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.

Co-Issue Trading Solution Emerges

Blue Water Financial Technologies has developed an electronic co-issue pricing and trading platform, MSR-X. Blue Water is introducing  the first of its kind, cross investor and fully integrated web-based technology solution for co-issuing purposes that allows lenders and investors to view portfolios and transactional data in real time.


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A Technology Driven Financial Innovation

“This technology is long overdue in the industry. MSR-X is a game changer – it’s a true one-stop shop for liquidity,” said Al Qureshi, Senior Managing Partner at Blue Water. “Our founding principles seek to integrate technology and price transparency to drive better outcomes for our clients and MSR-X is a testament to that. This platform will drastically change how MSRs are transacted in the secondary market. Originator demand has been strong and we’re confident this innovation will solidify its foothold in the marketplace.”


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Addressing Cost Pressures for Originators while Creating Liquidity

The platform brings greater efficiencies to the co-issue process and lowers costs for both investors and originators by reducing any manual input of pricing and increasing the immediacy of information. Buyers and sellers can access MSR-X via the web and view information in real-time. MSR-X uses a single platform across investor types to mitigate timing risk, providing a real-time way to adjust pricing for changes in rates. Further, cost-minded originators can use the platform to reduce margin exposure, lower costs and streamline their secondary market operations.


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Upending the Traditional Broker Model

With the introduction of MSR-X, Blue Water also switches the paradigm in terms of the way business was previously conducted. Originators don’t pay to participate, rather, the investors do. In return, the investors obtain transactional data, they have better yield certainty through the purchase process and much of the administrative paperwork has been simplified. Investors can dynamically manage their appetite for MSR and even upload a daily grid based off of the types of MSR they would like to purchase. Originators are able to access buyer-side liquidity with no cost. “I see offering liquidity and price transparency in a free venue for originators as something your typical originator just can’t afford to overlook – especially in this rate cycle,” said Jason Sweeney, Director of Business Development at Blue Water.

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.

Direct Integration Simplifies The Antiquated Complexities Of Updating Post-Trade Details

Resitrader, an Optimal Blue company and the leading online digital exchange for whole loan trading in the secondary mortgage market, integrated its fully automated trading platform with LendingQB. The streamlined interface enables participants to quickly and efficiently update loan-level trade information from the Resitrader platform into LendingQB immediately following completion of a trade. Resitrader creates a trade ticket for every trade between sellers and buyers, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. LendingQB users can import price, commitment, and investor loan numbers across multiple trades with a single click.


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The integration includes data elements as specified by the originator, and the seamless integration also allows the user to generate and leverage custom fields applicable to their unique business processes and need. With one click, data is securely transported in real time and accepted by the LendingQB platform.


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“The ‘one-click’ feature is highly regarded by our clients,” said Linn Cook, Director of Sales and Marketing with LendingQB. “The ability to easily move data from trading to their LOS has saved an incredible amount of time and streamlined the archaic process of manual, duplicate entry.”


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The integration between LendingQB and Optimal Blue’s loan trading platform is considered an exciting first step of many new digital integrations between the firms and their respective platforms. With this initiative complete, the firms have now turned their attention toward fully integrating LendingQB with Optimal Blue’s hedge advisory and product eligibility and pricing engine.

“Our partnership with LendingQB further demonstrates our commitment to an open platform across the industry,” explained John Ardy, Vice President of Resitrader by Optimal Blue. “We look forward to expanding integrations with LOS and hedge-advisory firms to cover the full spectrum of the mortgage loan process; and we believe the relationship with LendingQB is one of many that will support the initiative for Optimal Blue and our network of strategic alliance partners to provide the highest level of satisfaction to our customers.”

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.

Bogota Savings Bank Uses Tech To Enhance The Customer Experience And Gain Efficiency

We here at PROGRESS in Lending champion technology advancement. We like to report on success stories. As such, Bogota Savings Bank, a $650-million New Jersey-based bank, will move to Fiserv to streamline operations and better serve customers. In reaching its decision, Bogota Savings was especially drawn to the integration between Fiserv core account processing technology and key capabilities such as digital banking and payments, which will facilitate a streamlined user experience for both customers and employees.


