Nov. 21: Vendors rolling out new technology, engaged in M&A and partnering, increasing customer service

Earlier this week I wrote about technology, and that a few old wooden crank telephones were circulating in the family. The note prompted all kinds of stories about the first time anyone saw a fax machine, their framed HP-12C on the wall, and the development of the internet. The machines keep improving and the programming becomes more complex. Does your CEO know the difference between a coder and a programmer? Me neither, until I dug around a little. Programming involves more than just coding, and programmers are usually involved in planning and allocated the tools and resources that the company needs. After that, the coding starts, and is often done by a more junior person. When hiring and deciding if you need a coder or a programmer, the skills a programmer uses are an evolution of the skills that a coder uses. (It sounds similar to the difference between secondary marketing and capital markets.) Let’s see who’s doing what with technology, M&A, partnering, and customer service.

SitusAMC announced the acquisition of rSquared, provider of commercial real estate technology solutions. “This acquisition adds valuation and underwriting software, rDCF, and budgeting and re-forecasting software, rBudget, to SitusAMC’s rapidly growing suite of commercial and residential technology offerings, which includes commercial loan lifecycle management system, CLOSER, and valuation management system, VMS, among others.”

Stewart Appraisals Management, Inc announced the acquisition of Pro-Teck Services Ltd., strengthening and expanding its scale in appraisal and valuation solutions.

Universal Credit Services (“Universal”), and CIS Credit Solutions (“CIS”), announced a merger which follows CIS combining forces with Avantus earlier this year; creates a clear market leader in mortgage technology, credit reporting and related products and solutions for mortgage originators. Universal, CIS and Avantus will initially maintain independent brands, and will gradually combine their operations. The companies will leverage common operational excellence processes, share best practices, and optimize resources to provide a greater level of scale, product offering and customer service for its clients. The transaction will maintain continuity for customers in all respects, with the opportunity to enhance solutions and service offerings, and introduce new products to further optimize mortgage underwriting workflow.

Mastercard announced this week that it has closed its acquisition of Finicity, a leading provider of open banking solutions. “Finicity adds to Mastercard’s commitment to be a one-stop partner for banks, merchants, fintechs and governments. These connections are supported through next generation open banking APIs and consumer approvals.”

A recent press release announced TransUnion’s equity investment in FinLocker’s approximately $20M Series A-1 financing round as well as entrance into a commercial partnership agreement. The partnership will allow consumers to collect and permission their financial information needed to secure a mortgage, among other loans. This can allow consumers to receive a loan decision much faster and even make a home-buying offer equipped with a loan commitment from their lender ahead of time. Consumers are able to maintain control of their information throughout the process and lenders also benefit in a number of ways.

Total Expert, creator of the leading marketing and customer experience platform for banks, lenders, and financial services, announced its partnership with the Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA), a trade organization serving nearly 180-member credit unions in Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

The launch of the TransUnion Income and Employment Verification solution provides lenders and other verifiers with seamless access to verified income and employment data directly within the credit report, removing unnecessary overhead of separate integration efforts and related costs, and improves the consumer experience. The initial launch is in collaboration with one of the leading payroll providers in the U.S., which will provide immediate access to tens of millions of active employment records. Data is updated every pay cycle to supply the most recent view of a consumer’s employment status and income.

HomeFree-USA has partnered with credit score model developer VantageScore Solutions, LLC, to introduce students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to opportunities in the mortgage and real estate finance industry, by way of HomeFree-USA’s Center for Financial Advancement® (CFA). This partnership will aid in providing credit education and financial knowledge, in addition to scholarship and program funding, to students and HBCUs around the country.

First American Docutech announced a new integration with Encompass 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.

Accurate Group announced the release of its new ValueNet™ Rental Addendum Form to help lenders and investors reduce valuation time and cost associated with rental loan programs.

ValueNet can now be used on rental properties, satisfying a significant need for fix and flip lenders. Additional lender benefits to the ValueNet Rental Addendum Form include faster turn time compared to standard GSE forms, can be used for single family, condo, multi-family rental homes, and can be used with either interior or exterior desktop appraisals.

Finastra announced that Christian Investors Financial (CIF) has selected Finastra to provide the technology as it embarks on a digital transformation, including modern mobile services, and an open, cloud-based core processing platform. The nonprofit church extension fund, with a strong history of growth and operational success, will use an integrated omnichannel banking solution including Finastra’s Fusion Phoenix core and Fusion Digital Banking, and integrated solutions for document management, self-service account opening and account-to-account transfers in order to provide a robust experience to its customers.

LBA Ware has integrated its LimeGear BI platform with Fiserv to provide out-of-the-box business dashboards and reports to users of the Mortgage Director loan origination system (LOS). Now banks, credit unions and independent mortgage lenders gain immediate access to sophisticated tools for improving efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

Indecomm has partnered with ability-to-pay fintech FormFree® to introduce Business Health Check, an automated analysis of self-employed loan applicants’ current business income and expense streams that helps mortgage lenders make better-informed loan qualification and underwriting decisions. Calculated using Indecomm’s IncomeGenius® and validated against business bank account information via FormFree’s AccountChek®, Business Health Check provides mortgage lenders with a uniform, document-free approach that encourages consistency while reducing risk and delivering key insights.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions announced LexisNexis® Fraud Intelligence, the newest addition to the company’s suite of fraud and identity products. LexisNexis Fraud Intelligence is a non-FCRA solution that helps organizations mitigate new account fraud risk by bringing together identity events and consumer application activity to arrive at a comprehensive, powerful score that offers a complete view of identity. The new tool limits friction for legitimate consumers because it can identify applications in real-time that are most likely fraudulent.

