During the discussion, Harvey was joined by Will Fisher, EVP of non-conforming at LoanStream Mortgage, and Tom Davis, chief sales officer of Deephaven Mortgage, who also offered their expert insights.

Fisher said: “I think that the strength you’re looking for as far as tell-tale signs of strength or weakness, you have to look at the product. You have to look at rates. You have to look at the overall menu of what lenders are providing. I don’t think you need to overthink it. And to that degree, there are stronger lenders out there who have secured where they’re going to be putting their loans, where they’re going to be selling their loans. So, if they have a wide range of products, they’re probably in pretty good financial health. What I’ve seen is if their rates are really high, leading the market as far as interest rate, they’re maybe not in the best of health or they’re a little bit skittish.

Read more: Is the non-QM market healthy or not?

“So I think when you approach it from that angle, and if you’re a broker, you worry about where you’re going to put your paper or where you’re going to put your loans. You want to look for somebody with a good product breadth and competitive interest rates because that should tell you they’re in very good health. If they’re extreme one way or another, then that could be a problem. So evaluate how long they’ve been in the space and what the product looks like, and I think you’ll be in a pretty good spot.”

Considering the factors his “competitor” mentioned, Davis reiterated how important it is to work with someone who’s really good at what they do and has that expertise.