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Offering Up Intelligent Identity And Data Collection

Digital mortgage provider Maxwell has released Maxwell ApplyID, its next generation mortgage loan application and data enrichment API. The new release will enable clients — from brokers to national mortgage lenders — to pre-populate loan application data and develop new customer intelligence capabilities.

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The Maxwell ApplyID API unifies a consumer’s data fragments from a host of sources into a structured loan application, enabling data-driven organizations to quickly build profiles of their customers. By collecting their consent and verifying the consumer’s identity with their mobile carrier, Maxwell ApplyID gathers the borrower’s information from its network of data providers to pre-populate fields in a loan application including personal information, employment history, income, real estate owned, financial assets and more. With this new API, clients receive a completed Fannie Mae 3.2 file with minimal input from a consumer.

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This new experience enables lenders of all sizes to dramatically streamline the lengthy loan application process by leveraging the API’s intelligent data-collecting technology. ApplyID completely transforms the loan application experience, shortening what was once an arduous form into a small number of simple questions.

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“We are committed to looking for every opportunity to minimize the complexity and friction in the mortgage process,” said Maxwell CEO John Paasonen. “Maxwell ApplyID accomplishes this by dramatically simplifying the application process, reducing the time it takes a borrower to begin a relationship with their lender. Furthermore, as an API, it fully enables data-driven organizations to optimize their businesses and processes in a new way.”

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.

Integration Brings Automated File Imaging To Point And PointCentral

VirPack, a provider of document management, virtual workflow and eDelivery solutions for the mortgage lending industry, has a new integration with Calyx Software, a provider of innovative solutions to help streamline and simplify all phases of the loan process.

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VirPack’s Point Integration Modules enable Calyx’s customers to utilize VirPack’s virtual file automation capabilities including: multiple methods of document capture, automated document recognition and indexing (OCR), and rule-based workflow capabilities. With VirPack’s one-click electronic loan delivery, Calyx customers also gain the ability to quickly and precisely deliver loan files and data electronically to investors, HUD for FHA insuring, servicers, subservicers, QC firms and MI companies.

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McKinney, TX-based Independent Bank was one of the first Calyx customers to take advantage of the new integration module and saw immediate results. “Integrating VirPack with Calyx Point provides added efficiencies without altering processes or workflow – all within a truly paperless environment,” said Kristy Robison, Senior Vice President Mortgage Operations at Independent Bank.

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Point and PointCentral customers may also leverage VirPack’s preconfigured technology which enables rapid deployment and delivers immediate operational efficiency to the loan lifecycle.

“With mortgage origination costs continuing to rise, lenders need to leverage integrations between their technology providers to eliminate costly and time-consuming manual processes,” said Bob Dougherty, Executive Vice President of Calyx Software. “Calyx is proud to partner with VirPack to provide our customers seamless access to a solution that improves productivity and efficiency.”

“The positive reaction we have received from Point and PointCentral customers validates that our integration delivers increased productivity and efficiency without major IT and operational disruption,” said Wayland Pond, Chief Business Development Officer of VirPack. “Using best-in-class virtual document management and workflow technology will enable Calyx customers to fund more loans with the same staff and meet the competitive challenges of driving down per loan costs.”

Roostify Integrates With Salesforce

Roostify, a digital lending platform provider, has launched its Roostify connected app on Salesforce AppExchange. This new application enables mutual customers to easily connect leads generated within the Roostify suite of lead generation tools to their Salesforce environment.

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The app enables leads created in Roostify to be directly pushed to Salesforce, eliminating the need for manual entry or a lender-built integration. Lenders leveraging Roostify’s lead gen tool suite, including the DecisionBuilder lead capture tool, can now enjoy greater ease of use with the tools, streamlined workflows, and lower operational costs. Managed and maintained by Roostify, the app will remain current with all future Roostify updates without disruption to the lender’s workflows. The app can be up and running after a straightforward configuration.

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Built on the Salesforce Lightning Platform, the Roostify app is currently available to Roostify clients on the AppExchange. For more information, please contact sales@roostify.com.

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“An integration with Salesforce provides tremendous value for our customers that rely on the software for lead generation and prospecting by enabling them to easily work between the two platforms and not have to manually enter information,” said Mark McLaughlin, SVP of Business Development, Roostify. “This app will accelerate our customer’s ability to act on and convert new leads in an increasingly competitive environment.”

“We are happy to welcome Roostify onto the AppExchange, as they provide customers with an exciting new way to generate and follow up on leads,” said Mike Wolff, SVP, ISV Sales, Salesforce. “The exponential growth of the AppExchange underscores the enormous opportunity the entire Salesforce ecosystem has in creating cutting-edge solutions and driving customer success.”

Salesforce AppExchange, the world’s leading enterprise cloud marketplace, empowers companies to sell, service, market and engage in entirely new ways. With more than 5,000 solutions, 5 million customer installs and 70,000 peer reviews, it is the most comprehensive source of cloud, mobile, social, IoT, analytics and artificial intelligence technologies for businesses.

