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Technology Spotlight: Real-Time Loan Servicing

*Real-Time Loan Servicing*
**Heartland Financial USA, Inc. Profiled**

***Servicers have no time to waste. They have to be fast, efficient and accurate. It’s not an understatement to say that the economy is depending on them. As a result, more and more servicers are investing in new technology. For example, Heartland Financial USA, Inc. has chosen to use LoanServ – the online, real-time loan servicing solution from Fiserv – for its mortgage servicing needs. With LoanServ, Heartland will be able to optimize and automate most of its loan servicing operations and processes while pursuing its lending growth strategy.

****Heartland chose LoanServ when its volume increased and loan servicing needs became more complex. By selecting LoanServ, the institution will benefit from integration with Signature bank platform from Fiserv along with access to enhanced servicing functionality. Built into the rules-driven, highly automated LoanServ platform are specific functionalities such as default management and loss mitigation that are designed to streamline the management of assets and maximize loan performance. Additionally, Heartland is taking advantage of the investor rules functionality within LoanServ, which gives clients the ability to manage investor activities without having to wait for overnight data updates.

****“Our aim is to inject the highest possible levels of efficiency and regulatory compliance into our mortgage servicing processes, so we can serve our clients better and increase profitability at the same time,” said Douglas Hortsmann, president of Dubuque Bank and Trust, Heartland’s flagship bank. “The LoanServ platform from Fiserv offers the best combination of functionality and scalability, and allows us to pursue additional portfolios with investors such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae.”

****The deployment of LoanServ builds on the long-standing relationship between the two companies. In 2011, Heartland renewed a debit processing contract with Fiserv, and also recently signed up to use ReserveLink, a deposit reclassification solution from Fiserv. Additional Fiserv products used by Heartland include ACCEL/Exchange PIN debit network, Prologue Accounts Payable, Prologue General Ledger and a variety of solutions from the company’s Output Solutions line of business.

****Kevin Collins, President of Lending Solutions at Fiserv, said, “With its real-time processing and built-in workflows and default management capabilities, LoanServ is the type of solution that servicers can rely on to be successful in today’s lending environment. We are confident that the functionality of LoanServ will enable Heartland to start realizing benefits almost immediately.”

****LoanServ is available to help automate all loan servicing processes, including integrated default management and collections, cashiering, escrow and investor accounting for both closed-end and revolving loans. With the LoanServ solution, data transactions are available online, in real-time so lenders don’t have to contend with the limitations associated with an end-of-day batch processing cycle. The rules-based architecture of the platform lets lenders such as Heartland Financial manage data in a way that is meaningful to their business.

Progress In Lending

The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Market Analysis: Let’s Think About Real Solutions To Our Problems

*Let’s Think About Real Solutions To Our Problems*
**By Tony Garritano**

***I have always advocated innovative solutions to real problems. You shouldn’t just invest in technology because of a new feature, for example. You should invest in technology to improve your overall process. As such, when I hear about new ideas that solve real problems I’m going to share them with you. As the mortgage industry and the federal government struggle to find ways to stem foreclosures, Barry Habib, vice president and chief market strategist for Columbus, Ohio-based Residential Finance Corp. (RFC), proposes a plan to prevent foreclosures and strategic defaults. The proposed plan also enables homeowners to quickly rebuild equity in their homes with a monthly housing expense lower than renting. Here’s the scoop:

****Under the proposed Homeowners Equity and Liquidation Pathway (HELP) for Housing plan, homeowners build equity in their homes after just two years without a government bailout while contributing up to $450 billion in economic stimulus to the U.S. economy over five years.

****Key elements of this proposal include:

****>> Eligible for borrowers who are current but trapped in their mortgage by not being able to refinance their mortgage or sell their home.

****>> Existing mortgage would be divided into two parts:  a first mortgage – representing 80 percent of the current value of the home – on a 20-year fixed payment, which takes advantage of the historically low market rates, and a second mortgage on the remaining balance, to be securitized and held on the Federal Reserve balance sheet, much like QE1, QE2 and Operation Twist.

****>> Borrower is not be obligated to make monthly payments on the second mortgage; however, interest accrues and is payable upon the sale of the home.

****>> Significantly lower monthly mortgage payments – resulting in a less expensive alternative to renting a similar home.

