Industry Briefs Feb. 25, 2021
Finicity Launches Mortgage Verification Service
Finicity, Salt Lake City, announced its one-touch Mortgage Verification Service, enabling lenders to allow consumers to permission data so lenders can verify assets, income and employment in a single interaction. The verification is accepted by both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
Finicity’s open banking platform leverages data available from financial institutions and payroll processors to provide accurate, real-time insights into a borrower’s current assets, income and employment. The MVS offers flexible flows for different mortgage lending use cases — from refinancing to new purchases, qualified to non-qualified mortgages. It creates a FCRA-compliant verification experience that enables consumers to digitally permission use of their financial data with one touch, through Finicity Connect, to validate key financial suitability requirements of a mortgage application.
SitusAMC Expands Warehouse Lending Offering with Acquisition of Street Resource Group
SitusAMC Holdings Corp., New York, a provider of technology and services to the real estate finance industry, acquired Street Resource Group Inc. and its Warehouse Loan System. Terms were not disclosed.
The acquisition expands SitusAMC’s warehouse lending technology offering, pairing WLS with SitusAMC’s existing ProMerit system (acquired via the MBMS Inc. acquisition in 2019). The combined offerings will support more than 60 clients representing $3 trillion in loan financing during 2020. SitusAMC will retain the SRG team, and SRG Founder and CEO Stanley Street will serve as Vice Chairman of SitusAMC Technologies.
Founded in 1986, SRG is technology provider to the warehouse lending sector, supporting more than 1,500 independent mortgage originators and more than 14,000 users. WLS is designed to increase operational and customer service efficiency, improve compliance and help institutions implement best practices across their warehouse lending operations.
FHA Extends Single-Family Policies Through June
The Federal Housing Administration announced extensions of a set of policy flexibilities for single-family lenders and servicers designed to maintain new mortgage originations for homebuyers and allow 203(k) rehabilitation projects to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary policies will be in place through June 30.
Through Mortgagee Letter 2021-06 and Mortgagee Letter 2021-07, FHA is extending the following temporary policies for Single Family Title II forward and Home Equity Conversion Mortgages:
–Use of an exterior-only appraisal scope of work; and
–Re-verification of employment, verification of self-employment income, and verification of rental income.
For Single Family Title II forward 203(k) rehabilitation mortgages only, FHA is also extending temporary policies for the administration of 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program escrow accounts for borrowers in forbearance.
Study: Military Servicemembers Display Financial Preparedness During COVID-19 While Borrowing Activity Increases
According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling 2020 Military Financial Readiness survey, sponsored by Wells Fargo and conducted by Harris Poll, it is clear among military households that their professional training left them better prepared for crisis management during the past year. With a continued reliance on an uncertain gig economy and a trend toward increased reliance on borrowing, military and veteran populations see a distinct mix of challenges and opportunities when it comes to personal finances.
The study found while nearly three-quarters of servicemembers and more than half of veterans credit their military training for their pandemic preparedness, more active-duty military households have been impacted financially by COVID-19 than veterans and others in the general population. That level of preparedness may come in handy as reliance on the gig economy remains high for military households during a time when the private sector economy has not fully recovered from the initial impact of the pandemic.
“Financial readiness of servicemembers and veterans has been a key focus of our work since the very beginning,” said Rebecca Steele, President & CEO of the NFCC. “By clearly outlining the unique financial challenges of military families and veterans, our survey presents a roadmap that helps us take action based on areas of greatest need.”
Zillow: Vaccine Could Boost Listings Ahead of Home Shopping Season
Zillow, Seattle, said a COVID-19 vaccine is likely to add more buyers and sellers to an already red-hot real estate market. The Zillow survey reported a large majority (70%) of homeowners say they would be comfortable moving to a new home after widespread COVID-19 vaccine distribution, a meaningful bump from the 52% who currently feel that way. That amounts to homeowners in more than 14 million homes feeling newly comfortable moving after widespread vaccination.2
Among homeowners who said the vaccine would impact their decision to sell, nearly four-in-five (78%) said they expect it will make them more likely to move.
“We expect that the vaccine rollout will likely boost inventory, as sellers become increasingly willing to move despite Covid-19 — resulting in greater numbers of new listings beginning this spring,” says Chris Glynn, principal economist with Zillow. “That injection of inventory could give buyers more options and breathing room in a competitive market. The vaccine, however, will also likely add to already-strong demand, given that most sellers will become buyers as they trade in for a home that better suits their new needs. ”
ConnectPay CEO: APIs to Take Online Banking Services to Next Level
Application programming interfaces—or APIs—have already had a fundamental impact on the digital banking industry by creating grounds for an array of new financial products. According to Marius Galdikas, CEO at ConnectPay, APIs can help further improve financial services, as they create the opportunity to ensure coherent multi-channel services and introduce personalized experiences, fostering repeat usage.
“One crucial consideration for businesses is the consistency at which the services they provide are offered across different digital channels: ‘does it offer the same efficiency, speed, or transparency?’ Galdikas said. “Ensuring a coherent multi-channel experience may very well be the thing that gives the company that competitive edge. This coherence can be achieved by correctly utilizing APIs – a responsibility that falls upon the payment service provider supporting the business.”
