It’s about to get much easier for mortgage loan originators to switch jobs and continue originating mortgages without any license-related delays.

Under the current rules of the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act, an LO who moves between states or from a bank to a nonbank is required to wait for a new license before they can begin originating at their new job.

But after a years-long push from the mortgage industry, those rules are about to change.

Later this year, new LO licensing rules will take effect that will allow originators to move from a bank to a nonbank or to a new state and keep originating new mortgages without having to wait for a new license.

The changes to the LO licensing rules were part of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law last year.

In addition to rolling back many Dodd-Frank Act regulations, the bill also included changes to the LO rules, which the mortgage industry has lobbied several years for.

Beginning Nov. 24, 2019, LOs who change corporate affiliation from a federally insured institution to a nonbank lender, or move across state lines, will be granted “transitional authority” that will allow them originate mortgages while they work to meet the SAFE Act’s licensing and testing requirements.

LOs will then have 120 days to complete the SAFE Act licensing requirements.

As with these types of regulations, the rules are much more complicated than that, but luckily the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry recently published an “FAQ” that provides answers to many relevant questions about the new rules.

For example: Who is eligible for the temporary licensing authority?

The answer: LOs must be: 1) employed and sponsored through NMLS by a state-licensed mortgage company, and 2) either: A. registered in NMLS as an MLO during the one year preceding the application submission; or B. licensed as an MLO during the 30-day period preceding the date of application.

Compliance provider MQMR also recently published a bulletin on the matter, which sheds additional light on the new LO rules.

From MQMR’s bulletin, which references the NMLS FAQ:

Importantly, the FAQs explain that a MLO will not have to submit a separate application for temporary authority. Rather, an MLO applies for a MLO license through NMLS and, if eligible, will automatically receive temporary authority as the applicable state processes the license application. NMLS will be programmed to check certain eligibility requirements, such as criminal history and whether an applicant has had an MLO license application denied, revoked, or suspended. Before a licensing decision is made by the applicable state, an individual with temporary authority will show as being “authorized to conduct business” in the state – the actual license status will not be updated until the state makes a decision with regard to the license application.

An individual with temporary authority may originate loans as if he/she possesses a license in that state. The individual and the loans originated by that individual will be subject to the same rules and regulations as applicable to a licensed MLO.

One important piece of these new rules to note is that lenders “must monitor” the status of their LOs’ licensing status and temporary authority to originate. If an LO’s application is denied, the lender “must reassign any active loans in the pipeline originated by that MLO to a licensed MLO in that state.”

Additionally, if the lender “knew or should have known” of a “disqualifying event” that would cause the LO’s application to be denied, the lender may face enforcement action from their state.

For the full FAQ on the new LO licensing rules from the NMLS, click here.

Source: Loan originator licensing rules are about to change: Here’s what you need to know | 2019-04-09 | HousingWire

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 inflating their advertised mortgage 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.

On several sites, there appear to be far fewer quotes from lenders than there typically are. Beyond that, the rate quotes that do appear are, in some cases, more than a full percentage point above the record low of 3.29%.

So, why are the rates so high? Last week, HousingWire spoke to numerous lenders, mortgage brokers and other mortgage professionals who hinted that some lenders may be keeping their mortgage rates above where they could be in an effort to control the demand for mortgages.

Put simply, many lenders are so busy right now trying to process the loan applications they’ve already received that they’re pushing their interest rates well above the prevailing market rate so they can actually deliver on the loans they already have in their pipeline.

HousingWire searched many of these mortgage comparison sites on Tuesday, using identical financial information to try to ascertain an apples-to-apples comparison of the different sites.

On Bankrate, for example, the advertised rates that showed up when HousingWire searched Tuesday ranged from 4.75% all the way up to 6% for a refinance. Even Bankrate itself is acknowledging that those rates are well beyond the expected level.

After searching for a mortgage rate, the following message appears in a pop-up on the site:

You may find that advertised mortgage rates are higher than expected right now. Market factors have caused a surge in applications, which has exceeded lenders’ capacity levels and therefore impacted displayed rates.

Mortgage rate searchers are then encouraged to sign up for an email update when the displayed rates are “back to market levels.”

It’s much the same on Zillow, where interest rates for a 30-year refi varied from 4.75% to 5.375%. And it was the same on Trulia, which pulls its mortgage data from the same place Zillow does.

