Posts

Tech Trends That Businesses Should Think Hard About

With technology evolving at such a rapid pace, some business owners are left digitally disoriented as they try to figure out which of the latest innovations they need to invest in and what they can ignore. It can make for confusing times. All that bewilderment aside, though, these fast-developing advances also create opportunities that can help small and medium-sized businesses become more competitive – if they understand how to seize them. 


Featured Sponsors:

 


“Technology exists today that at one time was available only to large corporations with huge technology budgets,” says Chris Hoose (www.choosenetworks.com), an IT consultant who works with small businesses. “Every year, technology becomes even more accessible to companies of all sizes.” Hoose says businesses that want to stay on top of their games should make sure they invest in these technological trends, if they haven’t already: 


Featured Sponsors:

 


The Internet of Things. Many Internet of Things-connected devices, such as smart refrigerators and thermostats, are designed for home use, but there are also applications for small businesses, Hoose says. Some examples: smart locks use digital keys that can’t be lost or stolen, and log a record of who uses a door and when; RFID tags on merchandise can prevent theft and automatically update inventory; and mobile-card readers can replace cash registers. 


Featured Sponsors:

 


Artificial intelligence. Don’t be fooled into thinking that AI is something only the big organizations can afford to use, Hoose says. “It’s making inroads into technologies accessible for businesses of all sizes,” he says. “AI can help you offer increasingly personalized experiences to customers by maximizing your time and automating manual tasks, like data entry.” AI also can be used to improve decision making, Hoose says. Essentially, AI will help you take that jumble of data most businesses have and analyze it in a way that allows you to make better-informed judgments on the actions you need to take. 


Featured Sponsors:

 


Telecommuting. The office world is changing and more workers spend at least a portion of their work week telecommuting. “In many cases remote employees use their own equipment, which can eliminate some of the company’s costs with purchasing and maintaining computers, printers and mobile phones,” Hoose says. Video conferencing, instant messaging and other advances are helping to make telecommuting a viable option, he says.

Customer-relationship-management (CRM) software. Any application that a business uses to interact with customers, analyze data, or recommend products and services to customers is “part of the CRM family,” Hoose says. “This type of software helps your team manage, control and build customer relationships,” he says. “It can log your team’s touchpoints with prospects, including emails, phone calls, voicemails and in-person meetings. You can have a complete record of your team’s interaction with a prospect that’s easy for anyone to access.” 

Voice search. Consumers increasingly are making use of such AI assistants as Siri or Alexa to help them do internet searches using their voices. “Voice search is changing the way people find information because these queries are structured differently than when we type terms into a search engine,” Hoose says. 

“Organizations of all types can benefit from optimizing their content to improve where they fall in a voice search.” 

“To help propel your business going forward, it’s important to stay abreast of technology innovation,” Hoose says. “These technologies will help you expand your customer base, create more efficient in-house processes, and increase engagement from both customers and staff.”

HSBC Bank USA Launches New Digital Mortgage Solution

HSBC Bank USA, N.A., (HSBC), part of the HSBC Group, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations, today announced that it has launched a digital home lending experience powered by Roostify. The partnership provides customers with a digital solution that is a faster, easier and less stressful loan transaction experience, while enabling HSBC to process and close loans more efficiently with fewer manual touches.


Featured Sponsors:

 


“Digital plays a crucial role in supporting, enabling and driving our ambition of customer experience led growth,” said Raman Muralidharan, Head of Mortgage, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC Bank. “Customers are looking for the same ease-of-use and convenience for large transactions, like financing a home, which they’ve come to expect in other buying experiences. Roostify is able to accelerate our deployment timeframe with a solution that provides a superior experience to our customers and to our mortgage consultants.”


Featured Sponsors:

 


The platform offers a streamlined loan application and fulfillment process for home buyers and owners during a purchase or refinance. Customers are able to submit a loan request online, share documents digitally and securely and track the status of their loan from application through to closing, in real-time. Roostify integrates with HSBC’s loan origination system allowing the Bank’s lending team to more easily transfer information and communicate more effectively with customers, driving quality and efficiency in the loan origination process.


Featured Sponsors:

 


“HSBC has been a great partner in driving innovation to improve their customer experience,” said Rajesh Bhat, CEO and Co-Founder of Roostify. “Information exchange is a vital part of the home buying experience, and it can be a game-changer when done right. This solution provides HSBC’s customers with a modern, improved way of applying for and closing a mortgage and delivers transparency to both the customer and lending team from start to finish, for an optimal experience.”


