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:

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Equity National Title Now Conducting eClosings With Pavaso

Equity National Title, a national provider of title and settlement services is now able to deliver eClosings with Digital Close through Pavaso, Inc., a provider of digital closing solutions for the mortgage industry.

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More specifically, Equity National Title can now deliver hybrid eClosings in which select documents, such as the Deed and Note, are printed and “wet-signed,” but much of the closing package is executed electronically. ““An awesome closing experience for our customers and their borrowers is our primary focus and the digital closing experience is one that more and more of our lending partners are demanding,” said Jim O’Donnell, President of Equity National Title. “Pavaso’s technology is being used by a number of our lender clients, and we’ve found that they deliver fantastic support as well as flexibility through the hybrid option when we need to close on any combination of paper and digital.”

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Pavaso’s Digital Close accommodates paper, hybrid or fully digital closings.  It also enables efficient online communication and collaboration between the real estate agent, lender, title/settlement agent and borrower during the entire closing process. The digital closing platform provides built-in eSign and eNotarization capabilities, allowing borrowers to sign and notaries to verify and stamp documents digitally. Although there are still some traditionally wet-signed documents, this allows the majority of the closing package to be executed more efficiently and securely.

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“Each time a national provider like Equity National Title adopts an eClosing process, the digital transformation of the mortgage becomes much more widespread—even much more mainstream,” said Mark McElroy, President and CEO of Pavaso. “With a large title network for digital mortgages emerging, it’s really only a matter of time until eClosings are a staple for businesses.”

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Lender Embraces A More Efficient Appraisal Process

American Financial Network, Inc. (AFN), one of the country’s fastest growing mortgage companies with more than 30 appraisal management company vendors, has deployed Mercury Network to manage efficient, compliant appraisal operations. Mercury Network’s technology is used by more than 800 of the nation’s lenders and appraisal management companies (AMCs) to manage real estate valuation operations and collateral risk.

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AFN’s collateral valuation operations will be managed using Mercury Network’s web-based platform to place and track appraisal orders with their AMC partners. The implementation allows AFN to order and see status on valuations from within their loan origination system, significantly reducing delays and human errors, while effectively routing orders to AFN’s chosen appraisal management companies.

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“The appraisal process is critical for our loan officers and clients, and we weighed several possible solutions. Mercury Network gives us consolidated control across all our AMC partners and efficiency gains that have already made a great impact for our customers and staff”, said Jonathan Gwin, Esq, COO and General Counsel at AFN. “Now, staff can order and manage all appraisals from a single secure dashboard, rather than navigating to each vendor’s website.”

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“We’re excited to welcome American Financial Network”, said Jennifer Miller, President of Mercury Network. “Their commitment to innovation and client service is well known in the industry, and we look forward to helping AFN continue to scale operations at their rapid pace.”

Established in 2001, American Financial Network, Inc. is a licensed mortgage lender (NMLS #237341) based in Brea, CA. AFN is a FNMA, Freddie Mac, GNMA approved direct lender with over 100 branches in numerous states.

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QC Player Is Ready For Day 1 Certainty

ACES Risk Management (ARMCO), a provider of financial quality control and compliance software, has updated its flagship ACES Audit Technology with new functionality that aligns with Fannie Mae’s Day 1 Certainty (D1C) initiative. With this update, ACES now includes additional fields for assessing asset, income, employment and collateral data according to Fannie Mae’s D1C initiative. The company also updated its rule-based technology to assist auditing these loans according to the D1C initiative.

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ACES users continue to use ACES Intelligent Questionnaire technology to customize questions and scripts according to their own unique needs and objectives. ACES’ direct import of D1C data enables users to preserve the integrity of their QC processes, while also aligning with D1C parameters.

