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.

Market Analysis: A New Default Servicing Compliance Tool Emerges

*A New Default Servicing Compliance Tool Emerges*
**By Tony Garritano**

***Yesterday I talked about a visionary way to deal with foreclosures. Today I want to continue that conversation, only from a technology point of view. There are a lot of new technology solutions coming out to help servicers better handle defaults. For example, PROPGRESS in Lending has learned that Decision Ready, a provider of default servicing compliance solutions, has launched RADAR, a technology for the disposition of defaulted mortgage assets. RADAR provides a holistic toolkit to manage loan sales and transfers, as well as REO disposition. Here’s the scoop:

****The new technology solution complements Decision Ready’s existing default processing platform, DRAW, which facilitates processing compliance, quality control and audits.

****“RADAR’s integrated platform allows the servicer to apply disposition strategies during early stage delinquency well before the REO phase,” notes Claudia Sanchez, chief information officer for Decision Ready. “The disposition strategy no longer needs to be an afterthought, but an ongoing, parallel process as the servicer is handling the delinquent loan through the traditional default cycle,” Sanchez adds.

****RADAR gives servicers a competitive edge by providing more options for asset disposition and centrally managing disposition strategies. The toolkit easily connects with servicers’ existing asset management technology, and fits in with their current processes.

****The RADAR platform integrates four key servicer disposition components:

****>> The RADAR REO Desktop provides a framework to manage all REO disposition channels including auctions, MLS listings, and internet marketing.

****>> The RADAR Loan Sale Desktop supports single and bulk loan sale transactions for both the buyer and seller by streamlining the bidding and due diligence processes.

****>> The RADAR Short Sale Desktop coordinates and manages the short sale process.

****>> The RADAR Closing Desk provides associates a central clearing desk to review and approve offers for REO sales, REO rentals, loan pool sales, and short sales in a consolidated manner.

****“RADAR works well with our established DRAW product,” said Ravi Ramanathan, president and CEO of Decision Ready. “While DRAW focuses on compliance and efficiency in the default servicing process, RADAR leverages information from the default process and delivers tools to build liquidation and marketing strategies. It also provides channel management,” Ramanathan said.

****Servicers’ liquidation and asset disposition strategies will be increasingly important in the coming months, particularly as available funds for servicing-related costs are limited. “How effective a servicer is at managing dispositions will be a key differentiator in the future,” Ramanathan said.

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.

Market Analysis: Let’s Think About Real Solutions To Our Problems

*Let’s Think About Real Solutions To Our Problems*
**By Tony Garritano**

***I have always advocated innovative solutions to real problems. You shouldn’t just invest in technology because of a new feature, for example. You should invest in technology to improve your overall process. As such, when I hear about new ideas that solve real problems I’m going to share them with you. As the mortgage industry and the federal government struggle to find ways to stem foreclosures, Barry Habib, vice president and chief market strategist for Columbus, Ohio-based Residential Finance Corp. (RFC), proposes a plan to prevent foreclosures and strategic defaults. The proposed plan also enables homeowners to quickly rebuild equity in their homes with a monthly housing expense lower than renting. Here’s the scoop:

****Under the proposed Homeowners Equity and Liquidation Pathway (HELP) for Housing plan, homeowners build equity in their homes after just two years without a government bailout while contributing up to $450 billion in economic stimulus to the U.S. economy over five years.

****Key elements of this proposal include:

****>> Eligible for borrowers who are current but trapped in their mortgage by not being able to refinance their mortgage or sell their home.

****>> Existing mortgage would be divided into two parts:  a first mortgage – representing 80 percent of the current value of the home – on a 20-year fixed payment, which takes advantage of the historically low market rates, and a second mortgage on the remaining balance, to be securitized and held on the Federal Reserve balance sheet, much like QE1, QE2 and Operation Twist.

****>> Borrower is not be obligated to make monthly payments on the second mortgage; however, interest accrues and is payable upon the sale of the home.

