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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 https://www.armco.us/learn/reports.


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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

Dramatically Improving Mortgage Underwriting Productivity

SLK Global Solutions, a business transformation enterprise offering technology platforms and solutions for the mortgage and financial services industry, has achieved a new benchmark of success with its latest offering, LoanAccel,  an origination support solution that helps underwriters provide conditional approvals within hours.  


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With an average of just 1.76 touches for a loan application, LoanAccel helped a leading U.S. lender achieve a 16-day clear-to-close average and an overall 67 percent increase in underwriting efficiency, company officials said. LoanAccel also helped the client significantly improve borrower satisfaction levels, boost productivity and reduce costs.


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LoanAccel works with the lender’s current loan origination system (LOS). The methodology and automation within LoanAccel reengineers the conventional origination process flow, making it more proactive, predictive and fast. It uses this automation and process excellence to help originators, processors, and underwriters drive greater productivity and efficiency.


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One of the biggest advantages of LoanAccel is expediting the underwriter’s conditional approval process by making sure a decision-ready loan file is submitted to underwriting in less than 48 hours. The LoanAccel team supports requirement gathering for the lender and the lender’s automated underwriting system, making sure that a lender’s most critical resource, the underwriter, can approve loans in fewer than two touches on average, regardless of loan application types. In addition, LoanAccel enables loan processors to only work on conditionally approved files, freeing them from many tedious administrative activities and improving the employee experience.


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“It’s amazing.  We’ve seen 67 percent increase in underwriting efficiency for one of our clients,” said SLK Global Senior Vice President – Mortgage Nate Johnson. “Lenders today face heightened competition fueled by new business models, limited housing inventory, and volatile market conditions. This is compounded by a time-consuming, friction-filled, and an expensive origination process. And let’s not forget rising borrower expectations. LoanAccel strikes the perfect balance between organizational goals and market demands. By adding technology to critical origination processes, LoanAccel increases productivity, cuts cycle time and reduces costs, but without changes to the lender’s LOS technology platform.”

“However, we do understand that technology alone is not the answer to a successful mortgage experience,” Johnson said. “With LoanAccel, several parts of the process are strengthened with real time communication workflows to help loan officers and processors communicate faster with borrowers.”

“LoanAccel acts as a catalyst to a lender’s overall growth,” said SLK Global Solutions America President Alok Datta. “It does much more than just improve operational cycle time. For example, LoanAccel has improved a lender’s pull through to 17.6 percent higher than industry averages and reduced the time to fund substantially.”

“We as an organization are committed towards driving measurable business outcomes to our clients,” Datta added. “LoanAccel has further strengthened our motive. We are extremely happy about LoanAccel’s recent achievement and are confident that this solution will produce the competitive edge that lenders seek today.”

MBA Releases 2019 Mid-Year Commercial/Multifamily Servicer Rankings

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its mid-year rankings of commercial and multifamily mortgage servicers’ volumes as of June 30, 2019. At the top of the list of firms is Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., with $681.8 billion in master and primary servicing, followed by PNC Real Estate/Midland Loan Services  ($655.2 billion), KeyBank National Association ($273.1 billion), Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC  ($268.4 billion), and CBRE Loan Services ($208.3 billion).


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Among servicers with retained or purchased servicing of U.S. mortgaged, income-producing properties, Wells Fargo, PNC/Midland and KeyBank are the largest primary and master servicers for CMBS, CDO or other ABS loans; PGIM Real Estate Finance is the largest for credit company, pension funds, REITs, and investment fund loans; Wells Fargo, Walker & Dunlop, and Berkadia are the largest for Fannie Mae loans; and Wells Fargo and KeyBank are the largest for Freddie Mac loans. ORIX Real Estate Capital, Walker & Dunlop and Berkadia are the largest for FHA & Ginnie Mae loans; HFF LP, a JLL Company, NorthMarq, and CBRE are tops for life insurance company loans; and Wells Fargo is the largest for loans held in warehouse. PNC and Wells Fargo are the largest named special servicers.


