We’re not necessarily looking to break technology news, but we are looking to put it all into greater context for you. Right now we’re hearing:

Integration Achieves Real-Time Automation Of Pipeline Management And Rate Locks

Optimal Blue, a provider of secondary marketing automation and services to the mortgage industry, recognizes enterprise SaaS digital mortgage solution provider, Capsilon, as its first strategic partner to complete certification with the highly anticipated Pipeline & Lock Management APIs. By debuting these innovative system-to-system API interfaces in the mortgage industry, Optimal Blue has enabled Capsilon’s digital mortgage platform to fully support the creation, management, registration, and locking of first-lien mortgages instantaneously with Optimal Blue. As a result of this advanced integration, a completed application and pre-approval are done in half the time of the traditional back-and-forth processes, empowering loan officers to be more competitive in today’s purchase market and win more business from real estate agents.

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“Pipeline and rate lock management is a crucial step in the mortgage process and involves many parties, from the consumer to the loan officer, to the secondary marketing department,” explained Bob Brandt, Vice President of Marketing and Alliances at Optimal Blue. “In exposing Optimal Blue’s industry-first pipeline and lock automation functionality to leading point-of-sale experiences like that of Capsilon, we have taken a major step forward to eliminate traditional inefficiencies and advance the industry’s digital mortgage agenda.”

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Just one year ago, Optimal Blue released its first set of API transactions as part of a groundbreaking initiative to knock down the traditional vendor integration barriers that have held the mortgage industry back. This approach aimed to enable Optimal Blue clients to integrate real-time, compliant product and pricing data with the leading mortgage technology systems they rely upon throughout the loan lifecycle, and further automate key functions like pipeline management, rate locks, and more. Since that first release, Optimal Blue’s robust partner ecosystem has experienced substantial growth, integrating more than 45 mortgage technology vendors and driving millions of transactions each month.

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In addition to the Pipeline & Lock Management APIs, Capsilon has thoroughly leveraged Optimal Blue’s Scenario Pricing APIs throughout their digital mortgage platform. These APIs enable Capsilon to natively integrate the highly sophisticated product and pricing strategies of Optimal Blue clients into their captivating user experiences and workflow management capabilities. Optimal Blue’s Scenario Pricing APIs support both Best Execution Search Results and Complete Search Results methods for Capsilon, returning the loan officer’s best-fit mortgage financing alternatives for every loan scenario supported by the lender in real time.

“We are thrilled to be the first industry partner to become certified on Optimal Blue’s powerful Pipeline & Lock Management APIs. This integration enables loan officers to do more of their day-to-day work within the intuitive and user-friendly Capsilon platform, helping them increase efficiency and more quickly convert leads into loans,” expressed Jim Obsitnik, Chief Operating Officer of Capsilon. “This is a collaboration of like-minded technology leaders that have consolidated best-of-breed solutions in the marketplace, ultimately providing a tremendous value to joint clients and the mortgage industry as a whole.”

Enhanced Offering Provides Much-Needed Differentiator For Lenders

Mortgage Coach, creator of point-of-sale borrower conversion software, has partnered with Optimal Blue, a provider of secondary marketing automation. Through direct integration with Optimal Blue’s API platform, every Mortgage Coach application now seamlessly connects real-time, compliant product and pricing data with the compelling financial analyses Mortgage Coach is known for.

Through this collaborative effort and newly expanded product offering, Mortgage Coach and Optimal Blue enhance their long-standing strategic partnership and take their industry value proposition to a whole new level.

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“Without ever leaving the Mortgage Coach app on their mobile device, loan officers can create informative, side-by-side comparisons highlighting multiple loan programs and comprehensive pricing information in just seconds,” explained Bob Brandt, Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Alliances for Optimal Blue. “Combining the sophisticated product and pricing data at the heart of every mortgage transaction with a compelling user experience — and doing so whenever, wherever it matters most — is a game changer for the industry.”