Featured Sponsors:

 


HSBC Bank USA, National Association (HSBC Bank USA, N.A.) serves customers through retail banking and wealth management, commercial banking, private banking, and global banking and markets segments. It operates bank branches in: California; Connecticut; Washington, D.C.; Florida; Maryland; New Jersey; New York; Pennsylvania; Virginia; and Washington. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. is the principal subsidiary of HSBC USA Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of HSBC North America Holdings Inc. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. is a Member of FDIC. Investment and brokerage services are provided through HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., (Member NYSE/FINRA/SIPC) and insurance products are provided through HSBC Insurance Agency (USA) Inc.

HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide across 66 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. With assets of $2,659bn at 31 March 2019, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.

Growing National Lender Expands In The Midwest

Planet Home Lending, LLC has opened four new branches in the Midwest offering home loans for first-time homebuyers, move-up buyers and real estate investors. The lender also has loan products for borrowers who fall outside the standard credit box, including self-employed business owners, retirees, foreign nationals and people who have had a bankruptcy or foreclosure.


Featured Sponsors:

 


“Planet Home Lending is a great fit for the Midwest because we offer loans homeowners here need, including local down payment assistance programs,” said Planet Home Lending Senior Vice President, Eastern Division Manager Fobby Naghmi. 


Featured Sponsors:

 


Typical buyers face affordability issues, housing inventory shortages and personal challenges, such as high student debt. 

“Planet Home Lending has products and strategies to tackle those challenges,” Naghmi said. “We know how to apply the underwriting rules to consumers’ existing personal finances to give them tailored home loan choices, instead of pushing them into a one-size-fits-all loan.”


Featured Sponsors:

 


The new branches are located in Chicago, Canton, Mich., Cincinnati and Indianapolis. The Chicago branch (NMLS #1859477) is managed by Brian Kedzior (NMLS #1002187). The Canton branch (NMLS # 1868128) includes branch manager Willie McGuire (NMLS #128632) and loan officer assistant (LOA) Noelle Hanna. The Cincinnati branch (NMLS #1834359) is led by area manager John Sanders (NMLS #258473) and branch manager Robert Verne (NMLS #961773). They are joined by mortgage loan originator (MLO) Adrian Sellers (NMLS #18629) and LOA Lauren Turner. Ryan Higley (NMLS #401004) manages the Indianapolis branch (NMLS# 1842751), which includes MLOs Kane Robbins (NMLS #1390273) and Jodona Young (NMLS #20787). 


Featured Sponsors:

 


The new branches are also skilled at helping luxury homebuyers, said Planet Home Lending Executive Vice President, National Sales Mike Lee. “They’re experts in jumbo home loans and lend up to $6 million at competitive rates. They also have jumbo home loans with appealing features, like a no-mortgage insurance option.”

Along with local expertise, Planet Home Lending offers a personal digital mortgage assistant consumers can use to apply via their mobile device to get a home loan from anywhere. Borrowers and real estate agents can track loan progress 24/7, reach out to ask their loan officer questions and submit paperwork electronically to reduce reliance on paper.

Another way Planet Home Lending helps support the environment is through a tree-planting partnership with the National Forest Foundation. In 2019, the company will plant three trees for every loan closed, providing up to 25,000 trees to help restore national forests.

New Event Examines The Impact Of Housing Policy On Mortgage Lending

NEXT Mortgage Events, creator of NEXT women’s executive mortgage summit, and Housing Finance Strategies – a Washington, D.C., advisory firm founded by Faith Schwartz – today announced the launch of #NEXTDC19, which will focus on current policy as well as housing issues that could be impacted by the 2020 election. 


Featured Sponsors:

 


Scheduled for November 18 and 19, 2019, at Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Washington, D.C., #NEXTDC19 is a new mortgage event to bring together Washington policymakers, FinTech luminaries and mortgage lending executives for a dedicated, ongoing conversation on housing policy’s impact on the state of FinTech and mortgage lending.


Featured Sponsors:

 


“Understanding what’s happening in DC and how it affects the business of mortgage lending is critical for executives—and that increases exponentially when elections approach,” said Jeri Yoshida, co-founder of NEXT. “#NEXTDC19 digs into policies and real issues. And with the way NEXT promotes connection and intel exchange, we expect #NEXTDC19 to far exceed the quality of information found at typical conferences.”


Featured Sponsors:

 


“#NEXTDC19 gives industry leaders the opportunity to share their perspectives on the changing landscape for housing policy and technology. There is no better time for that conversation as these are sure to be hot topics in the 2020 election,” said Nicole Booth, Vice President of Public Policy for Detroit-based Quicken Loans – a sponsor of the event.


