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:

WFG Lender Services Announces “Five-Second” Title Report

WFG Lender Services, in conjunction with its affiliated title insurance underwriter, WFG National Title Insurance Company (WFG), a Portland-based, full-service provider of title insurance and real estate settlement services, announces DecisionPoint, a new  product that can process title requests within seconds by simply using the borrower’s name and the property address.


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Lenders will know almost instantly the title processing time as well as any curative steps needed based on the results. This is a big improvement over the competition, which often requires the borrower’s Social Security number and provides only a simple grade rather than a full report.


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DecisionPoint uses a proprietary algorithm that delivers a full, detailed title report within five seconds, alerting lenders whether the title is “clean,” meaning a title insurance loan policy can be issued, or whether curative measures are necessary before a title insurance policy can be issued. As a result, lenders using DecisionPoint can better manage their loan pipeline by accelerating the processing of loans with clear title and closing faster, while also shifting more personnel and resources to cure problem loans.  Combined, lenders are able to reduce their application-to-close timeframes, close more loans and improve borrower satisfaction.


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When lenders find out early in the loan process whether a property needs title clearance, they are able to obtain critical information from borrowers during their first meeting or call to eliminate potential title issues that may scare their borrowers away. Lenders can also generate a loan estimate, and obtain borrower consent, thus reducing loan application drop-out rates. By using DecisionPoint, loans move faster through the origination process benefitting borrowers with potentially shorter application-to-close timeframes and more advantageous interest rates. 


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“By making sure a loan is good to go as early as possible, DecisionPoint allows lenders to jumpstart their underwriting process,” said Matt Slonaker, senior vice president and head of enterprise solutions sales at WFG Lender Services. “It makes the title process more efficient and saves more loans.”

WFG is a national settlement services company that applies its superior technology and closing process to take the time out of the real estate transaction. WFG strives to adapt its services to meet the needs of its customers.

MAXEX Receives Investment From New Strategic Investor

MAXEX, a residential mortgage loan exchange, announced today the closing of a Series B investment round that was led by AGNC Ventures, an affiliate of AGNC Investment Corp. (“AGNC”) and included the participation of Moore Asset Backed Fund, LP and other repeat institutional and private investors. AGNC is the largest internally-managed mortgage real estate investment trust and an active investor in residential mortgage assets.


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“I am thrilled to have AGNC’s support of MAXEX. We know that AGNC will be a great partner and bring enormous value to our business,” said Tom Pearce, CEO and chairman of MAXEX. “People are looking at what we’re building and our value proposition. It’s very simple. Buyers and sellers sign one standardized legal contract with MAXEX, and either sell loans to a broad universe of investors or buy loans from a broad universe of sellers all while trading with one counterparty – MAXEX.” 


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To date, MAXEX has traded more than $3 billion of conforming and jumbo loans. Loans aggregated through its exchange have been securitized through 22 different private label mortgage backed securities transactions. With the AGNC investment, MAXEX has raised over $90 million in capital to date. 


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“We are pleased to support MAXEX for the next phase of its growth,” said Sean Reid, senior vice president of Strategy and Corporate Development for AGNC. “MAXEX provides a valuable service to both buyers and sellers of residential whole loans through its exchange and central clearinghouse, in turn eliminating many of the traditional inefficiencies in the sector.” 


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Premier buyers trading on the MAXEX platform include Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Principal Bank as well as J.P. Morgan, who has been a strategic commercial partner since 2017. The company has a pipeline of over 20 marquee buyers including insurance companies, bank portfolios, REITs and Wall Street dealers in the process of joining the platform. 

“Given the prospects that GSE reform could meaningfully change the secondary market landscape, lenders are concerned that their current liquidity could be impacted,” said Bill Decker, MAXEX’s President. “MAXEX provides a turnkey solution for lenders to efficiently access many qualified buyers, which provides pricing stability and broad market access.” 

Former Federal Housing Commissioner and retired Mortgage Bankers Association CEO Dave Stevens recently called MAXEX “a really exciting platform that provides a consistent process to marry buyers and sellers of mortgages that eliminates the inconsistencies that have existed in the past. Common documentation combined with multiple investors bring both certainty and consistency to the market and will only improve liquidity to the housing finance system.” 

MAXEX is leveling the playing field for market participants, providing access to a diverse pool of large buyers for its over 85 approved bank and non-bank sellers. Buyers benefit from this substantial supply without traditional counterparty management challenges – from credit review, contracting issues, dispute resolution and other operational aspects of maintaining numerous counterparty relationships – as MAXEX intermediates all trades and serves as the buyers’ sole counterparty.

New Trading Platform Drives Automated Bidding And Trade Execution

Mortgage Capital Trading, Inc. (MCT), a mortgage hedge advisory and secondary marketing software firm, has officially launched Trade Auction Manager (TAM) to enable more efficient bidding of TBA mortgage-backed securities used by lenders to hedge their open mortgage pipelines. The browser-based software module is accessible via MCTlive!, the company’s award-winning comprehensive capital markets platform.


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TAM completely digitizes a formerly manual communication process to confirm time-sensitive TBA trades that were once largely phone-based. TBA trading, particularly with regional broker-dealers, is the last remaining secondary marketing function that relies on telephone communications, which TAM now successfully automates.


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MCT developed TAM in collaboration with multiple lender clients and broker-dealers who participated in the testing and successful soft launch in early 2019. With the introduction of TAM, the mortgage industry now has a powerful TBA trading platform that allows broker-dealers to compete for a higher volume of trade requests, while lenders gain thanks to expansion and automation of the competitive bidding process.


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“TAM is a seismic shift for the mid-sized lender – increasing execution, liquidity, and transparency, while connecting them digitally with their regional dealers for the first time,” said Phil Rasori, COO at MCT. “The initial experience is showing that TAM will deliver a significant enhancement in execution for MCT clients.”


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Additional benefits of TAM include greater accuracy, increased speed, and a reduction of data entry errors. When using TAM all transactions are automatically recorded, creating heightened reliability and trackability of trades. TAM leverages a single database of record, which centralizes critical data and simplifies trade reconciliations. TAM integrates seamlessly with MCT’s hedging and loan sale platforms or it can be utilized independently as a standalone solution.

Commercial/Multifamily Originations Increase 12 Percent In The First Quarter

Commercial and multifamily mortgage loan originations rose 12 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year , according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Quarterly Survey of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations. In line with seasonality trends, originations the first three months of the year were 34 percent lower than the fourth quarter of 2018.


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“The momentum seen in 2018’s record year of borrowing and lending continued in the first quarter of this year,” said Jamie Woodwell, MBA’s Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research. “First quarter volumes were higher for nearly every property type, and double-digit growth in loan volume for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac led the increase among capital sources. Low interest rates and strong property values continue to make commercial real estate an attractive market for borrowers.”


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Compared to a year earlier, a rise in originations for industrial, health care and hotel properties led the overall increase in commercial/multifamily lending volumes. By property type, industrial (73 percent), health care (41 percent), hotels (14 percent), retail (9 percent) and multifamily (9 percent) all saw year-over-year gains by dollar volume. The dollar volume of office property loans was unchanged.


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Among investor types, the dollar volume of loans originated for Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) increased by 14 percent year-over-year. Life insurance company loans increased 7 percent, commercial bank portfolios increased 6 percent, while loans originated for Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) decreased 4 percent. 


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As is typical in the first quarter, originations decreased in comparison to last year’s fourth quarter, with total activity falling 34 percent. Among property types, declines were seen in health care (49 percent), hotels (45 percent), multifamily (40 percent), retail (32 percent) and office space (30 percent). Industrial properties bucked the overall trend, rising 17 percent from the fourth quarter of 2018.

Among investor types, the dollar volume of loans for GSEs decreased 43 percent, originations for commercial banks decreased 34 percent, loans for life insurance companies decreased by 28 percent, and loans for CMBS decreased 22 percent.

To view the full report of MBA’s Quarterly Survey of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations, please visit:https://www.mba.org/Documents/Research/1Q19CMFOriginationsSurvey.pdf

Roostify And Docutech Join Forces To Amplify The Consumer Experience

Roostify has finalized an integration with Docutech. The news provides yet another, extra boost to the growing number of potential homebuyers who wish, and expect, to use automated mortgage technology to help them buy a home.


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By joining forces with Docutech, Roostify consumers can now view, complete, and eSign documents, all within the Roostify platform. What’s more, everything created and signed inside the platform is compliant with federal, state and local regulations.


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By leveraging Docutech’s ConformX dynamic document generation engine and Solex eSign platforms, mortgage disclosure documents are created and presented to the consumer for completion and signature without having to use an outside application. The best part is Roostify’s digital-first platform is accessible on mobile devices, so this process can be completed at any time and from anywhere, even while the applicant is on the go! This will enable a much quicker closing time. In addition to disclosure forms, the Docutech integration now gives Roostify’s customers access to eClosing solutions, which enable a more efficient and streamlined closing experience for consumers, lenders, and third parties.


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“Today’s consumers want a frictionless experience in everything they do. This expectation translates over to big life events including buying a home,” said Rajesh Bhat, CEO of Roostify. “Our integration with Docutech enables a completely seamless, best-in-class experience, while maintaining the highest level of security and compliance to keep users’ personal information secure.”


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“Digital mortgage solutions are now available to more consumers than ever as the largest lenders across the country are embracing the technology to make it happen,” said Amy Brandt, president and CEO of Docutech. “The integration between Roostify and Docutech marries two companies whose objectives are to provide the best possible solution to lenders, and ultimately consumers, when applying and completing a mortgage. We are thrilled to be partnering with one of the industry leaders to bring a world class experience to borrowers.”

Mortgage Delinquencies Rise In The First Quarter

The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties rose to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.42 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the first quarter, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) National Delinquency Survey. 


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Despite an uptick of 36 basis points on a quarterly basis, the delinquency rate was still down 21 basis points from one year ago. The percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions were started last quarter fell by 5 basis points from a year ago and 2 basis points from last quarter (to 0.23 percent).


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“The national mortgage delinquency rate in the first quarter of 2019 was down on a year-over-year basis, which is another sign of a very strong economic environment, bolstered by low unemployment and rising wage growth,” said Marina Walsh, MBA’s Vice President of Industry Analysis. “Moreover, the serious delinquency rate – the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure – dropped across all loan types from the previous quarter and a year ago to its lowest overall level since the second quarter of 2006.”


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Walsh noted that early 30-day delinquencies rose in the first quarter of 2019 on a seasonally-adjusted basis across all loan types. The rise in early delinquencies resulted in the overall mortgage delinquency rate climbing by 36 basis points. While higher than several quarters in 2017 and 2018, it is still the fourth lowest overall mortgage delinquency rate in the past 12 years.


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Key findings of MBA’s First Quarter of 2019 National Delinquency Survey:

>>Compared to last quarter, the seasonally adjusted mortgage delinquency rate increased for all loans outstanding. By stage, the 30-day delinquency rate increased 29 basis points to 2.58 percent, the 60-day delinquency rate increased 7 basis points to 0.81 percent, and the 90-day delinquency bucket remained unchanged at 1.03 percent.

>>By loan type, the total delinquency rate for conventional loans increased 27 basis points to 3.46 percent compared to the last quarter of 2018.The FHA delinquency rate increased 28 basis points to 8.93 percent, and the VA delinquency rate increased by 66 basis points to 4.37 percent.

>>On a year-over-year basis, the seasonally adjusted overall delinquency rate decreased for all loans outstanding. The delinquency rate decreased by 32 basis points for conventional loans, decreased 9 basis points for FHA loans and increased 5 basis points for VA loans.

>>The delinquency rate includes loans that are at least one payment past due, but does not include loans in the process of foreclosure. The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the first quarter was 0.92 percent, down 3 basis points from the fourth quarter and 24 basis points lower than one year ago. This is the lowest foreclosure inventory rate since the fourth quarter of 1995.

>>The serious delinquency rate, the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure, was at 1.96 percent – a decrease of 10 basis points from last quarter and a decrease of 65 basis points from last year. The serious delinquency rate decreased by 6 basis points for conventional loans, 31 basis points for FHA loans, and 9 basis points for VA loans from the previous quarter. Compared to a year ago, the serious delinquency rate decreased by 67 basis points for conventional loans, 77 basis points for FHA loans and 35 basis points for VA loans.

Seriously Underwater Properties Increase

ATTOM Data Solutions released its Q1 2019 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report, which shows that at the end of the first quarter of 2019, more than 5.2 million (5,223,524) U.S. properties were seriously underwater (where the combined balance of loans secured by the property was at least 25 percent higher than the property’s estimated market value), up by more than 17,000 properties from a year ago.


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The 5.2 million seriously underwater properties at the end of Q1 2019 represented 9.1 percent of all U.S. properties with a mortgage, up from 8.8 percent in the previous quarter but down from 9.5 percent in Q1 2018.


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“With home prices increasing at a slower pace in 2018, than in previous years, the potential for people to climb out from mortgages that are underwater or advance into equity-rich territory, tends to be reduced,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. “However, only one in 11 mortgages are seriously underwater today, compared to nearly one in three during the depths of the recession. Although, if the latest trend continues, it will raise another clear signal of a market slowdown, which will be good for buyers, but not so good for sellers. But if the pattern of the past few years takes hold – with levels of underwater and equity rich mortgages turning around – it will mean the market remains strong for sellers, with fewer needing to get out from under financial distress.”


