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Higher Rates Did Not Deter Millennials

Summer temperatures and higher rates appeared to have little effect on the Millennial homebuying market, according to August data from the Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker. Conventional loans remained steady at 64 percent of all closed loans by this generation, while FHA mortgages stayed at 32 percent—a market share they have held since June. The average loan amount for loans closed by Millennial borrowers in August of 2017 was $185,919, a slight increase from August 2016’s average $184,113, despite the average 30-year note rate having increased to 4.211 percent from 3.706 percent last year.

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In August 2017, the average Millennial primary borrower was a 29.4-year-old who took out a Conventional loan of $185,919 to purchase a home with an average appraised value of $223,882. This average homebuyer had a FICO score of 724, which helped them get a 30-year note rate of 4.211 percent, and they closed on their home in 44 days. The majority (64 percent) of primary borrowers were male. Additionally, more than half (52 percent) of borrowers were married.

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On the West coast, the average Millennial borrower was slightly older, at 30.6 years old, taking out a loan of $314,579 on average. Average loan amounts were lower in the Midwest, with homebuyers of age 29.5 closing loans averaging $158,584 in Kansas, for example. In Hawaii, borrowers of 31.4 years took out loans averaging $396,766.

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Overall, Millennials were most likely to close loans for the purpose of purchasing a home (87 percent). Refinances accounted for 12 percent of loans closed by Millennials in August.

“Average loan amounts in August of this year were slightly higher than last year, despite higher interest rates,” said Joe Tyrrell, executive vice president of corporate strategy for Ellie Mae. “As tends to happen with tight inventories, this is a seller’s market, and many of today’s homebuyers may be faced with paying a premium for the same home they might have bought for less last year. For those who are committed to buying a home, though, slight increases in competition, costs or interest rates will likely not deter them.”

Other key findings from the August 2017 Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker include:

The top five markets where Millennial borrowers represented the highest percentage of homebuyers in August were Lima, Ohio, Batavia, N.Y., Dyersburg, Tenn., Roswell, N.M., and Kendallville, Ind.

Female homebuyers increased their purchase power, with closed loans in August averaging $189,574, up significantly year-over-year from $184,094. Males took a slightly smaller jump, averaging $196,246 in August 2017, versus $194,913 last year.

The metropolitan region with the largest percentage of female homebuyers (63 percent) was Mankato, Minn., with an average loan amount of $136,597 and average borrower FICO score of 723.

Males made up 60 percent of the Millennial market in Lima, Ohio, with loans averaging $86,845 and averaging borrower FICO scores coming in at 725.

The Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker is an interactive online tool that provides access to up-to-date demographic data about this new generation of homebuyers. It mines data from a robust sampling of approximately 80 percent of all closed mortgages dating back to 2014 that were initiated on Ellie Mae’s Encompass all-in-one mortgage management solution.

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Robots In Mortgages

When you think of robots, what comes to mind? Many of us picture human-like machines such as Robby the Robot, C-3PO and R2D2, or even the robotic vacuum cleaners that are prevalent today. But not many of us are quite as aware of software robotics that are emerging, helping to automate business processes. It has been said that robots are the future of mortgage automation. Specifically, robotic process automation (RPA) software tools are helping with efficiency throughout the lending lifecycle.

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Robots were created to eliminate the human operator, saving on labor costs. Another benefit is the speed at which systems can be deployed. In some cases, these “bots”, as they are known, can be deployed via configuration tools without any additional programming. This decreases overall time to market for new automation and it becomes more of a business-enabled event to make changes versus an IT-event that goes through rigorous change processes and deployment cycles. A number of players in the market offer chatbots and virtual agents to interact with humans.

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And what if we could accurately predict when a specific loan needed an additional fraud check based on certain parameters? With newer RPA tools, specific, repeatable processes like QC and appraisal ordering can be automated even further than they are today. Many systems have had rules engines and automated service orders for quite some time. RPA can leverage disparate and unstructured data sources to determine proactive process changes for a specific loan scenario. Ultimately, overall error rates can be brought to zero with any task that would leverage RPA.

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Machine learning techniques in conjunction with RPA, workflow management and load balancing can all become much more sophisticated as well. SLAs can be monitored in real time and adjusted accordingly for a given situation, thereby reflecting the complexity and size of any given task. Today, in most cases, a person has to change the SLA for a given work item manually. Using RPA, your knowledge workers can focus on more strategic items and only deal with the loan cases that require exception handling according to the loan parameters.

