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Time To Get Kudos

Ellie Mae has been named one of America’s Best Small Companies by Forbes Magazine. Ellie Mae was ranked 34th on the list of 100 companies. I know you’re wondering why Ellie Mae was recognized, and probably more, how you can be recognized for the great things that you do. Here’s the scoop:

According to Kurt Badenhausen, senior editor at Forbes, the America’s Best Small Companies list features outfits with strong sales and earnings growth across industries. Candidates must have been publicly traded for at least a year, generate annual revenue between $5 million and $1 billion and boast a stock price no lower than $5 a share. The rankings are based on earnings growth, sales growth and return on equity in the past 12 months and over five years.

“At Ellie Mae, our focus has always been on providing our clients with innovative technology and superior customer service, and we have been rewarded with high levels of adoption and market share growth,” said Jonathan Corr, president and chief operating officer of Ellie Mae. “We are pleased to be recognized for our efforts on Forbes’ list alongside other high-performing companies.”

For more information on Forbes’ America’s Best Small Companies go to www.forbes.com/best-small-companies.

Now it’s your turn. PROGRESS in Lending Association was formed to give industry thought leaders a voice. The right formula of technology combined with business strategy can come together to solve real industry problems. Now we’re going even further with the Innovations Program. Apply now for free and get recognized! To be named a Top Innovation by PROGRESS in Lending apply HERE. You deserve kudos, too!

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And The 2013 Winners Are …

And The 2013 Innovations Winners Are …
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It was a night to remember. Over 100 mortgage executives gathered to see who the top innovations of the past year were. We recognized innovations that were introduced into the mortgage market between January of 2012 and December of 2012 that truly changed the mortgage market for the better. Understand that this is not a subjective competition. All applications were scored on a weighted scale by every member of the PROGRESS in Lending Executive Team. 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. We encourage everyone to apply online to get recognized next year. But for now, in alphabetical order, the top innovations of the past twelve months are:

a la mode, inc.

alamodePROGRESS in Lending has named a la mode, inc.’s Appraisal Quality Management (AQM) system a top innovation because in a risk-averse market, the AQM service guides underwriters to the issues in each appraisal that require human attention, includes actionable recommendations for improving quality and compliance, an end-to-end audit trail to satisfy examiners and investors, and produces investor-ready loan files, dramatically reducing repurchase risk. AQM is the result of lengthy collaboration between a la mode and MasterServ Financial and AXIS Appraisal Management Solutions. With AQM, risk assessment and investor preparation is transparently integrated with standard collateral valuation workflow. This is important because essential results are returned along with an overall Appraisal Quality Index (AQI) score compiled from analysis of five intelligently weighted risk categories in the appraisal report, consisting of property risk, market issues, completeness of the appraisal report, accuracy of the findings, and the risk associated with the collateral value, making it a true innovation.

Compliance Systems Inc.

CSIPROGRESS in Lending has named CSi’s Configurability tool a top innovation because this product addresses a clear and rising industry problem. With the rapid, extensive and frequent regulatory changes that are hitting mortgage lenders as a result of the 2008 market upheaval, lenders will not be able to maintain libraries of modified standard and custom documents without introducing unacceptable levels of risks. To address this Configurability includes the functionality for lenders to (a) add/append to standard provisions within documents (e.g., a Mortgage/Deed of Trust, Construction Loan Agreement, etc.), (b) replace standard provisions within such a document or (c) suppress/exclude certain standard provisions (“Configurations”); the functionality for lenders to make and manage Configurations internally (i.e., without reliance on a third-party entity for making or maintaining changes); the functionality for lenders to maintain and adapt those Configurations as market, business, policy and regulatory needs change (which is generally frequent, rapid and extensive); the functionality for a lender to create and maintain those Configurations while maintaining the Compliance Warranty of the underlying transaction; and the functionality for lenders to define the business rules/conditions under which the Configurations are to be used in specific transactions.

eLynx

ElynxPROGRESS in Lending has named the eLynx Expedite Inbox a top innovation because this solution provides a central portal for all consumer documentation. Consumers establish a single account that can manage documents across all loan products, providing a consistent and easily identifiable touchpoint for the bank. The solution is truly innovative because it enables borrower access to all manner of loan documents through a single, bank-branded portal. Instead of borrowers having to search through e-mails for the link to a document, they can simply log in to their secure account on Expedite Inbox and see a visual display of all the document sets sent from their lender, with the current completion status (as well as the status of associated signers, if applicable) and due date provided. These visual displays enable consumers to know, at a glance, how close they are to completing actions and what tasks must take priority.

