STRATMOR Adds A New Principal

Seth Sprague, CMB, has joined STRATMOR Group as a principal. An executive with more than 20 years of mortgage experience, Sprague brings to STRATMOR significant subject matter expertise in mortgage servicing rights (MSRs), servicing, cash flows, liquidity and mortgage profitability strategies.


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“We are delighted to have someone of Seth’s caliber and reputation join our team,” said Lisa Springer, senior partner and CEO of STRATMOR Group. “In today’s challenging times, understanding the value of servicing and how it integrates into an organization’s long-term business strategy is of paramount importance. We believe our clients will greatly benefit from Seth’s servicing know-how and unique industry knowledge. By being able to advise lenders on liquidity and servicing strategies, he adds very important expertise to STRATMOR which will bring tremendous value to our clients.”


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Sprague’s career has focused on the MSR asset management with an emphasis on valuation, cash flows and profitability of servicing at a variety of firms, including Bank of America and KPMG. Most recently, he served as executive vice president of Trading and Analytics at PHOENIX, a provider of mortgage servicing rights analytics, transactions and advisory services to over 250 clients, where he was responsible for client development and a variety of industry outreach efforts. Prior to joining PHOENIX in 2013, Sprague served as senior vice president and servicing asset manager at SunTrust Mortgage, where he managed the mortgage servicing rights (MSR) portfolio valuation process as well as periodic MSR transactions for over 10 years.  


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“Today’s environment requires data driven solutions and optimized performance,” said Sprague. “STRATMOR’s suite of proprietary data and industry subject matter experts provides clients optimal opportunity to prosper and grow. I am thrilled to help leverage these resources into practical solutions for our clients, so they may survive and thrive in the ever-changing mortgage environment.” 


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In 2018, Sprague was appointed as secretary of the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB) Society. He also serves on several other MBA committees, including the Financial Management Steering Committee, the Council on Residential Mortgage Servicing for the 21st Century, the BASEL Committee and the Servicing Compensation Working Group. Since 2007, Sprague has been an instructor with the MBA School of Mortgage Banking program, where he teaches “Servicing/MSR Day.” He is also as an instructor at the MBA School of Mortgage Servicing. More recently, Sprague has taught a course on the Secondary Market for The National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America.

Sprague is a frequent speaker at various MBA and other industry conferences, often speaking on liquidity and the overall challenges present in the mortgage industry. He holds an MBA from the University of Colorado-Denver and has an undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond with a concentration in Accounting.

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MBA Tech Conference 19-Networking Event

PROGRESS in Lending Association invites you for a special night of networking and technological innovation during the MBA Technology Conference in Dallas. This will be the mortgage technology party of the year.

This “Most Outrageously Fun” networking event will take place at Dallas’ KUNG FU SALOON located at 2911 Routh Street, Dallas, Texas 75201. Kung Fu Saloon is home to 18+ vintage arcade games like Galaga, Centipede, Ms. Pacman, NBA Jam, Mortal Kombat, Golden Tee, Big Buck Hunter and plenty more. The fun continues with shuffleboard, foosball, ping pong, skee ball lanes, Giant Jenga, Giant Connect Four and board games. Kung Fu Saloon has stocked its place with a delectable collection of unequalled music, food, games, and beverages for you to enjoy, as you’re being yourself.

Join us on March 24th, starting at 7:00 p.m. Guests will enjoy a premium open bar, hors d’oeuvres, refreshments, games, etc. For the ninth year in a row, this event will be the premier networking event at the 2019 MBA Technology Conference, which will include a whole lot of fun and the announcing of the Progress In Lending Innovation Award Winners.

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ISGN Unveils New Name

ISGN Solutions, a provider of productized solutions for the mortgage and financial services industries, has changed its name to Sourcepoint. Here’s why:


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The new name reflects both the company’s heritage and focus. As a member of the Firstsource family, Sourcepoint draws from the tools, talent, and backing of its publicly traded parent company which serves Fortune 100 Healthcare, BFSI and media companies. Sourcepoint’s daily focus is on leveraging its tools, capabilities and people to help point its customers forward.


