Thursday, September 30, 2010

MIAC adds new exec

Jeff Zuckerman has recently joined MIAC as Vice President of Software Sales, the company said in a recent release.

MIAC provides integrated and comprehensive analytical solutions for mortgage originators, servicing hedgers, and portfolio managers. The firm has been active in the US mortgage analytic space for over twenty years, and the same software that is licensed out to clients is used by its analysts internally to price and hedge many different portfolios as a service for third parties.

Prior to joining MIAC, Jeff led Standard & Poor's sales efforts in analytics and data for structured finance securities, with a focus on RMBS and CDO investors, structuring groups, and US Government entities. Previously, he worked in business development at the RVI Group, a monoline financial insurance concern offering residual value guarantees on aircraft, equipment, commercial real estate, and vehicle portfolios. Jeff led RVI's successful foray into Auto Lease Securitization as a residual guarantor, helping to close nine sale / leaseback issuances which featured like-kind-exchange mechanisms.

He will be based in MIAC's Maiden Lane office and is reporting to Mr. Sachit Kumar, Managing Director - Capital Markets Group.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tim Anderson leaves SigniaDocs

Tim Anderson, president of SigniaDocs, Houston, will be leaving the company to take a position at Lender Processing Services (LPS), Jacksonville, Fla., according to an e-mail he sent to certain contacts today.

Anderson said his new job will involve creating "a department and initiative" but said he was not at liberty to provide additional details at this time.

Anderson joined SigniaDocs in January of 2008. He was formerly vice president of eMortgage services for Stewart Lender Services, executive vice president at Dexma and a vice president at Freddie Mac. He has long been a proponent of electronic lending and is a regular on the industry's conference circuit.

"Suffice to say, I look back at the accomplishments we achieved at SigniaDocs in creating a complete, legally compliant electronic document and eMortgage solution for the industry and know, based on the people we hired and initiatives they are pursuing, they will continue to thrive and be successful," Anderson wrote in his e-mail.

Anderson did not say in his message when he would start at LPS, but his LinkedIn profile has already been updated with the new position. Anderson did say the new opportunity was "one that I could not pass up."

WFG adds a key executive

WFG National Title Insurance Company, Portland, Ore.. a wholly owned subsidiary of Williston Financial Group, has named industry veteran Joe Drum as an Executive Vice President. Drum will lead the company’s agent services program, and will be based in its Santa Barbara, California office. WFG Title is currently licensed and operating in 33 states nationwide. The company is a full service provider of title insurance and real estate settlement services for lender, commercial and residential transactions.

Drum has an extensive settlement services leadership background, having held executive positions focused on agent services with several of the industry’s largest title insurance companies during his 35 year career. He was most recently president of United General Title Insurance Company, where he oversaw all agency operations and strategic initiatives for several brands. Before that, he was an EVP with First American Title Insurance Company and Fidelity National Title Insurance Company.

Drum says the role of the agency services division will be to collaborate and communicate with independent title agents nationwide.

"WFG Title will serve as a resource for independent title agents," said Drum. "We do not intend to compete, but rather, to co-exist with our partner agencies, and will strive to provide them with the resources they need to do what they do best."

"Joe Drum is one of the top agent-focused executives in the industry,” said WFG President and CEO Patrick Stone. "He is the epitome of leadership by example, and his network of strong relationships and legacy of respect will make him and his team an exemplary resource for our agents."

Mortgage Builder creates client-focused position

Mortgage Builder, Southfield, Mich., has created the new client-focused position of Vice President, Client Development to further invest in customer service, according to a recent company press release.

The position was designed for Kelli Himebaugh, previously Mortgage Builder’s sales manager for the western United States, and is intended to be a departure from the traditional sales role in many technology companies. In her new position, Himebaugh will work with new clients all the way from product demonstration through the training and implementation phases of the sales cycle.

"I am truly excited to take on these new responsibilities," said Himebaugh. "In addition to the new client experience, I will also be working with existing clients as we roll out new modules and enhancements. Working with people to familiarize them with products, capabilities and new potential to help them grow their businesses is very gratifying."

Bill Mitchell, Mortgage Builder’s vice president for sales, says he expects this move to signal a new approach to client development in our industry.

"There’s a misconception that technology implementations are more about bits, bytes and technical issues than they are about people," Mitchell said. "Kelli will be the glue for Sales and Operations that keeps all the parts in place and functioning, and we’ll bypass the typical hand-off that clients would prefer to avoid by focusing instead on a proactive hand-holding approach."

Mortgage Builder will be looking to fill Ms. Himebaugh’s former position as sales manager in the western United States.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Coester Appraisal Group releases survey results

New legislation often has unintended consequences. In some cases, it can causes conflict as opponents clash with those in favor of the changes. Sometimes, it can fan the flames of ongoing conflict into an outright war. That's what we've been seeing between professional fee appraisers and the Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs) that some lenders are using to remain in compliance with Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) and regulatory guidelines.

I've watched the Title/Appraisal Vendor Management Association (TAVMA) try to maintain bridges between these groups for over a year, but some appraisers in the space continue to throw burning garbage on them in the hope of driving AMCs from the business entirely. I've heard it claimed more than once by an appraiser that the only appraiser that would work for an AMC was one with no experience. A new survey by Maryland-based appraisal management company Coester Appraisal Group refutes that claim.

The survey revealed that only 3% of appraiser respondents have less than 5 years of experience, and more than half have been in the business for 15 years or more. Additionally, almost two thirds of appraisers earn $250 to $350 per appraisals assigned through an appraisal management company–fees that are well above the rumored $180 to $220 fees that appraisal management companies are believed to pay appraisers, according to Brian Coester, CEO of Coester Appraisal Group. When working on their own as independent appraisers, almost 40% earn $250-$350 per appraisal.

The survey, which was completed in August 2010, tracks the responses of 5,384 licensed appraisers throughout the U.S. The study revealed that over half (52.4%) of respondents feel that an ideal fee of $350 to $400 would allow for the highest quality of work on a conventional appraisal, and 45.3% said that $400 to $450 would allow for high quality FHA appraisals. Nearly 78% of respondents stated that the typical fees they were receiving were enough for them to do their highest quality of work, over 82% feel that appraisal management companies should keep a percentage of 15% or less, and almost 17% felt that appraisal management companies were entitled to 15-30%.

I like seeing companies reaching out into the industry for this type of information, unfortunately, I expect many appraisers to take exception to the data given the fact that Coester is an AMC. To make matters worse for the firm, Coester issued a statement in a release at the time the survey results were released.

“Quite a few negative misconceptions about AMCs have been getting a lot of media coverage, which is fueling undue distress among lenders and appraisers,” says Coester. “As an AMC, we knew those claims were unfounded, but just to be absolutely sure appraisers felt the same way, we set up a survey to get their feedback first-hand.”

It's difficult to be taken as an objective expert if you admit to knowing the results before you poll the community. Scientists know that research tends to support our preconceived ideas, which is why all scientific discoveries must be independently verified.

I suspect that Coester is exactly right. After all, they vet every valuation professional that they hire and they know exactly how much experience they have. Still, I'm looking forward to some independent verification.