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Wells Fargo, PNC/Midland, and MetLife are the top servicers for loans held in own portfolio through the first half of 2019.

PNC and Berkadia are the top fee-for-service primary and master servicers of U.S. mortgaged, income producing properties; Wells Fargo and Trimont rank as the top master and primary servicers of other types of commercial real estate related assets located in the United States; and Situs and CBRE are the top primary and master servicers of non-US CRE-related assets.


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A primary servicer is generally responsible for collecting loan payments from borrowers, performing property inspections and other property-related activities. A master servicer is typically responsible for collecting cash and data from primary servicers and then providing that cash and data, through trustees, to investors. Unless otherwise noted, MBA tabulations that combine different roles do not double-count loans for which a single servicer performs multiple roles. The tabulations can and do double-count across servicers’ loans for which multiple servicers each fulfill a role.


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Specific breakouts in the MBA survey include:

  • Total Primary and Master Servicing;
  • U.S. Mortgaged, Income-Producing Properties, Loans Held in Own Portfolio, Total;
  • U.S. Mortgaged, Income-Producing Properties, Retained or Purchased Servicing, Primary & Master, Total;
  • U.S. Mortgaged, Income-Producing Properties, Retained or Purchased Servicing, Primary & Master, CMBS,  CDO or other ABS loans;
  • U.S. Mortgaged, Income-Producing Properties, Retained or Purchased Servicing, Primary & Master, Commercial Bank and Savings Institution Loans;
  • U.S. Mortgaged, Income-Producing Properties, Retained or Purchased Servicing, Primary & Master, Credit Company, Pension Funds, REITs, and Investment Funds Loans;
  • U.S. Mortgaged, Income-Producing Properties, Retained or Purchased Servicing, Primary & Master, Fannie Mae;
  • U.S. Mortgaged, Income-Producing Properties, Retained or Purchased Servicing, Primary & Master, Freddie Mac;
  • U.S. Mortgaged, Income-Producing Properties, Retained or Purchased Servicing, Primary & Master, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Ginnie Mae;
  • U.S. Mortgaged, Income-Producing Properties, Retained or Purchased Servicing, Primary & Master, Life Insurance Companies;
  • U.S. Mortgaged, Income-Producing Properties, Retained or Purchased Servicing, Primary & Master, Loans Held in Warehouse;
  • U.S. Mortgaged, Income-Producing Properties, Retained or Purchased Servicing, Named Special Total;
  • U.S. Mortgaged, Income-Producing Properties, Other Fee-For-Service, Primary and Master, Total;
  • U.S. Other CRE-Related Assets, Primary and Master, Total; and
  • Non-U.S. Total, Primary and Master, Total.

The report includes a ranking of more than 100 master and primary servicers. 

New 2019 Cybercrime Report Tracks Growing Threat

LexisNexis Risk Solutions released its Cybercrime Report providing a comprehensive view into the shifting global fraud landscape from January 2019 through June 2019. During this period, the LexisNexis Digital Identity Network recorded 16.4 billion transactions, of which 277 million were human-initiated attacks, a 13% increase over the second half of 2018.


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The report highlights a shift toward networked, cross-organizational and cross-industry fraud, and gives insight into the evolution of bot attacks targeting new accounts in media and e-commerce. 

Key Findings from the LexisNexis Risk Solutions Cybercrime Report:

Networked Cybercrime – Cybercrime networks emerge when digital identities are associated with confirmed fraud attempts across more than one organization in the Digital Identity Network. Organizations within the same industry, particularly banking, lending and stock brokerage, are most acutely affected. The new report details an example of how the Digital Identity Network tracked one fraudster across three industries and six different organizations (several financial services organizations, a media streaming company and a credit reporting agency) as the fraudster attempted to create new accounts, initiate repeated login attempts and make fraudulent payments in an effort to monetize stolen credentials, launder money and abuse bonus incentives. 


