July 23: Note from a Realtor (a return to “normal” is good); vendor news runs the gamut; Saturday Spotlight: Indecomm
As they teach in bootcamp, “No plan survives the first shot.” Lenders should have plans, but none of them should rely on accurate interest rate forecasts and instead be flexible. Mortgagees and mortgagors are certainly watching interest rates. Will they go up due to an expanding economy or the Fed trying to put a lid on inflation? Will they go down due to the increasing odds of a recession? Interest rates typically decline during recessions as loan demand slows, bond prices rise and the central bank eases monetary policy although fewer borrowers may qualify for loans. Ordinarily, interest rates dip in the early stages of a recession in order to spur spending and borrowing. Although forecasts are for increases in short-term rates, when a recession sets in, the Fed may reduce the federal funds rate in order to spur economic growth. (Hence the talk of a “soft landing.) And as a reminder, headlines focus on “Fed Funds” which are the rate at which banks lend money to one another overnight. When the federal funds rate drops, banks and lenders typically adjust interest rates for loans accordingly. That means loans and lines of credit become less expensive to borrowers. But there are plenty of other things to watch besides interest rates, so let’s jump in.
Saturday Spotlight: Indecomm
Indecomm delivers a borrower experience that is an automated, connected mortgage operation.
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).
Founded more than 25 years ago, Indecomm exists to help mortgage businesses better respond to market cycles and gain control over costs. Backed by a 1500-strong global workforce, Indecomm blends intelligent automation with deep mortgage banking expertise to streamline processes and simplify complex mortgage analyses such as income calculation, mortgage underwriting, quality control, and document management. Indecomm has grown its client base to more than 200+ clients and continues to launch new products to meet client demand for greater efficiencies.
Tell us about what type of volunteer work employees are encouraged to engage in, or charities your company supports, and why.
Indecomm supports causes and organizations that help build better communities, including helping orphaned children and the underserved. Indecomm’s “We Care to Share,” “Mission Smiles” and various other programs support a wide range of initiatives such as food drives, serving lunch, donating clothes, supporting flood victims, blood donation camps, school supply drives, undertaking renovation work at certain orphanages, providing groceries, medicines to some of the orphan childcare centers in and around the cities we operate, and sponsoring education for orphaned children. Indecomm also donates to various non-profit organizations.
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?
Indecomm believes in providing equal employment and advancement opportunities to all individuals based on merit, qualifications, and abilities. Through our Indecomm University program, we hire, train, and educate new graduates in mortgage processes, technology, operations, and automation. This program gives aspiring new professionals the opportunity to gain the knowledge and experience required to advance in the BFSI and fintech sectors. In addition to our internal training program, Indecomm also gives its employees the opportunity to get industry certifications in mortgage banking and pursue specialized training in areas such as RPA, machine learning, and leadership programs.
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.
Indecomm promotes a culture of transparency and innovation. Irrespective of geography or work location, our teams are obsessed with innovating high-impact solutions. Depending on the role, our work environments range from on-site, hybrid, and remote. When in-person collaboration will yield the greatest results, an in-person structure is utilized. Indecomm’s US offices are located New Jersey, North Carolina, and Minnesota where we have a very large mortgage document management hub. Additionally, we have offices in Salem and Bengaluru, India. A significant number of Indecomm product team members work virtually, leveraging collaboration, virtual meetings, and project management tools to align on the product vision and strengthen the innovation mindset.
To ensure engagement across the company, Indecomm’s HR leadership hosts various in-person and virtual events to celebrate team efforts, women leaders, and holiday seasons. The company hosts various health and wellness events such as laughter therapy, financial wellness, and yoga!
Things you are most proud of that don’t have to do with sales.
Indecomm is proud of our company culture which encourages open communication and discussion among and between all levels of the organization concerning any matter of importance to an employee. Our innovation success is a direct result of Indecomm’s open communication strategy, which is augmented by our incredibly diverse talent. The combination of transparency, innovation, and diversity leads to out-of-the-box thinking, healthy debate, and ultimately, product excellence!
(For more information on having your firm’s extracurricular activities, employee growth, and your charitable side featured, contact Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt.)
Keep things in perspective. Sometimes a “slowdown” is going from “hot” to normal” but the headlines will focus on the “slowdown.”
From Marin County, north of San Francisco, veteran agent Bob Ravasio penned something that I am hearing from several markets around the United States. “The real estate market in Marin County is clearly slowing down. And as it continues to slow down, we are by some measures, in a ‘normal’ or balanced market, which is pretty good!
