Industry Briefs June 16, 2020

FHFA, GSEs Offer COVID-19 Resources in 6 Languages

To help limited English proficiency borrowers who are experiencing mortgage-related difficulties due to the coronavirus national emergency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency added new translations to the Mortgage Translations website.

Site visitors can now choose English, Spanish, traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, or Tagalog when accessing scripts that servicers use when discussing COVID-19 forbearance with borrowers. The revised Mortgage Assistance Application is also available in the same six languages.

“Publishing the scripts servicers use when discussing forbearance in six languages will allow borrowers with limited English proficiency to better understand the mortgage relief options available to them during the pandemic,” said FHFA Director Mark Calabria.

The Mortgage Translations website, a collaboration where FHFA has joined with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, includes resources designed to assist lenders, servicers, housing counselors and others in helping LEP borrowers navigate the mortgage process. Resources available on the website include the Uniform Residential Loan Application, a step-by-step guide to apply for or refinance a mortgage and a glossary of mortgage terminology.

OptifiNow Integrages with Ellie Mae Digital Lending Platform

OptifiNow, Seal Beach, Calif., a provider of sales and marketing automation technology, announced its platform integrated with the Ellie Mae Digital Lending Platform, including using Encompass Partner Connect API technology.

The integration allows lenders to more efficiently and securely share data between OptifiNow’s platforms and Encompass to drive quality and efficiency in the loan origination process. OptifiNow’s integration capabilities enable lenders to create an advanced sales and marketing process that connects data with Encompass and other vital systems.

SimpleNexus, Mortgage Coach Expand Integration

SimpleNexus (, Lehi, Utah, expanded its integration with Mortgage Coach (, enabling loan originators to give borrowers a clear, accurate comparison of loan products and scenarios needed to make informed mortgage decisions. 

With the integration of SimpleNexus and the Mortgage Coach Total Cost Analysis, every borrower who applies for a mortgage loan using the SimpleNexus digital mortgage app immediately receives a TCA. A recent update to the integration enhances the borrower experience by updating key loan information in real time and enabling loan professionals to incorporate video narration into TCAs from within the SimpleNexus app. As applicants progress through the origination process, the accurate analysis adjusts instantly, allowing loan professionals to provide clear advice faster and measurably convert more leads into loans.

Freddie Mac Forecast: Economy Recovering, Housing Rebounding, But Outlook Remains ‘Highly Undertain’

Freddie Mac, McLean, Va., issued its Quarterly Forecast, noting housing markets have been affected by the pandemic with both home sales and house price growth declining.

“While the housing market undoubtedly has felt the effects of COVID-19, we are encouraged by recent homebuyer demand as well as mortgage rates that should remain at record lows for the foreseeable future.” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac Chief Economist. “However, beyond the initial rebound in the housing market, the economic and housing outlook will be heavily impacted by the prospects for a vaccine, fiscal policy and the underlying organic recovery of the economy which, in combination, make the outlook highly uncertain.”

According to the Forecast:

  • The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is expected to be 3.4 percent in 2020 and 3.2 percent in 2021.
  • House price growth is expected to decelerate to an annual rate of 2.3 percent in 2020. In 2021, that rate is expected to be 0.4 percent.
  • Home sales are expected to decrease in 2020 to 4.8 million homes and increase in 2021 to 5.6 million homes.
  • Purchase originations are expected to decrease to $1.044 trillion in 2020 and increase to $1.244 trillion in 2021.
  • Refinance originations are expected to be $1.872 trillion in 2020 before falling to $1.279 trillion in 2021. 
  • Overall, the Forecast expects annual mortgage origination levels to be $2.916 trillion in 2020 and $2.524 trillion 2021.

Wipro Gallagher Solutions Partners with DocMagic Inc.

Wipro Gallagher Solutions, Franklin, Tenn., announced a partnership with DocMagic Inc., Torrance, Calif., anabling Wipro Gallagher to advance digital mortgage processes via an integration to DocMagic services.

DocMagic generates documents and enables NetOxygen LOS users to provide borrowers with the ability to receive the Loan Estimate, eSign documents and deliver an accurate Closing Disclosure while ensuring TRID compliance. Bringing the process full circle, users can also seamlessly access DocMagic’s Total eClose platform to execute paperless eClosings via an eClosing workflow from a single-source vendor.

To showcase the new integration and address trends and mounting challenges in the mortgage market, Wipro Gallagher Solutions and DocMagic will hold a webinar on July 22 at 11:00 a.m. CT, click here to register for the webinar.

