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Asking The Tough Questions

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As market conditions shift, lenders are concerned about how they comply with new rules, how they attract younger borrowers, how they increase efficiency, how they remain competitive, etc. The best solution, according to Brian Koss, EVP of Mortgage Network, is to stick with what you know.

“Knowing your core customers, your core states, your core products and your core markets is important,” he said. “You need to eliminate as many variables and create constants. You can’t be everything to everybody. You have to stay true to your mission.”

This strategy has helped Mortgage Network thrive. The lender has again been honored by two state housing agencies for its commitment to providing affordable financing options to qualified first-time and low- and moderate-income borrowers.

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) recently announced that Mortgage Network had the fourth highest loan volume under the agency’s affordable mortgage program in 2015, up from sixth last year. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, Mortgage Network was the top producing lender of affordable mortgage products under the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (MassHousing) in both Hamden and Hampshire counties. Last year, Mortgage Network was the third top producing lender of MassHousing loans in the state.

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The best way to do effective lending these days is to do quality control as close to the point-of-sale as possible. “Once you’re in, you’re locked in,” noted Koss. “Quality control should be done at the point of quote. That’s hard because there are a lot of variables. Writing as much information up front is best. You want to build a better questionnaire for the borrower. Lenders that involve the consumer more and do more upfront have been the most successful.”

Based in Danvers, Massachusetts, Mortgage Network provides mortgage banking services in more than 20 states through a wide variety of retail offices built to fit each local market. Mortgage Network is more focused and agile than many larger competitors, which allows the company to provide a high level of service to its customers and its business and referral partners.

“Growth for growth’s sake is filled with risk,” noted Koss. “It’s hard to create a strong national platform. We’ve become a local business again. You have to have strong processes and systems to ensure that mistakes are not made.

“We are pure retail so we are consumer driven. It’s all about the local loan officer and their customers. We get great ideas from asking customers what they thought. If you are willing to ask and listen, you will get pearls of wisdom,” concluded Koss.

“Lenders are going to have to increasingly turn automation,” added Ann D. Fulmer, a senior industry advisor for FormFree Holdings. “Everything has to be documented, and the only way to do that is with technology. As much as can be automated, should be automated.

“One of the wild cards is how the disparate impact will be applied. You have to have processes that are in place, and you have to show that they are being applied to everybody the same. Lawyers are waiting to get their hands on data that could show if different products or processes are being used in different areas, among certain populations.”

FormFree is a provider of automated asset verifications for banks and mortgage lenders. A nationally recognized fraud expert, Fulmer is a former assistant D.A. in DeKalb County, Georgia, where she supervised investigations of white collar crimes, including real estate and mortgage fraud. Fulmer is also a speaker, author and thought leader in the areas of data integrity, regulatory compliance and mortgage risk detection and prevention. Most recently, she served as vice president of industry relations and strategy for Interthinx.

Fulmer warns that, “if a lender is only doing post closing quality control, you are spending a lot of time collecting mistakes instead of catching the mistakes early. If you are not looking at the quality control findings, you can’t go back and make sure that you are correcting these mistakes.

“In the end, it’s hard to integrate staff and systems, though. You have to make sure that everyone has the right regulatory training and the right systems. When growth happens through acquisition you always have these issues, for example.”

The secret is to never take your eye off of the consumer experience. “The biggest thing that lenders can do for consumers is to make things easy,” Fulmer said. “Mobile lending is amazing. I just purchased a home and it was mostly electronic and easy. Consumers don’t want to submit pages and pages of documentation. The trend toward mobile banking and e-mortgages is happening. The future is now.”

A lot of this responsibility falls on the LOS as the system of record. Lenders have to be smart about the LOS that they choose. “Our customers do best when they isolate their processes and document a loan consistently,” noted Lionel Urban, CEO, founding partner and chairman of the board for LOS PCLender, LLC. “There should be business logic to take care of all the steps and ensure that the steps are done. The market is unforgiving.”