IndiSoft

IndysoftPROGRESS in Lending has named IndiSoft a top innovation because the company has consistently improved business processes in the financial industry, and its RxOffice platform is an innovative technology that is continually enhanced to benefit all stakeholders. From originations, to default management to foreclosure, IndiSoft’s technology has transformed communications and workflow processing. In turn, customers have experienced strong returns on their investments and consumers have been able to work through their financial challenges more quickly, which is greatly helping the financial industry gain stable footing for the future. This year, IndiSoft added a mobile feature and engaged a national law firm to provide users the additional assurance that they will remain up-to-date with all regulatory changes. IndiSoft truly understands the issues surrounding regulatory compliance and the growing need for mortgage companies to implement strong quality control initiatives.

The Lykken on Lending Radio Program

LykkenPROGRESS in Lending has named the Lykken on Lending Radio Program a top innovation because David Lykken saw a need to create a new way for mortgage executives to stay abreast of the latest industry events. With that, the radio show was launched. The radio show is innovative because it takes an old concept (the idea of doing a specialized radio broadcast) and brings that concept into the mortgage space, which has never been done before. Today the radio program averages 30,000 unique downloads of the broadcast every month. In 2012 the industry saw the culmination of and launching of a lot of new rules. Realizing that mortgage lending is quickly becoming a highly-regulated space, the radio program quickly moved to innovate this past year by filling that need.

NCS

NCSPROGRESS in Lending has named National Credit-reporting System, Inc. (NCS) a top innovation because for the past three years, NCS has been a driving force behind the mortgage industry’s IRS electronic signature initiative for the income verification IRS Form 4506-T. These efforts came to fruition on January 7, 2013, the day the IRS began accepting e-signatures for Form 4506-T. The e-signature of Form 4506-T will lead to rising consumer satisfaction and mortgage processing efficiencies, while significantly advancing the protection of consumer information and lessening the opportunities for mortgage fraud. Through its work, leadership and influence, NCS was the undisputed leader behind this innovation. Only the NCS team—led by Cecil Bowman, senior vice president for government and industry relations for NCS and a former top administrator at the IRS for 35 years—had the know-how and experience to successfully navigate the IRS bureaucracy and develop trust with the agency.

The Turning Point

TurningPointPROGRESS in Lending has named the work of The Turning Point a top innovation because the company stepped up in 2012 to champion compliance-centric marketing. The FTC’s “Mortgage Acts and Practices – Advertising Final Rule” (that became effective in late 2011) was instrumental in pushing marketing compliance to the top of every lender’s agenda, although this is only one component in an expanding array of mortgage-specific regulations that now seriously constrain marketing activity. Of particular interest is section 321.3 of MAP, which outlines 19 areas where mortgage advertising misrepresentations have been prevalent – including loan terms, fees and costs, and the consumer’s potential for savings or approval – and which “prohibits any material misrepresentation, whether made expressly or by implication, in any commercial communication, regarding any term of any mortgage credit product.” The Turning Point’s SaaS-based MACH3 platform rose to the challenge, introducing “Corporate Control” and confirming MACH3’s status as the mortgage industry’s only compliance-centric corporate CRM and marketing automation solution.

 

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And The 2012 Winners Are …

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And The Winners Are…

True Innovators Recognized

Over 100 executives gathered to honor the top innovations. It was an event to remember. In the face of adversity the mortgage industry responded. Several new innovations arose to help aide the industry in its efforts to get closer to recovery. And that’s really what the Innovations Program is all about. We are the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, the Gold Seal when it comes to recognizing true mortgage industry innovation.

What were we looking for specifically? We are recognizing innovations that were introduced into the mortgage market between January of 2011 and December of 2011 that truly changed the mortgage market for the better. Understand that this is not a subjective competition. 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.

Also understand that this recognition was not decided by mere industry onlookers, all six industry experts that make up the PROGRESS in Lending Association Executive Team acted as judges and all were given an equal say in how applications were evaluated. In short, the winners were judged by industry peers who know the space inside and out, just like you do.

In alphabetical order, the top innovations of 2011 are:

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a la mode, inc.

The rapidly changing regulatory landscape and the new GSE requirements significantly impacted the appraisal management and collateral valuation industries in 2011. Without critical innovation, delivery difficulties of the newly required MISMO 2.6 appraisal data could have choked origination pipelines at a time when this industry can least afford it. Since a la mode’s appraisal formfilling software is the choice of well over half the appraisers in the country, the company already had a presence on the desktop of a majority of the nation’s appraisers. That presence gave Mercury Network the unique opportunity to innovate a solution that streamlines the delivery of compliant appraisal data and ensures the easiest possible transition for all lenders and AMCs to easily comply with the GSEs new Uniform Collateral Data Platform (UCDP). In September of 2011, a la mode’s Mercury Network launched DataCourier, a new service that allows appraisers to easily deliver the MISMO XML to any lender or AMC they work for, without any manual file conversions or non-compliant e-mail attachments.