The benefits are not exclusive to lenders and loan officers. Today’s consumers immerse themselves with the details behind major financial decisions and pride themselves on deeply understanding their alternatives. Mortgage financing is no exception. When provided with a comparative, in-depth analysis of the financial impact of their best financing alternatives in a highly consultative environment, consumers are more engaged with their loan officers and more likely to move forward with a loan.

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“In today’s price compression marketplace, converting every prospect into a borrower is the most important aspect of achieving increased profits for mortgage lenders,” said Joe Puthur, President of Mortgage Coach. “This new innovation gives lenders the instantaneous benefit of earning more commitments at a lower cost of acquisition.”

Mortgage Coach, the company’s flagship platform, is the technology behind the Total Cost Analysis (TCA), a report that illustrates the long and short-term impact of any loan program on the borrower’s financial situation. The TCA incorporates real time rates, fees, closing costs, and program information and presents its findings using simple yet powerful graphical elements like charts and graphs. The TCA provides a level of clarity that is virtually impossible to achieve without the Mortgage Coach platform.

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“The difference between using a TCA to explain mortgage options and using any other method is like the difference between having a film described to you versus watching it in high definition with Dolby sound,” explained Mike Hardwick, President of Churchill Mortgage. “Having been in partnership with Mortgage Coach and Optimal Blue for several years now, we’re happy to have helped thousands of borrowers make a better, more informed decision. These new capabilities will provide greater clarity, transparency, and confidence to any borrower – in a way that is faster for every loan professional.”

Redefining The Point-Of-Sale

PromonTech, the technology unit of Promontory MortgagePath, has entered into an agreement with ISGN to become the exclusive point-of-sale (POS) solution for ISGN’s MORVision loan origination system (LOS).

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ISGN MORVision users can now leverage PromonTech’s white-label, Borrower Wallet to engage and educate customers and prospects. Borrower Wallet provides a secure, borrower-friendly environment designed to build confidence and make it easy for the borrower to enter information, approve automated data collection, upload/e-send documents and stay informed throughout the entire loan journey. Data and documents captured in the front end of the origination process can be seamlessly exported into MORVision via the PromonTech-ISGN integration.

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“Having a next-gen point of sale experience is increasingly becoming the cost of doing business in a digital mortgage world,” said Michael Kolbrener, chief technology officer of PromonTech. “Borrower Wallet engages with customers using any computer or mobile device, on either a self-serve or loan officer-assisted basis. We look forward to working with ISGN and its LOS users to enhance both their customer experience and their efficiency.”

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“By partnering with PromonTech, our clients will have access to an advanced, customizable front-end solution, at a fraction of the cost of developing one in house,” said Amit Kothiyal, chief executive officer of ISGN. “Borrower Wallet is an elegant digital solution for both consumer direct and loan-officer centric lenders.”

Allowing For The Seamless Transfer Of Bank Data

ACES Risk Management (ARMCO), a provider of enterprise financial risk mitigation software solutions, has integrated with BankVOD, the company that pioneered the electronic risk interface for asset verifications. This integration, which provides a direct, seamless connection between ARMCO’s ACES Audit Technology and BankVOD’s Verification Hub, enables ARMCO clients the ability to order Asset Verifications, 4506-T, Employment and Occupancy and Liens & Judgments on a batch or flow basis, and receive the data via a secure electronic transfer directly into their ACES instance.

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BankVOD is the exclusive provider of bank statement verifications for 18 of the country’s top 50 banks. Prior to this integration, organizations were required to leave their QC software system, then order and receive IRS tax transcripts and bank verifications from BankVOD’s secure web-based portal. In addition, they were not able to order IRS transcripts or verifications on a bulk basis.

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“This integration doesn’t merely make the verification process faster, it also makes it more consistent and secure, which are two big factors in achieving quality,” said Phil McCall, president of ARMCO. “At ARMCO, we feel lenders should never have to choose between quality and time or resources. That’s why we are constantly pursuing ways, like this integration, to make quality faster, easier and more accessible to achieve for lenders of all sizes.”

