Industry Briefs Dec. 15, 2020

LERETA Acquires Flood Determinations Business

LERETA, Pomona, Calif., a provider of national real estate tax and flood services, acquired the Flood Determinations Solution from Wolters Kluwer Governance, Risk & Compliance, Minneapolis, for an undisclosed sum. In partnership with LERETA, Wolters Kluwer will continue to enable its lending customers to purchase flood determination services through its lending solutions.

Alongside its property tax and flood data services, LERETA can now provide flood determination services as well as basic, life-of-loan and commercial determinations and portfolio reviews.

Wolters Kluwer to Acquire eOriginal

Wolters Kluwer Governance, Risk & Compliance, Minneapolis, signed an agreement to acquire eOriginal, a provider of cloud-based digital lending software, for $281 million in cash.

The acquisition extends GRC Compliance Solutions’ position in U.S. mortgage and loan document generation and analytics into the fast-growing digital loan closing and storage adjacency. eOriginal serves more than 650 customers in the U.S., including banks, mortgage lenders, consumer lenders and auto and equipment finance lenders.

The eOriginal platform enables lenders and their partners to create, store and manage digital assets from close through to the secondary loan market. GRC’s Compliance Solutions business has had a strategic partnership with eOriginal since 2016, which allows the integration of eOriginal’s electronic vaulting and closing software with Expere. The offerings of eOriginal and GRC Compliance Solutions are highly complementary and together will form an industry leading end-to-end digital lending platform.

eOriginal was founded in 1996, is based in Baltimore, Maryland, and today has approximately 100 employees. Its solutions include eAsset, SmartSign and ClosingCenter.

SmartSearch U.S. Launches Advanced ID Check Sanctions, PEP

SmartSearch U.S., Lehi, Utah, launched an anti-fraud software platform, providing protection against organized crime attempting to launder funds or defraud businesses and financial institutions.

The money laundering and fraud prevention platform is aimed at the financial service sector, banking and property markets which are particularly exposed to the threat of organized crime. With just a name, address and date of birth, SmartSearch’s electronic identity verification uses dual-bureau credit reference agency data and the Dow Jones Global Watchlist. This enables a full ID check, in less than two seconds usually, with automatic sanctions and PEP screening worldwide. Advanced AI automatically triggers enhanced due diligence on any matches and resolves almost all false positives.

Black Knight: Mortgages in Forbearance Fall by 12,000

Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla., said mortgages in active forbearance saw some slight improvement last week, falling by just 12,000 from last Tuesday. The week’s decline was a result of a 13,000 decrease among loans in private-label securities or banks’ portfolios and a 2,000 reduction among GSE forbearances. These improvements were offset by a 3,000 in FHA/VA forbearances.

Black Knight said as of December 8, 5.2% (2.75 million) of all mortgages were in active forbearance, including 3.5% of GSE loans, 9.3% of FHA/VA loans, and 5.1% of PLS/portfolio loans. Together, they represent $558 billion in unpaid principal. Despite the weekly improvement, forbearance volumes are now up 21,000 month-over-month, marking the first monthly increase since the onset of the recovery in late May/early June.

CENTURY 21 Affiliates Partner with Adwerx on Digital Advertising

CENTURY 21 Frontier Realty and CENTURY 21 Shutters and Sales launched the Adwerx Enterprise Automated Advertising Platform to power digital advertising for all of their agents. The firms are now automating online ads for newly listed properties, plus custom retargeting campaigns for every agent. Agents also have the ability to run local, personalized streaming TV commercials.

All CENTURY 21 Frontier Realty and Shutter and Sales agents also receive access to a pre-made inventory of custom, personal brand ads through a self-service portal that they can run individually, complementing their automated campaigns. As a part of this portal, agents can target qualified prospects directly with personalized commercials on streaming TV services, giving them unprecedented access to TV as a marketing channel with custom targeting at an affordable price point.

Freddie Mac: LIHTC Program Essential to Affordable Housing in Rural Persistent Poverty Counties Across Country

Freddie Mac, McLean, Va. released a white paper highlighting the vital role the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program serves in rural Persistent Poverty Counties where low population density coupled with low-income levels make it difficult to develop affordable housing. 

The white paper, “LIHTC in Rural Persistent Poverty Counties,” is part of Freddie Mac’s three-year Duty to Serve plan to increase rental and homeownership opportunities in historically underserved markets throughout the nation. This is the first of three papers the Multifamily line of business will release over the next two months.

“LIHTC provides critical support for affordable housing in rural Persistent Poverty Counties across the country,” said Steve Guggenmos, vice president of Multifamily Research & Modeling at Freddie Mac. “Our research shows that these areas characterized by high rates of poverty rely on government programs, such as LIHTC, to make the creation and preservation of quality affordable housing economically viable.”

SimpleNexus, Total Expert Enhance Integration with 2-Way Data Sync

Total Expert, Minneapolis, now offers two-way data sync with SimpleNexus, a digital mortgage platform for loan officers, borrowers, real estate agents and settlement agents.

SimpleNexus’ mortgage origination toolset integrates with Total Expert to bring automated marketing to loan originators’ mobile devices, improving efficiency, increasing borrower satisfaction and accelerating loan pull-through rates. Automatic data syncing between Total Expert and SimpleNexus makes it effortless for loan officers to keep contact records up to date no matter which platform they work in.

States Title Continues East Coast Coverage Expansion to New Jersey, Pennsylvania

States Title, San Francisco, expanded its title and escrow operations to key Eastern region states including New Jersey and Pennsylvania. By adding these two states to its nationwide predictive title offering, States Title is now able to service 60 percent of the booming U.S. refinance market, a 50 percent year-over-year increase in market reach.

