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.

Next-Generation Valuation Management Software Platform For Commercial Lending Launches

Global DMS launched EVO-Commercial (EVO-C). The new platform is 100 percent configurable, fully customizable, quick and easy to implement, eliminates numerous steps in the workflow process, lowers system maintenance costs and empowers end-users as well as management teams, among many other efficiency gains.

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
“EVO-C solves a number of major pain points and challenges that have been ailing the commercial lending space for years,” says said Vladimir Bien-Aime, president and CEO at Global DMS. “Commercial lenders have grown accustomed to dealing with manual processes or limitations of outdated, inflexible technology that prevents them from optimizing their valuation processes. The feedback we have received from commercial lenders thus far is that EVO-C eclipses and outperforms the current solutions which they are continually burdened with.”

Featured Sponsors:

 
The EVO-C platform delivers immediate ROI to lender clients by reducing the cost to acquire, manage and review collateral valuations reports. The solution creates a competitive bidding environment where vendors are encouraged to focus on quality, communication, cost and turnaround time. Managers are easily able to monitor their pipelines in real-time for overall performance to drive down costs, remove road-blocks and create a positive experience for their customers.

Featured Sponsors:

 
Key EVO-C Benefits:

>>Implementations can be completed in just days or weeks – not months

>>EVO-C is so intuitive and easy to understand that minimal training is required

>>Completely workflow-driven powered by a highly configurable business rules engine that does not require development or IT resources to update

>>Detailed custom reports can easily be created by business users and dynamically output on an ad hoc basis for management

>>Drag and drop capability allows for multiple large files to swiftly be transferred and auto-populated, saving immeasurable amounts of time

“We spent a great deal of time working closely with lenders to perfect a breakthrough platform that is loaded with features and functionality, which commercial lenders have never seen before,” said Michael Quaranto, chief information security officer and vice president of technology at Global DMS. “EVO-C was engineered to be hands down the most flexible, configurable and extensible commercial lending valuation management platform available on the market. We are extremely excited to demonstrate the jaw-dropping power EVO-C offers.”

Global DMS is an established enterprise-class software provider that also offers a widely-used, residential lending valuation management platform, eTrac, which seamlessly automates all aspects of the process. eTrac supports lender compliance with changing state-based rules, federal laws, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Dodd-Frank Act.

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.

A Good Day For Digital Closings

Black Knight has announced the first phase of LoanSphere Expedite Close will be available later this year. Expedite Close is an advanced hybrid and full digital closing solution that supports data and document exchange, workflow and processes associated with real estate transactions. Expedite Close provides an electronic closing fulfillment process, enabling seamless and secure online interactions between the real estate agent, lender, settlement agent and consumer from contract through closing.

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
Black Knight has developed Expedite Close with the end user in mind – creating a solution flexible enough to meet the unique process requirements and business needs of each participant along the way. “What sets Expedite Close apart from other eClosing solutions is that it’s built to support the needs of all users – settlement agents, lenders, real estate agents, consumers and investors – providing them with the capabilities to do what they need to do, when they need to do it, in a way that doesn’t call for significant changes to current business processes,” said Tom Peterson, president, Black Knight’s Lending Solutions division. “Because it does so in a way that is entirely ‘agnostic’ to existing platforms, this is more than a solution. With Expedite Close, Black Knight is building an industry utility.”

Featured Sponsors:

 
Leveraging Black Knight’s suite of integrated electronic signature and documentation fulfillment services, Expedite Close includes enhanced workflow and decisioning capabilities, as well as increased automation to support the full closing process. Lenders, settlement agents and consumers can securely collaborate online, and either use the solution with the portals, source systems and document providers they currently use, or integrate additional Black Knight solutions where needed. The solution tightly integrates with Black Knight’s LoanSphere Empower loan origination system and Black Knight’s industry-leading LoanSphere MSP servicing system.

Featured Sponsors:

 
Expedite Close will seamlessly support all consumer interaction and workflow fulfillment requirements. With this solution, consumers are able to access a secure portal to review and sign all of their closing documentation online, and “wet sign” any specific documents that require a physical signature for jurisdictions not yet accepting electronic notarization. A consumer can also choose to wet sign all documents in the closing package. If this process is chosen, Expedite Close will provide the loan documentation to the settlement agent within the required timeframe, eliminating any document fulfillment workflow gaps.

Expedite Close significantly enhances consumers’ experience by providing them with a more streamlined closing; the ability to review all necessary documents and update the loan’s status; and more control in the overall process. Lenders and settlement agents not only benefit from improved borrower satisfaction, but also from reduced risk and enhanced process efficiencies using their current processes.

“Our goal is to streamline the closing process,” said Peterson. “Today’s borrowers are accustomed to anywhere, anytime connectivity and the freedom to choose how they want to interact with businesses. Expedite Close gives them that freedom, and will help to advance the mortgage industry by making it possible for electronic fulfillment for closings to become the norm rather than the exception.”