Zillow rate comparison as of March 10

The story was the same on Credit Karma, where only two lenders appeared. The advertised interest rate from those lenders: 4.75% and 5.25%.

Credit Karma rate comparison as of March 10

On Nerdwallet, meanwhile, a search only returned one lender: Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. The quoted interest rate? 4.536%.

Nerdwallet’s site also noted that the prevailing interest rates rose by nearly 20 basis points (0.19%, to be exact) in the last 24 hours.

A similar jump is also shown at LendingTree, where its rate trend graph shows an increase from 3.35% on Thursday to 3.68% on Saturday. The advertised interest rates on LendingTree were a little closer to expected, with three lenders all below 3.375%.

LendingTree rate comparison as of March 10

The situation was far more dire on Redfin, where literally zero lenders appeared in a search for a 30-year refi. The page featured the following disclaimer at the top: “Quotes missing or too high? Our lenders are over capacity right now due to the latest interest rate cuts. We recommend checking back later.”

Over on Realtor.com, the mortgage search returned rates at big banks like CitibankHSBC, and Bank of America that were at 3.3% or below. Credit.com showed no lenders when HousingWire attempted to search its site for mortgage options, while Smartasset only showed one lender advertiser, which did not display an advertised rate.

Wallethub showed a number of mortgage options, with an available interest rate of 3% for 30-year refi, but all of the larger lenders, including Citi, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase showed rates well above the presumptive market rate. Chase was more than a full percentage point above the record low of last week, displaying an advertised rate of 4.375%.

While it appears that some lenders are marking up their rates to try to deal with their capacity issues, the next question is how long will this phenomenon last? Will lenders move rates back down once they return to a manageable workload? Or will it end up that the record lows in interest rates were just a fleeting moment? We’ll see soon enough.

Source: Super-low interest rates disappear from mortgage comparison sites

KEY POINTS
  • The average rate on the 30-year fixed loosely tracks the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond, but it is no longer keeping up. The 10-year plummeted to yet another record low overnight, but mortgage rates, while also at a record low, are slower to fall.
  •  One borrower who called Bank of America on Saturday was told there would be a two-hour wait to speak with a loan officer.
  • “It’s absolute pandemonium,” said Matt Weaver, vice-president of sales at Cross Country Mortgage. “The industry right now is certainly inundated with requests. Let’s put it this way, we are like Home Depot during a hurricane.”

A sharp drop in mortgage interest rates has sparked a sudden and unexpected refinance boom that has lenders large and small scrambling to handle the volume.

That stress on the lending market, as well as increased risk to mortgage investors from all those refinances, is actually keeping mortgage rates higher than they could be.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed loosely tracks the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond, but it is no longer keeping up. The 10-year plummeted to yet another record low overnight, but mortgage rates, while also at a record low, are slower to fall.

Mortgage rates hit 3.11% on Monday, according to Mortgage News Daily.

“Demand has ramped up in a way that many lenders have never experienced,” said Matthew Graham, chief operating officer at Mortgage News Daily, which tracks rates every morning. “Some of them have taken to raising rates in order to deter new business.  Others have completely stopped accepting new applications.”

One borrower who called Bank of America on Saturday was told there would be a two-hour wait to speak with a loan officer.

At Cross Country Mortgage, a small lender in Boca Raton, Fla, phones were ringing before 8 am Monday. They have increased hours and are trying to find more staff to handle the volume, which is now triple the usual.

“It’s absolute pandemonium,” said Matt Weaver, vice-president of sales at Cross Country. “It is a supply and demand situation. The industry right now is certainly inundated with requests. Let’s put it this way, we are like Home Depot during a hurricane.”

The average rate on the 30-year fixed loosely tracks the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond, but it is no longer keeping up.

Weaver says his firm is able to lower rates more than the bigger banks, because it has less volume, but there are also unusual profit and risk scenarios at play.

“It’s very complicated as to why mortgage rates aren’t a lot lower. One reason is lenders are dragging their feet, more for profit reasons than for concerns about handling the volume,” noted Guy Cecala, CEO of Inside Mortgage Finance. “If a lender’s costs of funds – either from MBS (mortgage backed securities) pricing or deposits – moves lower, but they keep mortgage rates higher than they normally would be, they profit off the larger than normal spread.”

Weaver agrees that lenders have to watch their profit margins, along with the added volume.

“In these low times of course lenders have the juggling act of balancing margin vs. market demand, vs. the 10-year Treasury,” said Weaver, who added that his firm needs to handle pricing in a way that makes sure “profitability still remains there.”

