Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Avista adds White as Chief Operating Officer

Avista Solutions, the Columbia, S.C.-based LOS provider, announced today that it has hired Jerry White to the dual positions of chief operating officer and chief financial officer. In his new roles, he will be responsible for the day-to-day operations and the financial management of the company. White brings over 25 years of financial experience to Avista, most of which have been spent with technology-focused firms.

White has has an even longer history with Avista Solutions CEO and co-founder Mark Phlieger, whom he met during high school in Cocoa, Florida.

"I was working on getting Desktop Underwriter up and running for Fannie Mae,” says Phlieger, “and Jerry was working for companies that built rockets and software for the Defense Department. Even though we arrived at Avista from different directions, I couldn’t be more pleased to be working with him after all these years."

White joins Avista Solutions after five years with Metavante Banking Solutions, in Orlando, Florida, where he was CFO for Bankway, one of the company’s core products. Prior to that, he spent five years with Mitsubishi Power Systems as the company’s controller. He was also corporate controller at aerospace defense contractor Coleman Research Corporation, where he spent seven years. After beginning his financial career as an accountant with Eagle Technology, another aerospace technology firm in the Orlando area, he moved up to his first senior post as controller with Mills and Nebraska, Central Florida’s leading independent residential and commercial building supply company.

White earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Central Florida and his MBA from Webster University.

UnitedTech Lender Services - Launches Website

UnitedTech Lender Services, Inc., Irvine, Calif., has launched a new website. According to the company's vice president of marketing, Laura Marsh, the new site will offer lenders and servicers a complete default servicing solution as well as up-to-date industry trends and views.

The company, which owns the BackInTheBlack® loss mitigation solution, offers an array of default loan servicing solutions through its UTLS Technology Services and UTLS Default Services subsidiaries.

"Most industry related sites are cluttered and difficult to surf," Marsh said in a release. "Our clients need user friendly, easy to access information at their convenience and UTLS.com provides just that."

The website also serves as a newsroom where users can subscribe to upcoming webcasts or read the latest views from UTLS industry experts. A link to the release on PRNewswire follows:

UnitedTech Lender Services - Launches Website and Provides Free Industry Expert News & Views

Monday, December 14, 2009

SunTrust Introduces Daily Budgeting Application for Facebook

RGA staff will be spending a lot more time on Facebook in 2010. Not managing virtual farms or playing competitive games of Farkle, but rather on helping companies make better use of a social media platform that is enjoying massive adoption. People seem to love being able to stay in touch with friends and family without actually talking to them. But can it work for business?

We'll be deploying our own Facebook Page in 2010 to find out what businesses can do to be more effective on Facebook, but I anticipate that one technique that's likely to play well with the site's users will be Facebook applications.

Right now, games like Farmville and Farkle are attracting large audiences, but aside from having something to do with idle time and using the games to provide status updates when they have nothing else to post, there doesn't seem to be a lot of value here. But some applications can add value.

One interesting new development I read about recently was about a Facebook app that helped people do a better job of saving money. SunTrust recently introduced a Daily Budgeting Application for Facebook
that we'll be watching closely. I suspect that if it's properly promoted to the bank's customers, it could do the bank some good on the marketing side. I'm not sure how much new business the app will generate on it's own.

Regardless of how successful it is, the SunTrust app is exactly the kind of thinking that's likely to make Facebook work for businesses. I suspect that if the Treasury department launched a Facebook app to let people know if they qualified for a HAMP loan modification, we'd get an idea of what this social media site could really do.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

FHA getting out of the insurance business?

A photo portrait of {{w|Shaun L.S. Donovan}}, ...
In what appears to be a move right out of the auto and health insurer's playbook (we'll charge you a fee for affordable insurance as long as you don't use it), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has asked Congress to give is some additional authority.

According to a story that ran today in National Mortgage News' Daily Briefing, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan asked the House Financial Services Committee to consider allowing FHA to require lenders to indemnify the insurer against losses on bad loans.

For those of you not familiar with the way government-insured loans work (which appears to be a group that I might belong to), FHA and VA provide loan guarantees to lenders, insuring that if the loans go bad, the government will make the lenders whole, as long as the loan was originated in strict accordance with the agency's guidelines.

According to NMN, Donovan said: "We are asking for additional authority for our proposals to hold FHA lenders responsible for fraud and misrepresentations by indemnifying the FHA fund."

My understanding was that writing loans that are fraudulent or that have misrepresentations in the loan application or other documents was already outside of FHA's origination guidelines. Perhaps the agency just hadn't made that point explicitly before.

I think it's more likely that Donovan has been watching delinquencies in FHA loans rise and wanted to smack lenders in order to get them to tighten up their underwriting process even more. This oughta do it. It would basically be a giant loophole that renders the insurance worthless if anyone involved in the loan origination process makes a mistake, intentionally or otherwise.

