Jan. 27: Anti-trigger lead tips; note about LLPAs on vacation homes; vendor tidbits; Saturday Spotlight: MQMR

Who’s in your wallet? As cash goes out of style, one bill is still thriving: the $100 U.S. banknote. Six years ago, the number of $100 bills in circulation for the first time overtook the number of $1 bills in circulation since the $100 bill is an internationally respected and easily transferrable unit of currency. As of the end of 2022, there were 18.5 billion $100 bills in the world with another 1.5 billion bills more printed in 2023. Of the total value of all existing currency in circulation, 80 percent of them were $100 bills, but “Benjamins” have become the preferred medium of exchange of people evading taxes, orchestrating criminal networks, and fueling kleptocracies and corruption that don’t deliver bribes in digital payments. On with mortgages!

Saturday Spotlight: MQMR

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Mortgage Quality Management and Research, LLC: “Helping our clients climb higher by bridging the gap between risk and compliance.”

 

In 3-5 sentences, describe your company (when was it founded and why, what it does, where, recent growth and plans for near-term future growth). 

 

MQMR was founded in 2011 when founders Ben Madick and Michael Steer became bored with their jobs at Bank of America and set out to do something different. Today, MQMR solves the most pressing audit, risk, and compliance challenges facing lenders and servicers today. Our mantra is to empower individuals to elevate the mortgage industry and we do this through our core offering of Internal Audit, Vendor Management, Servicing Quality Control, Subservicer Audits, Monthly Compliance Support (both origination and servicing), Fair Lending, Fair Servicing, MERS Audits, AML Audits, Document Custodian Audits, and more!

 

Tell us about what type of volunteer work employees are encouraged to engage in, or charities your company supports, and why.

 

MQMR’s culture values the diverse interests and passions of our team members, encouraging them to volunteer and support organizations that resonate with their values. As part of the company benefits, team members are allotted paid volunteer days off to give back to their local communities and share their experiences with our team. For the past 10 years, we’ve raised money in October for Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness and Go Pink!

 

What does your company do to help elevate your employees’ growth? Describe any mentoring programs, outside classes or training, in-house training. How does the company help people develop?

 

Our commitment to excellence is reflected in one of our core values: climb higher. Through regular attendance at conferences and speaking engagements, we continuously elevate our industry knowledge! Team members have the opportunity to learn and grow together, this is driven by our SMEs, who share their expertise through in-house training sessions. These sessions serve as a platform for knowledge exchange and mentorship, empowering team members to keep pace with industry trends and also contribute expertise back into the industry.

 

Tell us how your company maintains its culture in a work-from-home environment or how you plan on bringing employees back into the office, if applicable.   

 

We’re proud of our consistent employee NPS, which ranges from 70-80 and is considered best-in-class for all industries.  MQMR has been remote since 2019 and teamwork is at the heart of our organization. We host virtual “Wellness Wednesdays” to encourage physical activity, as well as a quarterly mental health day off (paid!) to promote mental health. To keep the “watercooler” conversations alive, our Culture Committee facilitates quarterly “Coffee, Tea, and Chats,” as well as utilizing a program called “Donut” via our internal chat to inspire lively conversations with individuals in different departments.

 

Things you are most proud of that don’t have to do with sales.   

 

Culture, culture, and culture is the #1 thing our teammates say keeps them coming back for more, often saying “I’ve never worked at a company that lives and breathes its core values or has a culture quite like this.” Because they’re the ones taking care of our clients, our clients keep coming back, too.  We are very proud of our core values: commit to quality, collaborate as one, create solutions, cultivate raving fans, and climb higher (click here to read more about them). It’s clear that we live by them, and they aren’t just some written words on the wall. Lastly, we foster an inclusive environment that organically celebrates diversity and learning, and we are often told that 1 year at MQMR is like 3-5 years at other companies in terms of skills and knowledge learned.

 

Fun fact about your company.

 

MQMR is a diverse organization with a 70% female workforce and claims to have the unofficial king of dad jokes, Michael Steer!