Another key area that RPA can be used for is the whole concept of RegTech. With constant changes to laws, guidelines, and rulings, and data that exists across multiple, disparate systems, RPA can ensure that customer, property, and other key data is available at the right place at the right time. In fact, data from origination, servicing, and core banking platforms along with data from other non-traditional sources like social platforms can help refine risk models to apply in a given situation and ensure full compliance with all applicable laws.

I’ll leave you with one final thought. PWC estimates that up to 38% of existing U.S. jobs are susceptible to AI and RPA by the early 2030s, but the nature of what humans do will change versus their roles disappearing altogether. RPA provides a level of automation that few companies have experienced as of yet. It allows lenders to become much more predictive and proactive to customers’ needs and wants via anticipatory models versus reactive as is the case in a number of operations today. Instead of replacing humans, RPA allows more focus on customer experience enhancements and strategic changes, improving the overall lending experience while gaining huge efficiencies and cost savings.

About The Author

Joey McDuffee

Joey McDuffee is director at Wipro Gallagher Solutions, a Wipro Ltd. company (NYSE:WIT), which is a provider of end-to-end technology products and services for mortgage, consumer, and commercial lenders in the United States and abroad. WGS’ technology products include its flagship NetOxygen Loan Origination Systems (LOS) and mobile lending technologies. For more information about Wipro Gallagher Solutions, visit the company’s website at www.wiprogallagher.com.

Parsing The Data

While STRATMOR has always been a strong proponent of lenders using internal performance data to manage and improve their performance, according to senior partner Dr. Matt Lind, it is only by comparing peer-to-peer performance, i.e., benchmarking, that lenders will gain the most accurate and useful assessment of their competitive performance.

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“Mortgage lenders have utilized virtually the same metrics to assess performance for the past 30 years,” said Lind. “Considering how dramatically our market has changed during this time, STRATMOR felt it necessary to enhance the way lenders can measure performance versus peers. The result is a new approach, one based on a substantial lender-level data that enables lenders to place the efficacy of their operations in the context of peer performance on the same characteristics.”

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Lenders can apply STRATMOR’s new method for benchmarking production or servicing performance to virtually any traditional performance metric, from direct production margin and direct origination expense per loan to loans serviced per servicing FTE and more.

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“With common benchmarking comparisons, lenders are only able to make comparisons to the averages,” Lind continued. “This leads to statements like: ‘My direct retail origination expense per loan is $200 less than average,’ but with our new method, lenders can now determine how a value measures up or down in terms of standard deviations from the mean. The new method enables lenders to better judge performance, which is reflected in statements such as: ‘My direct retail origination expense per loan is equal to or better than 62 percent of lenders.’ The understanding gathered from statements like the latter are much more meaningful to our clients than the understanding derived from internal comparisons alone. The bottom line is that it is significantly more valuable for lenders to be able to measure against peers, rather than to simply measure against internal metrics.”

STRATMOR also details select findings from its 2016 LOS Technology Insight Survey (TIS), specifically, lenders’ opinions on the efficacy of functionality in their respective Loan Origination Systems (LOS). Less than 25 percent of lender participants indicated that the compliance tools in their LOS were ‘Highly Effective’ and afforded them a competitive advantage. Between 40 and 50 percent of participant lenders rated their LOS’ compliance functionality as ‘Adequately Effective.’

Additionally, STRATMOR’s TIS findings show ‘Lead Generation/Management’ as the lowest rated functionality. Only four percent of lender participants stated that their LOS provided ‘Highly Effective’ lead generation capabilities. ‘eSignature’ and ‘Product/Price/Eligibility Decision Engine’ capabilities were also among the lowest rated for effective functionality. A continued lack of functionality satisfaction in these important capability areas will most likely drive lenders to seek alternatives.

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Less Than 25% Of Lenders Rate LOS Compliance Functionality ‘Highly Effective’

STRATMOR Group released the September edition of its STRATMOR Insights report, with a focus on the company’s approach to measuring lender performance. While STRATMOR has always been a strong proponent of lenders using internal performance data to manage and improve their performance, according to senior partner Dr. Matt Lind, it is only by comparing peer-to-peer performance, i.e., benchmarking, that lenders will gain the most accurate and useful assessment of their competitive performance.

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“Mortgage lenders have utilized virtually the same metrics to assess performance for the past 30 years,” said Lind. “Considering how dramatically our market has changed during this time, STRATMOR felt it necessary to enhance the way lenders can measure performance versus peers. The result is a new approach, one based on a substantial lender-level data that enables lenders to place the efficacy of their operations in the context of peer performance on the same characteristics.”

