July 31: Changing thoughts on analyzing credit; vendor updates run the gamut; Saturday Spotlight: Bonzo

Why focus on mortgage banking when there is a lot of exciting news coming out of the Olympics? For example, the reporter asking the swimmer about his phenomenal third leg? But there is a lot going on with lenders, as we deal with the real estate markets around the nation, changing guidelines, shifts in borrower demographics and credit profiles, evaluating vendor offerings, and the overall economy. For example, lenders must keep an eye on wealth. Homeowners 62 and older saw their housing wealth grow by 3.4 percent or $305 billion in the first quarter to a record $9.23 trillion from Q4 2020. This is according to the latest quarterly release of the NRMLA/RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index, which rose in Q1 2021 to 322.89, another all-time high. Let’s check in with what’s going on out there.

Saturday Spotlight: Bonzo, focused on automated follow-up that gets attention.

“We’re back with more Bonzo news. Have you ever wanted to get into the mortgage industry as a Loan Officer? Are you a company that is looking to source and hire new Loan Officers? Look no further.

“There has been talk about Bonzo’s new ‘Conversationalist’ product before, but it deserves another mention. It’s important to the story since with this product Bonzo is not only offering full access to its innovative platform, but Bonzo is also dedicating members of its team to convert and qualify your leads. As an external extension of your team, a talented ‘Conversationalist’ will be assigned to the success and growth of your business by way of converting digital leads. When a lead is qualified, they book an appointment right on your calendar. It’s pretty cool stuff.

“The coolest part about the Conversationalist, however, is the initiative and commitment to grow and develop their employees. Bonzo paves a path for their Conversationalists who interested in becoming a Loan Officer. They set aside several paid hours per week to go through pre-licensing course work and study so that they can pass the NMLS exam. From there, as employees work in their role, they are receiving sales and personal development training to ensure a successful future in the mortgage industry.

“Bonzo is committed to growth and to its employees and those of its clients. Growth for their business (obviously), growth for their user’s businesses, and growth for their employees. The feeling of being stuck is a terrible one, and they’re trying to solve that problem on multiple fronts, starting with their employees. (To learn more about this program or to inquire about the availability to hire a turnkey, ready-to-produce LO email Miles Miller.)

(For more information on having your firm, employee growth, and your charitable side featured, contact Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt.)

Credit perspectives

Everyone in lending should know that the five Cs of credit are character, capacity, capital, collateral, and conditions. But these tend to be lumped together under “credit” when lenders are doing hundreds of thousands of loans every year. Analyzing credit and counter-party risk is what we do as an industry, so let’s take a look at some helpful news.

The domination of the FICO (which stands for Fair, Isaac and Company) credit score may be threatened, with several large lenders working to phase out the use of it in credit decisions. Capital One and Synchrony Financial have cut FICO for most decisions, and JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America have reduced the role FICO plays in some decisions. About 53 million adults in the U.S. don’t have a FICO score because they lack a borrowing history. The company that makes FICO scores, Fair Isaac Corp., derives about 40 percent of its revenue from the scores, but pretty much all of its profit.

Earlier this month I had some information from Tracey King-Danadio, COO of Partners Credit & Verification Solutions, on the timing of credit reports and impact on credit evaluation. “The credit bureaus recognize that consumers need the ability to shop around when financing a large purchase like an automobile or a home. They have provided grace periods during which multiple inquiries may appear, but only the first one will impact the score. It varies by bureau, something to consider. Since Experian has the shortest time frame, it sticks to the 14 days as most credit pulls are tri-merges (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). Equifax has a grace period of 45 days, Experian 14 days, and TransUnion 45 days. The time before the first inquiry impacts the score is 30 days for all three.”

Barrett Burns, President and CEO of VantageScore Solutions, LLC, expanded on this. “To give a little more color to the window relative to credit scoring models, it depends on which model a lender is pulling a credit score from. In our case, if a lender is pulling a VantageScore credit score, we have a 14-day window that consolidates all inquiries into one inquiry. Since our models are identical across all of the national bureaus and the models were developed at the same point in time for all three thus driving consistency across the three, the 14-day window is identical when pulling VantageScore credit scores from any or all of the three bureaus. This includes all consumer loan asset classes: mortgage, auto, credit card, personal loans etc.”


Vendor updates

Vendors do a lot more than make up company names and capitalize letters in the middle of them. Let’s take a random look at who’s doing what.

Insellerate, the leading mortgage Customer Experience Platform featuring Lead Management, CRM & Engagement that helps lenders close more loans by increasing efficiency gains across sales, marketing, operations management, announced that its DATA IE solution has grown over 200% in the last six months. The DATA IE solution enables loan officers to craft the right message at the right time with the right offer through the power of intelligent data and engagement. This delivers timelier and more personalized engagement, enhanced borrower retention, and higher conversions.

On August 3rd Secure Insight and Reti360 will launch their product integration designed to offer real estate agents and consumers verified identity and risk reports on attorneys, title agents and escrow officers. The reports will be accessible through the Reti360 transaction platform without a fee. SI Founder and CEO Andrew Liput stated that “we are very excited to be able to offer our risk reports to consumers for the first time, assisting them in evaluating those professionals referred to them by others so they can make their own decision whom to hire in the mortgage and real estate contract and closing process.” (Questions can be directed to CEO Andrew Liput.)

The parent company of Better Mortgage is rapidly building out its real estate brokerage and title insurance businesses as the next step in Better’s end-to-end platform. With the addition of Minnesota, Vermont and Virginia in April, Better Mortgage is now licensed in 47 states and Washington, D.C. But the Better family of companies also includes Better Cover LLC, a provider of homeowners insurance policies, and Better Settlement Services which provides title insurance in 24 states.