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.

Churchill Mortgage To Expedite The Mortgage Process For Homebuyers

Churchill Mortgage, a lender in the mortgage industry providing conventional, FHA, VA and USDA residential mortgages across 44 states, announced the launch of its Certified Homebuyer Program to improve how borrowers search for and purchase a home.

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
For many borrowers, getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the first and most important step towards making an offer on a house. Churchill, understanding the importance of expediting the process for homebuyers in a “seller’s market,” will now offer borrowers the opportunity to be pre-underwritten for their mortgage. This initial step will allow those borrowers to effectively get ahead of other buyers and have the confidence that any qualified offer they make on a house will go through in the most efficient manner.

Featured Sponsors:

 
“The first step to debt free homeownership is finding the property you want and getting it under contract, but in many markets, there is a high level of competition between borrowers who may be interested in the same property,” said Mike Hardwick, president of Churchill Mortgage. “Churchill’s Certified Homebuyer Program was designed to help our borrowers get a head start on securing funding so they are positioned to present offers that are already pre-approved and pre-underwritten – increasing their odds of having their offer selected.”

Featured Sponsors:

 
Founded in 1992, Churchill Mortgage is a privately owned company by its more than 400 employees. A full-service and financially sound leader in the mortgage industry, the company provides conventional, FHA, VA and USDA residential mortgages across 44 states. As heard on personal finance expert and author Dave Ramsey’s nationally syndicated radio show, the lender’s mission is to help borrowers achieve debt-free homeownership and build wealth through a smarter mortgage plan, regardless of their starting point. Churchill Mortgage is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Churchill Holdings, Inc.

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.

Acquisition Furthers Automated Data Verification

QuestSoft, a provider of automated mortgage compliance software, has purchased Laguna Hills, Calif.-based IMARC, a leader in data verification and audit services to the financial services industry. The acquisition adds IMARC’s services to QuestSoft’s new Verification and Audit Services division, “QuestSoft Verifications.”

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
The acquisition enables QuestSoft customers to easily conduct loan audits, as QuestSoft Verifications will now offer all of IMARC’s verification and audit services to QuestSoft’s existing 4506-T and SSA-89 capabilities. This new division brings Verification of Employment (VOE), Verification of Income (VOI), Asset and Occupancy Verifications as well as full loan audits to QuestSoft customers, eliminating the need to use time-intensive manual orders to verify all information needed to ensure loan compliance.

Featured Sponsors:

 
“Combining IMARC’s verification and audit services with QuestSoft’s compliance software gives lenders a one-stop shop for all of their compliance needs,” said Leonard Ryan, founder and president of QuestSoft. “IMARC also brings with it a strong tradition of outstanding customer service and a dedication to providing high quality services quickly and efficiently, blending well with the QuestSoft commitment to our customers.”

Featured Sponsors:

 
All IMARC employees transferred to QuestSoft’s corporate headquarters in Laguna Hills, California. Bob Simpson, founder of IMARC, is now serving as QuestSoft’s senior vice president and director of the Verifications Division.

“High quality products, ease of use and outstanding service are the three pillars that build strong relationships between vendors and lenders,” Simpson said. “By combining our services with QuestSoft, we have created the best resource for lenders to handle all of their mortgage compliance, verification and audit needs.”

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.

Market Volatility On The Way?

“This year is shaping up as a year of volatility for the residential mortgage industry, with originations plunging as interest rates rise in response to $1 trillion reductions in asset purchases by central banks,” says industry analyst and blogger Les Parker, CMB, who is senior vice president of industry relations and consulting at LoanLogics.

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
“2018 just may look like 1994 to mortgage bankers,” says Parker, referring to the year following the first great mortgage refinance boom, when originations dropped sharply after interest rates rose, prompting many lenders to close or consolidate with stronger partners. “With the anticipated drop in originations and the scramble to keep market share, the resulting margin collapse and liquidity problems will lead to more industry consolidation and insolvencies,” Parker forecasts in his MarketLogics newsletter. “Non-depository mortgage bankers lack liquidity; when interest rates move outside of expected ranges, volatility expands and cash demands rise.”

Featured Sponsors:

 
“Mortgage servicing rights, already under distress, will discover a lower nadir due to too many sellers and too few buyers,” Parker adds. However, he notes, that will eventually provide a buying opportunity for some savvy investors. “Some of the new MSR investors will step up and buy at very good levels,” he adds.

Featured Sponsors:

 
But higher interest rates won’t be the only problem mortgage companies will face this year, Parker warns. “When volatility expands, the regulatory burdens of Dodd Frank, Basel III and other local, state, federal and international laws and rules will bring about unintended consequences of dislocation and illiquidity,” he says.

