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Lender Looks For Quicker LOS Deployment

Washington Trust Bank, the oldest and largest privately held commercial bank in the Northwest, went live on Empower, Black Knight’s loan origination system (LOS). Washington Trust Bank leveraged the Empower Now! implementation model – a quicker and more cost-effective deployment approach designed specifically for mid-tier financial institutions. 


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“Washington Trust Bank is now using Empower to support our organization’s growth strategy,” said Shane Patnoi, vice president of consumer lending for Washington Trust Bank. “Replacing our legacy technology with Black Knight’s system will provide advanced functionality, system scalability and flexible configuration to increase the effectiveness of our expanding lending efforts.”


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The Empower Now! implementation model gives lenders a base set of capabilities from Empower, which have been pre-configured based on the industry’s most common lending practices. Lenders can then add functionality and additional components, enabling them to remain on the same LOS as their business grows, and to adjust system parameters to meet their specific compliance needs.


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Empower is a comprehensive LOS used by many of the nation’s top lenders to electronically capture, process, underwrite and close loans in support of their retail, wholesale, consumer direct, correspondent and home equity channels. Empower also provides Web APIs for easy access to data and documents, which are needed to provide consumers with a digital user experience. By selecting the Empower Now! model, lenders such as Washington Trust Bank receive the same Empower functionality and integrations, but the system can be implemented in a reduced timeline and at a lower cost.


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              “We are pleased to support Washington Trust Bank with advanced origination capabilities that will scale as the bank’s loan volume increases,” said Rich Gagliano, president, Black Knight Origination Technologies. “With an accelerated implementation timeline and a cost structure that aligns with mid-market lenders’ needs, Washington Trust Bank will be able to quickly and cost-effectively take advantage of Empower’s ability to help the bank’s customers buy new homes and refinance existing mortgages.”

Black Knight Adds New Digital Framework

LoanSphere Empower, a loan origination system (LOS) from Black Knight Financial Services, Inc., now features a new, easy-to-use Representational State Transfer Application Program Interface (REST API) framework that enables lenders to provide digital capabilities to consumers and loan officers with the ability to interact with Empower data and other LOS capabilities from internet-enabled devices, such as tablets, smartphones or laptops, without needing to directly access the LOS. This framework enables lenders to perform many functions from their digital devices:

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>> Read, add or update data within the LOS

>> Perform various operations, such as uploading borrower information to the Empower system to create a loan application file

>> Request credit or trigger other third-party services

>> View loan documents

>> Check the loan application’s status and outstanding loan conditions

“Going digital is the future of the mortgage industry,” said Jerry Halbrook, president of Black Knight’s Origination Technologies and Enterprise Business Intelligence divisions. “By seamlessly integrating this innovative interface with our Empower LOS technology, Black Knight is helping lenders transform the consumer experience and facilitating easier access to leading system resources and data.”

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Empower’s LOS data and its various capabilities, such as pricing and document management, are now available to the lender’s digital platforms through the use of APIs that support interoperability between web-based computer systems, and form the backbone of any digital mortgage strategy. These APIs are integrated in Empower, which allows lenders to leverage all the controls they have established in the LOS, rather than setting up and managing controls separately. Clients can choose to access APIs developed by Black Knight or request Black Knight to configure the lenders’ APIs specifically for their unique needs.

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“Incorporating the REST API technology into Empower is the first step in our digital strategy to help our clients deliver a digitized loan origination process,” Halbrook added. “We are leveraging digital technology to benefit both lenders and consumers with a simpler, more transparent loan process that can be completed significantly faster at less cost.”

Empower’s digital interface capability is complemented by other Black Knight value-added offerings included in the LOS. With Empower, lenders can gain access to Black Knight’s Data & Analytics, Data Hub and Motivity Solutions, which provide comprehensive business intelligence and near real-time access to information from multiple data sources to help forecast and monitor performance. Empower also includes e-delivery and e-signing capabilities, as well as integrations to Black Knight’s LoanSphere Exchange, offering access to the largest online network of settlement service providers in the U.S.; Black Knight’s comprehensive public records database; borrower asset and income information; and digital technology, without the need for separate “toolkits.”

Additionally, lenders can take advantage of Empower’s seamless integration with Black Knight’s LoanSphere MSP servicing platform, used to service more than 30 million active loans for many of the nation’s largest financial institutions and is scalable to any size portfolio.

Small And Midtier Lenders Get Another LOS Option

Black Knight Financial Services made headlines last week with a new program geared to give small and midtier lenders a new LOS option. In my conversation with Black Knight they wanted to clarify some incorrect reporting that happened elsewhere indicating that they are offering a new LOS to small and midtier lenders. Black Knight believes that this new strategy will be even more impactful. Here’s the details:

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Black Knight is offering LoanSphere Empower Now!, a version of Empower, the company’s LOS that will enable regional and mid-market lenders, as well as independent mortgage bankers, to reap the benefits of the full Empower LOS with a greatly streamlined implementation process, resulting in reduced timelines and cost.

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“The program that we’ve created is a way to bring the power of Empower to the midtier and small lender market,” said Jerry Halbrook, president of Black Knight’s Origination Technologies division. “We preconfigured Empower based on best practices for small and midtier lenders so we can offer it at a better price point. We’ve been testing this with several clients and we are ready to take it to market.”

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Empower Now! enables lenders to implement Empower functionality, which has been configured based on the industry’s most common lending practices. Lenders can then add configurations and additional feature functionality, which will allow them to remain on the same system as their business grows, and to adjust system parameters to meet their specific compliance needs.