At the big banks, rates are slightly higher than at smaller lenders. While no one we contacted would comment on why, they did speak to the enormous volume.

“We’ve paused email marketing campaigns on refinancing due to the thousands of customers who are already aware of the low rates and applying for them on Chase.com,” said Amy Bonitatibus, Chief Marketing Officer, Chase Home Lending.

A Wells Fargo spokesperson said they are ramping up staff to deal with the onslaught.

“We continue to hire underwriters, processors and closers into our fulfillment group and we’re also executing on opportunities to shift team members from other non-fulfillment groups into our fulfillment operation,” said Tom Goyda, a spokesman for Wells Fargo.

And as for rates: “Lenders look at a lot of factors when setting mortgage rates and they are most directly tied to MBS yields, which have seen a widening spread relative to the 10-year Treasury yield,” added Goyda.

Investors in mortgage-backed bonds are at increasing risk because so many people are refinancing. When a loan is refinanced, it is paid off early, and the investor loses out on several more years of interest rate payment returns. As the risk rises, they will pay less for those bonds and therefore the yield on MBS rises – and mortgage rates rise.

“Investors are so spooked about what is going on that they don’t care about yield and are ignoring MBS and sticking with just Treasury bonds,” added Cecala.

It will take “time and market stability,” to get mortgage rates back to following the 10-year Treasury, said Graham.

“If these Treasury yields become common, lenders can gradually lower mortgage rates without risking rampant refi activity,” he said.  “Eventually, mortgages would return to a normal distance from Treasuries.”

Source: Mortgage rates could be lower, but lenders struggling to keep up with demand

Rates are so low we are filling up the back of the pickup with loan applications!!!

I understand now is a difficult time to capture your attention. If you find yourself with less than 60 files at hand we should speak. Our production teams have multiple layers of backup and can handle the load right now. We also retain these processors and underwriters during lean times. As a privately held Mortgage Lender, Supreme Lending does not have to “lean the books” to please the shareholders. We maintain our commitments to the families we employ and ensure our borrowers will always have an exceptional transaction whether rates are high or low.

Here are some interesting facts about a Jubilee which takes place on the Gulf Coast. 

Jubilee is the name used locally for a natural phenomenon that occurs sporadically on the shores of Mobile Bay, a large body of water on Alabama‘s Gulf Coast. During a jubilee many species of crab and shrimp, as well as floundereels, and other demersal fish will leave deeper waters and swarm—in large numbers and very high density—in a specific, shallower coastal area of the bay.[2] A jubilee is a celebrated event in Mobile Bay, and it attracts large crowds, many drawn by the promise of abundant and easy-to-catch seafood.[3]

Although similar events have been reported in other bodies of water, Mobile Bay is the only place where the regular appearance of this phenomenon has been documented.[4]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Bay_jubilee

 

 – Wisconsin lawmakers are drafting a bill aimed at regulating the use of telehealth in dentistry.

State Senator Dale Kooyenga and State Representative Amy Loudenbeck have issued a letter calling for co-sponsors for their proposed bills, LRB 5706 and LRB 4551.  Their goal is to set guidelines for the use of connected health technology and give the state’s Dentistry Examining Board the authority to oversee teledentistry before it becomes an issue.

The bill, as now proposed, would set a definition for teledentistry that adheres to the state’s definition of telehealth, including audio-visual and asynchronous telemedicine platforms and remote patient monitoring. It would also enable those licensed in other states to use telehealth to treat patients in Wisconsin, and require any dentist or dental hygienist using telehealth to provide his or her full name and license number to the patient prior to treatment.

“As medical technology continues to evolve, it opens doors in professions not previously affected,” the two wrote in their letter to colleagues. “While telemedicine has received much attention in the last several years, using telehealth in dentistry is emerging as a tool for practitioners in rural areas and increasing access to the underserved.”

“While this technology would not be useful in all practices, it would allow for increased basic care in settings such as nursing homes, where even simple exams and cleanings can be hard to come by,” they added. “Dental hygienists can practice in these and many other settings without being under the direct supervision of a dentist; their use of intraoral cameras and store-and-forward technology can mean faster diagnoses and referrals, if necessary. In addition, patients not located near a dental office can benefit from a dentist’s ability to examine images remotely, thus still enabling them to diagnose, plan treatments, and refer appropriately.”

