Honoring Industry Innovation

Recognizing The Best Of The Best!

Now is your chance to stand out. PROGRESS in Lending Association was formed to give industry thought leaders a voice. The right formula of technology combined with business strategy can come together to solve real industry problems. Now we’re going even further with the Innovations Program. The Innovations Awards Ceremony is always a great event. Read about which companies were named the Top Innovations of 2010, those companies that were just named the Top Innovations of 2011, those that were named the Top Innovations of 2012, those that were named the Top Innovations of 2013, those that were honored as the Top Innovations of 2014, those that were honored as the Top Innovations of 2015, those that were honored as the Top Innovations of 2016, those that were honored as the Top Innovations of 2017, and those that were honored as the Top Innovations of 2018.

As part of the Innovations Program we want to reward industry-changing innovations. For those companies or groups that have come together to do something truly game changing for the mortgage space, we want to recognize all that you do in order to change the industry for the better.

What are we looking for? We want to recognize innovations introduced into the mortgage market between January of 2019 to December of 2019 that truly changed the mortgage market for the better. As part of this competition, we’re not only looking to recognize a new release, although we certainly don’t want to discourage the entry of innovative new releases that hit the market in 2019. We also want to reward companies and groups for doing creative things throughout 2019 that made a positive difference.

Understand that this is not a subjective competition. All applications will be scored on a weighted scale. We will be looking for the innovation’s overall industry significance, the originality of the innovation, the positive change the innovation made possible, the intangible efficiencies gained as a result of the innovation, and the hard cost and time savings that the innovation enables industry participants to achieve. Find out more about our criteria.

How will we judge? This recognition will not be decided by mere industry onlookers, all industry experts that make up the PROGRESS in Lending Association executive team will act as judges and all will be given an equal say in how applications are evaluated. Applicants will be judged by industry peers who know the space inside and out, just like you do.

The winners will be named at a ceremony to be held during the MBA Technology Conference in L.A., California. APPLY NOW!

STEP ONE:

Fill out the information below on behalf of yourself or the person you are nominating for this honor. Note: If you are entering yourself for this honor you will have to enter some information twice. Please make sure that all fields are completed.

Your Full Name

Your Company Name

Your Title

Your E-Mail

Describe the innovation that you think deserves recognition. Tell us about it.

Also, tell us how this innovation fulfills our criteria. First, tell us about the innovation's overall industry significance here:

Second, describe the originality of the innovation here:

Third, tell us about the positive change the innovation made possible here:

Fourth, list the intangible efficiencies gained as a result of the innovation here:

Lastly, talk about the hard return on investment made possible by the innovation here:

After you have completed Step One by 1.) filling in every field and 2.) hitting the Send Button move on to Step Two in order to make payment.

STEP TWO:

Click the Buy Now Button to pay the small processing fee of $150. Every cent raised will go toward strengthening the awards program and honoring the winners. It is our view that companies should not seek to profit off of industry innovation, but rather should encourage future innovation.





Once you have 1.) filled in every field in Step One, 2.) hit the Send Button in Step One and 3.) made payment in Step Two your application is completed. All three tasks must be completed in order for us to consider your application. Further, all applications must be received on or before Friday, January 17. Winners will be announced at the MBA Technology Conference held in L.A., California. 

And The 2019 Award Winners Are …

A luminary is defined as “a person who inspires or influences others.” And that type of person is exactly who PROGRESS in Lending is honoring. Right now the market is filled with uncertainty. Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting, recently said of mortgage applications, “Ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China led to volatile, yet declining Treasury rates. Consumers continue to act on these lower rates, but the volatility in the market is likely leading some borrowers to pause refinancing and buying decisions.”

What does this mean? The lending market will remain in flux for some time to come. But a true Lending Luminary will better handle and navigate constantly fluctuating market conditions.  These mortgage bankers, lenders, servicers, technology executives, consultants, etc. will help their companies and this industry thrive. These executives deserve to be recognized for their industry vision and leadership. In alphabetical order, the first ever Lending Luminary Award Winners are:

PAUL ANSELMO
CEO
Evolve Mortgage Services

Paul built Evolve in a way that reflects his mission of changing how loans are bought and sold across all stages of the lending lifecycle. Over the last 12 months, the company has grown dramatically, and Evolve has had 6 straight record months, exceeding the firm’s 2018 numbers by July of this year, and 2018 was a previous record for Evolve. He leads by example and never alters his message or beliefs in how the company can improve mortgage originations, closings, and the secondary market. Evolve has made strategic decisions and some acquisitions in the last year that have put the company in a unique position to capitalize on market fluctuations. For example, when conventional volume declined, Paul anticipated this and Evolve adjusted to offer new programs.


KEN BARTZ
Chief Visionary Officer and Co-Founder
Monster Lead Group

Ken’s decision to invest millions purchasing and then mining the entire U.S. residential mortgage databases was a bold move that has separated him from every other marketing company serving the industry. He then doubled down, adding a full time team of data scientists, analysts, programmers, developers and engineers to build customized algorithms that removed the many limitations of Black Knight and CoreLogic’s simple query system and transformed that data into five years’ worth of behaviors and details now accessible and rank-able by Monster’s technologies to reveal micro trends, buyer readiness models and opportunities within govy and conventional markets that his clients can exploit for a competitive edge, and drive far higher revenue.


CHRISTINE BECKWITH
President & CEO
20/20 Vision Your Success Coaching & Consulting

Christine has been the senior executive leader of sales organizations, lastly AnnieMac Home Mortgage where she oversaw both the sales & the technical aspects of many financial tech platforms including but not exclusive to the CRM, Pont-of-Sale and other Educational technology platforms used for training. She is at the cutting edge of all things fintech in this industry, speaking and writing for the leaders who are also developing, promoting and managing new fintech. Christine served on the Progress in Lending Fintech advisory in Washington DC and of course she is on the cutting edge of Social Media where Christine serves as an industry expert and has spoken this year for Gary Vaynerchuk, the MBA and Housing Wire on these topics.


LISA BINKLEY
Senior Vice President
National Credit-reporting System, Inc. (NCS)

As Senior Vice President at National Credit-reporting System, Inc.
(NCS), Lisa Binkley is leading the change for the mortgage industry to create standards that address 100% of a borrower’s employment, income, and asset attributes. In the last 12 months, Lisa has spearheaded some cornerstone initiatives and best practice procedures that supplement the current digital footprint of our lending environment for borrowers that; 1) do not receive W2 income, 2) are unwilling to allow a lender access to their bank accounts, and/or 3) have employers who do not report to a third-party repository. Lisa is promoting a cascading tool that will allow all consumer’s employment and income to be serviced in today’s digital market.


AMY BRANDT
President & CEO
Docutech

Amy Brandt is a highly accomplished entrepreneur and senior executive with a track record of over 20 years of success within the mortgage, software, tech, aerospace and financial services industries. Since joining the Docutech team in May 2017, Amy has driven the company’s strategic vision and leads its growth initiatives by adding new products, entering new market segments and seeking strategic acquisitions. She also provides leadership to all aspects of daily operations, including product development, sales, partner integrations, and customer satisfaction. As president and CEO, Brandt spearheaded Docutech’s continued growth, playing an instrumental role in many areas, including the expansion of its operations into an Arizona office.


KELCEY T. BROWN
Chief Strategy Officer & EVP
WebMax

With 10-plus years of experience in mortgage and real estate technology, Kelcey works towards lowering lenders’ origination costs through digital point-of-sale applications and benefits the mortgage industry with engaging modern websites. in the last twelve months, he has worked diligently towards developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining strategic inititiatives. For example, not only has he become the point of contact for all clients, but he has also spearheaded a new solution, to ultimately drive new leads to their website and point-of-sale through social media and automated messaging. He recognizes that the current millennial homebuyer, who is taking over the industry, literally lives on social media. He wants to help lenders reach these borrowers.


CARMINE CACCIAVILANI
President & Founder
Blue Sage Solutions

Carmine Cacciavillani is revolutionizing the LOS market with the Blue Sage Digital Lending Platform, a cloud-based origination technology that is used by all parties involved in the mortgage process, including borrowers. But it’s only been during the past 12 months that Carmine’s company has emerged as a breakout star amid a heavily entrenched LOS market. In fact, it was one year ago that Prime Lending, a $14.5 billion nationwide mortgage lender, left its previous LOS vendor – one of the industry’s oldest and largest – to adopt the Blue Sage platform. Since then, other organizations have followed suit, including Member First Mortgage, a Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO) that provides technology to more than 200 credit unions nationwide.


JACKIE CLARK
VP of Quality Control
Planet Home Lending

Jackie Clark, CFCS, Vice President of Quality Control for Planet Home Lending, is the architect of a data-driven, profit-preserving quality control (QC) program. The program analyzes fraud and quality defect patterns, underwriting lapses, and risks in origination practices and procedures to determine where true financial, operational and compliance risk resides. Clark believes it’s important to build partnerships with operations and sales. She maintains a transparent, seamless pre-funding process, which allows QC to support Planet’s closing date commitments. Clark is constantly re-evaluating her program to incorporate changing trends, cost efficiencies and to improve early fraud detection. In 2019, Clark’s program findings inspired change.


JONATHAN CORR
President & CEO
Ellie Mae

As President and CEO of the leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry, Jonathan Corr is a prominent figure, spearheading technological innovation in a historically analog industry. Over the past 12 months under Jonathan’s direction, Ellie Mae made significant strides that moved the residential mortgage industry forward, increasing revenue totals year-over-year from $417 million in 2017, to approximately $500 million in 2018. By navigating the company through an acquisition by Thoma Bravo in April 2019, Jonathan opened up new opportunities for Ellie Mae to achieve its mission of automating everything automatable for the residential mortgage industry and providing a true digital mortgage solution for the industry.


SANJEEV DAHIWADKAR
Chairman & Founder
IndiSoft

Historically Sanjeev has developed collaborative technology platforms for both mortgage servicing and mortgage originations, Quality Assurance and Quality Control. Through its branded solution HLP the technology makes it possible for several new programs to enable the expansion of home ownership to underserved markets.and low-to-moderate-income borrowers. How is this possible? These groups have been enabled by its flexible multistakeholder platform. In the end, transforming the various IndiSoft platforms to a digital model, and continuously integrating new applications to streamline the affordable housing originations process will ensure future success according to Sanjeev.


JAMES DEITCH
Co-Founder & CEO
Teraverde

James Deitch has spent the last 25 years combining his mortgage banking and technology expertise to help address some of the mortgage industry’s most pressing pain points, which include: financial stability, Cybersecurity, technological transformation, digital lending, and lender profitability, which led him to create Coheus. More importantly, in the last twelve months alone, he has guided enhancements to Coheus and Coheus Connector, achieved Elite Pro Consulting Partner status with Ellie Mae, and partnered with Ellie Mae on Data Connect to provide numerous mortgage lenders a solution to visualize all their data so they can more effectively navigate profits from enterprise to loan level. He is dedicated to improving lending.


MOLLY DOWDY
Co-Founder
NEXT Mortgage Events

As the co-founder of NEXT Mortgage Events, Molly Dowdy has provided a platform with two summits for women executives in the mortgage industry over the past 12 months. At these summits, high-ranking women execs meet to share competitive intel on lending technology that translates to faster implementation times, higher customer engagement and faster closings. At NEXT events, women executives collaborate on time-saving solutions, compliance issues, risk mitigation and many of the challenges every lending business faces. The collaboration and intel sharing has given those execs and the companies they represent a competitive edge in the market. Molly believes that no matter what the market is doing, there are technological and process improvements to be had.


MICHAEL HAMMOND
President & Founder
NexLevel Advisors

Many executives focus solely on bringing success to their individual company, which Michael Hammond has done at NexLevel Advisors, he now dedicates himself exclusively to helping other businesses achieve extraordinary levels of success. Hammond helped NexLevel Advisors clients win more than 38 industry awards including clients being published more than 115 times in leading industry publications, securing more than 20 speaking engagements, significantly increasing sales volumes and helping grow their social media presence and engagement by more than 200% in the last 12 months alone. Hammond is only one of 60 individuals to earn the prestigious Certified Mortgage Technologist designation.


MATT HANSEN
Founder & CEO
SimpleNexus

Matt Hansen is the mastermind founder and developer of SimpleNexus, the wildly popular, mobile-first lending platform that brings loan officers, borrowers and realtors together to seamlessly collaborate on home purchases from any device. In 2014 while the bulk of the mortgage industry was transitioning paper-based operations to desktops, Matt was already designing enjoyable lending apps to engage lending parties on the devices they’re most intimately connected to: phones. Now, just five years later, more loan officers (LOs) use SimpleNexus than any other mortgage point-of-sale platform. Under his leadership, the firm is clocking record loan application submissions and growing at an unprecedented rate.


HASSAN RASHID
Chief Revenue Officer
Tavant

Hassan has led the incubation, realization, revenue generation and business development for some marquee logos in the Fintech industry after having cut his teeth at Freddie Mac where he was part of the team that developed Loan Prospector. He was instrumental in leading engineering, business and sales teams at Realtor.com, Dorado and then brought his experience and expertise to Tavant. Hassan has been at the helm of sales and business leadership at Tavant for more than 10 years. He has created and governs the eco-system of growth for the company’s Fintech business. In the last 12 months, Hassan has successfully led Tavant’s positioning as a business solutions and products company that solves the most complex lender and borrower challenges.


MARIKO HODGKINSON
Director of Customer Success
Floify

Mariko is a passionate, customer-centric leader, who implements a 360°comprehensive approach for leading Floify in the mortgage software industry. She believes it’s paramount to earn the trust of our clients, as well as understand their ever changing hurdles and goals, so we can work in close lockstep together. There’s a difference between a vendor and a partner, and Mariko without fail knows we must be partners with our clients to continue long term client relationships. Mariko orchestrates and executes trainings, face-to-face meetings regularly with customers, daily communication to foster continual account growth, strategic initiatives, and cooperatively creates new features and inspiration with Product/Engineering.


DANIEL JACOBS
Founder & Managing Director
TruLoan Mortgage

As a leader of branches nationwide, Daniel traveled the country to help the sales force focus on best practices and Realtor education, resulting in a 48% increase of same branch sales year over year, while simultaneously increasing the company’s purchase money market share. In mid-2019 Daniel and two of his long-time associates formed a new venture called TruLoan Mortgage. Why did they do this? They wanted to create an elevated mortgage experience that leverages consistent best practices for efficiency and a lending experience to love. Daniel believes firmly that the future of mortgage lending will depend on utilizing technology to enhance relationships rather than replace them, on a holistic experience.


ALEX KUTSISHIN
Co-Founder, CEO and Chief ROI Booster
Sales Boomerang

Alex Kutsishin is Co-Founder, CEO and Chief ROI Booster with Sales Boomerang, a provider of tracking and notification software designed to help lenders identify prospects who are ideal candidates for loans. This year alone Alex has guided Sales Boomerang in helping its clients generate over 3 billion in originations from the Sales Boomerang automated Borrower Intelligence and Retention notification system. Under Alex’s leadership Sales Boomerang has tripled its number of enterprise accounts this year alone. He has also worked to integrate with all leading CRM solutions. “No Borrower Left Behind” is our mission, said Alex. The idea came from hearing all the horror stories of borrowers who were turned down or simply couldn’t qualify for a loan when they initially applied.


RUTH LEE
EVP
Take Three Technologies

As a noted thought leader, Ruth’s unique leadership offers Take Three Technologies insight into both the current market and what lies on the next horizon. “It doesn’t take a crystal ball, rather critical self-assessment in a period of change, which, for the mortgage industry, is constant. Ask why you are doing what you are doing, what incoming changes are impacting the efficacy of your process or product, and whether you enage in self-limiting behavior.” Following Ruth’s very simple ethos, solve the problem, provide efficiency, and empower the user, the company’s flagship product, TrueRuleTool, has grown over 40% in less then a quarter. “Fintechs often try to solve everything, but that isn’t productive.”


BRIAN D. LYNCH
President
Advantage Systems, Inc.

Twelve months ago, volumes were down, margins were being squeezed and profitability was a challenge. Over those twelve months rates came down, volumes went up and margins have improved. Brian Lynch, President of Advantage Systems, leads by working hard, and Advantage Systems focuses heavily on client support and on new product development. Last year reinforced what the company already knew – that they need to help their clients save money. Since the company’s inception Advantage Systems has focused on providing functionality that makes a difference. This year, Advantage Systems has started rolling out the second phase of the next generation of its industry leading AMB software, version 7.


JANE MASON
CEO
Clarifire

As the founder and CEO of Clarifire, Jane was the brainchild behind the development of CLARIFIRE®, an application that uses intelligent business rules to automatically distribute work, critical information and documents to users for action. CLARIFIRE includes a robust underwriting engine that has all investor, GSE and government workouts, including disasters, coupled with workflow that standardizes and adds transparencies. The technology can also easily share data with existing technologies. Over the past year, Jane and her team have managed to take several steps ahead of the market by paying close attention to industry operational impediments, understanding where and how technology falls short in addressing housing industry issues.


BILL MITCHELL
VP of Mortgage Business Development
Origence

With a focus on Digital Mortgages, the industry can be a complex puzzle in terms of getting a consistent, systematic technological infrastructure in place. There are so many entities that need to come together for a digital closing to work. Bill directed and expanded eO’s national mortgage partner network including (industry-leading LOS, Doc Prep, MERS, Title & Settlement, eNotary and eRecording providers) and managed industry affairs, strategy and indirect revenue opportunities for eO’s Mortgage LOB while serving on industry committees for MBA, ESRA and ALTA Digital Mortgage Taskforce. These key integrations will enable many players embrace digital lending.


STEVE OZONIAN
President & CEO
Williston Financial Group.

While Ozonian previously held executive positions at Chicago Title & Trust, Coldwell Banker, Prudential Real Estate, realtor.com, Bank of America and Re/Max and also served on the boards of LendingTree, Global Mobility Solutions, Realty Mogul and RealtyTrac, he is far from slowing down. This year, Ozonian and his team launched DecisionPoint, which speeds up the mortgage lending process by providing lenders with an immediate title clearance decision. The DecisionPoint platform uses a proprietary algorithm that delivers a full, detailed pre-title report nearly instantly, alerting lenders whether the loan is “clean,” or needs some curative measure that will take longer to rectify.


JASON REGALBUTO
CEO & CTO
OpenClose

Working closely with the OpenClose management and technical teams, Jason helped spearhead a technology undertaking to offer its own POS digital mortgage technology, integrating it tightly with their consumer direct portal, ConsumerAssist. Officially introduced in 2019, it enabled OpenClose to offer an end-to-end digital mortgage solution starting at the POS with key functions like 1003 capture, VOE, VOI, VOA, and tax returns — with instant validation. Credit is then pulled and the loan seamlessly and swiftly moves to underwriting for automated decisioning within OpenClose’s LenderAssist LOS. Jason was instrumental in this major technology and business decision to penetrate the digital space, which has disrupted the existing POS space.


LEORA RUZIN
VP of Secondary Marketing
Guaranteed Rate

Over the last year, Leora has been instrumental in bringing on new investors and products to the Guaranteed Rate Companies, and continues to find new and efficient ways to bring new products to the market. Her vast knowledge and expertise in specialty products, such as Non-QM, have helped to keep Guaranteed Rate at the forefront of product development. Leora brings over 12 years of experience in secondary and capital markets to the industry, and is well-known for her passion in developing better and safer ways of helping everyone achieve the American Dream of homeownership. Leora continues to be involved with MBA, through her volunteer efforts.


LISA SCHREIBER
SVP, Non-QM
NewRez LLC

In her current role at NewRez where she is the leader for Non-QM Lending, Lisa is responsible for production, client management, and profitability, working with operations and the corporate team to ensure overall success of this line across the organization. Notable recent accomplishments include externally launching NonQM AUS LoanScorecard to bring the NonQM loan decision closer to POS, Ellie Mae’s Investor Connect to allow clients more efficient loan delivery, and LoanNex to enable a broader set of clients access to NewRez’s products, all in support of an aggressive growth strategy. Through these strategies and assembling a strong team, the correspondent division, which Lisa led, has grown.


TEDD SMITH
Co-Founder & CEO
FirstClose

Tedd Smith, Co-founder and CEO of FirstClose, has led the team at FirstClose to provide robust technology to the settlement services aspect of the mortgage and consumer lending industry. Over the past year, Smith has played an integral part of the rollouts of products like SmartSelect and EquityIQ. SmartSelect is an AI like product offering that eliminates lenders’ title vendor selection headaches by handling vendor due diligence, but ultimately auto-selects the best title vendor on each individual loan based on turn-time, quality, price, geographic coverage, and service levels, while providing vital data and statistics to the lender in real time. Smith and the team at FirstClose also introduced EquityIQ, the only home equity lead generation tool on the market.


PATRICK F. STONE
Founder & Executive Chairman
Williston Financial Group

Pat Stone is a leader in the mortgage industry, with several decades of experience, notably serving for eight years at Fidelity National Financial as president, chief operating officer and director. Stone is currently overseeing the Williston Financial Group family of companies, as they transform the mortgage lending process. Stone has led WFG to become a leader in national title reporting services, becoming one of only six national underwriters, in less than 9 years; a record. Earlier this year, Stone oversaw the launch of WFG’s DecisionPoint, a completely automated title decisioning system. Lenders will know almost instantly the application-to-close time, as well as any curative steps needed based on the results. This is a big improvement over the competition, which often require the borrower’s Social Security number and provide only a simple grade rather than a full report.


JOHN WALSH
CEO
LERETA, LLC

In 2017 LERETA released Total Tax System (TTS). TTS was a complete re-write of the technology that runs LERETA’s outsource tax business. Over the last two years LERETA has released three new versions of this solution, with a fourth scheduled for release shortly. TTS has been meaningful to the industry in three ways. First, TTS is the first significant new technology innovation in the tax service business in years. Second, TTS has allowed LERETA to significantly raise the bar for outsource tax service. Since its release, LERETA has met 99.7% of customer SLA’s for all customers. LERETA has not missed a SLA for any customer in over 5 months. Last, TTS provides customers real-time, complete visibility into LERETA’s tax service.


KIM WEAVER
Director, Product Delivery, Financial & Risk Management Solutions
Fiserv

With over 14,000 clients including banks, credit unions and financial services providers such as independent mortgage bankers and brokers, Fiserv supports mortgage lending in multiple ways. Kim works within Fiserv and with its many partners to provide the mortgage industry with capabilities for increasing production, reducing the cost of origination and loan acquisition, and providing a better borrower experience. Over the past year Kim has managed the expansion of Fiserv’s digital mortgage transformation suite, which provides functionality to increase efficiency throughout the origination cycle including more effective workflow with the lender’s customers and business partners. Kim uses her 25 years of experience to support Fiserv.

A One-Of-A-Kind Event

If you work in the mortgage industry and are attending MBA Annual this is one event that you don’t want to miss. Our Expert Panels to be hosted at our Ninth Annual ENGAGE Event will provide key insights into:

>> Driving New Business And Profitability Panel

Moderator:

Michael Hammond, NexLevel Advisors

Speakers:

Ken Bartz, Monster Lead Group

James Deitch, Teraverde

Alex Kutsishin, Sales Boomerang

Michael Markette, Qortel

>> Digital Lending And Its Impact On The Industry Panel

Moderator:

Molly Dowdy, NEXT Mortgage Events

Speakers:

Allen Pollack, OpenClose

Gregg Lehman, Fiserv

 Joe Ludlow, Advantage Systems

Dave Sims, Floify

>> The Future Of The Mortgage Process Panel

Moderator:

Christine Beckwith, 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching

Speakers:

Loretta Kirkwood, QuestSoft

Scot Rose, Class Valuation

Leora Ruzin, CMB, Guaranteed Rate

John Walsh, LERETA

>> And So Much More …

SIMPLY PUT: Gain strategic insights that quite frankly you can’t get anywhere else. If you are serious about improving your sales results, networking with industry leaders and truly understanding the state of the mortgage industry then this one-of-a-kind event is one you can’t afford to miss.

Don’t miss out. This event will take place from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Austin Downtown, located at 78 East Avenue Austin, TX 78701 on Sunday, October 27. In addition, the first ever Lending Luminary Award Winners will be announced. So, while you are attending the MBA Annual Conference, this is the time to engage, be enlightened and excel with PROGRESS in Lending Association as we look to the future of mortgage lending. Admission to the event is free.

RSVP NOW!

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Honoring Lending Luminaries

A luminary is defined as “a person who inspires or influences others.” And that type of person is exactly who PROGRESS in Lending is looking to honor. Right now the market is filled with uncertainty.Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting, recently said of mortgage applications, “Ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China led to volatile, yet declining Treasury rates. Despite lower borrowing costs, refinances were down from their recent peak two weeks ago, but still remained over 150 percent higher than last August, when rates were almost a percentage point higher. Purchase applications increased 1 percent last week and were 5 percent higher than a year ago. Consumers continue to act on these lower rates, but the volatility in the market is likely leading some borrowers to pause refinancing and buying decisions.”

What does this mean? The lending market will remain in flux for some time to come. But a true Lending Luminary will better handle and navigate constantly fluctuating market conditions.  These mortgage bankers, lenders, servicers, technology executives, consultants, etc. will help their companies and this industry thrive.  In exchange for their tireless effort, we at PROGRESS in Lending are launching our first ever Lending Luminary Award.  These executives deserve to be recognized for their industry vision and leadership.  So, apply now

STEP ONE:

Fill out the information below on behalf of yourself or the person you are nominating for this honor. Note: If you are entering yourself for this honor you will have to enter some information twice. Please make sure that all fields are completed.

Your Full Name

Your Company Name

Your Title

Your E-Mail

Please provide the full name of the person applying

Please provide the full work title of the person applying

Please provide the full company name of the person applying

Describe how the applicant has lead the industry and their company to success over the past 12 months.

Describe how the applicant plans to navigate the current changes in the mortgage industry to ensure future success for their company and the industry as a whole.

After you have completed Step One by 1.) filling in every field and 2.) hitting the Send Button move on to Step Two in order to make payment.

STEP TWO:

Click the Buy Now Button to pay the small processing fee of $125.





Once you have 1.) filled in every field in Step One, 2.) hit the Send Button in Step One and 3.) made payment in Step Two your application is completed. All three tasks must be completed in order for us to consider your application. Further, all applications must be received on or before Friday, October 4. Winners will be announced at the 9th Annual ENGAGE Event to be held at the MBA Annual in Austin, Texas. 

And The 2019 Award Winners Are …

Sales, marketing and public relations executives are blazing a trail that is determining the biggest winners in financial services. On the sales side, research from the University of Pennsylvania shows that more than 50% of buyers still seek advice when making a purchase. As a result, educated and engaged sales associates who can meet buyers’ needs—especially who have knowledge about a specific product—ring up sales that on average bring in 69% more money. Similarly on the marketing side, a savvy business owner realizes that in order to grow, they need to make more people aware of their product or service. This means engaging with a marketing professional to help promote the business, bring in new clientele, and ensure that current customers are aware of all the products and services. Lastly, everyone wants to become the go-to organization in your field, right? For that to happen, you need to build your credibility and bring your expertise and knowledge into the limelight. That’s exactly what public relations executives bring to the table.

These executives work tirelessly to ensure their company/client is a true leader, but they themselves don’t always get recognized. That ends today. PROGRESS in Lending is recognizing the Top 20 Sales, Marketing and Public Relations Executives that are making the biggest impact.  Our winners in alphabetical order are:

Linda Aparo

National Director of Sales & Business Development

reQuire Real Estate Solutions, a Covius Solution

As National Director of Sales & Business Development at reQuire Real Estate Solutions, a Covius Solution, Linda is responsible for overseeing reQuire’s national sales and product development. Linda is a seasoned executive with a passion for developing new and inventive ways to make the industry more understandable and compliant. Linda has an outstanding record of success in identifying business opportunities, developing strategies and implementing actions to boost business performance.  

As the head of sales for reQuire over the past 5 years, Linda has played a crucial role in the growth and development of the company and its product suite. Since she has joined the company, reQuire has grown to be one the leading providers of lien releases nationwide and is used by more than a thousand leading title companies. 

Some of Linda’s recent accomplishments include:

>>The successful development and rollout of reQuire’s Release Tracking Plus product, that ensures more compliance around releases. Since its launch, the company has seen a steady increase of customers choosing the solution over their legacy release tracking system and are now using release tracking plus.

>>Development of reQuire’s Title Retrieval Program which is designed for lenders that are unable to resell loans on the secondary market due to outstanding trailing documents, one being the title insurance policy. The program obtains the outstanding title policies so they can be resold on the secondary market. 

Over the past 12 months, Linda has been working with the American Land Title Association (ALTA), educating their members on the impacts of lien defects. Today, about 15-20% of all payoffs have either a missing release or a defective release, and this is not a new problem. In 2005, ALTA reported that more than a third of all residential real estate transactions had title problems. For years, there has been a debate between lenders and the title industry as to whose responsibility it is to assure that a release is recorded on the land records. Linda, in conjunction with ALTA, has developed a playbook for the entire lending community to educate the industry and consumers on the lifecycle of a loan.

Craig Austin

SVP, Sales & Business Development

ClosingCorp

As senior vice president of sales and business development at ClosingCorp, Craig Austin is responsible for leading the sales organization, developing customer acquisition strategies, and building and maintaining relationships with leading loan origination systems, point-of-sale solutions, and industry settlement service portals.

Craig has played a pivotal role in helping ClosingCorp become the nation’s leading third-party fee provider. Since he joined the company in late 2016, ClosingCorp’s client base has increased 60 percent and the company’s volume has increased nearly 80 percent. Today, 19 of the top 25 lenders nationwide as well as 9 of the top 10 wholesale lenders use ClosingCorp technology.

Throughout the past year, Craig has closed more than a dozen high-impact deals with large lenders, including Freedom Mortgage Corporation, Movement Mortgage, Plaza Home Mortgage, Stearns Lending, Fifth Third, Union Bank and loanDepot. Those deals have resulted not only in 1.5 million purchase transactions going through ClosingCorp’s fee platform last year, but also increased efficiency and productivity for the entire mortgage ecosystem. By delivering a solution with accurate, real-time fee data, Craig helps lender partners streamline the loan estimate and closing disclosure generation process and confidently originate compliant loans. 

Prior to joining ClosingCorp, Craig was vice president of sales at RealEC® Technologies a division of Black Knight Financial Services, a provider of web-based technology solutions designed to support lenders’ loan quality programs, minimize loan repurchase risk and drive efficiencies in the mortgage transaction process. During his six-year tenure at RealEC, the company achieved its highest sales and client retention rate.

Joe Bowerbank

President

Profundity Communications, Inc.

Joe Bowerbank possesses an extensive background in marketing communications, public relations and branding with a unique blend of experience working for multiple mortgage technology providers at an in-house marketing capacity and also as an outside consultant.He has a passion for helping launch technology companies, expand existing organizations, take new products to market, and create positive industry-wide awareness for enterprise-class fintech software solutions.
In the last year, Bowerbank has assisted in successfully rolling out and growing the mortgage industry’s first single-source LOS and POS digital mortgage solution with OpenClose; DocMagic’s end-to-end, fully paperless eClosing platform; MCT’s browser-based capital markets and digital loan trading software, Global DMS’ next-generation commercial valuation management system, and Quandis’ cloud-based default management technology services.  

Joe has more than 20 years of marketing, communications, branding, and strategy experience in the financial services and technology sectors helping grow organizations and build market share.  He is a company building marketing professional who understands what it takes to catapult companies to the next level and quickly increase revenue.

Joe established Profundity Communications, Inc. to utilize his experience and skill sets to help clients achieve above-and-beyond results.  He has successfully operated at an in-house marketing capacity where he managed functions such as marketing strategy, communications plans, go-to-market launches, public relations, branding, digital marketing, advertising, trade shows and events, corporate identity, websites, collateral, budgeting, competitive analysis, and essentially most facets of marketing.

Bob Brandt

VP of Marketing & Strategic Alliances

Optimal Blue

Bob Brandt has been fundamental in bridging the gap between sales, marketing, and strategic alliances at Optimal Blue.  With more than 20 years of experience leading successful, high-performing sales and marketing teams in the financial services industry, Bob has observed many of the pain points that lenders have experienced in the past.  He believes that a lack of collaboration and integration between mortgage technology vendors has historically held the industry back, leaving lenders in a difficult position as they tried to unsuccessfully maneuver and connect different components of their mortgage technology stack.  Bob’s leadership and experience brought a unique perspective to Optimal Blue, where he recognized the opportunity to leverage Optimal Blue, its content, and advanced technology to bring the modern mortgage tech stack together in an entirely new way.

Over the last two years, Bob has led the effort to establish a successful partner ecosystem that is based on real-time connections with the industry’s leading mortgage technology providers.  Today, more than 50 best-of-breed vendors are heavily integrated with Optimal Blue and millions of transactions are conducted across the platform through an advanced set of APIs.  Vendors from all disciplines of the mortgage loan process are participating today – from lead aggregation, realtor and MLS, CRM and marketing, consumer direct, point-of-sale, mobile, and beyond.

Dona DeZube

Director of Communications Strategy

Planet Home Lending

With three decades of experience in the mortgage industry, Dona gained tremendous knowledge and know-how as a communications specialist. During her career, she has helped some of the best-known industry, government, and trade association players strategically brand themselves through thought leadership communications. 

As Director of Communications Strategy for Planet Home Lending, she parlays that industry expertise and insight into company branding efforts. Over the past year, her valuable counsel raised personal and corporate brand recognition for Planet Home Lending and its leadership team. Dona’s strategies generated countless bylined articles, award nominations, and earned media quotes on trade and consumer websites and in publications. Her social media and website strategies supporting sales, recruiting, and corporate messaging led to significant increases in engagement and traffic.

Sam Garcia

Mortgage Media Specialist

Strategic Vantage

During the year since he transitioned from a mortgage news publisher to a public relations professional at Strategic Vantage, Sam Garcia has deepened his relationships with an extensive network of financial and real estate journalists, editors and producers — enabling his clients to reach a variety of news outlets. His success with media outreach on behalf of mortgage firms and service providers is his forte. With the knowledge gained in his two decades as an editor and publisher, Sam has helped clients deliver compelling stories that capture the interest of the editorial community.

The typical company Sam works with is a successful business with brilliant leaders who are often connected with an emerging process or technology. He doesn’t see that profile changing much even as real estate finance ebbs and flows. However, given current bond market volatility amid an ongoing trade war, a period with lower mortgage rates could see a greater number of companies self actualize. In addition, any reforms to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could create opportunities for a new sector of players to engage in raising their profiles.

Rick Grant

President

Gallardo Grant Corp. d/b/a RGA Public Relations

Rick developed the LinkedIn for Leaders program this year, through which he works with industry thought leaders to increase their visibility on the world’s no. 1 social media platform for business, LinkedIn. The program helps busy executives develop their most important stories, create an editorial calendar so they can be developed, posted and promoted effectively, and then works with the client’s marketing department to help create content that mirrors and extends the thought leadership coming down from the c-suite.

Rick believes firmly that sales, marketing and public relations are beginning to merge into a single set of disciplines. In response, companies are changing the way they manage these departments, with some large companies actually doing away with the Chief Marketing Officer position (if you can imagine that). This means that external support teams, whether they are advertising agencies, marketing or PR firms are being asked to create content that will work well for the company wherever it is used. PR firms are writing more marketing copy and marketing firms are relying heavily on content that was once only found in the PR or company’s advertising. We may be approaching a time when companies just hire a Communications Czar who has managers for the various disciplines but that handles the development of all key company stories from one centralized office

Michael Hammond

Founder & President

NexLevel Advisors

Before NexLevel Advisors, Hammond’s sole focus was applying his sales, marketing, and PR expertise to the one company for whom he was working. Now, he applies all of those lessons learned to the benefit of many tech companies that are looking to gain awareness and grow their companies. So while he might not be the person in the headlines getting the credit for driving growth for that one company, he receives much greater satisfaction knowing that he has added significant value to a host of mortgage providers. Hammond truly believes that has a much greater impact on the mortgage industry as a whole.

He helps these technology providers bring their innovative solutions to market by moving audiences, generating leads, driving sales and igniting brand stories.

By working with numerous providers he has the benefit of identifying trends earlier on, providing best practices, and strategies so that these companies can more successfully bring innovation to the housing market.

Hammond has helped numerous companies bring innovation to market within the housing market helping drive growth, increases in market share, position for capital infusion, or acquisition.  

“Michael Hammond is a results-driven professional executive who excels at making organizations stand out in the crowd. His vast knowledge, experience, and expertise to propel companies forward in all facets of the mortgage banking industry are unparalleled. I highly recommend any entity that is looking to make its mark in the industry both externally and internally for gained efficiencies of scale to engage Michael. The results are amazing.”  Kathleen Mantych Sr. Director, AsurityDocs, Asurity Technologies

Laila Khan

Marketing and Communications Lead

Guidance Residential, LLC

Over the past 12 months, Guidance Residential has been focused on one thing: improving the customer journey. Every initiative, every project, and every decision had to align with that goal. To better understand the customer journey and the value that Guidance Residential offers, it’s important to have an intrinsic comprehension of the customer engagement experience, complete understanding of our product suite and how we can server our customers, full awareness of our niche audience and diverse client base, and knowledge of our process from the operational to customer insight. 

Prior to May 2018, Laila Khan was the Preprocessing Lead and transitioned into an Account Manager. She was entrenched in day-to-day customer interactions and developed a deep understanding of the customer journey. In May 2018, Laila was selected by the company’s leadership to transition to the Marketing and Communications Lead role, given her roots in the community and the expertise she had amassed as an integral part of the Operations team.

Over the past 12 months, Laila Khan has been able to identify, and successfully implement strategic areas of improvement with regards to the company’s previous lack of brand awareness, within and outside its niche market. Her efforts have increased the company’s social media presence, successfully connected the organization with B2B industry leaders, dramatically improved the customer journey, and coordinated all efforts to get Guidance Residential recognized.

Riffat Lakhani

Vice President, Marketing

Guidance Residential, LLC

In order to provide outstanding communication to customers—the kind that makes them feel informed and treasured, and the kind that makes them seek out further engagement—you have to care about them, understand them and provide solutions to address their pain points. That is where Riffat Lakhani and her team come in and that’s how they’ve increased online leads an astonishing 33% YOY from 2018 to 2019, and 86% since Riffat’s leadership of the marketing department. Riffat is Vice President of Marketing at Guidance Residential, a specialty home financing organization that prides itself on providing top-notch service to a previously under-served segment of the market – those who need interest-free financing for faith-related reasons.

Riffat’s small but nimble team supports a growing nationwide sales team of more than 75 sales professionals while caring for customers in a more direct capacity online as well. 

Purchasing a home is a complicated process; add on top of that faith-based nuances and you are bound to lose even savvy homebuyers. Riffat’s team educates customers about our program and the home financing process through every avenue available – chat, text, email, webinars, social media, apps, and video. 

But producing material is not enough. According to Marketo, on average, 50% of leads in any system are not yet ready to buy. And almost 80% of new leads never become sales because of lack of lead nurturing (Marketing Sherpa). This past year, Riffat developed the strategy to nurture leads through an automated nurturing system that allows customers to receive timely and relevant information specific to their needs. The emails address issues that are preventing prospective homeowners from moving forward and guide them through the steps toward achieving their dream. 
The ultimate effect is a customer experience that stands out even among industry leaders. And the proof is in the numbers: Under Riffat’s leadership this past year, Guidance Residential increased its online leads by 33%.

Charlyne H. McWilliams

Account Supervisor/Regional Sales Director

William Mills Agency

Charlyne’s in depth knowledge of key industry issues and many of the game changing trends has made her the go-to source for mortgage and fintech information at the William Mills Agency. With more than 20 years of public relations experience on top of her 10-year career in business journalism, Charlyne is able to offer her multiple clients the counsel they need to successfully garner positive exposure for their company and their brand. 

She has worked with more than 50 agency clients touching all aspects of the industry. Herstrong communications skills enable her to bring innovative strategies for success to her clients. In the last year, she spearheaded a very effective campaign to help LERETA share the news of its new relationship with Black Knight. In addition to that campaign, she has successfully placed many feature articles (some of which she ghost wrote) in leading industry publications. She has crafted nominations that have resulted in several awards for her clients as well. She has become a trusted source and reliable counsel to all of her clients. 

Raj Menon

Chief Marketing Officer

Tavant

Raj Menon is the Chief Marketing Officer for Tavant, a Silicon Valley-based provider of AI-powered digital lending technologies. In this position Menon leads the company’s efforts and innovation in marketing, branding and building alliances. He is known for developing world-class marketing teams that transform how a company showcases its offering and positions to the global market.

Menon has been instrumental in ensuring success through his comprehensive and big picture thinking in his work in the financial services, technology and corporate services industries. Prior to joining Tavant, Menon worked at Cognizant for nearly 14 years where he successfully increased sales, expanded marketing efforts and further streamlined operations for North America-based clients.

Most recently, Menon was charged with leading the Lending unit at Cognizant, which became an industry-leading practice under his vision and leadership. Additionally, Menon has worked at Tata AID as the Head of Information Technology and TCS in various leadership positions. He leverages his experience to implement complex business solutions and is skilled at advising organizations piloting transformation strategies or creating business and technology goals. 

Sara Nakae

Director of Marketing

FirstClose

Sara has over 15 years of experience in FinTech serving the financial services sector in realtor and agency marketing for banks and credit unions, and extensive experience in the mortgage industry working with banks, credit unions and mortgage companies to deliver award winning technology solutions and services. She has been a keynote presenter at leading industry events and conferences discussing FinTech and its impact on lenders businesses.  Sara has deep industry knowledge in the financial digital space.

Most recently she has worked on the development and launch of new Equity IQ Solution. EquityIQ is the first and only home equity lead generation tool and application management system fully integrated with industry leading LOS’s. The solution drives existing and new borrowers to lenders customized application pages; automatically identifies borrowers available home equity and estimated monthly payments; reduces internal resources by decreasing the time to review and filter qualified applicants; and is a lead generation tool, as EquityIQ will instantly submit all borrower information directly into leading LOS platforms.

Sara also worked on the development and launch of their new platform, FirstClose ONE, as well as the product, SMART Select. These tools help lenders accelerate turn times and save money by using suitability logic to create efficiencies in the mortgage lending process.

Darcy Patch

VP Marketing, Enterprise Solutions

WEST, a Williston Financial Group company

Over a career spanning more than 20 years, Darcy Patch has led the marketing and communications efforts and implemented strategic marketing plans on behalf of many of the real estate industry’s largest and most innovative companies. But it is probably her efforts over the past 12 months that have earned Darcy recognition as one of the most dynamic, multi-talented and results-driven marketers working in the mortgage industry today.

For most of the past year, Darcy served as vice president of marketing for national technology and valuation services provider Veros Real Estate Solutions. There, she was responsible for building awareness and recognition of the Veros brand, generating new leads and upsell opportunities with existing clients and providing proactive, ongoing support for the company’s sales and product development teams. 

When she joined Veros in January 2018, however, Darcy had a very limited marketing budget—so her first instinct was to build exposure for the company by leveraging its existing products and data. For example, one of her first projects was increasing awareness of Veros’ quarterly market reports, VeroFORECASTs, which included projections about future home price appreciation and depreciation levels by individual market. These reports were being distributed yet not actively promoted, but Darcy quickly expanded their distribution by sharing them personally with industry reporters, as well as with local media in the markets covered by the reports.

In June of this year, Darcy joined WEST, a Williston Financial Group company, where she leads the marketing and communications strategies for WFG’s Enterprise Solutions group. She oversees marketing and publicity campaigns for WFG Lender Services, ValuTrust, WESTvm and DecisionPoint, as well as other enterprise solutions offerings. Today, Darcy is hard at work doing many of the same things she did throughout her career and more, increasing awareness of both WFG Enterprise Solutions and fellow Williston Financial Group company WEST as companies dedicated to improving real estate transactions and providing a better experience for Realtors, brokers, title companies, mortgage lenders and, above all, the consumers they serve. 

Currently, Darcy is helping WFG’s Enterprise Solutions group refine its branding message, implement internal and external communications plans, and helping to create a media engagement strategy that includes regularly contributed content and thought leadership articles. She’s also formalizing WEST’s online and social media strategy to get everyone in the organization on the same page. 

Brian Rieger

Principal & Founder

True Impact Communications

A number of the businesses approaching Brian and True Impact through the years to support them in their marketing were small-cap and mid-cap businesses with limited marketing resources and experience. Most were simply seeking to grow by “getting the message out there.” In many cases, the clients had good products and promising forecasts but limited marketing budgets. The trademark True Impact strategy involves an integrated approach, combining budget-friendly PR and social media messaging with home-grown but effective content marketing. Brian has always insisted upon authenticity and simplicity in messaging, which has resulted in high impact results (especially increased revenue and brand awareness) on shortened timelines.

Brian and True Impact were among the first marketing/PR firms in the mortgage industry to encourage clients to use content marketing to tell their stories. In combination with traditional public relations and direct marketing efforts, multiple True Impact clients used blogs, podcasts, webinars and video to share their messaging, while supporting it through social media, marketing and PR channels.

Zac Scalzi

Director of Sales

Floify

Floify has long been considered a leader in mortgage technology. This honor not only comes from the dedication of the company’s leadership and staff, but also the contributions Zac Scalzi has made to support Floify’s continued domination of the mortgage tech market. Over the past 12 months, Zac and his five-person sales team is well known for supporting many of the company’s major sales initiatives, including providing prospects with hands-on introductions to Floify’s industry-leading point-of-sale platform, their redesigned digital 1003, and dozens of the solution’s third-party integrations – all in an effort to simplify and streamline the lending workflows of mortgage pros around the world.

Zac’s strengths lie in his ability to find solutions to fit nearly every lender’s unique business need. And If Zac doesn’t feel Floify’s vast solution offerings are able to be customized to meet the complex demands of a prospect, Zac is willing to help them find alternatives, even if it means directing them to a competing solution – a rare approach to customer service, especially in today’s marketplace.

Equipped with Floify’s innovations that Zac has helped to promote, lenders are better able to fight margin compression, reduce workload, originate more loans faster, and dramatically improve borrower satisfaction with the entire home loan process. Zac’s customer-first mindset has added tremendous value to Floify’s efforts, which has ultimately supported the company’s massive growth over the last year, and will continue well into the future.

Michelle Shapiro

Product Marketing Manager, Financial Risk and Management Solutions

Fiserv

In her first 6 months at Fiserv, Michelle was appointed a member of the LoanComplete Management Team. In her short tenure at the company (less than 1 year), she has championed LoanComplete from Fiserv to receive industry recognition including the achievement of Fiserv’s first-time recognition as –

>>“Best Digital Mortgage Product” FinTech Breakthrough 2019

>>HW Tech100 Winner 2019

>>“Top 25 Company to Work For” by MReport, 12/2018

Michelle takes great pride and enjoyment in partnering with experts and leaders across the lending landscape, sitting on the LoanComplete management team, managing product launches, and developing content and thought leadership to reflect evolving market positioning as well as leading event and campaign management.

Stephen Sprayberry

Account Supervisor

William Mills Agency

Since joining William Mills Agency in 2011, Stephen has leveraged his public relations, journalism and marketing experience into substantial PR program and client contributions for leading organizations across the mortgage industry, including Docutech, FICS and QuestSoft. In his role as Account Supervisor, Stephen’s areas of focus span from research, content writing and campaign strategy to media relations, event management, executive media training and company rebranding. 

Over the past 12 months, Stephen has led the charge on overseeing the strategy, planning and execution of valuable public relations content for his clients, including, but not limited to, news releases, case studies, articles and company press kit elements, as well as assisting with the distribution and placement of these materials within the media for key decision makers in the mortgage space. Combining his experience in the PR field with the decades of industry expertise his clients hold, Stephen was able to successfully capitalize on many of the key trends generating buzz within the mortgage industry, such as eMortgage and the continued introduction of new and revised regulatory standards. 

As a result of these efforts, many of Stephen’s clients remain at the forefront of thought leadership in the industry and have gained added momentum as they strive to further improve the way both lenders and borrowers experience the mortgage process from beginning to end. In addition, these same clients have received dozens of industry awards from key mortgage publications and associations at both an organization and individual level further emphasizing the impact of their stance within the industry as a result of the PR efforts performed by Stephen and the talented team of PR practitioners he manages.

Tom Tough

VP of National Renovation/Construction Lending Division

Plaza Home Mortgage

As Vice President of Plaza Home Mortgage’s newly formed National Renovation / Construction Lending division, Tom leads a team of six—a Lending Manager, Construction Underwriter, three Renovation/Construction Specialists and a Construction Service Specialist—and is responsible for overseeing sales, operational efficiencies and product development. 

Over the past year, Tom has been instrumental to the development and rollout of several new renovation and construction lending programs, including: 

>>One-Time Close Construction-To-Permanent loan program. Streamlining the process that approves the borrower for both a construction loan and a permanent 30-year mortgage at the outset of the project—thus avoiding two closings and having the convenience and cost savings of two loans in one. 

>>VA Renovation loan program that allows qualified borrowers to purchase a home with no down payment requirement or refinance at 90% of the after completed value and include up to $50,000 in improvements all in one loan. 

>>Freddie Mac’s CHOICERenovationSM loan program that allows homebuyers to use one loan to purchase or refinance a home and also finance the cost of renovations.

Tom joined Plaza Home Mortgage more than 15 years ago to open its first Northwest Regional Office in Portland as the Northwest Regional Vice President where he was in charge of sales and operations for the entire region. Due to the success of Renovation lending in his region, Tom was given the opportunity to develop a renovation and construction lending division to further expand upon Plaza’s existing host of renovation products. 

Tom is a mortgage industry veteran with more than 40 years of experience in mortgage lending. Tom has had the opportunity to work with a variety of product lines including hard money loans, conventional, government, Jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA and now construction  and renovation loans in both the wholesale and retail channels.

Bryan Wilson

National Sales Director

WFG Lender Services

Over the past 12 months, Bryan Wilson has leveraged a busy real estate market, his years of sales expertise and Williston Financial Group’s expanding number of innovative products and services to achieve his best sales year in his 15-year career in the mortgage industry. 

Bryan, who joined WFG nearly 10 years ago, is the national sales director for WFG Lender Services, a national settlement services company that applies its superior technology and closing processes to help lenders remove time and costs from real estate transactions. His primary role is selling title insurance for mortgages, mortgage refinancing and home equity products, leveraging a wide arsenal of title products and services provided by WFG, the nation’s sixth largest underwriter of title insurance. 

Since the beginning of 2019, Bryan has personally billed more than $1 million in revenues per month. And not only has he been wildly successful at increasing current business with existing clients, he has also helped lenders solve their biggest challenges by hooking them up with WFG’s suite of technology, appraisal and other services.

As a national representative, Bryan also goes where the business is, which amounts to a ton of traveling. He estimates he spent about 75 nights over the past year on the road, flying from California to New York to Texas, and meeting with existing and prospective clients where they do business. But it’s the kind of work he enjoys, which is evident in his performance. “I love building relationships with my clients, whether it’s in the office or going out to visit them in person and getting to know them on a personal level,” Bryan says. “I’ve found the extra effort really seems to go a long way.” 

Honoring Sales, Marketing & PR Trailblazers

Sales, marketing and public relations executives are blazing a trail that is determining the biggest winners in financial services. On the sales side, research from the University of Pennsylvania shows that more than 50% of buyers still seek advice when making a purchase. As a result, educated and engaged sales associates who can meet buyers’ needs—especially who have knowledge about a specific product—ring up sales that on average bring in 69% more money. Similarly on the marketing side, a savvy business owner realizes that in order to grow, they need to make more people aware of their product or service. This means engaging with a marketing professional to help promote the business, bring in new clientele, and ensure that current customers are aware of all the products and services. Lastly, everyone wants to become the go-to organization in your field, right? For that to happen, you need to build your credibility and bring your expertise and knowledge into the limelight. That’s exactly what public relations executives bring to the table.

These executives work tirelessly to ensure their company/client is a true leader, but they themselves don’t always get recognized. That ends today. PROGRESS in Lending is recognizing the sales, marketing and public relations executives that are making the biggest impact.  Our winners will be true industry trailblazers and represent the best and brightest companies active today. So, apply now to be recognized.

STEP ONE:

Fill out the information below on behalf of yourself or the person you are nominating for this honor. Note: If you are entering yourself for this honor you will have to enter some information twice. Please make sure that all fields are completed.

Your Full Name

Your Company Name

Your Title

Your E-Mail

Please provide the full name of the person applying

Please provide the full work title of the person applying

Please provide the full company name of the person applying

Describe how the applicant has added value to their company/client and had an impact on the industry in their capacity as a sales, marketing or public relations trailblazer over the past 12 months.

Describe how the applicant sees the role of sales, marketing or public relations evolving into the next 12 months.

After you have completed Step One by 1.) filling in every field and 2.) hitting the Send Button move on to Step Two in order to make payment.

STEP TWO:

Click the Buy Now Button to pay the small processing fee of $125





Once you have 1.) filled in every field in Step One, 2.) hit the Send Button in Step One and 3.) made payment in Step Two your application is completed. All three tasks must be completed in order for us to consider your application. Further, all applications must be received on or before Friday, August 23. Winners will be announced in the September Edition of our magazine. 

