LRES, a nation REO and appraisal management company offering property valuations, asset management, HOA and technology solutions for the mortgage industry, has hired Mike Rasooli as its chief technology officer (CTO).

In this role, Rasooli manages LRES’ technical priorities and operational vision; drives growth by delivering applications, tools and services; and leads all aspects of the company’s strategic and tactical technological development.

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Rasooli has more than 27 years of experience in management, software development and IT experience with an extensive background in enterprise and database management systems, B2C and B2B E-commerce, customer relationship management, document management and mortgage technologies. Prior to joining LRES, Rasooli has served as the chief technology officer for Edge Mortgage Advisory Company and PowerSoft 360. He has also served as CEO/CTO at LogixInfo. Prior to that he has also served as a director of Project Management at Pathways, a senior software engineer at Corbis Images and Timeline and senior project manager at Microsoft.

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“Mike is no stranger to technological innovation, and we welcome his specialized expertise to add further enhancements and value to our proprietary appraisal order management technology platform, LRES DirectConnect™, and our vendor portal, as well as provide guidance and strategic direction toward future technological developments,” said Roger Beane, CEO of LRES.

Rasooli also holds a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Darmstadt in Germany.

Executive Spotlight: Nick Grant of LRES

Nick-GrantThis week, the Executive Spotlight shines on the appraisal sector, and the expert in the spotlight is Nick Grant, the new senior vice president of sales at LRES.

Q: How would you categorize the state of today’s appraisal sector?

Nick Grant: Currently the appraisal sector is extremely busy around the country across all segments within the industry from lending to legal valuations. The good news is that due to the high volume of work, the appraisers are at full employment capacity. This high volume has put stress on the industry due to the shrinking number of available appraisers. More appraisers are leaving the profession than are joining it for several reasons.

The average age of an appraiser, according to several different studies, is in the upper 50’s, meaning that many are approaching retirement or are ramping down the amount of work they are willing to do on a monthly basis. With the favorable interest rates we have been experiencing this year, the lending industry has really been impacted by the fewer number of appraisers, the appraisal delivery time has been extended causing issues with closing escrows on time as well as interest rate locks expiring.

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The reasons for the shrinking number of appraisers is that there are many barriers to entry to becoming an appraiser that not many are willing to endure: (1) College degree; (2) Extensive appraisal-related college level coursework; (3) 2,500 required hours of apprenticeship as a trainee appraiser with few money-making opportunities; (4) Lack of appraisers willing to mentor a trainee for that time commitment (1.5 years); and (5) Lack of institutional training centers as in years past with in-house appraisal departments (banks, savings and loans).

The Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) needs to look into the not-too-distant future and strategize about what needs to be done to attract new and younger talent to the industry and amend some of the requirements so that new talent can earn a living while in training. Most lenders will not accept an appraisal that has a trainee appraiser signing the report along with their licensed/certified mentor, another issue which prohibits proper training and experience credit.

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Q: In your professional opinion, what are the key elements to successful customer service?

Nick Grant: Establishing realistic expectations. Managing those expectations with efficient follow-up meetings and phone calls. Staying on top of change and being proactive, not reactive.

Q: What should a company in the mortgage industry look for when recruiting candidates for sales positions?

Nick Grant: Consider attributes outside of the industry: Service, ability to accept change, problem solving, ability to think outside of the box. I believe experience is important but I also think we should bring young people into our business and train them. These younger candidates have great IT skills that will serve us well into the future.

Q: What will be you top priorities in your new role at LRES?

Nick Grant: Build a total sales environment that includes all departments. I’m all about team selling. Our service and operations departments’ strength is enabling our sales team to develop realistic expectations. I’ll also incorporate a lender place/REO insurance strategy to bring new business as well as grow our relationship with our existing clients.

Our Industry Gives Back

LRES, a national appraisal management and REO management company offering property valuations, asset management and technology solutions for mortgage bankers, lenders, servicers, credit unions and private investors, has launched an initiative to raise $10,000 to support the Nepal Earthquake Relief efforts.