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“Lenders can gain added protection under Fannie Mae’s Day 1 Certainty initiative, but they have to follow certain protocols,” says Phil McCall, COO of ARMCO. “We updated ACES so our clients can automate their auditing process to account for the different checkpoints associated with D1C. Our clients know that ARMCO’s mission is protecting their businesses. They know they can rely on us to stay on top of all guidelines, initiatives, regulations and trends, and they know we will continue providing the tools that help them grow and protect their businesses, not just for now, but also for the long haul.”

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The recent ACES software enhancement went into effect for all clients June 12, 2017.  Clients and interested parties can get further information on this update via the proprietary ACES Knowledge Center, or by visiting the ARMCO website (www.armco.us) for a demonstration of the latest software.

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Lender Launches Homecoming Campaign To Reunite Separated Military Families

Embrace Home Loans announced the launch of its Embrace Coming Home campaign. Inspired by the dedication and commitment soldiers give to our country, the initiative seeks to provide surprise homecomings to those dealing with the hardships of deployment, reuniting at least five families in 2017.

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The campaign is driven by three of Embrace’s core values including love, community and courage, and the company looks to give back to military families who embody all three. Any member of the public is eligible to visit Embrace’s website and nominate a deserving family. Once a service member and their family are selected, Embrace will begin to arrange travel and a surprise meeting for the family in their hometown, and a day of surprises for the family will follow. Expenses for the surprise reunion will be paid by the lender, who will keep the homecomings a secret.

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“Our goal is to bring happiness into the lives of those who have sacrificed so much for their country,” said Meghan Handy, customer experience manager at Embrace Home Loans. “By partnering with friends of military families, we’re excited to raise support and awareness of the sacrifices that military families make for each of us. The surprise homecomings will allow us to give back to our community in a way that is unique and memorable.”

 
Embrace and its employees have helped support not only military members and Veterans, but also local families in need, school supply drives, the families of active military members, and friends and families of Embrace employees who have had sudden emergencies such as a medical crisis, to name just a few. The national lender has raised thousands of dollars through its simple tradition of giving.

“While local communities are important to us and we remain dedicated to supporting them with their home financing needs, military personnel and Veterans have a special place with us,” said Handy. “As implied by our name, we ‘embrace’ the men and women that serve our country as well as their families, and we strive to improve the quality of their lives. We’re honored to bring joy to the lives of a few families across the nation this year in order to show our gratitude.”

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Lender Supports Financial Literacy

Churchill Mortgage announced the winner of its $5,000 nationwide sweepstakes, which was developed in recognition of Financial Literacy Month and as part of its commitment to financial health and education. Officially established in 2004, Financial Literacy Month is celebrated every April and is dedicated to teaching Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits.

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The winner is 60-year old Michael Bodnar, a resident of Carnegie, Penn. and employee with the Port Authority of Allegheny County. “I enter contests quite frequently and this is my biggest win so far, so we’re going to be smart about how we use the money,” said Bodnar. “After all, that’s what financial literacy is all about: knowing your limits, identifying what your future needs will be and working toward that.”

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Click here to read a Q&A between Churchill and Bodnar and learn how he plans to invest his winnings.

The National Financial Educators Council recently surveyed 2,409 people on what high school-level course would benefit them the most. An overwhelming 54 percent selected “Money Management (Personal Finance)”, emphasizing the need for greater financial educational resources. As a lender focused on providing borrowers with a personalized path to debt-free homeownership, Churchill is dedicated to educating borrowers to ensure that they choose the right home and build wealth over time through a smarter mortgage.

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“Financial literacy is a bigger issue than saving for a home purchase – it’s about making wise decisions every day and understanding the lifelong implications of each one,” said Mike Hardwick, president of Churchill Mortgage. “Education leads to empowerment, which leads to more confidence in exercising responsible financial practices. As lenders, we have a fiduciary duty to help others by guiding individuals with the heart of a teacher and providing resources to help them achieve financial freedom.”

Founded in 1992, Churchill Mortgage operates with zero debt and focuses on providing borrowers with a personalized path to debt-free homeownership. The result is an educated borrower that chooses the right home and builds wealth over time through a smarter mortgage.

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Newfi Wholesale Expands To Utah

Newfi Lending, a technology-enabled residential mortgage lender and portfolio company of Warburg Pincus, has expanded Newfi Wholesale into Utah. Newfi Wholesale is the third-party origination division of Newfi Lending.

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Newfi Wholesale also announced the hiring of Shayne Nielson as Regional Account Manager to drive the expansion into Utah. Nielson has spent many years in both wholesale and retail mortgage lending at Headlands Mortgage and GreenPoint Mortgage, working in Utah and Florida.

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“We are pleased to continue our strong growth momentum with our expansion into Utah and we welcome Shayne to the team,” said Debbie Ingle, Newfi Lending’s Senior Vice President of Wholesale Lending. “We’re excited to partner with mortgage brokers in Utah, and to show them the same exceptional level of service that we provide to all our customers.”

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This move brings the total number of states serviced by Newfi Wholesale to nine, covering over one-third of the U.S. population. In addition to Utah, Newfi Wholesale currently provides wholesale lending services in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington.

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GSE Approves New eMortgage Technology Solution Provider

NotaryCam, Inc., a provider of online notary and mortgage eClosing services, announced that the company’s eClose360 online notary platform has been tested and approved by Freddie Mac for eMortgage origination. To be approved, vendors must meet Freddie Mac’s requirements to provide eMortgage solutions.

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“We are very pleased that our technology has now been approved by Freddie Mac for eMortgage closings,” said Rick Triola, Founder and CEO of NotaryCam. “Many portfolio lenders and those who sell eMortgages to other investors have been relying on our patented eClose360 ceremony for some time. Now, mortgage lenders who sell their production to Freddie Mac can execute a full set of loan docs, register with MERS eRegistry and fund in near real-time and share those benefits with their partners and borrowers.”

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NotaryCam’s eClose360 is an online notary platform that allows mortgage closings to take place entirely online, solving the last-mile digital challenge, thereby removing all associated stress and the friction of having to attend closings physically. The technology won more attendee votes than any other digital mortgage technology in its category after its demonstration at the recent Digital Mortgage Conference in San Francisco.

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NotaryCam allows businesses and individuals to legally notarize, sign and execute documents and agreements online. The company has legally completed tens of thousands of notarizations in all 50 states and over 65 countries. Parties from anywhere in the world can connect to a live notary public in a secure virtual signing room. Identities and eSignatures are verified in a face-to-face web interaction to eClose real estate and mortgage transactions, notarize deeds, power of attorney, health directives, and more. NotaryCam was developed in lockstep with the needs of both Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) to ensure that eClose360 meets all of their requirements. NotaryCam signing agents are also certified by the National Notary Association.

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Open Mortgage Launches A Wholesale Program

Open Mortgage LLC, a provider of traditional and reverse mortgages throughout the United States, announced their expanded Wholesale Program for Traditional and Reverse (HECM) Channels.

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“By joining the Open Mortgage Wholesale Program, partners have access to an extensive network of loan programs, training, marketing, and loan tools. These provide brokers with powerful benefits,” said Scott Gordon CEO, Open Mortgage.

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The wholesale program offers a wide range of products such as FHA, USDA, VA, FHA DPA, HECM (Reverse) loans as well as Prime, Alt A (Non-QM Near Prime, Non-QM Non-Prime) with competitive rates and no lender fees (on wholesale transactions). It also provides fast underwriting, in-depth training, and a dedicated operations team to help partners grow their business.

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“Open Mortgage’s top priority is to provide mortgage professionals with a wide range of products that meet their borrowers’ varying needs,” said Kevin McKnight, Vice President of Forward Sales Division, Open Mortgage.

“We have built a team with a main objective of building strategic programs that position partners to take advantage of the opportunities in their markets, said Sharon Falvey, Vice President of Reverse Sales Division, Open Mortgage.

