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A Good Day For Digital Closings

Black Knight has announced the first phase of LoanSphere Expedite Close will be available later this year. Expedite Close is an advanced hybrid and full digital closing solution that supports data and document exchange, workflow and processes associated with real estate transactions. Expedite Close provides an electronic closing fulfillment process, enabling seamless and secure online interactions between the real estate agent, lender, settlement agent and consumer from contract through closing.

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Black Knight has developed Expedite Close with the end user in mind – creating a solution flexible enough to meet the unique process requirements and business needs of each participant along the way. “What sets Expedite Close apart from other eClosing solutions is that it’s built to support the needs of all users – settlement agents, lenders, real estate agents, consumers and investors – providing them with the capabilities to do what they need to do, when they need to do it, in a way that doesn’t call for significant changes to current business processes,” said Tom Peterson, president, Black Knight’s Lending Solutions division. “Because it does so in a way that is entirely ‘agnostic’ to existing platforms, this is more than a solution. With Expedite Close, Black Knight is building an industry utility.”

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Leveraging Black Knight’s suite of integrated electronic signature and documentation fulfillment services, Expedite Close includes enhanced workflow and decisioning capabilities, as well as increased automation to support the full closing process. Lenders, settlement agents and consumers can securely collaborate online, and either use the solution with the portals, source systems and document providers they currently use, or integrate additional Black Knight solutions where needed. The solution tightly integrates with Black Knight’s LoanSphere Empower loan origination system and Black Knight’s industry-leading LoanSphere MSP servicing system.

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Expedite Close will seamlessly support all consumer interaction and workflow fulfillment requirements. With this solution, consumers are able to access a secure portal to review and sign all of their closing documentation online, and “wet sign” any specific documents that require a physical signature for jurisdictions not yet accepting electronic notarization. A consumer can also choose to wet sign all documents in the closing package. If this process is chosen, Expedite Close will provide the loan documentation to the settlement agent within the required timeframe, eliminating any document fulfillment workflow gaps.

Expedite Close significantly enhances consumers’ experience by providing them with a more streamlined closing; the ability to review all necessary documents and update the loan’s status; and more control in the overall process. Lenders and settlement agents not only benefit from improved borrower satisfaction, but also from reduced risk and enhanced process efficiencies using their current processes.

“Our goal is to streamline the closing process,” said Peterson. “Today’s borrowers are accustomed to anywhere, anytime connectivity and the freedom to choose how they want to interact with businesses. Expedite Close gives them that freedom, and will help to advance the mortgage industry by making it possible for electronic fulfillment for closings to become the norm rather than the exception.”

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.

Churchill Mortgage To Expedite The Mortgage Process For Homebuyers

Churchill Mortgage, a lender in the mortgage industry providing conventional, FHA, VA and USDA residential mortgages across 44 states, announced the launch of its Certified Homebuyer Program to improve how borrowers search for and purchase a home.

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For many borrowers, getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the first and most important step towards making an offer on a house. Churchill, understanding the importance of expediting the process for homebuyers in a “seller’s market,” will now offer borrowers the opportunity to be pre-underwritten for their mortgage. This initial step will allow those borrowers to effectively get ahead of other buyers and have the confidence that any qualified offer they make on a house will go through in the most efficient manner.

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“The first step to debt free homeownership is finding the property you want and getting it under contract, but in many markets, there is a high level of competition between borrowers who may be interested in the same property,” said Mike Hardwick, president of Churchill Mortgage. “Churchill’s Certified Homebuyer Program was designed to help our borrowers get a head start on securing funding so they are positioned to present offers that are already pre-approved and pre-underwritten – increasing their odds of having their offer selected.”

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Founded in 1992, Churchill Mortgage is a privately owned company by its more than 400 employees. A full-service and financially sound leader in the mortgage industry, the company provides conventional, FHA, VA and USDA residential mortgages across 44 states. As heard on personal finance expert and author Dave Ramsey’s nationally syndicated radio show, the lender’s mission is to help borrowers achieve debt-free homeownership and build wealth through a smarter mortgage plan, regardless of their starting point. Churchill Mortgage is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Churchill Holdings, Inc.

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.

Acquisition Furthers Automated Data Verification

QuestSoft, a provider of automated mortgage compliance software, has purchased Laguna Hills, Calif.-based IMARC, a leader in data verification and audit services to the financial services industry. The acquisition adds IMARC’s services to QuestSoft’s new Verification and Audit Services division, “QuestSoft Verifications.”

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The acquisition enables QuestSoft customers to easily conduct loan audits, as QuestSoft Verifications will now offer all of IMARC’s verification and audit services to QuestSoft’s existing 4506-T and SSA-89 capabilities. This new division brings Verification of Employment (VOE), Verification of Income (VOI), Asset and Occupancy Verifications as well as full loan audits to QuestSoft customers, eliminating the need to use time-intensive manual orders to verify all information needed to ensure loan compliance.

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“Combining IMARC’s verification and audit services with QuestSoft’s compliance software gives lenders a one-stop shop for all of their compliance needs,” said Leonard Ryan, founder and president of QuestSoft. “IMARC also brings with it a strong tradition of outstanding customer service and a dedication to providing high quality services quickly and efficiently, blending well with the QuestSoft commitment to our customers.”

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All IMARC employees transferred to QuestSoft’s corporate headquarters in Laguna Hills, California. Bob Simpson, founder of IMARC, is now serving as QuestSoft’s senior vice president and director of the Verifications Division.

“High quality products, ease of use and outstanding service are the three pillars that build strong relationships between vendors and lenders,” Simpson said. “By combining our services with QuestSoft, we have created the best resource for lenders to handle all of their mortgage compliance, verification and audit needs.”

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 Streamlines Operations

US Real Estate Services, Inc. (USRES), a provider of REO asset management, default ancillary services, and valuation solutions nationwide it is now integrated to LendingQB’s cloud-based loan origination solution (LOS) to further expand its reach and enhance the customer experience for the appraisal management service line. These enhancements position USRES for continued growth, enabling the company to expand its presence and services within the mortgage industry.

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Keith Guenther, CEO of USRES, said, “LendingQB is a prominent player in the LOS space and therefore made our decision to partner with them an easy one. Their continued focus on integrating with the industry’s most innovative and proven providers has resulted in a platform that is comprehensive, yet intuitive. These tools and services will be instrumental as we continue to expand our presence and maintain efficient, streamlined operations.”

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With this integration, USRES can now more effectively engage Lending QB’s customers in a single, centralized environment. In addition to originating mortgages, the platform seamlessly integrates with hundreds of leading industry applications, including document preparation, compliance, mortgage insurance and title services. This addition to USRES’ set of tools and offerings further cements their commitment to providing the best, most transparent experience in the AMC space.

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“USRES is a company that is committed to establishing lasting relationships with customers and business partners, and we share those same values,” said Tim Nguyen, president of LendingQB. “Lenders want to access services from innovative vendors such as USRES in a way that improves the overall loan origination process. Using our API framework, we were able to provide USRES with an integration experience that enhances the way that lenders interact with their valuation services. We look forward to working with the USRES team and providing our mutual customers with a superior solution that helps us all be successful.”

Progress In Lending

The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Market Volatility On The Way?

“This year is shaping up as a year of volatility for the residential mortgage industry, with originations plunging as interest rates rise in response to $1 trillion reductions in asset purchases by central banks,” says industry analyst and blogger Les Parker, CMB, who is senior vice president of industry relations and consulting at LoanLogics.

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“2018 just may look like 1994 to mortgage bankers,” says Parker, referring to the year following the first great mortgage refinance boom, when originations dropped sharply after interest rates rose, prompting many lenders to close or consolidate with stronger partners. “With the anticipated drop in originations and the scramble to keep market share, the resulting margin collapse and liquidity problems will lead to more industry consolidation and insolvencies,” Parker forecasts in his MarketLogics newsletter. “Non-depository mortgage bankers lack liquidity; when interest rates move outside of expected ranges, volatility expands and cash demands rise.”

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“Mortgage servicing rights, already under distress, will discover a lower nadir due to too many sellers and too few buyers,” Parker adds. However, he notes, that will eventually provide a buying opportunity for some savvy investors. “Some of the new MSR investors will step up and buy at very good levels,” he adds.

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But higher interest rates won’t be the only problem mortgage companies will face this year, Parker warns. “When volatility expands, the regulatory burdens of Dodd Frank, Basel III and other local, state, federal and international laws and rules will bring about unintended consequences of dislocation and illiquidity,” he says.

Parker manages LoanLogics’ life of loan analytics and monitoring capabilities and oversees its consulting services. He is also a contributor to the company’s strategic planning team and communicates with industry leaders to develop and maintain positive relationships.

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.

Springhouse Receives MOR RV2 Residential Vendor Ranking

Springhouse has received Morningstar Credit Ratings, LLC’s MOR RV2 residential-vendor ranking as an asset valuation provider. Morningstar’s forecast for the ranking is Positive. Founded in 2009, Springhouse is a full-service valuation solutions and appraisal management company. Springhouse provides property valuation and appraisal services in all 50 states and five major territories in the United States.

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As a member of the Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. family of businesses (“Altisource”), Springhouse leverages Altisource’s shared services. With Altisource’s extensive and diversified product solutions for the real estate industry, Springhouse clients are provided the opportunity to consolidate services with a single full-service vendor.

The Morningstar ranking is based on a variety of factors, including:

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>>Springhouse has an effective corporate governance program that monitors the company’s compliance with appraisal independence requirements and the customary and reasonable fee provisions contained in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The compliance area also ensures that the appropriate state licenses are in place and current. The company continues to obtain an SSAE No. 16 (Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization) SOC 1 report annually.

>>Springhouse has strong vendor-selection criteria and vendor-rating standards that effectively measure vendor performance, as reflected in the execution of service-level agreements with its customers.

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>>Quality control standards are embedded in Springhouse’s proprietary and third-party technology, ensuring that work orders received from vendors are thoroughly reviewed and that clients receive a quick report turnaround time and low revision rate.

>>Springhouse benefits from a solid technology environment, a well-defined project management process, effective network security protocols, and a disaster recovery and business continuity plan that leverages the company’s geographically diverse office locations for built-in redundancy.

Springhouse has completed more than 570,000 valuations since 2012 using its nationwide vendor panel of more than 24,000 brokers and appraisers. In addition to a full suite of appraisal and BPO solutions, the company provides innovative and alternative valuation products for use in originations, servicing and capital markets. Springhouse is focused on sustained growth initiatives, entering 2018 with a new sales and management team in place and anticipates several new products and services to be announced in the coming year.

Progress In Lending

The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

MCT Bolsters Its Presence With New CMO

Mortgage Capital Trading, Inc. (MCT), a mortgage hedge advisory and secondary marketing software firm, announced that Ian Miller has joined the company as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In this newly created position, he is responsible for ensuring that MCT’s marketing strategy effectively supports the company’s business plan and helps drive growth.

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MCT has traditionally been known in the mortgage industry as a pipeline hedge firm but over the years has developed into a fully-integrated provider of capital markets services and software. Mr. Miller is charged with developing and executing MCT’s marketing plan and strategic initiatives.  Since joining MCT, he has made significant strides in honing the company’s messaging, positioning, branding and creating positive industry awareness for MCT’s value proposition and extensive suite of secondary marketing focused products and services.

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“We are elated to have been able to recruit Ian to join the MCT team and head the marketing strategy,” said Curtis Richins, president of MCT. “We’ve grown our business considerably over the past several years and had a need to ensure that our brand accurately reflects the robust suite of products, services, and technology we now offer within company divisions. Ian has and will continue to play a key role in making sure MCT maintains a strong reputation in the mortgage industry.”

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Before MCT, Mr. Miller served as the Director of Client Services at Riverine, Inc., a full-service digital marketing firm catering to over 50 clients in a wide range of industries and capacities. At Riverine, he worked closely with MCT as a vendor partner where he was instrumental in streamlining the integration of its sales and marketing processes and enhancing the brand.

Prior to Riverine, Mr. Miller was a co-founder and partner at Tower Agency, a digital marketing firm offering end-to-end marketing capabilities. Mr. Miller eventually merged the company with Riverine, growing the client base exponentially. Before that, he was a freelance marketing agent providing professional services to an array of clients.

“Serving as MCT’s marketing provider in recent years, I have been impressed by their culture, dedication to customer service, and continuous innovation,” said Mr. Miller. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to help these qualities reach a wider audience, and support MCT’s growth as the leading provider of capital markets services and software.”

Mr. Miller is a through and through marketing professional who has a proven track record of successful execution with growing brands, capturing market share and increasing revenues. He is well-versed in all aspects of marketing communications ranging from strategic planning, branding, advertising, content marketing, and social media to trade shows, event production, sales support and client communication. He will leverage these competencies, along with support from a team of experienced professionals, to execute on a robust marketing strategy for MCT in 2018 and beyond.

Progress In Lending

The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

eSign Milestones Continue

DocMagic, Inc., a provider of loan document preparation, regulatory compliance and eMortgage services, announced that it has processed more than 300 million mortgage-related electronic signatures.

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This milestone achievement is the direct result of increased adoption of several DocMagic technologies that feature its eSigning platform, which can be accessed as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) or on-premise enterprise platform. Each of DocMagic’s digital platforms reports a significant increase in volume, which the company attributes to lenders’ growing need to prove a TRID-compliant, 100 percent paperless mortgage process.

