Seth Appleton: Five Key Themes from the MISMO Winter Summit and What We’re Doing to Address Them

As I reflect on my first MISMO event, the recent MISMO Winter Summit, I was struck by several key themes that emerged from the more than 220 industry participants who collaborated and shared their expertise across four days of coffee talks, panel discussions and workgroup meetings.

Seth Appleton

Here are 5 Key Themes from the MISMO Winter Summit and how the MISMO community is addressing them.

  1. MISMO is at the center of the industry’s digital transformation efforts.

The Winter Summit sessions highlighted the year-round work that MISMO, the industry’s standards organization, is doing to accelerate the digital future. The diverse participation brought to life how MISMO is leading efforts and bringing the key people and organizations together to create a better digital mortgage experience for consumers and all parties involved in a real estate transaction.

MISMO serves a unique role as the central point for collaboration among lenders, servicers, regulators, insuring and guaranteeing agencies, GSEs and technology providers enabling the industry to achieve a more seamless and productive digital future.

During my 1:1 conversation with MISMO Board chairman Kurt Pfotenhauer on 2021 priorities, we discussed how MISMO is ramping up its capacity to “do more, better, faster” when it comes to digital mortgages through the rollout of a new Innovation Investment Fee. The fee is a $0.75 assessment for each new loan – so an organization that originates 1,000 loans will receive a bill for $750 (calculated as $0.75 times 1,000 loans registered on the MERS® System). Invoices are being sent out to lenders in early February and fee proceeds will be used to fund next generation MISMO initiatives that will provide value to the industry far in excess of the investment being made by solving key business challenges. 

2. MISMO plays a crucial role in leveraging tech to solve key business challenges.

Our Tech Tuesday session focused on the need to remove friction in order to achieve a more seamless mortgage process. The participants included Rajesh Bhat, Co-Founder and CEO of Roostify; Tanya Brennan, Managing Partner at Phoenix Outcomes; Steven Smith, CEO at Finicity and moderator Dominick Marchetti, CTO at Guaranteed Rate.

Rajesh summarized the need for MISMO to “own and control the narrative” as the industry digitizes and collects more data. “We need MISMO to work with industry participants to expand the dataset and to understand how that expanded dataset is being used and to automate aspects of the origination experience and be able to support it as it proliferates and scales quickly,” Bhat stated.

The executives also highlighted how the mortgage industry needs to address consumers’ growing digital expectations, including access to open data, and to work to streamline the process for digital mortgages. You’ll hear how MISMO is working to address these challenges in theme #4 below.

3. Government agencies, enterprises and regulators are basing their digital initiatives on MISMO standards.

“Agency Spotlight” presentations from the Federal Housing Administration, Ginnie Mae and the GSEs indicated the central role MISMO plays in digital adoption efforts.

Artie Chin, Chief Digital Services Officer with HUD, previewed FHA Catalyst and its goal to align with the rest of the mortgage industry by adopting application programming interfaces (APIs) for accepting all major MISMO industry-led standard datasets such as the Uniform Loan Application Dataset and the Uniform Closing Dataset. FHA Catalyst supports file formats that use the MISMO 3.4 dataset, an industry standard of information, including data and documentation, needed to support mortgage industry business processes and transactions.

Tamara Togans, VP of Enterprise Data Management, showcased Ginnie Mae’s MISMO adoption collaboration model. Ginnie Mae’s single-family pool delivery dataset is a top priority of the agency as is MISMO adoption and collaboration.

Professionals from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac highlighted how the GSEs are collaborating with MISMO on the rollout of the Uniform Mortgage Data Program and Uniform Residential Loan Application.

These sessions brought to life the fact that MISMO is the only organization where lenders have a seat at the table to work directly with the government and the GSEs to shape consensus around standards. 

4. MISMO’s priorities are aligned with the industry’s needs.

Several key initiatives for MISMO in 2021 were promoted throughout the Winter Summit.

As a quick recap, these key initiatives include:

–Supporting the progression of digital mortgages in the industry, including more certifications, SMART Doc® and digital mortgage.

–Enabling interoperability when exchanging data, including the MISMO industry loan application dataset and closing instructions.

–Building next generation technologies.

–Creating servicing solutions, including servicing transfers and servicing portfolio risk and retention.

5. We welcome and encourage the biggest possible “industry tent” to help us all achieve the goal of fully digital mortgages.

MISMO is working to remove unnecessary steps in the mortgage process to save everyone time and money.

This challenge was discussed throughout the Lenders’ Perspectives session featuring John Hedlund, Chief Operating Office at Amerihome Mortgage Company; Michael Wood, Credit Risk Executive, Consumer Bank at Bank of American; Suzanne Garwood, Executive Director/Assistant General Counsel at Chase and moderator Pete Carroll, Executive, Public Policy & Industry Relations at Core Logic.

Michael Wood recognized that “this pandemic has brought to life that we are in a digital age. As this younger generation continues to progress, digital is all they know.” He highlighted how MISMO remote online notarization “took off” this year, that it encouraged digital adoption and leads to “what’s next” opportunities like eClosings. “The better data we have the better decisions we will make – from originations to servicing,” he added.

John Hedlund highlighted the need for continuous improvement to innovate processes. “Every day we are looking at our businesses and asking how we can use tech to remove a manual process. We want to improve quality and speed return times and tech is a key driver. You need a merger of tech, process redesign and people, who are the most important resource.”

We thank all who participated in the MISMO Winter Summit and all the MISMO volunteers who are building the industry’s future with us.

Please contact us at for information on any of our MISMO initiatives or workgroups. And plan to join us for our Spring Summit in June.