Friday, January 27, 2012

New LOS Goes Mobile

Our industry has finally picked up the chorus and started singing about the coming wave of mobile functionality. As usual, home finance is late to the party, but a lot of folks I'm coming into contact with are talking about mobile. Not many of them are talking about specific applications, but the concept is exciting to them.

We've been watching closely to see what tools will emerge and, more importantly, how quickly they will be adopted by people working here.

REO Allegiance is one company that has moved forward on a number of mobile apps. It makes sense for them as they run property preservation crews across the country and it's more convenient for some of them to file reports and send in pictures from their smart phones or tablets. This spring a prominent trade journalist will work in the field with some of the company's contractors to see how the apps work.

Another company that recently ventured into the mobile space is LendingQB, formerly known in our industry as the PPE provider PriceMyLoan. Earlier this month, the company release a number of apps the company says are designed to enhance the loan closing process by keeping loan officers in constant contact with their loan origination system.

“Mobile applications need to be more than a gimmick,” said Binh Dang, LendingQB’s managing partner. “The LendingQB mobile apps provide useful functionality that helps loan officers stay on top of their loans and foster better communication with their customers.”

A spokesperson for the company says at least one mortgage lender is already using the apps in a production environment.

The apps are available for free on both Android-based smartphones and Apple’s iPhone, the LendingQB mobile app is linked directly to the full LendingQB mortgage loan origination system and provides mortgage professionals with the ability to view real-time status updates of loans in their pipeline, as well as track when loan milestones have been achieved.

The LendingQB mobile app also includes a loan pre-qualification and pricing tool that is linked to LendingQB’s built-in automated underwriting engine, PriceMyLoan. Users can enter in loan scenarios and instantly view eligibility and real-time pricing results. Loan scenarios can be saved for quick access at a later time.

“Our mobile apps are designed to leverage the best features of our full loan origination system, but in a way that makes sense,” said Linn Cook, marketing director at LendingQB. “Providing loan officers a snap shot of their loan pipeline not only keeps them informed, but it cuts down on the amount of calls that loan processors and underwriters have to field. Additionally, using a smartphone to get instant quotes on loan eligibility and pricing lets loan officers make a powerful impression on prospects and generate more leads.”

Getting workers here to adopt new technology has never been easy, just ask any lender trying to get eMortgage adoption. But mobile technology isn't about putting a new green screen monitor on a worker's desk, it's about adding functionality to a tool they've already adopted. If we've learned anything from Angry Birds, it's that if you make even the most mundane functionality easy enough, millions will adopt.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

First Guaranty Mortgage Grows Management Team

First Guaranty Mortgage Corp. (“FGMC”), McLean, Vir., has added Lyle Lasky to serve as AVP, National Underwriting and Credit Compliance Manager. FGMC is a national, full-service mortgage lending firm offering retail and wholesale mortgage solutions to clients of varying income and credit types.

Lasky’s role will be to ensure quality, due diligence, and compliance in the review and approval of all FGMC home loans. He comes to FGMC with 17 years of industry experience, most recently as the Underwriting Team Leader with Capital One Home Loans. Before that, Lasky served in the Non-Performing Loans Division with Freddie Mac. He was the Operations Manager with Prosperity Mortgage, and he has also been a SVP, Credit and Compliance with the LBA Financial Group. Lasky is a Certified Fraud Examiner and a DE Underwriter. He received his MBA from the Florida Institute of Technology.

“Lyle comes to us with impeccable credentials and an exemplary performance history,” said FGMC Chief Executive Officer Andrew Peters. “He will provide our clients with the comfort and assurance that First Guaranty loans go above and beyond the standard for quality lending.”

McLean, Virginia-based FGMC is a full service wholesale and retail national lender offering mortgage solutions to clients of varying income and credit types. FGMC was founded with the idea that people are more than numbers and education and customer service can make the difference. Its Rebuild the Dream initiative embodies this spirit by focusing on replenishing America’s housing stock by way of expedited rehabilitation lending. In an economy where expenses continue to rise and income levels fall short, FGMC continues to exceed expectations in creating lasting mortgage solutions in the lives of its clients.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Primary Residential Launches Risk Management Group

Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. (PRMI), Salt Lake City, a non-bank mortgage originator with annual volume of more than $4 billion that ranks itself among the top 10 in its segment of the industry, has created a a new Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) group and promoted H. Burton Embry to run it.

A twenty-five year mortgage-banking industry veteran, Embry, now Senior Vice President – Enterprise Risk Management, will be responsible for overseeing the Compliance, Licensing, Quality Control, Insuring, Final Docs and HMDA Departments. I spoke with him about his plans for the new department.

"There can be no doubt that as a non-bank mortgage originator we have been targeted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as an entity that needs more regulation," Embry said. "By having one leader, one unified voice within our company, we will be better able to respond to regulators, as well as warehouse lenders and investors."

Emby said that the risk management function in mortgage mortgage shops is a system of silos that make sharing information, managing quality control and responding to regulators difficult. By reorganizing, PRMI hopes to position itself to better mitigate risk across the enterprise and through the entire loan origination process.

“Over the last couple years, the mortgage industry has been under intense scrutiny,” said Dave Zitting, President and CEO of PRMI in the company's release. “While the larger banks all have ERM departments, it’s uncommon for a company of our size to have one but we wanted to take aggressive steps to demonstrate to our customers, partners and employees our commitment to providing a safe and compliant mortgage experience.”

Ermy told me he hadn't seen any institution in his peer group, $4-$5 billion in annual orignations, taking this step. PRMI has more than 190 nationwide offices and over 850 Mortgage Loan Originators. The company is licensed in 49 states and the District of Columbia

“In today's mortgage environment, lenders must manage compliance and quality issues more closely than ever before,” Embry said. “By establishing this new group we are implementing a solution that will sharpen our focus on complying with all mortgage banking laws and regulations, improve on our overall loan quality and help us to better manage risk across all areas of our Company.”