One reason why the market is so unforgiving is because of the increased regulation and the pressure to comply. “The problem is that the regulations are interpreted differently. If you can’t define the regulation, you can’t define a process to address that regulation. There has to be a cure for that loan that is out of compliance, but beyond that, there has to be a cure for the process, as well,” Urban pointed out.

Prior to founding PCLender, LLC, Urban was a co-founder and CEO of Navigator Lending Solutions, Inc. (NavPros), a fulfilment services company specializing in mortgage banking services. Preceding NavPros, Lionel was the co-founder, president and CEO of PCLender.com, Inc. from 1997 to 2011.

During this time, he supervised the development of a pioneering, Internet-based mortgage technology platform supporting banks, credit unions and mortgage companies across the country. Since 1987, Lionel has acquired vast mortgage banking experience in management, origination, operations, secondary marketing and compliance roles within banks, credit unions, and independent mortgage bankers.

But in the end it all comes down to the type of people that you employ. “Mortgage executives have much to consider as they seek to grow profitability through expansion strategies,” pointed out Rick Glass, CEO of Rick Glass Executive Search. “Identifying executive leadership talent in unfamiliar geographic areas is never easy, so top management should be prepared to conduct substantial research to develop a list of the best candidates. This can, of course, take a great deal of time and effort that can distract from the everyday decisions of running a mortgage business. But taking the path of least resistance and hiring without the proper research, contact strategy, value proposition and vetting assessment can have far more serious effects and place the company at risk.

“Additionally, lenders are discovering that leading younger sales forces is quite different from leading older mortgage professionals, so the skill set for leaders is evolving rapidly. The younger Millennial group comes with different priorities, different motivators and different requirements for job satisfaction. Finding them, hiring them and succeeding with them requires leadership who truly “get” Millennials. Senior leadership must truly understand this new generation of the shared economy, with their vastly more sophisticated communications standards, notably with mobile devices, the latest apps and social media.”

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Lenders Look To Simplify The Mortgage Process

Efficiency is the name of the game as the cost to originate increases and we settle into a mainly purchase market. So, proactive lenders are looking to technology to simplify the mortgage process. For example, AmeriSave Mortgage Corp. has integrated FormFree’s AccountChek into its mortgage origination platform. AccountChek is the first, patented solution to be accepted by government-sponsored enterprises to provide lenders with automated verification of asset accounts.

Using data acquired directly from a borrower’s financial institution, AccountChek verifies account ownership, balances and deposits as well as analyzing the data to alert lenders to for possible fraud and irregularities. Eliminating the need for borrowers to submit paper documents averts the errors that can occur when data is manually entered into a loan origination system and eliminates forged or fabricated financial information. “Our goal is to ensure that the information we receive is safe and secure. Implementing AccountChek into our loan origination platform helps us continue to maintain accurate, protected and verified information,” said Dave Ryan, Executive Vice President of Operations, AmeriSave.

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AmeriSave is leveraging services provided by FormFree to improve the customer experience by eliminating the need to collect, copy and submit financial statements in order to qualify for a mortgage. “Ensuring exceptional customer service in a timely fashion is a priority at AmeriSave. AccountChek allows us to better facilitate the needs of our customers by offering secure and accurate verification of their assets,” said Ed Abufaris, President, AmeriSave.

“Data integrity is critical to making quality, compliant lending decisions,” said Brent Chandler, CEO and Founder of FormFree. “AccountChek provides an unprecedented level of data validation that improves efficiencies and empowers our customers to meet today’s stringent investor and regulatory demands for assurance that borrowers can afford to repay their loans.”

Industry Hot Topics

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I usually discuss a given topic that’s in the news or top of mind for me each month, but this month I want to switch it up a bit. Why just talk about one topic when there are so many topics to tackle.

For example, regulatory risk is a chief concern today in terms of both compliance and the increasing cost of compliance cutting into profit margins. So, what one or two compliance issues that are most important today? Are there other compliance risks that lenders should be aware of or preparing for?