****>> Significantly lower monthly mortgage payments – resulting in a less expensive alternative to renting a similar home.

****>> Borrower rebuilds equity within two years.

****>> Borrower cannot sell the home for three years after entering the program.

****>> Zero to minimal contribution from the federal government.

****While there are many loan programs and ideas that address the foreclosure problem, this proposal actually addresses borrowers’ current situation and underlying issues contributing to strategic defaults. For instance, with some programs, even if the borrower does refinance, he or she will end up paying more than they would for rent and still not be able to gain equity in their home. By building equity, HELP for Housing allows borrowers to see a light at the end of a tunnel of being upside down or loan trapped. The program shows them how they can create wealth in their home again by giving them “skin in the game” or a reason to continue to pay their mortgage as well as room to rebound financially.

****“This program would enable an average homeowner to save about $590 a month on their mortgage payment, which they would likely spend – creating enormous economic stimulus – save, or use to pay down their mortgage,” Habib said. “The bottom line is that homeowners will have a mortgage payment they can afford and once again build equity in their home while also having significant extra cash per month. This is not a bailout; there is no moral hazard; and the government benefits from significant economic stimulus without having to pay for it.”

****Homeowners would be required to pay back all of the loan(s) upon the sale of their home, which they would not be able to sell for three years, as a condition of the proposed program.

****As for the benefit to government, Habib said in addition to getting the economic stimulus, banks are less likely to need bailouts because they will not be required to write down a portion of the existing loan, as is the case with other plans.

****Habib continued, “The mortgage industry must get creative with the way we approach foreclosures because we know exactly what plans will help homeowners; we also know how the government can participate without bailouts and without costing taxpayers money.”

****Homeowners would have to qualify for the proposed program, which is explained in detail in the new whitepaper, “HELP for Housing.” To enter the program, they would need to have paid their bills on time and incur no late mortgage payments for the last 12 months. Conceivably, the plan could affect 10 million homeowners who would each be able to pour $7,080 annually back into the economy, or $450 billion during the next five years.

****The proposal has been submitted for consideration to the Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Realtors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the House Financial Services Committee, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and several congressmen.

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.

Market Analysis: Valuation Fraud Is On The Rise

*Valuation Fraud Is On The Rise*
**By Tony Garritano**

***Interthinx has released its quarterly Mortgage Fraud Risk Report covering data collected in the fourth quarter of 2011. According to the most recent analysis, certain regions of the New York Tri-State area have moved into the “very high risk” category, due primarily to the increase in property valuation fraud risk. For the purposes of this report, the New York Tri-State area is defined as the New York City metro along with the Connecticut metros of Bridgeport and New Haven and the New Jersey metros of Atlantic City and Ocean City. Here’s what else the report found:

****Across the United States, the Property Valuation Fraud Risk Index increased nearly 8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 over the previous quarter. The rise follows a period of decline and stability in valuation-related fraud.

****Other results uncovered in the most recent Interthinx Mortgage Fraud Risk Report include:

****>> The national Mortgage Fraud Risk Index was up 1.4 percent over the last quarter and 3.6 percent from a year ago to 145 (n=100). Overall, the index has remained at the upper end of the narrow band (140-145) over the last seven quarters.

****>> Although Income/Employment Fraud Risk is only up 1 percent since the third quarter of 2011, the index has jumped nearly 14 percent since a year ago and 46 percent over two years ago, putting lenders at high risk for this type of fraud.

****>> With an index value of 247, Arizona overtook Nevada (with an index value of 242) as the nation’s “Riskiest State.” Nevada had held the top spot since the first quarter of 2010. Florida is the third riskiest state for mortgage fraud and is home to ZIP code 33993, currently the riskiest ZIP code in the nation.

