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The Impact Of Fintech

According to a recently published working paper by researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) and New York University, fintech lenders have quickly expanded their market share since the Financial Crisis, and in the process have developed efficiencies that give them a significant advantage over more traditional lenders. Prominent mortgage industry executives gathered in Washington, DC at the 8th Annual PROGRESS in Lending ENGAGE Event sponsored by Get Credit Healthy, QuestSoft and Optimal Blue, to really drill down on this industry trend. How has fintech impacted mortgage lending? Here’s the scoop:

“Everything has to be relevant,” says Joseph Ludlow, VP at Advantage Systems. “The proliferation of cell phones has driven technology and innovation. Everything has to be real-time, all the time.”

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“We can’t think of innovation as something that happens over night,” noted Luke Wimer, COO at Asurity Technologies. “It’s about changing what a customer usually does. No one person or vendor will bring all the innovation. We have to bring people and systems together.”

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“The average originator is 52 years old,” points out Christine Beckwith, National VP of Realtor and Sales at Annie Mac. “The customer wants to be mobile and so do the new originators, but we have to get the average originator in his or her 50s onboard. It’s a balancing act.”

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“The older originator’s adaptability is challenged,” concluded Ski Swiatkowski, Business Growth/Leadership Specialist at Silver Hill Funding. “However the new originator is a millennial and they want fintech. Rocket by Quicken was good for the industry because now everyone sees the value of using fintech to improve the mortgage process.”

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.

Top Lender Selects New LOS

PrimeLending, a PlainsCapital Company and top 10 mortgage lender that originated more than $14.5 billion in mortgage loans last year, has chosen the Blue Sage Digital Lending Platform as its new mortgage origination platform. Here’s why:

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The Blue Sage Digital Lending Platform is a completely cloud-based, highly scalable solution capable of supporting any mortgage channel, including retail, wholesale and correspondent lines of business.

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“We are laser-focused on delivering the best mortgage experience and, in our opinion, Blue Sage gives us a tremendous advantage now and in the future,” said Tim Elkins, CIO, EVP of PrimeLending. “Because of Blue Sage’s unique combination of mortgage industry expertise and open architecture capable of seamless integration and automation capabilities, we will be substantially better positioned to evolve and improve efficiencies over time. Blue Sage was a great fit – there is simply nothing else on the market like it.”

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The Blue Sage Digital Lending Platform is event-driven. The platform handles pricing, underwriting and decision-making from the point-of-sale stage all the way to the closing and funding of the loan. Because Blue Sage can be easily integrated with third party services due to its APIs and integration options, an unlimited number of third party vendor services, such as appraisals, title and flood insurance can also be ordered online through the Blue Sage platform. Blue Sage also includes mobile applications and CRM tools geared to helping loan officers increase sales.

“We are beyond thrilled that a powerhouse lender like PrimeLending has placed its trust in the Blue Sage platform,” said Joe Langner, CEO of Blue Sage. “Based on its large origination volume, a lender the size of PrimeLending can achieve enormous savings by leveraging our digital mortgage technology. We look forward to a long and productive relationship with PrimeLending.”

Perfecting The Borrower Experience Is All The Rage

As the industry is securely in a purchase market, improving the borrower experience is a key differentiator for lenders looking to close more loans. Prominent mortgage industry executives gathered in Washington, DC at the 8th Annual PROGRESS in Lending ENGAGE Event sponsored by Get Credit Healthy, QuestSoft and Optimal Blue, to really drill down on this industry trend. How can lenders offer a better borrower experience? Here’s what was said:

In talking about other companies outside of mortgage that do it right, Denis Brosnan, CEO at DIMONT, said, “My Dad is Amazon’s best friend. So, when people in this industry say that older folks won’t do things online, they’re wrong. What people don’t want is to call a call center. The biggest thing is to reach out to people. You need to be a professional advisor.”

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“When you think about the customer experience, you really need to white board and draft out the entire process first,” noted Elizabeth Karwowski, CEO at Get Credit Healthy. “From there you need to ask what else can you be doing to get the borrower more engaged. Bring in other folks from outside the industry to give their perspective. We have to create a better journey for the borrower.”

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“Borrowers are with you for 30 days, but LOs are with you for life,” added Joe Wilson, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at SimpleNexus. “We need to ask: How can LOs create a better experience for borrowers? You have to enable LOs and others within your organization to think more about the borrower if the process is ever going to improve.”