Trigger leads in the news

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Trigger leads are a marketing tool that mortgage lenders, insurance companies, and credit card providers use to identify potential customers and are caused by credit pulls. When your client applies for a loan with a mortgage lender, their credit is pulled. This is considered a “hard inquiry” with the credit bureaus, and it shows up on your client’s credit record. Not only that, but the credit bureaus share that data (as a marketing product) with lenders so they can provide a competitive offer. Suddenly the client has an onslaught of calls after they apply for a loan. These calls come very quickly after their credit is pulled and can come from many different companies.

I recently received this note. “With regard to trigger leads… Every time it has happened to one of my bank clients, we will receive a call from the client asking us, “What did you do with my information? Did you sell my information to other lenders?” In other words, our clients are blaming us for the insane number of phone calls that they receive after pulling a credit report. Has anyone ever thought of filing a class action lawsuit against the credit reporting agencies for “reputation damage?” I am sure we are not alone. Other lenders have had their reputation damaged as well by these trigger leads. Just a thought.”

This week I was fortunate to sit in on an L1 webinar with Texas attorney John Fleming, widely known as having his finger on the trigger lead situation and who provided a synopsis of what loan officers can do to help their clients, and help themselves.

There are three key things LOs should do: educate and encourage the client to opt out (more on that below), educate and encourage referral partners to do the same, and encourage others to file complaints about the misuse of information.

Originators should know which regulators to contact for filing complaints, such as the CFPF and state-level agencies. Does the solicitation violate existing law? Regulators will pay attention to certain words and phrases, such as “violate existing statutes,” “harassment,” “deceptive,” “outraged,” and “firm offer of credit.” Was there a pre-existing relationship, and what is the source of the lead? Is the “new” party that reaches out to the client selling something? Is the client okay with being contacted… do they know that it is not their loan officer doing this?

For updates, John recommended that LOs follow news from the MBA about S.3502 and/or reach out to Bill Killmer, Senior Vice President for Legislative and Political Affairs. “Our industry doesn’t behave well outside of regulation.”

It’s easy to opt out, which should stop trigger leads and pre-screened offers. Of course, this takes time, which is one of the complaints LOs have. But what happens instantaneously in mortgage banking? This process can take a few days (up to 5 business days), so if your credit report has already been pulled, this will not block offers immediately.

Your client can opt out of pre-screened offers for 5 years (or permanently) on the web or by phone. On the Web: https://www.optoutprescreen.com/ which is a joint venture among the three national credit bureaus to allow consumers to control pre-screened offers. Or advise your client to do it by phone: 1-888-5-OPT-OUT. You can also tell clients to add their number to the Do Not Call List, since trigger leads are supposed to be scrubbed against the National Do Not Call list. On the Web: www.donotcall.gov or by phone: 1-888-382-1222.

A flaw in regulations? Say it ain’t so!

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Philip Schertz, Operations Manager with Burt P. Augustensen Mortgages in New Jersey, sent, “While working on a vacation home purchase, I came across a Catch 22 in government regulation (maybe not the only one).

“As you know, the FHFA now requires a 3.375-point LLPA for second/vacation homes. But the folks who define QM don’t allow more than 2 discount points and most lenders don’t offer high enough rates to absorb those excess points (for good reason… And even if they did, who could qualify for a second home at 8.5% with today’s housing prices?). I guess this is what happens when social engineering is substituted for risk management. In the end, we brokered the loan using borrower paid compensation but that is always harder to explain to the client.

“Coincidentally, on that same transaction, we were actually able to successfully appeal an appraisal issue (not a common event as I hear). The appraisal was a hybrid type with a data collection report and ‘digital’ appraisal. The data collector neglected to photograph or report the existence of a heating system in the property (which was a Jersey Shore home on a canal that was probably mostly used in the summer). The appraiser said he could not produce an appraisal because the lack of a heating system rendered the property in C6 condition. On the phone with the AMC, they agreed to send the pages of the home inspection report detailing the heating system (which was a single wall unit for the whole house, fully permitted) to the appraiser for consideration. The next day, we received the appraisal at the purchase price with no mention of any deficiencies. My most experienced loan officer pointed out that this was the only win we ever had under the appraisal independence system.” Thank you, Philip!