Click here to support the Nepal Relief Fundraiser

LRES attempts to raise $10,000 in donations for the American Red Cross by May 15th and will match up to 25 percent of the sum of donations. This effort supports victims of the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that has devastated Nepal. The current death toll of this natural disaster continues to rise above an estimated 4,800 victims.

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“Our drive to raise money to support the victims of the earthquake in Nepal is meant to aid those in need and provide a way for the industry to get more involved in relief efforts,” said Roger Beane, LRES founder and CEO.

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Orange County, Calif.-based LRES is a national appraisal management and REO management company offering property valuations, asset management and technology solutions for mortgage bankers, lenders, servicers, credit unions and private investors. With more than 13 years of continued growth, LRES offers residential and commercial solutions and managed business processes for the origination and default markets.

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Lending Valuation Firm Launches New Website

LRES, a national provider of residential and commercial valuations and asset management for the mortgage, banking, credit union and real estate industries, announced the launch of its new website, which acts as a source of valuable industry information and provides greater detail of the company’s products and services in an easy-to-navigate format.

LRES designed the website to not only provide easier access to its services and product offerings in a more functional and visually appealing format, but to offer valuable information to clients and vendor partners on best practices and practical solutions impacting the valuation and asset management market.

Highlights of the new website include more downloadable how-to information, tips on timely industry challenges, resources to easily showcase the company’s service offerings and a fresh design that adapts to a broad range of devices.

“The new website better reflects our company brand and serves as a resource for visitors looking for practical solutions for their valuation and asset management needs,” said Roger Beane, LRES founder and CEO. “As LRES continues to expand its corporate footprint, we needed to update the website to adequately represent the professionalism and culture of our firm.”

LRES Acquires An AMC

LRES has acquired Lenders Choice, a residential real estate appraisal management company (AMC) providing valuation services specifically for the mortgage industry.Here’s the scoop:

Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Lenders Choice specializes in fast and thorough completion of appraisals through its communications technology and software platform, expanding growth opportunities for LRES which proudly maintains nationwide compliance.

Through this acquisition, Lenders Choice is now fully incorporated under LRES’ AMC licenses, gaining the ability to conduct business within all 50 U.S. states and jurisdictions. Lenders Choice customers are also exposed to LRES’ enhanced technology solutions, including easier systems connectivity and bulk upload capabilities through its DirectConnect™ Integration Hub, which is currently integrated with two loan origination systems and five loan service platforms. The acquisition enhances Lenders Choice’s current infrastructure with the ability to handle more volume.

“We are pleased to welcome Lenders Choice into the LRES family and merge our best-of-breed solutions to enhance service levels for our customers,” said Roger Beane, LRES founder and CEO. “The acquisition aligns with the strategic vision of LRES as we continue to expand our national reach.”

The acquisition became official on Jan. 1, 2015.

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Integration Seeks To Enhance The Appraisal Process

LRES, a national provider of commercial and residential valuations and asset management for the mortgage, banking, credit union and real estate industries, announced that its LRES DirectConnect integration hub now seamlessly connects with Exchange, offered by RealEC Technologies, a division of Black Knight Financial Services.

The Exchange platform connects more than 17,000 mortgage lenders and service providers, allowing lenders to efficiently order products and services 24/7 through a secure, standards-based platform.

Through this integration, LRES DirectConnect offers full valuation lifecycle management to lenders by delivering collateral valuation reports and supporting data in the MISMO industry-standard format and in proprietary format on the Exchange platform. Exchange’s portal enables LRES to more effectively and efficiently manage the valuation process by aligning with lenders’ specific workflow requirements.

LRES configured its backend system to integrate all events and individual stages within the valuation lifecycle to align with any lender’s specified workflow preferences, which keeps the lender and the appraisal management company fully aware of an appraisal’s status through regular updates.

LRES DirectConnect offers an integration framework that connects financial institutions and third-party systems to the LRES LINK order management platform to optimize and accelerate appraisal order processing.

“LRES DirectConnect’s platform seamlessly configures to Exchange, offering lenders a highly efficient and transparent appraisal experience,” said Bob Jennings, managing director of sales for RealEC Technologies. “As the industry requires better connectivity and collaboration to support new regulations, delivering an integrated solution to help improve efficiencies and meet compliance requirements is critical. We have a team dedicated solely to enhancing our technologies’ ability to connect and collaborate with partners like LRES.”

“LRES’ integration with RealEC’s advanced portal greatly benefits lenders by more efficiently enabling them to address specific workflow needs and keeping them fully abreast of the appraisal’s status throughout the process,” said Roger Beane, CEO of LRES.

How AMC Technology Strengthens Both The LOS And Workload

An underrated area of technology that I believe deserves more consideration is proprietary appraisal management company (AMC) technology. The LOS has gained so many technological advancements over the years due to allowing third-party vendors, such as AMCs, to provide added value through a direct integration, increasing overall usability and productivity for lenders. AMC technology is the quiet force behind the LOS, providing a full range of appraisal order fulfillment transactions, specifically order placement, status updates and delivery of the completed appraisal report along with the raw valuation data behind it. By combining AMC technology with the LOS, lenders can accelerate and optimize appraisal order processing through seamless connectivity, ease of use and built-in compliance processes.

Through a direct connection with the lender’s preferred LOS, AMC technology can augment the loan origination collateral valuation workflow through increased management of business process automation. The seamless connectivity creates an automated interaction in a solicited or unsolicited way, depending upon the platform. In a solicited transaction between the LOS and AMC, a human being (lender) is interacting with the integrated AMC solution through the LOS – an actual person is triggering the request for the order and statuses on an order. An example of a common solicited transaction is the initial appraisal request. In an unsolicited transaction, the two systems talk to one another without human intervention as the order goes through its valuation lifecycle – all statuses and data are automatically updated along the way within the LOS.

Another primary benefit of AMC technology is its ease of use. By marrying AMC technology with the LOS, lenders no longer have to use multiple systems to get the job done. They are now only expected to know how to use one and only one system to conduct regular tasks within their preferred LOS while providing end-to-end valuation services. This significantly reduces the extensive learning curve involved with understanding the intricacies of an AMC’s client portal and how to place a valuation order, how to receive updates on order milestones, how to get a completed report back, etc. It is all internally managed within the LOS system for the lender.

Also, the built-in processes within an AMC order management platform help manage the cumbersome regulatory requirements that lenders must comply with. For example, AMC technology’s compliance solution meets updated standards associated with Regulation B, which requires creditors to provide applicants with free copies of appraisals, AVM reports and all other written property valuations developed in connection with a credit application. In addition, some AMC technology is based on MISMO data standards so that the data can be more easily shared across all systems, which speeds the valuation process and ensures full compliance. This is particularly beneficial to lenders in the event of an audit when the lender quickly needs loan level data sent back in a readily standardized format. Today’s audits are getting deeper. Auditors are no longer just auditing summary-level data; they are auditing loan-level data and they want to review the valuation itself. AMC technology houses that data and automatically directs it back to the LOS.

AMC technology professionals must always anticipate future changes to the industry – both operational and regulatory – to adopt systems and capabilities within their integrated order management platforms to continue effectively managing the lender’s business processes while also maintaining compliance. As an engine designed to offer seamless connectivity, ease of use for the user and maintain regulatory compliance, I think lenders should be more impelled to consider AMC technology as an extension of the lending process.

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Client Relations Are Important

This is a relationship-based business, which is why I’m always confused when companies shutter marketing and client relations when conditions get tough. They should be doing the exact opposite if they want to stay alive. Juyst look at LRES. This national provider of residential and commercial valuations and asset management for the mortgage, banking, credit union and real estate industries, announced the expansion of its client relations division to increase client care and process efficiency to accommodate the influx of new client accounts.