Capsilon Launches Capsilon IQ, Moves From Docs To Data

Capsilon has launched Capsilon IQ platform and Capsilon Data Audit app, and the rebrand of DocVelocity. More than 160 mortgage companies rely on DocVelocity for mission-critical business operations, and 15% of U.S. mortgages touch the system each year. Mortgage companies are under increasing pressure to deliver faster, easier mortgages at a time when margins are at their lowest point in years. Companies who want to compete need to evolve their businesses and transform how they work. To meet this need, the company is expanding the Capsilon platform to harness new technologies that drive this evolution.

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Introducing Capsilon IQ

Capsilon IQ is the platform at the heart of the next-generation mortgage operating model. Formerly known as DocVelocity, Capsilon IQ evolved from enterprise-wide document management to an end-to-end mortgage automation engine. It combines Intelligent Process Automation with patented data recognition and extraction technology to create efficiencies at every stage of the mortgage lifecycle. Capsilon IQ enables users to create intelligent work experiences that make people more productive and existing systems more powerful.

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Capsilon IQ: Document Edition includes the core document management functionality that solves key workforce productivity challenges of managing and manipulating documents. It speeds up loan intake and reduces the manual work associated with handling inbound documents.

Capsilon IQ: Docs & Data Edition includes all of the features of Document Edition, plus a new set of tools to help mortgage companies do more with their loan data. It includes Capsilon Mortgage Data Management, a data repository that companies can use to power their mortgage business. The platform absorbs millions of data points from documents and digital sources, standardizes them into a consolidated record for each loan file. With Mortgage Data Management, companies can ensure data integrity across all business applications.

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Companies can also extend Capsilon IQ with productivity boosting apps that speed up teams and their tasks, solving the biggest pain points that weigh mortgage companies down.

NEW Data Audit App

A major pain point for many of customers is the dreaded ‘stare and compare’ process that frustrates staff and takes up valuable time. Capsilon’s new Data Audit app frees up staff time spent searching for docs and data. It provides a single place to see and compare data across sources, including the LOS and supporting documents. Capsilon Data Audit flags data mismatches for review so staff can instantly spot where supporting documents and data don’t match.

Capsilon Data Audit boosts data integrity and drives productivity gains across functions.

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.

RegTech: The Intersection Of Mortgage And Politics

Home ownership is a sign of stability, security, and a life milestone for many Americans. Ironically, the industry providing the keys to this essential part of the American Dream is constantly in a state of transition, dependent on the political climate. Keeping up with the changing tides emanating from Capitol Hill pulls resources away from business building, hindering many lenders from remaining competitive and providing the best service and offerings to their clients.

Initially built for automation, technology is becoming a force for compliance and competition. End-to-end solutions like Asurity Technologies’ award-winning MRGDocs, a smart loan documents processing system, and RiskExec, a web-based compliance risk analysis and reporting platform, empower lenders to proactively mitigate risk. With 100% compliant loan documents, risk analysis and reporting, state-of-the-art data infrastructure, an ecosystem of expertise from engineering to regulation, and a committed customer and technical support team. Asurity is turning compliance into a competitive advantage for lenders so they can focus on business growth.

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Our editor interviewed (left to right) Kathleen (Kathy) Mantych, Asurity’s Senior Director of Business Development and Sales for MRGDocs; Luke Wimer, Asurity’s Chief Operations Officer; and Chris Anderson, Asurity’s Senior Sales Executive for MRGDocs, about the state of the mortgage industry, regulation politics, the role of technology, and the impact of it all on the economy.

Q: How would you describe the current state of the mortgage industry?

Luke Wimer: The mortgage industry is at a turning point, but a slow one. Everyone is trying to figure out how to electronify processes, new entrants are putting emphasis on the customer experience, and regulatory action, while it has levelled off some, remains a significant factor. This is a challenge because although innovation with control is needed to survive and compete, we are in a sector with razor thin margins.

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Q: What is the biggest challenge facing the industry today?

Chris Anderson: In today’s lending environment, it is increasingly expensive and difficult to originate a loan that is 100% compliant. Over the past seven years, an influx of third-party wholesalers dealing primarily with mortgage brokerage businesses have entered the fray, providing competitive rates and positive customer experiences that some of the bigger banks have yet to perfect. On top of that, interest rates are rising, pushing lenders to consolidate in an attempt to increase share in an already tight market. And of course, regulations are constantly in a state of transition based on the political landscape, with lenders beholden to requirements from the federal, state, and investor levels.

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In response to this increasingly complex and costly scenario, savvy lenders are turning to technology to create efficiencies across the board. The greatest value we offer our clients through solutions like RiskExec and MRGDocs is peace of mind at every stage of the loan lifecycle and leading up to the compliance exams so they can focus on the business at hand, whether that’s making their customer service competitive, increasing market share, or adding new services.

