Industry Briefs July 22, 2021

New American Funding Selects Covius Document Solutions

Covius, Denver, announced New American Funding implemented Covius Document Solutions for its default servicing operations. Specifically, New American will use Covius’ 50-state template library and on-demand printing services to prepare and deliver compliant pre-foreclosure/breach letters.

This integration is part of Covius Connected, a blueprint for enhancing clients’ digital experience by increasing transparency, consistency, performance and ease of integration. All Covius Connected services are intended to be self-serviceable, flexible, scalable, fault tolerant and secure.

Cirrus Undergoes Company Rebrand

Cirrus, Evergreen, Colo., a provider of cloud-based document management software, completed a rebranding effort. Coinciding with unveiling of the new brand, Cirrus launched an updated website, as well as its Intelligent Application enhancement, which enables filtering and routing tools for multiple onboarding use cases within a financial institution. In addition, Cirrus announced a major upcoming messaging enhancement within the platform.

Cirrus’ UI messaging enhancements simplify the communication and collaboration of documents required when onboarding new and existing customers through an inbox-style design. The platform’s UI messaging format includes functionality of Cirrus’ standard checklists, ability to share documents and tools to request additional information, such as a file request. The updates also allow lenders to store documents for individual contacts, auto-populating necessary documents should a customer choose to open a different account or a new type of loan.

Planet Home Lending Partners with Army Scholarship Foundation

Planet Home Lending LLC, Meriden, Conn., partnered with the Army Scholarship Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides college scholarships to children of current and former members of the U.S. Army and spouses of currently serving soldiers.

As part of the Planet with a Purpose program, Planet Home Lending has endowed a scholarship with the Army Scholarship Foundation. Through this commitment, the Army Scholarship Foundation will be able to help student applicants achieve a college education. Founded in 2001, the Army Scholarship Foundation awards one-year financial scholarships on an annual basis for undergraduate study.

Oak Capital Mortgage Invests in Referral Accelerating Technology with Adwerx

Oak Capital Mortgage, Charlotte, N.C., launched the Adwerx platform, automating personalized, hyperlocal digital advertising. The ads target potential home buyers and real estate agents, and run-on premium websites, social media and streaming TV.

Through the Adwerx Automation Platform, campaigns launch for every loan officer automatically across Facebook and Instagram and premium websites.

CFPB, FDIC Release Enhanced Version of Money Smart for Older Adults

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. released an enhanced version of their financial education curriculum, Money Smart for Older Adults. 

The enhanced version includes a new section to help people avoid “romance scams” and an updated resource guide.  The enhancements to Money Smart for Older Adults are based on stakeholder feedback and recent research conducted by the FDIC and CFPB for this collaborative effort. In addition, the FDIC and CFPB have released a newly created informational brochure on COVID-19-related scams.

Money Smart for Older Adults is a free curriculum that includes an instructor guide with presentation content, speaker tips, hands-on activities, presentation slides, and a resource guide for participants. The resource guide can also serve as a stand-alone handout for distribution to libraries, senior centers, senior housing centers, and at senior information fairs and other events.  All materials are provided free of charge and can be ordered in bulk for community-wide distribution.

SitusAMC Renews Contract with State Board of Administration of Florida

SitusAMC Holdings Corp., New York, announced renewal of its contract with the State Board of Administration of Florida to provide real estate valuation and loan administration services.

The new contract expands the scope of services SitusAMC’s Real Estate Valuation Services group will offer the SBA, which is one of the largest state pension funds in the country. In addition to facilitating the annual third-party valuation process, SitusAMC will now be involved in collection and reporting of quarterly valuation data and provide advanced analytics to better measure the performance of the SBA’s investments.

MAXEX Looks at Trends in Non-Agency Space

The MAXEX report looks at the latest trends in the non-agency space and how borrowers and originators are reacting to these changes. It said adjustable-rate mortgages continue to trend upward: ARMs traded through the exchange continued to increase to a near term monthly high at 13.6% as lower rates on ARMS increased purchasing power and affordability. This is the third consecutive month of double-digit ARM production traded through the exchange.