When that happens, FHA wants authority to "hold lenders accountable nationally" across their entire branch network, NMN reported. They want to launch a website that can serve as a Dunce's Corner to showcase lenders that don't adequately control the quality of their FHA loan origination process.

That's a red flag to guys like me and a giant red flag wrapped around an armed nuclear weapon to a professional risk manager. We've read a lot about how FHA is the new subprime. If Donovan gets this through Congress, subprime will be ready for the history books.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Mortgage Cadence adds another client

Mortgage Cadence, Inc., Denver, known for its Enterprise Lending Solutions, reports that it has implemented Mortgage Cadence Orchestrator™, Harmony™ and Finale™ to Associated Bank, Green Bay, WI.

The solutions work seamlessly with one another from origination, processing, underwriting, and closing through secondary marketing to maximize efficiencies across Associated Bank’s operations and enables the company to rapidly respond to the ever-changing market conditions.

“The agility that Mortgage Cadence Orchestrator grants us is unprecedented, and it allows us to get products to market faster,” said Scott Fecteau, Senior Vice President and Director of Mortgage and Consumer Finance. “This provides us with an enormous competitive advantage considering the state of the industry and the constant changes in regulations, especially when dealing with FHA loans. By streamlining point of sale processes throughout our loan officer network, Mortgage Cadence Orchestrator helps to increase our customer service levels while workflow tools speed the lending process. Couple that with Mortgage Cadence Finale’s ability to dynamically create initial disclosures and closing packages and deliver them securely to the borrower and settlement agent, and we are fully realizing the benefits of these solutions. This will allow us to drastically cut down our process times while taking a huge leap toward back office automation.”

Associated Bank is focused on purchasing conforming, government and jumbo first mortgage loans from approved correspondent lenders in the upper Midwest. The company has a strong retail lending channel that is supported in this implementation, including construction to perm loans and operate as a full-service mortgage conduit servicing all major secondary market investors as well as their own balance sheet products. Associated Bank’s current business model calls for servicing loans aggregately totaling in excess of $8 billion.

“Associated Bank will also be leveraging Mortgage Cadence Harmony for their correspondent Web portal,” said Chuck Kimball, Executive Vice President of Consulting Services at Mortgage Cadence. “The portal enables Associated Bank’s aggregators with direct integration from their origination channel to their trading desk while leveraging advanced pricing, eligibility and underwriting technology to increase efficiencies throughout the channel.”

Aggregators have the ability to upload loan data, register and lock loans and automate the pricing analysis and purchasing of loans. Users can view real-time loan status information and receive feedback on adjustments and correspondent pricing tiers.

Associated Bank is part of Associated Banc-Corp (NASDAQ: ASBC), a diversified bank holding company with total assets of $23 billion

PriceMyLoan and MCT Introduce Pipeline Hedging Tool

This post has been updated. See below.

PriceMyLoan (PML), Costa Mesa, Calif., has struck a deal to provide San Diego-based Mortgage Capital Trading (MCT) real time loan pricing data from the company's automated underwriting and pricing engine for use in MCT's proprietary hedging model. MCT is a secondary marketing advisory services firm. The company is calling the development the Automated Loan Pipeline Hedging and Analysis (ALPHA) Interface. I like that.

According to the company, the new interface will make it easier for mortgage lenders to benefit from the higher profits gained from mandatory executions. Presumably, these are lenders who are already working with MCT, but I don't have that confirmed yet.

"Investors are providing a huge profit incentive for lenders to move to mandatory executions," said Phil Rasori, chief operations officer for MCT. "However, the perceived risk is that lenders could lose money if they're not properly hedged. Our real-time hedge process combined with the ALPHA Interface minimizes this risk and provides continuous coverage for our clients throughout the day."

When lenders lock a rate in PriceMyLoan's automated underwriting and loan pricing engine, the ALPHA Interface automatically updates MCT'S hedging model, providing a tangible reduction in risk by shortening the time period between rate locks and hedge positions.

The company said that the ALPHA Interface proactively delivers pipeline data directly into MCT's hedging model, eliminating several steps in the data acquisition process that results in faster reporting with fewer errors.

"Lenders are exposed to interest rate movements the longer they have locks without hedge positions," said Rasori. "Combining PriceMyLoan's accurate up-front pricing with the ALPHA Interface allows us to hedge more frequently and more accurately. Instead of relying on the lender to send us intermittent pipeline reports, we can now peer directly into their pipeline and optimize our hedge strategy without any added effort from us or the client."

Update: Linn Cook at PriceMyLoan confirms that this new tool is for use by specific customers.

He writes: "This interface is specific to PriceMyLoan clients that utilize MCT’s services."