In addition to Burton’s promotion, Shelly Hill was promoted to Compliance Director. Hill will be responsible for the day-to-day compliance activities of Primary Residential Mortgage. Previously Hill was PRMI’s State Compliance Manager, a position she’s held since April 2011.

For it's part, the CFPB has not made its plans for regulating the industry clear, although Cordray did way that smaller banks might not be subject to all of the same rules that will be imposed on larger institutions. It is not yet clear where that line will be drawn.

I expect to see all but the nation's smallest banks reorganizing to move risk management functions further up the chain of command, with more power and broader scope in order to ensure compliance across the enterprise. If Cordray manages the CFPB as some suggest he will, even the smallest banks will wish they had the resources to do the same.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Plan Turns REO into Rental Units

As the industry works its way through the millions of loans that have yet to go through foreclosure but that are bound to do so, some are working on what to do with those properties that are already back into the bank's hands. Fannie and Freddie have been asking for ideas for ways to quickly liquidate their REO holdings and now two firms in our industry may have an answer.

Carrington Holding Company, LLC (Carrington) has signed an agreement with certain investment funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. that will fund an initial purchase of up to $450 million in distressed single family homes on a national basis. These homes will be managed as rental properties by Carrington, to meet the growing market demand for rental units, and as part of the industry’s effort to remove distressed properties from the sales inventory to help stabilize the housing market.

Some have suggested that the federal government, through Fannie and Freddie, should begin to rent out REO held by these investors. Most worry that turning the former GSEs into the worlds largest slumlords would be a very bad idea. I have to agree. But if the private sector could handle this, it might make sense.

Carrington, which currently manages over 3,000 single family rental homes under Fannie Mae’s Tenant-in-Place and Deed-for-Lease programs, was the first company to pursue a strategy of renting out REO (lender-owned) properties, and has developed a national field services network along with a proprietary software system that allows for centralized property monitoring and management.

“We believe that re-deploying vacant REO properties into rental homes is a way to help revitalize the housing market,” said Carrington Founder and CEO Bruce Rose. “Reducing the number of distressed properties for sale can help stabilize home prices and putting families into currently-vacant homes can begin the healing process for neighborhoods that have been damaged by foreclosures.”

“Carrington’s REO rental program is an excellent fit for our investment strategy, which includes a broad range of debt and equity investments in real estate-related investments and restructurings.” said John Brady, Oaktree’s head of global real estate. “We believe that this is not only a unique investment opportunity with few qualified large-scale competitors, but one that also has the potential to have a broader positive effect on the housing market and the overall economy.”

The success of this program will depend upon how well Carrington can manage renters, many of whom have already proven that they cannot or will not make payments on their residence. With more consumer credit defaults on the books in December, this may not be an easy thing to accomplish, but it's better than bulldozing them down when people still need homes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Vendor Success Story: Better Business Practices Achieved by Discarding Homegrown Technologies

Mortgage Cadence, LLC, a leading provider of Enterprise Lending Solutions (ELS), Default Servicing Technology and Document Services for the financial services industry, has been selected by Generation Mortgage Company to replace its homegrown lending system with Mortgage Cadence’s enterprise lending platform, Orchestrator®, Finale Document Services and the Mortgage Cadence Opus imaging solution. This completely configurable end-to-end product suite will support their need for greater efficiency and scalability in multiple business channels under the umbrella of a single solution.

Generation Mortgage looked to Mortgage Cadence for a complete and comprehensive system integration. Upgrading from an in-house lending system to a fully scalable platform provided unlimited configuration capabilities in one centralized location and facilitated the competitive advantages sought by Generation Mortgage.

“Making the transition from our own technology to working with Mortgage Cadence will allow us to focus on our business processes and strategies,” said Chief Operating Officer from Generation Mortgage, Mark Sohl. “The ability to leverage Mortgage Cadence will enable us to focus our time and energy on continuing to provide the superior customer service in which we pride ourselves.”

Sustaining a competitive presence in a lending environment with increased Federal and State requirements is a large feat for lenders attempting to be their own product development company on top of being a mortgage company.

“When Generation Mortgage came to us, it was apparent that we could provide a system that exceeds their needs” said Michael Detwiler, chief executive officer for Mortgage Cadence. “Once we were able to demonstrate our unmatched technology and the true power behind it, Generation Mortgage had no doubt Mortgage Cadence was the right solution for them.”

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

TSS Software Completes Integration with Investors Title

TSS Software Corporation, Annapolis, Maryland, has announced the completion of an integration with Investors Title Insurance Company, making the underwriter's products instantly available through the TitleExpress™ provider network, RealExpress. Investors Title Insurance is based in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The new integration allows agents to access Investors Title Insurance Company’s iJacket Manager system directly from a TitleExpress order. iJacket is a propriety tool that allows agents to generate electronic commitment and policy jacks online. Built-in remittance functionality provides a comprehensive report to streamline the monthly remittance process.

Information from the order automatically feeds into the iJacket file, eliminating duplicate data entry, and allows for issuance of Insured Closing Letters, selection of electronic commitment and policy jackets, and automatic production of remittance reports. Investors Title Insurance Company offers this service at no charge to TitleExpress users.

“We are pleased to have Investors Title Insurance Company offer its agents using TitleExpress the ability to import their file information directly into iJacket Manager,” said Barbara Miller, president and chief operating officer of TSS. “This integration significantly improves agent productivity and eliminates the potential for re-keying errors.”