Industry Briefs Aug. 28, 2020

SimpleNexus, MobilityRE Enhance Mobile Integration with Push Notifications, Home Search Features

SimpleNexus, Lehi, Utah, enhanced its integration with MobilityRE with new features that improve the home search experience for borrowers and enable lenders and realtors to respond more swiftly to borrower requests.

Available as an integrated tool within the SimpleNexus digital mortgage app, MobilityRE’s white-labeled home search app is designed for realtors and lenders to share with their clientele. MobilityRE pulls real-time property listings to ensure prospective homebuyers make decisions based on only the most accurate, up-to-date information. Homebuyers can save their favorite properties and set search criteria to identify homes that meet their personal preferences and credit capacity. The enhanced integration also adds a filter to the home search experience that enables users to specify their preference for properties close to nightlife, public transportation and other “lifestyle” features, then view matching neighborhoods on a visual heatmap.

BSI Financial Partners with Kasasa on New Loan Product for Credit Unions, Community Banks

Kasasa, Austin, Texas, a financial technology and marketing provider, and BSI Financial Services, a technology-centric financial services company, partnered to increase servicing speed and visibility of a mortgage loan product that community banks and credit unions can market to their customers.

BSI Financial will provide loan servicing for community banks and credit unions offering the Kasasa Mortgage, which allows financial institutions to compete with larger banks on more than just rates, while creating value for borrowers and providing an innovative lending experience. It features a unique concept called a “Take-Back,” which provides borrowers the flexibility to accelerate loan payments to reduce debt but take back all or part of the pre-paid amount if they need it.

BSI Financial services loans using BSI ASSET360, a proprietary servicing platform that employs advanced analytics and proprietary technology to provide lenders unparalleled visibility into loan status and condition. It also enables BSI Financial to monitor and improve loan documentation through exception-based processing that relies upon daily reviews of 10,000 data elements for every loan in its servicing portfolio.

Pavaso Receives RON Compliance Certification from MISMO

Pavaso, Plano, Texas, has been granted Remote Online Notarization Compliance Certification through the Mortgage Industry Standard Maintenance Organization (MISMO). The program establishes industry standards for all RON providers, including credential analysis, borrower identification, capturing and maintaining a recording of the notary process electronically, audio and video requirements, record storage and audit trails.

The MISMO RON Software Compliance Certification Program is designed to increase adoption of RON-enabled digital mortgage closings, and support the integrity and scalability of eMortgages. MISMO’s program provides assurances that RON technology providers will meet a common set of standards; reduces or eliminates the burden of individual assessment, certification and approval processes of RON providers; and gives a consistent assessment for all providers. In addition to following the MISMO standards and corresponding best practices, Pavaso’s platform adheres to individual state RON legislation.

Black Knight: Mortgages in Forbearance Flat over Past Week

Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla., in its latest McDash Flash data set said mortgages in active forbearance remained flat over the past week, with a 15,000 reduction among GSE mortgages offset by a 5,000 raise in FHA forbearances and a 10,000 increase among portfolio/private-label securities-held loans.

As of August 18, 3.9 million homeowners remain in active forbearance, representing 7.4% of all active mortgages, unchanged from last week. Together, they represent $833 billion in unpaid principal. Some 5.4% of all GSE-backed loans and 11.6% of all FHA/VA loans are currently in forbearance plans. Another 8% of loans in private label securities or banks’ portfolios are also in forbearance.

Over the past 30 days, active forbearances have declined by 202,000 (-5%). The strongest improvement was among GSE loans (-130,000, -8%). FHA/VA forbearances have remained relatively flat, with a modest 1% (-11,000) decline over that same period. Forbearances among private/portfolio loans fell 67,000 (-6%).

Fitch Ratings: Coronavirus Causes U.S. CMBS Defaults to Spike in 2Q20

Fitch Ratings, New York, said its U.S. commercial mortgage-backed securities cumulative loan default rate for fixed-rate CMBS increased to 16.5% as of the first half of 2020, nearing the prior peak of 16.8% recorded in 2013. Fitch has previously predicted cumulative defaults would reach 19% by year-end 2020. Cumulative defaults were 15.4% and 16.0% at year-end 2019 and year-end 2018, respectively. As expected, defaults are up and new issuance has waned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fitch reported during the first half of 2020, 536 loans totaling $12.1 billion defaulted. The vast majority (95.9%) of these defaults were term defaults comprising 518 loans totaling $11.6 billion. This compares to 55 loans totaling $1.2 billion during 1H19 and 42 loans totaling $750.7 million during 1H18. Nearly all of the 1H20 defaults occurred in the second quarter (96.2%); between January and March 2020, only 36 loans totaling $463.1 million defaulted.

