President’s Day: Vendor mania

Did you hear about the population in Ireland? It’s Dublin! In the United States over a quarter of the nation’s population lived in just three states in 2019: California, Texas and Florida. And half of the nation’s population is concentrated in the 10 largest states:  California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan. Coincidentally, this is the same top 10 as in Census 2010. Drops in natural increase and net international migration have resulted in a gradual slowdown of the nation’s population growth this past decade, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates. Growth of the U.S. population has slowed every year since 2015. Since April 2010, the population increased at an average annual growth of 0.66 percent, compared to an average of .97 percent in the decade prior.

Population change at the national level does not necessarily reflect what is happening in states and regions. Growth is not evenly distributed across the United States, and factors contributing to population growth or decline vary across geographies. Population gains in the South, now the most populous region of the U.S., were mostly due to natural increase and domestic migration (the movement of people from one area to another within the nation). During the same period, the population declined in the Northeast due to net domestic migration, which offset gains from net international migration and natural increase.

Vendor news from around the biz

I imagine that it would be impossible to find a lender that does not use an outside vendor for some function. Whether it is a title company, insurance company, LOS, hedging system, subservicer, there is a vendor out there that performs some function. And it is very hard to keep track of who is doing what, and if the particular function performed by one vendor “talks to” a function performed by someone else. Lenders hope that the use of some of these services helps them alleviate some of the “accordion type” adding/subtracting of staff during prosperous or lean times.

Let’s take a random walk through who is doing what, acquiring, or partnering with each other or lenders out there. And some of this may have been repeated from previous commentaries but it is good to have a sense, over time, of who is doing what.

The big news last week was First American’s announced acquisition of Docutech. First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF) is known for its title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions, and Docutech is known as being a provider of document, eClose and fulfillment technology for the mortgage industry. Docutech is “a respected industry leader that leverages technology to help financial institutions quickly and accurately provide regulatory-compliant loan documents for mortgage and home equity lending. The company’s innovative solutions are widely used by lenders across the U.S. and have contributed to the industry’s evolution toward a digital real estate closing experience. Docutech’s management team, including President and CEO Amy Brandt, will continue to lead the company’s operations. (BofA Securities acted as financial advisor to First American and Raymond James acted as financial advisor to Docutech.)

Docutech, a provider of document, eSign, eClose and print fulfillment technology, announced that Quicken Loans has gone live with Docutech’s ConformX™ dynamic document engine. This integration will allow Quicken Loans to more simply generate mortgage documents, helping enhance the lending process. Read the article for details.

The integration between Docutech’s ConformX and Solex Platforms and MortgageFlex System’s MortgageFlexONE LOS Platform? Once live, the integration will enable lenders utilizing MortgageFlexONE to generate loan documents through Docutech’s ConformX™ dynamic document engine and enable relevant documents for eDelivery, eSign, and eClose through Docutech’s Solex™ platform.

If you like QC you should check out the quarterly ACES Risk Management report: ARMCO Mortgage QC Trends Report. Even comments made a couple years ago ring true. “Critical defects in 2018 reflect the market’s rising interest rates and continued escalation of property values,” said Nick Volpe, chief strategy officer for ARMCO. “Fewer highly qualified borrowers transact mortgages when rates increase, which fills the market with more marginal borrowers who tend to require more documentation. It makes sense that defects related to loan package documentation more than doubled from 2017 to 2018.”

In response to an appraisal industry reliant on legacy technology and manual workflows, Reggora has built a modern appraisal technology platform that brings mortgage lenders and appraisal vendors onto a single core platform. Reggora recently announced that it has raised $10 million in Series A funding, led by Spark Capital. Spark also led the company’s $3 million seed round in January 2019. Existing investors, including Boston Seed Capital, also participated in the round. With the funding, Reggora will focus on adding to its engineering, sales, and operations teams, expanding its nationwide presence, and continuing to innovate in the real estate valuation space. In the past several months, Reggora’s co-founders were recognized as two of Boston’s top entrepreneurs and profiled in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 annual edition.

Calyx Software announced new enhancements to Zip Point-of-Sale Platform. New features make this software more interactive for borrowers and adaptable for home equity products. Enhancements include the ability for borrowers to upload documents and an interactive Borrower Dashboard to provide more visibility into the loan process. The new version also includes borrower questions to support HELOC origination, as well as refinance and home equity options for second homes and investor properties. The update also gives borrowers access to their loan officer’s contact information by clicking the Help icon in the Zip Interview Portal.

Calyx announced the launch of Calyx Wholesaler MarketPlace with seven of the nation’s premier wholesale lenders. Calyx Wholesaler MarketPlace enables mortgage brokers to connect with wholesale lenders via a single portal. Seven industry-leading lenders are currently in production. This week, Caliber Home Loans joined Quicken Loans, Freedom Mortgage, Stearns Lending, Plaza Home Mortgage, Sierra Pacific Mortgage, and Cardinal Financial Company in accepting loan submissions through this wholesale network. Additional lenders are in the process of integration with launches coming soon. Calyx Wholesaler MarketPlace is integrated with Calyx Point®, the dominant LOS of choice among mortgage brokers. It is also a key feature of NAMB All-In, the cloud-based platform made available for free to National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) members.

MAXEX has completed a strategic integration with Ellie Mae Encompass Investor Connect™. MAXEX connects bank and non-bank mortgage lenders to market-leading investors, including Wall Street dealers, money center banks, and the largest U.S. real estate investment trusts (REITs). To date, more than 120 lenders and investors have embraced MAXEX’s one counterparty, one contract, one digital exchange model to achieve faster, more efficient liquidity. This new integration further increases speed and efficiency by enabling seamless document transfer within Encompass. Now, Originators can deliver data and documents directly to MAXEX without ever leaving Encompass. MAXEX and Ellie Mae will host an open webinar on March 11, 2020 at 11 a.m. Pacific Time to demonstrate this new functionality.