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Bot Attacks– Fraudsters have shifted bot attacks to target new account creation transactions, which is the only transaction use case which recorded a growth in attacks during the first half of the year. Fraudsters are using these new account creation attempts to test, validate and build online identities for financial gain. Within media, for example, bot attacks targeting new account creations saw a 65% increase in just six months; The Digital Identity Network revealed a number of bonus abuse attempts where fraudsters attempted to sign up for a number of new accounts in order to capitalize on free trials and streaming bonuses to sell for profit. E-commerce companies also saw bot attacks on new account creations increase 305% and were most prevalent in online marketplaces, virtual gift card companies and ridesharing sites. 


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Mobile App Registration – While mobile continues to prove more secure than desktop, fraudsters are seeing new mobile account creations and app registrations as opportunities to intercept one-time passcodes to fraudulently register mobile apps. This provides fraudsters with a wealth of personal information and bank account access. Globally, attacks on mobile apps rose 148% in six months and are skewed towards media organizations, particularly social media and gaming/gambling organizations, where bad actors register for new player bonuses to sell for profit. 


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“Fraudsters no longer operate in silos, they are attacking across industries and organizations,” said Rebekah Moody, director of fraud and identity at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “As seen by a detailed example in the report, one fraudster can carry out a large number of transactions against a series of global organizations using a single mobile device. 

“In the end, corporations benefit the most when fraud defense platforms include a multilayered approach that comprise digital identity intelligence, physical identity and authentication capabilities,” continued Moody. “This approach, when executable in near real-time and touching the entire customer journey, extends beyond detecting complex fraud – it also allows for more streamlined regulatory compliance processes and reduces friction across the customer experience.”

Companies Integrate To Streamline And Improve The Closing Process

Vantage Point Title (Vantage Point) has integrated the Collaboration Center solution from Mortgage Cadence, an Accenture (NYSE: ACN) company, to automate the exchange of information throughout the real-estate closing process for all Mortgage Cadence clients. 


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The Mortgage Cadence Collaboration Center helps to solve two critical issues within the closing process: the pervasive disconnect between lenders and title/settlement companies, and an industry-wide need for increased automation.


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Connecting all parties in the transaction — mortgage lenders, title and settlement agents, real estate professionals and others — the platform automates processes, facilitates the exchange of documents and data, and provides real-time messaging, all within a secure environment that all parties can trust. And by reducing the number of touch points required for each loan, the platform helps to shorten the time-to-close and drive down the cost-to-close — which has become increasingly important for lenders, borrowers and third-party providers.


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It also functions within Vantage Point’s native title production system via API integration, eliminating the need for Vantage Point to go off platform.


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“Collaboration Center is a competitive differentiator for us and for Mortgage Cadence clients,” said Robert Jackson, CEO at Vantage Point. “By putting all the necessary information in a title transaction in one place and automatically identifying version changes, it greatly reduces the amount of manual work required from our team, increases document accuracy, and helps us get the borrower to the closing table more quickly.”

Bryan Ireton, managing director for Mortgage Cadence, Accenture, said, “The industry has long needed a solution that securely connects, automates and simplifies the closing process. We’re pleased that Vantage Point recognized this need and chose to invest in our comprehensive solution.” 

Empowering Women

In January 2018, NEXT Mortgage Events broke the mortgage industry’s unspoken barriers that limit women’s access to competitive intel and networking-based information exchange, when it introduced NEXT, the mortgage technology summit for women. NEXT is a two-day, tech-focused symposium based on lenders sharing competitive intel with other lending executives. A boutique gathering, each NEXT event is limited to 200 attendees, and targets a select group of decision making executives. Roughly 85-90% of lender attendees hold a title of VP or higher and approximately 85% of attendees are women. NEXT is held twice a year, in winter and summer. Today their co-founders Jeri Yoshida (left) and Molly Dowdy sat down with us to offer up their take on the state of mortgage lending. Here’s what they said:

Q: How did you get involved in the mortgage industry?