Open Mortgage also hired experienced mortgage industry specialist Jerry Burleson to manage the Traditional Mortgage Wholesale Team. Upon joining Open Mortgage, Burleson said, “I am very excited to be part of a team that builds a terrific wholesale platform committed to providing the highest level of customer service.  I am thrilled to be part of this dynamic group.”

Brenley Gagnon, a mortgage and military veteran with more than 18 years in the marketplace, joined Open Mortgage, LLC, as a Regional Sales Manager for Wholesale Division of Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, commonly known as reverse mortgages.

“The reverse mortgage industry is misunderstood, and many brokers and clients don’t understand how these loans can change the lives of seniors for the better. It’s an exciting time to be in this industry. Open Mortgage has given me the opportunity to educate our brokers and clients about the reverse mortgage,” Gagnon said.

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Integration Makes Lender And Borrower Collaboration More Effortless

As mortgage lenders increasingly invest in modernizing their technology experience, Maxwell, a provider of digital mortgage automation software for small and midsize lenders, has integrated with LendingQB to make it easier for lenders and borrowers to collaborate effortlessly through the mortgage process.

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LendingQB continues to extend its integrations through its web-based LOS system . The LOS’ open-architecture application program interface (API) enables lenders to select the tools that best help their efficiency. The LOS was cited in the STRATMOR Group’s December 2016 Technology Insights report as achieving an end user effectiveness rating of 93%, top marks amongst the major LOS providers.

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“In this age of platform interoperability, LendingQB gets it — an open origination platform that empowers its users to optimize the experience for speed, security and delight,” said John Paasonen, CEO of Maxwell. “We’re thrilled to integrate with a likeminded partner as a showcase to Maxwell’s API that gives flexibility back to the customer.”

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Maxwell automates the way that mortgage lenders work with their clients to close a mortgage, from the loan application to assembling a borrower’s file. Lending teams on Maxwell collaborate with homebuyers in a modern digital workspace, on any device, with connectivity to thousands of data sources. Designed by usability experts, Maxwell reports that loans on its platform close 22 days faster than the industry average.

The integration with LendingQB will enable Maxwell clients to seamlessly sync borrower data with the loan origination system, trigger automated notifications to borrowers and real estate agents, and securely exchange documents and information.

“The ability to provide innovative technology such as an open architecture API offers lenders an added value as their organizations continue to grow and evolve,” said Tim Nguyen, president of LendingQB. “This partnership with Maxwell affirms our commitment to streamlining our clients’ access to products and services that power their business. Innovation is accelerating in this industry and lenders benefit when they can utilize best-of-breed solutions to streamline the mortgage process.”

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Open Mortgage Forms Strategic Partnership With ACEI

Open Mortgage, LLC, a provider of traditional and reverse mortgages throughout the United States, announced their exclusive partnership with the American C.E. Institute, LLC (ACEI), an online and in-person continuing education program. Open Mortgage Loan Originators and Account Executives will become ACEI certified instructors in their states, offering Continuing Education courses for Realtors, Financial Planners, Attorneys, CPAs, and Insurance Agents.

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“We are pleased to partner with ACEI as we share the same vision of educating customers on the benefits of Reverse Mortgages (also known as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages or HECMs) for people 62 and older. This partnership will allow our Loan Originators and Account Executives to provide CE courses to a range of specialists, including brokers,” said Open Mortgage CEO Scott Gordon.

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Founded by Michael Banner in 2008, the ACEI has provided training to more than 14,000 specialists in a range of industries.

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Banner, who has been in the mortgage industry for 35 years, said, “Open Mortgage engaged ACEI and invited me to speak at their annual Sales Summit symposium in Austin, Texas, in late March of this year. After spending several days with the company, it was apparent their culture was like no other in the reverse mortgage industry. I am excited to be a part of the Open Mortgage family.”

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