OpenClose Integrates Its LenderAssist LOS with Radian

OpenClose, West Palm Beach, Fla., completed an interface with Radian Guaranty Inc., Philadelphia, the mortgage insurance (subsidiary of Radian Group Inc. The integration leverages OpenClose’s omni-channel loan origination system and RESTful API suite, allowing Radian customers to order MI without exiting the LenderAssist LOS.

LenderAssist LOS users can now obtain rate quotes and process delegated as well as non-delegated MI certifications. Data returned from Radian automatically populates into the applicable LOS fields, eliminating error prone manual data entry.

Sterling Federal Bank Selects Finastra’s Fusion Phoenix

Finastra, New York announced Sterling Federal Bank, Sterling, Ill., selected Finastra’s Fusion Phoenix to support the bank as it expands its business from one focused primarily on consumer banking and mortgages to one with a strong presence in commercial banking. Fusion Phoenix, run from the Azure cloud, was chosen for its ability to evolve with the bank’s needs and integrate with its existing loan technology from Finastra.

Sterling Federal Bank already uses Finastra’s Fusion Mortgagebot and Fusion LaserPro for consumer loan and mortgage origination, servicing and documentation. Fusion Phoenix will provide integration with these platforms.

FHFA Issues 2019 Report to Congress

The Federal Housing Finance Agency released its annual Report to Congress, covering calendar year 2019. The report addresses several topics related to fulfillment of FHFA’s statutory responsibilities and the financial condition of FHFA’s regulated entities: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks.

The report makes recommendations to Congress about potential legislation to enhance the safety and soundness of the regulated entities and move our nation toward a stronger, more resilient housing finance system  It also provides an overview of FHFA’s policy response to the COVID-19 national emergency.

Link to the 2019 Report to Congress

Fannie Mae: U.S. Economic Growth Expectations Largely Unchanged as Lockdown Restrictions Ease

Despite substantial revisions to the components constituting real GDP, headline growth expectations on a quarterly and full-year basis were only slightly changed compared to last month, according to the latest commentary from the Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research Group.

The forecast now expects second quarter real GDP to fall 37.0 percent annualized, compared to the 36.6 percent decline predicted last month, and full-year 2020 GDP of negative 5.4 percent, one-tenth lower than the prior forecast of negative 5.3 percent. Its forecast for full-year 2021 growth, however, improved by one-tenth to 5.3 percent. The revisions to the underlying components reflect expectations that consumer spending and fixed investment will be stronger than previously forecast but largely offset by weaker net exports and business inventories.

The ESR Group also revised upward its forecast for new and existing home sales in 2020, as well as its forecast for refinance originations. The outlook now calls for $1.8 trillion in refinance activity in 2020, a level that would eclipse the refinance wave of 2012. On the purchase side, many homebuyers who intended to buy a home in March or April appear to have delayed that decision, effectively pushing the spring buying season into the early summer.

“Housing appears to be providing some support to the overall economy, very much in line with our long-stated view that the slower growth of supply compared to demand would likely limit any downside risk to the housing sector,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “While housing took a big hit this quarter, we believe the further reduction of mortgage rates, persistently low levels of supply, and strong buyer sentiment compared to seller sentiment should continue to provide support to home prices and new construction. It is reasonable to consider whether homebuyer confidence will remain comparatively strong as fiscal policy wanes, lessening support for consumer incomes and businesses. This should test the sustainability of the recently observed pickup in consumer spending following the widespread easing of lockdown restrictions. However, it remains to be seen whether the recent multi-week spike in purchase mortgage activity is driven more by a short-term shift in the timing of purchase decisions or by remote working and social distancing measures sparking a longer-term change in housing preferences, which could sustainably elevate housing sales.”

HUD Awards Nearly $40 Million in Housing Counseling Grants

HUD awarded nearly $40 million in housing counseling grants to aid more than one million individuals and families access HUD-approved housing counseling to help them avoid foreclosure and make more informed homebuying and rental choices.

The grants will directly support housing counseling services provided by 204 HUD-approved local housing counseling agencies, national and regional organizations, and state housing finance agencies. HUD-approved housing counseling agencies provide services to address a full range of housing counseling needs. This includes assisting homebuyers in evaluating their readiness for a home purchase and navigating through the homebuying process. Nearly half of the state and local counseling agencies that were awarded HUD grants received preference because they will provide counseling to individuals and families within designated Opportunity Zones.