Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This blog will die

It was with a lot of deep (and sometimes confused) thought and hand wringing that I decided to switch my blog from Blogger.com to WordPress. It's so hard to break a habit. I've been on the Blogger platform since 2005 and it has always served me well. But that's primarily because I never asked much of it. That is changing.

In the very near future, all of my posts will appear on my website at www.rickgrant.net. I'll leave this page up for a while, but eventually it will disappear.

I won't be giving up my Blogger account anytime soon, however. I've found it a very handy tool for use when fleshing out an idea or working on a project with a small team.

For those of you interested in keeping up on the technology that serves financial services and the New Media tools that can serve all of us, be sure to update your bookmarks to my website.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Austin, Texas-based VueCentric's MortgageDashboard LOS now has a seamless integration with Mortgage XSites by a la mode, Oklahoma City.

Using an a la mode Mortgage XSite, MortgageDashboard users can now export their new loan applications directly to their MortgageDashboard LOS – completely eliminating re-keying of data which saves time and money.

Under the deal, when a new customer signs onto MortgageDashboard, they will automatically receive a free Originator level XSite with a 20-day trial of the Office level XSite features, including the integration with MortgageDashboard.

The integration also enables users who sign up on the Mortgage XSite side to receive a fully integrated MortgageDashboard account.

“We talk to loan officers every day who are looking for ways to work from anywhere. Web-based LOS products like MortgageDashboard are leading the way in making that happen. To us, this integration was a no-brainer,” said Brad Eaton, vice president of mortgage products for a la mode. “Saving loan officers time and money has always been a benefit of using Mortgage XSites.”

Additionally, users will be able to provide intuitive, online 1003 applications for their Web site visitors, enjoy effortless search engine optimization tools, and choose from more than 300 design themes when selecting the look and feel of their Web site. The site provides limitless lead capture forms for lead generation, instant, do-it-yourself changes and the ability to make changes instantly without the help of an expensive Internet consultant. 24 x 7 x 365, live tech support from the a la mode headquarters in Oklahoma City also comes at no extra charge.

My favorite part: At no additional cost, users can also launch their own mortgage blogs.

The entire package costs $499 a year, without any monthly or hidden fees.

“The mortgage market is slowing down, so we want to offer originators every opportunity to originate more loans,” said Jorge Sauri, CEO of VueCentric. “Now a la mode is integrated into MortgageDashboard and it’s easier than ever for loan originators to generate more leads.”

MortgageDashboard™ is a completely paperless system based on the concept of Software as a Service that offers all of the tools mortgage brokers and bankers need from origination to funding. MortgageDashboard provides loan product optimization, loan application processing, and all state-specific forms and disclosures. Additionally, MortgageDashboard allows users to manage documents, order vendor services, update borrowers and real estate agents, generate leads, perform effective marketing and much more from any Internet connection.

Founded in 1985, a la mode develops desktop, mobile, and Web tools for the real estate and mortgage industries.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

No excuse not to know

There are plenty of opportunities for mortgage loan originators to learn the ropes, even if there are now fewer jobs available. All of the trade groups offer educational opportunities and there are a number of private companies offering training as well.

Recently, AllRegs Academy announced that it would offer its mortgage essentials course for free for a limited time. AllRegs has been a leading publisher of guidelines for the mortgage industry for many years. The company moved into education a few years back.

Essentials of Mortgage Lending is the latest online course the company has offered. The free enrollment period runs through August 31, 2008.

“No matter what the state of the mortgage lending industry may be, it is a critical factor for professionals to maintain a strong knowledge base of the mortgage cycle and its components,” said Dan Thoms, senior vice president of AllRegs. “To help professionals meet their professional development goals, learn more about the mortgage cycle or refresh their core lending knowledge, we are excited to offer this course for free through the end of the summer.”

You may recall that Thoms was formerly an executive with the Mortgage Bankers Association's CampusMBA.

In the free course, originators will learn about all the basics of the mortgage loan cycle, including essential mortgage milestones and processes from the lender and borrower perspectives, according to the comapny. The introductory course presents a broad overview of the U.S. mortgage lending markets and their impact, from loan application through loan administration and the capital markets. Students learn about loan origination strategies, common loan products and various quality levels of underwriting. Further, the company says the course underscores the importance of compliance and provides resources and good faith responsibilities necessary to comply with mortgage regulations and laws. Mortgage fraud red flags will also be covered.

For more information on the course or to register, call (800) 848-4904 or visit the company's website.