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Lenders can apply STRATMOR’s new method for benchmarking production or servicing performance to virtually any traditional performance metric, from direct production margin and direct origination expense per loan to loans serviced per servicing FTE and more.

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“With common benchmarking comparisons, lenders are only able to make comparisons to the averages,” Lind continued. “This leads to statements like: ‘My direct retail origination expense per loan is $200 less than average,’ but with our new method, lenders can now determine how a value measures up or down in terms of standard deviations from the mean. The new method enables lenders to better judge performance, which is reflected in statements such as: ‘My direct retail origination expense per loan is equal to or better than 62 percent of lenders.’ The understanding gathered from statements like the latter are much more meaningful to our clients than the understanding derived from internal comparisons alone. The bottom line is that it is significantly more valuable for lenders to be able to measure against peers, rather than to simply measure against internal metrics.”

This month STRATMOR also details select findings from its 2016 LOS Technology Insight Survey (TIS), specifically, lenders’ opinions on the efficacy of functionality in their respective Loan Origination Systems (LOS). Less than 25 percent of lender participants indicated that the compliance tools in their LOS were ‘Highly Effective’ and afforded them a competitive advantage. Between 40 and 50 percent of participant lenders rated their LOS’ compliance functionality as ‘Adequately Effective.’

Additionally, STRATMOR’s TIS findings show ‘Lead Generation/Management’ as the lowest rated functionality. Only four percent of lender participants stated that their LOS provided ‘Highly Effective’ lead generation capabilities. ‘eSignature’ and ‘Product/Price/Eligibility Decision Engine’ capabilities were also among the lowest rated for effective functionality. A continued lack of functionality satisfaction in these important capability areas will most likely drive lenders to seek alternatives.

Joe Langner Moves To Blue Sage

Joe Langner, a mortgage technology veteran and former COO at Ellie Mae, has been named CEO of Blue Sage, developers of the mortgage industry’s first browser-based, end-to-end digital lending platform. Langner will be responsible for implementing the company’s strategic vision and establishing Blue Sage as the industry’s platform of choice for lenders seeking to provide every borrower a fast, efficient and unique mortgage experience.

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Langner has more than 25 years of executive experience in the financial services and software industries. A former COO, executive vice president and chief sales officer at Ellie Mae, Langner played a significant role in Ellie Mae’s initial public offering and helped transform Encompass, the company’s loan origination software (LOS), into an industry leader. Most recently, he served as president of PC Lender, a provider of SAAS mortgage lending solutions. Langner’s previous roles include general manager and executive vice president for Sage Inc., a leading, global ERP & CRM provider, and senior vice president at Dun & Bradstreet, where he oversaw the expansion of the company’s brand into the small business market.

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Blue Sage is a complete end-to-end digital lending platform built with the mortgage consumer experience in mind. A browser-based system with consumer-facing desktop and mobile applications, Blue Sage handles product pricing, underwriting and decision-making from the point-of-sale stage all the way to the closing and funding of the loan. Blue Sage enables direct lenders, retail lenders, wholesale lenders and correspondent lenders to increase capture rates, lower costs, ensure compliance and differentiate themselves by creating a modern, digital consumer experience.

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“Given Blue Sage’s recent growth, we needed a veteran mortgage technology leader who understood the challenges today’s lenders face and the demands of today’s mortgage consumer,” said Carmine Cacciavillani, founder and chairman of Blue Sage. “Joe has superior knowledge of the mortgage lending landscape and has successfully helped countless lenders adopt technology to improve efficiency and compliance. I can think of no one more equipped to take Blue Sage to the next level and revolutionize the way mortgages are produced.”

“Today’s mortgage lenders are at a crossroads, as very few are equipped with the type of all-in-one technology that allows them to truly give consumers the borrowing experience they are seeking,” said Langner. “Blue Sage has literally reinvented mortgage production, allowing borrowers and lenders to seamlessly collaborate and create a fast, intuitive digital mortgage process.  I joined Blue Sage because I know what lenders need from a technology solution, and Blue Sage is it.”

Refinances Remain Steady With Slight Uptick In Interest Rates

The percentage of refinances remained steady at 35 percent of total loans, despite a slight uptick in interest rates according to the August Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae. Additionally, overall closing rates climbed to 71.7 percent, the highest since January of 2017 and up from 70.6 percent in July.

