Industry Briefs Sept. 25, 2020
Adwerx Partners with Brown Harris Stevens, Weichert
Real estate entrepreneurs Brown Harris Stevens, New York, launched a customized, personalized and hyperlocal digital advertising strategy with Adwerx. The Adwerx Enterprise Automation Platform seamlessly generates personalized and company branded digital ads to fast-track awareness of every new available listing from each of Brown Harris Stevens’ 55 sales offices.
Adwerx also announced Weichert, Realtors The Space Place is using its Enterprise Automation Platform. As part of the program, the firm leveraged Adwerx’s digital advertising automation to activate personalized and company branded digital ads that fast-track awareness of each new available listing from their five sales offices.
IndiSoft Brings Services, Technology to Credit Union Industry
IndiSoft LLC, Baltimore, is now providing its consulting services to the credit union industry.
Credit unions can use RxOffice Management Solutions, a patented suite of software for residential mortgage originations and servicing quality control, third-party vendor management on the risk side. IndiSoft also offers its National Housing Advocacy Platform to facilitate affordable lending and home retention for credit union members who experience difficulties making mortgage payments resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
IndiSoft has also partnered with FTI Consulting Inc. to provide targeted COVID-19 mortgage servicing risk analysis to assess this complex multi-layered compliance challenge. FTI Consulting is an independent global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations manage change, mitigate risk and resolve disputes with more than 5,800 employees in 27 countries.
FHFA Further Extends Buying Loans in Forbearance & COVID-Related Loan Processing Flexibilities
The Federal Housing Finance Agency said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend buying qualified loans in forbearance and several loan origination flexibilities until October 31. The changes are to ensure continued support for borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency. The flexibilities were set to expire on September 30.
Extended flexibilities include buying qualified loans in forbearance; alternative appraisals on purchase and rate term refinance loans; alternative methods for documenting income and verifying employment before loan closing; and expanding the use of power of attorney to assist with loan closings.
FirstClose Integrates with Simplifile and CSC to Offer e-Recording
FirstClose, Austin, Texas, integrated with Simplifile and CSC to offer full-service and self-service e-recording on the FirstClose ONE platform. Clients can e-record documents directly from the platform.
This integration also allows clients to reduce operational errors, streamline lien perfection processes and secure loans instantly through FirstClose ONE. Users can record documents in minutes on the platform and avoid mailing costs and wasted time while enjoying increased document security.
Plaza Home Mortgage Launches New Correspondent Portal
Plaza Home Mortgage, San Diego, announced a new loan acquisition system that will accelerate loan purchases and make it easier for correspondent clients to do business with Plaza.
The new LAS, known as LINQ, provides correspondents with real time views of conditions and the status of their purchase reviews, allowing them to easily connect, or “link up” with Plaza. Correspondents can use LINQ to lock and re-lock rates instantly and will no longer need to email Plaza’s rate lock desk. LINQ also allows the easy upload of files and data, once deals have closed.
New American Funding Selects LERETA for Tax Services
New American Funding, Pomona, Calif., selected LERETA for tax service.
New American Funding now has access to one of the tax industry’s newest technology in LERETA’s Total Tax Solution a web-based platform designed to integrate loan servicing systems and tax service data, to improve efficiency, accuracy and the transparency of tax service. The platform features dashboards, reporting, workflow management and built-in servicer guidelines for tax payment processing activities.
First American Mortgage Solutions Launches FraudGuard Mortgage Forbearance Indicator
First American Mortgage Solutions LLC, Santa Ana, Calif., launched a new monitoring platform, Mortgage Forbearance Indicator. The MFI is a module available through FraudGuard, First American Mortgage Solutions’ data-driven decision-support tool with more than 20 unique modules and integrated services that helps lenders comply with regulations, improve the speed and efficiency of underwriting reviews and increase loan quality while mitigating against potential risk.
FraudGuard MFI provides integrated ordering by document type or business channel and continual monitoring, which allows better control of third-party data expenses.
FHFA Requests Input on Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2024
The Federal Housing Finance Agency requested input on its Strategic Plan: Fiscal Years 2021-2024, which establishes new goals that are necessary for FHFA to fulfill its statutory duties, including responsibly ending the conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The Plan formalizes FHFA’s, and its regulated entities’, new direction by updating the Agency’s mission, vision, and values, and by establishing three new strategic goals: ensuring safe and sound regulated entities through world-class supervision; fostering competitive, liquid, efficient, and resilient (CLEAR) national housing finance markets; and positioning the Agency as a model of operational excellence by strengthening its workforce and infrastructure.
Input on the Plan is due by October 5, 2020 and should be submitted via www.FHFA.go v [at https://www.fhfa.gov/AboutUs/Contact/Pages/Request-for-Information-Form.aspx].
Verus Mortgage Capital New Prime Jumbo Program
Verus Mortgage Capital, Washington, D.C., introduced its new Prime Jumbo Program that offers low rates for high-valued homes where loan balances exceed agency limits.
VMC’s Prime Jumbo Program’s features include loan amounts up to $3 million, credit scores down to 700, cash-out up to $500K, 90% LTV and PMI is not required. Primary, second homes and investment properties are all eligible.
SitusAMC Acquires Cohen Financial’s Servicing/Asset Management Platform from Truist
SitusAMC Holdings Corp., New York, acquired the third-party loan servicing and asset management platform of Cohen Financial.
The acquisition, which included Cohen’s servicing and asset management clients and 120-plus employees, expanded SitusAMC’s U.S. primary servicing, asset management and special servicing portfolio to nearly 10,000 loans representing more than $130 billion in total unpaid principal balances.
