Lenders One Launches Complete eClosing Solution For Members

Lenders One Cooperative, a national alliance of independent mortgage bankers, has launched Lenders One eClosing by DocMagic, a complete eClosing solution for borrowers, lenders and investors. The eClosing solution provides an entirely paperless workflow that integrates every component of the closing process and guides users through each step.

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Launched for Lenders One members at the Lenders One Summer Conference in Salt Lake City, Lenders One eClosing by DocMagic is evidence that eMortgages and eClosings are no longer a future-state vision. When using the solution, the average loan closing “at the table” can be reduced from 60 minutes to 15 minutes, helping to dramatically improve the borrower experience.

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The solution includes the following features:

>> Integrated with all of the major LOS platforms to generate e-enabled documents.

>> An embedded compliance engine that automatically audits documents and data against applicable industry laws and regulations to help ensure compliance throughout the loan lifecycle.

>> eNotary technology for in-person electronic notarization or remote online notarization where permissible.

>> The ability to deliver a MISMO SMARTDoc eNote with direct connectivity to the MERS eRegistry.

>> A secure, certified eVault which provides long-term storage and eDelivery to warehouse banks and investors and features a date-stamped and time-stamped audit trail to help show proof of compliance at all times.

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“Our eClosing technology puts Lenders One members at the forefront of the eMortgage evolution, a sought after capability made possible through our collaboration with DocMagic,” said Michael Kuentz, CEO of Lenders One. “Importantly, the eClosing solution incorporates feedback received from our members and service providers, helping ensure we address their needs. Our comprehensive eClosing solution provides our members with options to choose full eClose or hybrid eSign/ink-sign workflows. The technology adapts to the lender’s production environment and compresses the overall timeline to loan sale, generating material savings for lenders facing historically high loan production costs.”

“Effective implementation of eClosing begins with a well-defined eMortgage strategy, and by working in concert with Lenders One, we are helping originators set up their eClosing production lines at a pace, and in a manner, that is consistent with their overall business goals,” said Dominic Iannitti, President and CEO of DocMagic. “The deep working relationships that Lenders One has established with its members are critical, and through our combined strength we are accelerating the eMortgage journey for progressive lenders nationwide.”

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Lenders One Names Michael Kuentz CEO

Lenders One Cooperative, a national alliance of independent  mortgage bankers, announced that Michael Kuentz has been promoted to the role of Chief Executive Officer of Lenders One by its Board of Directors. Mr. Kuentz previously held the title of President. In his new role, he will assume responsibility for Lenders One’s day-to-day operations and strategic execution as well as continue to lead and manage the cooperative’s sales effort.

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“Michael and I have worked closely over these past two years and I could not be more pleased with his promotion,” said Bryan Binder, Lenders One’s outgoing CEO. “The state of our cooperative is extremely strong, and our value proposition and opportunity set are both as attractive as they have been in many years. This strength combined with our incredibly talented management team gives me great confidence that the future of the cooperative has never been brighter and the timing is right for Michael to take the helm.”

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“As independent mortgage bankers in today’s environment, it is essential to come together, collaborate on innovation, share resources and reduce expenses,” added . “of independent mortgage bankers and the market leader in innovation, Lenders One is always looking for new ways to deliver value to our members. I am highly confident that Michael will continue to be a strong leader both for Lenders One and across the mortgage industry.”

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Mr. Kuentz has 20 years of sales and management experience in the mortgage industry and, since joining the cooperative two years ago, has led the Lenders One sales team. During this period, Lenders One has seen exceptional growth, and Mr. Kuentz has played an integral role in helping to deliver creative solutions for the cooperative’s members, preferred vendors and investors.

Prior to joining Lenders One, Mr. Kuentz served in senior roles for Equifax, Inc. (NYSE: EFX), including Senior Vice President of Verification Services and Senior Vice President of Mortgage Services. Mr. Kuentz joined Equifax in 2001 as part of its acquisition of Rapid Reporting where he was a partner.