Q: What trends are you noticing in compliance management?

Kathy Mantych: Compliance and technology are becoming an integrated part of the entire loan lifecycle, as opposed to just segments of that cycle. Lenders are focusing not only on automation and efficiencies, but on improving quality and cost as well.

Q: How is technology influencing the future of the mortgage industry?

Chris Anderson: Technology has been and will continue to be the driving force behind increased efficiency and better customer service. Whether it’s technology that automates previously manual processes or a platform or partner that ensures lenders are doing it right the first time, technology is enabling users and borrowers to experience a smoother process from the origination to closing.

Q: What is a major challenge facing the mortgage industry?

Kathy Mantych: One major challenge is the adoption of compliance tools and technology available to mortgage lenders and banks. It’s challenging because the regulatory environment changes constantly. From a compliance risk perspective, we need to adopt new technology in order to mitigate that risk in real time.

Another challenge is that both lenders and vendors have spent a lot of time and money implementing regulatory changes in the past few years, which has distracted them from focusing on their core business – building revenue and providing borrowers with a better customer experience.

Q: There have been a lot of regulatory rollbacks over the past year that were intended to prevent future financial crises – especially as it relates to the housing finance industry. How might that impact the housing industry over the next five years, and the overall economy?

Kathy Mantych: There have been, and always will be regulatory changes, the most significant to date being the recent impact of TRID. By continuing to monitor both sides of the lender to consumer relationship through compliance enforcement and regulatory rollbacks, we should be able to maintain a healthy balance that allows for steady growth.

Chris Anderson: I think these rollbacks can only help the industry. A number of the industry’s new regulations over the past nine years have only made it more difficult and costly to lend money. By rolling back some of the more onerous regulations, we should see consumers having more access to funds, allowing for more loans to be made to borrowers at a lower price.

Luke Wimer: Making it easier for smaller lenders to issue mortgages should have a positive economic effect, and allowing borrowers a little more judgement in loan-making while retaining risk is healthy.

Some of this boost could be offset by consumer protection concerns. For example, requiring less borrower data might lead to an uptick in fraud or less clarity on whether certain borrowers are being fairly treated. There are also indications that there will be fewer violators pursued and less of a voice for consumers. We will not see the CFPB become a “Yelp for financial services”.

We have to look at both enforcement and regulatory rollbacks together. Lenders will behave based on the rules and whether they fear punitive action by regulators. This does not mean lenders will not choose to be compliant; rather, I think their ability to comply with regulations will be reflected in the level of investment or intensity of compliance processes. It appears that federal and state regulators are still focused on consumer protection, which should prevent a complete backslide. Overall, I think banks will benefit from lower administrative costs while remaining compliant and customer-focused.

Q: How is Asurity Technologies helping mortgage professionals overcome those challenges and look to the future?

Luke Wimer: Asurity monitors, interprets, and delivers current compliance so mortgage professionals can focus on giving loans to consumers. We are making good compliance easy by helping mortgage businesses protect their consumers in an informed way.

Kathy Mantych: Our solutions look at the entire loan life cycle from beginning to end. Compliance tools like MRGDocs and RiskExec that bring together years of in-depth regulatory, legal, and technology expertise and experience create operational efficiencies from origination to servicing and beyond.

Q: What do you love about working in the mortgage industry?

Luke Wimer: Home ownership is the American dream. Fairness and consumer protection is a big part of that and an implied promise of our democratic economy and government. We are delivering on these promises every day.

Kathy Mantych: This industry operates like a large family; many of us have known each other for years as colleagues and peers. Together, mortgage lenders and technology providers are creating a positive environment for the consumer. It is exciting to be a part of that rising tide.

INSIDER PROFILE

Luke Wimer is Chief Operating Officer of Asurity Technologies. An innovative executive for more than 30 years, Luke has depth in operations, technology, finance, and product development, and has successfully scaled and transformed businesses. Prior to Asurity Technologies, Luke served as Executive Vice President of Global Operations and Chief Information Officer for MoneyGram, International; Principal at Thomas H. Lee Partners, the Boston-based private equity firm; and as a Vice President at Capital One.

INDUSTRY PREDICTIONS

Luke Wimer thinks:

1.) Boosted by deregulation, big lenders will get bigger.

2.) The big players in the industry may be slow to adopt change but they will ultimately buy technology or copy innovation and edge smaller players out.

3.) We will continue to have cycles of regulation and deregulation. Mortgage lending will remain a difficult business throughout these transitions.

INSIDER PROFILE

Chris Anderson is a Senior Sales Executive with Asurity Technologies’ smart loan document solution, MRGDocs. Over the past 24 years, Chris has worked in various strategic roles across the financial services industry, enabling efficiency and providing better products and services to consumers. Since joining Asurity in 2017, Chris has focused on exploring strategic partnerships, developing business cases for new products and marketing, and setting the strategic direction of product lines.

