Industry Briefs Mar. 22, 2021

Fairway ‘Reaffirms Commitment to Mortgage Broker Community’

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp., Madison, Wis., in the wake of recent actions by United Wholesale Mortgage to obtain exclusive partnerships with mortgage brokers, said it reaffirmed its commitment to all its mortgage origination partners, including mortgage brokers help consumers find options for financing a home. 

“Fairway started as a broker in 1996—in fact, personally originated as a broker,” said Steve Jacobson, CEO of Fairway. “We will always support a broker’s decision to work with any lender they choose, and we will continue to work every day to earn the trust and respect of all our origination partners. At the end of the day, we are all working for the borrower.”

Canopy Partners with Digital Identification Services Provider moby

Financial technology and due diligence services provider Canopy, Charlotte, N.C., announced its partnership with moby, a global digital identification and authentication services provider that will provide the underlying technology for a new Canopy offering known as Clear.

Clear is a user identification technology designed for use in the mortgage and real estate industry. It authenticates users through visual biometrics. Clear users confirm their identity by means of a digital selfie cross-indexed against a verifiable source of ID, such as a driver’s license. The technology can also access a number of authenticated, real time, third-party data sources for additional layers of identity validation. Clear also scans the user for “liveness” to confirm a real person is involved in the process.

Indecomm Releases DecisionGenius Automated Decision-Making Software for Mortgage Underwriting

Indecomm Global Services, Edison, N.J., released DecisionGenius, a mortgage automation platform that assesses income, credit, assets and collateral of a borrower to deliver decision-making for mortgage loan applications.

DecisionGenius is the latest release in Indecomm’s mortgage automation product suite, which includes two predecessors: AuditGenius, a quality control and risk management software, and IncomeGenius, an automated income calculation software. These platforms provide the foundation and intelligence for the holistic DecisionGenius automation approach for the mortgage middle office. Users will see all the information needed to make an underwriting decision in one place, comparing application data to sourced data to investor guidelines.

ClosingCorp: Average Closing Costs in 2020 Total $3,398

ClosingCorp, San Diego, released its first national refinance closing cost report that showed the national average closing costs for a single-family residential property refinance last year were $3,398 including taxes, and $2,287 excluding taxes.

In contrast, closing costs for the average home purchase in 2020 were $6,087 including taxes, and $3,470 excluding taxes, the company said. The major differences: most states do not impose transfer and other local taxes on refinances nor is owner title insurance and a number of inspection fees typically required.

The national average tax bill at closing was $1,111 for a refinance as compared to $2,617 for a purchase transaction. Most third-party fees, including lender title, settlement service and land surveys were also lower for refinances, the report found. On average, the only major fee that was higher for refinances than for purchases was appraisals: $530 for refinances vs $519 for purchase. However, in 2020 appraisals were waived on a significant percentage of refinance transactions. For example, in August, the Urban Institute reported that waivers were accepted on 63 percent of rate/term refinances and 26 percent on cash-out refinances.

The 2020 report shows states with the highest average closing costs, including taxes, were: District of Columbia ($13,722), New York ($8,256), Pennsylvania ($6,376), Washington ($4,687), and New Jersey ($4,645). The states with the lowest closing costs, including taxes, were Missouri ($1,290), Indiana ($1,396), Arizona ($1,662), Arkansas ($1,785) and Iowa ($1,803).

States with the highest average closing costs, excluding taxes, were New York ($4,420), Hawaii ($4,154), Texas ($3,494), New Jersey ($3,278), and Florida ($3,251). The states with the lowest closing costs, excluding taxes, were Missouri ($1,290), Wisconsin ($1,371), Illinois ($1,374), Indiana ($1,396) and Michigan ($1,494).

Norcom Mortgage Partners with SimpleNexus to Develop New Customer Mobile App

Norcom Mortgage, a family-owned mortgage company with 36 locations along the East Coast, announced launch of its Easy Street App for iOS and Android mobile devices. Built by SimpleNexus, Lehi, Utah, the Easy Street App provides borrowers a convenient and safe way to apply for a loan, stay up to date throughout the loan process and complete the loan closing ceremony from a mobile device.

Every step of the mortgage process is handled through the Easy Street app. After filling out the mortgage application, borrowers can photograph and securely upload documents, receive push notifications to track the status of their loan, download loan approval letters and e-sign closing documents — all from their mobile devices. Borrowers can use the app to navigate the loan closing process digitally, eliminating the need for a lengthy in-person closing ceremony.

