Industry Briefs June 25, 2021

Lodasoft Integrates with Black Knight’s Optimal Blue PPE

Lodasoft, Livonia, Mich., integrated with the Optimal Blue PPE engine through Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla. The integration enables mortgage lenders to deliver Optimal Blue PPE pricing workflows into Lodasoft’s platform, allowing lenders to automate pipeline management and loan searches, as well as to price loans in real time for consumers and originators.  

Through the integration, mortgage lenders have an end-to-end mortgage task automation software that enhances productivity and quality, while offering greater efficiency. Lenders leveraging Lodasoft will have access to the product and pricing platforms to further enhance workflow efficiencies while staying competitive and executing profitable lending strategies. 

MAXEX Secures Strategic Investment from J.P. Morgan

MAXEX, Atlanta, secured a strategic investment from J.P. Morgan, with participation from existing MAXEX investors AGNC Ventures and Moore Asset Backed Fund LP. The investment is intended to accelerate market adoption of the MAXEX exchange platform for buying and selling loans in the U.S. non-agency mortgage market. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

MAXEX is a liquidity provider for non-agency home mortgage loans, with its technology platform being used by industry lenders and institutional investors to reduce friction costs and risks associated with acquiring, securitizing and selling mortgage loans. More than 200 financial institutions nationwide have executed the company’s proprietary standardized contracts to trade on the exchange. 

Apiture Selects ENACOMM to Power Voice Technologies

ENACOMM, Tulsa, Okla., announced a partnership with Apiture, enabling financial institutions across the U.S. who rely on Apiture for modern digital banking platforms, to implement ENACOMM’s voice technologies.

With the reseller agreement, ENACOMM’s IVR and conversational banking via digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home will be available to Apiture’s financial institution customers. Combined with the Apiture Xpress online banking, mobile banking and digital open core offerings, ENACOMM’s voice platforms enhance Apiture’s digital banking technologies.

Point Predictive Launches Fraudbot

Point Predictive, San Diego, unveiled its Fraudbot technology to protect lenders against systematic fraud as they safely automate and accelerate loan origination.

Fraudbot is Point Predictive’s purpose-built, artificial intelligence technology that digs through more than 100 million loan applications and more than 10 billion risk attributes to detect hidden links across a vast data set. A Fraudbot emulates the actions of human fraud analysts as they forensically search for suspicious data anomalies and connections across applications that are often invisible to the human eye. Fraudbots deployed earlier this year to Consortium members, who have already received 2,000 fraud ring alerts accounting for $351 million in suspected loan fraud so far in 2021.

FHFA More than 5.8 Million Homeowners Helped Since Conservatorship

The Federal Housing Finance Agency released its first quarter Foreclosure Prevention and Refinance Report, showing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed 224,646 foreclosure prevention actions in the first quarter, bringing the total number of homeowners who have been helped during conservatorships to 5.812 million.

The report also showed 38 percent of loan modifications completed in the first quarter reduced borrowers’ monthly payments by more than 20 percent. Refinances increased from 2.013 million in the fourth quarter to 2.016 million in the first quarter. The Enterprises’ serious delinquency rate dropped from 2.78 percent to 2.48 percent at the end of the quarter. This compares to 11 percent for Federal Housing Administration loans, 5.59 percent for Veterans Affairs (VA) loans and 4.7 percent for all loans (industry average). 

The report said loans in forbearance continued to trend downward since its peak in May as initiated forbearance plans decreased, but remained elevated through the first quarter (compared with pre-pandemic levels). As of March 31, FHFA reported 660,039 loans in forbearance plan, representing 2.2 percent of the Enterprises single-family conventional book of business, down from 804,559 or 2.8 percent at the end of fourth quarter of 2020. The 60+ days delinquency rate decreased from 3.07 percent at the end of the fourth quarter to 2.68 percent at the end of the first quarter. Foreclosure starts rose 45 percent from 6,302 in the fourth quarter to 9,125 in the first quarter.

Additionally, the report said the Enterprises’ REO inventory declined 12 percent from 9,739 in the fourth quarter to 8,522 in the first quarter. The total number of property acquisitions increased 8 percent to 1,228, while dispositions decreased 19 percent to 2,445 during the quarter.

Redfin: More Than 4,500 Seattle-Area Homes Sold For At Least $100,000 Above Asking Price

Redfin, Seattle, reported so far this year, 580 homes in the Seattle metro area have sold for $300,000 or more above their asking prices, compared to 16 homes during the same period in 2020.

Meanwhile, 4,078 homes in Seattle sold for between $100,000 and $299,999 above asking price, compared to 362 last year. Just over 6,300 Seattle homes have sold for between $25,000 and $99,999 above asking price, up from about 2,000 a year ago. The typical home in the Seattle metro has sold for $47,878 above asking price so far in 2021, compared to $3,025 in 2020.