Additional state expansion is expected in early 2021.

CFPB Settles with Debt Collectors over Deceptive Practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a consent order against RAB Performance Recoveries LLC for threatening to sue and suing consumers to collect debts where it did not have a legally required license to do so.  Through 2012, RAB, a New Jersey company, purchased and collected consumer debts from debt brokers, and through August 2014, it used collections law firms to obtain judgments against consumers.  RAB has continued to collect on those judgments against consumers as well as on a handful of payment agreements it obtained from debtors.

The Bureau found that during the period that RAB was obtaining judgments against consumers, RAB threatened to sue, sued and demanded payment from consumers in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island even though RAB did not hold the licenses that those states required to sue to collect debts. Thus, RAB was not legally entitled to take the actions that it threatened to take against consumers in those states. The Bureau found that RAB misrepresented that it had a legally enforceable right to recover payments from consumers in these states through the judicial process in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010.

The consent order prohibits RAB from collecting on the judgments against, or payment agreements from, consumers it obtained in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island when RAB did not hold a required debt-collection license in those states.  It also requires RAB to take all necessary steps to vacate those judgments and suspend collection of those judgments and to notify consumers with payment agreements that they have been satisfied. The consent order also requires RAB to pay a $204,000 civil money penalty.

RedfinNow Launches in Seattle, San Francisco Metro Areas

RedfinNow, Seattle, launched in the Seattle and San Francisco metro areas. Sellers can request a cash offer directly from Redfin and skip the hassle of fixing up their homes or clearing out for open houses and private showings. Redfin is the first major iBuyer to launch in Seattle and the Bay Area.

In Seattle and San Francisco, the company will start making offers on homes that fit the company’s parameters and expand to additional neighborhoods and property types over time.

ACES Quality Management Makes Loan Audit Platform Upgrades

ACES Quality Management, Denver, released several key features and enhancements to its ACES Quality Management & Control Software. The updates are designed to improve reporting through the system and create a highly customizable, easy-to-use experience.

Commonly reported data is now readily available for reporting directly in the ACES user interface through a library of standard reports. With a simpler, yet flexible and intuitive user experience and more options to customize their ACES environments, users can quickly and easily create their own reports or modify default reports to drill down on specific data points, as well as apply filters, sort columns and set order preferences.

Operation Home from NewDay USA Gives Veterans and Servicemembers Access to VA Mortgage Rates 

NewDay USA, Fulton, Md., is offering veteran families an opportunity to use their VA benefit to purchase a home at an interest rate of 2.25 percent with no down payment or appraisal fees.

NewDay USA launched its new national advertising campaign at the annual Army-Navy football game on Dec. 12.

Tavant Launches Banktech Practice with Existing AI/ML Technology

Tavant, Santa Clara, Calif.,  expanded to new business lines with the launch of its Banktech practice. The Banktech practice brings together digital technology and innovation to solve modern banking challenges.

The Banktech practice enables Tavant to assist banks with operational efficiencies to effectively provide new digital services that make banking seamless for all back- and front-end processes.

Ginnie Mae November MBS Volume Sustains Recent Pace with More Than $76 Billion of Issuance

Ginnie Mae, Washington, D.C., issued more than $76.2 billion of securities in November, the fifth consecutive month issuance topped $70 billion. November volume represents home financing for more than 274,000 households.

A breakdown of November issuance of $76.29 billion includes $72.43 billion of Ginnie Mae II MBS and $3.86 billion of Ginnie Mae I MBS, which includes $3.77 billion of loans for multifamily housing. Ginnie Mae’s total outstanding principal balance as of November 30 was $2.115 trillion, essentially flat with October and up from $2.111 trillion a year ago.

CFPB Announces Settlement with Nationstar Mortgage aka Mr. Cooper

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a complaint and proposed stipulated judgment and order against Nationstar Mortgage LLC, which does business as Mr. Cooper. The Bureau alleges Nationstar violated multiple Federal consumer financial laws, causing substantial harm to the borrowers whose mortgage loans it serviced, including distressed homeowners. 

The proposed judgment and order, if entered by the court, would require Nationstar to pay $73 million in redress to more than 40,000 harmed borrowers. It would also require Nationstar to pay a $1.5 million civil penalty to the Bureau. Attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and bank regulators from 53 jurisdictions covering 48 states and Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia also settled with Nationstar; their settlements are reflected in separate actions, concurrently filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. 48% With Homeowners Insurance, 38% With Auto Insurance Who Didn’t Review Policies This Year Should Have

A new report finds 46% with homeowners insurance and 36% with auto insurance did not review their policies in 2020. And, of those who did not review their policies, nearly half (48%) with homeowners insurance and more than one-third (38%) with auto insurance should have done so based on alterations that could either help them save money or require additional coverage.

Among those with homeowners or auto insurance who did not review their policies this year, 19% and 21%, respectively, believe they have improved their credit score in 2020, something that could earn a better insurance rate. However, this is just one of many things that should prompt consumers to check in on their insurance policies.

Looking at those with homeowners insurance who didn’t review their policy this year, 17% did home renovations that increased the value of their home (e.g., upgrading flooring, adding square footage, added/removed fireplace, etc.), which could warrant an increase in coverage. Other less common actions of those who had not reviewed their policy – all of which could impact the cost or breadth of insurance – include getting a dog (8%), adding security/smoke alarms (7%), acquiring a firearm (7%), starting a home business (4%), buying an expensive piece of jewelry (4%), putting their home up for sale (3%), installing a swimming pool (1%) or getting married (1%).