Industry Briefs Apr. 27, 2021

Fannie Mae: Rapid Acceleration in Economic Growth Expected as Social Restrictions Ease

Fannie Mae, Washington, D.C., said full-year 2021 real GDP growth expectations improved to 6.8 percent, including 9.1 percent annualized growth in the second quarter, due primarily to the continued easing of virus-related social restrictions and stimulus-driven consumer spending.

While housing demand remains strong, the Fannie Mae ESR Group revised its annual home sales forecast slightly downward due to continued supply constraints and a modestly higher outlook for mortgage rates. Even so, home sales and purchase mortgage originations in 2021 are expected to rise 6.2 percent and 14.5 percent, respectively, year over year. Additionally, given the continued supply-demand imbalance, home prices are forecast to rise 8.0 percent in 2021 – up from the previously forecast 4.2 percent – before decelerating to 2.9 percent annualized in 2022, as measured by the FHFA Home Price Index.

“The ramp-up we’d previously forecast for the economy is underway, as evidenced by, among other measures, increasing airline passenger reservations and restaurant bookings,” said Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Vaccinations are continuing to roll out, and consumers appear to be increasingly looking toward post-pandemic life. While inflationary pressure is growing, our latest forecast update suggests that in the near-term interest rates will remain steady at borrower-friendly levels. In fact, despite the recent increases, mortgage rates remain near historical lows, which we expect will help maintain strong housing demand in 2021.”

Redfin Reports Home Prices Surge 17% Amid Historic Housing Shortage

Redfin, Seattle, said the median home-sale price increased 17% year over year to a record high $341,250 as of Apr. 11.

Redfin also reported asking prices reached a record-high $353,750. Homes that sold during the most recent four-week period were on the market for a median of 23 days, the shortest time on market since 2012. This was 15 days fewer than the same period in 2020. Forty-three percent of homes sold for more than their list price, a record high. This was 17 percentage points higher than the same period a year earlier.

The report said the average sale-to-list price ratio increased 2.1 percentage points year over year to a record high of 100.7%, meaning the average home sold for 0.7% more than its asking price. Fifty-nine percent of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within the first two weeks on the market, another record; 46% of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within one week of hitting the market, also a record.

Black Knight: Little Movement in Forbearance Data

Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla., published its weekly snapshot of daily loan-level forbearance activity from Black Knight’s McDash Flash daily performance data set. It reported after last week’s sizable drop, a barely perceptible movement in the number of active forbearance plans occurred–just 1,000 fewer from a week ago. Plan exits fell to their lowest level in seven weeks as servicers found themselves in between March and April expiration volumes.

Starts hit their highest level in three weeks, but that was primarily due to re-starts, as a portion of the nearly half million homeowners who’d left forbearance in recent weeks likely reached out to their servicers to reinstate their plans. New plan starts remain near post-pandemic lows.

As of April 13, Black Knight reported 2.3 million homeowners in COVID-19-related forbearance plans, representing 4.4% of all mortgage holders.

QuoteWizard: Broad Disparity Between Median Home Price, Median Income

QuoteWizard, Seattle, a LendingTree company, released a report tracking the growing disparity between housing costs and income. It found the median price of a home is up nearly 70% ($129,000) in the past decade. Median income, however, is only up 30% ($14,685) nationwide.

“Owning a home is supposed to be the American Dream. But with housing prices rising so much faster than income, you have to wonder if owning a home is still a reality for many people,” said Nick VinZant, Sr. Research Analysts and Insurance Expert with QuoteWizard.

The report is available at

Discover Home Loans, Ncontracts Partner

Ncontracts, Brentwood, Tenn., a provider of integrated risk management and lending compliance for the financial services industry, announced that its QuestSoft lending solutions team collaborated with Discover Financial Services on a new automated prequalification review. This will help streamline loan originations while ensuring compliance with all federal, state and local rate limits.