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“By integrating online banking, online account opening and other solutions with the core platform, Fiserv enables us to gain faster and better access to the information we need to deliver a superior customer experience and eliminate two-thirds of our existing third-party services,” says Kevin Pace, executive vice president, Bogota Savings Bank. “Having information available in one place and updated in real time helps our back office, marketing and frontline staff be more efficient as well.”


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Bogota Savings Bank is looking forward to replacing inefficient manual processes and time-consuming batch operations with the customizable, real-time processing available in the DNA account processing platform from Fiserv. These new capabilities will enable the bank to stay in step with consumers who are looking to manage their finances as quickly and easily as possible.


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“DNA offers a tremendous amount of flexibility and control over how we want to operate by providing access to all of its data fields,” Pace added. “No matter what we need to do, it seems there’s a way to do it – usually in minutes or hours rather than days or weeks.”

In addition to core account processing, Bogota Savings Bank will leverage a range of solutions from Fiserv for digital banking, debit processing, payments, source capture, item processing, online account opening, and more.

DNA is an open, real-time account processing platform built for collaboration. A modern platform developed using contemporary, standards-based components, DNA provides a 360-degree view of customer relationships and facilitates streamlined processes within the financial institution.

“Understanding where technology and consumer expectations intersect is essential to delivering innovative, intelligent capabilities that meet real needs,” said Todd Horvath, president, Bank Solutions, Fiserv. “By upgrading to contemporary technology Bogota Savings Bank is positioning themselves to deliver on their customers’ high expectations.”

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.

Planet Home Lending Launches New Digital Mortgage Assistant

To support the continued growth of its retail channel and provide an exceptional home loan experience to customers, Planet Home Lending, LLC, has launched a new digital mortgage assistant, Skymore by Planet Home Lending. Planet’s digital mortgage assistant leverages artificial intelligence to make home loans easy, convenient and fast.


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“Consumers want smart technology, and they want access to smart home loan professionals,” said Planet Financial Group CEO and President Michael Dubeck. “Skymore by Planet Home Lending makes applying for a loan much easier and is enhanced by our mortgage loan originators. They have an equally important role as experienced advisors who can explain home loan options clearly and help customers make advantageous choices.”

Skymore by Planet Home Lending features:

>>Mobile Friendly – Customers apply and upload documents securely from any device, including their phones


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>>Co-pilot Navigation Assistance – Borrowers can share their screen with Planet mortgage loan originators or processors to get help when they need it

>>Easy Asset Statement Collection – Securely connects to thousands of financial institutions making it easy to provide documentation

>>Smart Technology – Only asks customers questions relevant to their individual situation and loan application

>>Transparent Process – Tracks current loan status 24/7, automatically showing next steps for the consumer


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>>Eco-friendly – Electronically delivers disclosures and loan documents and allows digital signatures

“We believe in making the home loan experience personal and transparent, and employing best-in-class technology to improve the home loan journey for our customers,” said Planet Executive Vice President of National Sales, Michael Lee, said. “Skymore by Planet Home Lending speeds borrowers through the process, freeing our mortgage loan originators to focus on giving advice and counsel. We’ll get you home is more than just our motto; it’s what we do.”

Founded in 2007, Planet Home Lending is a privately held, national residential mortgage lender with multiple business channels uniquely positioned to provide competitive products and services. The company is an approved originator and servicer for FHA, VA, and USDA as well as a Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Seller/Servicer, a full Ginnie Mae Issuer and approved sub-servicer, and a Standard & Poor’s-and Fitch-rated special and prime residential servicer.

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.

Tech Revolution Will Change Appraisals

Computershare Loan Services has released new data that suggest U.S. appraisers believe their industry is on the brink of significant change.

The top-rated provider of end-to-end mortgage operations recently asked its network of appraisers to share their experiences and views on a range of subjects, with the 400+ answers providing a snapshot of current industry thinking.


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Although 35% of respondents said that they currently use desktop technology for at least a quarter of appraisals, twice as many (70%) said that they expected to deploy such methods for at least the same amount of their work over the next two to three years.

In addition, although only 12% said that desktop appraisals, which exclude a property visit by the appraiser that completes the opinion of value, represent at least half of their work now, 37% said they expect to undertake more than half of their role using desktop technology by 2020 or 2021.