INDUSTRY PREDICTIONS

Chris Anderson thinks:

1.) As rates rise, borrowers on the fence will finally make a decision that they better purchase now or pay higher interest rates and therefore, higher monthly payments.

2.) Loosening regulations and adjustments to qualifying requirements will enable more and more younger people, like millennials who are saddled with student loan debt, to finally afford to buy their first home.

3.) With the reintroduction of Non-QM (Non-Qualified Mortgage) loans, more consumers with lower than minimum credit scores will again be able to purchase homes where they have not been able to previously since the great recession started in 2008.

INSIDER PROFILE

Kathleen Mantych is a Senior Director of Business Development & Sales at Asurity Technologies. Kathy has a comprehensive background spanning 30 years in complex software environments providing organizations with business growth strategies and leadership necessary to drive revenue and return on investment. She joined the MRGDocs team in 2010 and has spent the past eight years driving the company’s growth and expansion by way of indirect and direct sales channels.

INDUSTRY PREDICTIONS

Kathy Mantych thinks:

1.) The industry will continue to fast-track technology adoption for operational efficiencies.

2.) Compliance complexity will increase with White House administration policy changes.

3.) The lender and vendor community will continue to condense over the next 5 to 10 years due to the overall cost of maintaining compliance amidst new regulations.

Enhancing Profitability Through Better Compliance Management

Compliance has always imposed serious financial and human resource costs to servicers. Recent years have brought added pressure on the mortgage industry to better manage compliance and consider its significance. The industry responded by implementing new processes and technology to tighten up the manner in which lenders deal with regulations. Compliance is now considered a top priority by servicers, despite the CFPB’s recent moves to rethink regulation enforcement. It may come as a surprise that the vast majority of servicers are overspending on compliance, yet are still not in full compliance with the latest regulations. This makes them vulnerable during an audit, as well as less profitable.

A major flaw in servicers’ management of compliance is that there is an assumption that one, single universal national standard exists among their staff members, even if it is not official policy. This is misleading as each state has its own requirements that differ greatly from each other.

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Many servicers are actually non-compliant in stricter states, while spending too much on compliance in those that are less strict One example of this is in the collection of reinstatement fees. Some states forbid servicers from collecting them from consumers, yet many servicers do so, despite local regulations. At the same time these same servicers may be declining to collect them in states that permit it.

But how does a servicer, who may feel confident about compliance having already implemented extensive changes to the organization’s compliance efforts, determine whether or not they are falling victim to this trend?

Internal Audit to Access Risk

There are steps servicers can take to assess required changes to compliance and profitability. First, an internal audit should be conducted, with full support of C-level leadership. Audits help identify the level of risk and loss of profitability. Compliance, accounting staffs and the CFO should be involved in this step.

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A typical “red flag” that the internal auditing teams will look for may include the average write-off cost per loan in each state. The strictness of regulatory compliance and cost of doing business within each individual state varies considerably. However, as a general rule, a servicer can expect writing off $750 or more per loan. Anything less is an indicator the servicer may be collecting more than they are allowed. Conversely, if a servicer is writing off more than $1,750, this is a warning that not enough money is being collected. It is very common for servicers to find they are actually missing out on some payments while simultaneously collecting too much for other payments.

Outside Consultant to Seek Areas of Improvement

If the internal audit team finds issues, the next step is to hire an outside consultant to conduct an independent review and make recommendations. Outside consultants bring added objectivity to the project and can dig much deeper by spending more time on the issue than internal auditors. Outsiders can devote themselves full time to solving any problems without disrupting the flow of business. It is critical to include the internal auditing team in the process when changes are being implemented since they will have a much greater knowledge of the company’s culture and people than an outside consultant.

Replace Manual Processes With Automation

One of the most common recommended changes is to replace manual processes with automation. Automated processes enable reduction of errors and increased productivity. Many servicers may not consider technology upgrades until after fines have been levied by auditors. Passing audits without issue is more likely when automated processes are implemented and utilized properly.

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Transform Hiring and Training Processes

Another popular recommendation is to examine and alter recruiting and staffing processes where necessary. Many servicers try to cut costs by hiring people who have limited knowledge of complex compliance issues. Additionally, many of these servicers do not adequately train new staff about compliance once they’ve been hired. When inadequate training is combined with using outdated manual processes, the results can be even more disastrous.

Servicers should focus more on hiring staff with more compliance experience. Hiring staff with less experience because they are cheaper can often be more expensive to a servicer in the long run. Training should also not be viewed as a one-time effort. It should be ongoing throughout the year. Depending on the complexity of the regulations involved, retraining could occur as often as once a quarter.

Improve Quality Control

Finally, servicers need to redefine their quality control procedures. Servicers that have completed their own internal compliance audits will undoubtedly find errors or other violations that need to be corrected. Consultants can offer advice on modifications and revisions to existing quality control efforts.

