LERETA, LLC, a provider of real estate tax and flood services for mortgage servicers nationwide, continues its commitment to providing leading technology to the industry by tapping Steve Orgill as CTO. Orgill, who has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, is directing the company’s customer-focused digital transformation.

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Orgill has a proven track record in developing and executing successful product and technology strategies. His experience with bridging gaps between a company’s operations and technology teams ensure consistent value delivery aligned with business strategy and continued growth.

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“Having worked with Steve previously, I have seen first hand his ability to lead enterprise initiatives and build consensus around the introduction of productivity-enhancing technologies,” said John Walsh, LERETA CEO. “His skill set is uniquely qualified to help support our continued growth.”

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Orgill has had several C-suite positions, most recently being COO of First American Settlement Management Solutions. He was vice president of strategic architecture at Stewart Information Services, CTO at DataQuick Information Systems and CTO at HydrantID. He also had several top executive positions leading change during his tenure at First American and CoreLogic.

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“It’s an exciting time to be part of the LERETA team leading much-needed change in the industry,” Orgill said. “We are growing our product and technology solutions team comprised of industry experts and cutting-edge tech talent from the LA area. Our goal is to deliver innovative value for customers in support of continued aggressive growth.”

Companies Team Up To Launch Digital Home Equity Line Of Credit Platform

Prosper, a leading online marketplace lending platform connecting borrowers and investors, together with the U.S. subsidiary of Madrid-based BBVA, announced their collaboration in providing a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) available through Prosper’s website.

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Prosper and BBVA USA have worked closely together to build an end-to-end HELOC solution that allows customers to complete an online application in minutes and receive an instant pre-qualification. The digital platform saves customers weeks compared to the traditional application process and offers HELOC consumers access to competitive rates and no origination fees.

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BBVA USA is Prosper’s exclusive bank partner in the bank’s main footprint states of Alabama, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona, and also worked side-by-side with Prosper, lending equity product knowledge and expertise as the digital solution was developed. The bank will soon offer the digital HELOC to a selected group of its own customers via a BBVA branded version of the platform. 

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“We are thrilled to have a partner like BBVA that believes, as we do, in the power of technology to improve efficiency and deliver a great customer experience,” said David Kimball, CEO, Prosper Marketplace. “Working closely with BBVA, we’re excited to be able to offer our customers the opportunity to quickly and easily apply for a HELOC online, which can be a smart and affordable financing option for things like home improvement and debt consolidation. We look forward to expanding this product offering to more states and continuously improving the experience.”

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“BBVA is the leader in digital banking globally, and as such, we’re focused on a transformation that leverages digital to help us drive growth and improve the banking experience for our customers,” said BBVA USA Head of Retail Banking Ça?ri Süzer. “The digital HELOC with Prosper is reflective of the type of transformation we think will carry us into the future, but more than that, we’re excited to work with a fintech stalwart like Prosper to help people quickly and easily access the equity that they have built up in their home.” 

Available home equity reached an all-time high of $6.3 trillion in the second quarter of 2019.[1] While many homeowners have equity available, the traditional process of getting a home equity line of credit has been a confusing, lengthy and cumbersome process.

Prosper has used its expertise in technology and consumer loans to create a fast and simple process for obtaining a HELOC, while BBVA is using its extensive experience in equity lending to deliver knowledge and a great customer experience to HELOC borrowers. The partnership is a unique example of how a fintech and bank are working together to provide a long-term relationship product like HELOC to customers with ease and efficiency.

