MBA Opens Doors Foundation Kicks Off 2020 Fundraising Season With Over $1.8M In Donations

The MBA Opens Doors Foundation (Opens Doors) announced it received $1.81 million in corporate and individual donations during its two-day FY 2020 fundraising campaign in late August. The proceeds will support the Foundation’s mission of caring for families with sick children by providing mortgage and rental assistance grants to families in need.


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During its two-day fundraising campaign, Opens Doors received $1.77 million in corporate donation pledges, along with $35,500 in personal donations, for a total of $1,805,500 in family support.  


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“I am heartened by the amount of support we have for Opens Doors. With these donations, we will expand ODF’s mission to help even more families. I am honored to be a part of an industry that is willing to lend a helping hand when needed,” said Debra W. Still, CMB, President and CEO of Pulte Mortgage, and Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.


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Corporate and individual donors who commit to supporting the Foundation at $25,000 or more before October 11, 2019, will be recognized at MBA’s 2019 Annual Convention & Expo in Austin, Texas, October 27-30.


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“The Opens Doors Foundation is continuing to grow with the help of a committed and generous pool of supporters. We are grateful for the support that comes from all facets of the real estate finance industry,” said Deborah Dubois, President of the Opens Doors Foundation. “There is nothing like working together as a team to make amazing things happen for families in need. We look forward to continuing our fundraising efforts in 2020.”

Support from MBA allows the Foundation to pass on 100 percent of donations to families in need of assistance. Potential grant recipients are identified through the Foundation’s ongoing relationship with children’s hospitals in Akron, OH; Boston, MA; Dallas-Fort Worth, TX; Denver, CO; Houston, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Northern and Southern CA; and Washington, D.C. 

MBA Opens Doors is a 501(c) (3) organization, and all contributions are tax deductible. For more information about the Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.mbaopensdoors.org

NewDay USA Hiring Over 100 Baltimore-Area Employees

NewDay USA, one of the nation’s leading VA mortgage companies, announced it is hiring more than 100 new employees in the Baltimore area to meet soaring loan demand. The new recruits will be trained at NewDay USA University, the company’s proprietary training facility, to become the next generation of mortgage bankers for the industry.


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NewDay reported its VA loan originations during the three months ended June 30 totaled nearly 2,500 loans with an aggregate principal balance of $576 million, a 32 percent jump over the prior quarter. The company has determined that a staff expansion of at least 100 new team members is necessary to support its growing volume and expects to welcome the new hires by the end of September.


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“Rates are retreating to near historic lows, which is creating an incredible opportunity for military families to refinance and reduce their mortgage payments by an average of $2,000 a year,” said Retired Rear Admiral Thomas Lynch, chairman of NewDay USA. “I am proud that we can help the families of veterans and active-duty service members save money through their VA loan benefits.”


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Many of NewDay’s employees are recruited from local colleges after graduation. Once on board, new recruits receive an extensive mortgage education at NewDay USA University, the company’s Ivy League-styled, in-house learning institution, where they are trained specifically to help military service members and veterans with their home financing needs. Through its recruiting efforts, NewDay is creating the next generation of mortgage bankers in an industry where the average age for a loan officer today is nearly 47 according to data from STRATMOR GROUP.


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“Our staff is one of the best-educated workforces thanks to the major investments we have made in NewDay University,” NewDay USA Founder and Chief Executive Officer Rob Posner said. “It’s these high achievers who will be running the mortgage industry in the next decade, many of whom will remain in the area and continue contributing to Baltimore’s economy.” 

Ellie Mae: Millennial Refinances Rise

According to the latest Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker, the average interest rates on all 30-year notes dipped to 4.059% in August, the lowest since December 2016, spurring a surge in refinances for Millennial homebuyers. Refinances continued to climb to 25% of all closed loans for Millennials, up 2% from the previous month and the highest percentage since December 2015. Lack of affordable homes in growing markets also led to purchases dipping for the second month in a row, accounting for 74% of all closed loans.


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Conventional refinance loans rose to 29% in August, up from 27% the month prior, while Conventional purchase loans shrunk to 69%, down from 72% in July and 82% in June. Likewise, VA refinances rose to 38%, a steady month-over-month increase from 34%, as purchases fell from 66% to 62%, respectively. FHA percentages slightly varied from the previous month, with purchases down from 92% to 91% in August, and refinances up one point from 8% to 9%, the highest percentage since February 2019. 