The survey’s results form part of Computershare Loan Services’ white paper, Property Appraisals in 2020 – Embracing New Technology to Reinvigorate the Industry, which was released today.


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Nick Oldfield, CEO at Computershare Loan Services, said: “Like many professions, property appraising currently faces some interesting challenges as well as the emergence of significant technological changes.

“However, our white paper shows that, by embracing new methods, whether desktop appraisals, cloud computing or the use of drones, the industry can dramatically increase its efficiency and overcome other issues, such as declining numbers and a shortage of new appraisers entering the industry.

“Interestingly, despite inevitable reservations about the nature of these changes, respondents to our survey seem to appreciate some of the benefits that new tech can bring.

“We’re looking forward to continuing to engage with our appraiser network and beyond on how the industry can best use new ideas and methods to improve standards – and the professional lives of appraisers themselves.”


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The survey also revealed an appreciation of the need for greater education to prepare appraisers for change, with more than 60% of respondents saying that they support continuing education programs for desktop appraisals.

Although respondents expressed concerns about the effect that technological change may bring their profession, there was also pragmatism about the benefits, with more than 93% of respondents saying that they would like to see the appraisal software tools that are used for agency loans (Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae) made available to all appraisers.

Desktop appraisals can enable a smaller group of appraisers to conduct more jobs between them: particularly relevant when some sources estimate that the number of appraisers in the U.S. decreased by 21% between 2008 and 2017, and when nearly two-thirds of appraisers are over 50.

65% of respondents to Computershare Loan Services’ survey were over 50, and none were under 30.

Respondents rated higher fees as the most important change needed by the industry to attract “a new generation” of appraisers, rating “easier entry into the profession” second.

More than eight out of ten respondents said that their work was more efficient as a result of their use of digital cameras (92%), electronic databases (90%), computer forms (85%) and email (81%).

71% said that digital access to data, flood maps, public records and aerial or satellite imagery had been the technological development that had most helped improve their work, with 21% citing appraisal software enhancements, form filing and autocalcuation and 5% regression analysis, analytics, charts and graphs.

69% said that valuation and data analysis were more important components to appraisals than inspections.

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.

Integration To Perform All Automated Reviews

QuestSoft, a provider of automated mortgage compliance software, now offers its end-to-end mortgage compliance platform to lenders using LendingQB’s cloud-based loan origination software (LOS). The integration helps lenders to automate mortgage compliance reviews by testing loans for HMDA, High Cost, All Federal/State/Local consumer regulations, as well as fraud and risk services prior to a loan’s closing.

With QuestSoft’s Compliance EAGLE’s proactive loan compliance tools and capabilities, lenders using LendingQB can save time and avoid costly penalties by testing every loan for full adherence to national, state and investor rules and regulations both pre- and post-closing. LendingQB has added all of Compliance EAGLE’s services in an “a la carte” menu, providing lenders a full array of compliance checks. Now, LendingQB clients can select from more than a dozen different services to order only the ones they need.


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“Partnering with QuestSoft provides our lenders the highest quality loan reviews in an intuitive, flexible interface that takes the complexity out of compliance,” said David Colwell, president of LendingQB. “Working seamlessly within our web-based LOS, lenders can conduct Mavent reviews, conduct instant HMDA reviews, evaluate loans for fraud and risk while also testing for RESPA fee tolerances, verifying borrower information and ensuring compliance for settlement services.”


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Compliance EAGLE automates the entire mortgage lending compliance process through a single platform, delivering increased speed, data integrity, and reporting capabilities. Additionally, as new regulatory guidelines are introduced to the mortgage industry, Compliance EAGLE automatically applies updates to maintain optimal compliance procedures.

LendingQB’s web browser platform provides mortgage lenders with core LOS capabilities using modern web-optimized technology, enabling robust integrations to other web platforms such as QuestSoft.


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“The mortgage industry’s constantly evolving regulatory environment makes automated compliance essential for reducing risk and ensuring a high-quality loan portfolio,” said Leonard Ryan, president of QuestSoft. “Our strong relationship with LendingQB has been very beneficial to their customers and LendingQB’s expanded integration with Compliance EAGLE provides lenders a trusted tool for ensuring full compliance with the latest regulatory updates, applicable laws and secondary market guidelines.”