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“April will be the three-year anniversary of our acquisition by Firstsource,” said Erik Anderson, President and CEO of Sourcepoint. “During that time, and despite significant market volatility, we have thrived – more than doubled our size, deepened our relationships with existing clients, added great new clients, overhauled our leadership and management teams, and developed an entire suite of new products and services. Most importantly, along the way, we have discovered the early contours of a company that is uniquely positioned to help our clients succeed.”


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Anderson continued, “To celebrate the ending of one chapter and the start of a new one, we believed now was the right time to unveil a new name and a new brand that would symbolize who we are becoming and who we aspire to be.”


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The firm’s flexible, individualized delivery model distinguishes it from competing companies because it allows Sourcepoint to quickly adapt and conform to clients’ existing processes, cost-effectively enabling them to stay ahead of the rapidly changing mortgage market.

“After we strategically productized our unique set of solutions, we realized we needed a new name and brand identity that better represents who we are today and what we accomplish for our clients,” said Steven Schachter, EVP of Sourcepoint. “Sourcepoint exists because our client’s success is the whole point of what we do.”

Sourcepoint, formerly ISGN Solutions, is a provider of expertly crafted, productized solutions spanning the mortgage loan lifecycle. For more than 10 years, Sourcepoint’s team of industry professionals has been utilizing state-of-the-art technology to help their clients stay ahead of the curve and excel in today’s competitive business environment. The company works with many leading mortgage companies throughout the U.S. including a majority of the top 20 mortgage banks and servicers.

Lender Launches Pacific Northwest Expansion

Churchill Mortgage is a lender providing conventional, FHA, VA and USDA residential mortgages across 46 states. The lender announced it is expanding operations and recruitment efforts in Portland and the Pacific Northwest.


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As one of the most competitive housing markets in the nation, Churchill’s Pacific Northwest expansion will ensure local borrowers have access to tools and strategies designed to help them make a smarter mortgage decision. Leading Churchill’s expansion efforts is Executive Vice President of the Northwest Region, Kevin J. Hanna, who brings more than 15 years of proven experience in the mortgage industry with an emphasis on management of retail and wholesale sales and operations. Hanna is an Oregon native and prior to joining Churchill served as president of Directors Mortgage.


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“Churchill Mortgage believes in putting people over profits and strives to provide a world-class experience for not only its borrowers, but its real estate and industry partners as well,” said Hanna. “I look forward to furthering our ideals and leading Churchill’s growth efforts throughout the Pacific Northwest.”


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“The Pacific Northwest’s housing market continues to demonstrate significant growth and opportunity for mortgage lenders and homebuyers alike,” said Matt Clarke, COO and CFO of Churchill Mortgage. “With Kevin’s leadership, Churchill will launch a significant expansion in the Pacific Northwest and serve as mentors to homebuyers as they look to achieve the true American dream of debt-free homeownership.”


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Churchill also announced the addition of Travis Olson as Senior Vice President of the Northwest Region and Jeff Miller as Vice President of the Northwest Region. Olson is a proven sales leader, coach and recruiter having led numerous branches and regions through periods of significant growth in his more than 25 years of industry experience. Miller, a 19-year industry veteran, will support all dynamics of Churchill’s Pacific Northwest expansion including operations, marketing and overall strategy.

Ellie Mae Program Gets Early Adopters

Ellie Mae announced the early-adopters of the Ellie Mae Integrated Partner Program. The Integrated Partner Program was first announced in October of 2018 and already includes a number of Independent Software Vendors and Developers, further growing the capabilities offered on the Ellie Mae Encompass Digital Lending Platform.


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The program provides Ellie Mae lenders with innovative, sanctioned and easily implemented integrations for the mortgage lending process. Some of the early adopter solutions include quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC), business analytics, robotic process automation (RPA), document management, customer relationship management (CRM) and optical character recognition (OCR).


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This program means more efficient workflows and business processes can be easily implemented to help lenders engage and acquire more prospective homebuyers, originate and close loans more efficiently, lower the cost of origination and fund and sell loans faster to ensure a steady flow of capital. 


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Through the Integrated Partner Program, partners leverage Ellie Mae’s APIs to develop secure widgets, apps and next-generation integrations including business rule analyzer, lock reconciliation, data extract and pipeline highlighter.