“As a marketing company, we see a lot of concerns. There is defragmentation in mortgage marketing,” said Mary Beth Doyle, co-founder of LoyaltyExpress. “CFPB is coming down hard on what can be said, it’s getting heavily controlled. However, it is difficult for organizations to get streamlined so they are compliant.”

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LoyaltyExpress is a one of the nation’s largest providers of marketing automation and cloud-based CRM solutions for mortgage companies and banks. The company’s solutions enable lenders to automate marketing campaigns and easily manage customer, partner and recruiting data, while streamlining marketing activities, such as email, direct mail, print and gift fulfillment. This integrated approach enhances compliance by eliminating the need to share sensitive customer data with multiple vendors while ensuring that loan officers only use preapproved marketing materials that comply with regulatory guidelines.

“When we talk about the cost of compliance, there has been a psychology to recruit the a-team and let them go at it,” noted Doyle. “So, it’s a cultural change when the CFPB now places constrains. Having the controls in the system to keep communication automated and consistent is critical.”

Marketing isn’t the only sector to be impacted by skyrocketing regulation, the appraisal sector has been impacted, as well. “The regulations and compliance issues around appraising have skyrocketed,” said Jeffrey J. Bradford, founder and CEO of Bradford Technologies, Inc. “For example, the term ‘desirable’ can’t be used by an appraiser anymore because that’s subjective. There is a reliance on data and being factual. The fear of being sued or having to buyback a loan is amazing and it’s causing a lot of money to go toward appraising.”

Bradford Technologies is an innovator of valuation tools and solutions for residential appraisers. The company pioneered computer-aided appraising, was the first to incorporate statistical support in both mainstream and alternative valuation products, and currently provides one of the most adopted technologies for residential appraisers. AppraisalWorld, the company’s online appraiser community with over 20,000 members provides services focused on building trust and reliability in the appraisal industry.

The answer to maintaining compliance is consistency and accuracy, according to Ann D. Fulmer, a senior industry advisor for FormFree Holdings. “We hear a lot that loan officers are resistant to technological change that would protect the lender, but limit them. Another consideration down the road, to the extent that LOs are loosey-goosy, you open yourself up to fair lending issues. You have to defend yourself and your decision-making when you approved that loan.

“So, ask yourself: Are your decision-making processes consistent? Just because you can show that what you did was an industry standard, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be sued. The biggest risk to the industry is the lack of clarity around the new CFPB rules. Until the CFPB gets clear about what it expects and how they are going to enforce those rules, it’s paralyzing.”

“From a TPO standpoint, the paranoia ratchets up because you have to know who you’re doing business with,” added Gregory J. Schroeder, president of Comergence Compliance Monitoring, LLC. “If you are a small- to medium-sized lender you are in a crosshair because what do you do? You have to ensure compliance without destroying your profit margin. The CFPB has not targeted the smaller lenders yet, but it is coming.”

Comergence Compliance Monitoring, LLC, is a SaaS provider of vendor management solutions, currently focused on third-party originator and appraiser risk. Comergence provides lenders and appraisal management companies with tools that review and continually monitor registered mortgage loan originators and appraisers.

In the midst of all this change it’s important to assess and re-assess how you as a lender are handling this change. “Lenders are trying to do everything at once,” said Fulmer. “The CFPB was intended to protect consumers, but they are actually hurting consumers because there’s a lot of confusion.”

Doyle added that “there are state guidelines as well as federal guidelines to deal with. So, there’s a lot of interpretation to be done for sure. There’s such panic and intensity around compliance. You need to have a full audit trail to at least prove that you are trying to comply. And of course the consumer is hurt because these organizations are so paralyzed by how to interpret the new rules.”