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“As the summer season drew to a close, refinances held steady at 35 percent of all closed loans coupled with a slight increase in interest rates to 4.27, up from the 2017 low of 4.25 in July,” said Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae.

Other statistics of note in August included:

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>>The percentage breakdown of all closed loans remained steady for the third consecutive month with conventional loans representing 64 percent of all closed loans, FHA loans representing 22 percent of all closed loans, and VA loans representing 10 percent of all closed loans.

>>While the average FICO score on all closed loans remained steady at 724 in August, average FICO scores for FHA refinances increased three points to 649. The average FICO score for conventional purchase loans decreased to 752 in August and FICO scores for VA refinances increased two points to 702, up from 700 in July.

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>>Closing time for all loans fell to 42 days in August. Time to close a refinance decreased to 41 days, down from 42 days the month prior. Time to close a purchase loan remained at 43 days in August.

The Origination Insight Report mines data from a robust sampling of approximately 80 percent of all mortgage applications that were initiated on the Encompass all-in-one mortgage management solution.

In addition to the Origination Insight Report, Ellie Mae also distributes data from its monthly Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker on the first Wednesday of each month. The Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker focuses on mortgage applications submitted by borrowers born between the years 1980 and 1999.

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

StreamLoan Integrates Mobile-First Digital Application With LOS

LendingQB (LQB), a provider of lean lending loan origination software in collaboration with San Francisco-based StreamLoan, the mobile-first Point-of-Sale (POS) platform, have come to market with a new solution to provide lenders with a fully automated digital system, creating a best-in-class lender, borrower, and real estate agent experience.

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As a result of this integration, borrowers, loan officers, lender support teams, and real estate agents are empowered to start and manage a 1003 application and loan file, automate the collection of financial documents, share the financial needs list and underwriting conditions, review, approve, and push documents directly into LQB, and collaborate using chat in real-time across mobile and desktop platforms – driving speed, education, communication, and accuracy into the home purchase process.

There are many “mobile friendly” applications on the market, however they fall short in delivering the native mobile app experience customers expect and demand. StreamLoan offers native iOS and Android while delivering a responsive web to cover desktop, laptop, and tablet users.

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This is a first-of-its-kind integration between an LOS and a POS. “Pronto by StreamLoan addresses the emotional friction created in the home buying process with a higher level of communication and transparency with our borrowers,” said Jason Madiedo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alterra Home Loans. “Our loan officers & their teams can now service their clients with Pronto, while utilizing the full potential of LQB.  This integration allows us to get back to the human side of lending, which is what our industry has been waiting for.  It would have required us licensing products from several software vendors, integrating them, to even come close to what the StreamLoan platform delivers.”

“Lenders must deliver the best customer experience to compete.  Further, our customers can close more loans in less time with fewer resources,” said Stephen Bulfer, CEO and co-founder of StreamLoan.  “There is a reason the average cost of manufacturing a mortgage is almost $8800 today.  Through our partnership with LendingQB, lenders gain efficiencies in their lending processes, create consistent processes, and are equipped to grow their business,” Bulfer continued.

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LQB’s platform provides mortgage lenders with a holistic model for optimizing business performance. The core LendingQB LOS is a fully web browser-based system that manages the entire mortgage lending process intuitively and efficiently. StreamLoan Mobile Office extends this capability to lenders, further expediting the origination process and allowing interaction with borrowers and other parties to the loan.

“Every lender faces a unique business challenge that can be addressed with the proper technology,” said Tim Nguyen, President at LendingQB. “With a configurable LOS like LendingQB, lenders can streamline their processes to create operational efficiency. By integrating our advanced technology directly with StreamLoan, loan officers are now equipped to process more applications in a consolidated manner, while also creating a more transparent experience for the borrower and the referring real estate agent.”

Partnership Automates The Calculation Of Title Settlement Fees

OpenClose has integrated with Timios, Inc., a national provider of title and settlement services to banks, financial institutions and mortgage lenders. The integration allows users to efficiently draw all title and settlement fees directly from within OpenClose’s LenderAssist LOS, eliminating data entry, saving time and ensuring fees are fully accurate and TRID compliant.

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Timios leads the title and settlement industry in pricing accuracy, successfully bringing the first RESPA compliant, free, instant guaranteed GFE calculator to market, and again delivering TRID compliance guaranteed pricing ahead of the industry. The company guarantees that all title settlement fees with Timios are disclosed accurately in the Loan Estimate (LE) for TRID compliance from the day of origination through the transmittal of the final disclosure to the consumer. OpenClose users can now leverage Timios’ proprietary pricing engine, instantly and seamlessly populating all relevant information within its LOS.

