In this Issue        

May 2021 Edition


Presidents Message

State News & Events

Legislative Update

Freddie Mac Webinar

Best in Business

Golf Outing

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,

This is an exciting time of the year.  The purchase market is hot, rates are still low, and it is time for the changing of the guard with the WMBA.  In a matter of a couple of weeks, Joe Doyle will be taking over as President and I will move on to the Past President position. 

This past year has been a difficult year for the WMBA.  Due to Covid-19, the only event that we were able to have in person was our golf outing and attendance was about half of what it is normally.  We did not have our spring conference or our annual Best in Business.   Both events showcase the greatness of our organization.   Our chapters were not able to have their bowling event or Zoo event.  We all stayed away from each other and our interaction was via WebEx or Zoom.

Due to the difficulties of the last year, we have been forced to change the way we conduct business, both as an organization and as individuals and member companies.  We have learned and grown.  Buried in the loss of our events are some successes. We were able to make some much needed changes to our bylaws and by going the virtual route, we saw a record number of participants attend our Mortgage Boot Camp. 

I would like to thank the executive team, the State Board of Directors, the Chapter Boards and everyone that participated in an event or volunteered on a committee over this frustrating last year.  As we come out of the pandemic, our frustration turns to hope.  Joe has a big job in front of him trying to get us back to normal.  I would like to wish Joe the best of luck and hope that everyone will show Joe the same support that was shown to me.

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...

State still making progress on all fronts.

The 7-day rolling average of daily cases dropped to 285 from 394 a week ago, about 10% of the daily cases seen in January.  Wisconsin had 1,603 new cases and 8 deaths reported in the last week.  Wisconsin death toll now exceeds 7,000.

The WI Hospital Association reports 221 current hospitalizations including 69 in ICUs.  Those are down 64 and 10, respectively, from a week ago.

2,758,291 Wisconsinites, or 47.4% of the state population, have received at least one vaccine dose with 41.5% of the population being fully vaccinated.

The window opened this week to apply for $420 million in small business grants funded with the latest COVID-19 federal relief funds.

Gov. Evers announced on Monday the application deadline runs through June 7. The grants are expected to help up to 84,000 businesses that have gross revenue between $10,000 and $7 million. The awards will be $5,000 each.  The application can be found here.

Beloit College to require vaccinations in the fall.

The school is the second, after Lawrence University in Appleton, to require students to be vaccinated.

Fiserv Forum to fully open to fans on June 1st; the Brewers and the  Potawatomi update policy.

The Bucks announced attendance will increase to 16,500, though fans will still be required to wear masks.

The Brewers, meanwhile, announced that fully vaccinated fans will not have to wear masks starting June 1st.  Attendance is expected to increase from 50% to 100% on June 25th.

And the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino in Milwaukee will no longer require masks but will still encourage unvaccinated customers to wear them.

In other news...

Finance Committee lifts UW tuition freeze; increases funding.

Along with allowing the cap on in-state undergrad tuition, in place since 2013, to go away, the committee approved 11-4 along party lines would add $22.3 million in additional general purpose revenue for the UW System, the Wisconsin Technical College System and the Higher Educational Aids Board.

It's a fraction of what Gov. Tony Evers had proposed for the three. He wanted to put $191.6 million into the UW System, including $50.4 million to fund his plan to extend the tuition freeze by another two years.

Report says Legislature will have to increase education funding to remain eligible for federal Covid-19 relief funds.

A memo this week from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau describes a maintenance of effort requirement in the various federal aid packages the state has received.  Specifically, the state must devote 35.3% of its general purpose revenue expenditures to K-12 education and 8.9% to higher education.  Based on votes already taken by the Joint Finance Committee to reduce overall state expenditures, an additional $428 million will be required to meet this threshold.

Many Republicans have argued that state funding for K-12 education should remain flat due to the $1.4 billion in federal funds that were sent directly to school districts.  They also questioned the legality of Gov. Evers unilaterally accepting funds that then tied the hands of the Legislature.

Finance Committee increases K-12 funding by $128 million, sets aside another $350 million for future education costs.

The $128 million includes categorical aides such as transportation and special education costs but includes no new funds for general school aids, the largest pot of school funding.  

Evers had proposed $1.4 billion in new K-12 funding.  Republicans argued Evers' proposal pre-dated the latest round of federal stimulus funding which included $1.5 billion in direct school aid.

The $350 million the committee deposited in the Budget Stabilization Fund is seen as a hedge in case federal guidance requires a larger school funding increase to remain eligible for the full federal stimulus (see item above).

Committee spends $115 million to reward schools that offered in-person instruction during the pandemic.

Districts are eligible for the funds if they offered in-person instruction for at least 50% of the school year.  The state's largest districts such as Milwaukee and Madison would not qualify as they spent the bulk of the year offering only virtual instruction.

Evers announces plans to reduce state office space and increase the number of state employees outside of Madison.

The goals outlined this week by the Governor include:
reducing the deferred maintenance backlog by $100 million over the next decade.
decreasing general office space by 10 percent, or 400,000 square feet, through lease consolidations and a reduction in state-owned buildings.
using telework to allow the state to attract talent from outside of Madison.