Compliance checks should occur at every stage of the quality control workflow. Many lenders delay compliance checks until the end of the process. This can cause missteps and require rework. Modern quality control processes provide compliance training to most staff, who are enabled to validate their work before moving forward. All staff plays a vital role in the success of the quality control effort. It is a costly mistake to assume compliance is entirely the responsibility of compliance officers.
Too many servicers have become overconfident in their ability to meet regulatory standards because they have spent years building up their company’s compliance machine and devoting very significant resources to do so. Yet the vast majority are not as compliant as they may assume nor as profitable as they could be, and this puts them at significant financial risk while eating away at their bottom lines. Proactively assessing the level of compliance and risk within the business is the most practical manner in which to reduce risk and boost profitability.

About The Author

Denis Brosnan

Denis Brosnan is the president and chief executive officer of Dallas-based DIMONT, provider of specialty insurance and loan administration services for the residential and commercial financial industries in the United States. Additional information is available at www.dimont.com.

Looking For Investment Money?

A lot of startups and mainstay mortgage technology companies are looking for investors. But how do you attract them? Look to other companies that have been successful and follow their lead.

In the article entitled “Best Pitch Decks: The Early Stage Pitch Decks Of The Hottest Funded Startups” by Alejandro Cremades, he talks about how to create a winning pitch deck that gets your startup funded. Whether you are still at seed stage, or are preparing for a follow up series of funding, a lot of your success is riding on a few slides.

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So, let’s take a look at the early stage pitch decks from some of the hottest companies that have successfully raised big money, and see what we can learn from them.

Uber

Uber has a nice sleek and clean pitch deck, as you’d expect. The deck dives deep into the detail of vehicle types and mile per gallon, all plans that seem to have been left behind after the company got funded. It’s a reminder not to box yourself in with specific strategies and tactics you’ll almost inevitably take a detour on later.

Dollars raised so far: $22B across 18 fundraising rounds

Number of slides in deck: 25

Early investors included: First Round, Benchmark, and Menlo Ventures.

Of special note: At the time Uber created this deck in 2008 it projected the overall market being worth $4.2B annually. It has raised over 5x that in funding.

In May 2018 Uber’s CEO said the company was on track to go IPO in 2019.

WeWork

WeWork may prove to be one of the most underrated companies from its early days. Going beyond simply providing co-working space the company is now in the residential apartment market and education.

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Dollars raised so far: $1.7B

Number of slides in deck: 37

Recent valuation: $20B

Early investors included: Benchmark

Of special note: SEC filings showed that WeWork owed $18B in rent as April 2018

Tinder

For a startup banking on looks to generate big profits (with a little help from gamification) Tinder’s early pitch deck seems to be a bit of an eyesore. Though with 8 billion matches reportedly made on the site so far, it’s a hot app people seem to be addicted to.

Number of slides in deck: 10

Recent valuation: $3B+

Sub-Organization of Match Group

Of special note: The company was originally named Match Box

Snapchat

Their deck was a little meaty and heavy on text for what snap stands for as an app. Yet, the company has undeniably appeared to be one of the fastest growing and an app best loved by celebrities.

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Dollars raised so far: $4.6B+

Number of slides in deck: 14

Early investors included: Lightspeed, Benchmark, IVP.

Of special note: Kylie Jenner is credited with knocking out $1.3B in Snap market value following a negative Tweet about Snap’s new redesign.

Buzzfeed

This deck was used when Buzzfeed had just 700k unique monthly views. Many of which were likely to clickbait content, which the company later took down as it attempted to become a more serious news source.

Dollars raised so far: $500M+

Number of slides in deck: 21

Recent valuation: $1.7B

Early investors included: Hearst, RRE, NEA, and Andreessen Horowitz.

Of special note: Buzzfeed shows off an extensive list of team members in this deck, yet, notes all content at the time was handled by just 2 editors, with a monthly burn rate of $60k.

Foursquare

We don’t hear much about Foursquare anymore, but the founders certainly deserve credit for leveraging its deck into millions of dollars.

Dollars raised so far: $155M+

Number of slides in deck: 15

Recent valuation: $600M+

Early investors included: Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures.

Of special note: Goes beyond basic positioning statements to use competitors as references more than once. It’s good to liken your startup to something investors already know, but be careful that you are actually differentiating yourself and show a need for what you are bringing to market.

Airbnb

Their pitch deck shows a great use of user testimonials and ‘use cases’ on one slide that are easy to understand. Interestingly this deck is far longer than the CEO’s famous one-page business plan to dominate the hospitality space.

Perhaps more amazing is that Airbnb has accomplished all this while technically being illegal, just as Uber was when it started out, and many of today’s cannabis startups were before recent legislation.

Dollars raised so far: $4.4B in thirteen funding rounds

Number of slides in deck: 13

Early investors included: Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, and Andreessen Horowitz.

Of special note: Airbnb did a great job of highlighting 3 value propositions or problems solved in one simple slide. A feat not normally recommended, unless you want to confuse potential investors.