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“Timios is a natural fit with OpenClose, as our comprehensive solutions work very well together, providing transparency via their centralized fulfillment model to simplify the calculation of settlement fees,” says Vince Furey, SVP of lending solutions at OpenClose. “Further, both of our customer support models are very hands-on and responsive, which is a significant attraction to our mutual customers.”

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Trevor Stoffer, CEO of Timios added, “Timios is proud to partner with OpenClose to deliver the best pricing solution to lending partners throughout the country. Like OpenClose, Timios has built a reputation as an industry leader for innovation, and OpenClose is a natural partner in driving transparency and simplification into real estate transactions. OpenClose users will never face another loss from mistakes because Timios’ pricing data is instant, accurate, and guaranteed.”

Timios, Inc. is a California-based corporation and the country’s fastest growing title and settlement services company. Since its founding in 2008, Timios has serviced more than $30 billion in escrow closings and expanded into new markets throughout the country. In addition to fee calculations, Timios also offers a wide variety of title insurance products, escrow and settlement services, realtor and REO purchase, appraisal and valuation products and services.

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Radian Integrates With Path To Offer MI

PathSoftware’s  Path LOS is now integrated with Radian Guaranty Inc., the mortgage insurance (MI) subsidiary of Radian Group Inc.

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This direct connect integration allows Path users to obtain rate quotes and order MI on both a delegated and non-delegated basis, and submit documents without leaving their LOS. MI premiums are also auto-populated into the appropriate fields in Path to help streamline the MI ordering process, improving efficiency and productivity.

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“We’re proud to partner with a forward-looking loan origination platform like Path to make it even easier for lenders to do business with us,” said Brien McMahon, chief franchise officer at Radian. “This integration enables us to deliver real-time quotes and simplify the MI ordering process for current and prospective customers.”

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Path was designed to simplify and streamline mid- to enterprise-level, multi-channel loan origination. As a portal with a single point of entry, all loan data, lock data, products, pricing, automated underwriting system findings, loan estimate and closing disclosure documents emanate and are reconciled within one system. In addition, the LOS’s configurable workflows, with role-based functionality, provide visibility into every loan at every stage—so financial institutions can ensure their business rules are followed.

“Direct integrations with our partners are essential to streamlining the mortgage origination process for our customers,” said Doug Mitchell, director of sales and support at PathSoftware. “By partnering with Radian, our clients can now easily order MI directly from one of the nation’s top providers.”

Fiserv To Acquire The Assets of PCLender

Fiserv has acquired the assets of PCLender, LLC, a leader in next generation enterprise internet-based mortgage software and mortgage lending technology solutions. This acquisition will enhance the Fiserv suite of mortgage origination services, which enable Fiserv clients to deliver the experience today’s consumers and mortgage lenders expect. Financial terms will not be disclosed.

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Mortgage lenders operate in an evolving marketplace in which they are challenged to deliver a more efficient lending process in tandem with a compelling borrower experience. Fiserv is working to simplify today’s lending experience for financial institutions and borrowers, delivering powerful tools to originate, process, underwrite and deliver loans in a secure, paperless environment.

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“Rapidly evolving consumer expectations require a seamless approach to banking experiences, including mortgage origination,” said Jeffery Yabuki, President and Chief Executive Officer, Fiserv. “PCLender provides Fiserv with a full digital suite of mortgage origination solutions for banks, credit unions and mortgage lenders. We welcome the existing clients and talented team members to our company.”

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A complement to the existing Fiserv lending solution suite, these assets provide a set of simple, easy-to-use internet-based mortgage solutions for banks, credit unions and mortgage lenders. This fully managed, end-to-end solution simplifies origination, document collection and compliance reporting, streamlining consumer direct and retail mortgage and HELOC loan origination. The technology offers a feature-rich user experience and improved operational efficiency for mortgage lenders with existing resources. Supporting lenders of all sizes, PCLender provides solutions for lenders funding up to 5,000 loans per month.

“Joining Fiserv accelerates our ability to scale our solution, while simplifying solutions for every phase of the loan process to benefit our clients,” said Lionel Urban, Chief Executive Officer, PCLender. “We look forward to leveraging our combined expertise to deliver greater client value and an enhanced experience for their customers.”

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.