Lendsmart has successfully integrated with Freddie Mac Loan Product Advisor® (LPASM), accelerating its efforts to allow more borrowers to get a loan, refinance, or purchase a home, while saving time and reducing the origination costs for lenders. Lendsmart’s centralized platform unifies all parties involved while also automating manual tasks, improving accuracy, minimizing lender risk, and reducing origination and operational costs. The partnership will accelerate Lendsmart’s efforts to allow more borrowers to get a loan, refinance, or purchase a home, while saving time and reducing the origination costs for lenders.

Mortgage knowledge process outsourcing company Verity Global Solutions announces the launch of QCWorks, a pre- and post-close audit service. “QCWorks is enabled by a robust automation and client interfacing technology allowing lenders to achieve real-time quality control with extensive reporting capability… Access real time view of audit review stage per file, real time QC – documents released to clients as reviews are complete, clients easily build granular custom reports with a drag-and-drop design tool, generate real-time reports, receive automated action plans, direct rebuttals to specific individuals or groups in the Audit Response Center, and bundle loan audits.

Tavant announced that its new Touchless Mortgage™ Platform, an AI-powered lending-as-a-service platform, can be used by LOs, processors and underwriters to optimize workflows to “engage with data and make decisions faster, instead of relying on physical documentation and manual data entry. The Touchless Lending platform integrates effortlessly with existing core systems, including the LOS, and efficiently automates mortgage production.”

Previous legislation preventing DACA recipients, or Dreamers, from obtaining loans was recently overturned, now allowing some undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to qualify for FHA loans. Financial experts at Bankrate created this guide to walk readers through the loan process and how to qualify for an FHA loan, or alternative home loans.

Compass, Inc. and Guaranteed Rate entered into a definitive agreement to form OriginPoint, a new mortgage origination company. Once Guaranteed Rate’s digital mortgage platform is fully integrated into Compass’ suite of AI-driven cloud-based software, OriginPoint will originate mortgages for clients of Compass’ real estate brokerage, as well as any other brokerage. OriginPoint will be available to all consumers in every market where Compass operates and OriginPoint is licensed regardless of the brokerage they choose to work with.

XINNIX announced the newest Performance Training, The ASCEND™ Program for experienced operations professionals looking to transition into a career as a Junior Underwriter. The program provides organizations with a training partner dedicated to career development within the mortgage industry.

Online mortgage company Morty just announced $25M in Series B funding. The round was led by March Capital, which has also invested in successful companies like Crowdstrike and ThoughtSpot. Morty helps home buyers shop for mortgages with an Amazon-style marketplace, enabling cheaper prices, more transparency, and faster time to close, which is especially important in a housing market with such competition. Morty manages the entire buying process, which separates them from other companies that function more like Kayak.com-style marketplaces. In the past twelve months, Morty has processed more than half a billion dollars in loans.

With the recent Evolve Mortgage Services acquisition of E-Notary Seal, mortgage borrowers can remotely sign and notarize a document from anywhere on any device. Evolve has integrated a full library of SMART Docs, e-Sign, eNotary, eVault and e-Registry, services with modern technology for a post-pandemic world. Yes, Evolve Mortgage Services, a top provider of on-shore outsourced mortgage services, has closed its acquisition of E-Notary Seal LLC, enabling mortgage borrowers to remotely sign and notarize a document from anywhere on any device. Evolve has seamlessly integrated a full library of SMART Docs, e-Sign, eNotary, eVault and e-Registry, and can be utilized to complete other types of property transactions, including loss mitigation. “The transaction is the final piece Evolve needed to provide home lenders and title companies with a purely digital closing process.”

Regions Bank announced the launch of a digital solution designed to make it easier and more convenient for homebuilders and developers to utilize the construction lending process. “The centralized, digital solution is offered by Regions in collaboration with Built, a construction finance software and payment technology leader. The solution gives builders and developers new construction loan management options through a cloud-based platform. The app simplifies the loan administration process through a unique portal experience that aligns the builder, inspector, and lender, among other stakeholders.”

LoanLogics announced that an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, Inc. “Sun Capital,” has completed an acquisition of the company. Since 1995, the firm Sun Capital has invested in more than 425 companies worldwide with revenues in excess of $50 billion across a broad range of industries. LoanLogics demonstrated ability to leverage its technology to create, validate and perfect digital mortgage assets and automate processes across the mortgage workflow makes it ideally positioned to grow in the fragmented mortgage technology market, which has an estimated value of more than $10 billion. Terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.

Ephesoft Inc. and Zia Consulting announced their new automation solution for mortgage processing, Ephesoft Mortgage, powered by Zia. This AI and OCR-powered solution automates the most labor-intensive aspects of mortgage including retail, wholesale, mortgage insurance, due diligence, and servicing. Now available for customers nationwide, Ephesoft Mortgage

delivers significant cost-savings, offers accelerated revenue opportunities, improves customer experience, and provides visibility into the mortgage process for enhanced compliance and business intelligence.

In major mortgage technology integration news, FormFree and ICE Mortgage TechnologyTM have partnered to make AccountChek 3n1’s combined asset, income and employment verification service available to lenders through Encompass. Reliably sourcing VOA and VOIE orders through a single vendor, FormFree®s  AccountChek 3n1 securely delivers direct-source VOA and VOI/E data in less than a minute, significantly shortening loan application timelines and collecting critical underwriting documents earlier in the application process.

(Part Six of Six of corny English puns.)

24. What did the surgeon say to the patient who insisted on closing up their own incision? Suture self.

25. I’ve started telling everyone about the benefits of eating dried grapes. It’s all about raisin awareness.

26. Two parrots are sitting on a perch….one turns to the other says…. “do you smell fish?”

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, “A Primer on What Originators Should Know about the Fed”. 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 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 2021 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