Issuance in 1H20 totaled $15.9 billion, down from $16.2 billion in 1H19. This was heavily weighted in first quarter securitizations ($11.4 billion, 71.9% of 1H20 issuance), prior to the stay-at-home orders announced in many parts of the country.

Hotel (286 loans, 44.4% by balance) and retail (173 loans, 42.5% by balance) properties represented the largest concentration of defaults in 1H20, as these sectors are the most vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. Of the retail defaults, 32.3% were regional malls; while Fitch had expected many of these defaults to occur at maturity, the shutdowns as a result of the coronavirus pandemic brought forward their default. Office, which led defaults for 1H19, came in a distant third with 39 defaults (8.2% by balance). The average size of the newly defaulted loans was $22.6 million and 50 of the 536 defaulted loans had an original balance over $50 million.

Spring EQ: Home Equity Loans Represent ‘Huge Opportunity’ for Credit Unions

Spring EQ, Philadelphia, said as the COVID-19 pandemic creates financial hardships for millions of Americans, home equity loan products represent an “amazing opportunity” for credit unions to grow their business and help their members during a difficult time.

Home-equity loans can also help credit unions recover from lost business due to plummeting auto sales, since auto financing is a common source of revenue for credit union, said Jerry Schiano, CEO of Spring EQ.

“Our world has changed dramatically over the past five months, and millions of Americans need financial help now,” Schiano said. “For many homeowners, their best option for accessing cash immediately lies in their home equity. Credit unions are in an ideal position to help their members take advantage of historically low interest rates and access the cash they need today to help them through this difficult time.”

First American Mortgage Solutions Integrates Loss Mitigation Products with Clarifire

First American Mortgage Solutions LLC, Santa Ana, Calif., completed an integration with Clarifire, a workflow automation provider that automates orders of First American Mortgage Solution’s FirstMod loss mitigation products and services suite for CLARIFIRE technology users. Loss mitigation document generation, title reports, partial claims and lien priority insurance can now be delivered directly to CLARIFIRE user dashboards-eliminating most manual input from the process.

This integration helps lenders and servicers more efficiently process loss mitigation options for borrowers. Using the CLARIFIRE workflow automation, First American’s FirstMod aligns with servicing processing teams’ loss mitigation workflows to help reduce costs, increase compliance, improve data integrity and quality, and reduce turn times, while improving the overall borrower experience.

Planet Home Lending LLC Partners with The Farmlink Project

Planet Home Lending LLC, Meriden, Conn., announced a partnership with The Farmlink Project, a nonprofit grassroots movement rescuing millions of pounds of fresh produce that would otherwise go to waste — but will now go to feed people in need.

The Farmlink Project was started in mid-April by college students and recent graduates who saw a need to connect farmers with surplus crops to food banks in need. Since its start, The Farmlink Project has delivered meals to more than 10 million people. Planet Home Lending’s $15,000 contribution will fund The Farmlink Response Team: Impact Tour, a five-week, cross-country journey to identify U.S. communities most in need, deliver food, tell stories that inspire donations, and raise awareness of this critical problem.

CardTapp, Top of Mind Enhance Integration with App Sharing, Contact Tagging Features 

CardTapp, Atlanta, enhanced its integration with Top of Mind Networks by adding new app-sharing and contact-tagging features that help mortgage loan originators work more efficiently. 

Lead Connect automates distribution of the CardTapp app from loan originators to acquired leads via Top of Mind’s SurefireCRM, delighting prospective clients with on-the-go home loan tools and solving lenders’ lead filtering and prioritization problem. In addition, CardTapp’s recently announced contact-tagging feature lets lenders segment prospects and customers in seconds for tailored follow-up using SurefireCRM’s automated marketing workflows.

FirstClose Teams Up with Ncontracts to Offer Compliance Protection

FirstClose, Austin, Texas, teamed up with Ncontracts to offer FirstClose ONE platform clients multiple compliance tools, including Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, Community Reinvestment Act and Fair Lending Compliance tools.