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“We are seeing Millennial homeowners who may have purchased homes only a few years ago quickly taking advantage of the industry’s extremely low interest rates,” said Joe Tyrrell, chief operating officer at Ellie Mae. “We will also be watching to see if the increased purchase power from a lower rate environment enables some Millennials to make the leap into homeownership as we enter the fall homebuying season.”


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Additional insights from the August Millennial Tracker include:

>>Time-to-close for all loans increased slightly to 42 days in August, compared to 41 in July. Given the increase of refinances, the time-to-close on refinance loans held at 42 days from the previous month. Purchase loans also held steady for the third consecutive month at 40 days. 


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>>The average age of Millennial home buyers remained at 30.5, the highest average since November 2015.

>>The average FICO score for Millennial borrowers stayed steady at 728, the highest average since May 2015.

The Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker is an interactive online tool that provides access to up-to-date demographic data about this new generation of homebuyers. It mines data from a robust sampling of approximately 80 percent of all closed mortgages dating back to 2014 that were initiated on Ellie Mae’s Encompass all-in-one mortgage management solution.

Lender Price Makes It Easier To Go Digital

 Lender Price, a provider of mortgage technology solutions, has released the newest version of Digital Lending Platform (DLP), a digital point-of-sale system that is designed to manage the entire loan officer sales process. With a completely new user interface, LOS integrations and a built-in pricing engine, the latest iteration of DLP provides a unique pricing process that captivates borrowers and increases the closing rates.


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“Borrowers are looking for more than just an online loan application and document uploads,” said Dawar Alimi, CEO and founder of Lender Price. “When a borrower is engaged with a lender, what they really want is a price. The longer it takes for a loan officer to provide that price, the more likely a borrower will leave. That is why it is critical for loan officers to quote rates and pricing quickly and provide it in a way that captures the borrower’s attention.”


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DLP is already used by a wide variety of mortgage lenders of many different sizes. Banks, credit unions, independent mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers use DLP to manage the point-of-sale process in a fully customizable way. The new version released today enhances DLP with a brand-new user interface which greatly improves usability and application performance. 


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Integration with the Lender Price Product Pricing & Eligibility (PPE) engine is the most powerful feature of the new DLP. Lender Price PPE is an impressive pricing engine in its own right, currently used by several Top 50 banks and mortgage lenders. Building PPE inside of DLP allows loan officers to quickly navigate borrowers from lead generation to pre-approval to pricing. 


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“We’ve learned a lot over the past three years since we first introduced DLP,” said Alimi. “Lenders struggle with application completion rates because the online process is too complicated. They ignored the fact that borrowers are there for pricing. Because we have our own pricing engine, we were able to weave pricing into the sales process in a way that feels natural to the borrower, leading to higher application response rates.”

The new version of DLP retains the integrations of the original platform e1003, including digital verifications and bi-directional LOS integrations. The credit report integration has been enhanced to pull soft-inquiry credit reports, a feature that retrieves credit report information without causing trigger leads. A robust RESTful API is available for integration to virtually any system.

“Today’s borrowers and lenders are savvier and know what they want from a digital mortgage experience,” said Alimi. “Customer service is driven by the loan officer’s ability to engage online, but the incentive to stay in the process is provided through our loan pricing capabilities. Our clients can make an accurate price quote early in the engagement and retain complete control over when and how pricing is presented. This is a significant step forward for DLP and our clients.”

ServiceMac Implements Complete Collateral Loss-Mitigation Solution

Fort Mill, SC-based ServiceMac, a new entrant in the mortgage servicing and portfolio management market, has selected DIMONT’s complete Collateral Loss Mitigation solution to further compliment their Special Servicing product offering.  


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DIMONT’s Collateral Loss Mitigation solution is comprised of an end-to-end conveyance management platform that incorporates both Hazard Insurance Claims Adjustment and FHA & Investor Claims Management, enabling mortgage servicers to handle all aspects of the hazard insurance and FHA claim recovery process in parallel from beginning to end.


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““DIMONT is a recognized industry expert in loss analysis and hazard claims management, which are key to our growth initiatives of offering a full-scope subservicing and specialty servicing portfolio,” said Bob Caruso, president and CEO of ServiceMac. “Utilizing DIMONT’s Collateral Loss Mitigation solution — in tandem with our other offerings — creates a competitive advantage for us while also supporting our commitment to leading the industry toward increasing efficiencies through innovation.”