As part of the expansion, LRES has allocated additional resources toward the client relations division, adding more budget and personnel to support increased customer communications and additional client visits, calls and client-facing promotional activities.

Under the expanded client relations division, a new initiative was developed called the LRES 360 Program, which involves an increased and more strategic focus within the first 360 hours a new client comes on board. During this time, the client relations division works heavily with the operations and management divisions to ensure a smooth client onboarding process, tracking all new orders for appraisals to ensure they are processed and placed in time, following up with appropriate vendors to ensure they are fulfilling their duties, checking in on an hourly basis with operations to ensure all deadlines are met and confirming with clients that all completed orders have been seamlessly delivered.

“LRES’ customer service is beyond compare,” said Erica Nunez Aguirre, appraisal department manager at Broadview Mortgage Corporation. “Their timeliness and accuracy allows us to focus on our daily operations and core competencies.”

On an ongoing long-term basis, the expanded client relations division will place its additional resources toward more opportunities to connect with existing clients, increasing number of phone calls, visits, meetings, etc. The restructured approach has allowed the department to handle additional inventory and give more undivided attention toward all clients, no matter the size.

“In order to accommodate our growth while ensuring that each and every client is getting the proper attention deserved, we added the strategy and the infrastructure in place that supports improved client relations,” said Roger Beane, CEO of LRES. “LRES is committed to its goal of being the business partner of choice, and our expanded client relations division greatly increases efficiency to better serve our new and existing clients.”

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AMC Offers Greater Connectivity

LRES, a national provider of commercial and residential valuations and asset management for the mortgage, banking, credit union and real estate industries, announced the latest release of its LRES DirectConnect, framework, which enables a user’s technology to seamlessly connect with the LRES LINK proprietary order management platform to optimize and accelerate the valuation ordering process.

The latest version of LRES DirectConnect significantly reduces the time for successful systems integration from 4-6 months down to 2-4 weeks. This release is flexible enough to connect any financial institution to any third party provider of appraisal and property valuation services. It also provides users collateral valuation reports as well as the supporting data in the MISMO industry-standard format.

“Our latest version of DirectConnect offers mortgage lenders, bankers, credit unions and other financial institutions a comprehensive yet practical solution for ordering and delivering property valuations,” said Roger Beane, CEO of LRES. “The benefits of using this technology can be leveraged into a competitive advantage by organizations that value automation, speed, efficiency and accuracy in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

Orange County, Calif.-based LRES is a national residential and commercial financial services provider offering property valuations, real estate asset management and technology solutions for clients throughout the United States. With more than 13 years of continued growth, LRES offers complete and customized solutions and managed business processes for the origination and default markets.

The Importance Of Staying Connected

*The Importance Of Staying Connected*
**By Tony Garritano**

TonyG***Simplification is important, especially given that new rules and regs are making things more complicated. This speaks to the power and importance of tighter integrations. For example, LRES, a national provider of commercial and residential valuations and asset management for the mortgage, banking, credit union and real estate industries, has released the latest version of LRES DirectConnect, an integration framework that enables clients and third-party systems to integrate seamlessly into the LRES LINK order management platform to optimize and accelerate the appraisal order processing. Here’s the scoop:

****During the appraisal ordering process, these enhancements enable the data to meet the uniform standard as determined by MISMO. This means that the data can be more easily shared across all systems, which speeds the valuation process and ensures full compliance.

****“Our latest version of DirectConnect enhances the speed, accuracy and risk management capabilities with which we process orders for appraisals,” said Roger Beane, CEO of LRES. “Lenders can use these enhancements to reduce the time and energy they spend on the appraisal process and increase their focus on closing more loans.”

****Orange County, Calif.-based LRES is a national commercial and residential financial services provider offering property valuations, asset management and technology solutions for clients. With more than 10 years of continued growth, LRES offers complete and customized solutions and managed business processes for the origination and default markets.