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“Industry leading companies like ARMCO always appreciate our unflinching commitment to providing the most secure way that files are exchanged and data is handled,” said Tim Portley, co-founder and managing partner of BankVOD. “We’re pleased to partner with ARMCO to offer lenders an even faster and more efficient way to verify bank data, and we’re elated to discover new ways to make the user experience the best it can possibly be.”

Partnership To Deliver Modern Mortgage BI And Performance Management Tools

Wipro Gallagher Solutions (WGS), a Wipro Limited company and a provider of loan origination software solutions, and Precision Risk Management Systems, Inc. (PRMS), a provider of performance management solutions, have partnered to deliver advanced mortgage business intelligence (BI) and customer experience management solutions to mortgage lenders.

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As a part of this alliance, Wipro will offer its clients a powerful set of dashboard-driven performance management tools, including enterprise reporting, intuitive metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that focus on identifying potential problems before they progress in efforts to prevent business losses for lenders.

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“As Wipro Gallagher Solutions consistently strives to add value for customers, we have partnered with PRMS to deliver enterprise-wide management information and production analytics tools that help customers achieve greater profitability and efficiency,” said Scott Dunn, Head of Product Management, Strategy and Compliance, Wipro Gallagher Solutions, Wipro Limited.  “PRMS provides innovative solutions that are intuitively easy to use and are capable of integrating and functioning in an extremely short period of time to provide a rapid return to our customers.”

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“PRMS is extremely pleased to be working with the team at Wipro Gallagher Solutions to help lenders perform at a higher level,” said David Demster, Executive Vice President, Precision Risk Management Systems.  “These solutions will provide Wipro customers with focused business reporting, graphical dashboard information and key performance indicators that will enable management and staff to work more efficiently and effectively.”

The Percentage Of Purchase Loans Continues To Rise

The percentage of closed purchase loans increased to 62 percent of total closed loans, up 6 percent from the month prior according to the March Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae. The percentage of closed refinances decreased to 38 percent, down from 43 percent the month prior.

This comes as 30-year interest rates continued to rise to 4.69 percent, up from 4.48 percent in February and 4.33 percent in January. This is the highest rate since January of 2014. Additionally, the percentage of Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) increased from 5.5 percent in February to 6.3 percent in March.

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Closing rates on purchase loans rose to 76.3 percent, up from 75.7 percent the month prior, while closing rates on refinances decreased slightly from 65.0 percent in February to 64.9 percent in March.

“With interest rates rising to the highest levels since January 2014, we’re seeing the purchase market continue to gain momentum,” said Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae. “As we’ve seen in the past several months, the shift to a purchase market coupled with the adoption of digital mortgage solutions by our customers aids in driving down the time to close.”

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Other statistics of note in March included:

>>The percentage of refinances decreased across the board with FHA refinances dropping from 28 percent in February to 23 percent in March. Conventional refinances dropped from 48 percent in February to 43 percent in March, and VA refinances decreased from 33 percent in February to 28 percent in March.

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>>The time to close all loans decreased slightly from 42 days in February to 41 days in March. Time to close purchases dropped to 43 days in March, down from 45 days in February and 47 days in January.

>>Overall FICO scores increased slightly to 722. LTV increased slightly to 79 and DTI decreased to 26/39.

The Origination Insight Report mines data from a robust sampling of approximately 80 percent of all mortgage applications that were initiated on the Encompass all-in-one mortgage management solution. Ellie Mae believes the Origination Insight Report is a strong proxy of the underwriting standards employed by lenders across the country.

Partners Deliver Collaborative eClosing With eNotarization

Pavaso has partnered with Utah-based mortgage lender Intercap Lending, Salt Lake City-based Elevated Title and Columbus, Ohio-based Signature Closers to deliver an eClosing experience during which the lender, title company and notary provider all collaborate within the Pavaso portal to complete the closing.

