Industry Briefs Oct. 16, 2020

FormFree Earns U.S. Patent for Approach to Credit Decisioning

FormFree, Athens, Ga., has been granted Patent Number 10,769,723 for its proprietary ‘Systems and Methods for Electronic Account Certification and Enhanced Credit Reporting’ by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The patent is expected to cover FormFree’s technology, which analyzes direct-source financial data to determine a consumer’s ability to repay any type of loan, offers a more accurate and comprehensive measurement of ability to pay than traditional credit scoring.

FormFree is a fintech company whose products AccountChek and Passport encourage lenders to view borrower ability to pay more holistically. FormFree uses a paperless experience that reduces origination timelines by up to 20 days and offers automated analysis and standardized delivery to lenders and investors using a secure ReIssueKey.

OpenClose Increases Credit Union Clients

OpenClose, West Palm Beach, Fla., said an increasing number of credit unions and credit union service organizations are leveraging its SaaS-based platform to elevate member service and operate their mortgage divisions with greater efficiency.

The OpenClose suite for credit unions and CUSOs includes a digital mortgage point-of-sale platform; fully browser-based LOS; a flexible, natively built product and pricing engine; business intelligence, analytics and reporting software; optical character recognition capability; mobile device accessibility; and a RESTful API suite for simple, low-cost integrations.

Rentec Direct Publishes New Report Showing Impact of COVID-19 on Rent Payments

Rentec Direct, Grants Pass, Ore., published a new rental trends report exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on rental payment behavior during October. Aggregated anonymous data collected over the past eight months was used to analyze trends in the number of rent payments received nationwide and online rental payment behavior.

For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, Rentec data show a slight increase in the number of rent payments received nationwide by landlords and property managers. After seeing the biggest drop in rent payments received since the onset of the pandemic in September, October saw a 7% increase in the number of rent payments received nationwide by landlords and property managers. However, the numbers for October are still 28% lower than the same period in March, prior to the onset of the pandemic, which means renters are still struggling to pay rent.

The report also noted online rent payments saw the biggest increase since the onset of the pandemic: Of tenants who pay rent electronically, nationwide rent payments received in October 2020 are more than 4% higher than online payments received for the same period in March. This is the biggest jump online rent payments have seen since the onset of the pandemic. When compared to the 28% decrease in total rent payments received for October, it is clear that online rent payment options dramatically increase the likelihood of paying rent on time and in full.

Ginnie Mae Fiscal Year 2020 MBS Issuance Jumps to $748 Billion

Ginnie Mae, Washington, D.C., said more than 2.8 million households secured affordable homeownership and rental housing in the fiscal year that ended September 30 because of the record $748 billion in Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities issued in the year, fueled by historically low mortgage rates and strong demand for housing.

Ginnie Mae, the largest source of mortgage liquidity for first-time homebuyers, delivered record breaking volume to finance its government guaranteeing and insuring partners: the Federal Housing Administration; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Agriculture and HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing. The previous record was $504 billion in 2017.

A breakdown of September issuance of $75.76 billion includes $72.24 billion of Ginnie Mae II MBS and $3.52 billion of Ginnie Mae I MBS, which includes $3.36 billion of loans for multifamily housing. For the fiscal year, $712.86 billion of Ginnie Mae II and $35.66 billion of Ginnie Mae I MBS were issued, including $30.74 billion in loans for multifamily housing. Ginnie Mae’s total outstanding principal balance at September 30 of $2.118 trillion is an increase from $2.093 trillion in September 2019.

WFG Lender Services Launches MyHome Exchange for Mortgage Lending

WFG Lender Services, Portland, Ore., released MyHome Exchange. Originally introduced in 2015 for residential resale transaction participants, MyHome Exchange is WFG’s first MyHome suite offering developed specifically for use in the refinance segment.

MyHome brings mortgage transaction participants together within a single ecosystem, enhancing communication and transparency, resulting in a better borrower experience. MyHome streamlines the loan process and enhances throughput by eliminating duplicate touchpoints, enabling pro-active communication and facilitating data and document collection, storage and sharing.

Rocket Mortgage Introduces New Tech Platform for Real Estate Agents

Rocket Companies, Detroit, launched “Rocket Pro Insight,” a new technology platform providing real estate agents real-time updates on the status of their clients’ mortgages.

Through both a website and mobile app, real estate professionals will have transparency into the loan experience. They can see where each loan is in the process, the terms of their clients’ loans, if additional documentation is needed and when it will close.

Latter & Blum Inc. Partner with Adwerx Enterprise Automation Platform

Latter & Blum Inc., New Orleans, implemented the Adwerx Enterprise Automation Platform to automate online ads for all new listings, the use of website retargeting and streaming TV advertising.

The Adwerx Enterprise Automation Platform delivers comprehensive digital advertising strategies that are easy to create and deploy, while enabling brokerage leaders to recruit and retain top talent. With a service that is simple and efficient, agents can focus on the human relationships that build their business.

eXp World Holdings Expands Residential Real Estate Network to South Africa

eXp World Holdings, Bellingham, Wash., announced expansion of its brokerage model into South Africa under the eXp South Africa banner. The addition of residential and commercial brokerage operations in South Africa represents the fourth international expansion for the U.S.-headquartered company. In addition to its robust U.S. presence, eXp Realty also operates in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, with more than 35,000 agents in its global network.

eXp Realty offers a financial model for residential and commercial real estate agents, going beyond just commissions to provide its agents with revenue share and additional equity programs that include opportunities for stock awards. The partnership model also offers proprietary marketing resources, including the company’s cloud-based virtual environment and customized technology platform that enhances virtual prospecting, sales, training and communications for agents.

Enterprise Housing Credit Investments Closes $296M Equity Fund for Affordable Housing

Enterprise Housing Credit Investments, Columbia, Md., closed a $295.5 million multi-investor Low-Income Housing Tax Credit fund to support creation of 2,657 housing units, most of which will be affordable, across 30 properties in 16 states nationwide.

Enterprise Housing Partners Fund XXXIII comprises 11 investors and is the largest housing credit fund closed to date in 2020 nationwide.

The 30 properties in the fund are spread across U.S. regions:

•           Northeast (Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey)

•           Mid-Atlantic (Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina)

•           Midwest (Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin)

•           Great Plains (Montana, North Dakota)

•           Pacific Northwest (Oregon)

•           South (Florida, Texas)

•           Southwest (California)

More than half of the 30 properties in the fund include apartments designed and designated for individuals and families with special needs, including veterans, people experiencing homelessness and those with physical and developmental disabilities.

Freddie Mac Prices $535 Million Multifamily K-Deal

Freddie Mac, McLean, Va., priced a new offering of Structured Pass-Through K Certificate multifamily mortgage-backed securities. The company said it expects to issue $535 million in K Certificates (K-SG1 Certificates), which should settle on or about October 16, 2020.

Per the company’s sustainability bonds framework, the proceeds of Freddie Mac’s sustainability bonds will finance multifamily properties that finance affordable housing to low-to moderate-income families, may have features or be located in areas that further economic opportunity for residents and/or may include certain environmental impact features.

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC served as Co-Lead Managers and Joint Bookrunners. CastleOak Securities L.P., Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Mizuho Securities USA LLC and Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. co-managed the process.

MCT Launches Business Intelligence Platform

MCT, San Diego launched its Business Intelligence Platform, a web-based analytics platform designed to enable lenders’ to understand the market, optimize their loan sales and improve performance relative to their peers.

MCT Business Intelligence aggregates mortgage pipeline and loan sale data from MCTlive!, the capital markets software platform used by MCT staff and clients, to provide strategic insights to MCT clients in the form of customizable reports and illustrative charts.

VIP Mortgage Implements Surefire Power Messaging by Top of Mind

Arizona-based independent mortgage lender VIP Mortgage reported it generated hundreds of extra deals in Q2 of 2020 through Surefire Power Messaging from Top of Mind Networks, Atlanta, a provider of customer relationship management and marketing automation software for the mortgage lending industry.

Surefire CRM delivers personalized, actionable intelligence throughout the entire homeownership lifecycle to every client and prospect. Launched in April, Power Messaging is a Surefire CRM feature that makes it easy for lenders to engage prospects and customers with personal and timely text message communications, giving lenders control over when, to whom and under which circumstances messages are sent. Lenders have the ability to automate text communication using conditional rules and advanced workflows. 

SimpleNexus Extends Ellie Mae Integration with Hybrid eClosings for Mortgage Lenders and Borrowers

SimpleNexus, Lehi, Utah, announced the availability of its recently launched hybrid eClosing feature on the Ellie Mae Digital Lending Platform. 

The Ellie Mae Digital Lending Platform enables lenders and investors to engage homebuyers and efficiently originate, close, sell and purchase loans that maximize ROI across their business all from a single system of record. The platform delivers a digital mortgage experience across the entire mortgage workflow for every channel, every loan transaction and every customer type. 

New American Funding Partners with Zigzy

New American Funding, Tustin, Calif., announced a partnership with Zigzy, a technology startup focused on the real estate and mortgage industry, that will see New American Funding integrate Zigzy’s signature real estate offering, Townify, into its lending operations.

Townify offers a “one-stop shop” for real estate agents, allowing them to host virtual open houses, manage their pipeline; automate branded marketing; offer a custom-branded home shopping app to their clients; manage social media content; and monitor real estate production data. The platform also gives real estate agents real-time loan status, plus access to key contacts on the transaction, including loan originator, listing agent, title company, escrow officer and more.

Freddie Mac: Housing Market Continues to Rebound as Mortgage Rates Hover at Record Lows

Total mortgage origination volumes increased over the last several months as many homeowners took advantage of historically low mortgage rates, reported Freddie Mac, McLean, Va.

“Even as the economy faces challenges from the coronavirus pandemic, the housing market has been showing strength,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said in the firm’s Quarterly Forecast. “Refinance activity is solid and homebuyer demand continues, resulting in increased sales and an acceleration in house price growth.”

The forecast also said:
–The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is expected to be 3.2 percent in 2020 and 3.0 percent in 2021.
–House price growth is expected to increase to a 5.5 percent annual rate this year. In 2021, that rate is expected to be 2.6 percent.
–Home sales are expected to increase this year to 6.2 million homes and decrease next year to 6.1 million homes.
–Purchase originations are expected to increase to $1.414 trillion in 2020 and $1.445 trillion in 2021.
–Refinance originations are expected to equal $2.168 trillion this year before falling to $1.240 trillion in 2021.
–Overall, the forecast expects annual mortgage origination levels to be $3.582 trillion in 2020 and $2.685 trillion 2021.