****>> Borrower rebuilds equity within two years.

****>> Borrower cannot sell the home for three years after entering the program.

****>> Zero to minimal contribution from the federal government.

****While there are many loan programs and ideas that address the foreclosure problem, this proposal actually addresses borrowers’ current situation and underlying issues contributing to strategic defaults. For instance, with some programs, even if the borrower does refinance, he or she will end up paying more than they would for rent and still not be able to gain equity in their home. By building equity, HELP for Housing allows borrowers to see a light at the end of a tunnel of being upside down or loan trapped. The program shows them how they can create wealth in their home again by giving them “skin in the game” or a reason to continue to pay their mortgage as well as room to rebound financially.

****“This program would enable an average homeowner to save about $590 a month on their mortgage payment, which they would likely spend – creating enormous economic stimulus – save, or use to pay down their mortgage,” Habib said. “The bottom line is that homeowners will have a mortgage payment they can afford and once again build equity in their home while also having significant extra cash per month. This is not a bailout; there is no moral hazard; and the government benefits from significant economic stimulus without having to pay for it.”

****Homeowners would be required to pay back all of the loan(s) upon the sale of their home, which they would not be able to sell for three years, as a condition of the proposed program.

****As for the benefit to government, Habib said in addition to getting the economic stimulus, banks are less likely to need bailouts because they will not be required to write down a portion of the existing loan, as is the case with other plans.

****Habib continued, “The mortgage industry must get creative with the way we approach foreclosures because we know exactly what plans will help homeowners; we also know how the government can participate without bailouts and without costing taxpayers money.”

****Homeowners would have to qualify for the proposed program, which is explained in detail in the new whitepaper, “HELP for Housing.” To enter the program, they would need to have paid their bills on time and incur no late mortgage payments for the last 12 months. Conceivably, the plan could affect 10 million homeowners who would each be able to pour $7,080 annually back into the economy, or $450 billion during the next five years.

****The proposal has been submitted for consideration to the Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Realtors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the House Financial Services Committee, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and several congressmen.

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.

Understanding The News: Branching Out To Serve New Mortgage Entrants

*Branching Out To Serve New Mortgage Entrants*
**Credit Unions Need Automation, Too**

***The mortgage market is changing. New companies are entering and a lot of those new entrants are credit unions. However, these institutions are not mortgage experts. As such they need technology to help. To this end, PROGRESS in Lending has learned that ClosingCorp.’s SmartGFE Service is now available to credit unions. Here’s why this is significant:

****ClosingCorp’s SmartGFE Service will enable credit union lending units, whether direct or supported by a CUSO, to create instant, accurate RESPA-compliant GFEs with virtually no user interaction. The system delivers current rates for real estate closing services nationwide, as well as transfer taxes and recording fees.

****“In today’s regulatory environment, the delivery of accurate and timely GFEs is vital for credit unions, as well as all financial institutions involved in the lending process,” said Cathy Blaszyk, vice president of Lender Services for ClosingCorp. “Credit union membership is on the rise as consumers look for alternatives to large banks and are more aware of the support local credit unions can offer beyond just auto financing. Credit unions have experienced significant growth in mortgage originations since the start of the housing crisis and are uniquely positioned to capture increased market share.

****“By introducing the SmartGFE Service to the credit union industry, we are furthering our objective to help institutions increase productivity and avoid tolerance violations by guaranteeing RESPA compliance,” added Blaszyk. “Custom configuration features allow credit unions to instantly access the necessary data from specific service providers and generate highly accurate GFEs, drastically improving their lending operations and the level of service provided to their members.”

****The SmartGFE Service instantaneously generates accurate, geocoded rates for GFE Blocks 3-8 obtained from ClosingCorp’s national network of more than 10,000 real estate service providers, as well as the company’s proprietary recording fee and transfer tax database. The solution removes the need for loan officers to make decisions or manually input existing information found in a loan file.

Progress In Lending

The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Market Analysis: Valuation Fraud Is On The Rise

*Valuation Fraud Is On The Rise*
**By Tony Garritano**

***Interthinx has released its quarterly Mortgage Fraud Risk Report covering data collected in the fourth quarter of 2011. According to the most recent analysis, certain regions of the New York Tri-State area have moved into the “very high risk” category, due primarily to the increase in property valuation fraud risk. For the purposes of this report, the New York Tri-State area is defined as the New York City metro along with the Connecticut metros of Bridgeport and New Haven and the New Jersey metros of Atlantic City and Ocean City. Here’s what else the report found:

****Across the United States, the Property Valuation Fraud Risk Index increased nearly 8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 over the previous quarter. The rise follows a period of decline and stability in valuation-related fraud.