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Highest seriously underwater share in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia

States with the highest share of seriously underwater properties were Louisiana (20.7 percent); Mississippi (17.1 percent); Arkansas (16.3 percent); West Virginia (16.2 percent); and Illinois (16.2 percent).


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Among 99 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed in the report, those with the highest share of seriously underwater properties were Baton Rouge, Louisiana (21.3 percent); Scranton, Pennsylvania (20.0 percent); Youngstown, Ohio (19.2 percent); Toledo, Ohio (19.2 percent); and New Orleans, Louisiana (17.8 percent).

32 zip codes where more than half of all properties are seriously underwater

Among 7,639 U.S. zip codes with at least 2,500 properties with mortgages, there were 32 zip codes where more than half of all properties with a mortgage were seriously underwater, including zip codes in the Milwaukee, Trenton, Chicago, Saint Louis, and Cleveland metropolitan statistical areas.

The top five zip codes with the highest share of seriously underwater properties were 53206 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (70.5 percent seriously underwater); 08611 in Trenton, New Jersey (68.9 percent); 69361 in Scottsbluff, Nebraska (63.4 percent); 60426 in Harvey, Illinois (63.1 percent); and 61104 in Rockford, Illinois (62.8 percent).

Highest equity rich share in California, Hawaii, New York, Washington, Vermont

States with the highest share of equity rich properties were California (43.0 percent); Hawaii (38.1 percent); New York (34.2 percent); Washington (33.2 percent); and Vermont (32.8 percent).

Among 99 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed in the report, those with the highest share of equity rich properties were San Jose, California (68.3 percent); San Francisco, California (58.4 percent); Los Angeles, California (48.1 percent); Santa Rosa, California (47.6 percent); and San Diego, California (39.3 percent).

408 zip codes where more than half of all properties are equity rich

Among 7,639 U.S. zip codes with at least 2,500 properties with mortgages, there were 408 zip codes where more than half of all properties with a mortgage were equity rich.

The top five zip codes with the highest share of equity rich properties were all located in the San Jose and San Francisco markets in California: 94040 in Mountain View (82.3 percent equity rich); 94116 in San Francisco (81.7 percent); 94087 in Sunnyvale (81.6 percent); 94085 in Sunnyvale (81.1 percent); and 94122 in San Francisco (81.0 percent).

Griffin Capital Funding Provides Mortgages To Churches When Other Lenders Decline Them

Griffin Capital Funding has spent the past twenty years providing loans to churches with a special emphasis on helping churches that have been declined by other lenders. No Church likes to hear the word NO when they are applying for a loan. Unfortunately, NO is the word that churches hear regularly when applying for financing. With over $1.5 Billion in closed loans to churches, Griffin Capital Funding is your biggest defense against that ugly word.


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There are many reasons that churches face declines for their financing requests. Here are just a few: 


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Current Lender is no longer interested in making church loans: 
Many churches simply go to the lender that has helped them in the past or that they have a banking relationship with. The church leaders may even think that it is the safe bet, only to be told NO. Just because this lender has made loans to churches in the past, does not mean that they still do today. Meanwhile, you have lost time waiting for their answer.


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Church’s Loan was sold to another lender who will not renew the loan: 
It happens more often than you think. A church takes out a mortgage with a lender. Then, that lender gets into trouble and ends up being sold to another company that does not want church loans on their books. The church makes the loan payments on time but when the loan comes due the lender refuses to renew the loan. 

The lender does not understand church finances: 
Many lenders just don’t understand church finances and their intricacies. The church then receives a no based on basic commercial loan criteria rather than the merit of the church.


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Church credit took a blow for one reason or another: 
Lenders do not understand church finances and the potential seasonality of their income. Most lenders are looking for churches with perfect credit, if there are any blemishes at all, then you will receive a decline.

To the contrary, Griffin Capital Funding has been helping churches for over 20 years. They have closed over $1.5 billion in church loans. They understand church finances and offer a variety of church loan programs, including programs for churches with good and bad credit. For churches with excellent credit and who meet the qualifications, they can provide 30-year fixed rate loans with no balloons. If 30-year fixed loans are too long for your church, Griffin Capital also offers 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25-year fixed church loans. They offer quick closings with an easy application process. 

Mortgage Credit Availability Increased In April

Mortgage credit availability increased in April according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) that analyzes data from Ellie Mae’s AllRegs Market Clarity business information tool.