Compliance aside, another hot topic is appealing to Millennials to both enter the mortgage industry as workers and homebuyers alike. “I have a daughter that is a Millennial, shared Bradford. “She wants to work for an employer that is having a social impact. They care about the climate, the world and the environment. There used be 2,000 appraiser trainees, now we only see a few hundred. You now have to have a college degree and many hours of experience to be an appraiser, which makes it economically unfeasible for people to get into the appraisal industry.”

In addition to Millennials turning their back on becoming an appraiser or loan officer, they’re also increasingly turning their back to homebuying, as well. So, how should the industry behave to get this group of people to want to buy a home?

“The challenge is really providing a program to help these young people get into a home given that they are already carrying so much debt in the form of student loans,” answered Doyle.

“I don’t think you can entice these guys to buy a home,” pointed out Bradford. “They want to be mobile and live in the trendiest places. If you could refinance their student loans it might entice them to do other loans with you.”

As we can all see, lenders are facing a number of challenges, but there’s one area that gets less attention than it should: oversight of third-party relationships and vendor management. “Recent regulations driven by Dodd-Frank have made managing these relationships even more critical,” reported Schroeder. “Lenders aren’t just being held legally accountable for their own actions, but for the actions of all the third parties with whom they do business. That includes not just third-party originators but other parties as well, including appraisers and software providers. We’re also seeing that originators are facing demands for more information and documentation each time they decide to apply to a new wholesaler.

“In addition, lenders that allow borrowers to shop for third-party settlement services have legal responsibility under the CFPB’s new regs in case those providers do harm,” continued Schroeder. “It’s clear that mortgage lenders must have an effective process in place for managing their service providers. But how do you keep track of what your vendors are doing in a cost-effective manner while staying focused on your own business? It can be an overwhelming task.”

So, how does the lender stay ahead of all of these issue? Many see the answer in artificial intelligence and smart technology. Let me leave you with this thought: Technology will never replace a human, but if programmed well, it can standardize the process and increase accuracy and efficiency all at the same time.

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Background Check Experts Partner With The Mortgage Industry

Private Eyes Inc., which provides income verifications for lenders and background checks for employers worldwide, will help its clients close loans faster and more securely through a strategic partnership with FormFree Holdings Corporation, a provider of automated asset verifications in the mortgage industry.

Private Eyes will be a reseller of FormFree’s AccountChek automated asset verification solution, the first and only patented verification of deposits and assets (VODA) solution accepted by the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). When borrowers apply for loans, AccountChek verifies the borrower’s financial statements electronically with the borrower’s banks, without anyone having to produce paper copies of bank statements.

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“FormFree stands alone as the only borrower verification provider capable of telling a borrower’s entire financial story in minutes,” said Sandra James, president of Private Eyes, Inc. “Our partnership with FormFree will help our clients achieve enormous advantages in savings and efficiency. We look forward to a long and successful partnership.”

“Automated verifications are revolutionizing the mortgage industry, and lenders that aren’t using them are being increasingly exposed to unnecessary costs and borrower misbehaviors,” said Brent Chandler, Founder and CEO of FormFree. “We’re delighted to partner with Private Eyes to help lenders stay compliant with recent federal ability-to-repay rules while doing their jobs faster, easier and more profitably.”

AccountChek is a web-based platform that enables users to order, analyze, and certify an individual’s bank statement data electronically, rather than requiring the borrower to produce paper copies of bank statements. By pulling information about a borrower’s assets straight from each financial institution, lenders can verify an applicant’s deposits and assets in minutes instead of days, resulting in faster and safer lending decisions.

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Because AccountChek eliminates paper bank statements, it significantly reduces buyback exposure and mortgage scams while saving money. “Lenders that cling to paper-based processes, such as accepting scanned bank statements from borrowers, are totally exposed to one of the biggest loopholes for mortgage fraud,” Chandler said. “On the other hand, fake bank statements are impossible with AccountChek because we get our data straight from the source-the banks. There’s no paper.”

Since 2012, AccountChek has verified assets for more than $25 billion in loans, of which $20 billion have been in the past year alone. AccountChek is now extending its patent portfolio to include income, employment, and identity verifications, continuing to lead the digital evolution of lending.