Parker manages LoanLogics’ life of loan analytics and monitoring capabilities and oversees its consulting services. He is also a contributor to the company’s strategic planning team and communicates with industry leaders to develop and maintain positive relationships.

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.

Vendors Partner To Help Foster Digital Mortgage Adoption

Pavaso, Inc. (Pavaso), a provider of digital closing and collaboration solutions for the mortgage and real estate lifecycle, has selected eOriginal to support lenders in the digital mortgage process. Specifically, Pavaso will utilize eOriginal’s electronic promissory note (eNote) and electronic vaulting (eVault) services.

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
The collaboration between the firms will complete the final steps of the online mortgage process by facilitating a digital closing, which includes the creation, execution and vaulting of an eNote for the delivery to the secondary market. The use of the eNote and eVault will accelerate the time that typically lapses between origination and replenishment of capital.

Featured Sponsors:

 
“Participants in the mortgage ecosystem are increasingly seeking ways to maximize the benefits of a digital transformation,” said eOriginal General Manager of Digital Mortgage Simon Moir. “By partnering with leaders like Pavaso, we are providing key components for the end-to-end digital transformation of mortgage.”

Featured Sponsors:

 
eOriginal’s platform delivers a fully digital mortgage and supports every type of digital closing strategy. Available for both Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) and non-MERS loans, the platform has been vetted in mortgage, auto finance and lease, deeded vacation ownership, and marketplace lending. It is accepted by the major rating agencies, issuers’ counsel, top lenders and investors in the secondary markets. The platform can leverage any loan origination system (LOS) or document preparation provider and is designed to be extensible as lenders complete their digital transformation.

“Our partnership with eOriginal, in combination with multiple mortgage lenders, will help complete the circle in the digital mortgage transaction, bringing it one step closer to reality and to meeting today’s consumers expectations,” said Mark McElroy, CEO for Pavaso. “eOriginal is a highly-regarded provider, and its eVault and eNote solutions are powerful. As a result, this partnership will push the broader secondary market to fully incorporating the digital concept as a daily reality.”

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.

Helping FHA Servicers Optimize Pre-Conveyance Asset Disposition

Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. (“Altisource”) (NASDAQ: ASPS), a provider of real estate, mortgage and technology services, released a white paper entitled “New Opportunities for Servicers to Optimize CWCOT Disposition Strategies.” The white paper provides servicers with a road map for an effective and efficient Claims Without Conveyance of Title (CWCOT) program strategy.

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
As the popularity of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured home loan lending expands, servicers are looking to refine their strategy for managing foreclosed homes under FHA’s CWCOT program. FHA developed the CWCOT program to help build stronger communities by preserving the condition and accelerating the sale of its real estate owned (REO) properties. To accomplish FHA’s objectives, the CWCOT program provides the servicer with two primary claim channels: sale at foreclosure auction (or shortly thereafter as a so-called “second chance” auction) and conveyance to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Featured Sponsors:

 
As FHA loan volumes and delinquencies continue to increase (in 2016, FHA loans accounted for over 17 percent of newly originated mortgages yet they currently comprise 34.1 percent of all over-30-day delinquent loans, servicers will need more advanced strategies to optimize the disposition of CWCOT-eligible properties and achieve the CWCOT program’s goal of building stronger communities. This white paper provides servicers with a roadmap for an effective and efficient CWCOT program strategy — one that incorporates elements of decision theory and risk modeling to simplify and streamline processes while decreasing loss severity for servicers.

Featured Sponsors:

 
Click here to download the white paper, “New Opportunities for Servicers to Optimize CWCOT Disposition Strategies.”

Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. (NASDAQ: ASPS) is an integrated service provider and marketplace for the real estate and mortgage industries. Combining operational excellence with a suite of innovative services and technologies, Altisource helps solve the demands of the ever-changing market.

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.

Innovative New Mortgage Event Launches

NEXT Mortgage Events LLC, a creator of events for women mortgage executives, has announced that today, Friday, November 3, 2017, is the last day to register for NEXT 2018 under its preferred rate of $895. On Saturday, November 4, 2017, the registration fee will increase to $995.

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
NEXT, the industry’s first technology-centric conference and expo for women executives in the mortgage industry, will take place on January 18-19, 2018 at the Dallas InterContinental. It will feature educational sessions, technology demonstrations, a product-focused exposition hall and networking opportunities.

Featured Sponsors:

 
Companies that wish to sponsor or demonstrate their technologies at the event can get more information on the NEXT conference website (www.NEXTMortgageConference.com).