ConnectPay launched a new payment initiation service for its merchant customers, enabling it to securely collect funds from customers’ bank accounts. The company is teaming up with Sensedia, which manages complex API ecosystems. Outsourcing an API provider gives more room to focus on innovation, as more resources can be diverted towards the product, instead of building the system from the ground up.
OpenClose Adds Non-QM Guidelines, Pricing Enhancements to Product and Pricing Engine
OpenClose, West Palm Beach, Fla., enriched new program qualification search functionality into its DecisionAssist product and pricing engine to accommodate non-agency and custom non-QM loan programs.
The enhancements extend accurate and instant decisioning results for non-traditional loan programs. OpenClose developed new data points and complex rule structures that support income verification, loan grading, and debt-service-coverage ratio, which have been incorporated into DecisionAssist’ s pricing and eligibility logic. Also added is the ability for lenders to easily load base pricing using FICO range, LTV range and document type. At the foundation of these new enhancements is the OpenClose Investor Data Management System, which also enables data aggregation and ongoing management to support real-time market changes.
Freddie Mac Credit Protects $167.2 Billion of Single-Family Mortgages in 4Q
Freddie Mac, McLean, Va., said its Credit Risk Transfer program transferred credit risk via $4.8 billion of issuance on $167.2 billion of single-family mortgages from U.S. taxpayers to the private sector in the fourth quarter. The issuance included STACR, ACIS, subordination and certain lender risk sharing transactions. In 2020, the company transferred risk via $16.9 billion of issuances on more than $475.8 billion of mortgages.
Through its flagship offerings, Freddie Mac issued $4.2 billion across three STACR and four ACIS transactions in the fourth quarter. Among the notable transactions was the STACR REMIC 2020-DNA5 offering, Freddie Mac’s first Single-Family CRT offering tied to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate. Another was ACIS 2020-SAP1, a standalone ACIS contract featuring 15- to 20-year collateral rather than the typical 20- to 30-year collateral.
Since the first CRT transaction in 2013, Freddie Mac’s Single-Family CRT program has cumulatively transferred $67.6 billion in credit risk on $1.9 trillion in mortgages through STACR, ACIS, certain senior subordination securitization structures and certain lender risk sharing transactions. As of December 31, 51 percent of the Single-Family credit guarantee portfolio was covered by credit enhancement.
zavvie Launches New Seller Preferences Report
zavvie, Denver, released its Seller Preferences Report, covering all selling services available to homeowners throughout the U.S. from October to December 2020.
Last year, “iBuyers were down but definitely not out,” said Stefan Peterson, zavvie Chief Data Officer and Co-Founder. “iBuyers continued expanding into new markets and are buying higher-priced homes, meeting seller demand, and delivering high seller satisfaction. But the biggest surprise for sellers in 2020 is the rapid emergence of the bridge buy-before-you-sell providers.” The new report provides all the details.
The report looks specifically at activity among iBuyers and the increasing influence of bridge solutions nationwide. It examines offer strength, offer acceptance rates, service fees, average concessions, and time to close for selling solution providers. It is available for free at www.zavvie.com/seller-preferences.
Cirrus Announces Partnership with Manifesto
Cirrus, Evergreen, Colo., a provider of cloud-based document management software, announced a capital investment from Portland and Milwaukee-based branding agency Manifesto, that will also coincide with a corporate branding campaign that Manifesto is leading.
Cirrus’ cloud-based system plays a key role in supporting a more streamlined, user friendly commercial and SMB lending process. By automating collection and collaboration of loan documents, Cirrus’ bank and credit union customers can better manage extensive loan requests and provide quicker access to capital for small businesses as businesses continue to cope with the effects of the pandemic and important in the future as institutions work to grow their business and commercial loan portfolios.
Ginnie Mae Taps Wolters Kluwer eOriginal Technology for Electronic Securitization
Wolters Kluwer Compliance Solutions, Minneapolis, said its newly acquired eOriginal technology platform is helping support Ginnie Mae’s efforts to adopt digital technologies as part of its broader modernization initiative.
Ginnie Mae, an eOriginal client, recently announced a key milestone in its digital journey by guaranteeing securitization of mortgage-backed securities for the first time exclusively through the use of eNotes technology, using the eOrginal platform. The MBS were part of the January issuance cycle and backed by digital pools comprised exclusively of eNotes that closed in December 2020, totaling approximately $24 million in aggregate principal value. By accepting eNotes as valid collateral for loan products issued by the Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and other government entities, Ginnie Mae enables broader acceptance of digital mortgages across the residential lending ecosystem.
The eOriginal platform enables lenders and their partners to create, store and manage digital assets through a leading set of purpose-built electronic signature, closing and vaulting solutions including SmartSign, ClosingCenter and eAsset Management (with connectivity to the MERS eRegistry). The platform enables frictionless, secure and trusted transactions of digital loan assets and is used by all types of lenders including mortgage, auto, consumer, commercial and more.
Lodasoft Offers Single-Click Dual AUS Submissions for Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae
Lodasoft, Livonia, Mich., a Digital Workflow Platform designed by mortgage veterans to revolutionize loan origination and task automation, announced it is now offering single-click submissions of loan data to both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s automated underwriting systems, delivering greater transactional ease and operational efficiency.
Mortgage lenders leveraging Lodasoft will now have the ability to run an application through both systems, with a single click, to quickly identify the best option for the borrower up front. Additionally, the dual-AUS submission and review process will allow lenders to maximize loan fungibility in the secondary market and improve loan quality through automation.