Lenders Weigh In On The Importance Of Efficient Mortgage Technology

Lenders One polled participants at its annual Summer Conference on their use of technology and their expectations for the market in the year ahead. As most phases of mortgage lending are increasingly being automated and conducted through online platforms, information security and data protection have become a central concern for the industry. Three-fourths of respondents (74 percent) indicated that they are very concerned about the protection of customers’ personally identifiable information during the mortgage originations and trading processes, even though this survey was conducted before the recent, major security breach at one of the largest credit reporting agencies became public. However, despite the potential data privacy challenges associated with some technology offerings, members recognized that innovative new platforms have the potential to significantly optimize efficiency and streamline processes.

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The Growing Importance of Technology for Efficiency and Enhancing the Customer Experience

The need and desire for expanded technology use was evident among the mortgage bankers surveyed. The majority (56 percent) said that improving operational efficiencies was the most influential catalyst for investing in new technologies, followed by offering a better customer experience (26 percent). Technology is also positively impacting traditional mortgage trading processes with more than half (53 percent) of the respondents identifying streamlining workflow as one aspect of the current process that could be most enhanced by a technology platform.

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“Mortgage professionals today realize the need for technology to drive efficiency, reduce the cost per loan and streamline daily tasks and interactions with customers,” said Michael Kuentz, President of Lenders One. “At the same time, there is rising concern regarding privacy protection as lenders increasingly integrate technology into traditional processes. As a cooperative, our focus has been on developing solutions that provide both efficiency and security, such as noteXchange, a trading platform developed with our members to streamline trading and help protect borrower data.”

Attracting and Retaining Talent

As the mortgage industry evolves and adapts to new technologies and regulations, lenders are investing in developing their employees. Of the respondents, 42 percent noted that professional development and training was the most important step their company is taking to attract and retain talent.

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“One of the most critical challenges our members face is recruiting and training talent who can carry their businesses into the future,” said Kuentz. “Robust training programs are critical, and we are seeing great success in pilots with our members to explore new methods for attracting talent from outside of the industry by identifying the key traits needed to thrive in a digitally driven mortgage environment.”

Market Outlook

When asked to forecast how the real estate market will look in 2018 and whether it will be a buyers’ or a sellers’ market, the majority of respondents anticipate that 2018 will again be a sellers’ market:

>>Modest sellers’ market (46 percent)

>>Heavy sellers’ market (25 percent)

>>Modest buyers’ market (17 percent)

>>Heavy buyers’ market (8 percent)

>>Undecided (4 percent)

When asked which factor will have the greatest impact on the mortgage industry’s growth in 2018, nearly half (47 percent) of respondents chose potentially higher interest rates, followed by continued increases in home values (18 percent) and innovation in banks’ menu of mortgage products (17 percent).

Survey Methodology 

The survey had 78 participants and was conducted at the Lenders One 2017 Summer Conference held in August. Respondents consisted of Lenders One members.

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Lenders One Touts Member And Preferred Provider Growth

The Lenders One Cooperative, a national alliance of independent mortgage bankers, has kicked off its annual Summer Conference in Minneapolis, MN. The cooperative will celebrate its continued strong growth and participate in education sessions, keynotes and networking events designed to help members discover new opportunities in a changing market.

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Already the nation’s largest mortgage cooperative, Lenders One has welcomed the addition of 13 new members, four new vendors and four new preferred investors since the beginning of the year. The cooperative most recently celebrated the addition of two notable preferred secondary providers:

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Mortgage Capital Trading, Inc. (MCT)is a capital markets-focused risk management and advisory services company providing independent analysis, training, hedging strategy and loan sale execution support to clients engaged in the secondary mortgage market. Since 2001, MCT has grown from a pipeline hedging services specialist into a fully integrated provider of capital markets services and software for lenders at every stage of growth. Lenders One members will receive discounted pricing on selected services. In addition, MCT is committed to integrating with noteXchange and working closely with Lenders One members and the cooperative’s preferred investors to bring even more efficiencies and productivity lift to the bulk trading market.