Vendor updates, soup to nuts

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What lender doesn’t rely on at least one outside source that specializes in… whatever that vendor does?

Realfinity is revolutionizing loan origination and processing for entrepreneurs. Its technology & processing platform supports real estate agents in offering mortgage services, assists businesses in creating their mortgage arm, and enables loan originators to establish their own independent brokerages. Embrace the shift towards independence to get the most competitive pricing directly from wholesale lenders with no overlays due to corporate expenses. For details, contact Luca Dahlhausen.

Tabrasa is now offering a FREE 30-day trial (no credit card needed) to their new Tabrasa One Platform. What is Tabrasa One? 3 Products: Mortgage Market Guide, Marketing/CRM, and Video, on one login, for less than half the price. Click here to learn more and take a FREE 30-day look.

Optimal Blue announced the release of its Originations Market Monitor report, looking at mortgage origination data through December month-end. Leveraging daily rate lock data from the Optimal Blue PPE, the industry’s most widely used product, pricing, and eligibility engine, the Originations Market Monitor provides a comprehensive and timely view into origination activity.

Blue Sage Solutions, an industry leader in innovative cloud-based lending technology, announced the launch of the Blue Sage Solutions Digital Servicing Platform (DSP), enabling lenders to utilize a fully integrated platform covering the entire mortgage lifecycle. The initial version of the system includes all necessary functions to perform interim servicing, with full-scale servicing functionality to follow and is fully compliant. Revolutionizing mortgage operations through API-based technology that merges loan origination and servicing functions seamlessly. All lenders, regardless of their current LOS, can use it to effortlessly automate closed loan transfers, process individual and batch payments, onboard loans, collect payments and more.

Secure Insight’s new payment fraud prevention tool, TruePay, launched. Initial beta test results have been very positive with title agents around the country providing feedback and helping to improve the tool for its launch. The tool offers a platform to verify individual and business banking information, as well as a mortgage payoff verification database. The company is in discussions with title insurers for product endorsement for their agents. Secure Insight VP of Business Development, Amanda Padd stated “We have been pleased with the overwhelming positive response to this new tool, especially from smaller agents who find existing wire verification options much too expensive. We expect to have hundreds of agents using this product within weeks of its launch.” Find out more about TruePay at https://secureinsight.com/truepayenrollement/.

Ncontracts, the leading provider of integrated compliance, risk, and vendor management solutions to the financial services industry, announced the launch of its new AI-powered Ntelligent Contracts Assistant module within Nvendor, reducing hours of arduous contract reviews into just minutes. The Ntelligent Contracts Assistant harnesses artificial intelligence trained by Ncontracts’ legal and contract management experts to quickly extract key information from third-party vendor contracts and agreements.

Optimal Blue announced releases related to its publicly listed, native mobile app for the Optimal Blue PPE, the industry’s most widely used product, pricing, and eligibility engine. The releases consist of a new mobile app for Android, as well as enhancements to the company’s mobile offering for iOS. Now all LOs can access full pricing and product information on-the-go, enabling them to readily assist borrowers at a time when mobility and instant access are crucial.

More details on the Optimal Blue app are in the press release.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.

No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as… Knowing when to come in out of the rain. Why the early bird gets the worm. Life isn’t always fair. And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.

Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers:

I Know My Rights

I Want It Now

Someone Else Is to Blame

I’m A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

Visit www.robchrisman.com for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. STRATMOR’s current blog is titled, “Adjusting Loan Officer Compensation to Improve Profitability.” The Commentary’s podcast is live and at any place you obtain your podcasts (like Apple or Spotify).

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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 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 2024 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.)

 

Rob Chrisman