MOLLY DOWDY:I started working for a real estate tech company. I have always done marketing inside technology companies. That makes me sound young, but my first assignment was to convince appraisers that it would be better to take photos with a digital camera because they were still using film and cutting out the pictures and taping them to a paper report. So, it was a long time ago. That’s where I got started.

JERI YOSHIDA:I started as an originator fresh out of undergrad. I didn’t have a finance background. I was so green. I got advice from guys in the business and they told me to just tell the customer that you’ll get back to them if you don’t know the answer to a question. So, that was my first year. Back then loan files were two inches thick. Everything was analog and we had files everywhere. We didn’t even have fax machines so I’m a dinosaur, but it was a good learning ground for me.


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Q: How has the industry changed?

JERI YOSHIDA:I was an originator for five years and I got out of the industry to do advertising and marketing. I ran into a woman in real estate and we were talking about tax returns. She said she hadn’t seen tax returns in years. I was shocked. We always saw tax returns. When I was an originator that wouldn’t happen. I asked her if she was just doing nonconforming loans? She said, no, nobody asks for them anymore. That was amazing to me. We saw what happened as a result of those practices and now we are trying to find that happy medium where you protect the investor, the lender and the borrower.

MOLLY DOWDY:The two big things that I noticed is that the available technology has progressed. The technology is so innovative and really provides a better experience. There is a big difference between what is possible and what is in use, but technology has advanced so much. Also, when I first started when I went to trade shows the only women that I saw were working in booths. People even called them booth babes. There were so few female executives. Now things have changed a lot. I see a lot more women executives. I see a lot more women offering thought leadership in this industry. There used to be underground groups where a bunch of women met to decompress, but you had to know where they were meeting. That part has changed a lot.


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Q: Why did you guys start NEXT?

MOLLY DOWDY:It was born out of that frustration. I knew Jeri for a long time and we would meet at these underground women meetings. It was grueling. We would talk about hearing complaints from the same people over and over again. We started thinking, well, if we did it how would we do it better. From there we started writing our ideas down and brainstorming and it went from there.

JERI YOSHIDA:We were dreaming about what our ideal conference would be. Having a women’s event doesn’t mean that we don’t like men. There is something special that goes on when you meet with another woman at your level. There is a level of comfort. NEXT feels like a gigantic dinner party. All the attendees know similar people. They all have similar education backgrounds and career paths. Nobody has to explain anything. As we started talking to other executive women they jumped onboard and they got it. When we got endorsements from really high-up women we know that we had something.


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Q: Talk to me about the NEXT advantage/differentiator?

MOLLY DOWDY:We want a small, intimate, repeat gathering. There are plenty of massive conferences. We want this to be a smaller conference with high-level executives. We are also very vigilant about finding lender executives sharing their experiences about things that they are doing. We want women in the thick of it sharing real stories. We also pick boutique hotels so everything is close, comfortable an lux. In terms of demographics, 89 to 90 percent are VPs or higher. Our gender demographic is about 15 percent men. That is radically different.

JERI YOSHIDA:The people really make all the difference. We court a certain demographic. The nice thing about it is that NEXT feels different. As a result, there is an openness. Traditionally it can be hard to walk into a room filled with people that you don’t know. Given the choice, I think people prefer a welcoming environment. They come to NEXT to meet executives at their level. We have had numerous people that didn’t come to the first or second NEXT and they came and said they had no idea that it was going to be this amazing. These executives are blown away because when we were creating it we built it brick by brick to see what was going to work the best. We don’t want people to walk away just saying that it was cool, they should say it is amazing. We hear over and over that this is their favorite conference. We’re excited, but that is all by design. We tried to create a conference that these executives deserve. We don’t want to let these ladies down. These women have been running the industry without getting recognized so we want to give back to them. For example, we used to have booths but thought that we could do better, so we created meeting lounges instead. It’s a warm/welcoming environment that is very inviting. The sponsors loved it and so did the attendees. It’s so much better to walk up to a lounge, sit down and talk instead of looking at a row of booths. You get to have a real conversation and that’s when the sale really happens, when you are just talking. That’s just one example of how we changed things up to create a wonderful experience.