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“We can start by doing a better job with the upfront validation piece,” concluded Eric Christensen, Chief Strategy Officer at LERETA. “The industry has done a great job at the point-of-sale, but that’s where it stops. You can’t just offer the borrower a good experience there and stop. We need to perfect the whole process, including the backend, as well.”

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.

ComplianceEase Adds New Home Equity Audit Functionality

ComplianceEase has updated its flagship platform—ComplianceAnalyzer—so it is now able to audit home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) for state licensing requirements in most states.

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ComplianceAnalyzer with TRID Monitor has been able to audit both closed-end and open-end mortgages for federal, state and local requirements, including TRID compliance, and for state predatory lending issues for some time. ComplianceEase has now enhanced the system to allow non-banks, banks and credit unions to audit all liens in most states in which they are licensed. Currently, the system covers more than 80 licensing types in the 42 states that account for more than 90 percent of home equity originations in the United States.

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Depending on the state license, the system can test HELOC originations for:

>> Interest rates

>> Restricted fees

>> Late fees

>> Grace periods

>> Prepayment penalties

“According to TransUnion, approximately 5.5 million HELOCs were originated in the last five years, and that number could rise to 10 million over the next five years,” said John Vong, president of ComplianceEase. “With rising home prices creating equity, one estimate says that 44 million homeowners now have more than $6 trillion in ‘tappable’ equity and could be candidates for home equity lines and loans.”

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Vong added, “Not surprisingly we are seeing a growing interest from banks and now non-banks in this category. From a compliance perspective, however, the patchwork of different state regulations for both real estate and consumer lending has presented challenges for lenders with multi-state footprints. Our new enhancements to ComplianceAnalyzer mean that lenders can now use their preferred system for first mortgage compliance to reduce exposure to potential state licensing rules for HELOCs as well.”

MAXEX Launches Private Market Exchange For Trading Mortgage Loans

MAXEX, LLC, a residential mortgage loan exchange provider, announced the public launch of its digital platform and market exchange for buying, selling and settling mortgage loans through a single counterparty. MAXEX is the only platform in the mortgage industry to offer a centralized clearinghouse that enables buyers and sellers to trade anonymously with multiple counterparties using a single standardized contract while simultaneously reducing costs and increasing the efficiency of secondary mortgage market transactions.

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The MAXEX platform features best-execution pricing and access to a wide range of qualified buyers and sellers. To date, MAXEX has facilitated more than $2.3 billion in initial trading activity and participated in 16 securitizations of more than $500 million in residential mortgages. MAXEX has been approved for trading by many of the most active secondary mortgage market buyers including major Wall Street dealers, money center banks, insurance companies and a growing pipeline of other premiere buyers. J.P. Morgan has been a strategic commercial partner in MAXEX since late 2017 and MAXEX’s recent funding round was led by Moore Asset Backed Fund, LP, an investment fund managed by Erik Siegel of Moore Capital Management, LP.

“As we’ve examined the US mortgage market, we see an opportunity for MAXEX’s exchange and infrastructure to benefit both buyers and sellers of all types and sizes,” said Siegel. “The launch of MAXEX’s digital platform and exchange will help improve the transparency, execution, efficiency, functionality and growth of the secondary mortgage and origination markets. We are excited to partner with MAXEX and look forward to being a part of their future success.”

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Not only does the MAXEX platform simplify the loan trading and settlement process, it also automates the entire workflow through its standardization of the legal contract, underwriting guidelines, seller guide, pricing, loan delivery, loan review, condition clearing, purchase advice, funding and settlement and servicing transfer.

“The aggressive move of big league investors onto the MAXEX trading platform suggests a long-awaited secondary market opening outside the government footprint,” said Jim Parrott, former senior housing policy advisor to the White House. “What makes this particularly interesting is that MAXEX is not simply opening the non-agency market up to investors, as you’d see with the revival of the private label securitization market, but also to small, community lenders that have been long dependent on the market giants Fannie and Freddie.”

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“With over $15 trillion loans outstanding and $1.7 trillion per year in new originations, the U.S. mortgage market is the second largest debt market in the world, behind only the U.S. Treasury market, and yet mortgage loans have never been successfully put on a centralized exchange,” said Tom Pearce, CEO and Chairman of MAXEX. “For decades, the secondary mortgage market has struggled under the weight of old, inefficient business practices that make trading loans complex and expensive, disadvantaging small to mid-sized lenders. MAXEX levels the playing field for all participants while reducing costs and providing broader market access.”