****The full report is available at http://www.interthinx.com/pdf/11_Q4MFRR_020112_FNL.pdf.

****“Valuation fraud continues to be a problem for lenders intent on mitigating overall fraud risk,” said Mark Chapin, chief valuation officer for Interthinx. “Lenders must take great care with their collateral valuation process in this environment, as many areas around the country are still experiencing home value declines. Technology — linked with the honed skills of qualified appraisers — produces the most credible results in our constantly moving marketplace.”

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.

Market Analysis: Stretching Out

*Stretching Out*
**By Tony Garritano**

***The mortgage market is always changing. So, technology vendors have to keep up. How do they do that? They either buy a company that has something their lenders need that they themselves don’t offer or they opt to build that new piece of technology in-house. Either way vendors have to continually do more and offer more. To this end, PROGRESS in Lending has learned that ISGN Corporation now offers a range of information technology services to companies across the entire spectrum of the mortgage industry with the launch of the IT Services Group. Here’s what the new group is all about:

****ISGN’s IT Services Group assists companies in visioning, implementing, operating and outsourcing IT functions, building an IT strategy that effectively supports their business goals. ISGN offers a range of IT solutions from project consultation to application development and maintenance to IT infrastructure management.

****ISGN brings to projects a highly skilled team of IT personnel, including network engineers, application developers, software architects, user interface designers, business analysts and code testers. ISGN offers a global delivery model providing customers with a flexible engagement model and the ability to leverage a 24-hour clock, thereby shortening development cycle times and increasing overall business productivity.

****Among the first to leverage ISGN’s new service was National Bankruptcy Services (NBS), a mortgage and consumer secured bankruptcy outsourcing firm that manages and administers the complicated bankruptcy administrative processes for servicers and lenders. The software application that ISGN jointly developed with NBS IT and business resources enables NBS to keep track of its clients’ bankruptcy payments and remittances for every serviced account.

****“ISGN is developing a superior custom software application and technology support for NBS that will significantly enhance our ability to manage payment application challenges on bankruptcy loans,” said Larry Buckley, chief executive officer of NBS. “By leveraging ISGN’s deep pool of developers and infrastructure experts, NBS has been able to deploy its resources to our core business process outsourcing operations.”

****Bill Garland, vice president of strategic markets at ISGN, said, “ISGN can work through all the IT layers for our customers and provide technology augmentation and expertise. With our spectrum of IT services, we can provide companies with IT staff or act as an IT contractor and manage the work for them. For companies with small IT departments trying to get their arms around a big project, it can be difficult to recruit IT professionals. This is our business. We have the right people on staff and the right technology resources to handle any IT job.”

****Ankush Dham, director of technology solutions at ISGN, added, “This new solutions-based offering helps companies to create effective and impactful technology strategies. What differentiates us in the marketplace is that our laser-focus on the mortgage vertical provides us with top-tier technology-centric domain experts who are nimble enough to adjust to rapidly changing project requirements and committed to customer excellence. We strive to partner with our customers to eliminate unnecessary complexity and provide simpler technology solutions and strategies to drive business productivity and return on investment.”

****ISGN has been consistently ranked by leading industry publications and research firms as one of the top companies for mortgage process outsourcing. ISGN also holds an ISO 9001:2008 quality management certification and SAS 70 Type II accredited data center certification, ensuring that its procedures are current, documented and effectively controlled.

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.

Market Analysis: Simplifying LO Comp

*Simplifying LO Comp*
**By Tony Garritano**

***Yes the new Loan Officer Compensation rules are behind us, but compliance is still hard at times. Technology vendors realize that lenders are struggling. As a result, PROGRESS in Lending has learned that Ellie Maehas released Encompass Commissions, an automated solution to calculate, communicate and reconcile loan officer (LO) commissions for banks, mortgage banks and credit unions using Encompass360® mortgage management software solution. Here’s the scoop on the new tool:

****Encompass Commissions is more accurate and efficient than manual processes and provides significantly greater transparency for LOs. It automates every aspect of the variable compensation workload so that sales people can stay motivated and focused on originating and back office staff can save time with more accurate commission calculations.