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“By investing in our complete suite of collateral loss mitigation solutions, organizations like ServiceMac are well positioned to drive operational efficiency and provide more end-to-end solutions to support their clients,” said Denis Brosnan, Chief Executive Officer, DIMONT.


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ServiceMac is focused on providing superior technology, products, and services for the mortgage and real estate industries backed by highly personalized service and support. Through continuous innovation and acquisition, its offerings are comprised of personalized solutions that span the mortgage continuum and enhance security, customer satisfaction, and profitability. 

MBA Survey Shows That Mortgage Apps Have Decreased

Mortgage applications decreased 10.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 20, 2019.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 10.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 11 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 15 percent from the previous week and was 104 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 4 percent compared with the previous week and was 9 percent higher than the same week one year ago.


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“U.S. Treasury yields trended downward over the course of last week, as the Federal Reserve meeting highlighted the elevated uncertainty in the economic outlook. However, despite falling yields, mortgage rates ticked up again and have risen 20 basis points over the past two weeks,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The increase in rates led to fewer refinances, and activity has now dropped 17 percent over the last two weeks.”

Added Kan, “Purchase applications also decreased, likely related to the two-week jump in rates, but still remained 9 percent higher than last year. The recent data on increased existing-home sales and new residential construction points to the underlying strength in the purchase market this fall.”


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The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 54.9 percent of total applications from 57.9 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.1 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 11.4 percent from 10.9 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 13.1 percent from 12.7 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.6 percent the week prior.


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The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) increased to 4.02 percent from 4.01 percent, with points increasing to 0.38 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) decreased to 4.00 percent from 4.01 percent, with points decreasing to 0.26 from 0.29 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.


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The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.90 percent from 3.89 percent, with points decreasing to 0.23 from 0.30 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.46 percent from 3.42 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 3.39 percent from 3.54 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.29 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

Partnership Accelerates The Title And Closing Process

Mortgage Cadence, an Accenture company, is teaming with EXOS Technologies, a subsidiary of ServiceLink, a Fidelity National Financial company, to provide clients with direct access to EXOS’ capabilities through the Mortgage Cadence Collaboration Center.


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The Collaboration Center reinvents the way lending professionals and settlement-service firms interact ? automating processes, exchanging documents and data, and offering real-time messaging. It eliminates manual processes such as document comparison and email search, helping to increase efficiency and profitability, and does not require massive data entry to build and deploy into production processes.


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EXOS’ platform provides industry-leading benefits, including immediate title clearance, an expected clear-to-close date, and real-time pricing. EXOS’ point-of-sale decisioning capability reduces title order turn-times, enabling loan officers to set expectations with consumers upfront confidently. Ultimately, EXOS provides lenders with advanced tools to deliver a complete consumer digital mortgage experience. 


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“EXOS is committed to transforming mortgage by bringing a new level of transparency and efficiency to the title and settlement process,” said Kiran Vattem, EVP and chief digital and technology officer at EXOS Technologies. “We look forward to partnering with Mortgage Cadence to provide these benefits to our mutual clients.” 


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Bryan Ireton, Accenture’s managing director for Mortgage Cadence, said, “The growing Collaboration Center network signifies a major expansion in Mortgage Cadence’s services to the title industry. With the industry facing increased cybersecurity challenges and a rising cost-to-close, our teaming with EXOS as a synergistic partner will enable us to drive solutions that help clients address these critical issues.”

Leveraging Blockchain Tech To Bring Greater Transparency And Security To Appraisals

InMotion Software, a specialized digital research, design, and development agency, has officially launched Sluice, a workflow management platform that leverages blockchain technology to bring greater transparency and security to the residential appraisal industry.  


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Sluice’s distributed ledger database allows multiple users to work on the same valuation orders, while storing a comprehensive history of changes made during the appraisal timeline. By automatically merging property data into appraisal reports as the data is being collected in the field, Sluice significantly enhances the speed and efficiency of fulfilling orders in a mobile environment. Sluice also integrates seamlessly with any appraisal management system, enabling appraisal and appraisal management companies to perform and manage real estate valuation assignments in real-time, without the need to switch to a new platform. 