Private Eyes, which is based in Walnut Creek, California, provides background checks on employees for companies across the country as well as income and asset verifications to lenders. The company’s 4506-Transcripts service assists mortgage lenders and Small Business Administration lenders obtain income verifications, usually within 24 to 48 hours.

Industry Vet Joins FormFree

FormFree Holdings Corporation, a provider of automated asset verifications for banks and mortgage lenders, announced that Jay Meadows, a pioneer in borrower verifications for the mortgage industry, has joined the company’s board of directors.

An eminent fraud expert, Meadows is responsible for several key innovations that are in widespread use by mortgage lenders today. As founder of Rapid Reporting Verification Company, a provider of borrower income verifications for lenders that was later acquired by Equifax, Meadows worked with the IRS to reduce the lengthy process of retrieving borrowers’ tax transcripts from two weeks to just 24 hours. Rapid Reporting was also the first company to authenticate the identities of mortgage borrowers against the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) database, eliminating another avenue for potential fraud.

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“Given his many industry accomplishments and expertise in our particular market, Jay is a perfect fit to serve on our board,” said Brent Chandler, founder and CEO of FormFree. “Jay is not only a proven innovator in the area of borrower verifications, he knows what it takes to build industry adoption of technology. His experience and guidance will be invaluable to our future success.”

FormFree’s flagship technology, AccountChek, is the first and only patented automated verification of assets and deposits (VODA) solution for mortgage lenders that is accepted by government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). AccountChek collects data directly from virtually any financial institution and generates reports in just minutes, creating enormous time savings in the mortgage origination process while eliminating the need for borrowers to submit paper bank statements.

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“Very few technology companies have the potential to change an entire industry. FormFree is one of them,” said Meadows. “When coupled with other proven products, AccountChek is a much broader tool than income verification because of the extraordinary wealth of asset and income data that it collects, analyzes and delivers. Most importantly, it virtually eliminates the potential for fraud in the borrower approval process. I’m a big believer in FormFree’s mission to make lending a faster, safer and more confident experience for everybody.”

Integration Speaks To Mobile Lending Trends

FormFree Holdings Corporation, a provider of automated asset verifications for the mortgage industry, has successfully launched the integration of its flagship product, AccountChek, with Easy Mortgage Apps. The integration enables loan officers and underwriters to verify mortgage applicants’ financial asset data through mobile devices, allowing for a more streamlined lending process for customers.

AccountChek is a web-based platform that empowers users to order, analyze, and certify a borrower’s bank statement data electronically, rather than borrowers having to produce paper documents. By pulling data directly from the financial institution, loan officers and underwriters can verify the applicant’s deposits and assets in minutes instead of days. The result is a report that makes lending decisions easier and more secure.

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By partnering with Easy Mortgage Apps, lenders will now be able to use AccountChek securely through a mobile device.

“Easy Mortgage Apps looks forward to partnering with FormFree to offer consumers a mobile-centric and more efficient way to instantly provide integral banking documentation,” said Michael Kelleher, president and founder of Easy Mortgage Apps. “The result is a streamlined lending process.”

“This relationship demonstrates our promise to offer new technologies and services designed to enhance the experience and allow our clients to effectively market to the millennial home buyer’s behaviors,” Kelleher added. “These potential home buyers require efficient, real time and on-demand access to their loan file. With seamless tracking, quick updates and real-time communication, this will be the kind of mortgage application process millennials will appreciate.”

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“This partnership further illustrates our involvement in the digital evolution of lending,” Brent Chandler, FormFree’s CEO, said. “I am excited to be working with Michael and his team to deliver an entirely mobile solution for lenders to more quickly and securely verify their loan applicants’ bank statements digitally.”

“Consumers are more comfortable than ever using their mobile devices for everything from communication to conducting sophisticated transactions,” Chandler said. “This integration allows everyone to move through the loan process faster while enabling lenders to make better credit decisions.”

