Daily Mortgage News & Commentary

Dec. 26: Residential lending vendors not sitting still: recent M&A, strategic partnerships, new products

 Computer security at home can be tricky. As an example, for security reasons, change your dog’s name every three months to match your new password. Security for vendors supplying services is critical, as is the ability for one vendor to “talk” to other vendors being used by the lender. Vendors are also concerned with mortgage technology, marketing, having enough capital, forming strategic partnerships, integration, artificial intelligence, bots and robots, the list goes on and on. Let’s take a look at who is doing what out there in Vendorland.

M&A, partnerships, raising capital, rebranding

Qualia has acquired Adeptive Software, the developer of the popular enterprise-class title and escrow production software, ResWare. The Qualia vision has always been about more than closings, we aim to power the homebuying experience for customers spanning the entire process. That includes title and escrow companies, title insurers, lenders, brokerages, and more.

LBA Ware has joined the American Credit Union Mortgage Association (ACUMA) as an affiliate member. Through the membership, LBA Ware aims to strengthen credit unions’ competitiveness and performance by equipping them with solutions that simplify the mortgage compensation process and help teams use their data to drive new levels of performance.

Ephesoft, Inc., and JIFFY.ai, announced a formalized, strategic partnership that will provide a premiere AI-based, cloud-native, low-code HyperApp solution for the mortgage and financial services industries. The companies’ combined capabilities will accelerate the end-to-end automation of complex mortgage origination and loan processing by integrating intelligent capture, machine learning, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and cognitive processing technologies into a single, unified solution. The joint intelligent automation solution will enable mortgage service providers to implement the technology quickly, streamline workflows and increase overall productivity.

Mike Romano reports that Evolve Mortgage Services recently acquired an appraisal technology platform from Veptas Technology Solutions

Capital is seeking outlets. Here is a FinLedger article about AmexVentures investment in Truework, for example.

An integration of two platforms, SmartProp property search and EPN settlement service, was announced by SLK Global Solutions. SLK’s property search solution, currently being used by 100+ title & tax agencies; helps credit unions and independent mortgage lenders by accelerating the entire loan process. SharperLending’s EPN settlement services platform provides lenders with a secure, single source to order and pay for all the products and services needed to close a loan.

Top of Mind Networks has partnered with Sales Boomerang to help loan originators uncover new business opportunities and significantly outperform customer retention benchmarks by responding rapidly to loan opportunities as they arise. The newly announced integration embeds Sales Boomerang directly inside Top of Mind’s Surefire CRM. Surefire’s technology can be used to deliver timely reminders to LOs to follow up on the opportunities presented by Sales Boomerang. Alternatively, lenders can use Surefire to automatically deploy context-specific marketing campaigns to consumers on behalf of LOs, ensuring opportunities are never overlooked.

Social Survey announced a new partnership of mortgage lenders, BrokersUnited, joining together to offer its platform for free to their brokers. This new consortium is called and includes lenders like PennyMac, Stearns, Parkside, and more.

AppraisalVision has partnered with First American ACI to help power SMARTReview, Next Generation Appraisal Review Platform, the industry’s first. SMARTReview is a risk-based appraisal quality control (QC) and review platform, that allows a lender to extend, standardize and automate its appraisal QC and review process across all of their AMCs and appraisers. Built on top of ACI’s Sky® API and PAR® Logic compliance library, SMARTReview provides a single platform for all participants to collaboratively review and approve the appraisal report.

National MI has integrated with LONPricer to streamline originations. Lenders can now view RateGPS risk-based pricing from within the Loan Originator Network platform.

First American Docutech® announced its integration with Encompass® loan origination software by Ellie Mae®. With the integration, Encompass lenders can accelerate their closing process by easily implementing First American Docutech’s suite of digital mortgage and closing solutions. The integration seamlessly updates key disclosure tracking fields, and automatically delivers documents into Encompass.

Flagstar Bank announced the selection of the second cohort of startups to participate in the Flagstar MortgageTech Accelerator program. The three selected companies are Home Lending PalStavvy and RealKey. The accelerator focuses on startups active in developing innovative technology solutions for the mortgage industry and is the first and only accelerator program in the United States exclusively dedicated to mortgage technology. The program ends on

February 4th, 2021. For more information, email Erin Hennessy.

SimpleNexus announced a two-way integration with Unify’s Business Growth Platform™ that streamlines the loan application process to improve efficiency and help mortgage lenders reduce application abandonment.

SoftWorks AI has entered a strategic alliance with Tavant to provide organizations with an enhanced digital mortgage experience. SoftWorks AI’s intelligent mortgage document automation capabilities will now be integrated with Tavant’s best in class document ingestion platform, FinCapture, providing organizations across the mortgage ecosystem with the most advanced documents to data automation capabilities currently available in the market.