Putting Together The Best Strategy For Future Success

Welcome to Lending Buzz, the podcast that gives you the latest news, trends, insights and strategies to help you grow your business. First up, in The My Take Section, I express my candid views about the true value of MISMO. In this week’s The Spotlight Section Special Guest Dori Daganhardt, Senior Vice President of Data Strategy at ClosingCorp, discusses new data that puts fees and a potential recession into focus. Lastly, The Industry Insights Section takes on how lenders can truly improve the borrower’s experience. Specifically, Amie Weaver, Administrative VP, Senior Mortgage Technology Manager at M&T Bank talks about how her company is improving the mortgage experience; John Whipple, Product Management at Blend, points out how a fully integrated point-of-sale can make all the difference; and Gerardo Caceres, Product and Data Operations Executive at ClosingCorp, notes that technology can be what boosts all of mortgage lending going forward…. Check out the conversation here:

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STRATMOR Study Finds Borrower Satisfaction Driving Lender Technology Decisions

According to the 2019 Technology Insight Study (TIS) from mortgage advisory firm STRATMOR Group, improving the borrower experience is the key driver for implementing technology with three of the top five perceived digital benefits specifically focused on enhancing borrower satisfaction with the loan process.

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“As with years past, lenders ranked increased borrower satisfaction, faster cycle times, increased transparency for borrowers and greater task, service orders and workflow automation as the top four benefits of digital mortgage,” said STRATMOR Senior Partner Nicole Yung in her article, Six Key Takeaways from STRATMOR’s 2019 Technology Insight™ Study. “Technology limitations impact many of the barriers to digital capabilities, but lenders report the benefits of digital are worth the effort,” Yung wrote. 

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The TIS is the only independent technology study in the industry that gathers data on how lenders feel about their mortgage technology, including both their own systems and those provided by vendors. The TIS includes comprehensive mortgage technology data, analyzed and quantified by STRATMOR’s team of data experts. The 2019 study found that for the fifth year in a row, Ellie Mae holds the top spot among point-of-sale (POS) mortgage systems. Other systems are gaining ground, however, including Blend, which finished in the number two spot for the second straight year. 

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In the lead management/customer relationship management (CRM) market, more than 20 percent of respondents said they do not use a company-sponsored lead management tool, while almost 6 percent said they use either a CRM built into their LOS or use an internally-developed CRM. The study also found that among the almost 80 percent of lenders using a CRM, 74 percent use one or more of the 25 third-party systems sharing the CRM market. Of those 25 systems, Top of Mind, Velocify and Salesforce held the top three spots, according to the TIS. Salesforce gained almost five points, followed by Velocify, which gained two. Top of Mind held 20 percent of the market, according to the study.

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The study found that the number of loan origination system (LOS) platforms used by lenders in the study is falling due to industry consolidation from M&A deals, fewer multiple-system offerings from vendors and because some platforms haven’t kept up with regulatory changes and new technologies, among other factors. The number of LOSs identified as the primary system used by lenders participating in the study has dropped 36 percent over the past four years, from 33 LOS platforms in 2015 to 21 platforms in 2019, according to study. 

STRATMOR found 20 percent of lenders utilize robotic process automation (RPAs) to automate business processes, with most using them in the processing and post-closing areas.The study also shows that 75 percent of those lenders use a third-party provider to implement RPA in their businesses. UI Path, Blue Prism and AIF were the most popular third-party providers, and all offer training and certification in RPA through their websites, the study found.

The article also notes that while technology is capable of improving the borrower’s experience, mortgage professionals using the technology have the greatest potential to make the borrower’s experience better.
 In a second article in the report, “A Tale of Three Borrowers,” STRATMOR Marketing Director Lisa Grote echoes that thought. She writes about three STRATMOR mortgage experts who recently applied for mortgages and had very different loan origination experiences. Grote found that while technology can enable a better borrower experience, it is the mortgage professionals who worked with the borrowers who made the mortgage experience memorable

LOS Update Looks To Create A Superior Experience For Users And Boost Operational Efficiency For Lenders

 Wipro Gallagher Solutions (WGS), a Wipro Limited (NYSE: WIT, BSE: 507685, NSE: WIPRO) company and a provider of loan origination software solutions, has launched NetOxygen 6.2, the latest version of its NetOxygen loan origination solution platform, designed to meet lending challenges and borrower needs of the future.

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NetOxygen 6.2, will significantly boost operational efficiency for lenders, incorporate strategic integrations, meet new standards and regulatory compliance, and provide a better User Interface (UI) that will further improve borrower experience.