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The Integrated Partner Program early adopters include:

AI Foundry– AI and ML-based cognitive business automation and Agile Mortgages solution 

Capsilon, Capsilon IQ – Intelligent Process Automation, leveraging Data and Document extraction technology

Digital Risk, LuminateT – Automatic Document Recognition, OCR and RPA solutions

focusIT, Pulse CRM for Mortgage Professionals: A lead and marketing management system 

Silverline, a Salesforce Platinum Partner – Salesforce/Encompass Digital Lending Platform integration

Tabrasa  – marketing automation, CRM, real-time market insights, print and custom branded merchandise solutions  for mortgage clients

TRK Connection, cloud-based Insight Risk and Defect Management – Quality Control audit platform

Whiteboard Technologies, LLC, Powered by The Mortgage Playbook, is the scalable CRM for LO’s, Teams and Enterprise

“We are excited to offer more trusted integrations via our Encompass Digital Lending Platform through Ellie Mae’s Integrated Partner Program and Marketplace,” said Parvesh Sahi, senior vice president of business development, Ellie Mae. “For our partners, this new program provides the opportunity to build and deploy fully tested, scalable API integrations to more efficiently reach our network of lenders. For our lenders, integrations with these leading edge business software and systems providers enable a more efficient workflow, furthers mortgage innovation and delivers on the promise of a true digital mortgage.”

For more information about Ellie Mae’s ISV Partner Program or to become a member, visit https://explore.elliemae.com/independent-software-vendors

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OpenClose Integrates With Continuity Programs’ CRM

OpenClose has completed an integration with Continuity Programs, Inc.’s cloud-based MyCRMDashboard.com customer relationship management (CRM) software. This new interface provides OpenClose’s LenderAssist LOS customers the ability to seamlessly interact with Continuity Programs’ platform.


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“We constantly look for opportunities to help our customers do business faster, smarter and cheaper including arming loan officers with cutting-edge tools to close more deals,” said Vince Furey, CRO at OpenClose. “We are pleased to offer our customers Continuity Programs’ robust and modern CRM solution to help mortgage origination teams achieve greater sales success.”


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Continuity Programs’ MyCRMDashboard.com is a turnkey solution that centralizes contacts in an organized, easily-accessible fashion. It gives loan officers powerful tools to generate, track and convert high quality borrower leads while keeping in touch with prospects, customers and referral partners, effortlessly. The CRM is feature rich, automating often mundane and time-consuming daily tasks while delivering the analytics and reporting that enables lenders to assess performance with KPIs, monitor customer satisfaction, improve the borrower experience and increase customer retention.  


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OpenClose’s LenderAssist LOS is an enterprise-class platform that offers a suite of modules to automate complex areas of the entire mortgage manufacturing process. The company recently added a comprehensive digital POS solution, closing the loop between POS and LOS and creating the mortgage industry’s only consolidated digital POS and LOS platform delivered by a single vendor that is truly browser-based and has multi-channel automation capability. The complete solution is helping OpenClose customers slash the cost to manufacture loans.


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“Integrating with MyCRMDashboard.com empowers loan officers with many easy-to-use tools to make them as successful as possible amid tough marketplace conditions,” stated Kirk King, president of Continuity Programs, Inc. “Integrating our mortgage CRM software with OpenClose’s LOS makes it easier for lenders to seamlessly extend this functionality to their loan officers via LenderAssist.”

Continuity Programs leveraged OpenClose’s RESTful API to rapidly develop and deploy the integration between MyCRMDashboard.com and LenderAssist. TheRESTful API suite offers simplicity, reliability, better communication, seamless data exchange and performance optimization. Lender implementations of MyCRMDashboard.com are quick and non-disruptive, with Continuity Programs doing the heavy lifting for customers and providing all training.

Both OpenClose and Continuity Programs offer completely web-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions that are mobile-ready, providing users with fingertip access while in the field or office.

New Home Purchase Mortgage Applications Rise In January, But Remain Flat Year-Over-Year

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Application Survey (BAS) data for January 2019 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases remained unchanged from a year ago. Compared to December 2018, applications increased by 43 percent. This change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns.