Redfin reported in May, 68% of Seattle-area homes sold above their asking price, up from 37.1% a year earlier. More than 74% of Redfin offers in the Seattle metro faced a bidding war, and the typical home sold in just five days, down from nine days a year ago.

The report can be accessed here.

SimpleNexus Integrates with Finicity

SimpleNexus, Lehi, Utah, announced an integration with Finicity’s Mortgage Verification Service that allows lenders to streamline verification of applicants’ assets, income and employment using a single embedded service.

Finicity, a Mastercard company and leading provider of open banking platforms, launched MVS in February. The service leverages consumer-permissioned bank and payroll data to provide accurate, real-time insight into a borrower’s current assets, income and employment in minutes, without any paperwork. Without ever leaving the SimpleNexus mobile app, borrowers can use MVS to complete asset, income and employment verification. Lenders receive validated payroll, paystub and bank account data in real time and can refresh the data within 10 days of the loan closing as needed to fulfill investor requirements.

NewDay USA Parent Chrysalis Holdings Acquires Major Stake in INVISR

Chrysalis Holdings LLC, Fulton, Md., announced a significant investment in INVISR, a financial technology business focused on digital transformation.

With the investment, INVISR CEO and co-founder Tal Gozhansky will become Chief Technology Officer of Chrysalis Holdings’ portfolio companies while continuing to lead INVISR. INVISR works with clients across the financial services spectrum, streamlining digital experiences for employees and its customers. The company has extensive experience across multiple financial services, including banking and lending, insurance and capital markets.

Vaultedge Automates MSR Boarding for BSI Financial

BSI Financial Services announced a partnership with Vaultedge Software to automate its MSR boarding process.

As a part of a strategic initiative to onboard and service such large loan volumes, BSI is focused on process redesign and automation. With Vaultedge, BSI automated MSR boarding process and built document indexing, classifying and extraction capabilities.

Black Knight: Forbearance Plans Edge Up

Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla., said active forbearance plans edged up by 1,000 this week, continuing a common trend of marginal mid-month increases. Even so, the population is down 6% from the same time last month, reflecting an uptick in the monthly rate of improvement from last week’s 5.4%.

Black Knight said as of June 22, 2.06 million (3.9% of) homeowners remain in COVID-19 related forbearance plans including 2.3% of GSE, 6.9% of FHA/VA and 4.6% of Portfolio/PLS loans. Weekly declines among GSE (-10,000) and FHA/VA (-7,000) forbearance plans were offset by an 18,000 rise among portfolio and privately held mortgages.

STRATMOR Report Analyzes Mortgage Retail Branch Structures

In its June Insights Report, mortgage advisory firm STRATMOR Group examines the key characteristics of expense management branches and their prevalence among Independent Mortgage Bankers versus depositories and compares the performance metrics between EMB and corporate branches.

In his article, Retail Mortgage Branches: Which is Better, Expense Management or Corporate?, Senior Partner Jim Cameron draws on data from STRATMOR files and from the PGR: MBA and STRATMOR Peer Group Roundtable Program to analyze the facts. Since 1998, the Mortgage Bankers Association and STRATMOR Group have jointly conducted the PGR: MBA and STRATMOR Peer Group Roundtable Program. This program currently includes over 100 lenders that are divided into seven peer groups and five separate and distinct datasets based on size and operating model.

“While EMB revenues are more than 50 basis points higher than corporate branch revenues —partially due to a higher mix of government lending and more disciplined branch managers — the average Net Production Income is only 7 bps higher than corporate branch models and Gross margin is nearly identical,” says Cameron. EMBs accounted for less than one quarter of home loans originated by all IMBs during 2016 but expanded to more than one third last year, one of every three loans.

“By and large, the choice of model is primarily driven by company culture, management preferences and core competencies,” says Cameron “The EMB model is not ‘better’ than the corporate branch model — it is all in the execution of the lender’s chosen model.”

Fitch Ratings: Pandemic Exacerbating U.S. Affordable Housing Stresses

Fitch Ratings, New York, said the coronavirus pandemic is creating new cracks in the already fragile foundation of affordable housing.

“COVID-19 caused an economic contraction felt among millions of American of many economic strata, and those at the most vulnerable level of the economic scale saw their tenuous grip loosen on housing security,” said Senior Director Mikiyon Alexander.

The report said the pandemic has intensified rising input costs, generational shifts in demand, changes in regulations and slower wage growth already in place that have all led to supply deficits and rising home prices that affect U.S. housing affordability. Affordable housing stock has decreased, causing demand to outstrip supply, and leaving a gap that particularly pressures the affordable housing segment.