The MAXEX platform offers a dramatic leap forward for mortgage trading. Traditionally, buyers have dictated how every secondary market loan transaction is completed. On average, each seller is set up to transact with 11 buyers and each buyer has over 10 unique activities the seller must navigate to correctly underwrite and sell a single loan. By forcing all parties to comply with each buyer’s unique processes and operational constraints, loan trading becomes more costly and risky. It also limits the number of relationships between buyers and sellers, thereby reducing market access and opportunities for growth. The MAXEX platform simplifies all transactional complexities for both buyers and sellers and standardizes the trading and settlement by utilizing one centralized counterparty, MAXEX Clearing.

“The secondary mortgage market has been in dire need of innovation and modernization,” said Steve Abreu, founder and CEO of Newfi Lending, an active seller on the platform. “MAXEX has brought revolutionary change to the process of trading mortgages by creating a linear, systematic platform and exchange that brings transparency and efficiency and opens the market to an innovative way to buy and sell loans.”

With seller adoption accelerating (more than 80 sellers are currently approved to trade on the exchange and growing), MAXEX aims to become a market utility that offers private market solutions designed to support the non-conforming market while continuing to embrace the standards set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

MAXEX supports powerful execution strategies, so buyers can upload rate sheets and identify specific types of loans and loan pools to purchase. Sellers can quickly import loan attributes, view pricing and lock and register loans for sale all in real time. MAXEX’s proprietary rules-based audit and review engine performs granular image classification, document inclusion checks, data extraction and validation, cross-document data verification and program product eligibility tests on each loan file to facilitate cost effective and efficient loan trading and settlement.

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.

Who Cares About The Digital Mortgage Anyway?

As the focus turns to increasing efficiency, reducing cost and maintaining compliance, the mortgage industry has become keenly focused on going digital. Prominent mortgage industry executives gathered in Washington, DC at the 8th Annual PROGRESS in Lending ENGAGE Event sponsored by Get Credit Healthy, QuestSoft and Optimal Blue, to really drill down on this industry trend. Why is the digital mortgage such a big deal? Here’s what was said:

Doing a digital mortgage means that you are originating a more compliant loan. “We have 10% post closing QC now, but that’s archaic,” says Leonard Ryan, President at QuestSoft. “We have pushed all that compliance to the frontend. We are not doing that to stop the loan, we’re doing it to get things done right as early in the process as possible. That’s what a digital mortgage does for you.”

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“If you think about it, there are a lot of disparate systems in the mortgage space that all have different functions and purposes,” added Michael Kolbrener, Chief Technology Officer at PromonTech. “A mortgage is the biggest financial transaction that people will do in their lifetime. So, you have to approach it from the standpoint of creating the most efficiency. All of the systems should work together to get and validate the data needed to do that loan. We are in a data business, so we need to use technology that is truly data driven.”

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“Also, we’re dealing with people. A mortgage is very personal and a digital mortgage does not negate that,” continued Jim Obsitnik, COO at Capsilon. “Here at Capsilon we look at the process end-to-end and the common thread is the data. There are a lot of native data sources that we can access. Data is key. You need to drive ROI for the borrower, for the lender, for the LO, for the investor, for everyone. The digital mortgage allows you to achieve that goal.”

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So, how do you do that? “Artificial Intelligence or AI is very new to the mortgage industry, but it’s going to play a critical role,” pointed out Alok Bansal, Vice President and Business Head at Wipro Gallagher Solutions. “We talk a lot about the borrower experience in mortgage today, but this industry is really playing catch up. Take Uber for example, they have automated the entire taxi/transportation process and it’s all transparent to the end user. AI is going to help that happen for mortgage lending.”

The last part of the puzzle is eClosing ad eNotarizing. When will that get broad industry adoption? It’s happening today according to Kelly Purcell, EVP. Marketing and Business Development at NotaryCam. “I’ve been on the eSigning bandwagon since the beginning. D-Day for eSigning really happened back in 2000, but eSigning still didn’t go mainstream right away. We had to educate the industry and move adoption one lender at a time and it was painful at times. Sometimes I felt like I was working at a not-for-profit. I see eNotarization and eClosing the same way. We have reached D-Day and now we’re educating the industry. The difference is that lenders really want to listen and move on this. Full digital mortgages are happening and it is for the betterment of everyone.”

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.

Wells Fargo Takes On eNotes

Wells Fargo Home Lending has entered into an agreement with eOriginal, a digital solution provider for the mortgage industry, to enable the acquisition of eNotes through Wells Fargo Funding, their correspondent channel. As the nation’s leading residential mortgage aggregator, Wells Fargo’s launch of eNote capabilities represents a major step forward in the continuing digitization of the mortgage industry.