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“After two lackluster months, new home sales surged almost 30 percent in January to the fastest pace since our survey began in 2013,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “ The healthy job market, faster wage growth, moderating price gains and lower mortgage rates,  all helped home sales recover. Additionally, builders seem to be seeing improvement in their labor shortages, as government survey data showed increases in construction hiring and openings in December.”


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MBA estimates new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 713,000 units in January 2019, based on data from the BAS. The new home sales estimate is derived using mortgage application information from the BAS, as well as assumptions regarding market coverage and other factors.


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The seasonally adjusted estimate for January is an increase of 29.2 percent from the December pace of 552,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, MBA estimates that there were 54,000 new home sales in January 2019, an increase of 45.9 percent from 37,000 new home sales in December.


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By product type, conventional loans composed 68.7 percent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 18.6 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 0.5 percent and VA loans composed 12.2 percent. The average loan size of new homes decreased from $334,944 in December to $334,532 in January.

MBA’s Builder Application Survey tracks application volume from mortgage subsidiaries of home builders across the country. Utilizing this data, as well as data from other sources, MBA is able to provide an early estimate of new home sales volumes at the national, state, and metro level. This data also provides information regarding the types of loans used by new home buyers. Official new home sales estimates are conducted by the Census Bureau on a monthly basis. In that data, new home sales are recorded at contract signing, which is typically coincident with the mortgage application.

MISMO Seeks Input On New Standardized Loan Application Dataset

MISMO, the mortgage industry’s standards organization, is seeking industry participants to collaborate on developing a standardized loan dataset that will correspond with the new Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA). The dataset is geared for general industry use for business-to-business exchanges that need to reflect the data included in the URLA. The development of a standard data exchange is intended to improve accuracy and consistency for industry participants exchanging application information with their business partners.


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“To avoid inefficiencies that result in lost time and money, the industry needs a standardized data exchange that reflects the information contained in the URLA,” said Rick Hill, Executive Vice President of MISMO and Vice President, Industry Technology at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). “By acting now and leveraging the power of MISMO’s resources and its collaborative environment, we have the power to create the new dataset by next year – the time lenders implement the new loan application form.”


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MISMO’s Standardized Loan Application Dataset Workgroup will review current loan application data formats to identify a new dataset for use on all loan applications and supporting documents based on its 3.4 standards. In addition to creating a dataset for exchanging loan application information, the Workgroup will create a sample file and mapping document, an implementation guide and a library of use cases to help lenders adopt the new information exchange when they are ready.


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Any standards created by the Workgroup will be made available for public comment prior to being finalized. Workgroup participants do not have to be members of MISMO to join, but only MISMO members will be able to vote on the new standards.


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Individuals who would like to participate in this collaborative, industry-wide effort should send an email titled, “Join Standardized Loan Application Dataset Workgroup” to info@mismo.org. More information about the Standardized Loan Application Dataset Workgroup and other MISMO workgroups is available at mismo.org

New Mortgage Market Indices Debuts

Optimal Blue, operator of the mortgage industry’s leading secondary marketing automation platform, announced today the release of its latest market innovation – Optimal Blue Mortgage Market Indices or OBMMI. Created to provide consumers and mortgage professionals with greater visibility into key drivers of mortgage pricing, OBMMI provide an unprecedented level of daily insight into observed mortgage transactions. Based on actual locked rates with consumers across more than 30% of all mortgage transactions nationwide, OBMMI provide the most comprehensive, accurate, timely, and interactive analysis of pricing ever conducted in the mortgage industry.

Scott Happ, CEO of Optimal Blue said, “This is an important milestone in Optimal Blue’s transformation from a pricing engine to a digital mortgage marketplace. We are uniquely positioned to introduce these new benchmarks and trust they will be of value to a broad range of participants looking for transaction-based mortgage price data.”


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In this groundbreaking inaugural release of OBMMI, Optimal Blue provides multiple mortgage rate indices developed around the most popular mortgage loan products and specific borrower attributes. Each of the sixteen mortgage indices are represented with the national average of mortgage rates locked by consumers each day and include the change from the previous day. Indices can be compared through compelling interactive and configurable visualizations. For example, users can easily select pre-defined or custom time periods to isolate specific market movements or illustrate unique trends, such as the well documented jumbo-conventional spread inversion that currently exists.

