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Equity National Title Now Conducting eClosings With Pavaso

Equity National Title, a national provider of title and settlement services is now able to deliver eClosings with Digital Close through Pavaso, Inc., a provider of digital closing solutions for the mortgage industry.

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More specifically, Equity National Title can now deliver hybrid eClosings in which select documents, such as the Deed and Note, are printed and “wet-signed,” but much of the closing package is executed electronically. ““An awesome closing experience for our customers and their borrowers is our primary focus and the digital closing experience is one that more and more of our lending partners are demanding,” said Jim O’Donnell, President of Equity National Title. “Pavaso’s technology is being used by a number of our lender clients, and we’ve found that they deliver fantastic support as well as flexibility through the hybrid option when we need to close on any combination of paper and digital.”

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Pavaso’s Digital Close accommodates paper, hybrid or fully digital closings.  It also enables efficient online communication and collaboration between the real estate agent, lender, title/settlement agent and borrower during the entire closing process. The digital closing platform provides built-in eSign and eNotarization capabilities, allowing borrowers to sign and notaries to verify and stamp documents digitally. Although there are still some traditionally wet-signed documents, this allows the majority of the closing package to be executed more efficiently and securely.

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“Each time a national provider like Equity National Title adopts an eClosing process, the digital transformation of the mortgage becomes much more widespread—even much more mainstream,” said Mark McElroy, President and CEO of Pavaso. “With a large title network for digital mortgages emerging, it’s really only a matter of time until eClosings are a staple for businesses.”

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Freedom Mortgage Agrees To Acquire Residential Mortgage Assets

Freedom Mortgage Corp., a privately held, full-service mortgage lender licensed in all 50 states, has agreed to buy approximately $500 million of selected residential mortgage assets from New York Community Bank’s mortgage banking operation. The deal includes the right to service over $20 billion of residential mortgage loans, as well as the loans in the warehouse at closing.

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The servicing portfolio includes Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-approved mortgage loans as well as a relatively small amount of Ginnie Mae insured mortgages. Freedom Mortgage also expects to hire select employees in originations, servicing and operations from New York Community Bank’s Cleveland-based residential mortgage operation.

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“I am delighted to have the opportunity to add the quality assets, platform and select employees which are part of New York Community Bank to our Freedom family,” said Freedom Mortgage CEO Stanley C. Middleman. “I think there will be a great future for both firms as a result of this transaction.”

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Freedom Mortgage has grown organically and through strategic acquisitions to become one of the country’s largest retail, wholesale and correspondent lenders. In business for over 26 years, Freedom Mortgage is renowned for its high service levels and for its commitment to delivering high quality financial products to consumers all across America.

Freedom Mortgage was advised on the acquisition by Dale Kurland of Classic Strategies Group, and Zukerman Gore Brandeis & Crossman LLP of New York City served as legal counsel to the company.

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.
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Survey Reveals The Number One Obstacle For Homebuyers Nationwide

NAMB, The National Association of Mortgage Professionals, announced the results of its monthly member survey. The primary findings include the following:

>>low home inventory was cited by 58.0 percent of respondents nationwide as the number one obstacle for clients looking to buy a home, followed by down payment (18.5 percent) and credit (7.0 percent)

>>according to 57.6 percent of respondents nationwide, the average length of time to receive an appraisal is 10 days or fewer, for 36.8 percent of respondents, turn times average between 10 and 21 days

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Roughly 53 percent of responses the survey came from NAMB members in California, Florida and Texas.

In California, 73.0 percent of respondents cited low home inventory as the number one obstacle for clients looking to buy a home, followed by down payment (9.0 percent) and credit score (3.3 percent). Appraisal turn around times are fairly quick in the Golden State, averaging fewer than 10 days for 79.8 percent of respondents. Of the three states, California was the only one in which appraisal turn times were reported to exceed 21 days, although only 2.2 percent of responses indicated average times between 22 and 30 days.

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In Florida, the reported top obstacles to home buying were more balanced: low inventory was cited most often at 36.4 percent, followed down payment (30.3 percent) and credit score (21.2 percent). The majority of respondents (60.6 percent) reported average appraisal turn times of fewer than 10 days, and the remainder (39.4 percent) stated timeframes between 10 and 21 days.