The document notes some consolidations are already underway. For example, the Department of Children and Families is moving from GEF 1 to the Tommy G. Thompson building in downtown Madison. It is also consolidating some offices that are now at leased locations.

The Evers administration plans for downtown Madison include consolidating the Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Veterans Museum, the Department of Workforce Development and others in a new complex. It also wants to redevelop GEF 2 and 3 so agencies can operate in a smaller footprint, while redeveloping the buildings in downtown Madison that now house the departments of Administration and Health Services.

As expected, GOP Legislature refuses Governor's special session call on Medicaid funding.

In under a minute on Tuesday, GOP legislators gaveled in and out of a special session called by Gov. Tony Evers to address accepting federal funds for Medicaid expansion.  Under state law, Evers has the power to convene the Legislature but cannot force them to act.  

Republican lawmakers have routinely ignored various special session calls by the Governor and dismissed them as political stunts.

Mild forms of THC sold in Wisconsin stores unlikely to face state restrictions for now.

Wisconsin lawmakers have so far made no moves to regulate substances like Delta-8 THC that are increasingly available at CBD stores promoting them as having health benefits.

A different form of THC — known as Delta-9 THC — is the component that gives marijuana its high. The DEA maintains plants with levels of Delta-9 THC above 0.3 percent qualify as Schedule 1 drugs.  Delta-8 THC and other psychoactive cannabinoids can be extracted from industrial hemp, a cannabis crop that contains less than 0.3 percent Delta-9 THC. They cause effects similar to those of Delta-9 THC, though less intense.

Evers vetoes paddlewheel raffle bill, again.

For the second time, Gov. Evers has vetoed a bill that would have legalized paddlewheel raffles.  In his veto message, the Governor indicated the state constitution doesn't allow for such raffles, despite them being routinely held in taverns and supper clubs across the state.  

So, we'll all continue to be outlaws for the foreseeable future.

Campaigns & elections...

Election officials flag 27 cases of alleged voter fraud out of 3 million votes cast.

The cases have been forwarded to local district attorneys for prosecution decisions.  More than half of the cases came in LaCrosse, where 16 people had registered with their mailing address at a UPS store, rather than their residence as required by law.

Of the 11 other cases: four people voted both in person and absentee; one was a convicted felon; one was an absentee ballot returned by the son of the person who requested it and who voted in person; three people voted in two places; one person returned two absentee ballots; and one person who had been adjudicated incompetent and wasn’t allowed to cast a ballot.

Speaker Vos hires former cops to investigate November election.

Vos said he recognizes Biden narrowly won Wisconsin and is not trying to change the results with his taxpayer-funded investigation.

He said he hopes the investigators can get to the bottom of issues Republicans have raised unsuccessfully in court, such as how the state’s largest cities used more than $6 million in grants from a private group to run their elections and what conditions they accepted in exchange for the funds.

Vos said the retired officers will have a broad mandate and may look into claims of double voting and review how clerks fixed absentee ballot credentials.

State Senator Chris Larson files to run for US Senate; Olikara creates exploratory committee.

Larson, 40, was a Milwaukee County supervisor when he knocked off Sen. Jeff Plale in the 2010 Dem Senate primary and went on to win the seat. He then ran unsuccessfully for Milwaukee County exec in 2016 and 2020.  While he filed his campaign registration on Tuesday, Larson hasn't publicly announced his campaign.

Meanwhile, Steven Olikara, founder of the Millennial Action Project, created an exploratory committee to look a bid for US Senate also.

So far, Wausau radiologist Gillian Battino, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, former Milwaukee Bucks exec Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Exec Tom Nelson have all formally announced plans to run for the Senate seat as Democrats.  Incumbent Republican Ron Johnson has not yet announced whether he will seek reelection.

Stay safe out there,

Ryan, Buddy & Cynthia
The Firm Consulting


Upcoming Statewide Events

Freddie Mac Training Webinar

June 7, 2021
1:00 - 2:00pm

Refinance Options in Today’s Market Webinar


Jason Jefferies, Senior Affordable Lending Manager, Freddie Mac Single-Family
Brian Scholz, National Trainer, Customer Education Services, Freddie Mac Single-Family

Watch for details for the July webinars coming soon!

2021 WMBA Golf Outing

September 9, 2021
Grand Geneva

Watch for details soon for registration and sponsorships. 


2021 Best in Business

New this year...We are holding the Best in Business event on November 3, 2021 in the evening before the 2021 Real Estate & Finance Conference.  Watch for details soon and please save the date on your calendar. 

Thank you to our 2020 Event Sponsor: 


2021 Real Estate & Finance Conference

Our 47th Annual conference "Building Equity in Wisconsin"  will be held on November 4, 2021 at the Brookfield Conference Center. Details for the day long event will be available soon!

Please save the date on your calendar. 


 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:

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

The Milwaukee chapter is working on a summer social event! Watch for details soon on the Milwaukee Chapter page and through emails.

For chapter updates, go to the Milwaukee Chapter page.