Additionally, the report noted residential mortgage-backed securities issuances surpassed 2020 volume. Nine jumbo RMBS deals in June totaled nearly $5 billion in volume—meaning 2021 RMBS volume has surpassed total 2020 RMBS jumbo activity. Increased liquidity in the RMBS market and low rates should continue to push 2021 deals to levels not seen since the financial crisis.

The report also noted lumber prices tumble, giving hope for increased inventory: The price of lumber has dropped by more than 40% as demand tapers slightly and supply increases.

Lendsmart Integrates with Freddie Mac Loan Product Advisor

Lendsmart, New York, an AI-driven digital lending platform, announced integration with Freddie Mac Loan Product Advisor, the company’s automated underwriting system.

Lendsmart’s centralized platform unifies all parties involved while also automating manual tasks, improving accuracy, minimizing lender risk and reducing origination and operational costs. The partnership will accelerate Lendsmart’s efforts to allow more borrowers to get a loan, refinance, or purchase a home, while saving time and reducing the origination costs for lenders.

Prove Partners with Binance.US to Enhance Customer Verification Process    

Prove, New York, a phone-centric identity provider, entered into a multi-year partnership with Binance.US, a U.S.-based digital asset marketplace, to incorporate Prove’s mobile phone-based technology into Binance.US’s user verification and onboarding processes.

This partnership will bolster Binance.US’s existing customer onboarding process and enable the platform to continue to accommodate new customers quickly and securely. Binance.US will enhance its verification process with Prove’s Phone-Centric Identity technology.

Black Knight: Mid-Month ‘Lull’ in Forbearance Activity

Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla., reported a 1,000 decline in overall number of active forbearance plans last week, which it attributed to a pattern of mid-month “lull” in activity.

The report said as of July 13, 1.86 million borrowers remain in COVID-19 forbearance plans, making up 3.5% of all active mortgages and 2.1% of GSE, 6.2% of FHA/VA and 4.0% of Portfolio/PLS loans. Weekly improvement among FHA/VA forbearance plans (-5,000) was partially offset by a 4,000 rise among portfolio/PLS forbearances, while plan volumes among GSE loans held steady.

This puts the number of loans in active forbearance down 196,000 (-9.5%) from last month. Nearly 400,000 plans are still scheduled to be reviewed for extension/removal in July.

Fitch Ratings Raises Home Price Expectations for U.S., Canada, Australia, Denmark, Ireland

Fitch Ratings, New York, raised its home price expectations for 2021 to reflect year-to-date developments in five countries including Australia, Canada and the U.S. Macroeconomic recoveries, the extension of government support measures and very low interest rates have driven home price growth in 1Q21, and we have previously increased our expectations for the Netherlands and the U.K.

The report said U.S. home prices could rise 8%-10% in 2021, compared with Fitch’s initial expectation of 1%-3% last December. “Our U.S. expectations currently align with forecasts provided by Fannie Mae and the Mortgage Bankers Association, which we view as reasonable given strong growth so far this year,” Fitch said.

Oklahoma Bankers Association Endorses Promontory MortgagePath’s Mortgage Fulfillment Services, POS Technology

Promontory MortgagePath LLC, Danbury, Conn., said the Oklahoma Bankers Association endorsed its mortgage fulfillment services and proprietary point-of-sale technology Borrower Wallet.

OBA recognized Promontory MortgagePath’s mortgage technology and end-to-end fulfillment services for their ability to help its members reduce mortgage origination expenses while allowing them to retain a full mortgage product suite. By shifting fixed mortgage-operations costs to a variable cost model through Promontory MortgagePath, community banks can augment their staffing needs to match the ebb and flow of the mortgage market.

BridgeRM Selects IndiSoft’s RxOffice Compliance Platform

BridgeRM, Edmund, Okla., a national risk management solutions consulting firm for the financial services industry, chose IndiSoft’s RxOffice Compliance to support its quality assurance and quality control work for residential mortgage servicing.

BridgeRM plans to leverage RxOffice’s SaaS mortgage servicing QA and QC application to meet the needs of mortgage bankers struggling to keep up with a rapidly changing regulatory landscape.