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Economic News

You want me to do what? The USPIC Law Of Lending.



Have you heard the latest news in lending?

stigliano-pee-cup-300x300I had heard about it a bit here and there, but never by name. I had even had it happen to me personally, but I never thought much about it. According to a conversation and some serious research between @mayaREguru, @toddwaller, @linsey, @staceyharmon, and myself, it’s national in scope. This could be the biggest news for consumers regarding the lending business since Roosevelt’s New Deal.

I advise you all to drop what you’re doing and get on the phone with your clients – especially those currently under contract. You have to make sure they understand the USPIC Law Of Lending. If they don’t, there may be problems at the closing table. The whole transaction could self-implode…wasting a month or more of work for you and the consumer. Imagine the look of anger on the face of your client when they realize it fell apart because you forgot to mention the USPIC Law Of Lending. It won’t be something you want to see, trust me.

The USPIC Law Of Lending: What is it?

The USPIC Law Of Lending (also know by it’s shorthand name (you know how we Realtors® love to abbreviate everything to death) USPIC-LOL) is defined as follows:

USPIC Law Of Lending
The law defining that no matter what an underwriter asks for, you must tell your client to do it – even if it doesn’t make sense.
Taken from the tweet: “If the underwriter asks you to pee in a cup, do it – is what I tell my clients.”
Date of discovery: December 17, 2009
Shortened form of: “Underwriter Says Pee In Cup” Law Of Lending

As you can see from the definition, this could be the most important theorem ever put out into the real estate blogosphere. Thanks to the UNDER-OMNIBUS (Underwriter’s Omnipotence in our Business), USPIC is a law that can not be broken, rewritten, or even bent slightly. There is no escaping USPIC-LOL.

Thanks to my friends on Twitter for the inspiration, especially since I was a day late with my post.

photo courtesy of chunkysalsa

Matt is a former PA-based rockstar turned real estate agent with RE/MAX Access in San Antonio, TX. He was asked to join AgentGenius to provide a look at the successes and trials of being a newer agent. His consumer-based outlook on the real estate business has helped him see things from both sides. He is married to a wonderful woman from England who makes him use the word "rubbish."

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  1. Todd Waller

    December 17, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Are we sure there isn’t a RESPA violation here somewhere? I mean, the lender is getting a benefit from something our client gives them but is not accounted for on the HUD statement…

    Why is my wife staring at me? I’m not giggling THAT loud….


  2. Stacey Harmon

    December 17, 2009 at 9:41 pm


  3. Linsey

    December 17, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Comic relief is the only respite after a day of Underwriting hell. Thanks to my Twitter friends for your quick wit! 🙂

  4. Joe Loomer

    December 18, 2009 at 6:20 am

    Awesome, Matt! I thought I was reading a Gwen Banta post for a minute! You’ve got me thinking about how to write a “Twelve Days of REALTOR Christmas!”

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  5. Ken Brand

    December 18, 2009 at 8:22 am

    I’m concerned. Peeing in a cup is easy, except when someone is standing there watching. If they start requiring people to simultaneously rub there stomach and pat their head, well, approvals will plummet.

    You know what else? If you don’t develop a wicked sense of humor, the biz may eat you alive.

    Thanks @rerockstar @mayaREguru, @toddwaller, @linsey, @staceyharmon


  6. Matt Stigliano

    December 18, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Todd – The day RESPA start tracking things like that is the day I begin to question the regulations that we work under. Then again, I guess it’s not different than pre-RESPA when vendors would ply you with alcohol. Same results, different reasons.

    Stacey – Glad you liked it. It’s nice to just have some fun with real estate once in awhile and (pardon the pun), as the English would say, “take the piss.”

    Linsey – If it helped you calm down after a day of underwriting hell, I can only say “mission accomplished.” We all need to laugh occasionally – especially after one of those days.

    Joe – I don’t think there’s a compliment bigger than evoking the name of Gwen Banta on a post that was meant to make people laugh. Let me know when you get that post written, I’m sure it will be excellent.

  7. egoldre

    December 18, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Does this tie into the BS:WTF rule?

    • egoldre

      December 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm

      And by that I mean Buyer Says: What’s that for? of course ; )


  8. Jackie

    December 18, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    The one word for you AWESOME

  9. Paula Henry

    December 20, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Matt – sorry I missed this one – comic relief much needed this week. Unfortunately, there is a shred of truth to the fact; whatever the underwriter needs!