By eliminating the need for paper bank statements, AccountChek also helps significantly reduce buyback exposure and fraud, while also providing lenders with an easy solution for complying with new “ability-to-pay” rules. The underlying technology behind AccountChek was awarded a U.S. patent in 2014 for its proprietary process of electronic certification of a borrower’s bank account data.

Lender Turns To Vendor To Do Asset Verification

New Penn Financial, a nationwide mortgage lender licensed to do business in 48 states, will join the ranks of over 200 other lenders, including one of the top 10, by using FormFree’s AccountChek automated asset verification solution to verify the financial statements of its mortgage applicants. Here’s why:

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AccountChek, the first and only patented automated verification of deposits and assets (VODA) solution accepted by the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), replaces the need for borrowers to submit paper bank statements that show they have the financial resources to qualify for a mortgage. AccountChek is used by thousands of mortgage loan officers, underwriters and processors to collect data directly from virtually any financial institution and generate reports in just minutes, creating enormous time savings for both borrowers and lenders.

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By eliminating the need for paper bank statements, AccountChek also helps significantly reduce buyback exposure and fraud, while also providing lenders with an easy solution for complying with new “ability-to-pay” rules.

“We are anxious to use FormFree’s AccountChek solution,” said Jerry Schiano, president and chief executive officer of New Penn Financial. “We will now be able to verify our applicants’ bank statements digitally, rather than on paper, which will enable us to improve our customer service as well as get more accurate information faster.”

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New Alliance Forms

FormFree Holdings Corp., a provider of automated deposit and asset verifications, says that its AccountChek solution has been integrated with MeridianLink, an  application service provider for the financial services industry and a provider of Web-based systems for credit reports, online consumer lending and new deposit accounts. As a result of the integration, lenders that use MeridianLink’s services will be able to order, analyze and certify a borrower’s bank assets in just minutes while eliminating falsified bank statements, one of the primary causes of mortgage fraud.

MeridianLink services are available through all major loan origination systems (LOS), which are used daily to create mortgages that are sold to consumers. As a result, more lenders than ever will have access to AccountChek, the patented and award-winning technology that replaces the need for borrowers to submit paper bank statements to show they have the financial resources to qualify for a mortgage.

“The ability to verify a borrower’s assets quickly and electronically is the future of mortgage lending,” said Douglas M. Glagola, vice president of business development for MeridianLink. “When it comes to paperless bank verifications, we’re thrilled to provide our clients with access to the industry’s leading solution in AccountChek.”

“MeridianLink is one of the financial services industry’s most widely respected developers, renowned for its expertise and support,” said Brent Chandler, founder and CEO of FormFree. “By integrating our patented AccountChek solution with MeridianLink, we’re delighted to bring paperless asset verifications to more lenders while making the lending experience that much easier for today’s borrowers.”

AccountChek is available under the “Employment/ID/Verifications” section of MortgageCreditLin, MeridianLink’s Web-based credit reporting system that allows lenders to access a merged credit report using data from the three major credit bureaus within 10 seconds. AccountChek is also being sold alongside other MeridianLink services.

AccountChek collects data directly from virtually any financial institution and generates reports in just minutes, creating enormous time savings for both borrowers and lenders. By eliminating the need for paper bank statements, AccountChek also helps significantly reduce buyback exposure and fraud, while also providing lenders with an easy solution for complying with new “ability-to-pay” rules. Earlier this year, the underlying technology behind AccountChek was awarded a U.S. patent for its propriety process of electronic certification of a borrower’s bank account data.

A Critical Integration

FormFree Holdings Corp., a provider of automated asset verifications, announced that its award-winning, patented solution, AccountChek, is now available through Ellie Mae’s Encompass® mortgage management solution. The integration between the two solutions enables Encompass users to order, analyze and certify a borrower’s electronic bank statement data. Here’s why this matters:

The result of this integration is the industry’s first digital “Asset Report” that enables lenders to quickly verify borrower’s assets and perform a number of rich analytics, which significantly reduce the time required to originate loans. In addition, the AccountChek solution virtually eliminates one of the major issues in lending – bank statement fraud.

