Mar. 21: Sample of vendor & tech updates; changes in home buying; Finastra & ransomware?

I receive many thoughtful notes throughout the week. For example, “Rob, you mentioned Tom Hanks in your Friday commentary. He survived four years on an island alone as a castaway, a whole year inside an airport without being able to leave, caught AIDS in Philadelphia, fought in WW II and saved Private Ryan, fought in Vietnam and rescued Lieutenant Dan, landed an airplane in the Hudson River, was kidnapped by Somali pirates, and survived Apollo 13 trying to reach the moon. If Tom dies from the coronavirus, we are all pretty much screwed.”

Social distancing… for the rest of 2020? Tell that to any single person in their 20s or 30s. Elbow bump in the car at the end of the first date, and every date afterward? Amazon and Walmart are hiring hundreds of thousands. Millions of people around the nation are working from home, and using technology (such a vague, all-encompassing term) to do their jobs and help their clients. Companies are taking travel budgets and rerouting the money toward a) survival, and b) beefing up contingency plans.

Let’s take a breather from all the “Co-V 19” mortgage decimation and take a random look at what individuals and companies/vendors have been doing, tech-wise.

Changing technology has become the name of the game, not just in lending but in many areas that touch residential mortgages. For example, home buying. I received this note from Joshua Tatum, President/Senior Advisor of Tatum Technology Consultants. “Rob, readers should know that, even without the coronavirus, home buying technology is undergoing a massive change here in 2020. Home buying service companies are focused on three main areas: consumer acquisition costs, operational technology to reduce spend, and the UI/UX focus for top of funnel platforms. Today, I wish to focus on the first, the race to be the best and most frugal with consumer acquisition cost.

“There are roughly 13 parties involved in the home buying process with the majority spend coming from five (lead aggregation companies, real estate brokerages, lenders, closing companies, and insurance brands) that are jockeying to be the ‘captain’ of the homebuyer. With all these companies vying for a piece of the action, consumers need to be given a transparent view of how this all works. And consumers should have the option to be empowered in today’s market.

“While there are a decent amount of cooperatives and other groups that assist with giving everyone a level playing field inside lending (think Lenders One or The Mortgage Collaborative), do we really give the consumer a fair chance to make an informed decision on their largest single purchase and most critical asset? We ask ourselves, ‘Why are our overall costs going up and our margins are getting thinner?’ Rarely do we turn it around and ask, ‘Am I spending money where others already have positioned themselves in a most favorable light?’ Examples of market change are already out there. Look at Lemonbrew, Homelight, and other real estate agent matching services that are building steam. This is a method we all should stay cognitive of, and employ in the finance space. (If you have asked yourselves these questions or have had similar mindsets, contact Joshua to have a conversation on how to operationalize these very concepts.)

“Actionable Intelligence” isn’t necessarily a new concept in the lending world but a tool that many lenders are not taking advantage of in their loan process. For many lenders to take the next logical step of implementing Actionable Intelligence into their lending processes, many lenders need to better understand the relationship between borrower application data and known outcomes such as loan performance, fraud, and misrepresentation. This white paper reviews the role of Actionable Intelligence throughout the lending process and how lenders may benefit by implementing it into their current workflow.

Unfortunately Finastra was in the headlines yesterday with a suspected ransomware attack. Many lenders have experienced the pain. As a reminder, last month Finastra “took to the Cloud” with its Fusion Phoenix core banking platform. Commerce National Bank & Trust of Winter Park, Florida, and Commencement Bank of Tacoma, Washington are the first US banks to access the core solution via public cloud.

AI Foundry announced that AmeriHome Mortgage Company and Allied Mortgage Group are now in production use of Agile Mortgages. “Agile Mortgages’ robots assist the loan lifecycle by auto-classifying documents, auto-extracting data, executing pre-loaded business rules, and updating the LOS to accelerate loans, reduce costs, and remove human error in key stages of the loan lifecycle. There are 17 cognitive robots in the Agile Mortgages solution that assist loan application, processing, underwriting, closing, and sale of the loan to GSEs or correspondent investors. A cognitive robot is truly an AI assistant that can prevent loan defects while automating more than 50% of manual tasks.”