Truist will retain Cohen’s Debt Advisory and Placement platform, which it will migrate under the Grandbridge brand. Truist will remain a banking partner for SitusAMC and its servicing clients.
SitusAMC will integrate the Cohen servicing and asset management platform and employees into its Servicing and Asset Management group. As of August 31, Cohen’s servicing portfolio included nearly 6,900 loans representing more than $34 billion in unpaid principal balances. The combined group will operate as a single consolidated offering under the SitusAMC brand led by SitusAMC’s existing business unit leadership team of Tim Mazzetti, CMB, Head of U.S. Servicing and Asset Management, and Head of Client Service Delivery Dean Wheeler.
Aimco Forms Apartment Income REIT
Apartment Investment and Management Co., Denver, announced plans to separate its business into two separate and distinct publicly traded companies, Apartment Income REIT and Aimco.
AIR, a newly formed self-managed real estate investment trust will provide a simple and transparent way to invest in the multifamily sector: ownership with public market liquidity of a diversified portfolio of apartment communities, with low financial leverage, limited execution risk and sector low management costs. Aimco will retain its growing business of developing and redeveloping apartment communities while also pursuing other accretive transactions.
As part of its longer-term strategy to reduce financial leverage and rebalance its capital allocation among target markets, Aimco also announced it entered into a ten-year joint venture with a passive institutional investor to own jointly 12 multifamily properties with 4,051 units in California. The properties were valued at $2.4 billion, or $592,000 per unit, equivalent to an implied NOI cap rate of approximately 4.2 percent and an implied free cash flow cap rate of approximately 4.0 percent (based upon NOI and free cash flow annualized for the six months ended June 30). The properties secure non-recourse property debt of $1.22 billion with a weighted average interest rate of 3.17% and have an implied equity value of $1.18 billion.
Promontory MortgagePath Launches Mortgage Origination, Fulfillment Platform for Community Financial Institutions
Promontory MortgagePath LLC, Danbury, Conn., launched Transform, a new service delivery model bundling licensed loan coordinators, point-of-sale technology and fulfillment services.
With Transform, community banks and lenders can cost-effectively offer mortgage services to their customers without adding full-time sales or operations staff. Promontory MortgagePath’s new service model complements its suite of existing offerings, which work in conjunction with a financial institution’s existing loan origination staff to provide loan processing, underwriting and closing support powered by digital mortgage technology.
Using Transform, the financial institution handles all prospecting and lead generation activities, including advertising and marketing its mortgage offerings. As customers express interest, the financial institution passes the customer to licensed Promontory MortgagePath loan coordinators, who take the application using Promontory MortgagePath’s POS platform and provide on-going origination assistance to the potential borrower on behalf of the financial institution and in the financial institution’s name. From there, Promontory MortgagePath’s fulfillment team processes and underwrites the loan according to the lender’s lending standards and, if approved by the lender, prepares the loan for closing.
Evolve Mortgage Services to Hire Hundreds of Underwriters by End of Year
Evolve Mortgage Services, Frisco Texas, says it will hire hundreds of full-time underwriters by end of 2020. Evolve has hired 120 underwriters during the past 90 days alone and will fill another 100 permanent underwriter positions for agency and non-QM loans by the end of the year. The new employees will work remotely from their homes across the country, as Evolve has used a work-from-home business model for more than 20 years.
Evolve requires underwriting applicants to have five years of experience and a thorough knowledge of agency guidelines. Applicants will also be required to analyze “B” credit profiles including income, assets and collateral value; analyze all types of tax returns; and work with agency automated underwriting systems. Employment is on a W-2 basis.
Gateway Opens New Mortgage Center in Texas, New Jersey
Gateway Mortgage Group, Jenks, Okla., opened a new mortgage center in Texas to meet increased demand from local communities for home financing. The new opening in Frisco, brings Gateway’s footprint to eight in the DFW Metroplex. Gateway has more than 40 centers in Texas and more than 150 mortgage centers across the United States.
Gateway also opened a new mortgage center in New Jersey to meet increased demand from local communities for home financing. The new opening in Robbinsville, bring Gateway’s footprint to 14 centers in New Jersey.
Ginnie Mae Announces Pooling Restrictions for LIBOR-based Adjustable-Rate Mortgages
Ginnie Mae, Washington, D.C., announced restrictions on pooling of adjustable-rate mortgages with rates indexed to the London Interbank Offered Rate. Details of the restrictions, which are effective with security issuances dated on or after January 21, 2021, are published in All Participants Memorandum 20-12 (APM 20-12).
This guidance follows Ginnie Mae’s adoption of the recommendations of the Alternative Rates Reference Committee relating to fallback language for new issuances of LIBOR floating rate securities.
“These changes underscore Ginnie Mae’s commitment to managing risk and keeping the MBS program current with developments in the capital markets” said Executive Vice President Eric Blankenstein.
The Orogen Group, Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. Sign Definitive Agreement
The Orogen Group, New York, and Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. announced a definitive agreement in which Orogen will acquire a majority stake in Westcor, the nation’s largest privately held title insurance company.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.
Appraisal Logistics Launches PropertyVision Live Social Distancing Collateral Valuation Technology
Appraisal Logistics, Washington, D.C., created a new version of its Property Vision appraisal inspection tool that allows appraisers to work with consumers in real time to get a better view of properties they are appraising. PropertyVision Live is available now and offers a safe way to get accurate collateral valuations in the age of COVID.
Like Property Vision, which was launched in August, PropertyVision Live gives lenders fully compliant real estate valuations that are acceptable to agency investors and meet the GSEs’ guidelines for collateral valuation during the COVID-19 crisis. PropertyVision Live allows appraisers to speak directly to consumers and view a live stream of the home as they take interior photographs of their home.