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Planet Home Lending, LLC is a full-service, multi-state lender providing its customers a wide variety of loan products, including 203(k)s and FHA manufactured home loans, with a non-QM, alternative doc program for self-employed business owners and jumbo products coming soon. Consistently ranked in the top four for price on ICON for best effort, Planet Home Lending gives Lenders One members an assigned sales and service representative delivering personalized service plus access to state-of-the-art technology and a seasoned management team.

“We are thrilled with the momentum our cooperative has achieved,” said Bryan Binder, chief executive officer of Lenders One. “As we continue to grow in size and market presence, our team is committed to delivering value to our members through our many networking and educational opportunities as well as innovative technology offerings. We can see that our progress and industry-leading services are resonating with our members as the attendance at this Summer Conference is up over 30 percent from last summer.”

Over the past three conferences, Lenders One has announced the strategic addition of new technologies to help benefit our members, including Vendorly and noteXchange. At this year’s Summer Conference, Lenders One will launch additional noteXchange capabilities as well as preview a new cutting-edge eClosing ‘in a box’ offering as well as a continued focus on digitalization to prepare mortgage bankers for the future of the industry.

Lenders Are Optimistic About Trump

A large majority of lenders surveyed (73 percent) believe the new administration’s policies will have a positive impact on the lending environment, according to the 2017 Lenders One Mortgage Barometer, a survey of 200 mortgage lending professionals.

“Despite some industry concerns over rising interest rates, lenders are optimistic about the potential for a more flexible regulatory environment in 2017 and beyond,” said Bryan Binder, chief executive officer of Lenders One.

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Lenders are also ready to make investments in their organizations’ business operations. In fact, 42 percent of lenders indicate their biggest investment is in operational changes (hiring new staff, compliance support and software support), and 25 percent of lenders surveyed say they are currently making the greatest investment in marketing. While these investments are necessary for the industry to keep pace with consumer demand, they may also be driving up the cost per loan, with 65 percent of respondents indicating that the cost per loan will continue to increase.

Regulations Don’t Weigh Quite as Heavy on Lenders in 2017

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Lenders are ready for new regulatory requirements, such as updates to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), with two-thirds (65 percent) indicating they are very prepared for HMDA changes. Yet, the biggest HMDA compliance challenge for lenders is around additional resources needed to report transactional data, such as home equity lines of credit (HELOC) and dwelling secured loans for apartments. While lenders are investing in staff and technology, about one-third (32 percent) of them cite challenges with securing additional resources to report, connect and analyze transactional data.

E-closings See Broad Adoption a Decade after Their Inception

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Though 39 percent of lenders report they are not using electronic closings (e-closings) on mortgage loans, a third of those respondents expect their organizations to implement e-closings in one to two years, on average. The majority (61 percent), however, say their organization has implemented e-closings while seasoned lenders — those in the business for 10 or more years — are the predominant category of lenders utilizing them (67 percent).

Survey Methodology 

The Lenders One Mortgage Barometer was conducted online among a random sample of 200 mortgage lenders. Fieldwork was conducted by independent research firm Ebiquity between January 4 and 14, 2017. The margin of error associated with the sample of n=200 is +/- 6.9 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

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LendersOne Endorses Optimal Blue

The Lenders One Mortgage Cooperative, a national alliance of community mortgage bankers, correspondent lenders and suppliers of mortgage products and services, recently announced the selection of Optimal Blue as a new preferred vendor. Optimal Blue, a cloud-based provider of enterprise lending solutions to the mortgage industry, provides mortgage banks, community banks and credit unions the ability to navigate the complex mortgage process from capital markets, to consumers, and back.

“Lenders One is focused on delivering opportunities for our members to be innovative in the communities they originate in and with the borrowers they serve. Optimal Blue fulfills that with its highly-regarded suite of technology offerings that’s been proven to simplify the origination process for borrowers and help attract more customers,” said Jeff McGuiness, CEO of Lenders One.

Optimal Blue offers a suite of innovative services that help mortgage banks, credit unions and community banks improve efficiencies, manage compliance, reach consumers and boost secondary market performance. Consumers are looking for a new approach to the lending process according to recent study from PwC’s Experience Radar research group, which found that more than one-fourth of consumers (28%) are looking for a purely online mortgage experience. Meeting that demand is the cloud-based eOriginations platform that extends the simplification of mortgage originations to consumers through an online mortgage application experience, providing transparency and greatly reducing the time and effort required from prospective borrowers.