The bills are being drafted with help from, among others, the Wisconsin Dental Association, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Delta Dental of Wisconsin.

Loudenbeck and Kooyenga are no strangers to telehealth advocacy. They were successful in 2019 in passing legislation that expanded Medicaid coverage for telehealth and expanded the platform to include asynchronous and RPM modalities.

Now they’re hoping to get ahead of a telehealth trend before problems arise, as lawmakers in California have found out.

Last year, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 1519, which reauthorized the Dental Board of California and included restrictions on how dentists and orthodontic companies use telehealth. That bill included a provision requiring online teledentistry and orthodontic companies to obtain written or verbal permission from a patent to use telehealth or review x-rays.

Online companies like the SmileDirectClub opposed the bill, saying it favored brick-and-mortar dentists over those using telehealth to improve access to dental care.

The state is now facing another battle. California Assemblyman Evan Low recently introduced The Dental Practice Act (AB 1998), which would, if passed, require dentists to conduct an in-person visit with a patient before using telehealth.

“California is proud to be the incubator of innovation — but we cannot sacrifice patient health and safety in exchange for making billionaires out of tech bros,” Low said in a statement provided to Politico. “The industry should view AB 1998 as a sign that the Legislature is serious about requiring meaningful safeguards if these questionable and controversial business practices are allowed to continue.”

Source: Wisconsin Lawmakers Mull Telehealth Regulations for Dentistry

Three VA hospitals around the country will soon be using telehealth to give veterans access to creating arts therapy to deal with neurological and behavioral health issues.

The three hospitals are part of a program developed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health and the National Endowment for the Arts to give rural and remote veterans living with traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder a chance to try new rehabilitation treatments through art, music, dance and creative writing.

“Telehealth can be a hugely important tool in connecting rural veterans with the care they need,” Thomas Klobucar, executive director of the VA Office of Rural Health, said in a press release. “Our partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts adds an entirely new dimension of care to our Rural Veterans TeleRehabilitation Initiative (RVTRI), allowing us to treat the whole veteran regardless of where they live.”

The RVTRI program was launched in 2009 to give rural veterans access to rehabilitation programs through telemedicine and mHealth platforms. The program was first developed through the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, using physical, occupational, recreational and speech language therapy, as well as supported learning services. Working with the University of Florida’s Center for Arts and Medicine, the program added creative arts therapy in 2014.

The VA’s Office of Rural Health and the NEA then launched The Creative Forces: NEA Military Arts Healing Network, aimed at taking the creative arts therapy program across the country. The network added music therapy to the program in 2017 and expanded it to Alaska, where patients at Basset Army Community Hospital in Fairbanks were able to receive treatment via a connected health program with providers at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.

“This Creative Forces expansion is an important part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ efforts to increase access to the arts for all Americans, especially to our veterans and those in rural communities,” Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said in a press release.

Among the first VA centers to use the program was the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, FL.

“There are some indicators that different engagements in arts can lower your blood pressure and can be good for your heart rate,” Dr. Chuck Levy, Chief of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service at the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System and the program’s coordinator, told Florida Public Broadcasting Station KBPS in 2018.  “I would say that the body of evidence is thinner than it is for other practices. But we need to be doing things now, so off we go.”

Based on that early success, researchers from the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System and the University of Florida released a study in February 2019 in The Arts in Psychotherapy showing how telehealth could be used to improve veterans’ access to creative arts therapy.

The program has now been expanded to the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center Jackson, MS, and VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System in Cleveland. The three VA hospitals are now working with the Veterans Health Administration Office of Rehabilitation and Prosthetics Service and National Program Office of Recreation Therapy Service to establish the telehealth programs.

“This program delivers art therapy services to veterans, especially those in the rural most parts of our state, and opens the door for partnerships with community arts providers to be of service to this important population,” Lewis Ricci, executive director of the Indiana Arts Commission, recently told the Batesville (IN) Herald-Tribune.

Source: VA Centers Use Telehealth to Give Vets Access to Creative Arts Therapy

If you are like most leaders, you waste plenty of your own and others’ time. There is some good news about how to do more with the time you have left: BJ Fogg, the Stanford scientist who founded Stanford University’s Behavior Design Lab, has discovered that people want more than anything to get more productive.

What’s more, after three decades of study, he’s come away with a simple and powerful insight: People can get more productive by making tiny improvements to their daily routines that will stick if they reward themselves after making the changes.