DecisionReady

In 2011, DecisionReady tackled a tough industry problem—default mortgage servicing—head-on, and came up with a technology solution that has already had far-reaching effects. The challenge of how to manage the business of servicing defaulted and delinquent loans in an efficient, cost-effective, and, most importantly, compliant manner, is one faced by nearly all of today’s mortgage servicers. By combining up-to-the-minute technology with a shrewd business strategy, DecisionReady came out with a solution that delivers major advancements in the business of managing defaulted loans, while ensuring the servicing of those loans is compliant. The solution created by DecisionReady addresses the full range of issues faced by today’s servicers. The DRAW platform helps servicers reduce costs, improve accuracy, and reduce the compliance risk associated with servicing delinquent loans.

Five Brothers

Over the past couple of years we have experienced serve economic challenges. High unemployment rates, an epidemic of foreclosures and defaults, declining home prices and an economy that is struggling to get back on track.  This has been difficult on everyone, including municipalities. To combat this situation municipalities have turned to implementing a wave of new regulations, and municipal codes requiring strict vacant property registration.  Each municipality across the country has added their own requirements and penalties for not adhering to these strict vacant property requirements. Resulting in fines and fees for non-compliance. To provide an effective and powerful tool, Five Brothers Default Management solutions has applied over 40 years of default management expertise, deep knowledge and working experience with municipalities, and advanced technology to deliver the industry an innovative vacant property registration solution. This Web-based system leverages the most advanced vacant property registration database to deliver 24/7 solutions to servicers to ease their burden of handling vacant property registration.

GreenBar America

Mortgage technology is advancing but really nothing innovative has been created to change the consumer experience at the point-of-sale. That’s where GreenBar comes in. The GreenBar solution addresses the intent of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as it pertains to the mortgage transaction; it endeavors to eliminate intentional and unintentional product steering by mortgage originators; it provides the mortgage industry with a more effective, comprehensive, realistic and consumer centric definition and solution for adhering to intent of the “safe harbor” provisions; it protects consumers against loan originator bias (intentional and unintentional), as pertains to the selection or recommendation of a specific mortgage product and terms; it establishes a simple, easy to understand and universally accepted framework for evaluating the borrower’s ability-to-pay; it puts consumer needs as the starting point of the mortgage transaction; and it incorporates a standardized educational method into the origination process. To elaborate, the GreenBar Decision Engine enables mortgage borrowers to be “pre” underwritten by loan originators for the purpose of educating consumers as to the optimal product and strategy to maximize the likelihood that they will be able to meet their new long-term financial obligation.

LoanSifter

The LoanSifter Available Mortgage Rate Index (AMRi) is the mortgage industry’s first complete, real-time mortgage rate index that is based on same-day rates and the only index that provides a realistic idea of what borrowers typically pay for a loan. Three main characteristics set LoanSifter AMRi apart. First, it provides the most accurate depiction of current and historical mortgage rates available on the market. It is the only index based on same-day rates. Rather than using past sources of information, the LoanSifter AMRi’s indices are created by leveraging real-time data from 25 wholesale and correspondent lenders. Second, the LoanSifter AMRi was created in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, one of twelve district Reserve Banks in the Federal Reserve System. Third, use of the LoanSifter AMRi is completely free of charge. The LoanSifter AMRi lists all relevant rate information all on a single page.

MortgageFlex

Recognizing that the lending industry would never be the same after the last industry down time and lenders would need smarter and more efficient solutions, MortgageFlex developed an offering that isn’t just new technology but a new solutions approach. One that addresses everything a lender needs to respond quickly and easily to the ever-changing rules and regulations and the demands of tech savvy borrowers while continuing to increase revenue. Traditionally, technology vendors simply upgrade to the latest platform (DOS > Windows > .NET) and tout the advantages. And while the latest advantages are numerous, there still needed to be a support solution paradigm shift to accommodate the lending transformation that has occurred. Just upgrading technology is not enough to be successful anymore; lenders need flexible pricing options, secure hosting choices and experienced resources. In short, they need a strong partner with new answers. To meet these needs, MortgageFlex redesigned not only the LoanQuest product offering but looked internally and evaluated their resources and processes.

Sperlonga Data & Analytics

The past few years have revealed a growing problem faced by mortgage servicers: delinquent homeowners association (HOA) fees causing delays in reselling foreclosed and defaulted residential properties. It has been said that this is “the biggest problem the mortgage industry has never heard of,” and it affects, in one way or another, over 24 million properties. Enter Matt Martin and team with a simple, yet ingenious, solution; find every HOA out there and bridge the gap between them and the mortgage servicer and investor community.Martin’s concept was the genesis of Sperlonga Data and Analytics, an Arlington, VA-based company created in 2011 to provide a technology-enabled centralized interface for HOAs and servicers, as well as an array of services to benefit both sides. Sperlonga’s technology facilitates the identification, delivery, and resolution of outstanding account balances related to association fees. Servicers and investors upload portfolios of properties directly into the Sperlonga workflow engine, and progress and results are viewable through a personalized Client Dashboard. This simplifies the overall process.

 

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