Monday, October 31, 2011

AllRegs Offers Online FHA Handbooks for FREE

I love it when I catch a company taking advantage of an opportunity to innovate. That's what AllRegs did when it heard that FHA's online handbooks were unavailable. When AllRegs, Egan, Minn., heard that the FHA was having problems delivering its information electronically, it made its own electronic handbook library available for free.

All FHA Handbooks and archival copies of FHA Guides, including linked Mortgagee Letters, are available through this offer from AllRegs, for a limited time. Additionally, full search capabilities, topic outline, alphabetical index and other tools are being made available to respond to this industry challenge. To gain access to the material, users must register at www.allregsmortgage.com/fha-handbooks-free/.

“We are excited to offer the mortgage industry free access to FHA Handbooks while its site is unavailable,” said Dan Thoms, executive vice president of AllRegs. “It is one of the ways we help companies maintain business continuity and grow by providing knowledge and solutions to their everyday challenges.”

FHA Handbooks are a part of AllRegs’ flagship product, the Single-Family Lending Standard Package, a comprehensive online database consisting of thousands of pages of government and conventional single-family lending guidelines and forms. Accurately maintained and easily accessible with a variety of easy-to-use features, users are assured of fast, reliable answers as well as the right forms when they need them.

Click play below to hear the rest of Mr. Thoms' comments.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Supreme Lending Hires New Managers

Supreme Lending, a Dallas-based nationwide mortgage lender with over 60 branches throughout the U.S., today announced the hiring of Craig Goetz as western region production manager and Glynnis Barber as its new underwriting manager.

As western region production manager, Goetz is responsible for heading Supreme Lending’s team of branches in the western United States and overseeing all multi-state production, including procedures, growth and P&L management for an annual production volume of $1 to $2 billion across more than 34 states. Mr. Goetz brings more than 20 years of mortgage experience to his position with Supreme Lending. Prior to Supreme Lending, Goetz was director of retail and divisional vice president at Caliber Funding, LLC - a mortgage lending firm based in Irving, Texas, where he managed a team of 180 and oversaw 80 percent of the company’s national production. His career includes experience managing four start-up national mortgage banking companies, as well as recruiting and managing 200- to 850-person teams covering 16 to 40 states.

As Supreme Lending’s new underwriting manager, Glynnis Barber brings more than 28 years of experience in the finance profession, including 18 years in management and more than 10 years of experience in underwriting. Prior to Supreme Lending, Barber was an underwriting supervisor with W.R. Starkey Mortgage, a privately owned mortgage banking firm in Plano, Texas. She has extensive training and experience in credit and appraisal analysis and fraud prevention.

“One of the reasons Supreme Lending has continued to grow and thrive in challenging and uncertain markets is our constant dedication to elevating quality and production,” said Scott Everett, president and founder of Supreme Lending. “Glynnis and Craig demonstrate the experience, track record and commitment which help make us a leading force in the mid-tier market. We welcome them to the Supreme family and are looking forward to what we’re sure will be considerable positive contributions from them both.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation Adds Gibson as Division Manager

First Guaranty Mortgage Corp. (“FGMC”), McLean, Vir., has promoted Jeffrey Gibson to the position of AVP, Correspondent Division Manager. FGMC is a national, full-service mortgage lending firm offering retail and wholesale mortgage solutions to clients of varying income and credit types.

Gibson will be charged with overseeing and growing the division responsible for FGMC’s Correspondent’s Edge product line. The niche-focused loan suite includes manufactured housing loans and rehabilitation loans such as the 203k or Fannie Mae HomePath loan.

Gibson has 12 years of mortgage lending experience, and has been with FGMC for four years, primarily as Product Development and Training manager. He has also held a role in DE (Direct Endorsement) underwriting. Before coming to FGMC, Gibson was with Aurora Loan Services, where he spent five years in underwriting. Previously, he served with Wells Fargo. He began his career with First Nationwide Mortgage Corporation.

“Jeffrey is a natural choice to spearhead the growth of our Correspondent’s Edge line,” said FGMC Chief Executive Officer Andrew Peters. “He understands his clients; their borrowers and, most of all, the importance of prudent, common sense underwriting as a means for serving an otherwise underserved market. His customers will appreciate his strengths, and come to view him as a solid resource.”

Monday, October 24, 2011

HUD Awards Mortgage Insurance Endorsement Contract for Denver

Matt Martin Real Estate Management (MMREM), a provider of real estate services, including asset disposition, financial advisory, and mortgage loan loss mitigation services, has announced it has been awarded a multi-year contract with its prime contracting partner, STS-MAAG, to provide Mortgage Insurance Endorsement (MIE) processing services for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Denver Homeownership Center (HOC).

The Mortgage Insurance Endorsement contract was reportedly made as part of HUD’s ongoing efforts to ensure effective oversight documentation tied to mortgage loan origination. MMREM, in conjunction with STS-MAAG, will review FHA Case Binders, verify Computerized Home Underwriting Management System (CHUMS) data integrity, and validate all loan closing packages.