****Encompass Commissions enables lenders to deliver a 24/7 Web-based commission pipeline, where sales agents can continuously monitor estimates and time disbursements. Now LOs can log in at any time and see their pipeline of earned commissions and understand how they were calculated. This reduces errors before checks are cut and prevents misunderstandings that can damage sales force morale. Encompass Commissions also supports LO compensation compliance policies, documenting and providing a complete audit trail of all paid commissions.

****The solution is fully integrated with Encompass360 so it captures commission data seamlessly and on a real-time basis. Once commissions have been reviewed, managers can export the information easily into payroll and accounting systems.

****Specifically, it:

****>> Pulls data from the Encompass360 database and other sources, such as accounting ledgers, and automatically calculates the commission.  The process reduces human error and back office expenses;

****>> Sets up adjustments and draws using flexible parameters and automatically applies the net adjustment to the appropriate commission cycle;

****>> Accommodates “splits” and can automatically schedule them;

****>> Automates transmittal and LO approval workflow;

****>> Offers a configurable dashboard to help management understand past, current and future commissions pipeline—providing total transparency;

****>> Provides for error resolution prior to cutting and disbursing checks; and

****>> Can be used to test potential compensation plans against past production data to determine how each LO would be affected by the change.

****Encompass Commissions is patterned on DataTrac Commissions, an established solution that has been available since 2009 and is currently being used by a number of DataTrac’s largest clients.

****Matthew Pineda, chief executive officer at Castle & Cooke Mortgage, LLC, Salt Lake City, UT, and an early DataTrac Commissions user, said: “We pay commissions to our LOs twice a month, and before we installed this software, it took four employees the better part of four days a month to manually do the calculations, reviews and payroll adjustments. Now two employees—one in secondary marketing and one in payroll—pull the data directly from our system of record and allocate, review and pay the commissions in just a few hours.”

****Janet Fell, senior vice president, at William Raveis Mortgage, LLC, Westford, MA, said her company ordered Encompass Commissions in anticipation of complying with new federal regulations for LO compensation. “As a mortgage banker, we need to be ready to comply with the new rules that require us to document our LO compensation plan and demonstrate that we have followed it. So in the event of an audit, we’re ready. Encompass Commissions appears to be a cost-effective, affordable way to leverage technology to bring greater efficiency to the commission payment process and automate compliance.”

****“Compensation is a huge factor in attracting top performing loan officers, and it is also one of the areas that has come under significant scrutiny through new regulations,” said Jonathan Corr, chief operating officer at Ellie Mae. “Encompass Commissions automates payments to loan officers accurately and quickly, reducing back-office costs and giving lenders another recruiting and retention tool. At the same time, it documents compliance with new compensation rules and provides an audit trail.”

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.

Market Analysis: Make Electronic Signing Easy

*Make Electronic Signing Easy*
**By Tony Garritano**

***Who said eSigning has to be difficult? It doesn’t and you can get immediate return on investment both in terms of hard dollars saved, efficiency gained and increased compliance with a host of new rules. Interested? You should be. To this end, PROGRESS in Lending has learned that eSignSystems, a division of Wave Systems Corp., has updated its SmartSAFE, a solution designed to handle lifecycle management of electronically signed, legally-binding documents and records requiring ESIGN and UETA compliance. This new version of SmartSAFE features a redesigned SigningRoom that simplifies the entire eDelivery and eSigning process for all parties. Here’s why you need to be aware of this product:

****This updated offering now includes expanded cross-browser support, which allows users to log into the SigningRoom with all the most popular web browsers. Additionally, the SigningRoom has been optimized for tablets and mobile devices, bringing new convenience to field agents and consumers who need to complete transactions from remote locations.