“The craziness of the last two years is declining rapidly, but the bottom is not falling out by any means. We look at lots of different statistics, and they all point in this direction. If you are thinking of selling your home, the key right now is to price it appropriately, not necessarily what the neighbor got four months ago with 10 offers, but a more ‘normal’ market price. Multiple offers are declining, in the number of offers received and also how many homes get them. We have been tracking lots of data on this in our office, and a couple of key facts quickly stand out. From mid-May to mid-June, only 17% of home sales closed below list price. From 6/28-7/11, 32% closed below list. From mid-May to mid-June 25% of the homes closed at least 20% over the list price. From 6/28 to 7/11, 8% closed at least 20% over list. So there is still lots of buying pressure out there, but it has been trending downward for several weeks, and is almost……normal.
“Closed homes are a bit of a lagging indicator, but if you look at inventory, indications are that we are already in a balanced market where neither buyers nor sellers have an advantage. Of the 614 homes for sale in Marin (that is the highest number available in months!), 34% are in contract. That is a balanced market, earlier this year that number was well over 50% in contract.”
Bob wrapped up with, “The bottom is not falling out here, nor will it. This is nothing like 2008, when the market crash was preceded by months of very shaky loan approvals that blew up when the market came down. We are witnessing, we believe, a return to a normal market. That means well priced homes will sell, maybe not on the first day, but within a few weeks. And they may go below list price. So pricing is absolutely key right now. If a home is priced correctly, and meets current expectations, the homeowner will do just fine. If it is priced too high, it will sit there.”
Vendor, third-party provider, and intra-company products & studies
Insellerate will be hosting clients, partners, and industry thought leaders to Huntington Beach CA, on August 6th-9th for the Annual Insellerate Experience Summit. This exclusive, by invitation only event, will take place at The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel, Huntington Beach, California 92663.
Qualia released a new mortgage lender edition of Qualia Connect. Integrating directly into the lender’s loan origination system, lenders have complete control over how they collaborate securely with any title, settlement, or escrow partner. What’s more, Qualia is uniquely positioned to provide additional support, Qualia Connect is the leading title, settlement, and escrow platform used. Lenders can automate and standardize the way they work with any title company in the country. Additionally, Connect includes new reporting features that provide lenders with visibility into their closing process across their entire loan pipeline for every title, settlement, and escrow partner.
Ocrolus surveyed hundreds of lending professionals identifying the roadblocks in the residential mortgage workflow. Key findings include 32% ranked document review and validation as the biggest pain point for workers tasked with mortgage processing. Completion of forms in loan origination systems was the next point of friction at 31%. Survey findings and a roadmap toward a more efficient and accurate process was compiled into the eBook, “Building a Trusted and Efficient Automated Mortgage Workflow” available for free download.
Guaranteed Rate launched its new RED-VP mobile app. An end-to-end digital tool designed to act as a mobile pipeline, empowers Loan Officers to accomplish anything from issuing a pre-approval letter to locking in a rate, all in real time and all fully remote using just their smart phone. Featuring an easy biometric log on mobile and the ability to leverage app notifications, simply open the RED-VP mobile app and accomplish a variety of tasks such as create a new loan, send a one-click conditional approval letter, lock in rates and run automated underwriting.
Guaranteed Rate launched fully digital Personal Loans. The company’s new Personal Loans “provide a frictionless digital solution to personal loans, with an application that takes just 10 minutes to complete and funds up to $50,000 received within hours. The launch of Guaranteed Rate’s Personal Loans comes after a wave of recent strategic hirings and product announcements, such as its recently launched HELOC’s.”
As previously announced by First American Docutech Compliance, Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC) published announcements about the release of their updated uniform legal instruments, including security instruments, notes, riders, addenda, and special purpose documents. First American Docutech has the New Uniform Instruments and supplemental forms available for testing on stage servers.
With inflation and interest rates on the rise, it is more important than ever for lenders to hold on to their current customers. With this in mind, Sales Boomerang has developed its new Life Event Alerts. Integrating with the industry’s top customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, Sales Boomerang clients will receive notification if customers within their database experiences a major life change. Life Event Alerts mine public records for common life events affecting individuals and households that could alter their financial situation. Lenders can swiftly reach out to congratulate or console a consumer about their recent life change. The recent merger of Sales Boomerang and Mortgage Coach enables lenders to offer Mortgage Coach’s award-winning financial guidance to borrowers or prospects who trigger a Sales Boomerang alert.