“For close to two decades, Optimal Blue has led the mortgage industry with pricing automation technology designed to facilitate transactions between consumers and lenders,” explained Bob Brandt, VP of Marketing and Strategic Alliances at Optimal Blue.


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“Complete with the industry’s largest product and pricing library and backed by an unparalleled commitment to accuracy, Optimal Blue’s platform ensures that consumers are presented with the best-fit financing alternatives and that lenders consistently deliver the best price. OBMMI will help both audiences better understand trends and pricing in the mortgage market.”


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Optimal Blue, a financial technology company,operatesthe nation’s largest Digital Mortgage Marketplace, connecting a network of originators and investorsand facilitatinga broad set of secondary market interactions. The company’s technology solutions include producteligibility andpricing, lock desk automation, risk management,loan trading, and data andanalytics. More than $750 billion of transactions are processed each year across the Optimal Blueplatform, including approximately 30% of all consumer mortgage rate locks.


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2018 Ends On A High Note With A 14% Rise In Commercial/Multifamily Borrowing

A strong final three months of the year helped commercial and multifamily mortgage originations increase by three percent in 2018, according to preliminary estimates from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Quarterly Survey of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations, released here today at the 2019 Commercial Real Estate Finance/Multifamily Housing Convention & Expo.


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“2018 ended on a strong note for commercial mortgage borrowing and lending, with fourth quarter originations 14 percent higher than a year earlier, despite the broader market volatility,” said Jamie Woodwell, MBA’s Vice President for Commercial Real Estate Research. “Investor and lender interest in multifamily and industrial properties continues to drive transaction volumes while questions about retail and office property markets have slowed activity for those property types. The market as a whole ended the year roughly flat compared to 2017, continuing a plateau we’ve seen in mortgage borrowing and lending since 2015.”

FOURTH QUARTER 2018 ORIGINATIONS UP 14 PERCENT COMPARED TO FOURTH QUARTER 2017

An increase in fourth quarter originations for healthcare, multifamily and industrial properties led the overall increase in commercial/multifamily lending volumes in the fourth quarter compared to the same quarter in 2017. The fourth quarter saw a 61 percent year-over-year increase in the dollar volume of loans for healthcare properties, a 32 percent increase for multifamily properties, a 28 percent increase for industrial properties, and a slight increase (one percent) for retail properties. Originations decreased for hotel property loans (4 percent) and office property loans (3 percent).  


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Among investor types, the dollar volume of loans originated for the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) increased year-over-year by 32 percent. There was a 22 percent increase for life insurance company loans and a five percent increase in commercial bank portfolio loans. The dollar volume of loans for Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) declined 35 percent.

FOURTH QUARTER 2018 ORIGINATIONS UP 33 PERCENT FROM THIRD QUARTER 2018

Compared to 2018’s third quarter, fourth quarter originations for health care properties jumped 155 percent. There was a 56 percent increase in originations for hotel properties, a 34 percent increase for industrial properties, a 30 percent increase for multifamily properties, a 29 percent increase for office properties, and an 11 percent increase for retail properties compared to the third quarter of 2018.


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Among investor types, between the third and fourth quarter of 2018, the dollar volume of loans for commercial bank portfolios increased 46 percent, loans for the GSEs increased 32 percent, originations for CMBS increased 31 percent, and loans for life insurance companies increased by 30 percent.

PRELIMINARY 2018 ORIGINATIONS THREE PERCENT HIGHER THAN 2017

A preliminary measure of commercial and multifamily mortgage origination volumes shows that 2018 originations were three percent higher than 2017. By property type, originations for multifamily properties increased 22 percent, originations for industrial properties rose 12 percent, and originations climbed 5 percent for hotel properties. Office property originations were down 7 percent, retail properties declined 13 percent and healthcare properties decreased a 16 percent.


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Among investor types, loans for the GSEs increased 16 percent between 2017 and 2018 and originations for life insurance companies increased 10 percent. Loans for commercial bank portfolios decreased 10 percent and loans for CMBS decreased 26 percent.

In late March, MBA will release its Annual Origination Summation report for 2018, with final origination figures for the year.