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Housing News Podcast: Guaranteed Rate’s Shant Banosian on how the mortgage industry can survive in today’s low rate environment

The Housing News Podcast is a weekly wrap of the top news stories by HousingWire CEO Clayton Collins.

Each week, HousingWire interviews financial services experts who can help make sense of the latest headlines. This week, Shant Banosian, the top loan officer at Guaranteed Rate, kicks off Season 3 of the Housing News Podcast.

In this week’s episode, the industry titan, who has also been named the top loan originator in the nation for the last four years, explains how his business is navigating the nation’s low-interest-rate environment, which has spurred a dramatic uptick in both purchase and refinance demand.

According to Banosian, the key to success during these turbulent times is teamwork. And as COVID-19 continues to take its toll on U.S. consumers and the global economy, it may even depend on establishing new workplace procedures. Another major topic is communication and preparation. Shant is keeping his team and referral partners updated via his team’s Instagram and Facebook handles.

Here’s more detail on the topics of discussion this week:

During March, the average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.29%, the lowest level ever recorded by Freddie Mac in a series that goes back to 1971. The rate declined 16 basis points following the worst stock retreat since the 2008 financial crisis, which sent investors piling into the bond markets.

Mortgage applications soared 55% last week from the week prior, and demand for refinances rose to an almost 11-year high, for the week ending March 6, 2020, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The deluge came after rates fell to record lows because of uncertainty in the markets sparked by a spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, said Joel Kan, an MBA economist.

With mortgage rates recently dropping to all-time lows and lenders currently working to keep up with the surging demand from borrowers, the Mortgage Bankers Association now expects this year to see the highest volume of mortgage refinances in eight years. The MBA announced Tuesday that it is doubling its refi forecast for 2020. The trade group’s economists now believe there will be $1.232 trillion in refis this year, twice as many as the group originally expected.

As the mortgage business continues to try to deal with the repercussions of interest rates hitting an all-time low last week, it appears that some lenders are throttling rates to try to stem the tidal wave of mortgage applications they’re receiving.

A review of the top mortgage rate comparison sites (LendingTreeBankrateZillowCredit Karma and several others) shows lenders advertising rates well above the all-time low that rates fell to just last week.

And here are links to the topics discussed:

1) Mortgage rates fall to an all-time low

2) Mortgage applications skyrocket to the highest level since 2009 as rates tumble

3) MBA doubles refi forecast after mortgage rates fall to all-time lows

4) Super-low interest rates disappear from mortgage comparison sites

Housing News

Hosted by HousingWire Editors, the HW Weekly Newscast is a conversational look at the most important stories coming across HousingWire's news desk.

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