Featured Sponsors:

 


“With housing gaining prominence as a campaign issue in 2020, I’m confident our speakers at #NEXTDC19 will crystalize the key issues for women executives and all those who seek critical and timely DC knowledge,” said Faith Schwartz, Owner of Housing Finance Strategies, LLC.

Registration and additional information is available at nextdc19.splashthat.com.

STRATMOR: Large Banks Lag Far Behind Competitors In Mortgage Profitability

Large banks lag far behind their independent competitors when it comes to making a profit on retail residential mortgages, according to STRATMOR Group, a leading mortgage advisory firm. That’s one of the key findings from the most recent set of meetings of the PGR: Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and STRATMOR Peer Group Roundtables. Ninety-two lenders participated in seven PGR meetings MBA and STRATMOR held this spring. 


Featured Sponsors:

 


“The trends we noted in the PGR large bank group were consistent with what STRATMOR has found across many of our large bank clients: low revenues, high expenses and trend lines that are moving in the wrong direction,” noted STRATMOR Principal Tom Finnegan in the firm’s just-released June 2019 Insights Report. Specifically, large banks lost $4,803 per retail mortgage loan originated in 2018 compared to large independent lenders which earned on average of $376 per loan.


Featured Sponsors:

 


A number of factors contribute to the large discrepancies in costs and revenue. “Large banks experience a significant disadvantage in the expenses we categorize as ‘corporate administration’,” Finnegan says. “Corporate administration costs amounted to $3,654 per loan in 2018 at the largest banks versus only $1,213 per loan for the large independents – a $2,441 per loan disadvantage for the large banks.”


Featured Sponsors:

 


Finnegan adds: “Portfolio loans, and jumbo loans specifically, are being priced aggressively by the banks, leading to imputed revenue that is lower than might be expected otherwise.” 

He noted that large banks as a group do not focus on FHA and VA lending to the same extent that independents do, and a few have virtually abandoned FHA lending due to the perceived risk of regulatory enforcement actions. “Because FHA and VA loans typically offer the ability to price with wider margins, not participating in this loan segment can also contribute to lower per loan revenue,” according to the report. 


Featured Sponsors:

 


With respect to customer retention, STRATMOR estimates large banks captured only 4 percent of the available mortgage volume from their customer base, compared to 8.1 percent at regional banks. Similarly, large banks recaptured only 12 percent of their own customers who paid off an existing mortgage, compared to a retention rate of 30 percent at the large independents.

Large banks are often slow to react to changes in the marketplace in an industry that is notoriously cyclical. Many are simply not geared toward origination of purchase mortgages, a much more reliable production source than refinances. “When our industry becomes dominated by purchase money mortgages, the large banks’ natural advantage in terms of new loan opportunities dissipates,” Finnegan says. Many bank loan officers are not incented to pursue leads from referral sources outside the bank, such as Realtors.

“The type of loan officer who is attracted to the somewhat less entrepreneurial environment inside a large bank is often not well-suited to compete for external leads,” the STRATMOR report notes. By sharp contrast, “the lifeblood of independent lenders is their aggressive marketing to referral sources,” Finnegan points out. Large bank policies tend to work against this type of personal marketing.

“The legitimate quest for branding consistency and regulatory compliance can get in the way of personalized marketing and rapid response to the needs of the real estate community,” he says. “Moreover, mortgage origination must compete for marketing dollars with other areas of the bank, and often does not come out on top.” 

Despite spending more than four times what their nonbank rivals spend on technology, $1,724 per closed mortgage for the large banks versus only $437 for the large independents, “large banks appear to have great difficulty translating technological expertise and resources into efficient technology support for the mortgage origination business,” STRATMOR added. “Large banks’ IT projects appear to get mired in process considerations and take years to roll out, if they are rolled out at all. Clearly, this is an area that many of the largest banks should review.” 

Finnegan advises large banks that want to remain involved in mortgage need to “operate with an entrepreneurial approach, outstanding marketing and customer focus, and excellent financial reporting on, and management of, the details of the business to achieve acceptable levels of profitability.” 

In a second article in the report, STRATMOR MortgageSAT director Mike Seminari discusses how independent lenders have increased market share in recent years, particularly in purchase business. “One of the biggest reasons for this shift in power has been the independent’s ability to provide an exceptional customer experience, driving referrals from satisfied customers and traditional referrals sources,” according to Seminari. “Whether bank or independent, the ability to improve the customer experience is largely dependent on the right data. Queue the adage ‘You have to find the holes before you can fix the leaks.'” 

