Tuesday, July 26, 2011

WFG National Title Taps Riedel to Grow Footprint in Washington

Williston Financial Group, LLC (“WFG”), Lake Oswego, Oregon, has named title industry veteran Lynn Riedel as its President and manager of its Puget Sound Division. Riedel will oversee the former Northpoint Escrow & Title operation, acquired by WFG in July, 2011. WFG is the parent company of wholly-owned subsidiaries WFG National Title Insurance Company, WFG Lender Services and WFG Title Insurance Company, and is a national, full service provider of title insurance and real estate settlement services for lender, commercial and residential transactions. The Williston Financial Group family of title insurers is currently licensed and operating in 40 jurisdictions nationwide.

As the president and division manager, Riedel will oversee the growth and maintenance of a full service title, escrow and settlement services company serving Puget Sound, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties in Washington, including the Seattle and Tacoma metropolitan areas. She is a native Washingtonian with over 33 years experience in the title and escrow industry, most recently having served as a Vice President with the former Northpoint Escrow & Title, LLC. Prior to joining Northpoint in 2009, Lynn served as Executive Vice President and NW Regional Leader for two of the industry’s largest national underwriters. In those positions, she had direct responsibility for operations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, Colorado, Utah and Northern California.

“Lynn is an ideal choice to represent the client-oriented approach of WFG National Title in the Seattle and Tacoma markets,” said WFG President and CEO Patrick Stone. “Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a passion for communicating and collaborating with her clients. As such, we are comfortable that our increased presence in the Puget Sound markets will be led by someone in whom businesses there are already confident.”

Friday, July 22, 2011

New software to ease appraiser woes

I was pleased to see that at least one provider of professional appraisal software realizes that the new changes required under the former GSE’s UAD initiative will not be simple. These are not trivial changes and an update to their appraiser’s form-filling software is not likely to ensure their success going forward.

Realizing this, Bradford Technologies has released its UAD Power User interface, which the company says will allow appraisers to produce UAD-compliant appraisal reports.

“The old adage ‘You get what you pay for’ most definitely applies to UAD compliant software,” the company said in an e-mail alert. “Asking appraisers to learn and understand UAD is not productive, and unlike the competition, Bradford Technologies felt the burden of compliancy should rest with the software, not the appraiser.”

Definitely a step in the right direction. Sadly, the burden will ultimately fall to the appraiser and those that cannot guarantee compliance will be moved out of the industry. While tools like Bradford’s are likely to help, the only way appraisers will be certain that they are in full compliance is to ensure that adequate quality control is performed on each appraisal report. That’s not something that appraisers have been responsible for in the past, but it will likely be a requirement in the future.

That’s why I was pleased to see Quality Mortgage Services (QMS) making its new ADDP appraisal quality control software available to appraisers for a low per-transaction price. QMS has been offering outsourced QC services to lenders for years, but recently rolled out its ADDP software to do a better job of checking appraisal reports for completeness, compliance and lack of other defects.

“Federal regulators are very serious about ensuring the quality of the valuations our industry uses to make loans, and appraiser performance history is one way the government plans to oversee this process,” said Tommy A. Duncan, President of Quality Mortgage Services. “This, at first, appeared to be a significant burden to lenders and their Appraisal Management Company partners but is now made easy by our software.”

QMS says that appraisers who use the ADDP software to deliver reports to QMS customers will know what their compliance score will be before they deliver a report to the lender, giving them time to repair any defects in the report before it negatively impacts their performance history with the lender or AMC.

The new compliance rules are not trivial. Appraisers serious about remaining in the business in the future owe it to themselves to investigate the software tools that are available to help them remain successful.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Moretech Delivers Telephone Integration for Marksman

Just got off the phone with Don Kracl, CEO of Moretech. Was visiting about the company's new Marksman Communication Package. Using software and existing technological infrastructure, the company can now allow loan originators who get leads online to call on borrowers with a single click. The system can be configured to use any existing phone line. It only requires a phone line and an internet connection to set up.

This is not IP telephony. It actually uses the communications tech the company already has in place. Kracl says this makes it much easier to set up and use.