****“eSignSystems’ SigningRoom provides a centralized, secure environment where parties can login to review and eSign documents from wherever they are at the time they need to conduct their business,” said Kelly Purcell, EVP of eSignSystems. “Powerful new customization options ensure that partners can integrate the SigningRoom directly into their own business processes with a similar user interface. By extending the look and feel of our partners’ existing web infrastructure, eSignSystems ensures a seamless eSigning experience for the end-user.”

****And today customers and integration partners using this product are realizing the benefit. For example, integration partner Compliance Systems Inc., a provider of dynamic document technology to the mortgage space, is praising the new tool. “Given the regulatory environment of today, our customers demand high integrity around the document and data,” said long-time advocate of a more data-driven mortgage process Roger Gudobba, Chief Strategy Officer of Compliance Systems Inc. “That applies to the eSignature piece as well. That’s why eSignSystems is our preferred solution—couple the ease of use of the SigningRoom with the audit trails of the SmartSAFE eVault and it’s a solution that can stand up to the rigorous requirements of electronic transactions.”

****The redesigned SigningRoom, which resides within the SmartSAFE, is more intuitive to use and has improved graphics. This release delivers three options to define the look-and-feel of the SigningRoom branding. Partners can set colors and images to match their existing Web properties, through an easy-to-use configurable Web interface. Secondly, the system supports the easy installation of cascading style sheets (CSSs), which provides graphic designers with complete control over the branding of the SigningRoom. Lastly, new architecture isolates the SigningRoom in a way that lets skilled developers modify and customize the SigningRoom to integrate with their organization’s existing business processes and technology.

****“The SigningRoom is a powerful solution for any organization that requires legal or regulatory proof of document eDelivery, and is even implemented in many cases where documents may not even require a signature,” continued Purcell. “Great focus was put on the expansion of eDelivery based on customer requests and feedback, to meet the growing document lifecycle management issues and regulatory concerns of our partners in the insurance and mortgage industries, as well as the healthcare marketplace.”

****In addition, from the technology perspective the SigningRoom has been refreshed using the latest Web development techniques, ensuring compatibility across a wide array of web-accessible devices. The SmartSAFE now generates expanded alerts around eDelivery actions within the SigningRoom. As an example, through the eDelivery process when a document is reviewed in the SigningRoom, an event is automatically generated and sent to the SigningRoom owner. Another new notification alert tells the SigningRoom owner if a signer opts-out of doing business electronically, allowing for quicker reaction time for paper fulfillment.

****The global economy is increasingly migrating to electronic signing instead of traditional transportation of documents to obtain wet ink signatures. Organizations seek alternatives for document delivery for several reasons: to address stronger regulation of document management; to better protect transmission of personal private information and sensitive data; and to offset postal rate increases and decreased service.  SmartSAFE is not only a cost-saving and more efficient solution to all these needs, but also supports green initiatives. With eSignSystems, document integrity is assured throughout the entire lifecycle of an electronic document, for the strongest confidence that a signed document remains unaltered, legally-binding and easily accessible. So, don’t be afraid of eSigning, embrace it.

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.

Market Analysis: Getting Ready For ULDD

*Getting Ready For ULDD*
**By Tony Garritano**

***The Uniform Loan Delivery Dataset is a major change in the way the mortgage industry not only delivers loans between lenders and investors, but is also a significant development in how loan data is verified, analyzed and evaluated. By having the individual data elements of each loan available in a standardized digital format to compare and study, investors can more easily review files to ensure greater data integrity in each loan. Analysis and reporting are greatly improved, bringing much-needed transparency and quality to the capital markets, leading to greater liquidity and reduced costs for all stakeholders in the process. Initially applying to loan deliveries involving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the ULDD effectively sets the stage to become the new industry standard upon implementation. And PROGRESS in Lending has learned that one LOS is already compliant. Here’s the story:

****Mortgage Builder has already received certification from the GSEs that it is in compliance with the new Uniform Loan Delivery Dataset (ULDD) requirements, well ahead of the April voluntary loan delivery date and the July 23rd mandatory delivery deadline. The agencies pushed back the mandatory date from March to July to allow vendors and lenders more time to prepare for the change, but Mortgage Builder clients can familiarize themselves with the changes immediately.