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.

Experian, FICO And Finicity Launch New UltraFICO Credit Score

Experian, FICO and Finicity have launched a new credit score. The new score, called UltraFICO Score, leverages account aggregation technology and distribution capability from Experian and Finicity to help consumers improve access to credit by tapping into consumer-contributed data, such as checking, savings and money market account data, that reflects responsible financial management activity.


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With UltraFICO Score, a consumer grants permission to contribute information from banking statements, including the length of time accounts have been open, frequency of activity, and evidence of saving, which can be electronically read by Finicity and combined with consumer credit information from Experian to provide an enhanced view of positive financial behavior.

Experian, FICO and Finicity estimate this new score has the potential to improve credit access for the majority of Americans and is particularly relevant for those who fall in the grey area in terms of credit scores (scores in the upper 500s to lower 600s) or fall just below a lender’s score cut-off.  Consumers who are relatively new to credit with limited history or those with previous financial distress that are getting back on their feet stand to benefit the most.


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“This changes the whole dynamic of the lender and customer relationship,” said Jim Wehmann, executive vice president, Scores, at FICO.  “It empowers consumers to have greater control over the information that is being used in making credit risk decisions.  It also enables a deeper dialogue between the consumer and lenders to help both parties make better financial decisions.  It’s a game changer.”

The UltraFICO Score will launch as a pilot program in early 2019. The pilot is designed to validate the score and assess willingness of consumers to share financial data for a potentially higher score. Pilot participants were sourced across various lines of businesses.


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The model developed by FICO will be implemented through Experian and integrated into a lender’s existing operational workflow. Borrower data will be aggregated through Finicity. The UltraFICO Score builds off of the framework of the base FICO Score, and is designed to reflect the same odds-to-score relationship so that the new score can be easily incorporated into lending strategies and origination, account management systems. The UltraFICO Score is slated to be broadly available to lenders mid-2019.

“As the consumer’s bureau, our goal is to help empower consumers and to give better access to credit for more consumers, all while promoting fair lending,” said Alex Lintner, president, Consumer Information Services, Experian. “Through this project, we’ve found a new way to use consumer-permissioned data that allows lenders to make better decisions and helps consumers gain access to credit.”

“This approach allows Americans to benefit from positive financial behaviors,” said Steve Smith, CEO, Finicity. “We are proud to have created a new way for consumers to share financial information, safely and securely so that a new UltraFICO™ Score can be created.”

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.

Pretium Partners Acquires Selene Holdings

Pretium Partners, LLC (“Pretium”), an investment management firm focused on real estate, mortgage finance and corporate credit with over $10 billion in assets under management, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Selene Holdings LLC (“Selene”) from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”) and Ranieri Partners LLC (“Ranieri”).

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Founded in 2007, Selene is the parent company of Selene Finance LP (“Selene Finance”), a Houston-based residential mortgage servicing company. With more than 500 full time employees, Selene Finance is a special servicer of nonperforming, re-performing, REO and performing loans and is able to service in all 50 states. Selene Holdings also includes SelecTitle, a title services company, and New Diligence Advisors, a national third-party diligence and advisory services firm.

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Donald Mullen, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pretium said, “Selene is a best-in-class servicer that adds significant capabilities and expertise to Pretium’s residential credit ecosystem. We look forward to further investing in Selene’s technology and platform and working closely with management to best serve Pretium’s investors and Selene’s clients.”

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Brian Laibow, Managing Director of Oaktree said, “Pretium is a leader in residential credit. They have an institutional culture and demonstrated history of growing customer-focused businesses. As we have built Selene with our clients, it was very important for Oaktree to partner with someone who shares that vision. We’re pleased to have found that in Pretium.”

Joe Pensabene, President and CEO at Selene added, “Selene has always been focused on providing flexible and creative servicing solutions to our clients. We’re excited to join with a partner who shares that approach and commitment to the industry, and look forward to continuing to expand our solutions for the residential credit markets.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected to close mid-year 2019.

