Industry Briefs Aug.14, 2020

Inlanta Mortgage Launches OptifiNow Platform to Enhance Recruiting Efforts

Inlanta Mortgage, Pewaukee, Wis., announced it launched the OptifiNow CRM and automated marketing platform to improve its branch development and recruiting efforts.

OptifiNow, Seal Beach, Calif, is a CRM and marketing automation platform used within the mortgage industry for both retail and wholesale environments. The platform integrates contact management with email and SMS marketing to simplify the sales and marketing process. The broad configurability of the platform enhances loan officer recruiting.

Infinity IPS Taps Public Relations Firm Gaffney Austin to Create Brand Awareness, Elevate Thought Leadership

IPS, Tampa, Fla., a provider of mortgage services, selected Gaffney Austin LLC, to serve as its new agency of record for all marketing, media and public relations activities.

Jacob Gaffney will take on a hybrid role that serves as the internal marketing arm for Infinity IPS along with contributing to earned media activities. This positions him to make decisions that elevate company marketing efforts.

FortisPay, BLUEDOG Announce Merger

Fortis Payment Systems LLC, Novi, Mich., and Blue Dog Business Services LLC , providers of payments technology and merchant services, announced the merger of the two companies. 

The business will leverage Zeamster, FortisPay’s proprietary commerce platform, which creates integrated experiences for software and ERP providers, and BLUEDOG’s technology and scalable business development machine. With the support of Lovell Minnick Partners, which made a significant investment in FortisPay in late 2019, the newly combined company will further accelerate its growth in technology-led payment platforms.

Ron Dichter, founder and CEO of BLUEDOG, will join the Board of Managers and will help lead the overall direction of the combined company. FortisPay and BLUEDOG serve more than 13,000 businesses throughout North America.

Qualia Launches Digital Home Buying Experience

Qualia, San Francisco, a digital real estate closing platform, launched Qualia RON, a remote online notarization product to enable entirely digital, contactless home closings.

Qualia RON has remote online notarization capabilities built directly into its cloud-based software platform. The platform will help ensure real estate purchases and refinances continue to take place in a secure, digital way during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qualia RON will allow title companies to directly manage and streamline the digital signing experience securely for their clients throughout the entire closing process. Title companies can leverage Qualia’s existing secure document sharing and e-signing features in its client communications portal, Qualia Connect.

Fannie Mae: Consumer Confidence in Housing Dips as Homebuying Sentiment Falls Sharply in July

The Fannie Mae  Home Purchase Sentiment Index decreased by 2.3 points in July to 74.2, moderating slightly after two consecutive months of advances. Three of the six HPSI components decreased month over month, with consumers reporting a significantly more pessimistic view of homebuying conditions but a more optimistic view of home selling conditions. Year over year, the HPSI is down 19.5 points.

“Following a partial recovery of the HPSI in the previous two months, consumer sentiment toward housing took a slight step back in July amid a rise in coronavirus infections across many parts of the country, including the south and southwest,” said Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Supply constraints appear to be applying upward pressure to consumers’ home price expectations, which in turn has contributed to both a sharp reversal in optimism about whether it is a good time to buy a home and further improvement in home-selling sentiment. The July survey was conducted as legislators considered the extension of several provisions in the CARES Act to support household incomes during the pandemic. Not surprisingly – more than any other respondent groups – renters, 18-to-34-year olds, and households earning less than $100,000 think it’s a bad time to buy a home, which we believe suggests a less favorable outlook for first-time homebuying activity. In the months ahead, we continue to expect consumer sentiment to be closely linked to the country’s progress in containing the spread of the virus.”

Fannie Mae: Consumers’ Familiarity with Mortgage/Rent Relief Options Not Widespread

Fannie Mae, Washington, D.C., said despite the upheaval to daily life resulting from COVID-19, with many experiencing financial distress and the upending of their education, career, retirement, or other life plans, consumers’ familiarity with mortgage and rent relief options was not widespread and was particularly low among populations with immediate financial and job concerns.

Through its National Housing Survey, Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group yielded three key findings, discussed in a new Fannie Mae Perspectives blog from Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, Doug Duncan.

Key findings:

  • Consumers’ familiarity with mortgage and rent relief options was not widespread and was particularly low among populations with immediate financial and job concerns. Roughly one-fifth of surveyed consumers expressed concern about imminent financial distress, but most were unfamiliar with available mortgage or rent relief options.
  • Consumers’ expected timelines until their next move did not change significantly from the historical trend for the population as a whole.
  • Appetite among respondents remained modest for engaging in homebuying and mortgage activities digitally, as opposed to in-person. However, there were signs that such interest increased as the quarter progressed, particularly for mortgage applications.

Asurity Launches RiskExec Proprietary Fair Servicing Module

Asurity, Washington, D.C. said its RiskExec subsidiary launched RiskExec Fair Servicing, a specially configured platform to help lenders and servicers manage complex loan forbearances and modifications authorized under the CARES Act.

RiskExec is a web-based compliance reporting and analysis platform that automates Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, Community Reinvestment Act, redlining analysis, and fair lending compliance processes. Developed by Asurity, RiskExec monitors borrower treatment and manages regulatory compliance obligations for lenders.

Black Knight: Loans in Forbearance Fall by 71,000

Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla., said mortgages in active forbearance fell by another 71,000 over the past week, pushing the total under 4 million for the first time since early May.

Black Knight said as of August 10, 3.9 million homeowners were in active forbearance, representing 7.4% of all active mortgages, down from 7.5% the week prior. They represent $852 billion in unpaid principal. Some 5.4% of all GSE-backed loans and 11.5% of all FHA/VA loans are currently in forbearance plans. Another 7.9% of loans in private label securities or banks’ portfolios are also in forbearance. 73% of loans in active forbearance thus far have had their terms extended.

The report said over the past week, forbearance activity fell across the board, with 10% fewer new forbearance requests, nearly 40% fewer renewals and 20% fewer removals from the week prior.

LendEDU: Student Loan Debt Balloons to $1.67 Trillion

LendEDU published its annual Student Loan Debt by School by State Report, showing not only has outstanding student loan debt ballooned to $1.67 trillion, but the coronavirus pandemic has students and parents weighing the true value of higher education and the financial burden of student loan debt that usually comes with earning a degree.

The report ( found the student loan burden continues to increase as the average borrower from the Class of 2019 left campus with $29,076 in student loan debt, an increase from the $28,565 owed by the average borrower from the Class of 2018.

Fiserv Launches Back2Business Program

Fiserv Inc., Brookfield, Wis., launched the Back2Business program, designed to assist small businesses that have been impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Back2Business program debuted in Brooklyn and will expand to select communities across the country with a focus on helping small minority-owned businesses disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and systemic inequities.

Back2Business is a multi-pronged initiative to strengthen small businesses in targeted communities, with a specific focus on minority-owned businesses. The program is designed to strengthen businesses through financial support, business expertise, leading technology platforms such as the Clover point-of-sale platform from Fiserv, strategic partnerships and community engagement.