****Other results uncovered in the most recent Interthinx Mortgage Fraud Risk Report include:

****>> The national Mortgage Fraud Risk Index was up 1.4 percent over the last quarter and 3.6 percent from a year ago to 145 (n=100). Overall, the index has remained at the upper end of the narrow band (140-145) over the last seven quarters.

****>> Although Income/Employment Fraud Risk is only up 1 percent since the third quarter of 2011, the index has jumped nearly 14 percent since a year ago and 46 percent over two years ago, putting lenders at high risk for this type of fraud.

****>> With an index value of 247, Arizona overtook Nevada (with an index value of 242) as the nation’s “Riskiest State.” Nevada had held the top spot since the first quarter of 2010. Florida is the third riskiest state for mortgage fraud and is home to ZIP code 33993, currently the riskiest ZIP code in the nation.

****The full report is available at http://www.interthinx.com/pdf/11_Q4MFRR_020112_FNL.pdf.

****“Valuation fraud continues to be a problem for lenders intent on mitigating overall fraud risk,” said Mark Chapin, chief valuation officer for Interthinx. “Lenders must take great care with their collateral valuation process in this environment, as many areas around the country are still experiencing home value declines. Technology — linked with the honed skills of qualified appraisers — produces the most credible results in our constantly moving marketplace.”

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.

Life-Cycle Lending: The Cost Of Change

*The Cost Of Change*
**By Joe Dombrowski**

***Organizations looking to improve their lending operations essentially have three options:

****1. Do nothing – continue to maintain existing technology with limited ability to add functionality.

****2. Attempt to build an in-house solution with possible staff additions and increased technology costs.

****3. Invest in a platform that provides an efficient, consolidated technology solution for all loan products.

****Many institutions have grown accustomed to supporting outdated technology or a stratified operating environment. But cost and risk pressures prevent others from updating technology, even though the risk of failure increases and the cost to maintain the status quo escalates rapidly. This situation may jeopardize the entire lending infrastructure.

****For example, having to apply regulatory changes to multiple technology systems is laden with risk. Applying regulatory changes to a consolidated platform provides consistent compliance across product lines, with just one source of data to maintain. Financial institutions opting to retain multiple software systems may regret that decision down the road. Policy, process and procedure costs will continue to stress budgets, regulatory compliance initiatives and personnel. On the other hand, proprietary systems developed and supported in-house can be equally expensive and pose the same staff and compliance challenges.

****Regardless of the option, it is important to understand that there is more to consider than the hard costs. One full-service, regional bank with 60 branch offices and loan centers, replaced multiple servicing systems with LoanServ to manage both its mortgage and consumer loans. Prior to the conversion, the bank was handling first-mortgage servicing and secondary market securitization on one system and HELOCs and consumer loans on in-house platforms. Using this combination of software limited which products the bank could offer. For instance, prior to using LoanServ, the bank could not offer rate locks and credit card access on HELOCs. The consumer lending systems just could not provide those capabilities.

****By consolidating its consumer and mortgage loans, the bank was able to redeploy FTEs to other areas of the bank and is laying the groundwork for future growth.

Joe Dombrowski is Chief Mortgage Strategist at Fiserv. He is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience in the loan servicing industry. With his broad background in servicing and systems management, Mr. Dombrowski has helped servicing and default organizations to streamline business processes and find real savings and productivity. Mr. Dombrowski is a sought-after speaker at technology and lending conferences. He graduated St. Joseph Seminary College, Los Altos CA, with a degree in philosophy. He can be reached at joe.dombrowski@fiserv.com and welcomes your tweets at @joedombrowski.

Market Analysis: Stretching Out

*Stretching Out*
**By Tony Garritano**

***The mortgage market is always changing. So, technology vendors have to keep up. How do they do that? They either buy a company that has something their lenders need that they themselves don’t offer or they opt to build that new piece of technology in-house. Either way vendors have to continually do more and offer more. To this end, PROGRESS in Lending has learned that ISGN Corporation now offers a range of information technology services to companies across the entire spectrum of the mortgage industry with the launch of the IT Services Group. Here’s what the new group is all about:

****ISGN’s IT Services Group assists companies in visioning, implementing, operating and outsourcing IT functions, building an IT strategy that effectively supports their business goals. ISGN offers a range of IT solutions from project consultation to application development and maintenance to IT infrastructure management.