Houlihan Lokey served as exclusive financial advisor to Selene. Buckley Sandler LLP served as legal counsel to Selene. Sidley Austin LLP served as legal counsel to Pretium.

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.

The Impact Of Fintech

According to a recently published working paper by researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) and New York University, fintech lenders have quickly expanded their market share since the Financial Crisis, and in the process have developed efficiencies that give them a significant advantage over more traditional lenders. Prominent mortgage industry executives gathered in Washington, DC at the 8th Annual PROGRESS in Lending ENGAGE Event sponsored by Get Credit Healthy, QuestSoft and Optimal Blue, to really drill down on this industry trend. How has fintech impacted mortgage lending? Here’s the scoop:

“Everything has to be relevant,” says Joseph Ludlow, VP at Advantage Systems. “The proliferation of cell phones has driven technology and innovation. Everything has to be real-time, all the time.”

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“We can’t think of innovation as something that happens over night,” noted Luke Wimer, COO at Asurity Technologies. “It’s about changing what a customer usually does. No one person or vendor will bring all the innovation. We have to bring people and systems together.”

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“The average originator is 52 years old,” points out Christine Beckwith, National VP of Realtor and Sales at Annie Mac. “The customer wants to be mobile and so do the new originators, but we have to get the average originator in his or her 50s onboard. It’s a balancing act.”

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“The older originator’s adaptability is challenged,” concluded Ski Swiatkowski, Business Growth/Leadership Specialist at Silver Hill Funding. “However the new originator is a millennial and they want fintech. Rocket by Quicken was good for the industry because now everyone sees the value of using fintech to improve the mortgage process.”

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.

Taking eClosing End-To-End

Pavaso has unveiled a new, complete suite of eClosing tools for mortgage lenders that includes Remote Online Notary and SMART Note capabilities. The Pavaso Platform now provides a one-stop digital closing shop that empowers all parties involved in mortgage transactions to consistently increase efficiency, eliminate errors, improve workflow and create more informed consumers, leading to faster, more efficient closings.

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Powered by Pavaso’s eClosing platform, Pavaso’s full suite of eClosing products enable lenders, title companies, agents and borrowers to electronically eDeliver early disclosures, eSign documents, remotely eNotarize documents, eClose loans, execute full eNotes and deliver closed loan files to an eVault.

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Pavaso CEO Mark McElroy said, “Our unified and collaborative portal in addition to tools like Remote Online Notary and Pavaso SMART Note will not only help lenders attain the digital transformations they are looking for—they will also help lenders deliver the ultimate customer experience.”

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The Pavaso Platform includes Remote Online Notarization (RON), Pavaso’s newest tool that enables remote closings to be conducted anywhere, on any device, in as little as 15 minutes. With RON, Pavaso commissions qualified, experienced closing agents to remotely notarize documents, helping lenders, title companies and consumers experience a faster and more convenient closing.

“Never have we seen so much excitement over a technology like RON, which satisfies a key requirement for lenders that wish to make a digital transformation,” said Pavaso’s vice president of partner relations and government affairs, Nancy Pratt. “RON is already being used in four states that allow remote notarizations. With more states adopting remote notarizations, we expect demand for RON will continue to grow. This year alone, five more states have adopted legislation around this technology.”

The suite also includes Pavaso SMART Note, a tool that generates compliant, tamper-sealed SMART Doc eNotes to increase collateral control.

In addition to RON and Pavaso SMART Note, the Pavaso Platform includes:

Digital Close Enterprise – A unified, powerful array of closing products that enables collaboration between all stakeholders to conduct seamlessly complete digital closings.

Digital Close – Provides homebuyers and sellers access to review documents anytime, anywhere, and from any device prior to the closing, so they can close loans quickly.

Pavaso eSign – A modern, convenient way to eSign documents from anywhere with ease on any device.

eDelivery – Enables parties to electronically deliver all required compliant documents to other stakeholders, from early disclosures to the final closing package.

PavasoDocs – A complete SMARTDoc library of loan documents that ensures compliant, secure, data-portable loan files throughout every stage of the closing process.

Pavaso eVault – Securely stores all Pavaso SMART Notes and ensures the accuracy of all documents delivered.

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.