“In partnering with STS-MAAG and FHA, we are helping to meet the US Government’s goals of ensuring proper due diligence on FHA’s growing insured loan portfolio,” said MMREM Vice President of Business Development Noah Martin. “Our Quality Management Solution will help mitigate data quality and process compliance issues and assist in the important effort of keeping HUD’s portfolio strong.”

“MMREM is well positioned to help government agencies efficiently manage rapidly increasing transaction volumes while overlaying robust risk management programs,” said Andrew Reamer, MMREM president and COO. “MMREM’s experience providing compliant asset management and loss mitigation services in a rapidly changing housing landscape greatly enhances the government’s ability to stabilize neighborhoods on a national scale while reducing costs to the US taxpayer,” he said.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What Role for FHA in a Recovering Market?

In the second of its assessment reports on the current status and future role of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), George Washington School of Business professors Robert Van Order and Anthony Yezer, both of the school’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, looked at what role the agency should play in a recovering U.S. housing market. The report was released in June, focused on current proposals by the Obama Administration to reduce FHA loan limits and is available online.

In their first paper, the writers argued that while FHA, which they describe simply as a government-run mortgage insurance company, responded well to the 2006 housing crisis by becoming the industry’s lender of last resort, that was not the agency’s first mission. Historically, the FHA’s mission has been to serve low-income minorities and first-time homebuyers, which make up a small percentage of the overall market.

With FHA’s current market share at about 25% of all loans made, the agency faces severe risks that the authors say can be avoided if the agency returns to its original mission and reduces its market share to 10-15%.

Earlier this year, the Obama Administration advanced a plan for reforming America’s housing finance market that called for, in part, a decrease in the maximum loan size that can qualify for FHA insurance by first allowing the present increase in those limits to expire. The authors say the Obama plan doesn’t go far enough. In fact, one report suggests that only 3% of the 2010 vintage of FHA-insured loans would have been impacted by the lower loan limits that are set to go back into effect on October 1.

To significantly decrease FHA’s market share, the authors suggest that both the maximum and minimum FHA loan limits should be adjusted downward to meet the real needs of low-income borrowers according to Home Mortgage Disclosure Data (HMDA). An analysis of that data for 2004 indicates that an upper loan limit of $300,000 would meet the needs of 95% of the low-income Black and Hispanic borrowers who took out FHA loans during that year.

The authors fall back on history to strengthen their case, but ultimately conclude that in order to reduce the FHA’s market share down to a sustainable level, the agency must:

• Reduce the minimum loan limit from the current $271,050 down to $200,000;
• Return the FHA loan limit ceiling to 87% of the GSE limit, taking it from $729,750 down to $363,000;
• Return to the use of the current area median home price in calculating the local loan maximum, moving away from the 2008 median home price estimate;
• Reverse the current policy that allows FHA to guarantee loans up to 125% of the median home price in high-cost markets.

Failure to take these actions may not reach the government’s goal of reducing the FHA’s role in the marketplace and could result in increased risk to the agency, according to the authors.

To access the report, click here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Plenty of Technology at MBA Annual

I was lucky enough to be on hand for the Mortgage Bankers Association's 98th Annual Convention and Expo in Chicago. It was quite a show. You've probably already heard about the nightmares people had trying to get cell phone coverage in the exhibit hall--three stories below street level. But you may not have heard about the wealth of technology that was available for sale on the exhibit hall floor.

I was quite pleased to see about twice as many exhibitors as I've seen at any show in the past five years. While I still heard the customary complaints from vendors about the lack of herds of mortgage lenders on the floor, I also saw quite a few talking serious business. Some even told me they had inked important deals at the show.

This is a good sign. It tells me that people are investing money in exhibiting--something that is not for the faint of heart or budget--and expecting it to pay off. This is a far cry from the hunkering down I've seen vendors engaging in for the past few years. It also tells me that I'm likely to have some cool new technology stories to tell you in the space in the near future. I'm looking forward to that.

Not everyone was as impressed with the show as I was. Phil Hall, editor of Secondary Marketing Executive, wrote this in his column this week:
Stevens, reacting to the protestors that crashed the MBA's party, remarked, "You're not going to get anywhere simply by yelling outside." Maybe not, but the MBA certainly isn't getting anywhere by boasting that it has its hands on the steering wheel while ignoring that the vehicle has already run out of gas.
The MBA, as an organization, has always faced challenges when it comes to getting their messages out efficiently. To me, the proof is in the pudding and regardless of what MBA leadership--or the protestors who are lining up to be the organization's protagonists--if people start selling and using new technology in our space, it's a sure sign that things are turning around.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

DocMagic Launches Free eSign Technology

DocMagic, Inc., one of the mortgage industry's leading providers of loan document and automated compliance technologies, is offering its eSign platform to any user at no cost. DocMagic's eSign solution gives users the ability to capture electronic signatures for any document saved in a PDF file format. It digitally seals those documents to prevent fraud, provides access and audit trail capabilities, document versioning, and email notifications. As a result, organizations save paper, time and money using eSign.