  10. Gwen Banta

    December 21, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Why is everyone laughing? Do you mean sexual favors aren’t really required of the agent? I thought it was I was supposed to be UNDER the underwriter. And to think the guy actually made ME pay for his “services!” (Incidentally, the loan still fell through.)

  11. Matt Stigliano

    December 21, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Erin – I like your rule, but the USPIC-LOL basically deletes that. No questions, just do.

    Jackie – Glad you liked it.

    Paula – If an underwriter says jump, I only ask “through the window or off the cliff?” Thanks again for the comments on Facebook.

    Gwen – Only you could have written that comment. Had your name or face not been there, I would have pegged it as you immediately (or maybe, just maybe assumed it was Joe Loomer posing as you). Sad part is, it’s not as funny knowing you live in L.A. I know plenty of farm girls fresh off the Hollywood Greyhound station that probably would have believed it.

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Economic News

Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?



NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination

When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”

At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?

The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.

In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…

>>>>>Click to continue reading…<<<<<


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Economic News

Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement

The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.



young executives

job openings

Job openings hit a high point

To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.

The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.

Good news, bad news, depending on your profession

That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.

Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.

What’s next

If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.

If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.

Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.


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Economic News

Gas prices are down, so are gas taxes about to go up?

Do low gas prices mean higher gas taxes are on the way? Budgeting for 2015 just got a bit more complicated, if some politicians have their way.



gas tax


Gas taxes and your bottom line

Many industries rely heavily on time in their vehicle, not just truck drivers and delivery trucks. Sales professionals hop in their vehicles throughout the day, as do many other types of professionals (service providers like plumbers, and so forth). For that reason, gas prices and taxes are a relevant line item that must be budgeted for 2015, but with politicians making the rounds to push for higher gas taxes, budgeting becomes more complicated.

Gas prices are down roughly 50 cents per gallon compared to a year ago, which some analysts say have contributed to more money in consumers’ pockets. Some believe that this will improve holiday sales, but others believe the timing is just right to increase federal taxes on gas. The current tax on gas is 18.40 cents per gallon, and on diesel are 24.40 cents per gallon.


Supporters and opponents are polar opposites

Supporters argue as follows: gas prices are low, so it won’t hurt to increase federal gas taxes, in fact, those funds must go toward improving our infrastructure, which in the long run, saves Americans money because smoother roads mean better gas mileage and less congestion.

Gas taxes have long been a polarizing concept, and despite lowered gas prices, the controversial nature of the taxes have not diminished.

While some are pushing for complete abolition of federal gas taxes, others, like former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell (D) tell CNBC, “Say that cost the average driver $130 a year. They would get a return on that investment” in safer roads and increased quality of life, he added.

The Washington Post‘s Chris Mooney points out that federal gas taxes have been “stuck” at 18 cents for over 20 years, last raised when gas was barely a dollar a gallon and that the tax must increase not only to improve the infrastructure, but to “green” our behavior, and help our nation find tax reform compromise.

Is a gas tax politically plausible?

Mooney writes, “So, this is not an argument that a gas tax raise is politically plausible — any more than a economically efficient tax on carbon would be. It’s merely a suggestion that — ignoring politics — it might be a pretty good idea.”

Rendell noted, “The World Economic Forum, 10 years ago, rated us the best infrastructure in the world,” adding that we “need to do something for our infrastructure, not in a one or two year period, but over a decade.”

Others would note that this rating has not crumbled in just a few years, that despite many bridges and roads in need of repair, our infrastructure is still superior to even the most civilized nations.

Regardless of the reasons, most believe that Congress won’t touch this issue with a ten-foot pole, especially leading up to another Presidential campaign season starting next year.

“I think it’s too toxic and continues to be too toxic,” Steve LaTourette (the former Republican congressman best known for his close friendship with his fellow Ohioan, Speaker John Boehner) tells The Atlantic. “I see no political will to get this done.”

Whether the time is fortuitous or not, and regardless of the positive side effects, many point to a fear of voters’ retaliation against any politician siding with a gas hike, so this matter going any further than the proposal stage is unlikely.

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