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Sun West Mortgage Cites CRM Platform Flexibility For Successful Multi-Channel Implementation

Sun West Mortgage Company (Sun West) has launched OptifiNow’s cloud-based CRM and marketing automation platform for wholesale, distributed retail and their all new Home Buyer Connect (HBC) mortgage lending channels, demonstrating multi-channel flexibility that simplifies sales and marketing management for the Southern California-based lender. 


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“Supporting multiple lending channels is a challenge for any mortgage lender, so we knew it would be hard to find a single CRM solution for our three sales groups,” said John Brumund, executive managing director at Sun West. “We’ve got wholesale, distributed retail and our Home Buyer Connect (HBC) group, which is a hybrid consumer direct and distributed retail sales model. OptifiNow not only delivered all three channels, but they adapted to our unique way of doing business, especially in the Home Buyer Connect channel where there are so many moving parts.” 


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Using what they call a White Glove service approach, OptifiNow worked closely with Sun West’s sales and marketing teams to customize the platform for each channel. Sun West provided the blueprints for automated email campaigns, business rules and data-driven triggers, which OptifiNow used to implement the platform for their wholesale, retail and HBC environments. 


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In the case of Sun West’s HBC group, a complex lead funnel seamlessly delivers leads to call centers, requiring a robust phone system integration that matches specifically identified borrowers to appropriately licensed inside loan officers. Pre-approved buyers are then delivered to outside originators to manage the process through closing. 


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“It would have cost a lot more and taken us much longer if we tried to manage the CRM ourselves,” Brumund noted. “OptifiNow’s team eliminates the need for us to have an in-house CRM administrator. Not only do they execute our campaigns and keep our system up to date, but they even provide feedback and let us know if something doesn’t make sense. They work as if they were on our staff.”

“There’s no cookie-cutter approach to mortgage sales and marketing,” said John McGee, CEO of OptifiNow. “For many lenders, their sales and marketing process is their major competitive advantage. It’s important that we really understand how a lender wants to use our system, build it to their specifications and deliver a working system as quickly as possible. That’s why we consider our White Glove service component to be as important as our technology.”

January New Home Purchase Mortgage Apps Increased 35.3%

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Application Survey (BAS) data for January 2020 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 35.3 percent compared from a year ago. Compared to December 2019, applications increased by 40 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 865,000 units in January 2020, 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 applications and sales activity surged in January. This was a continuation of the end of 2019, which saw strong residential construction and increased purchase applications activity,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Even with some global and domestic economic uncertainty, builders have ramped up production in recent months to meet increased homebuyer demand.”


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Added Kan, “MBA estimates that January new home sales increased 25 percent over the month to a sales pace of 865,000 units, while the average loan size increased to $346,000 – both record highs since the survey began in 2012.”


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The seasonally adjusted estimate for January is an increase of 25.5 percent from the December pace of 689,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, MBA estimates that there were 66,000 new home sales in January 2020, an increase of 37.5 percent from 48,000 new home sales in December.

By product type, conventional loans composed 69.5 percent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 17.8 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 0.8 percent and VA loans composed 12 percent. The average loan size of new homes increased from $338,625 in December to $346,140 in January. 

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. 

Wipro Gallagher Solutions Upgrades LOS With URLA Reqs

 Wipro Gallagher Solutions (WGS), a Wipro Limited (NYSE: WIT, BSE: 507685, NSE: WIPRO) company and a provider of loan origination software solutions, today announced that NetOxygen LOS is fully compliant as per URLA requirements and is ready for the Start of Required Use.


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With application screens created to meet URLA requirements and automation to ease user experience, the NetOxygen Launchpad and LOS will keep lenders compliant while simplifying the user experience.


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In December 2019, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac published a revised 2020 implementation timeline for the updated Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) and automated underwriting systems (AUS). Below are important dates for lenders


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  • March 9: Start of Tests between Vendors and Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSE)
  • June 1: Start of Limited Production pilot for select Lenders/Vendors [must demonstrate partner readiness and be pre-approved by Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac]
  • September 1: Start of Open Production period [formerly referred to as Optional Use period]
  • November 1: Start of Required Use

For more information about URLA and NetOxygen LOS, please click here


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Wipro Gallagher Solutions is a Wipro Limited company, focused on fueling the future lender since 1985. Wipro Gallagher Solutions’ digital lending platform NetOxygen helps lenders close more loans at lower costs, with its highly automated, workflow-driven, POS to closing solution, delivering superior borrower and colleague experience. Wipro Gallagher Solutions makes lending simpler, safer, and more profitable to lenders across retail, consumer, wholesale, and correspondent channels.

Research Shows That Fintech Partnerships Are A Key Growth Strategy For Banks And Credit Unions In 2020

Financial institutions are making fintech partnerships a key priority in 2020, according to new research from Cornerstone Advisors. In What’s Going On In Banking 2020: Outlook for a New Decade, 65 percent of banks and 76 percent of credit unions say these partnerships will be an important part of their business strategies this year.


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Among eight areas in which surveyed institutions plan to partner with fintechs, both banks and credit unions ranked new products and payments first and second. 


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“Banks and credit unions are acknowledging that fintechs often have better design capabilities than what exists at banks or their major industry vendors,” Cornerstone Advisors President and co-founder Steve Williams says in the report. “They see partnering as very much a chance to ‘bolt in’ a better customer experience to their legacy back end in a time frame that can allow them to stay competitive.”


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The annual What’s Going On In Banking study explores how senior executives from hundreds of U.S.-based mid-size banks and credit unions are prioritizing their technology initiatives and spending.


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Other key findings include: 

  • Cloud computing and application programming interfaces top of the list of emerging technologies banks plan to deploy in 2020. 
  • The percentage of credit unions that have deployed machine learning and robotic process automation tools jumped from 3% and 1%, respectively, in 2019 to 9% heading into 2020. 
  • Digital account opening remains a top focus for new and replacement systems in 2020. 
  • Enhancing commercial online and mobile banking capabilities are planned by an increasing percentage of institutions in 2020. 
  • CRM continues its run as a top five technology for addition/replacement. 
  • The percentage of institutions planning to modify or improve lending systems is up across the board, and the commercial loan origination system is among the top five technologies slated for addition/replacement. 
  • Underscoring the importance of analytics to banks and credit unions, among the five technologies in the analytics category, three are up for modifications or improvements in 2020. 
  • Managing fraud continues to be a top priority for FIs, and half plan to enhance their fraud management systems in 2020. 

“2020 is likely to be a good year for the banking industry,” said Ron Shevlin, Cornerstone director of research and the report’s author. “The state of the economy is the best it’s been in a long time. Consumers are more confident in borrowing, and their improved credit scores mean they’re more credit-worthy. This scenario has earnings growth written all over it.”

MAXEX Accelerates Secondary Market Liquidity With Integration

MAXEX, providers of a digital mortgage exchange to enable buying and selling residential loans through a single clearinghouse, has completed a strategic integration with Ellie Mae Encompass Investor Connect. For the first time ever, Ellie Mae originators seeking to optimize their liquidity options can deliver data and documents directly to MAXEX without ever leaving Encompass.


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MAXEX, which recently reached $5 billion in trading volume, connects bank and non-bank mortgage lenders to market-leading investors, including Wall Street dealers, money center banks, and the largest U.S. real estate investment trusts (REITs). To date, more than 120 lenders and investors have embraced MAXEX’s one counterparty, one contract, one digital exchange model to achieve faster, more efficient liquidity. This new integration further increases speed and efficiency by enabling seamless document transfer within Encompass.


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“Just as borrowers expect a seamless experience from their lenders, originators should expect a fast, consistent and transparent path to liquidity,” said William Decker, President of MAXEX. “By partnering with an industry leader such as Ellie Mae, we can further build on MAXEX’s value proposition for lenders.”


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“Ellie Mae is proud to partner with MAXEX to create unprecedented connectivity between originators and secondary market liquidity,” said Parvesh Sahi, Senior Vice President of Business Development for Ellie Mae. “This new integration is a big step forward for delivering a true digital mortgage experience to the industry and enabling greater efficiency for the entire ecosystem.”


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MAXEX and Ellie Mae will host an open webinar on March 11, 2020 at 11 a.m. Pacific Time to demonstrate this new functionality. Register for the webinar by visiting this link.

New Features Make Calyx Software More Interactive For Borrowers

Calyx has enhanced Zip, the company’s point-of-sale (POS) platform, with several new features including the ability for borrowers to upload documents and an interactive Borrower Dashboard to provide more visibility into the loan process.


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Zip is an affordable, easy-to-use loan interview platform that loan originators can deliver to prospective borrowers via a branded URL. It allows borrowers to easily begin the loan application process online or via any mobile device. The dynamic Zip interview prompts borrowers with questions that apply to their unique situation and loan inquiry, which improves the borrower’s experience and the quality of leads originators receive.


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The new enhancements include a Borrower Dashboard where borrowers can monitor their loan application’s progression, reducing anxiety and increasing their satisfaction with the mortgage process.   Additionally, Zip Administrators can choose to activate the Document upload feature. When activated, borrowers can upload essential loan documents such as income and identity verification, while completing the borrower interview.  


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The new version also includes borrower questions to support HELOC origination, as well as refinance and home equity options for second homes and investor properties. The update also gives borrowers access to their loan officer’s contact information by clicking the Help icon in the Zip Interview Portal.


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“Research from leading consultants, like the Boston Consulting Group, has found that access to real-time status information is one of the major factors influencing the overall customer satisfaction in the mortgage process,” Sung Park, Senior Vice President of Development at Calyx. “The latest enhancements to Zip allow loan originators to provide a borrower experience that is transparent, engaging and convenient. In addition, the enhancements also enable banks and credit unions to add proven, easy-to-use technology to their home equity and investor lending programs.” 

Churchill Mortgage Has Record Success In 2019

 Churchill Mortgage, a lender providing conventional, FHA, VA and USDA residential mortgages across 46 states, announced today that the company saw record success in 2019.


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With the Federal Reserve lowering rates three times in 2019, the mortgage industry was presented an opportunity for growth. Seizing the lower rate environment, Churchill Mortgage experienced a 40 percent increase in production in 2019. To maintain its high standards for service during this period of growth, Churchill Mortgage expanded operations by opening 15 new branches and hiring 150 new employees across the United States.


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In 2019, Churchill Mortgage and American Home Title founded Churchill Title Solutions, a title company intended to streamline the origination process and create a secure mortgage experience for borrowers, real estate agents and lenders. Additionally, Churchill Mortgage launched its “Rate Secured” program to lock eligible borrowers into an interest rate for 90-days after engaging with the lender, whether or not they have a home or property already selected. This program provides peace of mind to borrowers as they engage in the home buying process.


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Furthermore, Churchill Mortgage was recognized by The Tennessean as a “Top Workplace” for the seventh consecutive time. Mike Hardwick, President and Chief Executive Officer of Churchill Mortgage, was honored by Lipscomb University as the recipient of the 2019 “Leader with a Purpose” award. The award underscored Hardwick’s integrity in his contributions to the mortgage industry. Chief Compliance Officer, Liliana Nigrelli, was also named a finalist for The Five Star Institute’s Keystone Women in Housing Leadership Awards for “Diversity and Inclusion.” This award celebrated Nigrelli’s contributions and efforts towards diversifying the national lender. Beyond supporting its employees, the company’s values guide its efforts to support customers’ path toward debt-free homeownership.


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“2019 was an incredible year for Churchill Mortgage. We are excited to enter the new decade with continued strength and purpose,” said Matt Clarke, Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Churchill Mortgage.

“Year over year, Churchill consistently guides and supports its borrowers on their path toward achieving the Real American Dream of debt-free homeownership. We are looking forward to the future of Churchill Mortgage in 2020 and beyond.”

Mortgage Delinquencies Decrease In Q4 Of 2019

The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-fourunit residential properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 3.77 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) National Delinquency Survey. 


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The delinquency rate was down 20 basis points from the third quarter of 2019 and 29 basis points from one year ago. The percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions were started in the fourth quarter remained unchanged at 0.21 percent. 


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“The mortgage delinquency rate in the final three months of 2019 fell to its lowest level since the current survey series began in 1979,” said Marina Walsh, MBA’s Vice President of Industry Analysis. “Mortgage delinquencies track closely to the U.S. unemployment rate, and with unemployment at historic lows, it’s no surprise to see so many households paying their mortgage on time.” 


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Added Walsh, “Signs of healthy conditions were seen in other parts of the survey. The foreclosure inventory rate – the percentage of loans in the foreclosure process – was at its lowest level since 1985. Furthermore, states with lengthier judicial processes continued to chip away at their foreclosure inventories, and it also appears that with home-price appreciation and equity accumulation, distressed borrowers have had alternative options to foreclosure.” 


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

  • Compared to last quarter, the seasonally adjusted mortgage delinquency rate decreased for all loans outstanding. By stage, the 30-day delinquency rate decreased 3 basis points to 2.17 percent, the 60-day delinquency rate decreased 5 basis points to 0.70 percent, and the 90-day delinquency bucket decreased 12 basis points to 0.90 percent. 

  • By loan type, the total delinquency rate for conventional loans decreased 18 basis points to 2.82 percent over the previous quarter. The FHA delinquency rate increased 16 basis points to 8.38 percent, and the VA delinquency rate decreased by 29 basis points to 3.64 percent over the previous quarter. 

  • On a year-over-year basis, total mortgage delinquencies decreased for all loans outstanding. The delinquency rate decreased by 37 basis points for conventional loans, decreased 27 basis points for FHA loans and decreased 7 basis points for VA loans from the previous year.

  • 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 fourth quarter was 0.78 percent, down 6 basis points from the third quarter of 2019 and 17 basis points lower than one year ago. This was the lowest foreclosure inventory rate since the third quarter of 1985.

  • The seriously delinquent rate, the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure, was 1.76 percent – a decrease of 5 basis points from last quarter – and a decrease of 30 basis points from last year. This is the lowest rate since the third quarter of 2000. The seriously delinquent rate decreased 9 basis points for conventional loans, increased 8 basis points for FHA loans, and increased 5 basis points for VA loans from the previous quarter. Compared to a year ago, the seriously delinquent rate decreased 34 basis points for conventional loans, decreased 29 basis points for FHA loans and decreased 4 basis points for VA loans.