Madison Chapter Events

2021 Madison Chapter Annual Golf Outing

June 3, 2021 at Pleasant View Golf Course in Middleton, WI

Registration closes May 28, 2021.

Please join us for our annual golf outing and a fun day outside on the links! This will again be a tee-time format with groups going out every 10 minutes starting at 10am.

Register your Foursome or as an Individual golfer. You can also be a Hole Sponsor at the event!

For all of the details, go to the Madison Chapter Golf Outing web page!

Thank you to our Sponsors:
Lunch Sponsor:
Beverage Cart Sponsors:

Registration closes on May 28, 2021


Madison Chapter Board Elections

The Madison Chapter is will be developing a list of candidates for our upcoming elections. There will be three Regular positions available and two Associate positions to fill.


MBA Update

MBA:  Most homeowners have exited mortgage forbearance programs—but those who are left are the most vulnerable


As of March 2021, about two-thirds of homeowners who signed up for some type of mortgage forbearance during the Covid-19 pandemic have exited the programs, according to new research from the New York Federal Reserve. Only 35% of borrowers, or about 2.2 million homeowners, who signed up for forbearance remain in these programs, the New York Fed found.

But those who remain in forbearance typically have lower credit scores and live in lower-income neighborhoods, making them more susceptible to losing their homes when these programs end later this year. 

“The borrowers in the subprime credit score buckets are much, much more likely to have both entered forbearance, and still be in forbearance at this point,” says Joelle Scally, a financial and economic analyst with the New York Fed and an author of Wednesday’s report.

In contrast, homeowners with the highest credit scores have typically already exited forbearance. 

Many of the current forbearance programs were set up in the CARES Act last year and apply to federally-backed loans offered through agencies including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Private lenders and servicers also set up their own forbearance programs.

The report found that those who have FHA-backed mortgages were more prone to enter forbearance. That’s because these mortgages are typically held by first-time homebuyers who live in lower-income areas.

About 70% of all homeowners still in forbearance are not making any payments, and the worst-case scenario, the researchers estimate, is that about 2.9% of all mortgage borrowers could end up in delinquency. That means the serious delinquency rate, which is defined as payments that are over 90 days late, would shoot up from 0.9% currently to 3.8%.

That’s still much lower than the 6.3% delinquency rate seen in 2010 in the midst of the Great Recession. 

But “even if we don’t see levels of delinquency that rival those of the Great Recession, that still could represent a significant amount of hardship for the households involved and it would still be a relatively sharp increase in where we are today,” says Andrew Haughwout, one of the report’s author and senior vice president in the New York Fed’s research and statistics group.

The good news is, this will perhaps not be the “wave” of foreclosures that some experts predicted would occur this fall, once these forbearance programs start to wind down.

In fact, to prevent an overwhelming surge in Americans losing their homes, the Consumer Financial Protection proposed a rule earlier this year that would prevent lenders from starting foreclosure proceedings until 2022. The CFPB’s proposed rule would cover all homeowners, including those with mortgages through private lenders such as banks.

The CFPB’s plan, however,  is only a proposal at the moment. The agency was seeking public comments through May 11 before issuing a final rule.


MBA: Builder Confidence Holds Steady Amid Rising Cost Concerns

May 17, 2021
Builder confidence held stable in May, despite growing concerns over the price and availability of most building materials, including lumber, the National Association of Home Builders reported Monday.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index reported builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes was unchanged at 83 in May. The index gauging current sales conditions held steady at 88, while the gauge charting sales expectations in the next six months rose one point to 81. The component measuring traffic of prospective buyers fell one point to 73.

Regionally, three-month moving averages showed the South rose one point to 84; the West held steady at 90; the Northeast fell four points to 8; the Midwest posted a three-point drop to 75.

“Builder confidence in the market remains strong due to a lack of resale inventory, low mortgage interest rates and a growing demographic of prospective home buyers,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke, a custom home builder from Tampa, Fla. “However, first-time and first-generation home buyers are particularly at risk for losing a purchase due to cost hikes associated with increasingly scarce material availability.”

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said with labor and lot availability a challenge in many markets, home buyers should expect rising prices throughout 2021 as the cost of materials, land and labor continue to rise.

“Low interest rates are supporting housing affordability in a market where the cost of most materials is rising,” Dietz said. “In recent months, aggregate residential construction material costs were up 12 percent year-over-year, and our surveys suggest those costs are rising further. Some builders are slowing sales to manage their own supply-chains, which means growing affordability challenges for a market in critical need of more inventory.”

On Friday, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s monthly Builder Applications Survey reported mortgage applications for new home purchases decreased by 9 percent from March but improved by 30.8 percent from a year ago. By product type, conventional loans composed 72.9 percent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 15.8 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 1.0 percent and VA loans composed 10.3 percent. The average loan size of new homes increased from $374,353 in March to $377,434 in April.

This morning, HUD and the Census Bureau release the April New Residential Construction report on housing starts, permits and completions; on Friday, the National Association of Realtors releases its April Existing Home Sales report.


Upcoming Educational Webinars

Click here to view the calendar register for the upcoming webinars

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