better help regulated entities understand their obligations and end the practice of regulation by enforcement. MBA advocated for these specific changes and other process reforms in our Roadmap to CFPB 2.0 white paper.

MBA Working for You

On Capitol Hill, MBA secured bipartisan support for a proposed liquidity facility for mortgage servicers as well as legislation to ensure loans experiencing early payment forbearance are purchased by the GSEs and insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) without increased pricing – proposals that passed in the House via a number of COVID-19 relief packages. 
Additionally, because of MBA’s engagement on Capitol Hill, MBA Chair-Elect Kristy Fercho was invited to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on the industry’s coronavirus relief efforts.

MBA also expanded Remote Online Notarization (RON) adoption to 28 states as part of MBA’s campaign for nationwide adoption, with an additional four states added in 2020. The momentum of this campaign helped fuel the introduction of bipartisan, bicameral legislation in Congress with approximately 80 sponsors in the Senate and the House combined.

Rapidly secured fixes to problems arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. MBA achieved implementation of policies and programs supporting servicer liquidity, obtained changes to origination and servicing requirements, secured guidance and no-action letters from state regulators to allow MLOs and other employees to work from home, and created a safe harbor for the servicing of loans in accordance with federal standards in key state-level pandemic response bills.
Successfully advocated for changes to the QM rule to replace the expiring “QM Patch” while preserving access to credit for borrowers with higher debt-to-income ratios, the self-employed, and gig-economy workers. CFPB also established a QM framework for seasoned loans with three years of timely payment history. The final versions of both rules reflect several important recommendations made in MBA comment letters.

Reduced False Claims Act risk for FHA lenders by securing revisions to the Annual and Loan-Level certifications, as well as implementation of a defect taxonomy that ensures remedies are appropriate for the severity of the origination error.

Expanded eligibility for FHA’s Claims Without Conveyance of Title program, which will increase the use of direct conveyance, improve the bid process, and reduce servicing costs and reconveyance risks for FHA servicers.

Secured changes to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) final Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rules. The proposed rule would have provided only partial credit for mortgage banking activities and would have created a disincentive for home mortgage lending activities in CRA assessments.

Enacted Remote Online Notarization legislation in five additional states in 2020 (bringing the total to 28 states) and secured temporary remote notary provisions in more than 40 states during the pandemic.

In 2020, MBA members – through the Mortgage Action Alliance, MORPAC, and grassroots/grasstops engagement – stepped up their involvement and helped deliver MBA’s advocacy message. 

Overall MAA Statistics:
68,000 active MAA members – more than tripling active membership this year
Over 120 MAA company and state/local association campaigns in 2020 
10 companies with over 1,000 MAA members
Four companies with over 2,000 MAA members
MAA members have sent more than 140,000 letters to elected officials urging action on key issues – a 2,000% increase over 2019
100% of U.S. Senate offices contacted
99% of U.S. House offices contacted
Over half of the nation’s governors contacted
Average response rate of 14.5% on state and federal calls to action
MAA Response to the FHFA Adverse Market Refinance Fee
MAA set a record response rate with more than 23,500 members sending more than 85,000 messages to their elected officials.
100% of senators and 99% of representatives were contacted, resulting in the delayed implementation of the fee, complete exemptions for low-income refinances, and total MAA membership gaining 13,000 additional members.

In the 2019-2020 fundraising cycle, MORPAC set single-year and single-cycle fundraising records, with more than $2.6 million this cycle and over $1.5 million in 2020 alone.
MORPAC has raised over $400,000 (a single-year record) from over 1,000 new contributors.
MORPAC has hosted four virtual fundraising events, which feature a newly designed interactive fundraising page to recreate the peer-to-peer solicitation environment at traditional, in-person MORPAC events.

More than 30 professional organizations have run successful MORPAC company campaigns representing MBA’s single-family and commercial/multifamily lenders, law firms, and vendors across the country, with company campaigns accounting for 50% of funds raised.
14 new companies ran campaigns and invested in MORPAC in 2020.
Four companies have raised over $80,000 and two of those companies raised over $100,000 in voluntary contributions from their employees in company campaigns this year.
The third annual MORPAC Action Week also set fundraising records with eight concurrent company campaigns, securing 400 donors and raising $350,932 in one week.
According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), MORPAC is nationally ranked among trade association PACs – #13 in total dollars raised and #9 in total dollars contributed to federal candidates and committees.

MORPAC has contributed over $2.3 million to House and Senate candidates and national party committees, which allows us to build and strengthen our political clout among key elected officials in both congressional chambers and across the political spectrum.

Virtual Grasstops In-District Meetings
MAA hosted an Advocacy in August campaign and connected more than 100 MAA members with their elected officials to discuss key industry issues.

Please Note: MBA's Offices will be closed on Thursday, December 24, 2020, and will reopen on Monday, January 4, 2021. The next edition of the Advocacy Update will be released on January 8, 2021.

 Happy Holidays! 


MBAHomebuyer demand for mortgages eases to end a record-breaking 2020


  • Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 5% for the week but were 26% higher than the same week one year ago.
  • Low rates continue to fuel refinance volume, which rose 4% for the week and was a stunning 124% higher than a year ago.
What was expected to be a mundane year in the mortgage market was anything but: A sharp downturn in demand for housing at the start of the pandemic took a hairpin turn and just kept rising, and the average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage set no less than 15 record lows.

Mortgage demand ended the year significantly higher than 2019, but appears to be cooling off a bit for the holidays. Total mortgage application volume rose 0.8% last week compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index.

Mortgage rates ended just 1 basis point higher than the latest record low. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) increased to 2.86% from 2.85%, with points remaining unchanged at 0.33 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment. That is a full percentage point lower than it was a year ago.

Low rates continue to fuel refinance volume, which rose 4% for the week and was a stunning 124% higher than a year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 74.8% of total applications from 72.7% the previous week.

“Last week’s increase in refinance applications was driven by FHA and VA activity, while conventional refinances saw a slight decline,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 5% for the week but were 26% higher than a year ago. That is the second decrease in three weeks, as potential buyers run up against a severe housing shortage and fast-rising prices. The supply of homes for sale at the end of November fell to a record low, according to a report Tuesday from the National Association of Realtors.

The average loan balance for purchase applications last week set another record high at $376,800. That’s because the bulk of the sales activity is on the higher end of the market, where supply is more plentiful. The low end is seeing the weakest supply and the strongest price gains, hurting affordability.

“There are still signs of relative strength in the housing market as 2020 ends. However, housing affordability will be worth monitoring next year,” Kan said.


Upcoming Educational Webinars

Click here to view the calendar register for the upcoming webinars

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