As CNBC reports, Fogg encourages people to insert the tiny habits into their normal routines–for instance, after they brush their teeth in the morning. If someone can’t stick with the new habit, she will feel little disappointment because her expectations were already low. Once she has added the new habit, she should give herself “a fist-bump,” Fogg told CNBC.

I’ve reviewed 12 of Fogg’s little habits and selected four that I believe are most useful for leaders like you. Each habit is connected with an anchor or prompt to help you remember to complete it. Read on for an explanation of why I picked each, why it’s important to entrepreneurs, and why the habit will boost productivity.

1. Sit down at your desk, then put your phone on do-not-disturb mode.

Successful entrepreneurs have great demands on their time from their team, customers, and investors. If you give in to their urgent desire to talk, you lose control of your time–which could make it more difficult for your company to reach its goals.

To keep these people motivated, make a plan each day and stick to it. Ironically, that means you must keep these people from pulling you away from your plan. That’s why you must not to answer every call that comes into your phone by putting it on do-not-disturb mode.

This habit will keep you focused on your key tasks and give you back the time you would have spent talking with the person, thinking about the call afterwards, and doing something to solve the caller’s problem.

2. Don’t browse social media for distraction. But if you do, log out.

Someone in your company–possibly in marketing or customer service–should be keeping an eye on social media.

I think founders should not spend time on social media during work hours. Yet some leaders cannot resist looking at Twitter or LinkedIn during work–possibly justifying it with the thought that they might receive an important business insight.

If you make that mistake, cut your losses by logging out. This will keep you from wasting more time. And if you feel the need for getting away from the grind, take a brisk walk around the building.

3. After you sit down in a meeting, write the title, the date, and the attendees at the top of your notes.

Leaders spend lots of time in meetings–say with potential customers or investors. If you’re like me, you take notes in those meetings so you can remember key details–such as who said what.

The notes help you follow up more effectively with the right people when you have time to think about the topics discussed in the meeting. This is why it’s particularly important for you to write down the date and the name and title of each attendee.

By doing this, you will save yourself the time and embarrassment of going back to the attendees and asking them for this information. That time will be better spent using what happened in that meeting to win new customers or raise needed capital.

4. After reading a time-sensitive email, reply with something like: “Got it. I will review it in detail and get back in touch soon.”

Leaders receive lots of email from their executive team, employees, customers, and others. Many of the emails are time sensitive to the sender but less so to the entrepreneur–who ignores the message.

This failure to respond reduces the sender’s productivity by putting the related task on hold, which aggravates the sender. The simple remedy for this productivity-sapping inaction is to get in the habit of sending a quick note that you received the email and will respond by a particular time.

Adopt these four tiny habits and you’ll get more done.

Source: 4 Small Habits That Can Make Any Business Owner More Productive | Inc.com

A southeast Iowa hospital is taking patient care to a new level by utilizing telehealth.

The Avera E-Care system officially went live Wednesday at Van Buren County Hospital in Keosauqua.

Dr. William Felegi, emergency medicine physician, says this system will support the hospital with specialized doctors and nurses that can help in emergency situations.

He says Avera E-Care will play a vital role because the rural Van Buren County Hospital is considered a critical access hospital, meaning it sometimes has difficulty recruiting providers.

“I’m a board certified physician, I only work a 48-hour shift and therefore, the other shifts are covered by an advanced practitioner, whether that’s a PA or a nurse practitioner. What the Avera system allows us to do, is it allows any provider to immediately have telemedicine hook up with both audio and visual to be able to evaluate a patient with the provider, but the person on the other end is also a board certified emergency physician.”

The Avera E-Care Emergency team has implemented secure, interactive, high-definition video and audio equipment and software in the emergency department.

With just the push of a button, ER staff have immediate, virtual access to a team of physicians and nurses who specialize in emergency medicine.

Once the button is pressed, the E-Care team will activate a camera, which has the capability to zoom in and out and view all areas of the room, including the monitors that show patient vital signs.

Felegi says a microphone will allow Van Buren County Hospital staff to speak with the E-Care team and vice versa.

“What it allows us to do, it allows our community to have the care that they would receive at a more urbanized or suburban hospital.”

Teresa Johnson, service line manager for E-Emergency at Avera E-Care, says Van Buren County Hospital staff can connect with the virtual hospital hub, 24/7, 365 days a year.

“It’s a benefit to the bedside team members to have kind of that extra person in the room with them. To have an extra nurse to assist with nursing questions, nursing documentation, providers have an additional colleague that they can consult with.”