****By being early with its readiness for the ULDD, Mortgage Builder allows its clients greater preparation time to meet the requirements of the new system and its differences. “There are many new data fields and it will take clients some time to become acclimated,” according to Liz Fafette, Mortgage Builder’s vice president of operations. “We have made every effort to make the transition as seamless as possible for users by giving them an advance view of the changes as far back as November, so that helped,” she explains. “The upload websites for Fannie and Freddie are different, but we have worked hard to make the user experience as consistent as possible with the current Mortgage Builder environment.” She notes that more than 600 data fields were involved in the conversion to ULDD, and the newest version of MISMO-standardized XML (Extensible Markup Language, standardized by the Mortgage Industry Standards and Maintenance Organization) made the effort a significant undertaking.

****“ULDD brings greater standardization to the process for each transaction,” observes Keven Smith, president and CEO of Mortgage Builder. “ULDD brings improvements to the existing methods of electronic delivery that we anticipate will reduce issues around completeness and acceptability,” he says. “There is a checking feature that warns of possible problems or conflicts with Freddie or Fannie, and prompts users to fix them before uploading. This saves the GSE and the lender time, and the overall precision of the ULDD package will help boost transparency,” Smith predicts.

****Mortgage Builder was required to demonstrate that its system’s ULDD met the requirements and quality standards for the GSEs through a series of test cases with each agency. Now, with that process complete and Mortgage Builder duly certified, the company is releasing the new version for client download and implementation. “Our technical support staff is available to assist wherever required,” says Liz Fafette, but she feels that the effort put in by her operations department will make the transition remarkably painless. “With the implementation of ULDD by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the mortgage industry is officially in the digital age,” she says. “We’re glad to help in the effort to bring new levels of data integrity and transparency to the mortgage industry, and Mortgage Builder is ready to go – months ahead of the deadline.”

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.

Market Analysis: Talking Real Solutions

*Talking Real Solutions*
**By Tony Garritano**

***Just in case you’re wondering, I will not be talking about the President’s plan to prevent future foreclosures. In my view it boils down to election year politics. We’ve had a foreclosure crisis for his entire term, yet he just now is looking to resolve the issue with a serious plan. Instead, I will congratulate the President for his efforts and I hope that I will be able to talk here in this column about the positive change that this new push has enabled real soon. Instead, I want to talk about how mortgage professionals are dealing with new rules and regulations now and seeing success. Here’s one example of how resilient the mortgage industry can be when pushed:

****Property Sciences, a national real estate appraisal firm, is getting through UAD and all the rest by using ACI’s Appraisal.com portal to deliver reports to the Uniform Collateral Data Portal (UCDP).

****“Property Sciences’ integration through ACI’s UCDP Appraisal Submission Service via Appraisal.com has allowed our lender clients to seamlessly deliver appraisals to the agencies and easily manage exceptions through our platform,” said Dean Huynh, vice president of Property Sciences. “Compliance and technology continue to be at the forefront of the mortgage industry. Property Sciences’ integration saves our lenders valuable time and establishes a regulatory-compliant delivery solution.”

****New Uniform Appraisal Dataset compliance requirements from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went into effect on December 1, 2011. UCDP requires all appraisals be supplied in MISMO XML format or as a first-generation PDF. Appraisal.com provides a seamless interface between systems to facilitate compliant delivery of appraisal reports, allowing appraisal management companies and lenders to focus on workflow and business needs.

****“Our delivery solution for UCDP is designed to integrate to the sender’s system of record so that submissions can be executed automatically as part of the normal appraisal acceptance workflow,” said George Opelka, senior vice president of ACI. “The connectivity through Appraisal.com enables agents and lenders to ensure that Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) compliance is seamless within their existing appraisal management processes.”