Texas NAMB members also cited low inventory as the number one obstacle to home buying (58.0 percent), followed by down payment (16.1 percent) and credit score (6.5 percent). The average length of time to get an appraisal back in Texas takes fewer than 10 days for 54.8 percent of respondents, and between 10 and 21 days for the remaining 45.1 percent.

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NAMB surveys its members periodically to determine mortgage activity and trends. For the June 2017 survey, over 65 percent of respondents nationwide reported being employed by mortgage brokerage firms. Slightly more than 30 percent stated that they are licensed in multiple states.

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.
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Lender Embraces A More Efficient Appraisal Process

American Financial Network, Inc. (AFN), one of the country’s fastest growing mortgage companies with more than 30 appraisal management company vendors, has deployed Mercury Network to manage efficient, compliant appraisal operations. Mercury Network’s technology is used by more than 800 of the nation’s lenders and appraisal management companies (AMCs) to manage real estate valuation operations and collateral risk.

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AFN’s collateral valuation operations will be managed using Mercury Network’s web-based platform to place and track appraisal orders with their AMC partners. The implementation allows AFN to order and see status on valuations from within their loan origination system, significantly reducing delays and human errors, while effectively routing orders to AFN’s chosen appraisal management companies.

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“The appraisal process is critical for our loan officers and clients, and we weighed several possible solutions. Mercury Network gives us consolidated control across all our AMC partners and efficiency gains that have already made a great impact for our customers and staff”, said Jonathan Gwin, Esq, COO and General Counsel at AFN. “Now, staff can order and manage all appraisals from a single secure dashboard, rather than navigating to each vendor’s website.”

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“We’re excited to welcome American Financial Network”, said Jennifer Miller, President of Mercury Network. “Their commitment to innovation and client service is well known in the industry, and we look forward to helping AFN continue to scale operations at their rapid pace.”

Established in 2001, American Financial Network, Inc. is a licensed mortgage lender (NMLS #237341) based in Brea, CA. AFN is a FNMA, Freddie Mac, GNMA approved direct lender with over 100 branches in numerous states.

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LOS Expands Its Offering And Brand Awareness

OpenClose, a multi-channel loan origination system (LOS) and mortgage software solutions provider, has unveiled a new corporate website to better position the company’s expanded enterprise-class solution set, customer profile focus and long-term value proposition. Here’s the value proposition:

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“We’ve grown exponentially over the past five years, and as such, had a need to ensure that the positioning of OpenClose as a company and its products are in line with our corporate mission, business strategy, customer commitment and ongoing technology innovation efforts,” explains JP Kelly, president of OpenClose. “This new website is designed to clearly convey our comprehensive solution offering and our ability to cater to top 20 lenders that have multiple business channels and complex operations.”

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OpenClose offers a 100 percent browser-based LOS platforms that has multi-channel automation capability. The company’s LenderAssist LOS and other solutions were all engineered from the ground up using the same code base, and it has been owned and operated by the same principles since the company was founded in 1999. Unlike many LOS vendors, LenderAssist’s comprehensive end-to-end functionality was not created by way of multiple acquisitions, which typically rope together disparate technologies that can be prone to issues; or, via integrations with many third party vendors that are done in order to make up for system deficiencies.

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Vince Furey, SVP of lending solutions at OpenClose, stated:  “We have been boarding top-tier, very large lending entities that are successfully leveraging our LOS as a centralized platform to automate all business channels and workflows. Our new positioning showcases the immense power that OpenClose’s enterprise-class mortgage software solutions offer and how they are very flexible, scalable and well-supported by our staff. While we have the proven scalability to support the largest national lenders, OpenClose is really the ideal solution and long-term technology partner for any size lending organization.”

Key aspects of OpenClose’s value proposition include: quick implementations; custom-configurable with easy set up; seamless workflow-driven automation with no manual intervention; fully web-based with no installs whatsoever; fully SaaS and Cloud-based technology; proven scalability; single code; hands-on implementations and system training; and second to none, boutique-style customer support.