The eSign Solution works by leveraging DocMagic's proprietary ClickSign technology, which has traditionally been used by borrowers to electronically execute agreements, disclosures and notices provided in conjunction with a mortgage transaction. DocMagic has taken this technology to a new level by enabling open access to this innovative system - for free.

"We developed eSign to be used for any document purely as goodwill for the industry, and we did it for free to encourage greater adoption of electronic signatures," said Dominic Iannitti, president and CEO of DocMagic. "I strongly believe that our offering will revolutionize the way documents are signed by creating a domino effect among companies using it. We are laying the foundation for other software vendors to follow suit and our aim is to reduce the need to rely on paper and help organizations go green."

Iannitti added: "Using our eSign solution to sign sensitive documents such as contracts, NDAs and proposals is as legally effective, valid and enforceable as documents that are printed and signed in ink. When multiple parties are involved in signing a document, that document is often printed several times, then faxed or emailed, and the process is repeated until all signatures are collected. This manual method will eventually become obsolete and we're jump-starting that movement in the mortgage space."

Setup and use of the platform is quick, easy and completely free to anyone interested in using it. An application programming interface (API) is available that provides a collection of XML-based Web services that enables seamless integration with any platform. As a result, data can easily be passed from eSign to various back-office systems. DocMagic's eSign solution has been officially released and is now available at www.docmagic.com.

I have worked for Don Iannitti in the past (though I don't work for him now) and have found him to be one of the brightest and most innovative executives working in our industry. I do not doubt that he will get a lot of attention with this move.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

ISGN’s iAppraisal Advantage Takes AVMs to Next Level

ISGN Corporation™ (“ISGN”), Bensalem, Pa., a leading provider of end-to-end technology solutions and services to the U.S. mortgage industry, now offers iAppraisal Advantage, a new valuation service that combines an analytical desktop-based property valuation completed by an in-market licensed or certified appraiser with an exterior inspection by a licensed real estate broker or agent.

iAppraisal Advantage is an intermediary product that bridges the gap between an AVM or desktop appraisal and traditional appraisal products while providing greater depth of statistical information at a reduced turn time. ISGN’s new product provides better confirmation of value than a traditional automated valuation model (AVM) and can be used to support loan portfolio evaluations, home equity origination, credit renewal, and default and loss mitigation services. It is not designed to support first mortgage purchase loans.

iAppraisal Advantage is compliant with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and meets the new federal inter-agency guidelines by combining a desktop with a property inspection. iAppraisal Advantage is more robust than a traditional AVM or desktop appraisal because it employs a local appraiser who performs a desktop valuation of the subject property with MLS and analytical data supported by neighborhood and comparable sales analysis. It also validates the condition of the property with an exterior inspection by a licensed real estate broker or agent. After the licensed or certified appraiser submits a valuation, ISGN performs a quality control review before delivering the valuation to the customer.

ISGN’s appraisal products such as iAppraisal Advantage are accessible to lenders, servicers and investors, and can be seamlessly integrated with major order platforms such as Real EC, FNC, DataQuick, and Veros. ISGN has a large network of appraisers and real estate brokers in all 50 states, which ensures a nationwide area of coverage for iAppraisal Advantage and the ability to handle a large volume of orders.

“iAppraisal Advantage gives lenders and investors a holistic view of the property, including information on the neighborhood accompanied by recent sales and inventory trends to enable stronger credit and investment decisions,” said Jeryl Graham, executive vice president of valuations operations at ISGN. “This new valuation product will appeal to servicers of home equity loans and to lenders and servicers in the areas of default and loss mitigation. We’re excited to offer the industry a significant valuation alternative in iAppraisal Advantage, which provides better confirmation of value than an AVM or drive-by appraisal and offers a timely solution to ease USPAP compliance.”

TSS launches new enterprise edition of TitleExpress geared towards large agencies

TSS Software Corporation, Annapolis, Maryland, announced a new edition of its flagship closing solution, TitleExpress, with Microsoft SQL database technology.

This latest version, TitleExpress 7.0, is an ideal solution for large-scale agencies. Users will benefit from advanced search functionality and custom management reporting capabilities among several other enhancements.

“This latest update ensures that companies using TitleExpress have the latest technology available to reduce costs while enhancing growth,” states Richard Sochor, chief technology officer at TSS Software Corporation. “The introduction of support for Microsoft SQL Server represents TSS’s continuing commitment to provide quality software with the advancements companies want and need to stay competitive.” '

Contact a TSS Software Consultant for additional information about TitleExpress solutions and services by calling 443-321-5600.