Click here to download the June 2019 edition of STRATMOR Insights. 

Weekly Mortgage Applications Decrease

Mortgage applications decreased 3.4 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 14, 2019.


Featured Sponsors:

 


The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 3.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 4 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 4 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 4 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 5 percent compared with the previous week and was 4 percent higher than the same week one year ago.


Featured Sponsors:

 


“After a six-week streak, mortgage rates for 30-year loans increased slightly, which led to a pullback in overall refinance activity,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Borrowers were sensitive to rising rates, but the refinance share of applications was still at its highest level since January 2018, and refinance activity was at its second highest level this year. Government refinances actually increased last week, led by a 17 percent in VA refinance applications, while conventional refinance applications decreased 7 percent.”


Featured Sponsors:

 


Added Kan, “Purchase applications decreased more than 3 percent last week, but were still up almost 4 percent from last year. Strong demand from first-time buyers and low unemployment continue to push this year’s purchase activity above a year ago.”


Featured Sponsors:

 


The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 50.2 percent of total applications from 49.8 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 6.1 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 9.4 percent from 8.9 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 11.9 percent from 11.0 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.5 percent from 0.6 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) increased to 4.14 percent from 4.12 percent, with points increasing to 0.38 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) remained unchanged at 4.04 percent, with points increasing to 0.24 from 0.17 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 4.12 percent from 4.09 percent, with points increasing to 0.44 from 0.26 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.50 percent from 3.53 percent, with points increasing to 0.33 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.45 percent from 3.43 percent, with points decreasing to 0.23 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

Past MBA Chairman Joins Get Credit Healthy Board

Mortgage technology services provider, Get Credit Healthy (a subsidiary of Beta Music Group Inc. OTC PINK: BEMG) has announced that David Kittle, past chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association, and mortgage banking icon, has joined its advisory board. 


Featured Sponsors:

 


Kittle is vice chairman and president of The Mortgage Collaborative, an organization which empowers mortgage lenders by facilitating better ?nancial execution andimproved compliance. He is expected to bring invaluable and unparalleled insight to Get Credit Healthy’s one-of-a-kind ?ntech platform which maximizes the loan opportunity for its mortgage lending partners while assisting mortgage loan applicants by providing personalized assistance and resources to improve their ?nancial well-being.


Featured Sponsors:

 


Kittle began his mortgage-banking career in 1978 with American Fletcher Mortgage Company and built a stellar career in the mortgage banking business over the years. From 2004 through 2010, he served on MBA’s Board of Directors. He is the past chairman of MBA’s political action committee, MORPAC, and former vice chairman of MBA’s Residential Board of Governors. He has also testi?ed fourteen times before Congress and helped the mortgage industry navigate its most tumultuous period in recent memory.


Featured Sponsors:

 


Elizabeth Karwowski, CEO of Get Credit Healthy, says that Kittle’s addition is the latest in the company’s e?orts to become the industry standard for credit health services. “We’re honored to have David join our advisory board. He is among the brightest minds in mortgage banking and ?nancial services and will be an invaluable asset as we continue to experience our signi?cant growth and industry adoption.”


Featured Sponsors:

 


Get Credit Healthy (www.getcredithealthy.com) utilizes its proprietary processes, platform, and software to integrate with lenders to make it easier to recapture leads. Developed for and by those with extensive mortgage industry experience, Get Credit Healthy’s platform has facilitated more than $200 million in new loan opportunities while working to increase its network of partners and is looking forward to a very promising future.

Partnership Provides LOs Real-Time Rate Data

Mortech, a Zillow Group business providing mortgage technology solutions for mortgage lenders and secondary market teams, announced a new integration between Mortech’s product and pricing engine (PPE) and Blend, a Silicon Valley technology company bringing mortgages into the modern age. The integration provides lenders using Blend and Mortech the ability to provide real-time mortgage offers with an online mortgage platform to confidently guide borrowers through the mortgage loan process.


Featured Sponsors:

 


Through the Blend platform, lenders can provide a more transparent online mortgage experience to improve borrower conversion and increase efficiency. With the Mortech integration, lenders using the platform will have more flexibility and control over custom pricing configurations for eligible products returned to consumers using the Blend application. Borrowers will also receive up-to-date mortgage rate offers from lenders through the integrated platform for a more streamlined mortgage application workflow.