The following are the key features of NetOxygen 6.2: 

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Better Operational Efficiency:

Loan document management functionality that groups and sorts documents logically and indicates the ones used for decision-making—adding to the lenders capability to process loans with greater accuracy

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An enhanced MyTask Plugin that provides loan counts and color-coded visual indicators for tasks by SLA that directly improve lender efficiency

A workflow reassignment feature that alerts users to new tasks they can work on and reassign themselves as the loan contact, improving lender productivity

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A workflow archiving feature that significantly reduces the number of records in the workflow database allowing dashboards, loan selector and inbox queries to respond faster

Enhancements to the prequalification and preapproval feature to optimize the workflow and improve operational efficiency

Strategic Integrations: (structure of statements below is not consistent with the prior section)

NetOxygen 6.2 will also feature a new integration with middleware providers. This will allow lenders to seamlessly select from a wider array of interface vendors with easier implantation and additional national coverage

NetOxygen 6.2 is integrated with Capsilon’s document imaging solution, Capsilon IQ platform for enhanced imaging and data capture capability that lenders can use, to complete transactions faster and reduce origination expenses

Standards and Regulatory Compliance

Application screens to meet the requirements of Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA), improving compliance and simplifying user experience

A Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO®) v3.4-aligned capability that lets users import or export a loan without losing the loan details mentioned in the Uniform Loan Application Dataset (ULAD)

These enhancements are in addition to a UI refresh and a host of other powerful features that expand the product’s coverage. With this release, Wipro Gallagher Solutions becomes the only provider to offer functionality across multiple asset classes (non-real estate, residential, commercial, wholesale, and equity loans).

“At the core of these enhancements is our deep understanding of automation technology. We have consciously leveraged automation to improve operational efficiency for lenders,” said Alok Bansal, Vice President and Head, Wipro Gallagher Solutions. “NetOxygen 6.2 is a demonstration of our understanding of the lending needs of the future and it uses technological innovation to keep our financial services customers at the forefront of the lending space.”

Ellie Mae: Millennial Refinances Rise

According to the latest Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker, the average interest rates on all 30-year notes dipped to 4.059% in August, the lowest since December 2016, spurring a surge in refinances for Millennial homebuyers. Refinances continued to climb to 25% of all closed loans for Millennials, up 2% from the previous month and the highest percentage since December 2015. Lack of affordable homes in growing markets also led to purchases dipping for the second month in a row, accounting for 74% of all closed loans.

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Conventional refinance loans rose to 29% in August, up from 27% the month prior, while Conventional purchase loans shrunk to 69%, down from 72% in July and 82% in June. Likewise, VA refinances rose to 38%, a steady month-over-month increase from 34%, as purchases fell from 66% to 62%, respectively. FHA percentages slightly varied from the previous month, with purchases down from 92% to 91% in August, and refinances up one point from 8% to 9%, the highest percentage since February 2019. 

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“We are seeing Millennial homeowners who may have purchased homes only a few years ago quickly taking advantage of the industry’s extremely low interest rates,” said Joe Tyrrell, chief operating officer at Ellie Mae. “We will also be watching to see if the increased purchase power from a lower rate environment enables some Millennials to make the leap into homeownership as we enter the fall homebuying season.”

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Additional insights from the August Millennial Tracker include:

>>Time-to-close for all loans increased slightly to 42 days in August, compared to 41 in July. Given the increase of refinances, the time-to-close on refinance loans held at 42 days from the previous month. Purchase loans also held steady for the third consecutive month at 40 days. 

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>>The average age of Millennial home buyers remained at 30.5, the highest average since November 2015.

>>The average FICO score for Millennial borrowers stayed steady at 728, the highest average since May 2015.

The Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker is an interactive online tool that provides access to up-to-date demographic data about this new generation of homebuyers. It mines data from a robust sampling of approximately 80 percent of all closed mortgages dating back to 2014 that were initiated on Ellie Mae’s Encompass all-in-one mortgage management solution.

Lender Price Makes It Easier To Go Digital

 Lender Price, a provider of mortgage technology solutions, has released the newest version of Digital Lending Platform (DLP), a digital point-of-sale system that is designed to manage the entire loan officer sales process. With a completely new user interface, LOS integrations and a built-in pricing engine, the latest iteration of DLP provides a unique pricing process that captivates borrowers and increases the closing rates.

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“Borrowers are looking for more than just an online loan application and document uploads,” said Dawar Alimi, CEO and founder of Lender Price. “When a borrower is engaged with a lender, what they really want is a price. The longer it takes for a loan officer to provide that price, the more likely a borrower will leave. That is why it is critical for loan officers to quote rates and pricing quickly and provide it in a way that captures the borrower’s attention.”

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DLP is already used by a wide variety of mortgage lenders of many different sizes. Banks, credit unions, independent mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers use DLP to manage the point-of-sale process in a fully customizable way. The new version released today enhances DLP with a brand-new user interface which greatly improves usability and application performance. 

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Integration with the Lender Price Product Pricing & Eligibility (PPE) engine is the most powerful feature of the new DLP. Lender Price PPE is an impressive pricing engine in its own right, currently used by several Top 50 banks and mortgage lenders. Building PPE inside of DLP allows loan officers to quickly navigate borrowers from lead generation to pre-approval to pricing. 

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“We’ve learned a lot over the past three years since we first introduced DLP,” said Alimi. “Lenders struggle with application completion rates because the online process is too complicated. They ignored the fact that borrowers are there for pricing. Because we have our own pricing engine, we were able to weave pricing into the sales process in a way that feels natural to the borrower, leading to higher application response rates.”

The new version of DLP retains the integrations of the original platform e1003, including digital verifications and bi-directional LOS integrations. The credit report integration has been enhanced to pull soft-inquiry credit reports, a feature that retrieves credit report information without causing trigger leads. A robust RESTful API is available for integration to virtually any system.

“Today’s borrowers and lenders are savvier and know what they want from a digital mortgage experience,” said Alimi. “Customer service is driven by the loan officer’s ability to engage online, but the incentive to stay in the process is provided through our loan pricing capabilities. Our clients can make an accurate price quote early in the engagement and retain complete control over when and how pricing is presented. This is a significant step forward for DLP and our clients.”

Partnership Accelerates The Title And Closing Process

Mortgage Cadence, an Accenture company, is teaming with EXOS Technologies, a subsidiary of ServiceLink, a Fidelity National Financial company, to provide clients with direct access to EXOS’ capabilities through the Mortgage Cadence Collaboration Center.

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The Collaboration Center reinvents the way lending professionals and settlement-service firms interact ? automating processes, exchanging documents and data, and offering real-time messaging. It eliminates manual processes such as document comparison and email search, helping to increase efficiency and profitability, and does not require massive data entry to build and deploy into production processes.

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EXOS’ platform provides industry-leading benefits, including immediate title clearance, an expected clear-to-close date, and real-time pricing. EXOS’ point-of-sale decisioning capability reduces title order turn-times, enabling loan officers to set expectations with consumers upfront confidently. Ultimately, EXOS provides lenders with advanced tools to deliver a complete consumer digital mortgage experience. 

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“EXOS is committed to transforming mortgage by bringing a new level of transparency and efficiency to the title and settlement process,” said Kiran Vattem, EVP and chief digital and technology officer at EXOS Technologies. “We look forward to partnering with Mortgage Cadence to provide these benefits to our mutual clients.” 

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Bryan Ireton, Accenture’s managing director for Mortgage Cadence, said, “The growing Collaboration Center network signifies a major expansion in Mortgage Cadence’s services to the title industry. With the industry facing increased cybersecurity challenges and a rising cost-to-close, our teaming with EXOS as a synergistic partner will enable us to drive solutions that help clients address these critical issues.”

Leveraging Blockchain Tech To Bring Greater Transparency And Security To Appraisals

InMotion Software, a specialized digital research, design, and development agency, has officially launched Sluice, a workflow management platform that leverages blockchain technology to bring greater transparency and security to the residential appraisal industry.  

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Sluice’s distributed ledger database allows multiple users to work on the same valuation orders, while storing a comprehensive history of changes made during the appraisal timeline. By automatically merging property data into appraisal reports as the data is being collected in the field, Sluice significantly enhances the speed and efficiency of fulfilling orders in a mobile environment. Sluice also integrates seamlessly with any appraisal management system, enabling appraisal and appraisal management companies to perform and manage real estate valuation assignments in real-time, without the need to switch to a new platform. 

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Prior to launching Sluice, InMotion partnered with experts in the mortgage industry to research and deploy blockchain technology to the benefit of appraisers and other valuation experts as they evaluate real property collateral in the field. By incorporating technology that provides immediate,two-way communication, Sluice allows users to get directions to a subject property, manage their tasks, generate floor plans with Sluice’s built-in tools, upload geotagged photos, fill-out required or proprietary forms and take notes. Sluice is specially built to work just as well offline should an assignment take an appraiser off the grid by uploading data to the appraiser’s server once the data connection is restored.

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Sluice is already supporting several national AMCs that are using it to administer their order workflow, enabling their users to accept, manage and submit all the data they collect during the course of any assignment. AMCs using Sluice have been able to realize significant improvements in turnaround time, better communications with workers in the field and improved first submission quality, leading to less rework.

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“We are excited to bring distributed ledger technology to the appraisal industry with Sluice,” said John Howard, CEO of InMotion Software. “Although currently focused on serving the mortgage industry, Sluice is a remarkably robust platform and can be adapted to any workflow project. Because the system is vastly modifiable and capable of endless customization, the opportunities for streamlining other industry workflows are endless.”

“We have made a substantial investment in Sluice so that our clients can buy-in rather than build their own platform from scratch,” said Brian Howard, Partner & CTO of InMotion. “As we continue to optimize the platform, we look forward to developing future partnerships with other industry participants that will push the platforms’ capabilities.”

Loan Quality Corrects

ACES Risk Management (ARMCO), a provider of enterprise financial risk management solutions, announced the release of the quarterly ARMCO Mortgage QC Trends Report. The latest report covers first quarter (Q1) 2019 and provides loan quality findings for mortgages reviewed by ACES Audit Technology. 

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The Q1 2019 ARMCO Mortgage QC Industry Trends Report is based on nationwide post-closing quality control loan data from over 90,000 unique loans selected for random full-file reviews, as was captured by the company’s ACES Analytics benchmarking software. Defects listed in the report are categorized using the Fannie Mae loan defect taxonomy.

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“Refi-dominant markets can have a positive impact on defect rates,” said Phil McCall, president of ARMCO. “But when volume goes up, individual workloads increase, turn times extend and mistakes tend to increase. Lenders who leverage technology wisely scale much better and expose themselves to fewer losses as a result.”

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ARMCO Mortgage QC Industry Trends Reports are available for download, free of charge, at

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“Q1 2019 revealed the loan quality correction we anticipated after Q4 2018, but while there are many positives related to the overall market’s upturn, we saw an increase in defects related to key underwriting and eligibility functions,” said Nick Volpe, chief strategy officer for ARMCO. “This continues a trend that persisted the entirety of 2018. Lenders shouldn’t take this lightly.” 

The report’s noteworthy findings include:

>>The critical defect rate fell 6%, from 1.93% in Q4 2018 to 1.82% in Q1 2019  

>>Defects related to core underwriting and eligibility functions continued to increase, with more defects attributed to Income/Employment than any other category

>>Critical defects attributed to missing, expired and/or incorrect documentation continued to be volatile (24% in Q3 2018, 16% in Q4 2018, and 24% in Q1 2019) and noted a substantial increase from the prior quarter

>>Compliance-related critical defects fell to their lowest level since Q1 2016, likely the result of greater lender investment in compliance technologies 

>>Defects related to Property and Appraisal increased noticeably from the previous quarter but remained low overall

>>Government-insured loans accounted for a slightly higher share of all loans in the benchmark with FHA, VA and USDA loans comprising 41% of all loans reviewed