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“Our expansion in the digital lending space is larger than just our ability to purchase eNotes. It’s a move to broaden our approach to serving consumers and clients as we transform our mortgage business,” said Michael DeVito, Head of Wells Fargo Home Lending. “We’re committed to delivering innovative solutions throughout the mortgage lending process. With eOriginal providing eVault services, we’re aligned with a company that has earned the trust of the digital lending community.”

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“Lenders transitioning into digital mortgage can move forward knowing a trusted technology partner is aligned with the industry’s leading aggregator,” said eOriginal CEO Brian Madocks. “This agreement with Wells Fargo facilitates a new, essential outlet for lenders to deliver loans with eNotes into the secondary market. The capability will make digital mortgages accessible to a broad spectrum of lenders who can realize the advantages of going digital, such as increased efficiency and improved execution while reducing risk.”

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Wells Fargo will begin purchasing eNotes from a select group of lenders, to be followed by a broader market offering throughout 2019. This is the second significant digital initiative launched by Wells Fargo Home Lending in 2018. Earlier in the year, Wells Fargo introduced an online mortgage application for its retail origination consumers.

INTEGRA, New Penn And Freddie Mac Set Out To Improve The Borrower Experience

INTEGRA Software Systems is collaborating with New Penn Financial and government sponsored enterprise (GSE) Freddie Mac to launch a one-click submission of loan data to Loan Product Advisor, the GSE’s automated underwriting system (AUS). The solution will provide seamless integration that will help New Penn increase efficiency and maximize secondary market execution by allowing data to be simultaneously submitted to both GSE AUSs at point of sale.

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“Our collaboration with New Penn and Freddie Mac will increase productivity, improve accuracy in the loan decisioning and underwriting process and reduce the overall origination cycle time,” said Rick Allen, Senior Vice President of Operations, INTEGRA Software. “The seamless integration between our systems will allow for more efficiency, including configuration to identify loans eligible for data validation for income, assets and collateral so New Penn can identify the loan that is most favorable to the borrower.”

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INTEGRA’s web-based Epic solution allows lenders to submit loan-data via a single click to both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s AUSs, enabling lenders to see the full view of options available to their borrowers and ultimately leading to an improved borrower experience. The Epic solution provides real-time data information which improves lender efficiency while streamlining the residential real estate transaction.

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“We are always looking for technology that provides our team with tools to better serve our customers,” said Dena Kwaschyn, Chief Fulfillment Officer at New Penn Financial. “With results from both GSE AUSs, we can give borrowers access to more options, like appraisal waivers, so they can save money and shorten the time it takes to close a loan.”

“AUS-Neutral Design (#AND) is an innovative movement supporting the idea that lenders should run both underwriting systems to identify the best path for their borrowers and, in many instances, the optimal processing path for themselves. It is a win for everyone and we’re happy to support this positive change in the industry,” said David Fulford, Vice President of Strategic Technology Integration at Freddie Mac for the Single-Family Business.

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.

Total Expert Raises $20 Million In Series B Funding To Fuel Growth

Total Expert has raised $20 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Emergence Capital with participation from Rally Ventures and Arthur Ventures, bringing Total Expert’s total funding to $34 million.

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“We started Total Expert to ensure banks and lenders stay ahead of how customers expect to communicate, shop, and manage their financial lives in the digital/social era,” said Joe Welu founder and chief executive officer at Total Expert. “People expect digital simplicity and real human relationships, and financial services companies too often lose these relationships when they don’t engage with personalized, automated communication as people go from awareness to lead to transaction. We solve this using data to drive each customer’s journey toward a relevant transaction, then manage each customer relationship for life.”

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Customer relationship management (CRM) is one piece of a complex marketing automation software puzzle. For banks and lenders to grow sales while protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive messages, CRM software isn’t enough. They must have a full Marketing Operating System (MOS) to easily create and track every tweet, text, email, postcard, etc., from first send to closed transaction, and every communication must be polished and personalized whether a customer is just starting to research a mortgage or they’re a years-long relationship who may now be ready to open new credit and deposit accounts for their teenagers.

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Total Expert created the MOS in 2012 to address these complex needs and began with mortgage, the most technical and highly-regulated sector of consumer finance. The company already powers marketing and revenue growth for 10% of $2 trillion per year U.S. mortgage industry, and since 2016, it has multiplied it’s customer base seven times, which includes eight of America’s top 15 lenders like U.S. Bank, loanDepot and Guaranteed Rate. Total Expert has also quadrupled in size to 162 employees since then, and is the fastest growing software company in its hometown of Minneapolis.