“Optimal Blue’s innovative technology greatly improves a lender’s ability to originate compliant mortgages efficiently, and to engage consumers who are increasingly interested in applying for mortgages online,” said Larry Huff, Co-CEO of Optimal Blue. “We look forward to working with Lenders One to help its members become more efficient, competitive, profitable, and equipped for success in today’s evolving mortgage origination market.”

What Do Loan Officers Really Think?

Lenders One has released the results of a new national survey on loan officer retention conducted by Majestic Consulting. According to the survey results, productive loan officers are willing to leave higher paying positions to move to a company where management has a firm grasp on fulfillment and business development. Findings from the survey were unveiled at the Lenders One 2014 Summer Member Conference in Nashville today. More than 450 independent mortgage bankers, investors and vendors are attending the conference.

“The assumption that loan officers always leave for a better compensation structure somewhere else is false,” Tom Ward, CEO of Majestic Consulting told Lenders One members during one of the educational sessions at the conference. “Issues like a short-term missed closing have a phenomenally long-term impact on a loan officer’s book of business and can be just as or more important than compensation to a decision to change employment. The shift from a less-time sensitive refi, to an intricately coordinated purchase transaction exposes a lot of inefficiency in the process. Now there is a real deadline, the ‘I have a borrower with their belongings in a truck and nowhere to go’ deadline. If you miss that deadline, that borrower is unlikely to come back, and that Realtor is unlikely to refer again.”

The survey of randomly selected loan officers from around the country identified three consistent reasons loan officers leave a company:

>> The lender cannot close loans on time, putting stress on the loan officer’s relationships and destroying borrower and referral agent confidence;

>> Leadership has not updated their perspective on, nor do they provide sufficient training or support for pursuing new purchase business; and

>> A lack of confidence that the leadership team understands, anticipates and is prepared for market and industry changes.

“Loan officer retention is a critical business issue we hear about time and time again from our members,” commented Jeff McGuiness, CEO of Lenders One. “This survey highlights the importance leaders must place on both the manufacturing process and their service teams so that both are in synch. Production efficiency and quality are directly related to sales and service efficiency and quality, regardless of the market cycle. A holistic approach is crucial to ensure stability and reduce disruptive turnover in the long run.”

The survey also found that it takes almost seven months from the time a loan officer decides to leave a company and when it actually happens, Ward said. “That’s a remarkable amount of loyalty,” he commented. “What’s more, we found that the company that may initially start loan officers thinking about leaving is not usually the company they end up joining.”

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New Vendors Get The Lenders One Endorsement

Lenders One was established in 2000 as a national alliance of independent mortgage bankers, correspondent lenders and suppliers of mortgage products and services. Members of the St. Louis-based platform originated more than $224 billion in mortgages in 2013; collectively ranking as one of the largest retail mortgage origination entities in the U.S. So, when the group names new technology vendors to its preferred list, it’s a big deal. The two most recent additions include:

To help its members respond to the changing digital preferences of homebuyers, Lenders One has added Easy Mortgage Apps and The Turning Point to its approved vendor list. The announcement was made to members at the recent biannual conference.

“We know homebuyers today are going online to research information about homes, home values and mortgage information,” said Jeff McGuiness, CEO of Lenders One. “The best-in-class technology solutions offered on our vendor platform enable our members to take advantage of the anytime, anywhere nature of the modern sales cycle.”

Easy Mortgage Apps allows loan officers to better serve consumers and real estate agents. With the private-label software, loan officers, borrowers and real estate agents can track an application status, communicate with all relevant parties and securely share time sensitive data from any mobile device. “Leveraging technology to make the home lending process more efficient and transparent is how we got started,” said Michael Kelleher, founder and executive vice president of Easy Mortgage Apps. “Our goal is to deliver a mobile-centric solution to minimize latency while improving efficiency and productivity, which aligns perfectly with the Lenders One mission.”