****You see, the mortgage industry can solve its issues, including improving the appraisal process, when pushed, it’s just too bad that the industry has to be pushed before acting. However, as the old saying goes: Better late then never.

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.

Market Analysis: Looking For Quality

*Looking For Quality*
**By Tony Garritano**

***There’s a lot of talk about quality control. But how do you ensure quality? Technology can help. For example, PROGRESS in Lending has learned that mortgage industry professionals now have the ability to quickly verify property improvements through an interface between Byte Software’s loan origination system (LOS) and BuildFax’s national building permit database. Here’s how it works:

****Lenders are employing tighter underwriting standards and more closely scrutinizing collateral value in an effort to comply with industry best practices. The integration to Byte Software allows lenders to access BuildFax’ property intelligence, which delivers the additional layer of documentation needed to enhance loan quality, reduce transactional risk, and approve loans with greater confidence. Byte Software’s LOS offers timesaving automation of these due diligence efforts.

****BuildFax provides insight into pending and completed property improvements and condition not found in tax assessor data. This information can be highly beneficial to lenders as they work to validate loan value. More than 400 lenders already use BuildFax data in their loan approval and quality control processes. The Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) acknowledge permit data as a trusted source for independent, third-party verification of property improvements and condition. In addition, the access Byte Software provides to the BuildFax database enables lenders to easily comply with emerging Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) requirements.

****Joe Herb, General Manager of Byte Software, noted, “The interface will help lenders complete these essential validations quickly, enhancing underwriting and improving their customer’s experience.”

****“Lenders tell us all the time that building permit data helps them validate that a value-changing improvement was done to the subject property – a major benefit in this market environment,” said Holly Tachovsky, President of BuildFax. “Now I can tell those very same lenders, Byte and BuildFax have teamed up to make it easier for lenders to access this data by integrating with BytePro. The interface enables lenders to easily validate the property improvements and conditions on every loan. As a result, lenders can confidently say ‘yes’ to more loans, more often.”

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.

Market Analysis: It’s All About ROI

*It’s All About ROI*
**By Tony Garritano**

***Why do technology vendors and service providers integrate? There’s a variety of reasons, but the biggest one is to provide their customers with more efficiency and cost savings. For example, PROGRESS in Lending has learned that LendingQB and FirstClose Title have a partnership that combines instant ‘cash to close’ quotes with real-time automated underwriting and loan pricing all within a unified loan origination platform. The integration enables mortgage lenders to reduce closing costs for borrowers and simulatenously populate guaranteed GFE data within the LendingQB loan origination system. Here’s the story:

****FirstClose Title is a national provider of title services with a unique business model. They compare rates from a wide range of major underwriters and provide the lowest price to borrowers and lenders in a transparent manner. “We actively seek out best pricing among major underwriters to deliver pure, unaltered comparative rate quotes,” said Cynthia Waterman, president and CEO of FirstClose Title. “This allows us to present quotes which average $500 to $1000 below competing GFE quotes, providing lenders with a ‘cash to close’ advantage that makes their offer more competitive and secures a relationship with a potential borrower more quickly.”

****The integration between LendingQB and FirstClose Title makes it easy for lenders to generate a GFE quote directly within the LendingQB loan origination system. Lenders can quickly retrieve quotes for title insurance, settlement charges, recording charges, and transfer taxes and automatically populate the data to the GFE on their loan file. Lenders can save between 15 and 30 minutes per loan file using the integration. But more importantly, FirstClose Title guarantees the accuracy of the GFE data, which protects lenders from having to cover costs due to poor GFE data entry.

****“As a loan origination system, our goals are to increase a lender’s efficiency and maintain data integrity,” said Binh Dang, LendingQB’s managing partner. “The integration with FirstClose actually goes beyond these goals and has a direct impact on a lender’s ability to drive revenue. It makes lenders more competitive by improving point of sale pricing and increasing consumer selection.”

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.