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Mortgage document preparation vendor International Document Services, Inc. (IDS), announced that it has redesigned the audit worksheet feature in its flagship document preparation platform idsDoc. Now, the audit worksheet dynamically displays vital loan information, including a record of audits and tests conducted, in a single, easy-to-read document, providing investors and auditors with a full understanding of the loan file.

Seaside National Bank based in Orlando, Fla., and BSI Financial Services will be providing loan servicing and QA automation through its Asset360 technology. This advanced analytics and reporting technology will provide daily quality assurance reporting on 100 percent of the loans in Seaside’s portfolio. BSI ASSET360 reviews each loan using more than 600 business rules developed in collaboration with clients, investors and regulators. Loan exceptions are immediately reported to servicing teams for research and remediation. According to company officials, the technology has demonstrated cost savings and loan quality assurance improvements that have yielded significant reductions in error rates in loan boarding and in borrower and regulatory complaints.

Churchill Mortgage will work with Infosys to re-engineer its processes driving a complete digital transformation within mortgage lending. With the new partnership, the mortgage lender will enable borrowers to interact with them in the way they desire, but without compromising the values and trust Churchill is known for. Ultimately, this will position Churchill to serve more people and compete with the largest lenders and fintechs by leveraging the most modern technology available today, such as AI and robotics, propelling them into the future. Churchill is also investing heavily in its people, which will in turn provide greater opportunity for growth and innovation.

The recent partnership between LoanLogics and Virpack will increase the speed and accuracy of document recognition, data extraction, and file review while reducing the cost of creating and ensuring loan quality. By leveraging an integration between LoanLogics IDEA™ and VirPack’s virtual document management and automated workflow platform, the companies remain at the forefront of providing market leading solutions that increase the speed and accuracy of document recognition, data extraction, and file review; and reduce the cost of creating and ensuring loan quality. The potential results are higher profit margins for lenders on the front end of the loan.

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OpenClose announced that it is has scheduled a May release for the official rollout of its anticipated digital mortgage point-of-sale (POS) solution, ConsumerAssist™ Digital POS. This new integrated solution is a unique offering that combines a proven and mature 100 percent browser-based end-to-end LOS and PPE with new state-of-the-art dynamic digital mortgage POS technology. Lenders can now automate and organize numerous tasks that would normally be performed in the back-office via the LOS and push them closer to borrowers earlier in the origination process. As a result, workflow efficiencies increase, the lending process is sped up, costs are reduced, and new business is captured at a higher rate and lower cost.

Lender Price has completed an integration of its Product Pricing & Eligibility (PPE) Engine with LendingTree providing mortgage lenders the ability to synchronize their loan pricing in real-time with one of the nation’s leading online marketplace for financial services. Lender Price’s PPE technology is designed to process large amounts of pricing data and produce instantaneous responses. The PPE generates accurate loan eligibility and pricing decisions in an extremely rapid manner, allowing users to “shape” loan scenarios in a continuous manner and view the resulting changes immediately on screen. By combining Lender Price’s advanced technology with LendingTree’s established online marketplace, borrowers and lenders benefit from a partnership that delivers fast and accurate mortgage quotes.

Lender Price announced the addition of American Financial Resources Inc. (AFR) loan products to its pricing engine library. The Lender Price Product Pricing and Eligibility (PPE) engine generates extremely rapid and accurate decisions of loan eligibility and pricing for a wide array of use cases. The Marketplace version of the Lender Price PPE is targeted at mortgage brokers and provides a convenient method for comparing pricing between multiple wholesale lenders. Lender Price partnered with the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) to provide the Marketplace PPE to all NAMB members at no cost. By combining Lender Price technology and the more than 6,000 members of NAMB, wholesale lenders such as AFR gain access to a highly coveted group of mortgage professionals. The partnership with AFR expands the number of participating Marketplace PPE lenders to 19, creating more opportunities for both lenders and mortgage brokers.

SLK Global Solutions has achieved a new benchmark of success with its latest offering, LoanAccel™, an origination support solution that helps underwriters provide conditional approvals within hours. LoanAccel works with the lender’s current loan origination system (LOS), expediting he underwriter’s conditional approval process by making sure a decision-ready loan file is submitted to underwriting in less than 48 hours. The LoanAccel team supports requirement gathering for the lender and the lender’s automated underwriting system, making sure that a lender’s most critical resource, the underwriter, can approve loans in fewer than two touches on average, regardless of loan application types. In addition, LoanAccel enables loan processors to only work on conditionally approved files, freeing them from many tedious administrative activities and improving the employee experience.

Capital markets

Bond markets are closed. Come back tomorrow.

A man was driving along the California coast when he saw a police car in his rearview mirror, signaling for him to pull over. He promptly pulled off the road. When the officer reached his window, he politely asked, “Is there a problem, Officer?”

“No problem at all. I just observed your safe driving and am pleased to award you $5,000 as part of our Safe Driver Award campaign. Congratulations! Now what do you think you’re going to do with the money?”

The driver thought for a minute and said, “Well, I guess I’ll finally go get my driver’s license.”

The lady sitting in the passenger seat said to the policeman, “Oh, don’t pay attention to him- he’s a smarty pants when he’s drunk and stoned.”

The guy from the back seat said, “You guys with your big mouths! I told you we wouldn’t make it very far in a stolen car!”

At that moment, there was a knock from the trunk and a muffled voice said, “Are we over the border yet?”

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(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. Currently there are hundreds of mortgage professionals looking for operations, secondary and management roles. 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 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