Why talk about these pitch decks and companies? They all seem to have slide counts falling between 10 and 25 slides. Many of these companies original names changed after they got funded. Like UberCab, AirBed&Breakfast, or Match Box.

Don’t overlook the fact that most of these host companies were born in some of the toughest financial times our country has experienced (2008-2011). They’ve also continually raised money in 4 to 7, or more funding rounds.

None of these pitch decks are perfect, but they worked in conjunction with other factors, like getting in front of the right investors. As you will be able to find with the profiles of investors they onboarded, you will see that very early on they were able to convince top tier investors.

If you’re looking to get funded find the right investors, and with an even better deck you may raise more money, in less time and achieve even more.

About The Author

Michael Hammond

Michael Hammond is chief strategy officer at PROGRESS in Lending Association and is the founder and president of NexLevel Advisors. They provide solutions in business development, strategic selling, marketing, public relations and social media. He has close to two decades of leadership, management, marketing, sales and technical product experience. Michael held prior executive positions such as CEO, CMO, VP of Business Strategy, Director of Sales and Marketing and Director of Marketing for a number of leading companies. He is also only one of about 60 individuals to earn the Certified Mortgage Technologist (CMT) designation. Michael can be contacted via e-mail at mhammond@nexleveladvisors.com.

Why Lenders Should Be Aware of Exemptions

As a homeowner, how would you like to pay less in property taxes, or even not have to pay those taxes at all? Many homeowners and lenders are familiar with the term exemption. It’s a discount or benefit given for meeting certain requirements. Common examples are a homestead or primary residence exemption, usually a credit applied to taxes if the property being assessed is where the borrower lives. Other common exemptions are disability or disabled veteran, given to people with disabilities or who have served in the military and are now disabled. Exemptions are also usually given to people who are 65 years of age or older, or if the property is used for a special purpose, such as agriculture. Exemptions like these help people who may have trouble paying their taxes keep their properties. Exemptions also lessen the amount that a mortgage company will have to pay if it’s an escrowed account.

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The financial effect of these exemptions can be substantial. Some states will give a large credit for the exemptions. For instance, if the property is a combined Homestead and Disabled or Homestead and over 65 status, it surpasses the taxes that are assessed to the property and the borrower does not have to pay property taxes. Sometimes, like in Texas, people with certain exemptions can qualify to have their taxes deferred, so the taxes will not have to be paid taxes until they move, pass away, or try to sell the property. People in Texas also can enroll in a special installment plan. In other situations, the exemption provides a credit that lowers the total taxes that must be paid. The requirements, benefits and application process for the exemptions can vary from state to state, and often local agencies check yearly to see if the exemption still applies. An example would be checking a property with an agricultural exemption to determine the last time there was actually farming on the property). It’s always best to check with the website of each state to understand the nuances of each exemption.

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If the county discovers that a property did not qualify for the exemptions granted, a reassessment can occur. When this happens, the taxes that would have been owed if the exemption was not applied become due. As a result, the property will suddenly have delinquent taxes that lenders were not aware of and the consequences of these delinquencies can range from having extra penalties and interest added, to possible property loss depending on how the county manages delinquencies.

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It’s always beneficial for lenders to be vigilant and pay attention to what is happening with the properties on which they have issued loans. If a borrower violates a requirement for an exemption, such as not farming on land with an agricultural exemption or filing a Homestead exemption even though it’s being used as rental property or for commercial use, the lender will ultimately end up paying more or even losing the property. One way for lenders/servicers to stay on top of this information is to stay in touch with the county tax offices and assessors and pay attention to any correspondence received from them. This can be a time consuming task. If lenders do not have time to constantly monitor this information, working with a business partner that has employees trained to be experts in tax laws would be prudent. Lenders should look at keeping up with exemptions as protecting their investment and saving themselves from unwanted penalties.

About The Author

Neil Gantan

Neil Gantan is a delinquency processor at LERETA, LLC and has worked on delinquent property tax research for the last six years. He has a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from Cal-State Long Beach and has participated in 6-Sigma projects and has a 6-Sigma Green Belt Certification.

Creating Borrowers For Life

Ever since the housing market took a hit back in 2008, the industry has been struggling to bounce back. The imposition of stringent federal regulation, coupled with shifting priorities for younger demographics that have, historically, held home ownership in high regard have taken their toll on lenders’ bottom lines. Lead generation is getting more expensive by the day, while the overall quality of those leads is slowly deteriorating.

The most frustrating aspect of the mortgage landscape, however, is that those leads that could potentially be converted into new business are falling by the wayside because of sub-par credit scores. To those in the lending industry, it’s common knowledge that poor credit is one of the most common hurdles consumers face when it comes to homeownership. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York conducted a study in which it concluded that over one-third of all Americans have a FICO score below 620. One third; that translates into over 90 million people (only takes those over the age of 18 into account). To compound that statistic, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates that there are another 45 million people who do not even have a credit score. There is little doubt that lenders in today’s market are fighting an uphill battle.

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Loan officers across the country are forced to turn thousands of potential clients away every single day because their credit scores fall just short of the qualifying threshold. When an applicant’s credit score is ten, twenty, or thirty points short of the score required for eligibility, many lenders are tempted to intervene and advise those would-be clients to take remedial steps to raise their scores. The advice could be something as simple as paying off a credit card to lower their debt to credit ratio, or disputing a delinquent account that the prospective client maintains was reported incorrectly. These minor steps might be just enough raise the applicant’s credit score, qualify them for a mortgage on their dream house, and earn the lender a life-long client. However, few lenders realize that providing this type of advice to consumers, no matter how well intentioned, could subject the loan officer and the organization for which he or she works to serious liability from both, the federal government and the consumers to which the assistance was provided.

The Credit Repair Organizations Act (“CROA” or the “Act”) is a federal law, which falls under the broader Consumer Protection Act. Under CROA, any person or entity that provides any advice or assistance to any person with the goal of improving their credit in exchange for valuable consideration (i.e. the sale of financial products) can be classified as “credit repair organization” under the law, even if they’re not being directly compensated for providing that advice. A reclassification of this nature could have a devastating impact on any organization that engages in the practice of providing this or similar assistance. Once a company is classified as a “credit repair organization”, it becomes subject to all of the stringent requirements imposed by the other provisions of the statute, which, if credit repair were not the main focus of that lender’s organization, would almost certainly mean that the lender is conducting its business in violation of the law. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has begun to take an interest CROA cases, and has already reached seven-figure settlements with several companies that have run afoul of the statutory provisions.

In addition to potentially being subject to governmental backlash, many lending organizations that provide this type of assistance to their potential clients also risk being stripped of their ability to pull credit. Surprisingly, few people in the industry are aware that many of the largest providers of independent verification services require lenders to certify that they do not engage in credit repair. These prohibitions are often glossed over because many lenders do not realize that the advice they provide actually puts them in breach of these agreements. If these verification services discover that the lenders with which they contract are engaging in these practices in-house, they could very well, and most likely will, terminate the contracts and refuse to provide their services in the future.

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Because of the ever-increasing competition in the mortgage industry, it is imperative for lenders who wish to succeed to undertake initiatives to ensure that they stand head and shoulders above their competition. For the last few years we have seen a shift from a refinance to a purchase market. Additionally, the average origination costs have been steadily increasing, while the quality of leads is on the decline due, in part, to the credit difficulties widely experienced by consumers. Taking all of these factors into account, the question then becomes, “how?” “How can I differentiate myself from my competitors? “How can I increase my conversion rates?” “How can I establish a rapport with my clients to ensure repeat business and brand loyalty?”

One solution is to form strategic partnerships with third party companies that are able fill in gaps by providing services that you cannot. As discussed above, there are thousands of consumers who get turned away every day because of their credit scores. These consumers look great on paper in terms of employment status, income, and other assets, but their FICO scores render them ineligible for loans. Although lenders cannot and should not attempt to rehabilitate these consumers in-house, they should not just turn them away either. Those unqualified or underqualified consumers represent hundreds of millions of dollars in potential market share and, if lenders are able to implement a system to capture even a fraction of those consumers, they could bolster their bottom line by serving what was previously viewed as an untapped market, while establishing customer loyalty by indirectly aiding those customers that have traditionally been brushed off by the competition.

There are several not for profit entities that specialize in credit remediation and rehabilitation no cost to lenders, whatsoever. Although the non-profits were established to benefit consumers, lenders who choose to partner with these companies stand to become ancillary beneficiaries, while providing a niche service to their prospective clients. The effects of implementing this strategy are threefold in that lenders: 1) are able to insulate themselves from the potential liability that accompanies being reclassified as a credit repair organization, while ensuring that these consumers receive the assistance they require; 2) are able to maximize the value of every lead thy receive by providing this service without expending additional time or resources on conversion; and 3) are able to establish brand loyalty by offering a crucial service that competitors do not provide while simultaneously tapping a pipeline of new business.

When evaluating potential partnerships, it is imperative that lenders are able to pinpoint those organizations that are not only reputable, but that employ experienced personnel who are capable of providing the services necessary to rehabilitate the referred consumers. Not only should a chosen not for profit provide credit remediation, it should also provide coaching and education to give consumers who have traditionally experienced credit difficulties the requisite knowledge base to make sound financial decisions in the future. By affording consumers resources that teach responsible borrowing and spending habits, lenders can help ensure that when these clients return to them, ready to refinance or purchase another home in the future, they have the necessary credit profile to allow for an expeditious closing.

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Lenders should also ensure that there are mechanisms in place to monitor the progress of all consumers that they refer to their not for profit partners. This will operate to ensure that not only are the referrals making progress, but that the lenders are advised upon the completion of the rehabilitation process so that they can recapture leads in which they’ve invested considerable time and resources. The lender should also endeavor to periodically follow up with their referrals during the remediation process in order to build stronger relationships, which should lead to higher conversion rates upon completion.