As new listing and cash-out alerts trend upward, a surge in credit improvement alerts suggests emerging opportunity for lenders to revisit turndowns. Sales Boomerang released its latest Mortgage Market Opportunities Report. Drawing on Sales Boomerang system data to identify market opportunities of relevance to today’s borrowers and lenders, data was reviewed from more than 170 residential mortgage lenders that use its borrower intelligence and retention tools to monitor millions of customer and prospect records. To generate the report, Sales Boomerang then calculated and compared the aggregate frequency with which those contact records triggered loan-opportunity, prescriptive-scenario and risk-and- retention alerts during the first and second quarters of 2022.
United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) announced the launch of UWM Partner Academy, an online Learning Management System (LMS), equipped with a library of mortgage-related tutorial videos, each 1-10 minutes in length, with short knowledge checks included. Curated based on feedback from UWM clients, along with insights from the company’s award-winning training team, the exclusive platform is available to UWM partners at no cost. Partner Academy comes as an addition to its highly acclaimed training program, Success Track, which brings hundreds of broker partners out to UWM’s campus every week.
BEACON Property Data Collection Services announced the August launch of a nationwide service to provide property condition and dimension reports designed specifically for the Freddie Mac ACE+PDR program. BEACON’s new solution expands upon its existing property data collection services for appraisal management companies, insurance companies, and lenders. BEACON’s trained and vetted Property Data Collectors (PDCs) leverage state-of-the-art technology to gather required data points within 48 hours, while capturing high-quality photos and generating detailed floor plans accurately and efficiently. You can view BEACON’s full release here.
ProxyPics is offering its new Property Data Report product in support of Freddie Mac’s ACE+ PDR (automated collateral evaluation plus property data report). “ProxyPics’ Property Data Report product provides a detailed scope of the property structure and its condition to simplify property refinances transactions, in real time. Their comprehensive reports include interior and exterior photos, conditional questions, and a Floor Plan… ProxyPics has partnered with technology innovators CubiCasa, a global Floor Plan provider, and FoxyAI, B2B PropTech leader in real estate visualization and property intelligence, to equip their Proxies with powerful tools to complete the property data report. All Proxies completing interior assignments undergo background checks and must pass an extensive training assessment that tests their real estate knowledge.”
Cloud-based provider of customized sales management and marketing automation software, OptifiNow, successfully implemented its CRM and marketing automation platform with Frisco, Texas-based Emporium TPO. As a non-QM wholesale lender, Emporium TPO chose OptifiNow to assist their sales and marketing operations. “We knew OptifiNow had an effective CRM, but their White Glove support allowed us to mobilize and scale our sales team faster than we expected,” said Christine Abrams, Emporium TPO Sales Manager.
Take a deep dive into a new, more flexible approach to mortgage lender services. Download Mortgage Cadence’s latest whitepaper.
NotaryCam® announced it has made updates to its eClose360® platform to expand its capabilities and deliver a better user experience for both notaries and document signers. The system updates include integrations with industry-leading escrow software vendors. The enhanced dashboard allows all parties to view the transaction progress and access the video recording, and its publicly-available application programming interface (API) integration has also simplified the client onboarding process. The updates also enable enterprise clients to use the eClose360 platform autonomously while maintaining access to NotaryCam’s industry-leading customer service team.
(Warning: Unrated, but anyone easily offended should not read it. And if you are offended, don’t send a complaint, as you’ve been warned.)
“Father”, he confessed, “it has been one month since my last confession.
I had sex with Nookie Green twice last month.”
The priest told the sinner, “You are forgiven. Go out and say three Hail Mary’s.”
Soon, another Irishman entered the confessional.
“Father, it has been two months since my last confession. I’ve been having sex with Nookie Green twice a week for the last two months.”
This time the priest questioned, “Who is this Nookie Green?”
“A new woman in the neighborhood,” the sinner replied.
“Very well”, sighed the priest. “Go and say ten Hail Mary’s.”
At mass the next morning as the priest was preparing to deliver the sermon, a tall, voluptuous, drop-dead gorgeous redhead entered the sanctuary.
The eyes of every man in the church were on her as she slowly sashayed up the aisle and sat down right in front of the priest.
Her dress was green & very short; and she was wearing matching, shiny emerald green shoes.
The priest and the altar boy gasped as she sat with her legs spread slightly apart… Just enough to reveal that she wasn’t wearing any underwear!
The priest turned to the altar boy and whispered, “Is that Nookie Green?”
The bug-eyed altar boy couldn’t believe his ears, but managed to calmly reply, “No Father, I think it’s just a reflection from her shoes.”
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. The current blog is titled, “The All-Cash Phenomenon.” The Commentary’s podcast is live and at any place you obtain your podcasts (like Apple or Spotify).
(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 2022 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.)