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Plaza Home Mortgage Adds New Disclosure Capabilities

Plaza Home Mortgage, Inc., a national wholesale and correspondent lender, announced that its BREEZE loan origination system now gives wholesale mortgage brokers a new option in generating both required disclosures and the LE at the point of sale.


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Plaza mortgage brokers will now be able to initiate and send disclosures to a borrower along with the LE through the BREEZE system. The disclosures that will be sent to the borrower include Broker state and federal disclosures and Plaza lender state and federal disclosures, as well as a Fannie Mae 1003 Application. For FHA and VA loans, the 92900-A or 26-1802a forms and other required program disclosures will be included. Loan originators will have the option of electronically signing the Fannie Mae 1003 and other forms that require their signatures.


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Once the disclosures and LE are received by the borrowers, they can consent and sign them electronically, and notifications will automatically be sent via email keeping the originator informed at each step. All documents are then automatically stored in BREEZE’s imaging system where originators can access and save for their record.


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As always, mortgage brokers can continue to use their own systems to prepare disclosures and the LE or submit the loan to Plaza which will create and issue the LE to the borrower.

“At the end of the summer, we introduced our new Loan Estimate capability that lets BREEZE users create LEs in five minutes or less. Now we are adding disclosures to complete the digital experience for brokers and their clients,” said Jeff Leinan, executive vice president, National Wholesale Production at Plaza Home Mortgage. “In today’s competitive market, where every loan counts, technology enhancements and skilled Account Executives allow Plaza clients to offer a superior user experience and increase loan pull-through.”

Plaza Home Mortgage has scheduled mortgage broker training webinars on how to use its new disclosure capabilities on November 19 and November 27.

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Equity Rich Properties Represent 25.7% Of U.S. Properties

ATTOM Data Solutions released its Q3 2018 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report, which shows that in the third quarter of 2018, nearly 14.5 million U.S. properties were equity rich — where the combined estimated amount of loans secured by the property was 50 percent or less of the property’s estimated market value — up by more than 433,000 from a year ago to a new high as far back as data is available, Q4 2013.


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The 14.5 million equity rich properties in Q3 2018 represented 25.7 percent of all properties with a mortgage, up from 24.9 percent in the previous quarter but down from 26.4 percent in Q3 2017.


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The report also shows more than 4.9 million U.S. properties were seriously underwater — where the combined estimated balance of loans secured by the property was at least 25 percent higher than the property’s estimated market value, representing 8.8 percent of all U.S. properties with a mortgage. That 8.8 percent share of seriously underwater homes was down from 9.3 percent in the previous quarter but still up from 8.7 percent in Q3 2017.


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“As homeowners stay put longer, they continue to build more equity in their homes despite the recent slowing in rates of home price appreciation,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions. “West coast markets along with New York have the highest share of equity rich homeowners while markets in the Mississippi Valley and Rust Belt continue to have stubbornly high rates of seriously underwater homeowners when it comes to home equity.”

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Honoring Industry Innovation

Recognizing The Best Of The Best!

PROGRESS in Lending Association was formed to give industry thought leaders a voice. The right formula of technology combined with business strategy can come together to solve real industry problems. Now we’re going even further with the Innovations Program. The Innovations Awards Ceremony is always a great event. Read about which companies were named the Top Innovations of 2010, those companies that were just named the Top Innovations of 2011, those that were named the Top Innovations of 2012, those that were named the Top Innovations of 2013, those that were honored as the Top Innovations of 2014, those that were honored as the Top Innovations of 2015, those that were honored as the Top Innovations of 2016 and those that were honored as the Top Innovations of 2017.

As part of the Innovations Program we want to reward industry-changing innovations. For those companies or groups that have come together to do something truly game changing for the mortgage space, we want to recognize all that you do in order to change the industry for the better.

What are we looking for? We want to recognize innovations introduced into the mortgage market between January of 2018 to December of 2018 that truly changed the mortgage market for the better. As part of this competition, we’re not only looking to recognize a new release, although we certainly don’t want to discourage the entry of innovative new releases that hit the market in 2018. We also want to reward companies and groups for doing creative things throughout 2018 that made a positive difference.

Understand that this is not a subjective competition. All applications will be scored on a weighted scale. We will be looking for the innovation’s overall industry significance, the originality of the innovation, the positive change the innovation made possible, the intangible efficiencies gained as a result of the innovation, and the hard cost and time savings that the innovation enables industry participants to achieve. Find out more about our criteria.

How will we judge? This recognition will not be decided by mere industry onlookers, all industry experts that make up the PROGRESS in Lending Association executive team will act as judges and all will be given an equal say in how applications are evaluated. Learn more about our executive team. Applicants will be judged by industry peers who know the space inside and out, just like you do.