****ISGN brings to projects a highly skilled team of IT personnel, including network engineers, application developers, software architects, user interface designers, business analysts and code testers. ISGN offers a global delivery model providing customers with a flexible engagement model and the ability to leverage a 24-hour clock, thereby shortening development cycle times and increasing overall business productivity.

****Among the first to leverage ISGN’s new service was National Bankruptcy Services (NBS), a mortgage and consumer secured bankruptcy outsourcing firm that manages and administers the complicated bankruptcy administrative processes for servicers and lenders. The software application that ISGN jointly developed with NBS IT and business resources enables NBS to keep track of its clients’ bankruptcy payments and remittances for every serviced account.

****“ISGN is developing a superior custom software application and technology support for NBS that will significantly enhance our ability to manage payment application challenges on bankruptcy loans,” said Larry Buckley, chief executive officer of NBS. “By leveraging ISGN’s deep pool of developers and infrastructure experts, NBS has been able to deploy its resources to our core business process outsourcing operations.”

****Bill Garland, vice president of strategic markets at ISGN, said, “ISGN can work through all the IT layers for our customers and provide technology augmentation and expertise. With our spectrum of IT services, we can provide companies with IT staff or act as an IT contractor and manage the work for them. For companies with small IT departments trying to get their arms around a big project, it can be difficult to recruit IT professionals. This is our business. We have the right people on staff and the right technology resources to handle any IT job.”

****Ankush Dham, director of technology solutions at ISGN, added, “This new solutions-based offering helps companies to create effective and impactful technology strategies. What differentiates us in the marketplace is that our laser-focus on the mortgage vertical provides us with top-tier technology-centric domain experts who are nimble enough to adjust to rapidly changing project requirements and committed to customer excellence. We strive to partner with our customers to eliminate unnecessary complexity and provide simpler technology solutions and strategies to drive business productivity and return on investment.”

****ISGN has been consistently ranked by leading industry publications and research firms as one of the top companies for mortgage process outsourcing. ISGN also holds an ISO 9001:2008 quality management certification and SAS 70 Type II accredited data center certification, ensuring that its procedures are current, documented and effectively controlled.

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.

Powering Today’s Lenders: Level The Playing Field

*Level The Playing Field*
**By Daniel Liggett**

***The latest ‘Lender Spotlight’ shines on Torrington Savings Bank, whose innovative use of technology has allowed them to level the playing field against larger lenders. This is the third installment of the series where we have asked lenders to tell their stories about their technology choices in their own words. Here’s what Torrington had to say:

****Torrington Savings Bank is a $700 million community bank headquartered in northwest Connecticut. In 2007, they set out to become a self-described leader in mortgage technology. They wanted to be able to achieve a level of technology previously available only to larger lenders. The impetus for this plan began with the search for a loan origination system to replace the aged and functionally challenged existing LOS.

****Jeff Geddes of Torrington said, “We made a list of important items that the new LOS should provide in order for us to meet our goals. These included having an increased level of functionality, providing us with a fair amount of flexibility and possessing user-friendly attributes that would help spur productivity. A short list but a tall order for sure.

****“When we first looked at RemoteLender, a hosted solution using rules-based technology, we saw that it possessed many benefits that could help us achieve our goals. We were particularly impressed with its workflow enhancements, integrations with third-party providers and its ability to be easily changed and edited using business rules.

****“Another thing was the cost savings that a hosted system like RemoteLender would provide a bank like ours with limited IT resources. We saw that we could have a top-notch online system that would rival that of larger lenders at a fraction of the cost. All of the IT responsibilities such as hardware and software upgrades and backups as well as maintenance are handled by the vendor, who, through economies of scale, provide better services than we can for the money.

****“After a thorough evaluation of the LOS, including the people developing and implementing it for us, we chose RemoteLender and have been live on the product for two years now.

****“RemoteLender has delivered on all of its promises and we are learning new things and capabilities of this product all the time. From the little things like tab control or mouse control options when navigating screens to the feature that permits us to enter multiple bank deposits for a single borrower in a single entry rather than one at a time, or even multiple borrowers on a single loan record. Storing information in tables helps speed up processing as does the ability to run amortization tables and functions right from the loan record.

****“We also like the ability to attach items to a loan record, this helps us move toward a goal of paperless lending. Today’s borrower has tons of paper files. RemoteLender allows us to attach items such as email, appraisals, or whatever we want to scan directly to the loan record. And the integrations with third-party providers allow us to order credit without having to leave the system. We make a click or two and get result already attached to the loan file which is a huge time-saver.

****“The refinability of RemoteLender has provided us a great advantage over the competition as we can quickly make desired or necessary changes in a short period of time. For example, we traditionally followed the standard 1003 format and were able to have our screens and workflow stages mirror this. Our operators had an advantage of familiarity rather than the frustration of starting over. And the staging for printing saves paper. We can print an entire ‘stage’ of documents or a single one. This increases productivity while saving us dollars.

****“RemoteLender’s multi-level security options allow us to assign access rights by whatever method we desire. We can assign by duties such as processor, underwriter, etc, or even view-only access depending on the individual or group.

****“RemoteLender not only helped us exceed our goals, it also helped us win the Innovative Lender of the Year Award where we beat out a bank that was exponentially larger than us.

****“We were rookies in the technology game, but we kept our sights on the goal, performed due diligence and partnered with vendors who were experienced and knowledgeable in their disciplines.”

Daniel Liggett serves as Director of Client Services for Associated Software Consultants’ PowerLender Loan Origination & Processing System. He has more than 20 years experience in mortgage lending and loan automation systems. Danny oversees the configuration, training, support and project management efforts for loan origination and secondary marketing at ASC and serves as a development and marketing advisor.

Market Analysis: Simplifying LO Comp

*Simplifying LO Comp*
**By Tony Garritano**

***Yes the new Loan Officer Compensation rules are behind us, but compliance is still hard at times. Technology vendors realize that lenders are struggling. As a result, PROGRESS in Lending has learned that Ellie Maehas released Encompass Commissions, an automated solution to calculate, communicate and reconcile loan officer (LO) commissions for banks, mortgage banks and credit unions using Encompass360® mortgage management software solution. Here’s the scoop on the new tool:

****Encompass Commissions is more accurate and efficient than manual processes and provides significantly greater transparency for LOs. It automates every aspect of the variable compensation workload so that sales people can stay motivated and focused on originating and back office staff can save time with more accurate commission calculations.

****Encompass Commissions enables lenders to deliver a 24/7 Web-based commission pipeline, where sales agents can continuously monitor estimates and time disbursements. Now LOs can log in at any time and see their pipeline of earned commissions and understand how they were calculated. This reduces errors before checks are cut and prevents misunderstandings that can damage sales force morale. Encompass Commissions also supports LO compensation compliance policies, documenting and providing a complete audit trail of all paid commissions.

****The solution is fully integrated with Encompass360 so it captures commission data seamlessly and on a real-time basis. Once commissions have been reviewed, managers can export the information easily into payroll and accounting systems.

****Specifically, it:

****>> Pulls data from the Encompass360 database and other sources, such as accounting ledgers, and automatically calculates the commission.  The process reduces human error and back office expenses;

****>> Sets up adjustments and draws using flexible parameters and automatically applies the net adjustment to the appropriate commission cycle;

****>> Accommodates “splits” and can automatically schedule them;

****>> Automates transmittal and LO approval workflow;

****>> Offers a configurable dashboard to help management understand past, current and future commissions pipeline—providing total transparency;

****>> Provides for error resolution prior to cutting and disbursing checks; and

****>> Can be used to test potential compensation plans against past production data to determine how each LO would be affected by the change.

****Encompass Commissions is patterned on DataTrac Commissions, an established solution that has been available since 2009 and is currently being used by a number of DataTrac’s largest clients.

****Matthew Pineda, chief executive officer at Castle & Cooke Mortgage, LLC, Salt Lake City, UT, and an early DataTrac Commissions user, said: “We pay commissions to our LOs twice a month, and before we installed this software, it took four employees the better part of four days a month to manually do the calculations, reviews and payroll adjustments. Now two employees—one in secondary marketing and one in payroll—pull the data directly from our system of record and allocate, review and pay the commissions in just a few hours.”

****Janet Fell, senior vice president, at William Raveis Mortgage, LLC, Westford, MA, said her company ordered Encompass Commissions in anticipation of complying with new federal regulations for LO compensation. “As a mortgage banker, we need to be ready to comply with the new rules that require us to document our LO compensation plan and demonstrate that we have followed it. So in the event of an audit, we’re ready. Encompass Commissions appears to be a cost-effective, affordable way to leverage technology to bring greater efficiency to the commission payment process and automate compliance.”