The app features two-factor authentication and data encryption to protect borrowers’ personal and financial data. In addition, loan officers can share the app with real estate agents and other referral partners, giving them access to mortgage calculators, automatic notifications and easy access to contact information.

Black Knight Acquires Cloud-Based Mortgage Broker LOS from NexSpring Financial

Black Knight Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., acquired a cloud-based loan origination system from NexSpring Financial LLC to broaden Black Knight’s ability to serve mortgage brokers. The new digital lending platform will be a key part of the company’s integrated, end-to-end ecosystem.

The platform will be seamlessly integrated into the powerful Black Knight Empower LOS, so brokers using the new digital lending platform and wholesalers using Empower will benefit from a more streamlined and connected experience. It will also feature integrations with Black Knight’s suite of origination performance platforms, including a single point to order services and obtain fees, compliance validation testing, actionable data and analytics and Black Knight’s broker-focused Optimal Blue Loansifter product, pricing and eligibility engine.

The platform – which also features a mobile-friendly application – is designed for entrepreneurial originators looking for a better and more efficient way to originate loans. The digital lending platform supports collaboration among all stakeholders in the origination process – borrowers, processors, brokers and real estate agents – by enabling them to collaborate securely on the same loan platform. Configured as a multi-tenant model, mortgage brokers using the platform will benefit from the simple cost-effective setup.

DocuSign Rooms for Mortgage, Mortgage Cadence Partner to Streamline Closing Process

DocuSign and Mortgage Cadence announced an integration between DocuSign Rooms for Mortgage and the Mortgage Cadence Platform. Rooms for Mortgage offers lenders a secure, digital workspace to assemble, preview and sign closing packages while Mortgage Cadence powers lending with a complete, end-to-end loan origination system. With this integration, lenders can bridge the gap between document generation and execution, creating a unified experience for all parties collaborating in the closing process.

With this integration, lenders can finalize closing documents without ever having to leave the Rooms platform. The result is an easier and more efficient experience for lenders, title agents and notaries that preserves data security as documents move across platforms and collaborators.

Fannie Mae: Economic Growth Expected to Accelerate through Spring as COVID-19 Lockdown Restrictions Ease

Fannie Mae, Washington, D.C., said as vaccines deploy and social lockdown measures continue to ease, U.S. economic expansion is expected to accelerate this spring, with real GDP growth hitting 8.4 percent in the second quarter and 6.6 percent for the full year before moderating in 2022.

Right now, however, risks to further economic recovery remain largely neutral and include changes to the future path of the COVID-19 virus, including variants, as well as the continued easing of social distancing restrictions and uncertainty over the extent to which consumers will deploy surging personal savings in coming quarters. Housing activity is expected to remain resilient in the near-term even in the face of further modest increases in mortgage rates. Mortgage originations are likely to be adversely affected, however, due to weakening of refinance mortgage demand.

“At the moment, economists’ eyes are on interest rates given the size of the recent increases to Treasury and mortgage rates and the short time period over which those changes occurred,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “While the rate rise will curtail refinances to some degree, 2021 is poised to be a good year overall for housing activity and housing finance, as the economy continues to recover and COVID-19 restrictions ease. We expect a brisk acceleration in economic growth in coming months. As always, there are downside risks to our forecast, and many center around monetary and fiscal policy impacts on interest rates going forward.”

LenderClose Deploys HEx to Expedite, Simplify Home Equity Lending

LenderClose, Des Moines, Iowa, launched Home Equity Express, a cloud-native technology for placement of collateral verification data and reports through an intelligent, automated workflow, reducing the time it takes credit unions and community banks to process a home equity loan. With HEx, lenders can spend significantly less time per file, with some existing clients reporting their origination time has reduced by nearly 60%. 

HEx launched by LenderClose gives loan officers, processors or underwriters the flexibility to process and originate at a much faster rate than the traditional ways of collecting subject property collateral data. The technology is built with a certain level of algorithm intelligence to ensure exceptions in the data collected are earmarked for underwriting purposes and portfolio risk tolerance. The process of automating real estate collateral data is as simple as pressing “GO.” Resulting instant gratification via a single user-interface for home equity lending teams to operate in, reduces friction in the process of loan origination.

Top of Mind Launches ‘Surefire Lookbook,’ Power Video

Top of Mind Networks, Atlanta, released a new feature designed to aid mortgage lenders with the recruiting process. With the Surefire Lookbook, lenders can showcase their investment in marketing technology and demonstrate their ability to help prospective loan officers compete with content.