Discover worked with Ncontracts and QuestSoft to create the LeadER review, a compliance system that automatically adjusts the pricing when the rate exceeds high-cost thresholds, so applicants have the right price quote up front. The new system also evaluates applicable index values while calculating and verifying APR and payment streams for multiple side-by-side quotes and estimating calculations for all types of loans.

The LeadER review is available now through QuestSoft’s Compliance EAGLE platform.

BAI: Significant Shifts in Past 12 Months for Banking Preferences by Generation

Research by BAI, Chicago, found consumer banking preferences are shifting and behaviors are evolving by generation. The research reveals how the pandemic has accelerated changes in banking behaviors among Baby Boomers (Boomers+), Generation X (Gen X), Millennials and Generation Z (Gen Z) customers. Trends include:

•           The fastest way to capture the loyalty of Gen Z is through around-the-clock customer service. When asked how their digital apps can be improved, access to 24/7 customer service was the number one response.

•           44% percent of Gen Z respondents rank debit card as their number one preferred payment choice, followed by cash at 28%. Mobile Payments ranked last among all generations.

•           75% percent of Millennials note they would switch financial services organizations for a better mobile experience, marking a 28% increase year-over-year and the highest of any generational group.

•           Gen X trusts their primary financial services provider more than any other generation. And, while only 39% of Gen X consumers have experienced fraud or identity theft, 95% believe their primary financial services “did enough to resolve fraudulent activity on my account quickly and efficiently.”

•           Only 63% of Boomers+ feel their primary financial services provider will protect them from fraud and identify theft, which is the lowest among the generations.

LoanLogics Introduces LoanLogics IDEA for MSR Transfer 

LoanLogics, Jacksonville, Fla., released LoanLogics IDEA for MSR Transfer, a new platform that automates document processing and data extraction for mortgage servicers and banks when acquiring mortgage servicing rights.

LoanLogics IDEA for MSR Transfer normalizes document naming and stacking order across any number of sellers to streamline MSR acquisitions and creates an automated repeatable process to onboard loans into a buyer’s servicing system. Using accurate, machine learning-based automated document recognition technology and automated data extraction, the platform can extract data from more than 700 data fields on more than 30 most common critical loan documents for MSR acquisition.

Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp. Levels Up Branding Strategy with Adwerx Enterprise

Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp. is leveraging Adwerx’s digital advertising automation technology to power online ads for its loan officers through Adwerx Enterprise. These campaigns will reach the website visitors, custom audiences and local markets of top loan officers with hyper-targeted ads across social media platforms and premium websites visited by potential clients.

The Adwerx Enterprise Platform delivers digital advertising strategies that are easy to create and deploy, so loan officers can focus on the human relationships that build their business.

MX Helps FormFree Speed Up Loan Approval Process, Close More Than 1 Million Loans

MX, SiliconSlopes, Utah, implemented API and token-based connections with FormFree, a provider of digital asset verification.

FormFree improves lenders’ ability to make more informed decisions about borrowers and minimizes lenders’ risk while creating a seamless loan application experience for borrowers. By using MX’s modern connections, the average aggregation time for FormFree connections decreased by 89 percent to 22 seconds from an average of 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

FormFree leverages MX’s Data Aggregation and Data Enhancement products to automate lenders’ verification of applicants’ identity, assets, income and employment. Since 2018, when FormFree began its partnership with MX, FormFree has used MX’s tools to help lenders close more than 1 million loans. Overall, FormFree has helped lenders calculate, verify and quantify what consumers can afford for over $2 trillion in mortgage loans since its founding in 2008.

Maxwell Announces Partnership with Mortgage Loan Origination System Byte Software

Digital mortgage platform and fulfillment provider Maxwell Financial Labs Inc., Denver, partnered with Byte Software, a mortgage loan origination system that streamlines the mortgage production process. Maxwell’s digital mortgage point-of-sale will connect to Byte’s loan origination system via an API integration.

The integration of Maxwell and Byte will allow users to connect their data and work within Maxwell with their LOS, creating a simple, intuitive process for lenders and borrowers. This includes acceptance of the new URLA 3.4 compliant loan application. This connectivity is critical in Maxwell’s commitment to a relationship-focused mortgage experience, allowing the lending team to spend more time providing vital expertise to the borrower and performing value-add activities rather than working on lower-impact tasks.

