Monday, February 23, 2009

Another reason to pursue eMortgage

The Monitor //, a monochrome CRT for the Apple IIImage via Wikipedia

For years now, mortgage technologists have been offering electronic mortgage technology, basically digital docs that Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will accept in the place of paper documentation, to mortgage lenders who really weren't that interested. Originating eMortgages would involve changing the way lenders worked with closing agents and borrowers. It might be more confusing for borrowers, despite the fact that they use a similar keypad to buy just about anything from Home Depot, Best Buy, Wal-Mart or Staples. It might involve additional software or hardware that could be expensive or difficult to implement. Some of these excuses may have been actual reasons a few years ago, but they aren't today.

Today, eMortgage technology is affordable, easy to install, understood by closing agents and borrowers and readily accepted by secondary market investors, at least the ones that are still in the market. And here's another reason to go all-electronic now:

According to a story in the Honululu Advertiser, homeowners there are finding a handy way to stall the foreclosure process. They simply ask to see the original paper documentation.
"During the real estate frenzy of the past decade, mortgages were sold and resold, bundled into securities and peddled to investors. In many cases, the original note signed by the homeowner was lost, stored away in a distant warehouse or destroyed."
As the "victim" of possible foreclosure points out in the story:
"I'm going to hang on for dear life until they can prove to me it belongs to them," said Lovelace, a 50-year-old divorced mother who owns a $200,000 home in Zephyrhills, near Tampa. "I'll try everything I can because it's all I have left."
It's probably time now for lenders to get rid of the paper once and for all.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ProVest expands skip-trace program

MIAMI - DECEMBER 14:   A foreclosure sign hang...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

ProVest LLC, Garland, Texas, a national process server management company working in the mortgage space, said it has expanded a program designed to find delinquent borrowers that have walked away from their propoerties. The company made the announcement at the MBA’s National Mortgage Servicing Conference & Expo in Tampa.

Currently, ProVest says it is working with 16 of the top 20 mortgage servicers as well as a government sponsored enterprise (GSE) to locate delinquent homeowners that the companies have been unable to contact. The companys says it searches for upwards of 100,000 borrowers every month, locating more than 55 percent of the individuals.

As the recession deepens, delinquencies around the country continue to rise. At the same time, home values in many markets are still falling. Borrowers who are underwater on their mortgages have been tempted to simply walk away and let the proporty go back to the borrower. ProVest says that finding the borrowers is the first step on the path to getting them back on track and saving their mortgage. But as servicers gather in Tampa there can be no doubt that many are talking about the fact that the majority of these borrowers can not save their homes.

“Lack of knowledge is one of the most critical factors that stops homeowners from being able to save their home, whether it is because that homeowner was not contacted in time or he or she did not understand the home retention options available,” Scott Strady, CEO of ProVest, explained. “Our borrower location services are proven to facilitate communication in more than half of the delinquent cases that would otherwise have been left to foreclosure. It is an integral step in our plan to help homeowners achieve the best possible resolution for their mortgage, which, in turn, will strengthen our economy.”

Whether they can help them stay in the home or not, lenders are desperate to find these delinquent borrowers. Companies like ProVest are well positioned to capitalize on that need.
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Friday, February 13, 2009

NetMore America hires new operations exec

NetMore America, Inc., Walla Walla, Wash., an expanding next generation mortgage banker, has hired Michele Sophiea Newsham as the company’s new executive vice president of operations.

Newsham brings over 20 years of national operation management experience within the mortgage industry with a strong focus on process design, efficiency modeling and team building to the job, the company said. She is expected to play a critical role in the company’s risk management efforts and will be based at NetMore’s operations center in Clackamas, Oregon.

“Michele’s successful background in operational management, leadership in building partnerships across company lines while balancing production needs and back office compliance is an exceptional fit for NetMore’s immediate and long-term goals,” said Mark Freedle, president and CEO of NetMore. "Having just closed over $126 million in loans in January 2009, a 33% increase over December 2008, and with our objective of being a nationwide lender by 2010, NetMore is focused on continuing to enhance our operational efficiency to achieve higher productivity and mitigate risk throughout the lending value chain.”

Newsham is responsible for national operations for wholesale lending and NetMore’s professional branch system. She joins the company from Senior Lending Network, where she served as vice president of national operations managing the wholesale and retail operations for reverse mortgage originations. Previously, she was senior vice president of national wholesale operations for American Brokers Conduit, Long Island, NY.

"I am delighted to be joining NetMore during this exciting period to help further prepare the company for its nationwide expansion and next stage of growth," Newsham said.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Never say never

As it turns out, I do have a need for a blog that just deals with the challenges and opportunities that face mortgage technology vendors. And so I will be bringing this blog back to life.

While my corporate website, www.rickgrant.net, will continue to provide stories and information about the new media marketing and public relations services I offer, this site will be devoted to talking about the entrepreneurs, inventors, managers and champions who have refused to give up on the mortgage business, even in light of this historic downturn.

Stay tuned for their stories.