First American Financial Corporation announced the rebrand of its data division as the First American Data & Analytics Division, which has brought together advanced analytic solutions for title automation, fraud risk management, compliance, and valuation, powered by the industry’s largest and most complete property information and ownership data. “The division remains at the forefront of innovation, leveraging technology and data to deliver best-in-class decisioning solutions to the real estate, mortgage, title and PropTech industries.”

Mastercard has closed its acquisition of Finicity propelling it toward the one-stop partner for banks, merchants, fintechs and governments that Mastercard is reaching for. “These connections are supported through next generation open banking APIs and consumer approvals.”

QuestSoft entered into a partnership with vendor management platform Vendorly whereby “lenders will notice an improved and streamlined due diligence process.” “This provides substantial efficiency for both mortgage lenders and QuestSoft,” said Leonard Ryan, president of QuestSoft. “It saves our company time processing individual requests and reduces the need for lenders to contact QuestSoft separately. We are expecting over 90% savings of time by ensuring customers have their due diligence completed in minutes and not days or weeks.”

Recall that Genworth Mortgage Insurance announced the completion of an excess of loss reinsurance transaction with a panel of reinsurers covering a portion of the loss tier on subject loans written between 2009 and 2019 book years, effective April 1, 2020. The transaction provides reinsurance coverage in excess of the PMIERs capital requirements as of March 31, 2020 in response to an anticipated higher level of delinquencies as a result of COVID-19. As such, the company expects up to $300 million of additional PMIERs capital credit when required assets are in the covered tier, subject to GSE approval as part of their evaluation.

Mortech®, a Zillow Group business, continues to onboard additional mortgage marketplace partners including Mortgage Research Center and Roofstock. This latest round of integrations with Mortech’s product and pricing engine provides lenders with additional market opportunities to advertise real-time mortgage offers and expand reach to more customers.

Recent products

Download your free copy of the Mortgage Technology Report, produced by Dodd Frank. This updated report highlights the acceleration of technology: eClosings – Ready, set GO! Making it work remotely with RON, Lessons from a digital leader, the latest mortgage-technology advancements and appraisal flexibilities that helped sustain market momentum.

Interested in learning how to leverage end-to-end digital mortgage technology to maximize loan production? Download First American Docutech’s Free Accelerate Closings eBook.

Black Knight has launched its Mandatory Analytics, an interactive, unified portal for buyers of loans on the secondary market that allows for strategic analysis and benchmarking of loan trades. Through dynamic and configurable charts, Mandatory Analytics displays ongoing and historical pricing comparisons on all potential and actual executions tailored to each individual investor, promoting individualized analysis. Investors can benchmark the success of their executions against overall market performance, with analysis available down to the loan level.

Although I’ve mentioned this before in the commentary, Spruce, the proptech company powering online real estate transactions through technology, released survey findings showing the frustrations of borrowers, citing the time it takes to close as the most frustrating part of the overall mortgage origination process. These findings highlight the immense opportunity to increase borrower satisfaction through technology solutions in real estate transactions. “Over the last year, the time-to-close was about 47 days. On average, lenders who have opted to partner with Spruce close 25% faster, resulting in more satisfied borrowers and a better overall homebuying experience. By implementing a partnership with Spruce, partners are better able to offer a process that is fast, transparent, and predictable… Qualities that are hard to come by.

Recent compliance updates from First American Docutech include FNMA instructions to the New York Assignment and FHLMC’s permanent adoption of some POA requirements promulgated due to COVID.

Total Expert now offers two-way data sync with SimpleNexus, the leading digital mortgage platform for loan officers, borrowers, real estate agents and settlement agents. SimpleNexus’ full-featured mortgage origination toolset integrates with Total Expert to bring the power of automated marketing to loan originators’ mobile devices, improving efficiency, increasing borrower satisfaction, and accelerating loan pull-through rates. “Now, automatic data syncing between Total Expert and SimpleNexus makes it effortless for loan officers to keep contact records up-to-date no matter in which platform they work.”

And Total Expert launched Total Expert for Wholesale to power mortgage lenders adding or growing market share in the wholesale channel. This is a milestone in Total Expert’s vision to help mortgage lenders attract, engage, and retain customers equally across retail, direct, and wholesale channels.

Homewise, a Canadian B2C mortgage technology company, has recently launched its affiliate program powered by Fintel Connect. The modern digital mortgage platform offers consumers an automated application process for mortgage pre-approval, approval, refinancing or switching providers. Homewise’s network includes over 30 banks and lenders to match the unique financial needs of applicants. The program’s design centers on ease and accessibility: its platform is presented in human language, and a personal Homewise Advisor guides applicant through their mortgage options, then approval and close. Their service is also free for Canadians. Publishers in the verticals of personal finance, real estate, and home & lifestyle are invited to join the Homewise affiliate program now.

Southeast Wisconsin-based Community State Bank has implemented the full suite of DocMagic’s eClosing solutions including remote online notarizations (RON), eNote generation and secure eVault storage capabilities transforming its closing process to 100 percent digital. DocMagic’s Total eClose™ platform and are closing and funding residential home loans electronically.