And The 2019 Winners Are …

Prominent mortgage executives gathered to see who the Executive Team of PROGRESS in Lending named the top industry innovations of the past year at the Ninth Annual Innovations Awards Event. This honor is the Gold Seal when it comes to recognizing true industry innovation. All applications were scored on a weighted scale. We looked for the innovation’s overall industry significance, the originality of the innovation, the positive change the innovation made possible, the intangible efficiencies gained as a result of the innovation, and the hard cost and time savings that the innovation enables industry participants to achieve. The top innovations winners are:

PROGRESS in Lending has named Capsilon a top industry innovation. Capsilon’s automation software solves one of the biggest issues plaguing the mortgage industry, by ensuring clean data for better, faster decisions that drive operational efficiency. Launched in 2018, Capsilon’s Data Audit is the fastest way to automate the expensive, time-consuming process that all lenders have to ensure they make loan decisions using the correct data. With Data Audit, companies have a single place to see and compare data across sources, including the LOS and supporting documents. The app flags data mismatches for review so staff can instantly spot where supporting documents and data don’t match.

PROGRESS in Lending has named FirstClose a top industry innovation. In 2018 FirstClose delivered an innovative Property & Borrower Data Intelligence Platform. This platform is the first of its kind in the industry, delivering crucial information like loan flood certification, valuation, property photos, deeds, liens, judgments, transaction history, subject property data and tax formation on one platform. Using a single platform that hosts everything lenders need including simplified vendor management in order to fulfill that loan in one place increases efficiency, leading to faster turn times and lower production costs for lenders in 2018.

PROGRESS in lending has named Floify a top industry innovation. Floify is a digital mortgage point-of-sale solution that streamlines the loan process by providing a secure communications and document management portal between lenders, borrowers, Realtors, referral partners and other loan stakeholders. Mortgage professionals use Floify to collect and verify borrower documentation, track loan progress, communicate with borrowers and real estate agents, and close loans faster and easier than ever. Floify was developed from the ground up to solve numerous inefficiencies and security concerns common with traditional mortgage processing. The platform was designed to employ the most secure methods of document collection, verification and cloud-based technology available.

PROGRESS in Lending has named Get Credit Healthy a top industry innovation. The pervasiveness and severity of credit issues is evident from the sheer number of Americans who lack the necessary credit scores and profiles to qualify for most conventional loans and financial products. The problem is a double-edged sword in that it affects both, consumers and lenders, alike. The innovative process developed by Get Credit Healthy simultaneously remedies both of these issues. Get Credit Healthy provides consumers with the tools and resources they need to eliminate debt, compliantly build credit, and instill behavioral changes that lead to sound financial decision making. 

PROGRESS in Lending has named NAMB All-In a top industry innovation. NAMB All-In is a new platform from the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) powered by Calyx Software. It provides mortgage professionals with the three essential components they need to conduct business: a point-of-sale solution (POS), a cloud-based loan origination system (LOS), and a single point of access to premier wholesale lenders: Calyx Wholesaler MarketPlace. The POS allows borrowers to initiate a loan application and begin the asset verification process. The LOS helps mortgage brokers manage all incoming online applications, exchange and store documents, and provides simultaneous support for both the current and upcoming Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA). Calyx Wholesaler MarketPlace enables mortgage brokers to connect with industry-leading wholesale lenders in a single portal and seamlessly exchange data. 

PROGRESS in Lending has named NEXT a top industry innovation. NEXT is the mortgage industry’s only technology-centric summit for women executives. A boutique bi-annual summit, NEXT’s inaugural event took place in January 2018 and attracted nearly 200 women mortgage lending executives. NEXT does not have any institutional backing. The event and its parent, NEXT Mortgage Events, are underwritten entirely by its co-founders Jeri Yoshida and Molly Dowdy. NEXT’s missions are to provide high quality, gender-neutral business intel, help attendees cultivate meaningful and productive relationships with other high ranking accomplished women executives, and to increase visibility and highlight the accomplishments of women mortgage executives, both as individuals and on a collective basis. 

PROGRESS in Lending has named Optimal Blue a top industry innovation. Optimal Blue is the first industry vendor to develop and support an extensive library of RESTful APIs aimed at bringing the mortgage technology vendor community together. Used today by close to 50 mortgage technology vendors generating millions of transactions annually, Optimal Blue’s Optimal Connections API Platform enables any participating technology vendor partner to embed the full power of the Optimal Blue systems into their own user experiences. By embedding Optimal Blue’s Scenario Pricing, Loan & Pipeline, Lock Management, Change Request, Historical Pricing, Post-Lock Management, Configuration, Hedge Analytics, Digital Trading Platform, and/or Investor Due Diligence APIs, any third-party technology platform can creatively leverage and seamlessly integrate the sophisticated functionalities of the most comprehensive and most widely-used secondary marketing automation platform in the mortgage industry.

PROGRESS in Lending has named Sagent Lending Technologies a top industry innovation. The company’s LoanServ Account Connect is the premier borrower self-service web portal for the loan servicing market. Borrowers can use it across all devices – mobile, tablet, desktop – with the same functionality to manage their loans for more than just payments, but true self-service. Servicers use it to drive a lower cost to service and to power an effective brand channel. Account Connect has an intuitive user interface, designed for easy borrower interactions, while its secure, configurable backend is designed to help servicers grow at scale and incorporate new devices and data sources as needed. For servicers, LoanServ Account Connect lowers cost to service and drives better borrower retention and satisfaction and provides all the servicer self-service tools to enhance brand value.

PROGRESS in Lending has named SimpleNexus a top industry innovation. Lenders in 2018 faced significant challenges within the mortgage industry. In 2017, The JD Powers U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study stated that the mortgage industry’s promise of technology creating a faster and easier mortgage origination process does not appear to be fully recognized, as mortgage customers are reporting slower purchase processes which found that overall satisfaction with mortgage originators declined in 2017, due in part to a perception of a slower process, despite a significant increase in the number of customers applying online. To specifically address these challenging market conditions and to enhance the overall borrower satisfaction of its clients SimpleNexus delivered its innovative mobile app to lenders in 2018.

Honoring The Most Powerful Women In FinTech

You deserve this recognition. In today’s hyper-connected world, organizations must constantly evolve to offer quick, convenient, and reliable service. The financial services industry is no exception. The rise of Innovative FinTech is a perfect example of how this new reality is reshaping the way we think. And women are playing a pivotal role. They are leading the way. As such PROGRESS in Lending wants to honor The Most Powerful Women in FinTech today. No matter if you are a lender, a servicer, a technology provider, a consultant, etc., we want to recognize your efforts in this important area. So, act now! Be sure to complete Steps One, Two and Three below. Only completed applications will be considered. APPLY TODAY!

STEP ONE:

 

Fill out the information below on behalf of yourself or the person you are nominating for this honor. Note: If you are entering yourself for this honor you will have to enter some information twice. Please make sure that all fields are completed.

After you have completed Step One by 1.) filling in every field and 2.) hitting the Send Button move on to Step Two in order to make payment.

STEP TWO:

 

Click the Buy Now Button to pay the small processing fee of $125

Once you have 1.) filled in every field in Step One, 2.) hit the Send Button in Step One and 3.) made payment in Step Two your application is completed. All three tasks must be completed in order for us to consider your application. 

STEP THREE:

 

All winners will be notified shortly after the June 7th deadline.

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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A One-Of-A-Kind Event

If you sell products or services to the lending community this is one event you cannot afford to miss.  Our Expert Roundtable to be hosted at our Ninth Annual ENGAGE Event will deliver key insights into:

>> The Future of the Borrower Experience

>> The Future of Digital Lending

>> The Future of the Mortgage Process

>> And So Much More …

SIMPLY PUT: Gain strategic insights that quite frankly you can’t get anywhere else. If you are serious about improving your sales results, networking with industry leaders and truly understanding the state of the mortgage industry then this one-of-a-kind event is one you can’t afford to miss.

Don’t miss out. This event will take place from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Austin Downtown, located at 78 East Avenue Austin, TX 78701 on Sunday, October 27. In addition, the first ever Lending Luminary Award Winners will be announced. So, while you are attending the MBA Annual Conference, this is the time to engage, be enlightened and excel with PROGRESS in Lending Association as we look to the future of mortgage lending. Admission to the event is free.

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