  • The states with the largest decreases in their foreclosure inventory rate over the previous quarter include: New York (27 bps); Maine (27 bps); Hawaii (17 bps); New Jersey (15 bps); New Mexico (14 bps); and Vermont (14 bps). All of these states except Hawaii have judicial foreclosure processes; Hawaii has both judicial and non-judicial processes.

Nationally Chartered Commercial Bank Will Leverage Loan Servicing Technology

Seaside National Bank has chosen technology from BSI Financial Services to enhance its loan servicing delivery. Seaside will use BSI Financial Services’ loan servicing platform powered by BSI ASSET360TM, an advanced analytics and reporting technology that provides daily quality assurance reporting on 100 percent of the loans in Seaside’s portfolio.


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Seaside is a nationally chartered commercial bank headquartered in Orlando, Florida with offices throughout Florida. The company provides a complete array of private banking and commercial products and services as well as wealth management and insurance solutions.


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“We’re thrilled to be providing Seaside’s customers reliable and responsive service enabled by our Asset360 loan servicing technology while also giving the bank daily, real-time visibility into loan status and performance,” said Allen Price, BSI Financial’s senior vice president for sales and business development. “We look forward to a long and successful relationship.”


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BSI ASSET360 reviews each loan using more than 600 business rules developed in collaboration with clients, investors and regulators. Loan exceptions are immediately reported to servicing teams for research and remediation. According to company officials, the technology has demonstrated cost savings and loan quality assurance improvements that have yielded significant reductions in error rates in loan boarding and in borrower and regulatory complaints.


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“We needed a boutique sub-servicer that has a great reputation and is willing to grow with us,” said David Robinson, Seaside’s chief credit officer. “We found that in BSI Financial and its advanced reporting technology, which provides us with complete life-of-loan management as well as the ability to lower costs and stay compliant.”

Commercial/Multifamily Borrowing Climbed To A New High To Close Out 2019

A 7 percent increase in commercial and multifamily mortgage originations in the fourth quarter of 2019 capped off what was a strong 2019 for the market, according to preliminary estimates from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Quarterly Survey of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations, released here today at the 2020 Commercial Real Estate Finance/Multifamily Housing Convention & Expo.


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“Commercial and multifamily borrowing and lending hit a new high during the fourth quarter of 2019, surpassing the previous record from the second quarter of 2007,” said Jamie Woodwell, MBA’s Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research. “A pullback in lending by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac suppressed multifamily borrowing during the quarter, but growth for most other property types made up the difference. Initial indications are that 2019 set new records, with double-digit growth in mortgage bankers originations, as well as new highs in originations for banks and life insurance companies.”


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Added Woodwell, “Low interest rates and solid property fundamentals should help 2020 continue the trend of record borrowing and lending.”

Originations climb 7 Percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 

A rise in originations for industrial, office and health care properties led the overall increase in commercial/multifamily lending volumes when compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. There was a 67 percent year-over-year increase in the dollar volume of loans for industrial properties, a 33 percent increase for health care properties, a 29 percent increase for office properties, and a 13 percent increase for retail properties. Multifamily property loan originations decreased 4 percent, and hotel property lending fell 25 percent. 


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Among investor types, the dollar volume of loans originated for Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) increased year-over-year by 81 percent, 13 percent for commercial bank portfolio loans, and 9 percent for life insurance companies. The dollar volume of Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) loans decreased 30 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2018.

Fourth quarter originations up 15 percent from third quarter of 2019 

On a quarterly basis, fourth quarter originations for industrial properties increased 58 percent compared to the third quarter of 2019. There was a 46 percent increase in originations for hotel properties, a 29 percent increase for retail properties, a 22 percent increase for office properties, and a 7 percent increase for multifamily properties. Originations for health care properties were unchanged from the third quarter.


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Among investor types, between the third and fourth quarter of 2019, the dollar volume of loans for CMBS increased 56 percent, loans for life insurance companies increased 33 percent, originations for commercial bank portfolios increased 14 percent, while loans for the GSEs decreased by 17 percent.

2019 preliminary measure of originations indicate a 13 percent increase from 2018

A preliminary measure of commercial and multifamily mortgage originations volumes shows activity in 2019 was 13 percent higher than in 2018. By property type, originations for health care properties increased 92 percent from 2018, 50 percent for industrial properties, 23 percent for office properties, and 8 percent for multifamily properties. Retail property originations decreased 6 percent, and hotel properties saw a decline of 19 percent.

Among investor types, 2019 versus 2018, loans for CMBS increased 24 percent, originations for commercial bank portfolios increased 20 percent, and loans for life insurance companies increased five percent. GSE loans decreased 1 percent.