Calyx announced a new version of its cloud-based Path loan origination system (LOS), designed for lenders that are looking for quick implementation, as well as efficiency and productivity. “Path Express delivers superior functionality for retail, delegated, non-delegated and correspondent lending. It is pre-configured with standard settings based on industry best practices for a quick and simple implementation process. Lenders using this version of Path, on average, can be up and running within 4-6 weeks.”

OpenClose has partnered with Genworth Mortgage Insurance establishing a direct integration to access mortgage insurance (MI) from the LenderAssist™ LOS platform. The new integration works by leveraging OpenClose’s RESTful API Suite, IntegrationAssist, which makes interfacing with disparate systems easier to develop, quicker to implement and cost effective to maintain. Genworth is a full-service MI provider known for exceptional coverage, service and value. The Fortune 500 company has provided secure mortgage products for nearly 40 years. Its offerings are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. OpenClose customers can expect a seamless user experience within the LenderAssist LOS that optimizes the mortgage insurance pricing and certification process, eliminates data re-entry and returns MI commitment data and documents to the LenderAssist™ LOS.

Ninety percent of loan officers at LendUS are using SimpleNexus to collaborate on loan applications with borrowers and referral partners. “SimpleNexus’ disclosure toolset enables borrowers and loan officers to securely review and eSign documents inside the app, with no additional login and without disruption to the lender’s existing disclosure desk processes.”

Black Knight announced a new release of its CompassPoint™ and CompassPPE™ solutions that delivers new enhancements to help improve accuracy, efficiency and automation in origination and secondary marketing. Expanding its suite of fully integrated loan sale automation and business intelligence reporting, new functionality was added to the CompassPoint™ Pooling Optimizer that streamlines high-balance loan optimization based on month-to-date delivery parameters, including individual investors’ note rate and coupon rules. Additionally, the Rate Sheet & Margin tools were enhanced with fresh, dynamic user interfaces that allow lenders to efficiently model their margin structures at the channel, branch, product and originator levels. CompassPPE™ includes a new side-by-side product comparison feature which allows originators to compare up to three eligible loan programs at once. This scenario analysis, along with originator-entered notes, can be saved as a PDF and emailed to the borrower from a desktop or mobile device.

ACES Risk Management (ARMCO) has added questionnaires related to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) to the ACES Intelligent Questionnaire (ACES IQ) functionality contained within the ACES Audit Technology™ system. With this set of HMDA-specific questions, ACES users can quickly and easily conduct quality control on their HMDA data before reporting this data to their assigned federal HMDA regulator. Using both managed and custom quality control audit questions, ACES IQ assists lenders in addressing regulations and guidelines set forth by state and federal regulators, private investors, the GSEs and agencies.


SimpleNexus released three major product enhancements that give LOs lending functionality from their mobile or desktop devices. These enhancements include: On-the-Go Price Locking via Optimal Blue – Loan originators can now lock in an interest rate from Optimal Blue at any time, from any device. The ability to quickly lock in a loan interest rate is especially critical to helping loan originators reduce fallout for applicants with tight debt-to-income ratios. URLA Readiness – SimpleNexus has updated its tech stack to support lenders’ use of the redesigned Form 1003, also known as the Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA). URLA support is in live production for users of select loan origination systems, and the SimpleNexus team is prepared to support additional LOSs as they adopt URLA. In-app review of DU findings – Loan originators who are licensed to use Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) can review their DU findings within the SimpleNexus app.

Indecomm Global Services announced that it has been approved by DBRS Morningstar as a third-party due diligence provider for securitizations. Based in New York, DBRS Morningstar is a globally recognized provider of timely credit rating opinions that offer insight and transparency across a broad range of financial institutions, corporate entities, government bodies and various structured finance product groups.

Roostify and TD Bank issued a joint press release announcing more digital lending opportunities between the two companies. In 2019, TD Bank and Roostify partnered to launch a digital mortgage platform, now, together they are offering a home equity loan process on the platform. Customers are offered educational resources to begin the application on their own or with the assistance of a mortgage loan officer.