Felegi adds that he hopes the E-Care system is something other rural hospitals will consider implementing down the road.

“I think this is just a program where our leadership here and our medical staff are very forward thinkers, and I think this is a model for many other rural hospitals to be able to use to really be able to keep a board certified physician for supervision, but yet when not around, have that backup that they need.”

The Avera E-Care system is currently up in running at 190 sites in 13 different states.

Source: Van Buren County Hospital taking patient care to next level, utilizing telehealth | KTVO

Teladoc (TDOC) to Post Q4 Earnings: What's in the Cards?Teladoc Health, Inc. TDOC, the global leader in virtual care, will release fourth-quarter 2019 results on Jan 26, 2020, after market close.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at a loss of 32 cents per share. The company had reported loss of 39 cents in the year-ago quarter. The consensus mark for revenues is pegged at $153.79 million, indicating 25.3% increase from the year-ago period reported figure.

Factors at Play

Teladoc is likely to have witnessed higher visit fee revenue driven by increase in U.S. paid membership visits as well as individuals with visit-fee-only access in the fourth quarter. The U.S. paid membership visits include revenues from general medical visits as well as other specialty visits primarily comprised of expert medical and commercial behavioral health services. The balance of visit fee revenue is primarily comprised of the company’s visit-fee-only access.

Higher visit revenues, which are attributable to increased adoption of virtual care and benefits, are likely to have aided the company’s fourth-quarter performance.

The acquisition of Advance Medical, made last year, is likely to have benefited the company’s revenues by increasing membership in the quarter under review.

Teladoc’s Behavioral Health business is likely to have been one of the strongest drivers of visit growth in the fourth quarter. The company might have witnessed increased engagement in its business-to-business service in terms of increased number of visits.

In its Health Plan business, the company is likely to have witnessed growth in terms of new distribution and penetration of existing relationships in the to-be-reported quarter. This area continues to diversify with wins in new lines of business, population and geographies both commercial and government programs.

Teladoc recently expanded its relationship with a major Blues plan and continued to increase penetration into its largest client’s books of business, where its sales velocity is healthy and on track with expectations.

This is likely to have benefited the company’s performance in the to-be-reported quarter.

Operating expenses are likely to have increased in the fourth quarter as the company continued to gain from operating leverage.

Company’s Guidance

For full-year 2019, revenues are expected between $552 million and $553 million, and total visits are anticipated to be more than 4.1 million.
For the fourth quarter of 2019, Teldoc estimates revenues between $155 million and $156 million. It expects visits to be more than 1.2 million.

Earnings Surprise History

The company surpassed estimates in two of the four reported quarters, the positive surprise being 0.6%, on average. It missed estimates by 2.5% in one quarter and matched the same in the other quarter. This is depicted in the graph below:

What Our Model Says

Our proven model does not predict an earnings beat for Teladoc this season. The combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the odds of an earnings beat. But that’s not the case here.

Earnings ESP: Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is -2.86%. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Source: Teladoc (TDOC) to Post Q4 Earnings: What’s in the Cards?

Summary

Teladoc has doubled in valuation since our previous article around six months ago and has surpassed our optimistic expectations.

The company continues to exhibit strong growth and has multiple growth vectors at its disposal.

We have a very favorable view of the industry and TDOC’s leadership position, however today’s valuation appears to be a bit rich.

We think the stock may have limited upside at today’s valuation and recommend value investors to monitor from the sidelines and look for a more reasonable entry point.

Investment Thesis

In our previous article, we presented a a detailed view on Teladoc’s (TDOC) business and growth prospects. We theorized that the market was not fully appreciating the growth opportunity ahead for the company and the stock price was undervalued. Fast forward to today and our theory has panned out faster than we anticipated with the stock price almost doubling and in fact surpassing our expectations. In this article we will aim to provide an update on the company with a focus on any changes to its fundamental value. We also provide an updated forecast and valuation for the stock. Ultimately, we theorize the view that although the company still has significant growth prospects to tap into, the stock appears fully valued at today’s price and investors should wait for a better entry point to establish a long position.

Stock price since last article (Source: Yahoo Finance)

Company Overview

TDOC provides a software that allows users to access a scaled network of medical professionals over their mobile phones from anywhere with an internet connection. The company also provides access to doctors over a traditional land-line. A key point to note is that the company’s competitive advantage doesn’t come from its software (which is actually not difficult to develop), instead the competitive advantage lies in the vast network of medical professionals that readily provide services on TDOC’s platform. Majority of the company’s consultations fall in the general medicine category however the company has been increasing its mix of services including mental health, dermatology, sexual health, wellness etc. These additional services provide a compelling up-sell opportunity for the company to its already significant subscriber base especially mental health and wellness services which are gaining increasing awareness in North America. In recent months, TDOC has entered into the virtual consultation space for hospitals by acquiring InTouch Health (to be discussed later in the article). Furthermore, the company has been expanding its global footprint with presence across several different countries.

Source: TDOC investor presentation

Updates Since Last Article

Q3-2019 Earnings Release

The company released its Q3 results October and we believe this has been the main catalyst for the aggressive stock price increase since. The key stat here was the significant increase in subscriber base to 35M (from 27M in Q2 2019). YoY, this constitutes an increase of 55% and really exhibits the leadership position of TDOC in this market. The growth was driven by continued increase in notable insurance plan clients (e.g UNH) and increases in the behavioral health business as adoption of mental health and wellness increases across North America. Revenue growth beat analyst consensus and the company increased its guidance for Q4 2019. Management indicated that RFP volume is up 25% YoY and bookings are up 30%, which should translate into strong organic growth in 2020. Management remains confident in the 20-30% long-term organic growth targets which is a very positive sign for investors.

Quarterly revenue and adj. EBITDA trends. Note that our adj. EBITDA calculation only excludes stock compensation and does not take into account other adjustments that the company includes in its own calculations (Source: company disclosures)

Acquisition of InTouch Health

In January, TDOC acquired InTouch Health, a provider of enterprise telehealth solutions for hospitals and health systems, for $600M. The deal was valued at 7.5x TTM revenue which is well below TDOC’s current valuation of ~15x revenue. The deal consideration included $450M of TDOC’s stock which shows the seller’s confidence in TDOC’s business and the company’s use of a high valuation to invest it the business. InTouch’s platform allows hospitals to provide specialist coverage in smaller communities for specialties like cardiology and critical care. This helps smaller hospitals reduce overheads by leveraging virtual consultations. TDOC’s current offering helps hospitals provide virtual access to outpatient visits (ex: pre-admission, post-discharge) and is synergistic to InTouch. This acquisition further expands TDOC’s set of products that it can cross sell to its established base.

Growth Vectors

  • Capture unpenetrated commercial insurance market – Despite the aggressive adoption of telehealth, only ~25% – 30% of the US population covered by commercial health insurance is currently subscribed to telemedicine services leaving a fairly large untapped market to grow into.
  • Higher use by existing subscribers – The use of telehealth is becoming more popular as patients look to save time and the health ecosystem looks for ways to cut costs. Higher use by subscribers leads to higher revenues for TDOC.
  • Add new services to the platform – The company has continuously added new services to the platform such as mental health and wellness and now hospital specialist capabilities via InTouch. This again leads to higher utilization of the platform along with a higher per employee per month (PEPM) rate.
  • New Market (Medicare Advantage) – Medicare is expected to cover telemedicine services starting in 2020 and this could open up a significant new market for TDOC (20 million potential users).
  • New Market (International expansion) – Adoption of telehealth in international markets is much lower than the US and TDOC has started to expand its footprint outside North America.
  • License software – There will likely be physician offices that can utilize the software to reduce costs and provide convenience to their customers, without the need for the physician network available via TDOC. For example, a high-touch family practice may want to provide its regular customers access to telemedicine to generate additional revenue. These physicians would pay a licensing fee to the telemedicine company providing the software.
  • Industry Consolidation (M&A) – As adoption increases, we will see more consolidation in the telemedicine market which should provide TDOC another avenue for expansion. Acquisition of InTouch is a prime example of this.

Valuation

Despite our optimism on the business side, the significant increase in the stock price makes us a bit cautious at today’s valuation. We have updated our forecast for the business below which now shows more aggressive increase to subscriber base and higher increase to PEPM as new services are added. We have kept EBITDA margins consistent as our previous article however note that this is likely an aggressive assumption given that advertising and market spend will likely increase as the company looks to expand. Overall, we think the forecast below is fairly aggressive and value investors should be cautious.

What does this mean in terms of market adoption?

Essentially, over the next 5 years adoption would have to increase significantly for this valuation model to come to fruition. While this is an aggressive assumption, we note that our forecast may not fully take into account cross selling opportunities into the established customer base which could provide additional upside

Risks

  • Increased competition from new entrants could temporarily hinder growth and apply downward pressure on pricing
  • Increasing physician shortage leading to higher cost of revenue
  • Regulatory changes leading to cuts in reimbursement rates
  • Change in regulations resulting in restrictions upon cross state physicians treating patients; this will impact ability to scale profitably
  • General market downturn stemming from fears of a global recession

Conclusion

TDOC has exhibited very strong growth on the backs of industry tailwinds and development of new services. The company has many growth vectors at its disposal however today’s valuation make us a bit cautious. We recommend value investors to monitor from the sidelines for now.

Source: Teladoc: Growth Prospects Still Intact, But Upside Limited On Valuation – Teladoc Health, Inc. (NYSE:TDOC) | Seeking Alpha

In an ideal world, closing deals would be easy.

And with the right approach, it sometimes is.

Before sitting down at the table next time, take these five negotiation steps to increase the chances you get the outcomes you’re aiming for.

1. Prepare an Accusation Audit

Out of all the negotiation steps, this one may be the most important.

First things first: You’ve got to prepare an accusation audit before you engage with the other side. There’s no way around it.

The accusation audit is a great way to set the stage up front. The stage you’re trying to set is not so much an agenda you want to talk about as it is a need to mitigate any negatives they may have brought to the table.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to be 100 percent certain that the negatives you address in your accusation audit are actually at the forefront of your counterpart’s mind. The attempt to verbalize an understanding is always more important than its accuracy.

Putting any negatives you can think of on your list and addressing them at the beginning of the conversation will help create a collaborative environment—which is the precursor to the end goal of trust-based influence.

Remember, at the end of the day, in the world of negotiation, people give you things because they feel like it. You want to get the other side to trust you enough to feel like moving in your direction.

The accusation audit is a great way to start the process of just general collaboration and trust-building up front—while skipping over all of the run-of-the-mill common ground stuff.

Would it hurt to increase your influence? Read this guide to become a more effective salesperson »

2. Don’t Answer Questions Until You Know Why They’ve Been Asked

Before you respond to a question, make sure you understand why your counterpart asked it in the first place.

You can put yourself in a tough spot if you answer a question poorly. You don’t want to leave yourself naked by answering a question in a way that doesn’t necessarily address the motivation for why they’ve asked it.

Most people are bad at asking questions in general. So before you answer, you need to understand the dynamics that caused the other side to ask in the first place.

Worried that that might be difficult to do? It’s not.

Phrases like What makes you ask? and Seems like you have a reason for asking that will help you understand the reasons behind the questions.

3. Fire off a One-Liner Before Your Ask

Before you make an ask of any sort—e.g., there’s a term in the contract that needs to be taken out—have a couple of one-liners ready to go.

Spend some time thinking about some of the potential ways that the other side can react to your ask that might not be in your favor. If it’s something they are probably not going to like—which is a pretty good bet, considering that you’re at the table in the first place—greasing the skids for your ask with a one-liner is going to be a huge help.

Before diving in, set the table with something like this: This is really going to catch you off guard. 

The other side will respect your upfront approach—and the fact that you’re practicing tactical empathy by seeing things from their perspective.

4. Expect to Be Caught Off Guard

At the same time, you need to be aware that you yourself are going to be caught off guard.

Many people go into a negotiation with a mindset wherein they hope that the other side will move in their direction, but decide to just see what happens. This is not a horrible mindset to have, mind you. But it is a mindset that means you’re less equipped for when unexpected things happen.

On the other hand, if you go to the table with the mindset that your counterpart is going to say something that’s going to throw you off your game, you’ll be in a much better spot to prepare for whatever comes your way.

5. Allow the Other Side to Have the Floor

Every now and again—at the very least—you’ll run into a situation wherein you sense a lot of discomfort at the table. If the other side seems standoffish or restless, that’s often a telltale sign that your approach is not in a good place.

When you sense an impasse, say something like, It seems like I said something that offended you or, It seems like I said something that made you uncomfortable.

Otherwise, when you let it linger, they’ll spend more time listening to the voice in their head than whatever it is you’re saying. When that happens, they’re not soaking anything up. They’re just waiting for their turn to speak.

In these situations, address their discomfort immediately and allow them to take the floor. Their behavior is probably an indicator that you’re speaking too much anyway.

Source: 5 Negotiation Steps That Will Close Your Next Deal