The Surefire Lookbook is a “highlight reel” of Top of Mind’s wide range of content — but instead of showing generic samples of marketing collateral, each Lookbook is dynamically customized with the lender’s unique branding and the prospective loan officer’s headshot, contact information and location. Prospective recruits can see themselves featured in their future employer’s marketing emails, open-house flyers, direct-mail postcards, interactive multimedia and more — including co-branded marketing campaigns that also feature a realtor or other referral partner.

Lenders can use this sign-up form to request a custom-branded lookbook that can be dynamically generated for each recruiting prospect.

Top of Mind also launched Power Video, a new toolset within Surefire CRM that makes it easy to record and send videos to clients, prospects and referral partners at scale.

Loan originators do not need any special software to use Power Video; instead, they can record videos directly within Surefire CRM or upload videos from any mobile device. Lenders can send video content to clients and referral partners via email or text message on a one-off basis or as part of an automated, targeted marketing workflow. Power Video offers lenders scalability and built-in compliance controls that are not available in other mortgage video solutions. Every Power Video automatically becomes part of the lender’s audit file in Surefire, making it easy to respond to records requests in the event of a compliance audit.

Freddie Mac Enhances Digital Mortgage Experience

Freddie Mac, McLean, Va., announced automated payroll income verification is broadly available to lenders so they can reduce the documentation burden on borrowers, close loans faster and simplify the lending process while meeting its strong credit underwriting standards.

With the addition of Finicity, Freddie Mac’s clients have another option when choosing a payroll provider for verification of a mortgage applicant’s income through its Loan Product Advisor asset and income modeler.

In addition to payroll data for salaried employees, lenders can also now receive confirmation through LPA that a self-employed borrower’s tax transcript data matches data from their IRS tax return processed through LoanBeam. Since 2019, Freddie Mac’s clients have been leveraging LoanBeam through LPA to enable the automation of income calculations for self-employed borrowers on Sole Proprietorships, S-Corporations and Partnerships.

DocMagic, Secure Insight Form Partnership

DocMagic Inc., Torrance, Calif., a provider of loan document preparation, automated regulatory compliance and eMortgage services, and Secure Insight Inc., Parsippany, N.J., a risk reporting firm for data intelligence on mortgage settlement agents, jointly announced offering of a centralized training program on remote online notarization technology and processes.

The program establishes a database of notaries that have been fully trained and certified on DocMagic’s Total eClose platform. This new certification program reaches the greatest number of notaries with a working knowledge of DocMagic’s Total eClose.

Secure Insight has an extensive national database of notaries that can now be easily accessed to locate notarial agents qualified to complete compliant eClosings using RON technology. By joining forces, DocMagic offers the technology and Secure Insight provides a unique database and individual training for notaries.

Groves Home Sales Joins Forces with Adwerx

Groves Home Sales launches the Adwerx Enterprise Automated Advertising Platform for digital advertising for all of its agents. The firm is now automating online ads for newly listed properties. Agents also have the ability to run local, personalized streaming TV commercials.

All Groves Home Sales agents also receive access to a pre-made inventory of custom, personal brand ads through a self-service portal that they can run individually, complementing their automated campaigns. As a part of this portal, agents can target qualified prospects directly with personalized commercials on streaming TV services, giving them unprecedented access to TV as a marketing channel with custom targeting at an affordable price point.

Black Knight: Forbearance Plans Fall Again

Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla., said its latest McDash Flash Forbearance Tracker reported active forbearance plans fell by another 16,000 from last Tuesday as servicers continue to work through the large volume of scheduled March month-end expirations.

Of the 1.2 million homeowners in forbearance whose plans were scheduled to expire at the end of this month at the start of March, 620,000 March-end expirations remain. As of March 16, 2.59 million homeowners remain in forbearance, representing 4.9% of all homeowners with mortgages – the first time below 2.6M since early April 2020.

This week’s declines were driven by improvements among both GSE (-13,000) and FHA/VA plans (-8,000), while active plan volumes rose among portfolio-held/PLS mortgages.

Luxury Mortgage Corp. Releases Product Enhancements for its Simple Access Suite of Non-QM Products

Luxury Mortgage Corp. announced enhancements to its Simple Access Non-QM suite of products.

Notable highlights for all program types include: Removal of cash out limit up to 65% LTV, reintroduction of a 40 year term option with a max LTV of 80%, Loan amounts up to $3.5MM on purchase/rate term and $2.5MM on cash out and Max LTV’s expanded to 90% with FICOs down to 660. Additionally, Luxury will be implementing aggressive base pricing improvements across all product types.