A while back Broadridge announced its centralized Trade Assignment Portal (TAP) to help mortgage originators and broker-dealers transform the execution of Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) Trade Assignments through improved efficiency and error elimination on a web-based platform. “TAP’s automation allows originators and broker dealers to electronically send and receive trade assignments thus processing at a much faster rate and providing transparent tracking capabilities.”

Toward the end of 2019 the StoneHill Group announced the introduction of several new technology solutions. Mortgage Driver – Intelligent Visual Document Classification and Dynamic Data Extraction and LESTM SaaS – Intuitive Loan Evaluation Software for QC. “Mortgage Driver is the next-gen visual document classification and data extraction tool developed with BeyondRecognition.” Also, in development, HMDA Driver, an automated approach to validating critical HMDA compliance to your underlying loan documents. Finally, the StoneHill Group introduced the SaaS version of its proprietary Loan Evaluation Software (LESTM). “This highly tuned QC software application can support all your loan review needs, enabling the process from loan selection, to loan review and customizable dynamic reporting.”

International Document Services, Inc. (IDS), signed a preferred partnership agreement with Mortgage Builder. As part of the agreement, IDS and Mortgage Builder have begun to develop a fresh integration between idsDoc and Mortgage Builder’s LOS platform. “With the enhanced interface in place, lenders will be able to achieve even greater efficiency while protecting the integrity of the origination process by generating all general loan documents using direct-source data from the Mortgage Builder platform. Mortgage Builder users will also be able to complete all relevant state- and investor-specific information using corresponding fields within idsDoc. The more than 1500 rules, warnings and edit checks available through this integration will also ensure all documents are as compliant as possible, while the embedded eSign functionality from IDS will enable efficient initial disclosure and closing processes.”

Entrust Solutions created a service in helping clients create the Best Practices Manual following the Guidelines of ALTA and in compliance with Gramm-Leach Bliley and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau established under the Dodd-Frank act. The manual and its content are intended to assist lenders in satisfying their responsibility to third parties customized to reflect the Policies and Procedures of individual offices. Entrust will consider ALTA Best Practices Framework for: Title Insurance and Company Best Practices, Assessment Procedures and Certification Package when compiling the manual. You provide the information and Entrust will prepare the manual. Entrust will offer suggested changes or procedures to comply with the Best Practices standards. Entrust does not currently offer a Best Practices Certification but will provide you with a “Self-Certification” for the lender.

ClosingCorp acquired WESTvm. The first loan-centric ordering technology available in the market, WESTvm significantly streamlines the ordering and management of critical settlement services needed to originate or service a loan. It allows lenders to order appraisals, flood certifications, title and closing services and documents in less than sixty seconds. ClosingCorp renamed the WESTvm platform as ClosingCorp Order Management, and its fee management service, SmartFees, as ClosingCorp Fees. Both solutions were immediately available through Ellie Mae Encompass Digital Lending Platform and ClosingCorp’s standalone web portals.

Carrington Mortgage Services has implemented LoanScorecard’s non-agency AUS, Portfolio Underwriter as its Non-QM Pricing & Scenario Tool. Greg Austin, EVP of Carrington Mortgage Services, stated, “By implementing LoanScorecard’s technology in our IQual AUS tool, our broker and correspondent partners can quickly and confidently inform potential borrowers of automated loan approvals through an easy-to-use solution to help them select the best Carrington non-agency loan product for their customers.”

(Thank you to Joe H. for this one, suitable for all ages.)

One day the first-grade teacher was reading the story of Chicken Little to her class. She came to the part of the story where Chicken Little tried to warn the farmer.

She read, “…. and so Chicken Little went up to the farmer and said, ‘The sky is falling, the sky is falling!’”

The teacher paused then asked the class, “And what do you think that farmer said?”

One little girl raised her hand and said, “I think he said: ‘Holy Moly! A talking chicken!’”

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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 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.)


Rob Chrisman