****“Compensation is a huge factor in attracting top performing loan officers, and it is also one of the areas that has come under significant scrutiny through new regulations,” said Jonathan Corr, chief operating officer at Ellie Mae. “Encompass Commissions automates payments to loan officers accurately and quickly, reducing back-office costs and giving lenders another recruiting and retention tool. At the same time, it documents compliance with new compensation rules and provides an audit trail.”

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.

Technology Spotlight: Emphasizing The Importance Of An Online Point-Of-Sale

*Emphasizing The Importance Of An Online Point-Of-Sale*
**Churchill Mortgage Profiled**

***As the battle for the borrower wages on, having a robust, user friendly point-of-sale is critical. To this end, Churchill Mortgage, a lender providing conventional, FHA, VA and USDA residential mortgages across 23 states, is now accepting online mortgage loan applications via an integrated point-of-sale solution (IPOS) provided by Mortgagebot. Here’s why Churchill made this decision:

****Churchill Mortgage is allowing online pre-approvals 24 hours a day, a timesaving convenience. This move will allow Churchill’s customers to save significant time, and be especially helpful for customers unable to discuss their mortgage during normal business hours. With the addition of online loan application acceptance, borrowers can take the first steps toward their closing at their convenience. Churchill continues to meet the preferences of its customers, whether through in-person loan application processing for borrowers who prefer face-to-face interaction, via telephone or online.

****“At Churchill Mortgage, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional customer service – regardless of communications channel,” said Mike Hardwick, president of Churchill Mortgage. “By continuing to evolve and remain at the forefront of technology, we aim to provide our borrowers with the convenience they expect when applying for a loan. I believe our new online loan application option will fulfill a need as a preferred method for some borrowers, but also provide us with a competitive edge in the market as we continue to grow.”

****Churchill Mortgage recently expanded into several new markets over the last year, opening five new branches in Mt. Juliet, Tenn.; Jackson, Tenn.; Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Houston, Texas; and Franklin, Ky. The lender set company records each quarter in 2011 and continues to grow loan originations. Churchill attributes much of its success to its philosophy toward working with borrowers, based around establishing a consultative, fiscally sound relationship that ensures that borrowers are placed in the appropriate mortgage loan. This commitment is further supported by the company’s endorsement with the prominent nationally syndicated personal finance radio host and author, Dave Ramsey. Churchill Mortgage is the only mortgage lender that Ramsey has ever endorsed.

Progress In Lending

The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Technology Spotlight: Timeliness And Efficiency Matters

*Timeliness And Efficiency Matters*
**WFG National Title Profiled**

***Lenders today need ensure timeliness and accuracy in every aspect of their lending process. Technology is the only way to achieve this goal. PROGRESS in Lending has learned that to this end, WFG National Title Insurance Company (WFG National Title) will provide its independent title agents access to ClosingCorp’s suite of products for the delivery of title insurance rates. Here’s the story:

****WFG National Title’s rates will be included in ClosingCorp’s SmartGFE service to deliver timely, up-to-date rates directly to lenders for good faith estimates that they provide to mortgage loan applicants. WFG will recommend that its independent title agents post ClosingCorp’s SmartGFE Calculator on their websites to instantly quote title insurance rates to their real estate agent and lender clients at any time. Additionally, WFG’s title insurance rates will be available to consumers through ClosingCorp’s Closing.com, enabling individuals to shop for residential closing services and rates.

****“When the new GFE/HUD-1 makes its way into our industry, as we believe it will, later this year, the SmartGFE will be a real boon to agents. WFG National Title and ClosingCorp are offering our agents access to a powerful and flexible tool allowing their lender customers to accurately complete the GFE based on the new rules, with the agents’ fees and title premiums pre-loaded,” said Joseph Drum, Esq., executive vice president for WFG National Title Insurance Company.

****WFG National Title’s independent title agents will now receive discounts on the SmartGFE Calculator, which instantly generates title and settlement rates, as well as transfer tax and recording fees.

****“WFG is dedicated to supporting its independent title agents and providing them with the tools they need to both adapt and succeed in a changing marketplace, which aligns with our goal of providing the most accurate data to clients in the fastest method possible,” said Paul Mass, president of ClosingCorp. “Our nationwide network of more than 10,000 real estate service providers allows us to deliver the most extensive, current rates and fees available to all parties involved in the real estate transaction. The combination of our data and technologies will enable WFG to better serve agents, lenders and consumers.”

Progress In Lending

The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries