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The Future Of Digital Compliance

As everyone talks about the digital mortgage, executives at the Seventh Annual ENGAGE Event held in Denver, Colo, looked to broaden the conversation. They discussed the future of regulatory compliance in mortgage lending in a digital world. Here’s how they see things:

The burning question was: Will the coming digital mortgage reshape compliance? “It already has. Pre-2007 we didn’t think about compliance until after the loan was closed,” said Keith Kemph, Managing Consultant at CC Pace. CC Pace is a boutique business and technology consulting firm which has been serving the mortgage industry for 37 years. Early in Keith’s career, he was a Retail Branch Manager and later Regional Manager with Dime Banks, North American Mortgage. He went on to serve as Director at Merrill Lynch for seven years where he implemented numerous business and technology projects for the mortgage division. The last 10 years Keith has been consulting with executive management teams of mortgage vendors and mortgage bankers nationwide on strategy, process, and technology while successfully guiding organizations through change.

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“We didn’t have to. Now, we have to think about compliance at every step of the loan process,” continued Kemph. “We just went through ten years of chaos as we stitched together technology tools, our loan process and navigated our way through relentless new compliance measures. In our recent survey we found that lenders have formally transitioned from extremely cautious to optimistic. They are less on defense and more on offense, able to focus on the customer experience. However, while lenders feel like they can finally breath, they need to remain somewhat cautious as they map out and implement their digital mortgage strategy.”

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The landscape is becoming much clearer. “The CFPB came out with things like TRID, HMDA, etc. to really set the rules,” said Leonard Ryan, Founder and President of Laguna Hills, Calif.-based QuestSoft Corporation, a provider of automated compliance review software for the mortgage industry. Since the company’s founding in 1995, Ryan continues to oversee strategic planning and the day-to-day operations for the company including business and software development, interface partners, sales and pricing. Under Ryan’s leadership, QuestSoft has received Mortgage Technology’s Top 50 Service Provider Award since 2009 and was named a Top Workplace by The Orange County Register in both 2013 and 2014 out of over 10,000 applicants.

“So, the CFPB is telling you who should get a loan and who shouldn’t. They are setting the rules. In some ways they are reducing the industry to numbers. Now lenders have to work within those rules to differentiate themselves, and that’s where technology can play a role,“ added Ryan.

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As a a result, the future of digital lending compliance will include a greater emphasis on data and bringing compliance as close to the front of the mortgage process as possible. “Digital compliance is evolving into a process that is embedded into every aspect of the mortgage loan lifecycle,” noted Michael L. Riddle, the Managing Director of Mortgage Resources Group, LLC. He guides the teams within the firm that develop and deliver “best in class” compliant disclosure and documentation systems to single family mortgage lenders throughout the country. Mr. Riddle is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of the Middleberg Riddle Group, one of America’s preeminent mortgage banking law firms and, in that role, has spent much of his 40 plus year professional career providing advice and legal counsel concerning regulatory compliance, enforcement and litigation to clients including banks, mortgage lenders, insurers and related financial service entities.

“Compliance will be essential. Further, compliance will be a key part of digitizing every part of the future loan process,” Riddle concluded. “Compliance will also be increasingly data driven. There will be no escaping embracing a more data-centric approach to mortgage lending.”

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.

QuestSoft And OpenClose To Hold Webinar On The New CFPB HMDA Rules

OpenClose, a multi-channel loan origination system (LOS) provider, and QuestSoft, a provider of automated mortgage compliance software, announced that they will host a joint webinar covering the new CFPB HMDA regulations, how they will impact organizations, and outline specific plans to make compliance with the new HMDA rules the most efficient and time-saving process in the mortgage industry. The webinar will be held on June 21, 2017 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. EDT.

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Entitled “The New CFPB HMDA Rules, What You Need to Know,” this webinar will provide insight on not just what the new rules are, but what organizations will need to prepare for well in advance of the January 2018 implementation deadline. The companies say that while the deadline may seem a long way off, there are business-critical functions that should considered now or run the risk of being caught off-guard.

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Key topics that will be covered in the webinar: 

  • The inside day to day nuances behind the new regulations.
  • Above and beyond: practical, actionable information will be provided to attendees, not a legal review as is typical with most HMDA webinars.
  • New loan types required with HMDA and how OpenClose and QuestSoft are answering the call.
  • Recommendations for improving data integrity across the enterprise.
  • A timeline of the changes and companies need to prepare for in advance.
  • The new public face of HMDA: implications for Fair Lending and the future of mortgage lending.

OpenClose and QuestSoft will also touch on key updates being made their specific products that will help companies effectively test, train and prepare for, including release dates and 2018 CFPB HMDA data that can already be tested now.

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Speakers:

Kathy Olsen, director of LOS support services at OpenClose

Kathy leads customer support and training at OpenClose for its multi-channel LOS, LenderAssist, as well as its integrated products. She joined OpenClose in 2010 and has over thirty years of experience in the mortgage banking and technology fields.

Leonard Ryan, president of QuestSoft Corporation

Leonard has been associated with the mortgage industry for over 30 years, and is the founder of QuestSoft. He is a member of both MBA HMDA and NMLS Mortgage Call Report working groups, and is nationally recognized as a HMDA expert.

Downloadable materials that will be made available after the webinar: 

  • Presentation Slides [PDF] — available on the day of the webinar
  • Webinar Recording [streaming] — available 2-3 days after the webinar
  • Q&A [PDF] — available on the day of the webinar

The webinar is offered as complimentary to the mortgage industry but availability is limited. To sign up for the webinar, go to https://goo.gl/E8cTzP.

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.

QuestSoft Urges CFPB To Delay Implementation Of HMDA Specific Data Points

In a letter written to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) addressing proposed changes by the CFPB to its HMDA regulations, QuestSoft president Leonard Ryan urged the Bureau to delay its changes to geocoding and remove additional demographic data.

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The eight page letter focused on five key areas of the new regulation:

  1. Bona Fide Errors and Proposed Geocoding Safe Harbor
  2. Demographic Data Collection – Specifically as it related to Ethnicity and Race Subcategories
  3. Reporting Threshold Adjustments
  4. NMLSR ID Reporting
  5. Industry Readiness

Ryan expressed concern for the future of LMI lending as a result of the CFPB plans to introduce a less accurate geocoding system but bolster it with a safe harbor. The new geocoder is expected to be 30% less accurate on results close to census tract boundaries and not be able to accommodate new addresses as quickly as products used in the industry today (including the FFIEC geocoder).

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Ryan also expressed concern that a guarantee on the geocoder will eliminate the higher quality products from the market and cause accuracy concerns for the Community Reinvestment Act and the trading of Low Moderate income loans in the open market.

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In the letter, Ryan continued with a detailed analysis of problems facing the industry over the new Ethnicity and Race Subcategories, urging the Bureau to provide at least one extra year due to implementation delays of both the CFPB and the GSE’s in releasing the new Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA).

“In many ways, the demographic data additions are turning out to be the biggest train wreck of the new regulation,” Ryan said. “The lack of clarity and confusion over properly classifying borrowers has the potential to be a regulatory and fair lending compliance nightmare.”

A complete version of the letter is available at https://www.questsoft.com/hmda-hq

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.

The State Of Innovation

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Over 100 mortgage executives came together to attend PROGRESS in Lending Association’s Seventh Annual Innovations Awards Event. We named the top innovations of the past twelve months. After that event, we wondered what would happen if we brought together executives from the winning companies to talk about mortgage technology innovation. Where do they see the state of innovation? And what innovation is it going to take to get our industry really going strong? To get these and other questions answered, we got the winning group together. In the end, here’s what they said:

Q: Some say innovation has to be sweeping change. Others say innovation can be incremental change. How would you define innovation?

LEONARD RYAN: I would define innovation as more of a process improvement over current methods. Sometimes major breakthroughs happen after a lot of thought on process improvement. Today when we talk about innovation, it often means computer programs and their contribution to making the mortgage process faster, more secure, less complicated or instant. Thirty years ago an innovation was printing a 1003 on a laser printer. That would hardly qualify today since that is now an everyday process. In terms of your awards, it seems the more significant the process improvements, the more likely to be recognized.

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REBECCA MAYERSON: No change in mortgage banking can be sweeping due to the layers of regulation and compliance by federal, state, GSE, and big banks. So innovation must be incremental due to the risk/reward.

TIM ANDERSON: Incremental. Because the mortgage business is a highly regulated one consisting of a multitude of participants each adding a step and receiving their cut of revenue to get from point A to Z it is a hard business to affect sweeping change. Still too many players, steps touching too many different disparate systems in the process to affect sweeping change or significant impact by itself.  Because of this I don’t see a company developing something like the iPhone coming into the mortgage space with a whole new app or mobile device that is singularly going to revolutionize this business.

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The GSE’s because of their critical role in financing and market share (aggregator) have been the ones to affect real change in this business. If you look at their Uniform Mortgage Data Program, (UMDP) it’s a phased in approach at developing systems to better evaluate critical data elements to reduce risk. They moved the traditional post-closing pre-funding QC process to pre-closing QC and leveraging their new technology and regs like TRID (with three day delivery rule) to support this trend. Also because the mortgage process has very distinct processes with siloed departments dedicated to the mortgage manufacturing process, (POS, origination, processing, underwriting, closing, secondary marketing, servicing) each re-entering the same data that introduces a lot of steps, divisions, (overhead, operational costs and risk) vendor players and participants all have to agree to change their processes and automate to affect real change and ROI in this business.

CURT TEGELER: Innovation can be both sweeping and incremental. Innovation must be persistent and a mindset. It is a necessity to remain relevant in any industry and to enhance the products and services we offer. This involves implementing new strategic ideas, creating dynamic products and improving existing services. In having an innovative approach, you are increasing the probability of success and development in your business.

CRAIG ZIELAZNY: Innovation is creating an impactful solution to a problem. The innovation process can’t be boiled down to just listening to customers, though. Only through continuous and meaningful engagement can you identify real problems and execute effective solutions. It doesn’t become an innovation until the unmet need has been overcome by an appropriate and well-executed solution. Rarely is innovation the product of an individual person experiencing an “aha” moment. Ideas are easy, execution is hard and it is what makes any idea tangible.

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RICK TRIOLA: I think we all want sweeping change that solves problems quickly and delivers on the promises technologists have made and that consumers all want, but unfortunately we don’t see that, at least not in our industry. Most innovation fails because it never gets to the end user because the innovation can’t get passed through all the gatekeepers and entrenched stakeholders.

For example, the mortgage industry had the opportunity to adopt eSignatures as soon as the Federal ESign Act was signed into law in June 2000. Instead of leapfrogging over the antiquated paper processes and skipping a generation by heading directly to digital lending, too many players decided to invest instead in scanning and faxing devices and processes. Borrowers, buyers, sellers — everyone — would have loved the opportunity to just eSign instead of papering out and couriering documents all over the place, but instead our industry took more than a decade to move in the right direction.

We wish innovation would sweep down on our industry quickly, but the extensive eco-system here combined with and entrenched and outdated status quo results in new innovators being forced to ‘stand down’ while the industry accepts incremental change.

JOHN VONG: In other industries, change and innovation can happen simultaneously and dramatically. However, because the mortgage origination process is very complex, innovation in our industry tends to be more incremental and less sweeping. Take, for example, e-mortgages. As an industry, we’ve been talking about doing e-mortgages since 2000. It’s seventeen years later and less than one percent of originations are e-mortgages. One of the key reasons for this was that there were differing and competing priorities from parties within the mortgage origination and closing ecosystem including lenders, investors, warehouse banks, county recorders, notaries, and GSEs, among others, and not everyone was on the same page about digitization. Customized closing processes throughout the country is another impediment to innovation. Finally, the average borrower gets a new mortgage or a refinance infrequently compared to other common financial transactions, so they are willing (or at least have been in the past) to put up with inefficiency and inconvenience.

Q: How would you define the state of innovation in the mortgage industry? Is it thriving or in a state of decay?

CURT TEGELER: Innovation in the mortgage industry is stronger than ever. The industry is so far behind in technology innovation that it can only advance from here. There are countless opportunities to embrace innovation and the industry is becoming more and more digital. Every phase of the mortgage process is evolving, from the consumer experience to the lender experience.

CRAIG ZIELAZNY: As is the case in all industries, there are firms which innovate and those that don’t but rather choose to follow. The firms which continually innovate maintain close ties with their clients and the market, always searching for a better way to do something or to solve a seemingly unsolvable problem. The state of a firm’s innovation status is largely a function of the culture and the value placed on listening to clients and doing the math to unearth needs which are not clearly identified by the client.

RICK TRIOLA: Despite the fact that I feel our industry moves too slowly in general, we’re actually at a very exciting place right now. While we had the technology to do end-to-end digital lending a decade ago, lenders weren’t ready and consumers weren’t pushing for it. Today, consumers are ready at the same time investors and regulators are pushing for it. Even loan officers we’re talking to are excited about doing digital.

And they want to share all of the benefits of digital with borrowers, that means closing the loan from anywhere. We know this is possible because we have now completed tens of thousands of online notarizations and cracked the code around the ‘last mile’ friction of having to appear in person.

I believe that over the next few years, we’ll see a great influx of lenders moving into fully digital lending and realizing cost and time savings at the same time they offer better experiences to consumers. In 5 years, no one will deliver a mortgage on paper.

TIM ANDERSON: I think now that we have gotten past TRID this has freed up resources and initiatives to implement some change and innovation. I give Quicken Loans a lot of credit as well because everyone now wants their version of Rocket Mortgage and push to better qualify and verify the loan quicker and faster with initiatives like FannieMae’s Day One Certainty initiative and FreddieMac’ s Loan Quality Advisor tools to streamline the process. We are also seeing a major rise in finally implementing the Digital Mortgage and eClosings to complete the eProcess and deliver not only a better consumer experience but a replicatable, repeatable automated QC process that provides electronic evidence of compliance along the way.

REBECCA MAYERSON: Innovation is at the highest level in over a decade and surging. The need to lower expenses while improving the process for the customer while still protecting risk is driving innovation at a high speed.

LEONARD RYAN: Innovation in the mortgage industry is “making a comeback.” The mortgage crisis and subsequent regulations forced vendors with traditional products to spend resources on implementing those regulations. Only new companies or entrepreneurial minds during those times seemed able to develop substantial changes in process. However, I now see the start of vendors looking to make substantial changes to the process. I believe most of those changes will result in vastly reduced lender costs.

JOHN VONG: From the perspective of a technology provider, it’s thriving. Every loan origination system and service provider is enhancing its technology or developing new solutions.

From the lender perspective, however, cyclicality trumps innovation. When the rates are low and demand is high, lenders are often too busy to focus on technology and innovation. Instead they throw bodies at the problem. When volume declines, there is often a reluctance to invest. Instead, loan production is the top priority. That’s why it takes the mortgage industry a longer time to adopt or upgrade technology than other financial services sectors.

Of course, over the last few years, the risk management and compliance areas are an exception because lenders have more of an incentive to protect their companies from regulatory scrutiny after the meltdown.

Q: Lastly, if there was one innovation that you would say the mortgage industry desperately needs to happen over the next twelve months, what would it be?

REBECCA MAYERSON: Any of the Day One certainty steps that would allow All investors beyond Fannie to accept would be great for our industry.

TIM ANDERSON: A closing collaboration system that exchanges the data between the title system of record and lenders not only for TRID or final CD but the upcoming Uniform Closing Dataset (UCD) requirement coming September 25th. Most lenders look at these as separate compliance initiatives but the proper collaboration should start at time of application with the initial Loan Estimate, automatically check for compliance tolerances anytime the data or disclosures change, conduct a final reconciliation and comparison three days prior to Closing Disclosure and keep tracking 90 days after closing of any changes. This should not only include the CD but all the closing documents and then once approved be able to do a full eClosing to ensure data and document quality, integrity and compliance.

CURT TEGELER: Digital mortgages are significant for the mortgage industry. With millennials becoming a large percentage of homebuyers, being able to complete the mortgage process online is important. Bringing the lifecycle of the process from a lead to a buyer is crucial. Essentially, Realtors should have the ability to advertise and turn leads into homebuyers and borrowers digitally. Even a hybrid approach where the front-end process becomes digitized is a step in the right direction. With procedures and an evolving industry ahead of us, the ability to be move quickly is critical to long-term success, and this is done through being digital.

CRAIG ZIELAZNY: Ball games are rarely won because of home runs… It’s the team that strings together singles and doubles that will win. Our industry is no different. Each innovation will contribute to the overall improvement of the industry and the benefits delivered to the various members. If we listen to our customers and probe for a deeper understanding, we will all become innovators and help move the industry forward.

JOHN VONG: The existing traditional origination process is not geared to cater to Millennials, who have different expectations and are more tech savvy than previous generations. They don’t want to spend ninety days to get a mortgage with a traditional loan officer. Millennials want to go to online, fill out their basic information, and get instant decisioning, as well as shop for competitive rates. Traditional lenders need to significantly rethink the customer experience they offer if they want to be relevant to this growing customer segment. Moreover, both traditional and FinTech lenders are going to have to find ways to qualify non-perfect borrowers and do so in a more digital fashion.

RICK TRIOLA: From the lender’s perspective, we desperately need technologies that will reduce their costs and increase their profits in an environment with tightening margins. At the same time, they need tools that will help them compete more effectively as rates rise, refinances disappear and competition heats up.

There has never been a better time to adopt technology that will answer these needs. In my mind, it’s going to be all about online closings, anytime from anywhere, which exactly what eClose360 offers. In fact, we just ran the numbers for a new client and found that using the eClose360 platform would add $18 million in bottom line profits over the next 12 months. That’s the kind of innovation lenders need now.

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Don’t Fear HMDA

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Here we go again. The industry just got over the pain of complying with TRID and now the CFPB is at it again. This time the changes will come for HMDA.

“The new HMDA reports will add significant costs and regulatory burdens to lenders, especially in the short run when lenders are becoming acclimated to the new reporting requirements,” noted Marisa Calderon, Executive Director of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP). While the challenges and expenses will be similar to TRID, the richer HMDA data set will allow lenders to analyze their peers, their peers’ and their own lending patterns, and the communities they serve. The data analysis on a richer HMDA data set could help lenders uncover unmet needs and create new and better lending programs tailored to the needs of these communities.”

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Calderon is an 18-year veteran of the financial services and housing industry. She takes a direct role in the association’s conference and event planning efforts, including NAHREP’s Housing Policy and Hispanic Lending Conference in Washington, D.C. and the association’s marquee event, the National Convention and Latin Music Festival. Ms. Calderon serves on the Fannie Mae Affordable Housing Advisory Council, Advisory board of Banc of California, on the board of directors of the Hispanic Wealth Project and is co-author of the association’s annual publication, The State of Hispanic Homeownership. She speaks at conferences and events regarding NAHREP’s advocacy efforts, policy positions and on general Hispanic housing trends.

“Beginning with the HMDA data collected in 2017 and submitted in 2018, the responsibility to receive and process HMDA data from lenders will transfer to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from the Federal Reserve Board,” Calderon pointed out. “In addition, filers will submit their HMDA data using a web interface referred to as the “HMDA Platform.” As part of the submission process, a HMDA reporter’s authorized representative has to certify to the accuracy and completeness of the data submitted.”

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On the bright side, vendors are ready to help lenders meet this challenge. For example, PROGRESS in Lending gave QuestSoft its Innovations Award for the work it has already done to ensure lender compliance. Last October, QuestSoft sent specifications to 29 loan origination software companies, and those imports are expected to come online during the first quarter of 2017. Customers can then import live data from those LOS platforms to see gaps, interact with their systems, and internally adjust their procedures. QuestSoft’s CFPB HMDA test version is also being provided well in advance of the CFPB’s schedule. Compliance RELIEF has been designed so that as error codes and other specifications are made available by the CFPB, QuestSoft will be able to incorporate them quickly and distribute updates to lenders testing their processes.

“On a granular level, HMDA will be a more smooth process to implement vs. TRID,” said Jon Johnson, Compliance Manager of Castle & Cooke Mortgage. “We were also given more time to implement HMDA and it won’t disrupt existing processes as much. Systems and people are being trained up right now.”

Johnson began working for Castle & Cooke Mortgage in 2016. Previously, he worked for the mortgage document preparation provider, IDS, where he was a project manager, compliance officer, and spokesperson for the implementation of TRID. Currently, Jon manages a team that helps with TRID, ECOA, and HMDA compliance. Jon is working on Castle & Cooke Mortgage’s new HMDA requirements implementation. Jon acquired a law degree from Arizona Summit Law School.

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“Lenders need to make sure that their systems are updated and that they are collecting the new data,” he advised. “If you have a file that you start this year, but it doesn’t close until next year we have to gather those additional data points. This is a great opportunity for lenders to look at their data and begin to make changes. We’ve seen the CFPB be a little more lenient with TRID, but in this case the CFPB has come out strong even before the new rules are in place.”

But the impact of these HMDA changes can be far reaching, according to Michael Vitali, Senior Vice President of Compliance at LoanLogics. ”HMDA is cumulative whereas TRID is loan by loan. Before cell phones and cameras, investigators had to do much worse, but today everything is instantaneously available. HMDA is like the cell phone. It’s now all out there for regulators to see much easier. The good side is that if a lender uses all this new data they can look at their portfolio in advance and make adjustments.”

At LoanLogics Vitali monitors regulatory developments and their practical implications for lenders, servicers and vendors in order to support Executive Management in high-level strategic decision-making. This includes identifying new market opportunities and new product enhancements. He supports the company’s Compliance Analysts on a day-to-day basis, including reviewing and approving the scope and substance of compliance reviews, answering loan-level questions, and participating in the preparation for, and defense of, regulatory exams of our clients.

His duties also include the research, interpretation and conveyance of proposed legislation related to the industry to recommend policy and/or procedure changes to maintain continued compliance with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, investor requirements, and standard mortgage practices. “The main thing in 2017 for lenders to do will be preparation,” he said. “This business is very production geared. With refis drying up they may be focused there and not pay too much attention to this. That would be a mistake. You can’t wait until 2018 to make sure that everything is collected. The LOs also need to be trained.”

As we all know, the CFPB fined Nationstar $1.75 million for “consistently failing to report accurate data” about mortgage transactions from 2012 through 2014. It was the largest HMDA penalty ever imposed by the CFPB. This is what is to come for lenders that are not ready.

“Lenders need to do this right,” warned Vitali. “The fine was not discrimination, it was for mistakes. I look at it this way: Nobody ever took HMDA data seriously, but they will now. Technology will help lenders identify risk. Lenders will have an opportunity to look in the mirror to see if they like what they see. If they don’t like what they see they can go get a haircut or a shave to look better. The major drawback is that lenders tend to rely too much on the technology without evaluating their own processes and data.”

“The upside is that it will expand homeownership to classes of people that have been disenfranchised,” added Dr. Rick Roque, President and Founder of MENLO, a firm that advises mortgage lenders on their M&A strategies. “The largest growing homeowners are women and immigrants. The HMDA data will provide more insight into who lenders are providing financing to and why. If I’m a local lender in Miami beech and my usual borrower earns $500,000 or more, that data is going to be very homogenized, which might open you up to litigation if that borrower is not representative of the majority of borrowers in your area. So, lenders that may be under capitalized may have difficulties.”

This is where automation comes in. “Technology offers visibility,” notes Roque. “Most lenders want to do the right thing, but they are not aware of how homogeneous their consumer base is. Lenders that are behind the eight ball now are going to be screwed in 2018.”

Johnson at Castle & Cooke Mortgage notes that lenders need to customize the technology. “Lenders need to be able to build reports off of the data points so you can see patterns. Also, you have to compare the data in all of your systems so it’s the same. The data in your LOS has to match the data on your docs, for example. Lenders can do this if they prepare.”

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.

And The 2017 Winners Are …

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Prominent mortgage executives gathered to see who the Executive Team of PROGRESS in Lending named the top industry innovations of the past year at the Seventh Annual Innovations Awards Event. This honor is the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, the Gold Seal when it comes to recognizing true industry innovation. All applications were scored on a weighted scale. We looked for the innovation’s overall industry significance, the originality of the innovation, the positive change the innovation made possible, the intangible efficiencies gained as a result of the innovation, and the hard cost and time savings that the innovation enables industry participants to achieve. In alphabetical order, the top innovations are:

ComplianceEase

ComplianceEase-2017-WinnerPROGRESS in Lending Association has named ComplianceEase a top innovation. In preparation for the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule, ComplianceEase spent 18 months enhancing its flagship compliance management platform, ComplianceAnalyzer. The company released the new module, called TRID Monitor, which provides the comprehensive, real-time auditing of disclosure timing, changed circumstances, and fee tolerances across all disclosures. ComplianceAnalyzer with TRID Monitor allows lenders to insert flexible TRID compliance controls into any system and can be used at any point in the lending process and across multiple origination channels. The module can also be used for pre- and post-close quality control and securitization due diligence. Depending on a lender’s workflow needs, lenders can use ComplianceAnalyzer with TRID Monitor to review the latest terms and fees on any single TRID disclosure or to monitor changes in fees and terms throughout the origination and closing processes.

DocMagic

DocMagic-2017-WinnerPROGRESS in Lending Association has named the work done by DocMagic a top innovation. As the mortgage industry slowly embraces the Digital Mortgage, DocMagic launched what was dubbed its “Total eClosing solution,” which enables a comprehensive, true 100% paperless eClosing that automates the entire process — from start to finish. Looking back, DocMagic was brought to the forefront of eClosing technology awareness with its participation in the CFPB’s eClosing pilot in 2014. This vendor was 1 of only 12 firms that was invited by the CFPB to participate. If the industry is going to go digital it will need vendors like DocMagic to lead the way. The Total eClose solution includes the seamless incorporation of its eSignature-enabled SMART Documents, a nationwide eNotary network, MERS eRegistry access, eWarehousing, eNotes, a secure eVault, and secure investor eDelivery — all in a single, comprehensive eClosing platform and completely TRID-compliant. There is absolutely no paper involved at any point, at any time.

Mercury Network

Mercury Network-2017 WinnerPROGRESS in Lending Association has named Mercury Network a top innovation. In March of 2016, Mercury Network launched Fee Analytics, a rich set of current data and analytics for actual appraisal fees in every county in the United States, delivered monthly. Lenders subscribe to Fee Analytics to know the most current appraisal fees paid for collateral valuations, along with details on the transactions. Since more than 800 lenders and appraisal management companies rely on Mercury Network for collateral valuation management, more than 10,000 transactions a day are passing through the system, providing rich trended data with many benefits for the industry. With Mercury Network’s Fee Analytics tool, lenders can determine where appraisal fees are rising and where they are falling, a clear indicator of supply and demand, as well as a valuable clue for hyper-local and regional lending booms that present opportunity for business expansion.

Mortgage Network

Mortgage Network-2017 WinnerPROGRESS in Lending Association has named Mortgage Network a top innovation. Mortgage Network has been creating and using its own technology for several years. But in 2016, it took things to a new level by creating an online borrower portal that allows consumers to initiate and drive the mortgage process with very little assistance from the loan officer. The portal gives borrowers the option to upload their own mortgage documents through a drag-and-drop method, virtually eliminating the need for loan officers to keep coming back to borrowers to request more information. Borrowers can also see their loan choices based on the information they provide, receive disclosures electronically, and receive an underwritten loan commitment in as little as two days. In many ways, the new borrower portal might be compared to TurboTax, the off-the-shelf software that revolutionized how Americans prepare their taxes. This portal will do the same for mortgage lending.

NotaryCam

NotaryCam-2017 WinnerPROGRESS in Lending Association has named NotaryCam’s eClose360 a top innovation. As the industry interest in eClosings has risen, with NotaryCam’s eClose360 you no longer have to force participants into the same room, deploy a laptop and signing pad — which is essentially 12-year old technology — to close a loan when it can be done online anytime from anywhere. NotaryCam’s eClose360 is an online notary platform that allows mortgage closings to take place entirely online, removing all associated stress and the friction of having to attend closings physically. Further, Fannie Mae approved NotaryCam’s eClose360 as a provider of both a SMARTDoc and eVault solution. Specifically, this online closing solution is now on the list of software that Fannie Mae has certified and approved for use on loans it purchases from mortgage loan originators. NotaryCam’s eClose360 has legally completed tens of thousands of notarizations in all 50 states and over 65 countries.

QuestSoft

QuestSoft-2017 WinnerPROGRESS in Lending Association has named QuestSoft a top innovation. This industry has been inundated with new rules and regulations for some time now. The key to maintaining compliance is preparation. One of the next big rules for lenders to comply with are the CFPB HMDA changes. Last October, QuestSoft sent specifications to 29 loan origination software companies, and those imports are expected to come online during the first quarter of 2017. Customers can then import live data from those LOS platforms to see gaps, interact with their systems, and internally adjust their procedures. The test version is also being provided well in advance of the CFPB’s schedule. Further, QuestSoft’s Compliance RELIEF application has been designed so that as error codes and other specifications are made available by the CFPB, this company will be able to incorporate them quickly and distribute updates to lenders seamlessly.

WebMax

WebMax-2017 WinnerPROGRESS in Lending Association has named WebMax a top innovation. Last year, 5.8 million homes were purchased compared to 5.6 million in 2015 and 5.3 million in 2014. Further, seventy-seven million millennials make up about one-fourth of the U.S. population. Millennials in the U.S. wield about $1.3 trillion in annual buying power, 85% of them are using smartphones as their daily technology device, and 49% are seeking to buy their first home. Millennials are becoming a significant force in the mortgage industry. To reach these new borrowers WebMax’s MortgageWare application provided an innovative digital solution designed to make Mortgage and Real Estate easy, one that enhanced the online lending experience for both the lender and the borrower. In 2016, the solution assisted with the closing of 123,388 mortgage loans and hosted over 2,990 mortgage websites. WebMax clients are provided with a compliant, ascetically appealing, and user-friendly web solution that include key program integrations.

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Are You Ready For The New HMDA Changes?

There was a lot of talk at the MBA Annual about the CFPB’s HMDA changes, but good vendors are ready. QuestSoft has released its data specifications for the 110 fields that will make up the new Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), to 29 loan origination software (LOS) vendors. The company has also made specifications and other critical resources available to their 2200 customers via their new online HMDA Resource Center. This will allow lenders to test and comply with the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) requirements for changes to HMDA well in advance of the 2018 deadline. The data specifications are expected to assist LOS vendors in accelerating their compliance with the expansive rule by allowing them to coordinate testing with lenders and have use of live data months in advance of federal deadlines. This should easily give lenders the ability to avoid the problems they experienced implementing other CFPB rules including “Know Before You Owe” (TRID) and Qualified Mortgage (QM) identification.

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QuestSoft also announced that it will provide a free 2018 testing version to all of their Compliance RELIEF HMDA customers on January 2, 2017. This free module will allow lenders to collect data required in 2018 for testing and analysis a year before it will be mandated by the CFPB. Currently, QuestSoft software solutions are the most used HMDA management systems in the industry.

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The CFPB has recently made moves to accelerate collection of expanded government monitoring information (GMI as in Race, Sex and Ethnicity). Originally restricted by regulation from collection until January 1, 2018, the CFPB recently and suddenly reversed itself and updated the regulation to allow for voluntary collection in 2017. They also approved early use of the new Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) for the same year.

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Despite this sudden change, QuestSoft immediately reassured its client base and vendors by indicating that their Compliance RELIEF software was fully compatible with the new collection adjustments and that the regulatory changes were already accommodated due to forward thinking programming.

“We are working with various technology providers as well as lenders with proprietary systems and we are fully equipped to assist in building user interfaces that leverage the new data points and compliance logic”, said Leonard Ryan, QuestSoft president. “We also took advantage of our existing design so that a single interface will be compatible with the new data requirements and backward compatible with current formats. This will greatly assist our customers with their audit preparation for Years 2012 to 2017.”

With the new data fields successfully added to the existing interface, QuestSoft’s integrated partners can provide their own customers with up to a full year of testing by utilizing QuestSoft’s products to analyze new HMDA data in advance of the 2018 deadline. Lenders utilizing the testing version will be able to look back several years without toggling between screens, providing the most current information reflecting pre and post CFPB standards.

QuestSoft is channeling all of these development efforts into their Compliance RELIEF software, which replaces the company’s popular HMDA RELIEF product line. The software features significant upgrades in data formatting and security and simultaneously addresses HMDA, CRA, Fair Lending, NMLS Call Reports, Geocoding, Mapping and individual state regulations in a single SQL based solution.

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.

How Do Lenders Really Feel About Their LOS?

Many lenders see their loan origination system or LOS as a necessary evil. They know they have to have one, but they are seldom entirely happy with their LOS. In the early days of paperless processing I even spoke to lenders that wanted to do things like electronic disclosures or adopt a more automated workflow, but couldn’t because their LOS was not ready. And at that time some of those lenders didn’t even want to be quoted by name in my story for fear of insulting their LOS vendor. Today the active LOS players have evolved, but we still don’t often hear them labelled as being “innovative” or “progressive” by lenders. So, does this mean lenders today are eager to switch their LOS as a result? A new study from QuestSoft posed this question to the industry today and here’s what they found:

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According to QuestSoft’s 10th annual survey, 15.8 percent of lenders report that they are considering changing their LOS in 2016. This represents a decrease of 21 percent from the 2015 survey results and marks the lowest percentage of lenders seeking an LOS change since the survey began. QuestSoft, a provider of automated mortgage compliance software, has annually tracked the number of lenders pursuing an LOS change (as well as a number of other critical bellwethers of the mortgage industry) since 2007 when the mortgage industry was vastly different than today.

“As we’ve seen over the past few years, ongoing regulatory changes in the mortgage market continue to play a key role in lenders’ decisions regarding their LOS,” said Leonard Ryan, president and founder of QuestSoft. “With lenders still recovering from TRID and preparing for the new HMDA changes in 2018, many are actively assessing their current LOS to ensure that the system will adequately handle the newest changes rather than looking to implement a whole new system.”

While QuestSoft does not disclose which LOS companies are currently being used or evaluated, information from the survey points to the idea that traditional top vendors are less dominant in the survey results. According to Ryan, this can mean one or a combination of two things – either people have already made their changes and are satisfied, or other vendors have improved their products.

QuestSoft integrates with more than 40 leading LOS platforms to provide banks, credit unions and mortgage companies with automated software to help satisfy Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage (ATR/QM), Fair Lending, NMLS Call Reporting, and other automated compliance 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.

Will CFPB Rules and Mobile Technology Put an End to Mortgage Originators?

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LeonardREvery disruptive technology – and the regulatory framework that surrounds it – impacts entire industries with unexpected consequences. Two recent trends in the mortgage industry are combining to create a perfect storm of unintended consequences for mortgage originators. The combination of the growth of electronic mortgage disclosures along with the standardization of pricing engines and underwriting rules due to today’s aggressive regulatory environment have some thinking that mortgage originators will soon be an endangered species.

A lending company could be forgiven for thinking, “If everything is preset and just a range of numbers, why do you need a loan officer on an agency loan?”  You just need one or two NMLS licensed people to set the rates displayed on a borrower’s online account or to quote a borrower if they insist on talking with a person about rates. Then add less expensive loan processors and customer support staff to do the document follow-up and collection.

Millennials Want Answers, and They Want Them Now

As the oldest Millennials are approaching their 30s, there is the opportunity to build a huge customer base with the largest living generation. But when they want to buy a home and apply for a loan, what will they want? Automation.

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Millennials will want to sign on to websites (or via their phone) at 1:30 in the morning after a day at work and hanging out with friends. Then they will search for their loan, upload everything financial from their Quicken, Money or Personal Financial Management app and demand an immediate answer before they give up and go on to another website and apply.

Recent published studies indicate that over 60% of online shoppers expect an answer to their question within one hour. With DU and LP free, and a credit score available 24/7, even lenders can meet this demand. Technology now exists that offers prequalification flood checks without the certification for a fraction of the flood certification price. Run these checks immediately after you get the 6 mandated pieces of data required for TRID and for 90% of your loans, you can have a rate, flood fees (or not), the title, transfer taxes, property taxes confirmed, and estimated appraisal fees based on property size and location within two minutes.

Who needs a loan officer for this group of people representing the vast majority of borrowers in the future? Lenders looking to cut costs, or trying to start a new business, can save a lot of money by only employing a couple of loan officers and relying on customer service and processors to manage most of the cut-and-dried loans.

Where will the loan officer go?

The upside for brokers is that the lower cost of doing business electronically cuts both ways. Good loan officers should or will consider opening their own businesses, relying on cloud-based technology, low overhead and personal connections to compete. Certainly new or existing vendors will jump at the opportunity to serve new customers for their software.

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In addition, most community banks and credit unions will probably maintain an origination staff to handle the non-standard loans because that type of service is how they can differentiate today competing with big banks. Loan officers will always be needed for outside-of-the-box loans and borrowers who prefer to not to embrace the technology.

Will all of these technological changes dynamically alter the mortgage industry most of us have spent decades in? Certainly. There may be areas of the industry that experience the pain of change more acutely, but change also brings opportunities. Smart loan officers should keep an eye on developments and think about how they fit in a more digital and more regulated world. Don’t be afraid of technology, but don’t be caught asleep at the wheel as the nature of our business changes.

About The Author

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Leonard Ryan is president of Laguna Hills, Calif.-based QuestSoft, a provider of automated compliance solutions and geocoding services to the mortgage industry. He can be reached at 800-575-4632 or leonard.ryan@questsoft.com. For more information, visit www.questsoft.com.

Vendor Looks To Ease The Compliance Burden

QuestSoft has updated Compliance RELIEF’s SQL-based architecture to prepare for anticipated CFPB HMDA changes and provide advanced reporting and compliance capabilities. The software assists banks, credit unions and mortgage lenders in processing the majority of their compliance requirements in one convenient system via integrations with top Loan Origination Systems (LOS).

Compliance RELIEF offers analysis and reporting for Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), Fair Lending, NMLS Call Reporting (coming soon) and Geocoding Verification Services under one integrated compliance umbrella. Lenders have used QuestSoft’s individual RELIEF products successfully in more than 10,000 audits over the past 20 years. The new combined database enhancements in Compliance RELIEF provide a stronger workflow and additional options for analyzing loan data and reporting to company executives before government submission deadlines. It also helps lenders “tell their story” before the examiners come knocking.

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“Compliance RELIEF is the easiest, most robust way to comply with the critical compliance demands and reporting requirements of today’s heightened regulatory environment,” said QuestSoft president Leonard Ryan. “The software is the only tool on the market that helps lenders manage both the federal and state reporting regulations simultaneously in one consistent package.”

Compliance RELIEF features a secure single interface that accesses the subscribed modules. At the same time, the software stores and spans multiple data reporting years for consistency and more meaningful analysis. This approach lessens the training burden and establishes uniform data integrity standards. It also enables the program to easily accommodate future compliance regulations at both the federal and state level. Compliance RELIEF is designed to operate in any modern Windows platform. The product also contains integrated digital mapping and up to date market data for comparison to peers.

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“Lenders who do not properly submit these reports face stiff penalties and fines,” Ryan said. “By continually making Compliance RELIEF more robust, we’re helping lenders remove the complexity from compliance reporting.”

About The Author

[author_bio]

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.