The MCAI rose 2.1 percent to 186.0 in April. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit. The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012. The Conventional MCAI increased (4.3 percent), while the Government MCAI was unchanged. Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI increased by 6.8 percent, and the Conforming MCAI increased by 1.2 percent.


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“Credit supply increased 2 percent in April and was driven by a 7 percent gain in the jumbo index, which reached its highest level since the beginning of the MCAI in 2011,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Additionally, investors continued a trend from March of further increasing their willingness to purchase more non-QM and non-agency jumbo loans. The high-end of the purchase market had shown weakness earlier this year, before the recent decline in mortgage rates, and it appears investors are trying to remain competitive in that segment of the market.” 

CONVENTIONAL, GOVERNMENT, CONFORMING, AND JUMBO MCAI COMPONENT INDICES

The MCAI rose 2.1 percent to 186.0 in April. The Conventional MCAI increased (4.3 percent) while the Government MCAI was unchanged. Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI increased by 6.8 percent while the Conforming MCAI increased by 1.2 percent.


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The Conventional, Government, Conforming, and Jumbo MCAIs are constructed using the same methodology as the Total MCAI and are designed to show relative credit risk/availability for their respective index. The primary difference between the total MCAI and the Component Indices are the population of loan programs which they examine. The Government MCAI examines FHA/VA/USDA loan programs, while the Conventional MCAI examines non-government loan programs. The Jumbo and Conforming MCAIs are a subset of the conventional MCAI and do not include FHA, VA, or USDA loan offerings. The Jumbo MCAI examines conventional programs outside conforming loan limits, while the Conforming MCAI examines conventional loan programs that fall under conforming loan limits.


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The Conforming and Jumbo indices have the same “base levels” as the Total MCAI (March 2012=100), while the Conventional and Government indices have adjusted “base levels” in March 2012. MBA calibrated the Conventional and Government indices to better represent where each index might fall in March 2012 (the “base period”) relative to the Total=100 benchmark.                                                       


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EXPANDED HISTORICAL SERIES

The Total MCAI has an expanded historical series that gives perspective on credit availability going back approximately 10-years (expanded historical series does not include Conventional, Government, Conforming, or Jumbo MCAI). The expanded historical series covers 2004 through 2010, and was created to provide historical context to the current series by showing how credit availability has changed over the last 10 years – including the housing crisis and ensuing recession.  Data prior to March 31, 2011, was generated using less frequent and less complete data measured at 6-month intervals and interpolated in the months between for charting purposes. Methodology on the expanded historical series from 2004 to 2010 has not been updated.

Newly Formed Boutique Consulting Firm Promises A New Approach

BlackFin Group – a boutique-style consulting firm focused on mortgage banking and financial services, announced that it has formally launched operations with the goal of bringing a unique method to projects that drastically deviates from the way traditional consulting practices work with clients. The essence of BlackFin Group’s business model and value proposition is to offer fixed project pricing, well-defined completion deadlines and full transparency throughout each engagement.


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Leading BlackFin Group is industry veteran Keith Kemph, CEO and founder of the firm, who possesses a wealth of knowledge in the areas of business strategy, sales and marketing, operations, technology, training and culture transformation. Mr. Kemph holds an array of experience working at consulting firms, technology companies, service providers, lending entities and banks.


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“I founded BlackFin with the underlying concept that clients should have complete confidence in fixed pricing and full visibility into where the project is at all times,” said Kemph. “All too often, projects can get out of hand from a cost and focus perspective, failing to deliver on expectations. At BlackFin, we’re on a mission to prevent prolonged engagements, unexpected costs and project disappointments. We are laser-focused on building a reputation and brand that is known to be on target, on time and on budget – with every project, every client and with the promise of stellar results.”


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BlackFin Group offers a wide-range of management consulting services that cost effectively solves multifaceted business problems, identifies untapped business opportunities and successfully implements positive organizational change. The firm aims to vastly simplify what many advisors can turn into overly complicated, expensive and prolonged engagements. Instead, BlackFin Group seeks to significantly reduce time and costs while delivering measurable results.


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Kemph adds, “At the cornerstone of BlackFin Group is integrity, transparency and honesty coupled with innovative ideas, personalization and the successful execution of each project. Upholding a sterling reputation that embodies our elevated values and produces exceptional client results will always be paramount to the success of BlackFin Group.”

BlackFin Group has formed an extensive network of partners that embrace its high standards of excellence and effectively supports the company’s growing clientele. With an initial concentration in mortgage and financial services, BlackFin Group is also equipped to serve multiple vertical markets and cater to horizontally focused organizations.