Waterstone Mortgage announced the implementation of Remote Online Notarization (RON) mortgage eClosings. Now homebuyers can conduct their entire closing appointment virtually, from eSigning documents to completing the appointment with the notary via webcam.

MCT rolled out an upgraded MCTlive! Pool Optimizer enabling secondary marketing managers to use actual cash window execution for optimization on each individual loan as well as MBS optimization, rather than solely MBS pooling or delivery, allowing for full pricing granularity specific to all available executions.

Clik.ai’s Software is assisting U.S. Banks and Asset Managers in the underwriting and servicing of billions of dollars in mortgages annually utilizing Clik.ai unique solutions to monitor and underwrite hundreds of commercial real estate properties as more companies in CRE see the powerful results from Clik’s subscription model. Clik helps Merchants extract and classify data on loan applications, such as rent roll and property cash flow, and convert that data from PDF into a comprehensive format for the loan servicing database.

Mortech, a Zillow Group business which provides technology solutions for mortgage professionals, continues to onboard additional mortgage marketplace partners including Mortgage Research Center and Roofstock, according to a press release.

Calyx’s Path® loan origination software is now integrated with Marksman® pricing engine from Mortech®. Path users will now be able to seamlessly access accurate, real-time product and pricing information from leading wholesalers, correspondents, and investors via the Mortech platform. The Mortech platform automatically delivers best execution pricing with real-time rates factoring in base price, SRP, LLPA’s and profit margin. It also simultaneously compares PMI premiums and eligibility. Because the process is automated, there is no need to manually search and compare rates, fees, and guidelines.

NotaryCam® completed the Mortgage Industry Standard Maintenance Organization (MISMO) Remote Online Notarization (RON) Software Compliance Certification Program. The program was designed to increase adoption of RON-enabled digital mortgage closings and support the integrity and scalability of eMortgages. In addition, the certification provides clarity to mortgage industry participants regarding which providers comply with MISMO’s RON standards and reduces the resource burden of executing duplicative assessment, certification, and approval processes of RON providers.

A recent press release announced eOriginal’s new ClosingCenter 2.3 is ready to connect lenders and borrowers to RON partners. Simplifying the remote closings of mortgages with a pre-built integration; Notarize and Nexsys Clear Sign are partners in the RON Hub. eOriginal provides digital lending technologies to over 600 financial institutions, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Wells Fargo.

Ellie Mae and ICE Mortgage Technology’s Encompass® 20.2 Major Release includes enhancements for lenders to boost productivity across lending and investing workflows. Specifically, the release offers Enhanced Condition Management giving lenders flexibility to support an omni-channel approach and the ability to design around business process terms and workflows and Reimagined Document Management which translates to reducing the time it takes for lenders to save and open loans and order and manage documents. The new document viewer also includes cloud storage functionality.

FormFree and Ocrolus have brought to fruition some exciting advancements in end-to-end automation of borrower asset, income, and employment data verification. The partnership enables lenders to verify employment via income documentation by digitizing paystub/W-2 data and cross referencing the employer and employer-borrower relationship against public and proprietary sources. From here, FormFree’s Passport corroborates paystub and asset data to calculate annual net pay and gross income, then instantaneously pushes verified asset, income and employment data points to lender POS, LOS, and automated underwriting systems (AUS).

Qualia announced the launch of Connect Video Chat, making contactless home closings possible for millions of potential homebuyers around the country. Connect Video Chat can be used for remote ink-signed notarizations (RIN) during home closings in accordance with state emergency mandates and requirements, as well as RIN guidelines established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It also enables title companies to securely launch video conferences with their partners and clients, including real estate agents, lenders, homebuyers and sellers. This real-time two-way audio video technology can also facilitate recording an ink-based signature and has long-term video storage functionality either on Qualia with the rest of a client’s closing documents or on a title and escrow company’s own internal servers.

Real Estate Connection launched REC Connect – Transaction Management System streamlining the process for mortgage companies and Realtors to monitor and track their transactions online. REC Connect supports Mortgage Lenders, Buyers, Realtors, Brokers, Title Companies, and settlement service providers on one centralized platform. With REC Connect lenders and real estate agents are able to communicate and track the progress of buyers from lead origination, pre-approval, real estate agent assign, looking at homes, contract, title, and final closing.

String Real Estate Information Services announced the promotion of Gokul Krishnan to Director of Operations, Prakash Rajagopalan to SVP of Finance, Kris Gurumoorthy to VP of Title Operations, and Bhaskar Reddy to VP of Training and Quality. “Gokul, Prakash, Kris and Bhaskar are core members of the String team and have been vital to their success,” said Prashant Kothari, Managing Director of String.

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

A robot.

Uh oh.

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(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is designed for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to www.robchrisman.com. Copyright 2020 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold, or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)