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Q: NEXT has a strategic alliance with Housing Finance Strategies, a Washington, DC-based advisory firm led by renowned industry veteran and award winner Faith Schwartz, former executive director of HOPE NOW. Why is that significant?

MOLLY DOWDY:We’ve watched Faith and admired her forever. She has in depth relationships with what’s going on in DC. She has a deep understanding of how DC impacts our business. We asked her to do the kick off at the last NEXT.  It was very popular. People loved it. So, we started talking and really believe that this intel is lacking and it is important for women to have as they progress in their careers. Women should have this knowledge so they can be the go-to person at their company. Faith has a weekly newsletter that summarizes what’s going on in Washington. That was the first piece of the partnership that we launched. The next step was to launch a new event. The speaker lineup is an impressive list of the people that influence housing policy in DC.

JERI YOSHIDA:When Faith came to our event she was one of those people that was blown away. She has been to so many conferences, but our conference stands out to her to the point that she wanted to be involved. She saw the benefit of what we provide.

Q: What can we expect from NEXT in the future?

MOLLY DOWDY:We changed our approach to provide more engaging content like Faith’s weekly newsletter and we also do executive profiles. So we are providing more content about our speakers and the industry to give more visibility to women executives that are really killing it.

JERI YOSHIDA:We want to make more quality information available to the people that are doing amazing things. These women are succeeding and we want to help them do even more. The executives that we have on stage are diverse. They are reflective of what’s going on. We have women of all different ages, ethnicities and experiences. We want to recognize the women on stage. We want to keep focusing on the women that are doing amazing things.

MOLLY DOWDY:When we talk about innovation we have to reflect the community. When you get all different types of people together you spur innovation and that’s an important part of our mission.

Q: What does in mean to you to be named one of The Most Powerful Women in Fintech by PROGRESS in Lending?

JERI YOSHIDA:It’s very humbling. It’s an honor. It’s important to us to expand the platform for women to advance. Women are championing technology and they are giving their input to advance technology adoption. We want to help level the playing field.

MOLLY DOWDY:I feel really grateful. With this power it gives us more right to shine the light on women in this industry. This will help us continue our mission and expand. 

Q: What advice would you give women just starting out?

JERI YOSHIDA:Find your community where you are supported, where you can learn and there are people that can help you. These women have worked so hard and some did not intend to be in the c-suite, they just got there because they were innovative and smart and helped others. They tackled problems and progressed accordingly. There’s a lot of togetherness at NEXT. If you are a young executive find your tribe where you can learn and teach others.

MOLLY DOWDY:Step one is to find your tribe, which probably won’t be inside your company. A lot of the executives worked in their company and climbed the ladder but felt alone. Also, you have to speak up. A lot of new executives assume that others have already thought of their idea and dismissed it so they don’t speak up, but that is not the case. Speak up. Be heard.

INSIDER PROFILE

Molly Dowdy has nearly 20 years experience marketing in the mortgage technology space and is the co-founder of NEXT, the mortgage technology conference for women executives. Molly is also a member of the PROGRESS in Lending Association Executive Team. She can be reached at molly@Nextmortgageevents.com.

INSIDER PROFILE

Jeri Yoshida is co-founder of NEXT and a 20 year mortgage industry veteran with over 15 years of experience in mortgage public relations and communications. She has created visibility programs for dozens of companies and has crafted strategies for maximizing ROI from sponsorship, attendance and exhibition dollars at many of the mortgage industry’s national and regional events.