“We saw a massive opportunity in the MOS software category to turn marketing into a revenue center for lending, banking, wealth management, and insurance companies,” said Joseph Floyd, partner at Emergence Capital. “Financial services software requires specialized expertise to allow large sales forces to deploy creative, compliant marketing across all channels, and this is the DNA of Total Expert’s product, brand and vision. Their team of engineers, data scientists, designers and financial services veterans puts them in a rare position to modernize how financial institutions acquire, manage and grow customer relationships.”

With the new capital, Total Expert will accelerate marketing innovation in banking and lending, and also begin expanding into insurance and wealth management in America and around the world.

Expansion Through Acquisition

Today’s vendors and service providers have to offer more. So, how are they doing? Some are going the acquisition route.

For example, Richey May, an accounting and advisory firm serving the financial services and real estate industries, has acquired two IT consulting firms that will enable the company to offer a more robust spectrum of IT consulting services for its financial services clients.

Arrow Partnership, a nationwide provider of management and IT consulting services, and Corporate Blue, a cybersecurity and managed IT services firm, will join the recently launched Richey May Technology Solutions division of Richey May. Both acquisitions will enable Richey May to address the growing IT demands of its mortgage banking clients, which include the needs for cloud-based managed services, strategic technology management consulting and cybersecurity risk assessments.

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“Arrow Partnership and Corporate Blue have excellent reputations for providing a wide range of IT consulting services that span multiple industries,” said Ken Richey, founding partner of Richey May. “As the demand for strategic IT planning and compliance intensifies, these acquisitions will ensure we are able to meet the needs of mortgage lenders for years to come.”

Founded in 2003 and based in Denver, Colorado, Arrow Partnership specializes in technology management, governance, risk, compliance and security consulting services, and digital marketing. Arrow Partnership’s managing partner and co-founder Chan Pollock will join Richey May as executive director of the firm’s technology consulting practice, while senior practice leader Garry Woods will head up the company’s governance, risk and controls practice.

Corporate Blue, based in Southern California, provides IT security, virtual chief information security officer services, cloud security and managed IT services. Mike Wylie, co-founder and CEO of Corporate Blue, will join Richey May as a director in the firm’s cybersecurity practice.

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“In this day and age, strategic IT decisions are a cornerstone of any company’s financial health and potential for growth,” said Wylie. “I am delighted to join Richey May, a company firmly committed to helping companies leverage technology wisely to achieve their goals.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining Richey May and have been extremely impressed with their capabilities and dedication to helping lenders run more efficient, profitable and secure businesses,” said Pollock. “I look forward to leading the firm’s technology management consulting practice and working directly with clients to ensure they receive the highest level of expertise in the mortgage industry.”

Richey May Technology Solutions is a results-driven division of Richey May offering the full spectrum of technology solutions, including cloud services, cyber security, marketing technology, governance, risk, controls, privacy and technology management consulting. Led by technology experts with decades of cumulative experience in executive IT roles, the team is focused on providing pragmatic, real-world solutions that deliver value to their clients’ business.

Also, Sandler, LLC (d/b/a Sandler Law Group), has acquired the business operations of McGlinchey Stafford & Youngblood and Associates PLLC (MSYA), a premier closing and fulfillment services provider for the mortgage lending industry.

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This acquisition further enhances the mortgage compliance and origination ecosystem built by regtech investor and regulatory expert Andy Sandler. Asurity Technologies, a leading provider of compliance management and mortgage loan document technology, expands its operations into mortgage closing and fulfillment. All legal services previously undertaken by MSYA will now be performed at Sandler Law Group.

“With this acquisition, Asurity Technologies and Sandler, LLC have further implemented our strategy to set a new mortgage industry standard for economically efficient and fully compliant software and transaction support services,” says Andy Sandler, CEO of Asurity Technologies and Managing Partner of Sandler, LLC.

“We are excited to join the family of companies Andy Sandler has built to offer our clients expanded mortgage closing services. We are now able to provide mortgage lenders access to a powerful ecosystem with known experts in legal, compliance, services, and technology. This is a great opportunity to provide the marketplace with deeper resources and increased efficiencies,” says Vicki Murphy-Gee, Vice President of Sales, Asurity Services and Executive Director, Sandler Law Group.

Asurity Technologies now provides a full range of compliant mortgage documents and mortgage closing and fulfillment services including outsourced closing functions and CD preparation and legal review, wire orders, funding, and shipping, through a team of over 150 mortgage lending specialists and technologists and affiliated legal experts at Sandler Law Group.

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.