BBVA USA is offering a digital Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) through its website, powered by Prosper, a leading online marketplace for consumer loans. Prosper’s digital HELOC platform, which was developed to simplify the process of applying for and obtaining a HELOC, is now available to BBVA USA customers in select states via the BBVA-branded version of the platform.

OptifiNow enhanced its integration with MeridianLink’s® LendingQB to allows wholesale lenders using OptifiNow to monitor broker performance and receive automated alerts that improve sales efforts and customer service.

Edgescan™, the ‘fullstack’ Vulnerability Management Security as a Service (SaaS) solution provider, announced its partnership with Richey May Technology Solutions. The partnership will continue the company’s channel expansion into the North American market and support Edgescan’s growth within the financial services and real estate industries. The partnership will allow Richey May Technology Solutions to offer Edgescan’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform to its clients that delivers highly scalable, accurate and fullstack vulnerability management and intelligence.

Don’t forget that INTL FCStone Inc. rebranded itself as StoneX Group Inc. The rebrand to StoneX was the last step in the process to become a global financial services firm that provides a unified digital platform that offers efficient access and connectivity to all major financial markets around the world. The Company is be traded under the symbol SNEX

effective July 6, 2020.

LoanLogics has released a white paper explaining how mortgage lenders can “employ” digital labor more effectively with human staff, more flexibly as their digital workforce grows and more strategically using verified loan file data to power even more sophisticated automated solutions. The white paper, “A Field Guide for the Care and Feeding of Digital Labor,” defines and lays out best practices for implementing a digital workforce.

Cherry Creek Mortgage Company (CCMC) announced an integration with the Covered Digital Insurance Marketplace. With this partnership, CCMC’s homeowner and homebuyer customers can now easily purchase home insurance, shopped, and compared from over 25 top national and regional carriers. In just minutes, customers can find the right coverage for the right price and deliver the needed documents to Cherry Creek Mortgage for the closing process. Customers can easily opt-in via CCMC’s Borrower Portal to receive quotes, request to talk with an agent, review coverage/limits, bundle policies, and complete their purchase. For more information, read the full press release.

Over the summer we saw a new complimentary market resource from Optimal Blue produced in collaboration with the Andrew Davidson & Company called Mortgage Pricing Insights. Released monthly, this report leverages proprietary data and analytics produced by both firms to provide a comprehensive view into mortgage finance across the primary and secondary markets. Each report includes updates to mortgage metrics like rates, yields, volumes, and prepayments, and also highlights the most relevant current and ongoing trends in the mortgage industry.

Plaza Home Mortgage® interviewed Taylor Stork, EVP, Chief Operating Officer at Developer’s Mortgage Company, on their experience with our Certified Loan Program and how it helped manage their warehouse lines. Check out the Developer’s Mortgage case study and see how Certified has provided Developer’s the insurance they need during this time of high volume and revenue. Plus, Plaza’s Certified Loan Program now offers protection for loans that have been affected by COVID-19.

Qualia and LemonBrew have announced a partnership for Qualia to power LemonBrew’s title & escrow division. Originally servicing only New Jersey and Pennsylvania, LemonBrew Abstract has recently grown to 19 states and is planning a nationwide expansion throughout 2020. Qualia will be the technology platform of record for LemonBrew as they expand and will allow them to offer new options for clients in contactless closings.

The Google Lending Doc AI Solution is continuing to turn heads. “Transform the home loan experience for borrowers and lenders by automating mortgage document processing. Reduce processing time and streamline data capture while supporting regulatory and compliance requirements.”

The launch of RealKey Digital Mortgage Platform will provide a seamless, end-to-end experience for all parties involved in a mortgage transaction. RealKey cuts the loan processing cycle by 50%, allowing MLOs to close twice as many loans with its mortgage automation technology that enables mortgage loan originators (MLOs) to enhance the mortgage processing experience for borrowers by improving efficiencies, shortening the document collection as well as the review and verification stages.

Endurance Advisory Partners published a white paper that offers advice to financial institutions on best practices for evolving in a post-pandemic world. The white paper, titled Five Themes for 2021, offers actionable steps that firms can take in the current environment. It can be found on Endurance’s website.

REMN Wholesale implemented the OptifiNow platform to drive its sales and marketing efforts. OptifiNow’s integrated CRM and marketing automation platform will enable REMN Wholesale to manage their national sales team more efficiently and execute a unified marketing strategy. OptifiNow’s robust contact manager simplifies the task of monitoring key accounts and scheduling appointments for REMN AEs. Integrated email marketing tools allows REMN marketing teams to launch manual and automated campaigns. OptifiNow configured the platform for REMN’s wholesale channel but is equally adept in both retail and consumer direct environments.

Introducing Ocrolus’ core functionality upgrade to its existing fintech infrastructure, Cross Source Validation (XSV). “Replacing the manual, time-consuming process, XSV automatically compares data extracted from multiple documents or data sources to verify that borrower provided information is logical and correct with an automated workflow to classify, read and validate data.”

Thank you to Larry P. who reminded me of this classic.

Dave the Realtor and John the Loan officer go to a pastry shop.

Dave suddenly whisks three cookies into his pocket with lightning speed. The baker doesn’t notice.

He says to John, “See how clever I am? You’ll never beat that!”

John replies, “Oh yeah? Watch this.”

He says to the baker, “Give me a cookie, I can show you a magic trick!”

The baker hands him a cookie which he promptly eats. Then he says to the baker: “Give me another cookie for my magic trick.”

The baker is getting suspicious but he gives it to him. He eats this one too.

Then he says again: “Give me one more cookie… “

The baker is getting angry now but gives him one anyway. He eats this one too.

Now the baker is really mad, and he yells, “And where is your magic trick?!”

John points at Dave and says: “Look in Dave’s pocket”.

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Rob Chrisman