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Prior to launching Sluice, InMotion partnered with experts in the mortgage industry to research and deploy blockchain technology to the benefit of appraisers and other valuation experts as they evaluate real property collateral in the field. By incorporating technology that provides immediate,two-way communication, Sluice allows users to get directions to a subject property, manage their tasks, generate floor plans with Sluice’s built-in tools, upload geotagged photos, fill-out required or proprietary forms and take notes. Sluice is specially built to work just as well offline should an assignment take an appraiser off the grid by uploading data to the appraiser’s server once the data connection is restored.


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Sluice is already supporting several national AMCs that are using it to administer their order workflow, enabling their users to accept, manage and submit all the data they collect during the course of any assignment. AMCs using Sluice have been able to realize significant improvements in turnaround time, better communications with workers in the field and improved first submission quality, leading to less rework.


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“We are excited to bring distributed ledger technology to the appraisal industry with Sluice,” said John Howard, CEO of InMotion Software. “Although currently focused on serving the mortgage industry, Sluice is a remarkably robust platform and can be adapted to any workflow project. Because the system is vastly modifiable and capable of endless customization, the opportunities for streamlining other industry workflows are endless.”

“We have made a substantial investment in Sluice so that our clients can buy-in rather than build their own platform from scratch,” said Brian Howard, Partner & CTO of InMotion. “As we continue to optimize the platform, we look forward to developing future partnerships with other industry participants that will push the platforms’ capabilities.”

August New Home Purchase Apps Increase Year Over Year

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Application Survey (BAS) data for August 2019 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 33 percent compared to a year ago. Compared to July 2019, applications decreased by 0.2 percent. This change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns.


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MBA estimates new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 785,000 units in August 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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“New home purchase activity was robust in August, as both mortgage applications and estimated home sales increased from a year ago,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Recent increases in new residential housing permits and housing starts, lower mortgage rates, and a still-strong job market all bode well for the new home sales outlook.” 


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The seasonally adjusted estimate for August is an increase of 4.1 percent from the July pace of 754,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, MBA estimates that there were 61,000 new home sales in August 2019, a decrease of 3.2 percent from 63,000 new home sales in July.


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By product type, conventional loans composed 69.3 percent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 18.1 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 0.8 percent and VA loans composed 11.8 percent. The average loan size of new homes increased from $325,457 in July to $332,497 in August.

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.

Loan Quality Corrects

ACES Risk Management (ARMCO), a provider of enterprise financial risk management solutions, announced the release of the quarterly ARMCO Mortgage QC Trends Report. The latest report covers first quarter (Q1) 2019 and provides loan quality findings for mortgages reviewed by ACES Audit Technology. 


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The Q1 2019 ARMCO Mortgage QC Industry Trends Report is based on nationwide post-closing quality control loan data from over 90,000 unique loans selected for random full-file reviews, as was captured by the company’s ACES Analytics benchmarking software. Defects listed in the report are categorized using the Fannie Mae loan defect taxonomy.


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“Refi-dominant markets can have a positive impact on defect rates,” said Phil McCall, president of ARMCO. “But when volume goes up, individual workloads increase, turn times extend and mistakes tend to increase. Lenders who leverage technology wisely scale much better and expose themselves to fewer losses as a result.”


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ARMCO Mortgage QC Industry Trends Reports are available for download, free of charge, at https://www.armco.us/learn/reports.


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“Q1 2019 revealed the loan quality correction we anticipated after Q4 2018, but while there are many positives related to the overall market’s upturn, we saw an increase in defects related to key underwriting and eligibility functions,” said Nick Volpe, chief strategy officer for ARMCO. “This continues a trend that persisted the entirety of 2018. Lenders shouldn’t take this lightly.” 

The report’s noteworthy findings include:

>>The critical defect rate fell 6%, from 1.93% in Q4 2018 to 1.82% in Q1 2019  

>>Defects related to core underwriting and eligibility functions continued to increase, with more defects attributed to Income/Employment than any other category

>>Critical defects attributed to missing, expired and/or incorrect documentation continued to be volatile (24% in Q3 2018, 16% in Q4 2018, and 24% in Q1 2019) and noted a substantial increase from the prior quarter

>>Compliance-related critical defects fell to their lowest level since Q1 2016, likely the result of greater lender investment in compliance technologies 

>>Defects related to Property and Appraisal increased noticeably from the previous quarter but remained low overall

>>Government-insured loans accounted for a slightly higher share of all loans in the benchmark with FHA, VA and USDA loans comprising 41% of all loans reviewed