Ncontracts has several software applications, platforms and software suites that cover enterprise risk and  HMDA compliance to CRA, Fair Lending and operational risks. 

AAPL, RES.NET Form Alliance for Enhanced Default Services

RES.NET, Lake Forest, Ill., a technology platform specializing in mortgage banking default, and The American Association of Private Lenders announced an alliance to provide core default management and asset recovery products and platforms to private lenders nationwide. 

AAPL members and affiliates now have access through the association’s Member Discount program to RES.NET’s all-encompassing technology suite including the Loss Mitigation’s Short Sale with Deed in Lieu Module and Real Estate Owned portals. Users can also leverage RES.NET’s single sign-on integrated partners with added tools for accessing USRES’ default valuation products, Interactive Automated Valuations Model through an integrated partner, and Xactware’s Repairwise and XactPRM, providing repair estimating and renovation management tools.

ERA Sunrise Realty Maximizes Digital Advertising Impact with Adwerx

ERA Sunrise Realty, Canton, Ga., implemented the Adwerx Automated Advertising Platform for each of its six sales offices. Intelligent retargeting technology and automated listing ads powered by Adwerx deliver the digital advantage that home sellers and agents expect from their brokerage, empowering them to compete in today’s aggressive real estate market.

The Adwerx Enterprise Automation Platform further boosts awareness through retargeting technology. Once a prospect visits an agent’s website, custom branded ads accompany them throughout their online journey, elevating the agent’s profile by optimizing visibility, keeping them top of mind with potential clients.

Blue Sage Partners with FormFree to Streamline Lending Process

FormFree, Athens, Ga., announced availability of its AccountChek automated asset verification service within Blue Sage’s cloud-based digital mortgage lending platform. The integration makes it possible for borrowers to verify assets with AccountChek through the Blue Sage Borrower Portal and for loan originators to order reports through the Blue Sage Loan Officer Portal and Retail LOS.

Blue Sage has made AccountChek available through its Borrower Portal, Loan Officer Portal and Retail LOS to enable automated asset verification at various stages in the lending process. Consumers can verify assets as they apply for a loan using the Blue Sage Borrower Portal. Loan officers can email borrowers a link to verify their assets and submit report orders through the Blue Sage Loan Officer Portal and Retail LOS.

FHFA: U.S. House Prices Up 5.4 Percent from Last Year; Prices Rise 0.8 Percent in Second Quarter

U.S. house prices rose by 5.4 percent year over year, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index. House prices rose by 0.8 percent a year ago. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for June rose by 0.9 percent from May.

Lynn Fisher, Deputy Director of the Division of Research and Statistics with FHFA, noted the increase happened despite the coronavirus pandemic. “Although house prices fell slightly in May relative to April, in June prices rebounded by 0.9 percent over the month as local economies re-opened and transactions picked up again,” she said.

FHFA said house prices have risen for 36 consecutive quarters, since September 2011. House prices rose in all 50 states and the District of Columbia year over year, led by Idaho 10.8 percent;  Arizona 9.1 percent; Washington 8.6 percent; Utah 8.1 percent; and New Mexico 7.7 percent.

Fitch Ratings: Misaligned Borrower Relief Means Downgrades for Some RMBS

The lack of disaster-related forbearance grace periods could precipitate negative rating actions and losses for “at risk” tranches of risk transfer RMBS deals from both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to Fitch Ratings in a new report.

Rating actions up until the onset of the coronavirus pandemic have been largely positive for these risk transfer deals. However, on May 19, Fitch placed seven initial exchangeable classes on Rating Watch Negative and revised the Rating Outlook to Negative from Stable on five additional tranches from 15 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac CRT transactions issued between 2013 and 2015 and one private label CRT transaction issued in 2018. The reason? “Both GSEs have not responded to the coronavirus pandemic in the same manner they have for natural disasters such as hurricanes in the past,” said Senior Director Suzanne Mistretta.

Fitch said the lack of pandemic response coupled with the rigid structure in these fixed severity transactions could very well lead to downgrades of some tranches to speculative-grade, to reflect an elevated vulnerability of default risk, or that default risk is present. That said, a limited margin of safety remains.