Further, the Marksman Communication Package is directly integrated in Marksman to manage a mortgage company’s entire lead pipeline. Marksman’s Click-to-Dial feature allows loan officers to place a call with a simple click of a mouse while logged in their Marksman account. Calls are instantly placed on a specific phone application such as an office phone line or even a mobile device.

Management can also setup call routing, lead assignment and transfer rules so leads are distributed by such parameters as branch, campaign, state or loan officer. As soon as a new lead enters Marksman, individual loan officers are notified and able to call the lead via a dynamic pop-up window within Marksman. All lead details are included and seamlessly transferred into the user’s Marksman account upon lead capture. Call monitoring is available to help supervisors track company production and performance.

“Getting to leads first is an integral part of being competitive, especially with online lenders,” said President of Mortech, Don Kracl. “The faster originators can get to a lead the higher the chances are they’ll be able to convert the prospect. We developed this package to equip our customers with customized, practical technologies designed to capitalize on their leads.”

Moretech is integrating its tools with LOSs now. In Kracl’s words, “We’re not trying to own the world, just do what we do best and let our partners do what they do best.”

Find out more about the offering on the company's website.

Friday, July 15, 2011

First Guaranty to Offer Fannie Mae HomePath Renovation Product

We have learned that First Guaranty Mortgage Corp. (“FGMC”), McLean, Va., will now offer Fannie Mae HomePath and HomePath renovation products through its wholesale lending and consumer direct lending channels. HomePath is the GSE’s venture for marketing and selling REO properties of which it takes ownership after the foreclosure process, providing special financing terms for the purchase of select Fannie Mae-owned properties.

FGMC, which offers wholesale and resale lending products nationwide, is one of only a handful of mortgage lenders in the country to be approved to provide the HomePath product. FGMC will also offer the Non Owner Occupied Investor financing allowed through Fannie Mae’s product.

The HomePath offering will provide options to homebuyers and Realtors alike by coupling rehabilitation loans with Fannie Mae-owned sales. Virginia-based FGMC is a national, full-service mortgage lending firm offering mortgage solutions to clients of varying income and credit types. Fannie Mae is currently offering additional incentives via HomePath, including a 3.5 percent closing cost incentive for borrowers and $1,200 bonus to selling agents. These incentives are valid through October 31, 2011.

FGMC Senior Vice President Andrew Peters asserts that the HomePath product is a strong option for Realtors, asset managers and others with Fannie Mae-owned inventory.

“Fannie Mae’s HomePath product is a natural solution for those seeking to increase sales. We believe that renovation loans such as the HomePath product give the homebuyer additional incentives by allowing them to visualize a Fannie Mae-owned home customized to his or her liking," he said.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Global DMS Prepares to Deliver Appraisals to GSEs

Global DMS, Landsale, Pa., a provider of appraisal process management software, has announced that Global Kinex, its appraisal data delivery technology, is now directly integrated to the Uniform Collateral Data Portal (UCDP). This integration provides lenders and appraisal management companies (AMCs) with another UCDP-compliant method of delivering appraisal data to the GSEs.

In an effort to promote early adoption use of the portal, which will be required as of March 19, 2012, Global DMS is offering special introductory pricing of $1 per appraisal file for new customers. Costs will be waived for existing clients using premium versions of Global DMS’ eTrac Enterprise Edition and Oasis valuation management platforms.

For $1, new clients can convert data from first-generation PDF to MISMO XML 2.6 GSE format, check for compliance with the uniform appraisal dataset (UAD), and deliver the appraisal file via the Global Kinex delivery system – all in a matter of moments. Existing clients using the premium versions of eTrac Enterprise Edition and Oasis valuation management platforms have access to all of the same benefits, plus a GSE “hard stop” automated review, which checks for discrepancies like missing appraisal values, the appraiser’s suspended licensure, and unknown subject addresses, all free of charge. This introductory $1 pricing remains in effect until September 1, 2011, after which time the $1 rate will increase to $3 per file. These services will remain complimentary for users of the premium editions of eTrac Enterprise Edition or Oasis.

The Uniform Collateral Data Portal is a portal that lenders will be required to use to deliver appraisal data to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The GSEs will require appraisal data delivery to the portal for conventional loans requiring an appraisal, with application dates falling on or after December 1, 2011, and that are delivered to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or after March 19, 2012.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Xerox Mortgage Services Names Nancy Alley to Top Post

Xerox Mortgage Services today announced Nancy Alley as its new general manager. Alley brings to the position more than 20 years in the mortgage industry, and spent the last two years as vice president of product management.

Alley will succeed Greg Smith, who co-founded Advectis, Inc. nearly a decade ago, before the company was acquired by Xerox in 2007.

Since joining Xerox Mortgage Services, Alley led the product management efforts for BlitzDocs® Extended Edition (XE), an extension of the company’s flagship document collaboration solution. BlitzDocs XE brings borrowers, closing agents and other third parties into the fold via a secure, online document portal.

“It’s a dynamic time for the industry, and clients are seeking our experience more than ever. We’ll continue to deliver innovative products and provide a path to a true eMortgage,” said Alley.

Prior to joining Xerox Mortgage Services, Alley successfully founded two companies – both with a focus on helping financial services companies become paperless.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

iServe Residential Lending Implements PriceMyLoan

iServe Residential Lending, a retail mortgage banker based in San Diego, California, recently implemented the PriceMyLoan (PML) automated underwriting and loan pricing system. The company said in a release that it had taken the action as a way to improve the quality of their underwriting – especially in regards to investor overlays.

“We were looking for a way to scale our underwriting capabilities without increasing our risk,” said William Stock, director of capital markets at iServe. “PriceMyLoan was the only system that understood the importance of investor overlays and how it affects everything we do as a lender.”

PriceMyLoan touts its accuracy and ability to determine whether a loan meets specific investor overlays and guidelines – in addition to generating a fully adjusted price. According to the company, PriceMyLoan’s ability to read live credit report data is what enables it to be more accurate at determining loan eligibility, something it calls a competitive differentiator.

iServe hopes this will mean their originators will get a comprehensive decision on both borrower eligibility and pricing at the point of sale, before a rate has been locked and before it has been submitted for underwriting.

“Other systems rely heavily on Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac automated underwriting for loan eligibility,” said Stock. “This can lead to broken locks and lower pull through if investor overlays are missed after the fact. PriceMyLoan is unique because it combines a Fannie, Freddie or FHA decision with a comprehensive analysis of investor overlays and guidelines. We’re more confident that loans will be approved by investors, and we won’t have to waste time or resources re-underwriting loans.”

WFG acquires Northpoint Escrow & Title

Williston Financial Group, LLC (“WFG”), Lake Oswego, Oregon, has acquired Northpoint Escrow & Title (“Northpoint”), an established, title, escrow and settlement services company serving Puget Sound, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties in Washington, including the Seattle and Tacoma metropolitan areas. WFG is the parent company of wholly-owned subsidiaries WFG National Title Insurance Company, WFG Lender Services and WFG Title Insurance Company, and is a national, full service provider of title insurance and real estate settlement services for lender, commercial and residential transactions. The Williston Financial Group family of title insurers is currently licensed and operating in 39 jurisdictions nationwide. The acquisition of Northpoint solidifies WFG’s geographic footprint within the greater Northwest.

WFG President and CEO Patrick Stone praised the acquisition, noting Northpoint’s strong presence in the greater Seattle region, including offices in Bellevue, Everett, Kirkland, Northgate (Seattle) and Puyallup.

“WFG has already established itself in the Northwest, and this transaction solidifies our presence and service capabilities in greater Seattle and Tacoma, regions which constitute over 50% of the Washington mortgage market.” he said. “We have aggressively established our presence in Washington and Oregon because they are markets which have at times been challenging for major mortgage lenders to access without strong partners present in those regions."

Stone said his company also plans to maintain its expansion nationwide, asserting that the market remains favorable for cost-effective acquisition.

"We are pleased with our reception so far in the national market, and remain convinced that now is an optimal time to reach out to customers disaffected by the industry’s internal focus of the past several years," he said.

Northpoint will be absorbed into the WFG National Title Insurance Company corporate brand shortly after the finalization of the transaction, said Stone.