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.
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QC Player Is Ready For Day 1 Certainty

ACES Risk Management (ARMCO), a provider of financial quality control and compliance software, has updated its flagship ACES Audit Technology with new functionality that aligns with Fannie Mae’s Day 1 Certainty (D1C) initiative. With this update, ACES now includes additional fields for assessing asset, income, employment and collateral data according to Fannie Mae’s D1C initiative. The company also updated its rule-based technology to assist auditing these loans according to the D1C initiative.

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ACES users continue to use ACES Intelligent Questionnaire technology to customize questions and scripts according to their own unique needs and objectives. ACES’ direct import of D1C data enables users to preserve the integrity of their QC processes, while also aligning with D1C parameters.

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“Lenders can gain added protection under Fannie Mae’s Day 1 Certainty initiative, but they have to follow certain protocols,” says Phil McCall, COO of ARMCO. “We updated ACES so our clients can automate their auditing process to account for the different checkpoints associated with D1C. Our clients know that ARMCO’s mission is protecting their businesses. They know they can rely on us to stay on top of all guidelines, initiatives, regulations and trends, and they know we will continue providing the tools that help them grow and protect their businesses, not just for now, but also for the long haul.”

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The recent ACES software enhancement went into effect for all clients June 12, 2017.  Clients and interested parties can get further information on this update via the proprietary ACES Knowledge Center, or by visiting the ARMCO website (www.armco.us) for a demonstration of the latest software.

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Lender Launches Homecoming Campaign To Reunite Separated Military Families

Embrace Home Loans announced the launch of its Embrace Coming Home campaign. Inspired by the dedication and commitment soldiers give to our country, the initiative seeks to provide surprise homecomings to those dealing with the hardships of deployment, reuniting at least five families in 2017.

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The campaign is driven by three of Embrace’s core values including love, community and courage, and the company looks to give back to military families who embody all three. Any member of the public is eligible to visit Embrace’s website and nominate a deserving family. Once a service member and their family are selected, Embrace will begin to arrange travel and a surprise meeting for the family in their hometown, and a day of surprises for the family will follow. Expenses for the surprise reunion will be paid by the lender, who will keep the homecomings a secret.

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“Our goal is to bring happiness into the lives of those who have sacrificed so much for their country,” said Meghan Handy, customer experience manager at Embrace Home Loans. “By partnering with friends of military families, we’re excited to raise support and awareness of the sacrifices that military families make for each of us. The surprise homecomings will allow us to give back to our community in a way that is unique and memorable.”

 
Embrace and its employees have helped support not only military members and Veterans, but also local families in need, school supply drives, the families of active military members, and friends and families of Embrace employees who have had sudden emergencies such as a medical crisis, to name just a few. The national lender has raised thousands of dollars through its simple tradition of giving.

“While local communities are important to us and we remain dedicated to supporting them with their home financing needs, military personnel and Veterans have a special place with us,” said Handy. “As implied by our name, we ‘embrace’ the men and women that serve our country as well as their families, and we strive to improve the quality of their lives. We’re honored to bring joy to the lives of a few families across the nation this year in order to show our gratitude.”

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Vendor Launches Comprehensive Additional Parcel Search Solution

LERETA, a national real estate tax and flood service provider, has launched its Additional Parcel Search Solution, a proprietary new solution that materially improves identification of additional parcels at the initiation of tax service. This solution reduces portfolio risk associated with penalties and interest and potential loss at tax sale.

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One of the biggest challenges in tax service has been identifying additional parcels associated with an address without going through the expense of using a legal description on every loan. Missing parcels when a property is set-up for tax service exposes the servicer to both potential losses from penalties, interest and lost properties as well as borrower dissatisfaction. Despite the importance of identifying additional parcels, the industry has relied on the same tools and methodologies for decades.

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“Over the past 30 years, mortgage servicers have had to rely on virtually the same tax service solutions without significant enhancement or product innovation,” said John Walsh, CEO of LERETA. “LERETA has been aggressively working on methods to reinvent tax service technology and processes. Additional Parcel Search Solution is just one initiative in that agenda, and it’s an important solution that can reduce servicers’ financial risk and increase borrower satisfaction.”