Featured Sponsors:

 


“Borrowers shopping for mortgage financing continue to demand a combination of guided online self-service tools with personal and professional support,” said Doug Foral, general manager at Mortech. “Mortech and Blend can better deliver real-time mortgage pricing and investor data to provide direct mortgage products and pricing to borrowers and enable lenders to make borrower-specific loan product decisions.”


Featured Sponsors:

 


“We’re committed to providing the most efficient path toward homeownership, and partnering with mortgage technology leaders like Mortech allows us to deliver on and exceed consumer expectations,” said Brian Martin, Head of Business Development at Blend.


Featured Sponsors:

 


Mortech supplies thousands of mortgage professionals with a number of services and tools, such as all-in-one pricing, rate notification, prospect management tools, custom rate sheets, loan product eligibility and guideline services. Founded in 1987, Mortech is based in Lincoln, Neb. and is owned and operated by Zillow Group, Inc.

Blend makes the process of getting a loan simpler, faster, and safer. With its industry-leading digital lending platform, Blend helps financial institutions like Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank increase productivity and deliver exceptional customer experiences. The company regularly processes nearly $2 billion in loans daily, 

Top Non-QM Securitizer Pushes Volume To Approximately $4 Billion

Verus Mortgage Capital (VMC), a full-service correspondent investor offering residential non-QM, investor rental and fix and flip loan programs, has finalized its 11th rated RMBS (residential mortgage-backed securities) transaction for $609.2 million.


Featured Sponsors:

 


The transaction was comprised of 1,204 loans with an average LTV of 70% and 710 credit score.


Featured Sponsors:

 


To date, Verus is the top non-QM securitizer and for 2019, it has been the largest non-QM issuer with $1.6 billion of collateral across three transactions. This transaction was the investor’s second largest in its history, and raises the company’s overall securitization volume to approximately $4 billion.


Featured Sponsors:

 


“We are excited with the level of activity we’re seeing this year, and we expect strong interest in and demand for non-QM activity to continue throughout the remainder of the year,” said Dane Smith, President of VMC. “We remain dedicated to assisting correspondent originators with growing their businesses with responsible non-QM solutions and are committed to efficiently purchasing quality loans,” Smith added.


Featured Sponsors:

 


Founded in 2015, Verus Mortgage Capital (VMC) is a non-QM correspondent investor backed by Invictus Capital Partners, a leading investment firm. VMC purchases loans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and focuses solely on the non-agency market. It offers correspondent lenders a wide range of home financing products for credit worthy borrowers.

Commercial And Multifamily Mortgage Delinquencies Remain Low

Commercial and multifamily mortgage delinquencies stayed low in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) latest Commercial/Multifamily Delinquency Report.


Featured Sponsors:

 


“Steady U.S. economic growth continues to support the financing and values of commercial and multifamily properties,” said Jamie Woodwell, MBA’s Vice President of Commercial Research & Economics. “Commercial/multifamily mortgage delinquencies remain at or near record lows for most capital sources, and it’s hard to imagine loans performing better than they currently do. Given the environment, there’s little reason to expect a marked deterioration of near-term performance.”


Featured Sponsors:

 


MBA’s quarterly analysis looks at commercial/multifamily delinquency rates for five of the largest investor-groups: commercial banks and thrifts, commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), life insurance companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Together, these groups hold more than 80 percent of the commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding.


Featured Sponsors:

 


Based on the unpaid principal balance (UPB) of loans, delinquency rates for each group at the end of the first quarter were as follows:

  • Banks and thrifts (90 or more days delinquent or in non-accrual): 0.48 percent, unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2018;
  • Life company portfolios (60 or more days delinquent): 0.04 percent, a decrease of 0.01 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2018;
  • Fannie Mae (60 or more days delinquent): 0.07 percent, an increase of 0.01 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2018;
  • Freddie Mac (60 or more days delinquent): 0.03 percent, an increase of 0.02 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2018; and
  • CMBS (30 or more days delinquent or in REO): 2.61 percent, a decrease of 0.16 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2018.

MBA’s analysis incorporates the measures used by each individual investor group to track the performance of their loans. Because each investor group tracks delinquencies in its own way, delinquency rates are not comparable from one group to another.


Featured Sponsors:

 


Construction and development loans are generally not included in the numbers presented in MBA’s report, but are included in many regulatory definitions of ‘commercial real estate,’ despite the fact they are often backed by single-family residential development projects rather than by office buildings, apartment buildings, shopping centers, or other income-producing properties. The FDIC delinquency rates for bank and thrift held mortgages reported here do include loans backed by owner-occupied commercial properties