Additionally, Empower Now! is seamlessly integrated with Black Knight’s LoanSphere MSP servicing platform, which is leveraged directly by approximately 70 servicers that represent hundreds of other lenders and financial institutions throughout the country. Black Knight is targeting lenders that do as little as 400 to as many as 2,000 loans a month. When asked about the implementation timeframe, Halbrook confirmed that the implementation will take an average of four months and an additional two months of testing. In contrast, most LOS companies that cater to this market tout implementations as quick as 30 days.

Similarly, other companies like Dorado, Framework, Palisades and others have tried to take an enterprise-level LOS and scale it back to make it more accessible to the small and midtier lender. Those efforts have failed.

So, how will what Black Knight is proposing now buck this trend? “Those companies did code changes to make that work, and in doing so, had to manage different code,” answered Halbrook. “All Empower clients run on the same code, so we can offer maximum configuration. Also, none of those companies had the power of Black Knight. We have business intelligence, e-signing, data management, etc. to provide all of our lenders, so we offer a lot more value end to end.”

Black Knight also thinks that this will solve a big industry problem, namely the pain that lenders have to go through when they grow out of their LOS. As the small and midtier lenders on Empower Now! grow they can turn on added features and functions without having to switch their LOS every few years. This surely is a big announcement. We at PROGRESS in Lending wish every vendor well. We want to promote innovation and automation in any way that we can. We’ll be sure to keep you informed about how the industry responds to Empower Now! in the coming days and months ahead.

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Integration Delivers TRID-Compliant loan Estimate

Closing Corp, a provider of closing cost data and technology for the mortgage and real estate services industries, announced today that its Loan Estimate Module is now available through Empower, Black Knight Financial Services’ loan origination system (LOS). The Loan Estimate Module currently provides users with access to RESPA-compliant data, audit trails and a data guarantee for the Good Faith Estimate (GFE). Beginning with the CFPB’s revised go-live date of Oct. 3, the module will be able to provide validated fee information to populate the new Loan Estimate (LE) mandated by the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule.

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ClosingCorp provides fully managed, vendor-verified rates and fees from nearly 20,000 unique real estate service providers covering every geographic area in the nation in addition to its proprietary data asset for accurate recording fees and transfer taxes. The integration of ClosingCorp’s Loan Estimate Module within the Empower LOS will incorporate client-specific business rules to deliver correct fees in each estimate and immediately notify loan officers when transfer tax or recording fees are scheduled to change. This integration will enable loan officers to enhance their regulatory readiness and provide consumers with accurate and comprehensive information about the total cost of the transaction. It also provides a complete audit trail and an enhanced ClosingCorp Guarantee.

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“While many lenders and their network of settlement providers have wisely invested in improved collaboration tools, there is still much to consider. To be truly ‘TRID-Ready’ you need to be able to verify the upfront accuracy of the fees that are being quoted, and those upfront fees need to be in sync with the fee logic used to create the final Closing Disclosure, or you run the risk of being out of tolerance and causing delays at the closing table,” said Brian Benson, chief executive officer at ClosingCorp. “It is increasingly difficult for lenders to do that on their own, or to expect settlement providers to navigate this for them. Lenders need focused resources, like ClosingCorp, to capture, verify, standardize and guarantee this information in the proper form for it to be consumed. Due to its high market share, the integration with the Empower LOS was extremely important because it provides more loan officers with the market’s most accurate rates and fees available in the appropriate form to support TRID compliance.”

“ClosingCorp and Black Knight are dedicated to providing solutions that help streamline the loan closing process and support a better overall experience between lenders and settlement agents,” said Richard Gagliano, managing director of origination solutions for the Black Knight Origination Technologies division. “Not only will this support our clients’ TRID initiatives, but it will also help improve operational efficiencies and control.”

Market Analysis: LPS Acquires Another LOS

*LPS Acquires Another LOS*
**By Tony Garritano**

***I know that you thought we might get a break from big news until at least after the holiday, but you would be wrong. Hugh Harris, President and CEO at LPS notified staff that the industry giant has acquired yet another loan origination system. LPS currently offers its Empower LOS and recently acquired Web-based LOS PCLender. Now LPS is adding to its LOS holdings yet again. Here’s the scoop:

****Harris said:

****“I am pleased to announce that LPS has recently acquired LendingSpace, a technology company that offers an end-to-end mortgage loan origination software system supporting lead generation through secondary marketing for all mortgage markets, including correspondent lending. The addition of LendingSpace enhances LPS’s position as a leading technology and services provider delivering a comprehensive suite of solutions to support the entire lending process.

****“The LendingSpace technology platform will be offered in addition to LPS’ two existing loan origination systems: Empower, which is used by mortgage lenders with complex system configuration and customization needs; and PCLender, which is used by mortgage lenders, credit unions and community banks that leverage more standardized technologies.

****“The LendingSpace platform, as well as LPS’ other origination systems, will also incorporate LPS’ Loan Quality Gateway to assist originators with their loan quality requirements.

****“The addition of LendingSpace’s robust capabilities expands the number of innovative origination solutions we can offer lenders. We evaluated a number of lending platforms and LendingSpace best provided the scalability needed to expand our product suite. More importantly, LPS and LendingSpace share a common commitment to excellence, integrity and customer dedication.”

****I guess you can never have enough LOS offerings these days. No sales price was disclosed as yet. There you have it my friends, another bit of LOS acquisition breaking news for you to chew on as you enjoy your 4th of July.