Although it is getting increasingly difficult to close new loans in the mortgage industry, there are plenty of potential sources of business for savvy lenders that know how to recognize them and have systems and strategies in place to capitalize. By differentiating your organization and providing consumers with alternatives to rejection, you have the ability to maximize lead value and cut origination costs, while simultaneously building lifelong client relationships.

About The Author

Elizabeth Karwowski

Elizabeth Karwowski is the CEO of GCH360, a technology company that has developed a proprietary process and solution, which seamlessly integrates with the lenders’ loan origination software (LOS) and customer relationship management software (CRM) in order to create new loan opportunity and recapture leads. GCH 360 helped their partners create over $100M of new loan opportunities in 2017 alone, and plan on continued growth in 2018. As a recognized credit expert, Elizabeth has been featured on NBC and Fox News, and published in a number of financial industry publications.

eDocs, A Better Customer Experience

The industry is changing. Electronic loan documents have come a long way in the past decade. Today, most lenders incorporate eDocs for at least part of the loan origination process, whether it be electronic disclosures, digital closing docs or other document needs. Making eDocs even more effective has been the adoption of eSign technology, which has streamlined the delivery and signing of loan documents for a more complete and convenient experience for the borrower.

One frustrating challenge that has remained, though, is the ability for lenders to easily send one-off documents, independent from the standard loan doc package, in an efficient manner that allows those documents to be attached to the core loan doc package and electronically signed by the borrower. This results in a situation where a borrower can receive and sign some of their loan docs electronically. However, the lender is then stuck sending the other independent documents physically, or including the documents in an electronic package but requiring the lender to print and sign the extra forms, scan, and return via email.

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To provide the flexibility and customization required to compete in today’s marketplace, lenders are turning to two key electronic document technologies. The first is using dynamic document generation to ensure that only the necessary documents – with the right information – are created in the first place.

The second is leveraging integrated all-in-one eSign technology for a complete process including integration with doc generation, ability to customize independent documents for signature, eDelivery, enabling the borrower to sign anywhere, anytime, from any device, built in compliance checks and electronic storage in a secure eVault.

Building Custom Doc Packages

Dynamic documents have become the standard for loan document generation over the past few years. Instead of managing through empty space in a static document template, dynamic documents utilize rules-based intelligence and calculations to automatically pull the accurate data fields from the LOS to create transaction-specific documentation.

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Lenders using dynamic document software can then use the data to electronically generate and deliver accurate docs to the borrower and investor. Dynamic document platforms that leverage two-way data pushback can also greatly reduce the lender’s susceptibility to errors caused by manually reentering data and eliminate the need to manually create new sets of documents for each transaction, enhancing quality, compliance and efficiency.

Dynamic document engines also make it possible to insert other documents a lender might require, such as disclosures of business relationships with settlement services, documents related to the transactions between realtors or change of circumstance addendums. These forms are not generated by standard loan document software, and the ability to insert them into an electronic disclosure or closing package for delivery is valuable.

Building a Custom eSign Framework

Many lenders have taken the first step in using dynamic document platforms to customize their disclosure and closing packages. However, the next phase in providing borrowers with a fully digital loan experience is ensuring that all forms can be eSigned.

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Currently, most of the “extra” documents added to a package that are not specifically generated by the document software either are not mapped to eSign capabilities or the borrower is asked to use a separate system from what they have been using with the lender. This means that when the borrower receives an electronic document package, they will be able to sign some of the forms electronically but must print out the others. From there, they have to scan and email or mail the wet-signed forms back to the lender, slowing down the loan workflow.

The best loan document generation systems will offer lenders multiple options for adding external documents to an eSigned doc package. First, custom documents should be easy to add to a lender’s library in the doc generation software, so that they can be seamlessly included with all doc requests in the future. Second, external documents could be included in the initial doc generation request, along with the mapping coordinates for the electronic signatures. And finally, lenders should have the option to quickly and easily add one-off documents manually after the eSignable package has been created, editing them to add the appropriate eSigning points along with any other borrower interactions like check-boxes or text fields to be filled in.

These options provide lenders with maximum flexibility to include their custom documents within the loan doc package and make them eSignable, enabling their borrowers to complete the entire package in one seamless online experience.

As lenders move more of their loan operations into the digital world, the ability to customize all documents for eSignatures and inclusion in document packages will keep them on the leading edge of competitiveness, customer service and cost efficiencies.

About The Author

Harry Gardner

Harry Gardner is executive vice president of eStrategies for Docutech, a leading provider of compliance and documentation technology. Founded in 1991, Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Docutech offers a wide range of solutions to institutions all over the world. From document generation and imaging support to eDelivery, digital signatures and print fulfillment, Docutech sets the standard in providing market-proven technology and unrivaled client service to you, your workforce and your clients.