The Turning Point’s MACH3 is a robust marketing automation platform that digitally connects companies, loan officers, their clients and referral sources. The Turning Point’s compliant, easy-to-use, turnkey platform helps maximize the potential of loan officers and mortgage customers, delivering measurable improvements in sales and productivity.

“The Turning Point is delighted to help bring a holistic, compliant, technology-driven marketing solution to the Lenders One membership,” commented Brandon Perry, president of The Turning Point. “When applied in a thoughtful manner, data-driven marketing can have enormous impact on growth in any market cycle. We are delighted to offer our MACH3 platform and expertise to the membership of Lenders One.”

“With the increased prevalence of technology in our day-to-day lives, lenders must keep up and deliver content and services to clients in their preferred format,” McGuiness concluded. “Lenders One is committed to ensuring that the scope of our member benefits are relevant in every environment.”

Good Lenders Are Breaking Through

You hear a lot about shrinking origination volume these days. But for good lenders, success isn’t determined by market conditions, it happens regardless of market conditions. For example, Lenders One, a national alliance of community mortgage bankers, correspondent lenders and suppliers of mortgage products and services, collectively originated $224 billion in loan volume for 2013. This represents a 22 percent increase from the previous year and nearly 14 percent of the total U.S. origination volume.

“Despite the market correction that began last summer, our members continue to see market share increases,” said Jeff McGuiness, CEO of Lenders One. “The lenders that planned for change are successfully navigating the purchase market and adapting to the new regulations, while protecting their margins. They selected partners and programs from the Lenders One platform that flexed with their business volume and product needs.”

Part of that success is attributed to the lender members’ access to multiple preferred investor relationships, including six preferred investors that joined the cooperative in 2013:

>> 360 Mortgage Group

>> Homeward Residential Capital

>> Liberty Home Equity Solutions, Inc.

>> New Penn Financial

>> Weststar Mortgage Corp.

>> Prospect Mortgage

“Lenders One is committed to using the collective negotiating power of the cooperative to deliver the resources and benefits that help our members continue to succeed, regardless of market cycle,” concluded McGuiness.

Lenders One ( was established in 2000 as a national alliance of independent mortgage bankers, correspondent lenders and suppliers of mortgage products and services. Members of the St. Louis-based platform originated more than $224 billion in mortgages in 2013; collectively ranking as one of the largest retail mortgage origination entities in the U.S. Lenders One, nearly 275 lender members strong, is managed by a subsidiary of Altisource Portfolio Solutions, S.A.

Lenders One Goes Even Further

*Lenders One Goes Even Further*
**By Tony Garritano**

***We have to help each other. Why not look out for your fellow lender? When you can, you should. And some are. For example, Lenders One Mortgage Cooperative, a national alliance of community mortgage bankers, correspondent lenders and suppliers of mortgage products and services, has introduced its first Origination Services Bundle product to its members. The new Origination Services Bundle is specifically designed to facilitate more efficient retail loan production.

****Working with select partners and Altisource, the initial Origination Services Bundle will include appraisal, flood certification, fraud report and Internal Revenue Service 4506T services provided at a discount compared to ordering them individually. The bundled services will be delivered via a custom portal powered by REALTrans, Altisource’s patented order management platform. The portal enables seamless, single-source ordering, tracking, messaging and fulfillment, which helps simplify the complex process of originating a residential home loan.

****“Lenders One strives to deliver products and services that improve our members’ performance,” said Jeff McGuiness, CEO of Lenders One. “By leveraging Lenders One’s buying power, as well as the patented technology and scope of Altisource services, we are in a unique position to deliver meaningful product cost savings and loan processing efficiencies for our members.”

****“The bundle includes services that we were already ordering; however, through the bundle we were able to save money,” said Greg Grojean, Lenders One member and group senior vice president of Home State Bank, N.A. located outside of Chicago. “We started using the bundle because we realized we could pass on the cost savings we received to our borrowers. This gives us a competitive edge in the marketplace as consumers are looking to work with lenders that are willing to go the extra mile for them.”