“We’re pleased to partner with FormFree and offer our clients another efficient way to verify borrower bank statement data through the Ellie Mae Network in Encompass,” said Joe Tyrrell, senior vice president of corporate strategy for Ellie Mae.

“This partnership is a huge step forward for automated asset verifications, paperless loans, and the industry as a whole, since roughly one in five mortgage loans goes through Encompass,” said Brent Chandler, founder and CEO of FormFree. “Partnerships like this can have a real impact on moving the mortgage industry into the digital age and to leverage the leading technologies in the field.”

Ellie Mae is a provider of on-demand software solutions and services for the residential mortgage industry. Ellie Mae’s all-in-one Encompass solution provides one system of record that enables banks, credit unions and mortgage lenders to originate and fund mortgages and improve compliance, loan quality and efficiency.

Kevin Conlon, COO at Mason McDuffie Mortgage Corporation, stated “We are delighted to be using AccountChek, which provides a much needed technology solution to a previously outdated process. The AccountChek integration with Ellie Mae’s Encompass will allow us to ensure bank account authenticity and increase originations by automating the collection, verification and analysis of borrower accounts.”

AccountChek Verification of Deposits & Assets can be found in Encompass under the Order Verification services tab.

AccountChek, FormFree’s flagship, patent-protected asset verification solution, helps lenders of all sizes eliminate fraud while removing the need for borrowers to supply paper bank statements to get a loan. AccountChek collects data directly from virtually any financial institution and generates reports in just minutes, creating enormous time savings for both the borrower and the lender. By eliminating the need for paper bank statements, AccountChek also helps significantly reduce buyback exposure and fraud, while also providing lenders with an easy solution for complying with new “ability-to-pay” rules.

In June, FormFree was awarded a U.S. patent for its propriety process for electronic certification of a borrower’s bank account data.

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An Innovator Stands Out

Innovation should be valued, recognized and encouraged. Our industry needs more innovation. So, when innovation does happen, we at PROGRESS in Lending are quick to tell you about it. In this case, The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) issued Atlanta, GA-based FormFree Holdings Corporation U.S. patent #8,762,243 for AccountChek, an automated asset verification system for the lending industry. By using FormFree’s patented AccountChek system, lenders and consumers can instantly authorize and share critical borrower information essential for closing loans on any device.

This patent formally acknowledges FormFree’s proprietary process for electronic certification of financial account data and protects the revolutionary technology used in AccountChek. FormFree’s flagship asset verification solution helps lenders of all sizes eliminate fraud while removing the need for borrowers to supply paper bank statements to receive a mortgage or other type of loan.

In collaboration with leading lenders and government sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, AccountChek collects data directly from virtually any financial institution and generates reports in just minutes, creating enormous time savings for both the borrower and the lender. By avoiding paper bank statements and using only the highest industry security standards, AccountChek helps lenders eliminate fraud, significantly reduces buyback costs, and makes it easy for lenders to comply with new “ability-to-pay” rules.

Brent Chandler, CEO of FormFree, stated, “The lending industry has shifted dramatically since the 2008 financial crisis.  In the last six months alone, we have witnessed some of the most significant new regulations the financial services industry has ever seen. As a result, the move towards digital lending is unstoppable. AccountChek helps lenders meet new federal regulations that require them to use stronger borrower verification processes in the hopes of avoiding another crisis. The patent further validates and protects AccountChek as we approach widespread adoption and industry acceptance.”

Recently, FormFree was the recipient of Mortgage Technology magazine’s “Fix-It” Award, and was a category winner in HousingWire magazine’s 2014 HW TECH100 list of the most innovative technology companies in the housing industry. FormFree was also named a top innovation by the PROGRESS in Lending Association for transforming the method of verifying a borrower’s assets into a paperless process.

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