For students that aren't comfortable with online courses but feel they need more of a mentor, San Pedro, Calif.-based Secret! University recently announced a new live class. The program focuses on "how to locate a steady stream of loan funding money, to support your operation," according to Peter Samuel Cugno, company Chairman & CEO.

"The idea was developed from a blog posting this past Saturday, and in conjunction with today's bomb-shell events surrounding Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Indy Mac Bank," Cugno said. I remember as all the known funding sources were exploding all around me back in the mid 1980's, during the most terrifying time I have had in this industry, as I watched the entire savings and loan industry of mortgage loan buyers crumbled."

Cugno said the class will provide students with "a solid step by step road map that demonstrates exactly what and how I did what I did that worked and got my own operation from a certain collapse to a successful future."

Secret! University is the educational and training division of Americas Money Center, Inc., a nationwide mortgage banker/broker organization. For more information, visit the company's website.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Real Estate 2.0 Mindmap

A company called 1000Watt Consulting has created an online mindmap of Real Estate 2.0 companies that is quite impressive. While it's a bit light on the mortgage side right now, it could develop into a useful tool as more real estate agents and mortgage originators begin to capitalize on the Web.

I heard about it over on The Future of Real Estate Marketing, an excellent blog.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Del Mar and Loan-Score Team up

A number of industry players have been capitalizing on SOA's ability to loosely couple systems together for end user benefit. Most recently, Del Mar Database, San Diego-based maker of the DataTrac loan origination system (LOS), and Loan-Score Decisioning Systems, Irvine, Calif., have teamed up to create a seamless integration between their offerings. Loan-Score offers product pricing and automated underwriting solutions (AUS).

The integration is bi-directional and enables the two systems to automatically talk to one another, updating conditions and loan-level status in real-time using Web services. Loan-Score’s Web-based pricing engine and AUS serves as the point-of-sale decisioning solution, while DataTrac remains as the core system of record and workflow management solution for the fulfillment process.

The integration is already in production with several of the two technology firm’s mutual clients and others are scheduled to go live shortly. Pinnacle Capital Mortgage is one company that is already taking advantage of the new combined solution.

“Seamless, reliable integration is the cornerstone of any sound technology marriage between different vendors,” said Steve Pavlos, Pinnacle's CIO. “I’ve seen a lot of really good technologies throughout my career, but unless integration is achieved, you’ll never realize true efficiency. The tight integration between Loan-Score’s POS and DataTrac’s LOS was the single most important factor in our decision to engage with them.”

Pennsylvania next state to mess with foreclosure process

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell will sign a package of mortgage reform bills today at noon. The five bills are designed to protect homebuyers, strengthen oversight of the mortgage industry and end key lending practices that leave homeowners vulnerable to foreclosure. Pennsylvania will join a number of states that have already moved to complicate or freeze the default management process.

Those of you who lived through the predatory lending legislative fix in Georgia and the Carolinas will recall how it impacted mortgage lending in those states. When lenders can't force borrowers to repay the debt, investors don't give lenders money to lend.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Guardian: New compliance exec

It's getting more difficult to keep track of all of the politicians getting into the housing recovery business. While everyone is concerned with the crisis and no one likes the prospect of millions of American homeowners suddenly becoming renters again, few if any industry players are happy with the idea of the government (any government) stepping in to "fix" things.

Unfortunately, it is what it is. We now have a handful of states that have effectively taken away the power of mortgage loan servicers to perform effective loss mitigation by freezing their ability to move deals into foreclosure. That won't end well. I'll be writing more on that in the first print edition of HousingWire.

While plenty are sure to wail and rail, technology vendors and service providers are doing what's necessary, which generally means stepping up their compliance efforts and providing additional services to lenders who just can't keep up with all the new rules.

One such vendor is Denver-based Guardian Mortgage Documents (GMD). The company announced today that Janice L. Butler would be the firm's new vice president of compliance.

GMD, a provider of document preparation and fully customized outsourced solutions to the national financial services industry, will put the 28-year veteran in a position to oversee the day-to-day operations of GMD’s compliance division, where she will be responsible for managing compliance monitoring and new client implementation across all lines of business for federal, state, investor level requirements as well as on-going client services.

Before joining GMD, Butler was director of regulatory compliance at Aurora Loan Services (A Lehman Brothers Company). She previously had positions in compliance with JPMorgan Chase, N.A., HomeSide Lending, Inc. and PNC Mortgage.

“Mrs. Butler is a proven and well respected professional in our industry and has tremendous experience in all dimensions of lending compliance and operations within leading financial institutions,” said Tim Anschutz, vice president of marketing for GMD. “Her extensive knowledge and leadership will further benefit our clients in the professional services and documents preparation services we provide.”