Now it’s your chance to get recognized. The winners will be named at a ceremony to be held in Dallas, Texas on Sunday, March 24, 2019. All applications must be submitted here by Friday, January 18th. So, APPLY TODAY!

Your Full Name

Your Company Name

Your Title

Your E-Mail

Describe the innovation that you think deserves recognition. Tell us about it.

Also, tell us how this innovation fulfills our criteria. First, tell us about the innovation's overall industry significance here:

Second, describe the originality of the innovation here:

Third, tell us about the positive change the innovation made possible here:

Fourth, list the intangible efficiencies gained as a result of the innovation here:

Lastly, talk about the hard return on investment made possible by the innovation here:

Lenders Now Have A Single Access Point To Dozens Of Real Estate Lending Products, Solutions

LenderClose has integrated with MeridianLink’s LoansPQ loan origination platform. Enabled as an optional feature for LoansPQ users, the LenderClose platform provides API connections to every vendor it takes to approve, underwrite and close a mortgage or HELOC loan. Through LenderClose, lenders access a suite of reports and services – from flood certification and valuation products to title reports and e-recording services. The result is a streamlined and vastly accelerated underwriting process, an increasingly essential capability for all community lenders. With one vendor, one integration and one invoice, lending teams realize multiple points of efficiency.


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“Today, community lenders are working with more vendors and fintechs than ever before to meet increased consumer demand for speed and personalization,” said Doug Glagola, vice president, Enterprise Solutions, MeridianLink. “That’s why it’s so important for lenders to have access to vendor aggregators like LenderClose. Unless that information is integrated seamlessly with the systems they already use, it’s incredibly difficult to provide the instant, accurate and reliable experiences members expect. LenderClose’s technical expertise and community lending market connections make them an ideal partner for our growing ecosystem of lending solutions.”


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The LenderClose/LoansPQ integration means loan officers and processors will have less data-entry tasks and fewer platforms to manage. Forms and other documentation that comes through the LenderClose platform will be automatically uploaded to LoansPQ, saving staff upload and download time. In addition, loan officers will have access to real-time data and reports across both platforms and a digital archive of forms for quick retrieval from anywhere.


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Andrea Remington, loan processing manager for Collins Community Credit Union in Iowa, anticipates the integration will have a dramatic impact on her team’s efficiency. “The ability to access LenderClose through our MeridianLink interface will free up an incredible amount of time for our staff,” she said. “Just the ability to use data that’s been pre-loaded by the originator will save us so much from both a time and errors stand-point. Every organization, especially in financial services, is looking for ways to keep staff engaged. When we find ways to make their lives easier, we have more time to spend on making the experience for the member easier.”

“One of the most exciting aspects of this integration is that our clients asked for it, and we were able to deliver, thanks in no small part to the big thinkers at MeridianLink,” said Omar Jordan, CEO of LenderClose. “Everyone we’ve worked with at MeridianLink – from the C-suite to the developer team – sees very clearly where the market is headed and what our mutual clients need to be successful.”

“Borrowers today enjoy a great and growing number of options for lending,” continued Jordan. “As competitors shout ‘no paperwork,’ ‘approval in minutes’ and ‘turn-around is less than two weeks,’ consumers hear it, and they expect local lenders to play ball. MeridianLink and LenderClose are helping the nation’s community lenders make the changes they need to do exactly that.”

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Act! CRM Introduces Marketing Automation Built For The Financial Services Industry

Swiftpage, the provider of Act! CRM software has launched the next generation of Act! which marries proven CRM with powerful marketing automation. The new Act! represents a significant step forward, both for Swiftpage and the broader financial services market, and is available in English in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand this week.


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The new Act! is purpose-built for SMBs and includes rich customer management, dynamic sales pipeline management, powerful marketing automation, actionable business insights, and integrations with hundreds of business optimization applications.


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“Just like big enterprises, in order to stay competitive, small businesses are always looking for ways to improve customer engagement, drive retention, and increase loyalty through repeat business,” said H. John Oechsle, president and CEO of Swiftpage. “With the introduction of Act! Marketing Automation to the portfolio, we are now able to provide our customers with the ultimate toolset to drive business growth.”


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What’s New in Act!

Powerful Marketing Automation

Act! subscribers now have access to a single integrated platform combining CRM and marketing automation, allowing them to optimize all the ways they communicate with prospects and customers to maximize engagement and drive business growth. Act! Marketing Automation delivers comprehensive campaign management, a visual workflow designer to map out the perfect customer journey, real-time response metrics, and time-saving CRM workflow to fuse marketing and sales efforts.

Dynamic Sales Pipeline Management

Users can now manage their sales pipelines more effectively and intelligently with dynamic pipeline management tools, including an interactive sales funnel, in context KPIs, an actionable sales pipeline with drag-and-drop capabilities, and advanced filtering.

Subscriber Exclusive Enhancements

Act! delivers a number of additional valuable subscriber-exclusive enhancements driven by customers.

The Act! Growth Suite

For new users, Swiftpage’s SMB-focused Act! Growth Suite, delivers Act! Marketing Automation and Act! CRM, on a single, integrated platform, at a great introductory price. Active Act! CRM subscribers will also benefit from an introductory price when taking advantage of the new, integrated Act! Marketing Automation as a part of their current subscription.

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Mortgage Payoff Statements Becoming Gateways To Fraud

Fraud perpetrators are increasingly initiating wire fraud scams by targeting the industry practice of emailing or faxing payoff requests to title and escrow companies, according to a new white paper from CertifID.  As a result, the company is observing a breathtaking increase in the use of “spoofed” mortgage payoffs and fraudulent payoff statements to pull off wire fraud schemes.


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This disturbing trend is analyzed in Mortgage Payoffs Under Siege, a free, online white paper published by CertifID CEO/Co-Founder Thomas Cronkright, author of multiple reports on the burgeoning wire fraud trend. According to the white paper, over $1 trillion in mortgages are paid off each year; with most done so by wire. Traditional mortgage wire fraud scams usually began with a fraudster deceiving a buyer or key party to the transaction into believing that imposter was a key party to the transaction (such as the seller); then changing already established wiring instructions (with the funds then being diverted to the scammer).  Now, fraudsters are deceiving title companies by issuing counterfeit mortgage payoffs and wire instructions from the start.


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“Fraudsters now understand that it’s not that hard to ‘spoof’ or imitate an authentic payoff statement—and that statement is the ultimate authority for title or escrow companies awaiting official wire instructions,” said Cronkright.  “As a result, the agent’s guard is down and, once the fraudulent payoff statements are received by fax or email, the funds are quickly and mistakenly wired directly to the criminals.”


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Cronkright notes that this new wrinkle directly attacks the conventional best practice which marks any change to wiring instructions as a red flag. “Now, the fraudulent directions are often the first instructions the escrow or title agent even sees.”

The white paper describes five emerging examples of payoff fraud, including how the schemes work and what title and lending professionals can do to identify and prevent them.

The white paper can be downloaded at no cost at https://certifid.com/white-paper-payoff-fraud/.

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Partnership Enhances Digital Mortgage Efficiency

Ellie Mae and SimpleNexus, a provider that is bringing the home mortgage process to mobile devices through their dynamic digital mortgage platform, have announced an official integration partnership.


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The partnership provides SimpleNexus’ 180 clients and 18,000 LO’s fast and secure data transfer between the Ellie Mae’s Encompass Lending Platform and SimpleNexus’ Mobile Originator tools. The direct system-to-system integration with Ellie Mae enables loan officers on the SimpleNexus platform to access to their entire loan pipeline, order credit, run pricing, view appraisals, and send pre-approval letters from their mobile device, all while syncing in real-time with Encompass.


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“We are excited to provide Encompass users with this secure and powerful integration enabling the originator to do their job on-the-go, helping lenders improve relationships with Realtors while getting more loans in the door,” stated Matt Hansen, SimpleNexus Chief Executive Officer.


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The partnership between Ellie Mae and SimpleNexus ultimately helps lenders reduce costs and drive efficiency in operations, improve loan officer productivity and provide convenience and transparency to borrowers and real estate partners during the loan process.

SimpleNexus enables mobile origination, with fifteen of the top 25 retail mortgage lenders in the U.S. using their digital mortgage platform. This latest integration with Ellie Mae delivers the fastest real-time Encompass data transfer speeds available in the industry and further establishes SimpleNexus as a best-in-class digital mortgage solution.

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Yes, The Mortgage Industry Does Care

After the financial crisis many thought that mortgage lenders were evil. Any time I told anyone what I did for a living they would give me a dirty look. But nothing is farther from the truth. For example, an elderly widow is feeling extra thankful this holiday season, thanks in part to friends and employees of Mortgage Network, Inc., a prominent local lender.


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One of the largest independent mortgage bankers in the eastern U.S., Mortgage Network partnered with Rebuilding Together Boston and the Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association to rebuild the home of the local Dorchester, Massachusetts woman. The work included new kitchen cabinets and appliances, new doors, windows, landscaping, plumbing, electrical work and a rebuilt porch, roof and ceiling.


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The woman, named Bernice, is 78 and has limited mobility, had struggled to maintain her home after the death of her husband. She lives on a fixed income and had been victimized by dishonest contractors by paying for home repairs that were never completed.


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“Once we heard Miss Bernice’s story, our entire office jumped at the chance to help to bring her home back to life and put a smile back on her face,” said Brian Koss, executive vice president of Mortgage Network. “Best of all, her house has new health and safety features as well, including new railings and electrical work, so she will be able to enjoy the comfort of her home for years to come.”

It was the third straight year Mortgage Network has partnered with Rebuilding Together Boston and other local lenders to help a Dorchester homeowner with critical home repairs. Rebuilding Together Boston is just one of many community organizations Mortgage Network supports every year. Among many other events, the company sponsors or co-sponsors the Tour de Greenbelt, a bicycle ride to raise funds to protect local farmland, wildlife habitat and scenic landscapes; the HOPE International “Drive Out Poverty” golf tournament in York, Pennsylvania to help fight global poverty; and a “Polar Express” themed holiday event to raise money for local schools in Beverly, Massachusetts.

“As we approach the Thanksgiving season, all of us at Mortgage Network feel particularly honored to be able to help members of our community in need like Miss Bernice,” added Koss.

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

AI-Driven Lead Distribution For Mortgage Lending

ProPair, a mortgage-industry technology start-up based in Silicon Valley, launched an AI-based lead distribution solution that eliminates the uncertainty of the lead assignment process while optimizing results and ensuring fairness in the assignment process. Using artificial intelligence to correlate lead data with information about individual loan officers, ProPair facilitates the lead assignment process to allow lenders to distribute leads to maximize the performance of the entire loan team.


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ProPair is led by former mortgage industry executive, CEO Ethan Ewing and an engineering PhD, CTO Devon Johnson. The company uses AI-driven software to automatically match prospects and loan officers based on dozens of different factors. Capturing and analyzing multiple information sources provides a level of visibility not previously possible, making lenders more efficient and delivering better overall outcomes. ProPair also improves loan officer performance by assigning prospects based on the likelihood of success rather than seniority or guesswork. The result is more closes and a more fair system for all loan officers.


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“I am passionate about helping companies in the mortgage industry maximize the impact of their sales professionals,” explains Ewing. “By providing an AI-driven software solution to lenders massive data assets, we can replace gut instinct and spreadsheets with hard science and increase close rates and ROI in the process.”


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Designed with the everyday needs of lending organizations in mind, and optimized in conjunction with mortgage industry leaders, ProPair’s AI-based platform replaces outdated manual processes with data-driven lead assignments that improve productivity across the board. “ProPair has fundamentally changed how we look at our lead distribution methods,” says Dan Stevens, SVP Mortgage Strategy at NBKC Bank. “In the not too distant future, we will look back at the days before working with ProPair and wonder why we used gut feelings to make so many important decisions around our leads.”

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Increase Monthly Loan Volume Through Advanced Automation

PenFed, one of the nation’s largest credit unions, has selected LoanLogics’ LoanHD platform to accelerate loan quality reviews and loan file deliveries to investors. LoanHD enables real-time, highly automated mortgage quality assurance and control that improves productivity compared to manual internal audits and third-party audit services.


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PenFed, a federal credit union with 1.7 million members and $23.5 billion in assets, chose LoanLogics to help them increase their capacity for growth in their correspondent lending business, according to Ben Sizemore, PenFed’s senior vice president of mortgage transformation. By automating a substantial number of tasks and streamlining loan deliveries, Sizemore expects LoanHD will enable a significant expansion of the credit union’s monthly loan volume as their business grows.


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“PenFed has always been committed to using technology to operate more efficiently, which makes LoanLogics the perfect partner to scale our mortgage business,” Sizemore said. “We anticipate LoanHD will enable us to increase our loan throughput by automating processes and continue to deliver our loan document packages to meet investor and regulatory requirements,” he said. “LoanHD also meets our standards for robust quality controls that enable us to lower operating costs.”


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LoanHD automatically harvests data from loan documents and third-party sources and automates virtually every quality control task, providing a “red light, green light” approach to loan manufacturing and acquisition that reduces the cost of compliance at every stage. It includes a library of customizable business rules and checklist-driven auditing processes that encompass pre-underwriting, pre-funding and post closing reviews, due diligence and loan boarding as well as specialized audits for HMDA, TRID and other regulatory and agency requirements.

Sizemore said LoanLogics’ reputation as a regtech leader in the mortgage industry made the decision to choose LoanHD easy. “The company’s superior technology and expertise allow us to quickly and simply enhance automation for our correspondent and third party channels, increasing our efficiency for the delivery of high quality services for our members.”

“We’re honored to be working with the team at PenFed to grow its mortgage volume,” said LoanLogics CEO, Brian Fitzpatrick. “By verifying and validating loan data prior to loan review, regtech solutions like LoanHD can significantly automate audit tasks and lower costs which deliver huge benefit to credit unions and their members. We look forward to helping PenFed gain greater efficiencies and control loan quality for years to come.”

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.