ReverseVision Selects AWS as Cloud Provider

ReverseVision, San Diego, adopted Amazon Web Services, Inc as its preferred cloud provider. The move to AWS is part of ReverseVision’s platform transformation, which aims to establish reverse mortgage loans as mainstream lending programs by bridging the technology gap between reverse and forward lending systems with its flexible, cloud-enabled architecture.

Leveraging AWS enables ReverseVision to increase agility of its reverse mortgage lending platform. The scalability of AWS makes it possible for ReverseVision to accommodate large volume fluctuations without compromising platform performance. Additionally, AWS provides ReverseVision the capacity to build and scale a high-performing API environment that supports dynamic connectivity with lenders’ full tech stacks.

Credit Plus Integrates with LendingWise

Credit Plus, Salisbury, Md., integrated with LendingWise, a LOS software platform that serves the commercial lending and private money lending industries. Integrated with residential lending loan origination platforms, Credit Plus now moves into the commercial and private money lending spaces with this new integration.

 The new integration enables commercial and private money loan officers that are using LendingWise to streamline their processes and obtain a business owner’s credit report from Credit Plus without leaving the LendingWise platform.

Black Knight’s Early Warning Suite Monitors Origination Pipelines for Properties Potentially Impacted by Natural Disasters

Black Knight Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., launched its Early Warning Suite to help lenders identify and avoid closing on loans affected by natural disasters, while enhancing performance management capabilities and improving communications with borrowers.

The AIP Early Warning Suite helps protect a lender’s origination pipeline from losses and costs by highlighting the potential impact of natural disasters. Analytics are delivered through AIP’s pre-configured data visualizations, so lenders have the insight needed to proactively take action at the right time to keep the transaction on track.

Fitch: Leisure Activity to Rebound Faster than Commuting as Vaccination Coverage Grows

Fitch Ratings, New York, expects travel for in-person retail and recreation to increase more rapidly than travel to workplaces as lockdowns are eased once vaccinations reach critical mass. Retail and recreation movement has rebounded faster than workplace movement over the past month.

Fitch said movement to the workplace is also stickier because it depends on the policies set by the employer around flexible work and has not been restricted as strongly during lockdowns. The average weekly U.S. workplace movement has remained close to 25% below the baseline since summer 2020, even as restrictions have eased and vaccinations have been rolled out to a growing part of the population. This reflects the effect of flexible working when easing restrictions would otherwise allow for travel to the workplace.

Ginnie Mae Reports March MBS Issuance of $82 Billion

Ginnie Mae, Washington, D.C., said its mortgage-backed securities issuance volume rose to $82.25 billion in March, up from $77 billion issued in February. Issuance continues to be fueled by across-the-board demand for government-backed mortgages as consumers increase home refinance and home purchase volume during this period of very low interest rates. Ginnie Mae estimated 294,072 homes and apartment units were financed by its guaranteed mortgage-backed securities in March.

 A breakdown of March issuance of $82.25 billion includes $76.81 billion of Ginnie Mae II MBS and $5.44 billion of Ginnie Mae I MBS, which includes $5.35 billion of loans for multifamily housing. Ginnie Mae’s total outstanding principal balance as of March 31 was $2.1 trillion, not significantly different from $2.105 trillion in February, and down slightly from the March 2020 level of $2.14 trillion.

Steven J. Sless Group of PRMI Partners with Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts

The Steven J. Sless Group of Primary Residential Mortgage, Owings Mills, Md., formed an affinity partnership with the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts.

Founded in 1993, IDFA provides specialized training to accounting, financial and legal professionals in the field of pre-divorce financial planning. In addition to providing video content and contributing articles to IDFA’s quarterly journal, Sless’ team will speak at IDFA’s National Conference, host a webinar where members can receive CFP credits and be a continuing education program sponsor.