Featured Sponsors:

 
NEXT Mortgage Events LLC is the creator of NEXT, the first women’s mortgage technology conference and expo. NEXT features informational tech-focused talks, a fast-paced tech demonstration showcase, a product-focused exposition hall and well-organized networking events – all in a comfortable environment catering to the accomplished woman executive. NEXT’s inaugural event will take place January 18-19, 2018 at the InterContinental Dallas. For more information visit NEXTMortgageConference.com, follow @NEXTmtgEvents or email info@NEXTmortgageEvents.com.

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.

Lenders Weigh In On The Importance Of Efficient Mortgage Technology

Lenders One polled participants at its annual Summer Conference on their use of technology and their expectations for the market in the year ahead. As most phases of mortgage lending are increasingly being automated and conducted through online platforms, information security and data protection have become a central concern for the industry. Three-fourths of respondents (74 percent) indicated that they are very concerned about the protection of customers’ personally identifiable information during the mortgage originations and trading processes, even though this survey was conducted before the recent, major security breach at one of the largest credit reporting agencies became public. However, despite the potential data privacy challenges associated with some technology offerings, members recognized that innovative new platforms have the potential to significantly optimize efficiency and streamline processes.

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
The Growing Importance of Technology for Efficiency and Enhancing the Customer Experience

The need and desire for expanded technology use was evident among the mortgage bankers surveyed. The majority (56 percent) said that improving operational efficiencies was the most influential catalyst for investing in new technologies, followed by offering a better customer experience (26 percent). Technology is also positively impacting traditional mortgage trading processes with more than half (53 percent) of the respondents identifying streamlining workflow as one aspect of the current process that could be most enhanced by a technology platform.

Featured Sponsors:

 
“Mortgage professionals today realize the need for technology to drive efficiency, reduce the cost per loan and streamline daily tasks and interactions with customers,” said Michael Kuentz, President of Lenders One. “At the same time, there is rising concern regarding privacy protection as lenders increasingly integrate technology into traditional processes. As a cooperative, our focus has been on developing solutions that provide both efficiency and security, such as noteXchange, a trading platform developed with our members to streamline trading and help protect borrower data.”

Attracting and Retaining Talent

As the mortgage industry evolves and adapts to new technologies and regulations, lenders are investing in developing their employees. Of the respondents, 42 percent noted that professional development and training was the most important step their company is taking to attract and retain talent.

Featured Sponsors:

 
“One of the most critical challenges our members face is recruiting and training talent who can carry their businesses into the future,” said Kuentz. “Robust training programs are critical, and we are seeing great success in pilots with our members to explore new methods for attracting talent from outside of the industry by identifying the key traits needed to thrive in a digitally driven mortgage environment.”

Market Outlook

When asked to forecast how the real estate market will look in 2018 and whether it will be a buyers’ or a sellers’ market, the majority of respondents anticipate that 2018 will again be a sellers’ market:

>>Modest sellers’ market (46 percent)

>>Heavy sellers’ market (25 percent)

>>Modest buyers’ market (17 percent)

>>Heavy buyers’ market (8 percent)

>>Undecided (4 percent)

When asked which factor will have the greatest impact on the mortgage industry’s growth in 2018, nearly half (47 percent) of respondents chose potentially higher interest rates, followed by continued increases in home values (18 percent) and innovation in banks’ menu of mortgage products (17 percent).

Survey Methodology 

The survey had 78 participants and was conducted at the Lenders One 2017 Summer Conference held in August. Respondents consisted of Lenders One members.

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.

Meridian Bank Announces Commencement Of Public Offering

Meridian Bank has commenced an underwritten public offering of approximately 2.2 million shares of its common stock, with an initial public offering price per share of its common stock of between $17.00 and $19.00.  All of the shares to be sold in the offering will be offered by Meridian Bank.  In addition, Meridian Bank intends to grant the underwriters a 30-day over-allotment option to purchase an additional 15% of the shares sold in the offering.  The offering is subject to market and other conditions, and there can be no assurance as to whether or when the offering may be completed, or the actual size or terms of the offering.

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
Meridian Bank intends to use the proceeds to repurchase all of the outstanding shares of its Series 2009A Preferred Stock, Series 2009B Preferred Stock, and Series 2009C Preferred Stock for approximately $12.8 million and for general corporate purposes.

Featured Sponsors:

 
Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P. is acting as sole book-running manager for the proposed offering.  Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc., a Stifel Company, and D.A. Davidson & Co. are acting as co-managers.

Featured Sponsors:

 
The offering will be made only by means of an offering circular.  Copies of the preliminary offering circular relating to this offering may be obtained, when available, by contacting Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P., Attention: Prospectus Department, 1251 Avenue of the Americas, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10020, or via email at syndicate@sandleroneill.com.

Meridian Bank has also submitted an application to list its shares of common stock on The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”).  The listing is conditional on Nasdaq approving Meridian Bank’s listing application.  If approved, the ticker symbol for its shares of common stock would be “MRBK.”

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.