On March 26, 2018, Intercap Lending used the Pavaso platform to electronically close its first loan with national title company Elevated Title and Signature Closers, a technology enabled notary and closing firm that partners with agencies nationwide. The partnership represents a true collaboration between lender, title company and closer using a single technology as its platform.

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40 years ago Intercap Lending started in the mortgage industry.  Their commitment to adapt and evolve to consumer demands allows them to continually add value to their customers. By shortening the process and collaborating with all parties to streamline the process, they deliver a better experience to their customers.

Pavaso’s built-in eNotarization capabilities allows borrowers to sign and notaries to verify and stamp documents digitally, executing the closing package more efficiently and securely. Pavaso’s Digital Close platform is scalable from hybrid closings (part ink, part digital) all the way to a full eNote and eVault capabilities. All parties to the transaction can execute a seamless eClosing process that provides transparency and education, supporting fairness to the borrower throughout the transaction.

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“Adapting to a rapidly evolving market has always been an important part of Intercap Lending’s ethos,” said Josh Romney, chairman and owner of Intercap Lending. “Our biggest asset is the trust and loyalty of our customers. Incorporating new technologies, such as eClosing, that help our customers have a better experience with our platform helps us continue to provide a level of service to our customers that surpasses that of our competitors.”

“So often the national lender doesn’t think about the client’s closing experience. They don’t realize that the last thing the borrower remembers is the closing process,” said Sally Farrar, Elevated Title’s CEO. “The lender can offer a streamlined, cutting-edge, online loan experience, but then, they turn their borrower over to a traditional title company that requires a borrower to go to an office or, sign with a notary, hundreds of documents. This can ruin the borrower’s entire loan experience.”

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“Today’s consumer demands transparency and efficiency to enable a smooth closing experience,” said Dan McGrew, COO, Pavaso. “IntercapLending, Elevated Title and Signature Closers have proven themselves leaders in the industry when it comes to using the best technology for the benefit of the consumer. In partnering with Pavaso, these companies have signaled the industry that the digital closing is no longer a “nice-to-have,” but rather, an essential ingredient in the consumer experience.”

“It’s extremely fulfilling to take part in the eClosing transformation in our industry working with partners like Elevated Title, Intercap Lending, and Pavaso,” said Mark Fleming, Jr., President Signature Closers, LLC. “The high level of communication and trust developed between our companies creates a simple, efficient process for signers across the country and allows us to continue to stay true to our mission of serving others in a responsive, first class way.”

LenderLive Acquires Compliance, QA Company

LenderLive Services, LLC (LenderLive), a mortgage services provider, has acquired reQuire Holdings, LLC (reQuire), a group of technology-enabled companies that provide compliance, quality assurance and valuation solutions for the residential and commercial real estate market. LenderLive acquired reQuire from L2 Capital Partners, a Devon, PA-based private equity family office. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Virginia Beach, reQuire offers diverse services, including lien release tracking, title search and reporting services, title curative services, due diligence, quality assurance, asset valuation and business process management (BPM) technology solutions. reQuire’s current products will complement LenderLive’s document and settlement services offerings and enable the combined companies to provide additional compliant solutions to their clients.

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“When John Surface and I joined LenderLive nine months ago, we said one of our priorities would be to use strategic acquisitions to build out the services side of our business and enhance the capabilities of the broader organization,” said Rob Clements, chairman and chief executive officer of LenderLive. “We look forward to joining forces with Al Will and his team at reQuire as we execute on our long-term growth plans.”

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“The acquisition of reQuire strengthens our current franchise and solidifies LenderLive’s position as a leading provider of financial and compliance services,” added John Surface, president and chief operating officer of LenderLive. “The transaction deepens our management team and gives us a broad set of adjacent products that significantly expand our ability to serve our clients.”

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“We are very excited to join the LenderLive family. This combination significantly enhances our scale and capabilities that will enable us to deliver even greater value to our clients and new opportunities for our employees”, said Al Will, chief executive officer of reQuire.

Evercore acted as LenderLive’s financial advisor and Ballard Spahr LLP acted as legal counsel to LenderLive in connection with the acquisition.

New Online 1003 Solution Hits The Market

SimpleNexus, a provider of digital mortgage technology, has launched a new online loan application solution, adding to its suite of origination tools. The new web application assists mortgage lenders with increasing customer engagement by making the process of applying for a mortgage easier.

The web application integrates with the native app and entire SimpleNexus digital mortgage platform, creating an omni-channel experience that gives loan officers or realtor partners a simple way to immediately get the loan application into the hands of the borrower to fill out and complete.

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Borrowers can search for homes, apply for a mortgage, run calculations, upload documents and see real-time status of their loan progress. The loan application is responsive, ensuring easy navigation, regardless of the screen size or device.  This significantly increases loan pull through while reducing abandonment rates.

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“Our custom online loan application improves the borrower experience by cultivating the human to human interaction with new technology that enhances rather than replaces the role of the loan officer,” stated Joe Wilson, SimpleNexus chief marketing officer.

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Mortgage Lenders can fully configure the loan application, choosing which questions to ask and in which order they appear. The online application is custom branded to the lending institution and includes individual pages for each loan officer to share.

SimpleNexus provides a private-label digital mortgage platform and mobile app that connects mortgage lenders with borrowers and real estate agents, allowing all parties to easily exchange data and documents through the lifecycle of a mortgage loan. With SimpleNexus, a loan officer becomes a mobile originator. Through its smartphone app, loan officers are able to view new loan applications instantly, pull and view credit reports, run live pricing scenarios via Optimal Blue, see a live CRM feed and send pre-approval letters—all of this from the palm of their hand, as the app connects real-time with their LOS.

Firms Join Forces Providing Complete Investor Real Estate Services

PMI Puerto Rico property management company and Keller Williams Grand Homes brokerage have formed a strategic alliance to create a comprehensive real estate investment service for property owners. Each business will offer their specialized services to clients.

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“PMI will see continued growth in the property management sector because of its commitment to deliver an exceptional customer experience to property owners and building alliances with other professionals,” said Miguel Hernandez, owner of PMI Puerto Rico. Keller Williams Grand Homes will continue to provide brokerage and sales services to clients and will work together with PMI Puerto Rico who will provide full-service professional management of residential, commercial, association and vacation rental properties. PMI Puerto Rico and Keller Williams Grand Homes are also currently developing a rent-to-own program, anticipated to launch later this year. “Our alliance with PMI will allow us to continue to expand the services we can offer our clients in Puerto Rico,” said Orbe Soto, Operating Principal of Keller Williams Grand Homes.

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With the increased investor interest in Puerto Rico’s real estate market, there is a growing need for local professional property management services. Seasoned investors are very aware of the financial advantages of hiring a property manager to oversee the maintenance, tenant screening, and legal compliance with taxes and housing laws. Ultimately, professional property management provides a property owner with increased profit and protection of the property’s value. “The growing demand for property management services has created a great opportunity for two leading real estate companies to join forces to provide the best customer experience and the highest level of service available in Puerto Rico,” said Soto.

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Property Management Inc. is a property management and real estate services company providing leading-edge technology, training, systems, and support to more than 200 franchises. The PMI network manages more than $5 billion in assets globally and is a recognized leading property management franchise. Its innovative franchise program provides the only platform that unifies the four pillars of property management: residential, commercial, association, and vacation rental. PMI is named on the Inc. 5000, Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list as “Best in Category” winner for 2017 and 2018. Additionally, PMI is ranked as one of the Top 100 Global Franchises in 2017 by Franchise Direct.