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LERETA recently ran a test for a top five servicer that included a subset of approximately 16,000 loans that had been parceled by another tax service vendor. LERETA’s Additional Parcel Search Solution found 11 properties that had previously been unidentified. Although 11 loans is only 0.1 percent of 16,000, it does represent $2.4 million of potential losses or 10 basis points of MSR value.

“We understand the importance of identifying these parcels and the difficulties created from the inability to discover them,” Walsh explained. “This is an area in the tax service landscape that needed an injection of innovation, and we are proud to provide a solution that can bolster tax service and provide servicers materially better solutions.”

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.
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Lender Supports Financial Literacy

Churchill Mortgage announced the winner of its $5,000 nationwide sweepstakes, which was developed in recognition of Financial Literacy Month and as part of its commitment to financial health and education. Officially established in 2004, Financial Literacy Month is celebrated every April and is dedicated to teaching Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits.

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The winner is 60-year old Michael Bodnar, a resident of Carnegie, Penn. and employee with the Port Authority of Allegheny County. “I enter contests quite frequently and this is my biggest win so far, so we’re going to be smart about how we use the money,” said Bodnar. “After all, that’s what financial literacy is all about: knowing your limits, identifying what your future needs will be and working toward that.”

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Click here to read a Q&A between Churchill and Bodnar and learn how he plans to invest his winnings.

The National Financial Educators Council recently surveyed 2,409 people on what high school-level course would benefit them the most. An overwhelming 54 percent selected “Money Management (Personal Finance)”, emphasizing the need for greater financial educational resources. As a lender focused on providing borrowers with a personalized path to debt-free homeownership, Churchill is dedicated to educating borrowers to ensure that they choose the right home and build wealth over time through a smarter mortgage.

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“Financial literacy is a bigger issue than saving for a home purchase – it’s about making wise decisions every day and understanding the lifelong implications of each one,” said Mike Hardwick, president of Churchill Mortgage. “Education leads to empowerment, which leads to more confidence in exercising responsible financial practices. As lenders, we have a fiduciary duty to help others by guiding individuals with the heart of a teacher and providing resources to help them achieve financial freedom.”

Founded in 1992, Churchill Mortgage operates with zero debt and focuses on providing borrowers with a personalized path to debt-free homeownership. The result is an educated borrower that chooses the right home and builds wealth over time through a smarter mortgage.

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Better Automation Solves A Lot Of Problems

Technology is not the enemy. Technology should be a lender’s friend. And technology can solve a lot of problems. For example, Longbridge Financial, LLC., a national reverse mortgage lender based in Mahwah, New Jersey, has decided to implement Loan Vision accounting software for mortgage banks. The company cut over from its existing accounting solution on June 1.

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“We are very pleased to have Longbridge Financial join our growing family,” said Martin Kerr, President of Bestborn Business Solutions. “This company is really growing and we’re looking forward to assisting them in that process by giving them more information about how their company is operating than they have ever had access to before.”

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“One of our investors knew the team at Bestborn and recommended its Loan Vision accounting solution,” said Mary Riski, Longbridge Financial’s controller. “Loan Vision offered the mortgage loan accounting functionality we needed built in and the solution was more robust than the other solution we reviewed. We wanted to drill down into the specifics that make our company more profitable.”

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Riski said that the accounting solution the company had been using previously was not meeting the institution’s needs. She said her department was eager to generate financial reports by channel and product line, to have visibility into the company’s lines of business and their specific P&Ls, instead of settling for a roll-up to a generic corporate level that made it difficult to determine actual performance on a granular level.

“Getting that visibility is really the most exciting thing,” Riski said. “And then with all of the automation to import data from all of our various front end systems, that also is going to save us probably close to at least half an FTE if not a whole FTE, once we’re up and running.”

“With competition tightening, organizations must look deeper into their numbers than ever before to maximize their profit on every loan,” said Carl Wooloff, Business Development Manager for Loan Vision. “The folks at Longbridge, by moving to Loan Vision, have absolutely given themselves an edge over their competition. We are all looking forward to a long and successful relationship.”

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.