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“Borrower demand is driving the increase in eSignings, and lenders are choosing DocMagic to get a consistent, compliant eSigning solution that spans the original LE [Loan Estimate] to the final CD [Closing Disclosure],” said Dominic Iannitti, president and CEO of DocMagic. “Lenders know DocMagic is the go-to choice for compliance. We reached 300 million eSignatures because we have solved lenders’ number one burden for the past two years—electronic evidence of TRID compliance—while enabling them to stay competitive and enhance the overall borrower experience.”

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DocMagic reports significant volume increases for SmartCLOSE and Total eClose, two award-winning technologies that enable lenders to comply with TRID and UCD (Uniform Closing Dataset) guidelines. SmartCLOSE is a collaborative closing portal offering one system of record that assures accuracy, completeness, consistency and compliance of the data before final documents are drawn and the borrower electronically executes the documents using DocMagic’s integrated eSign technology. Total eClose, a complete paperless, digital closing solution with integrated eSignature and eNotarization capability, provides continuous compliance checks to assure all documents are complete, current, consistent and compliant.

“A lot of existing DocMagic customers adopted our eSign technology because it’s so much easier to access and use than other platforms,” said Iannitti. “We were already integrated with the vast majority of LOS systems, so providing eSigning functionality was a logical extension of our service. We also added new integrations, which brought onboard new eSigning customers. Having an eSign technology that can draw new customers while expanding use among existing customers shows the ubiquitous need for the functionality DocMagic’s technology provides.”

Progress In Lending

The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Appraisal Logistics Updates AMC ROI Calculator

Appraisal Logistics, a provider of high quality, compliant appraisal management solutions for the residential mortgage industry, announced today that the company has updated its Internal Appraisal Management Cost Calculator to better reflect the expenses lenders can expect to pay to handle the collateral valuation function in house. The tool is designed to help lenders better anticipate the expenses they will incur for handling this work and to calculate the Return on Investment of outsourcing this work to an AMC.

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“It’s very difficult to calculate the true ROI achievable for outsourcing any function if you don’t have a very good idea of what it will cost you to perform the same function in house,” said Frank Danna, CEO of Appraisal Logistics. “We developed this tool to give lenders a view into the internal expenses they will incur should they choose to handle the collateral valuation function internally. Without taking all of these expenses into account, lenders may feel that outsourcing to a particular AMC is generating a return when it is not. At the same time, a more complete view of internal expenses will make comparing potential AMC partners easier.”

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Appraisal Logistics has earned the important ISO 9001:2015 Certification, awarded by LRQA, a Lloyd’s Register Company. Despite this clear differentiator, Danna still feels that lenders must also evaluate potential AMC partners in terms of the ROI they will receive from partnering with them.

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“Lenders should only be working with firms that care enough about their businesses and their customers to invest in third-party certifications to back up their own claims,” Danna said. “That should only be the price of entry for a relationship with the lender. Any outsourcing partner must be capable of demonstrating a clear ROI. Our calculator is free and will allow a lender to evaluate the ROI of any prospective AMC partner.”

Progress In Lending

The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Foreclosures At A 12-Year Low

Data from ATTOM Data Solutions shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 676,535 U.S. properties in 2017, down 27 percent from 2016 and down 76 percent from a peak of nearly 2.9 million in 2010 to the lowest level since 2005.

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Those 676,535 properties with foreclosure filings in 2017 represented 0.51 percent of all U.S. housing units, down from 0.70 percent in 2016 and down from a peak of 2.23 percent in 2010 to the lowest level since 2005.

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ATTOM’s year-end foreclosure report is a count of unique properties with a foreclosure filing during the year based on publicly recorded and published foreclosure filings collected in more than 2,500 counties nationwide, with address-level data on more than 23 million foreclosure filings historically also available for license or customized reporting. See full methodology below.

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The report also includes new data for December 2017, when there were 64,651 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings, up 1 percent from the previous month but still down 25 percent from a year ago — the 27th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity.

“Thanks to a housing boom driven primarily by a scarcity of supply, which has helped to limit home purchases to the most highly qualified — and low-risk — borrowers, the U.S. housing market has the luxury of playing a version of foreclosure limbo in which it searches for how low foreclosures can go,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “There are a few notable local market exceptions playing a different version of foreclosure limbo in which a backlog of legacy foreclosure activity left over from the last housing crisis is still winding its way through a labyrinthine foreclosure process, resulting in incongruous jumps in various stages of foreclosure activity in markets such as New York, New Jersey and DC.”

Progress In Lending

The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries