By Tony Garritano
What’s going on in the mortgage market? What trends should you be aware of? Tony tells you in this daily column.

Guaranteed Rate Partners With DocMagic To Cut Closing Time

News is out that borrowers can now have a 10-minute closing appointment when reviewing and electronically signing documents in advance. DocMagic, Inc., a provider of fully-compliant loan document preparation, regulatory compliance and comprehensive eMortgage services, announced that retail mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate can now cut closing time by electronically signing mortgage closing documents in advance.

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Guaranteed Rate has branded the solution FlashClose, which allows customers to opt-in, review and complete most documents in advance of the notary arriving, saving an hour or more at the closing table – with some averaging a mere 10-minute appointment to provide inked signatures.

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“Guaranteed Rate is always looking for ways to simplify the process using innovative technology to enhance the customer experience,” says Jim Hettinger, executive vice president of operations for Guaranteed Rate. “With the successful launch of FlashClose, powered through our partner DocMagic, this tool adds speed, convenience and accuracy to the closing process.”

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“Guaranteed Rate is a leader in mortgage technology innovation and collaborating with them on this project has created a solid hybrid eClosing approach that saves a lot of time for both borrowers and closing agents,” stated Dominic Iannitti, president and CEO at DocMagic. “The fashion in which Guaranteed Rate is leveraging our technology has resulted in the successful adoption of a sound, compliant, secure hybrid eClosing that is unique to their retail lending business strategy.”

Of note is that DocMagic offers a comprehensive eClosing solution called Total eClose™ that delivers fully paperless closings from start to finish. DocMagic’s proprietary eSign platform is a component of Total eClose and can be accessed and implemented by lenders to help automate the closing process.

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.

An LOS To Satisfy All Lenders

Most loan origination or LOS offerings look to target specific size lenders with different offerings for a top 50 lenders vs. a smaller lender, for example. Wipro Gallagher Solutions (WGS), a Wipro Limited company and provider of loan origination software solutions, has launched its NetOxygen SaaS loan origination solution for mortgage lenders of all shapes and sizes.

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NetOxygen SaaS brings the power of NetOxygen, an enterprise class loan origination system that helps lenders reduce origination costs and boost production efficiency through automation.  NetOxygen connects to a front end portal and fintech offerings thus providing seamless interactions to improve borrower experience. NetOxygen SaaS enables quicker deployment and scalability to match business growth with an all-inclusive, per transaction pricing, which is based on business outcomes.

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NetOxygen SaaS provides comprehensive product coverage across mortgage, home equity, HELOC (home equity line of credit) and unsecured credit lines origination. The platform integrates an extensive vendor ecosystem which provides multiple options for standard services like credit, appraisals, fraud checks, etc. NetOxygen SaaS supports retail, correspondent and wholesale markets, and also enables niche offerings like construction lending for one close, multiple close, homestyle renovation and FHA construction.

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Key features of NetOxygen SaaS include:

>>Sophisticated workflow engine, allowing lenders to implement distinct lending policies and procedures;

>>Automated underwriting for improved efficiency;

>>Comprehensive pool of rich APIs, to enable easy integration with other applications;

>>Advanced feature supporting ADR and OCR capabilities;

>>Self-service tools to enable lenders to perform more tasks, with ease and speed.

“NetOxygen SaaS offers an extensible and scalable platform that caters to lenders’ ever-changing business needs and provides an all-encompassing solution to improve end-to-end loan origination,” said Scott Dunn, Head Product Management, Strategy and Compliance, Wipro Gallagher Solutions. “Among the platform’s many differentiators, what stands out is the ability to quickly configure business rules, products, fees and deliver industry leading functionality  for compliance, imaging, reporting, and documents generation in combination with best-in-class providers.”

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.

MISMO Creates New Data Governance And Management Forum

MISMO, the mortgage industry’s standards organization, is seeking industry participation in a new forum to promote best practices in the areas of data governance and data management. Those interested in collaborating with MISMO are invited to join MISMO’s new Data Governance and Management Community of Practice (CoP), which will be responsible for building a framework and providing resources that enable organizations across the industry to leverage, adopt and implement data governance and management best practices in concert with adoption of MISMO industry standards.

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“For an industry that is so rapidly adopting digital technologies, protecting data and ensuring data accuracy has become paramount,” said Rick Hill, Executive Vice President of MISMO and Vice President of Industry Technology at the Mortgage Bankers Association. “By collaborating to establish an industry resource for data governance and management best practices, MISMO will offer a valuable resource for companies that would otherwise need to create their own methods for managing data. We anticipate the work created by this new group will be of enormous benefit to all industry participants who want to improve data quality and accountability.”

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Data management standards are needed to ensure the integrity, security and availability of mortgage data, especially when working with a variety of cloud-based and on-premise systems. The new MISMO group will identify and adopt existing data governance and management best practices wherever possible. As gaps are identified they will create and implement data governance and management best practices that can be used by mortgage industry participants as well as those in the MISMO community, with the goal of streamlining the adoption of MISMO standards throughout the mortgage industry.

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Specifically, the Data Governance and Management Community of Practice will be tasked with creating a data governance strategy and operating model as well as a data accountability framework and templates for developing data quality rules, metadata and data lineage.

By joining the MISMO Data Governance and Management Community of Practice, participants will gain access to resources and expertise on data governance and management issues that impact their organizations.

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.

Industry Vet Returns To The Mortgage Space

Private equity firm LLR Partners has engaged Cary Burch, a seasoned software executive in the legal, mortgage and financial services industries, as a Senior Operating Advisor. Burch will use his enterprise software and industry expertise, gained from more than 25 years of experience leading companies at all stages from start-ups to global organizations, to help LLR identify and evaluate new investment opportunities. Throughout his career, Burch has conducted 18 transactions to date and brought dynamic, visionary leadership to a range of growth-oriented organizations.

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Burch was most recently the Chief Innovation Officer at Thomson Reuters and held CEO and COO roles at the company’s legal enterprise software company, Thomson Reuters Elite. Prior, Burch was the Chairman and CEO of LSSI, a SaaS regulatory compliance and enterprise accounting software company acquired by Constellation Software (TSE: CSU) in 2010. He previously held C-level operational and technology positions at Fidelity National Information Services, First American Financial Corporation and other financial services companies. Burch is currently a board member at LoanLogics, BrandRep and ExecVision. He previously served on the boards of ProSites, Yourmembership.com and LSSI.

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“I am honored to engage with LLR Partners as a Senior Operating Advisor,” said Cary Burch. “My background in legal, mortgage and financial technology aligns well with some of the core areas where LLR invests. Working together, I believe we have the opportunity to establish some very meaningful partnerships with companies who can benefit long term from our industry and growth expertise.”

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“Cary’s enterprise software and industry expertise is entrenched in long history of driving innovation and leading transactions for companies at all stages of growth,” said David Reuter, Partner at LLR Partners. “We’re excited to have him on board to help LLR evaluate new investment opportunities and help grow our portfolio companies.”

LLR’s Senior Operating Advisors are senior executives with deep operating experience and industry-specific knowledge that can help enhance shareholder value. They are engaged as consultants to assist with various activities including market research, new investment identification, pre-investment business diligence and post-investment value creation for our portfolio companies.

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.

MBA Releases Disaster Recovery Guide

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released a new consumer-facing information brochure, Disaster Recovery: A Resource for Homeowners, available for use by all MBA members, counseling groups, government agencies, and any other group that offers assistance and advice to homeowners in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

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“2017 was the worst year on record for economic losses, both insured and uninsured, arising from natural disasters, led by losses from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. With the 2018 hurricane season fast approaching, we wanted to support disaster preparedness and provide information necessary to help homeowners successfully recover from future disasters,” said David H. Stevens, CMB, President and CEO of MBA. “The guide outlines homeowner disaster preparedness and steps to recovery including who to communicate with about your mortgage, how to navigate the insurance process, and what forms of aid and disaster loans are generally available.”

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The guide features information on how to prepare for a natural disaster before it hits, what steps to take immediately after it hits, how to begin the recovery process, and information on what recovery and rebuilding assistance is available from government agencies.

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In a wide scale appeal for homeowner disaster preparedness education, MBA is encouraging its member companies to offer the guide to their customers ahead of this year’s hurricane season. MBA is also offering the disaster resource guide to the public with targeted outreach to state emergency management agencies and non-profit disaster relief organizations for distribution to borrowers. Organizations are invited to partner with the MBA in the distribution process through co-branding, sponsorship of translations, and reproduction of guides as they see fit.

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 Helps Lenders And Ellie Mae Accelerate Adoption

Brimma Tech, Inc., a software development and technology services company, announced that it has joined the Ellie Mae Pro consulting partner program.

By participating in the program, Brimma Tech will have deeper access to tools, training, marketing opportunities, and other critical resources to grow its business. Brimma Tech will help lenders and Ellie Mae accelerate the delivery, deployment, and adoption of Ellie Mae’s Encompass solution.

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Brimma Tech Inc. looks to help accelerate the digital transformation journey through:

UX and UI – Strategy and Execution

Rapid Prototyping – Bringing the vision to reality quickly

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Highest Quality Delivery – Our developers, not testers, own quality!

Truly Agile – Weekly sprints and client milestone demonstrations

Mortgage Technology Implementation: Upgrades, configuration and customization to meet your business model

Custom Development: Systems integrations, reporting solutions, dashboards and analytics, extensions and solutioning based on the Encompass Lending Platform

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Remote Admin (Onshore and offshore): Configuration management (users, personae, milestones, business rules, triggers, web hooks, custom input forms, workflows, custom documents, and production support)

“Brimma Tech is delighted to partner with Ellie Mae,” said Brimma Tech’s President, Supree Periasamy. “Our participation in the Ellie Mae Pro program gives us access to the tools we need to stay up-to-date on the latest Ellie Mae product development and ensures that our customers receive the highest quality services for their Encompass environment. We look forward to a long, successful relationship with Ellie Mae.”

Brimma has more than two decades of proven track record of building and implementing multiple Mortgage Origination and Management Solutions for many of the Top 10 US mortgage lenders.

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.

Lender Launches Consumer-Facing Website Touting Benefits Of Working With Mortgage Brokers

United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) has launched a consumer-facing website, FindAMortgageBroker.com, dedicated solely to promoting the advantages of working with a mortgage broker for borrowers as well as real estate professionals, and helping both groups easily locate mortgage brokers in their area.

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UWM created the website to enhance awareness of mortgage brokers as a better option than large banks and mega retail lenders for three groups: consumers looking to get a residential loan; real estate professionals who want to build reliable partnerships and empower their clients; and bank or retail loan originators who are looking for the best place to work.

“Consumers are constantly inundated with advertising from banks and mega retail lenders that is only focused on interest rates, but there is more to a mortgage than the rate. More focus should be on finding the best program and lowest overall monthly payment for their specific needs, and the interest rate is only a small part of that,” said Mat Ishbia, President and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage. “A local mortgage broker will educate consumers on the full picture, clearly lay out all the options available from multiple lenders, and help them find the best possible deal. FindAMortgageBroker.com gives consumers nationwide a platform to easily locate nearby mortgage brokers and learn about why they’re the best choice for getting a mortgage.”

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In addition to serving as an educational guide of written and video content explaining the value of mortgage brokers, the website provides a nationwide database of mortgage brokers filtered by location.

“Mortgage brokers are the best way for people to get a mortgage, but it’s difficult for people to use a broker if they don’t know where to find one. This website will make it easy to find a mortgage broker that is local to them,” Ishbia said.

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Investing in this website to ensure that borrowers are educated on why mortgage brokers are best further supports UWM’s commitment to growing the independent mortgage broker channel.

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.

Home Equity Growth Slows

Data shows that at the end of the first quarter of 2018, more than 5.2 million (5,206,446) 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), down by more than 291,000 properties from a year ago — the smallest year-over-year drop since ATTOM Data Solutions began tracking in Q1 2013.

The 5.2 million seriously underwater properties at the end of Q1 2018 represented 9.5 percent of all U.S. properties with a mortgage, up from 9.3 percent in the previous quarter but down from 9.7 percent in Q1 2017.

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“We’ve reached a tipping point in this housing boom where enough homeowners have regained both sufficient equity and sufficient confidence to tap into their home equity — resulting in a noticeably slower decline in seriously underwater properties and slower growth in equity rich properties,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “This tapping of equity could take the form of a cash-out refinance, home equity loan or simply a home sale. We saw the biggest quarterly drop in average homeownership tenure for homeowners who sold in the first quarter since Q4 2008, evidence that more homeowners are reaching that equity-tapping tipping point more quickly and deciding to sell.”

More than 19.5 million (19,513,871) U.S. properties had between 20 and 50 percent equity (LTV of between 80 and 50 percent) at the end of Q1 2018, down by 1,714,099 from a year ago, an 8 percent decrease.

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Homes with 20 to 50 percent equity represented 36.1 percent of all properties with a mortgage as of the end of Q1 2018, down from 36.3 percent in the previous quarter and down from 37.6 percent in Q1 2017.

Equity rich properties represent one in four properties with a mortgage

More than 13.8 million (13,841,082) U.S. properties with a mortgage were equity rich at the end of Q1 2018, up by more than 122,000 from a year ago but still down from a peak of more than 14 million equity rich properties in Q2 2017.

The 13.8 million equity rich properties represented 25.3 percent of all U.S. properties with a mortgage, down from 25.4 percent in the previous quarter but still up from 24.3 percent in Q1 2017.

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Highest share of equity rich properties in coastal California, Honolulu, Seattle

States with the highest share of equity rich homes were Hawaii (41.6 percent); California (41.5 percent); New York (34.8 percent); Washington (33.1 percent); and Oregon (31.8 percent).

Among 98 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 500,000, those with the highest share of equity rich homes were San Jose, California (66.1 percent); San Francisco, California (56.0 percent); Los Angeles, California (45.4 percent); Honolulu, Hawaii (43.1 percent); and Seattle, Washington (39.1 percent).

Highest share of seriously underwater properties in Scranton, Baton Rouge, Youngstown

States with the highest share of seriously underwater homes at the end of Q1 2018 were Louisiana (20.1 percent); Mississippi (18.0 percent); Iowa (17.2 percent); West Virginia (15.9 percent); and Illinois (15.9 percent).

Among 98 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 500,000, those with the highest share of seriously underwater homes at the end of Q1 2018 were Scranton, Pennsylvania (21.9 percent); Baton Rouge, Louisiana (19.9 percent); Youngstown, Ohio (19.5 percent); New Orleans, Louisiana (18.5 percent); and Toledo, Ohio (18.0 percent).

Along with New Orleans, among 51 metro areas with at least 1 million people, those with more than 13 percent of seriously underwater properties were Cleveland, Ohio (16.5 percent); Milwaukee, Wisconsin (16.0 percent); St. Louis, Missouri (14.7 percent); Chicago, Illinois (13.8 percent); Detroit, Michigan (13.6 percent); Virginia Beach, Virginia (13.4 percent); and Kansas City, Missouri (13.4 percent).

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.

Not All Banking Interactions Of The Future Will Be Handled By Bots

With Mastercard Inc. set to release its first-quarter financial results, and Finovate Spring 2018 approaching next week, fintech continues to lead the disruption charge in banking. US banks remain under pressure to stay ahead of what’s in store during the next wave of innovation, which is being led by AI advancements in the industry.

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Gartner’s research shows the global banking industry will spend $519 billion on IT in 2018, up 4.1 percent year over year from $499 billion in 2017. Features like chatbots are changing banks’ relationships with customers, and digital players are increasingly integrating social media to interact with clients.

But despite the increase in technology adoption in the sector, the need for human contact persists, with voice recognition and chatbot technology still in its infancy.

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Traditional banks must heavily invest in upgrading contact center environments to accommodate anticipated customer needs, in conjunction with embracing advanced technology platforms.

Banks can reap the benefits of AI and automation to improve interactions between staff and customers, says Intelenet Global Services, whose tech innovations for banks have seen them win recognition in the 2017 IDC Fintech Rankings.

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Tony Antenucci, VP of Banking, Financial Services and Insurance for Intelenet Global Services, comments: “The way customers interact with their bank in the U.S. is changing, as branches close down and more people switch to online banking, communicating through contact centers via phone or online if they need more help.

“Keeping up with new technology is vital to keep the processes behind these operations running smoothly and maintaining a relationship between banks and their customers. AI tools can help personalize banking for the customer, and automated processes free up staff to focus more on customer service and complex question resolution.

Tony continues: “For example, voice-recognition programs can automatically recognize an individual by their voice, predicting the subject of a call before the customer has to explain it. Each customer can be automatically sent to the right department, or the person they spoke to before, without having to be passed between contact staff.

“This dramatically improves the experience for the consumer. One leading bank was able to reduce the average handling time for customer calls by 40 percent.

“Banks will need to keep up this lead in innovative technology, to fend off growing competition for customers from Fintech challengers.”

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.

Critical Loan Defect Rate Drops For First Time In 2017

ACES Risk Management (ARMCO), a provider of enterprise financial risk mitigation software solutions, has released the ARMCO Mortgage QC Trends Report. The latest report is for the third quarter of 2017, which relays loan quality findings for mortgages reviewed by ACES Audit Technology between July 1, 2017 and September 30, 2017.

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The report’s noteworthy findings include:

>>The Q3 2017 critical defect rate declined 6 percent from the previous quarter, revealing the first decrease in this rate for 2017

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>>The percentage of purchase transactions declined in Q3 2017

>>Purchase transactions and FHA loans accounted for a disproportionately higher number of critical defects in Q3 2017

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“As the percentage of refis increased in the third quarter of 2017, we saw a drop in critical defect rates. That said, purchases still comprise the majority of mortgages originated, so critical defect activity still aligns with what you’d see in a purchase-driven market,” said Phil McCall, president of ARMCO. “Lenders need to be mindful of the risks inherent with purchase transactions and take precautions, regardless of fluctuations in purchase/refi market share.”
 
The ARMCO Mortgage QC Industry Trends Report is based on nationwide post-closing quality control loan data from just under 100,000 loans selected for random full-file reviews, as was captured by the company’s ACES Analytics benchmarking software. Defects listed in the report are categorized using the Fannie Mae loan defect taxonomy.
 
Each ARMCO Mortgage QC Industry Trends report includes easy-to-read charts and graphs, a summary that outlines ARMCO’s overall findings, a breakdown of defect rates for each Fannie Mae loan defect category, and a short conclusion. The current and previous reports also contain an analysis of the top credit-related critical defects, which is now a regular feature of the report. ARMCO issues a one-year analysis for the calendar year with each fourth quarter Mortgage QC Industry Trends Report.

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.