Industry Briefs May 13, 2021
Four MBA Members Make DiversityInc ‘Top 50 Companies for Diversity’ List
DiversityInc announced its annual list of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity, which serves as a benchmark of how the largest employers in U.S. are doing when it comes to hiring.
MBA members in the Top 50 include Capital One Financial Corp. (28), Wells Fargo (25), KeyBank (23) and U.S. Bank (18). The complete list can be found here.
SimpleNexus Commends MBA on RON Legislation Priority
SimpleNexus, Lehi, Utah, praised the Mortgage Bankers Association for naming federal remote online notarization legislation as a core issue of its recent National Advocacy Conference.
“Our industry has taken sweeping measures to provide mortgage consumers with the mobile and online home buying experience they prefer, but existing notarial laws impede the shift in technology,” said SimpleNexus Founder and CEO Matt Hansen. “To date, only 32 states have passed RON-enabling legislation, hindering the housing finance industry’s ability to provide a broad swath of American homebuyers with the safety and convenience of a remote online closing ceremony. SimpleNexus commends the Mortgage Bankers Association for leading the charge on this critical issue.”
MBA is coordinating with association partners and members to encourage Congress to reintroduce and enact The Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote Online Notarization Act (SECURE Notarization Act). Initially introduced with bipartisan sponsorship as Senate Bill 3533 in March 2020, the SECURE Notarization Act would permit immediate nationwide use of RON with minimum standards necessary to protect consumer data and provide certainty for the interstate recognition of RON. States with existing RON laws on the books would retain the flexibility to implement their own RON standards.
Cirrus Portal Streamlines Loan Application/Funding for Queens Small Business Grant Program
Cirrus, Evergreen, Colo., a provider of cloud-based document management software, announced that Pursuit leveraged Cirrus’ secure document collection and collaboration portal as a key component of the New York City-based Queens Small Business Grant Program.
In response to the challenges facing small businesses in the wake of COVID, the New York City Economic Development Corporation partnered with Pursuit and several community-based organizations to offer grants to Queens-based, minority-owned small businesses heavily impacted by the pandemic. The program offers up to $20,000 to support operational expenses to first-floor storefront businesses, second-floor restaurants and street vendors with less than 20 employees located in Queen’s low- and moderate-income communities.
As the application and decision portal for these COVID-relief grants, Cirrus’ cloud-based, API-enabled system supports the collaboration and collection of loan files to streamline and automate the document management process. Cirrus expedited the entire process for small businesses in the program, successfully managing nearly $14 million in grants for 745 businesses. Out of these businesses, 90% were either minority- or women-owned. Additionally, the Queens Small Business Grant Program has dedicated $2.5 million to further support small businesses later in 2021.
Black Knight Expands MSR Capabilities
Black Knight Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., announced expansion of its mortgage servicing rights valuation platform to provide more detailed visibility into the value and performance of servicing assets and market economics.
The Black Knight MSR Platform is designed to support the varying needs of lenders and servicers of all sizes and growth stages by providing customized delivery options ranging from high-level, daily reporting to granular, loan-level analytics. The MSR Platform is now integrated with the MSP system. This single, end-to-end technology platform helps servicers manage various servicing processes, including loan onboarding, cash management, investor reporting, loss mitigation and default, while accommodating virtually any size portfolio.
Ginnie Mae Reports Record April MBS Issuance of $89 Billion; More than 332,000 Homes Financed
Ginnie Mae, Washington, D.C., said its mortgage-backed securities issuance volume rose to a record $89.70 billion in April, up from $82.25 billion in March. It said 332,300 homes and apartment units were financed by Ginnie Mae guaranteed MBS in April.
A breakdown of April issuance of $89.70 billion includes $85.48 billion of Ginnie Mae II MBS and $4.22 billion of Ginnie Mae I MBS, which includes $4.16 billion of loans for multifamily housing. Ginnie Mae’s total outstanding principal balance as of April 30 was $2.109 trillion, up from $2.095 trillion in March, and down slightly from the April 2020 level of $2.145 trillion.
Teraverde, Loan Vision Launch Coheus Gold Integrated LOS and Accounting Mortgage BI Platform
Teraverde, Lancaster, Pa., and Loan Vision launched Coheus Gold, a cloud-based Mortgage BI platform that provides LOS and Accounting/Finance business intelligence with a built-in playbook. The platform is focused on combining the profitability information from Loan Vision with the profit drivers directly from the client LOS. The Coheus Gold product leverages the data from both the LOS and accounting systems.
The integrated Playbook provides actionable intelligence for executives to increase profitability, productivity and customer satisfaction. For a limited time, Loan Vision and Teraverde are offering a complimentary trial of Coheus Gold exclusively to Loan Vision customers. The full version of Coheus available for complimentary use for 30 days.
Guild Holdings Co. Expands into Northeast with RMS Holdings Acquisition
Guild Holdings Co., San Diego, and Residential Mortgage Services Holdings Inc. signed a definitive merger agreement under which Guild will acquire RMS. Guild expects the transaction to be accretive to 2021 earnings per share and to close in the third quarter, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
The addition of RMS will extend Guild’s presence into new geographies and create growth opportunities as Guild continues to build market share across the United States. Based on 2020 loan originations, the combined company would have been the seventh largest non-bank retail lender in the country. Founded in 1991, RMS has 70 offices across 14 New England and Mid-Atlantic states. In 2020, RMS generated $8.5 billion of loan originations, achieving a compounded annual growth rate of 26% since 2010. Over the past 11 years, RMS averaged 70% purchase originations.
Following the transaction, the RMS management team will continue to manage the business. Wells Fargo Securities LLC served as lead financial advisor and STRATMOR Group served as financial advisor to Guild. Mayer Brown LLP served as legal counsel to Guild. Houlihan Lokey served as financial advisor to RMS. Winston & Strawn LLP served as legal counsel to RMS. Buckley LLP served as regulatory counsel to RMS.
Redfin: Demand for Second Homes More Than Double Pre-Pandemic Levels
Redfin, Seattle, said the number of buyers who locked in mortgage rates for second homes soared 178% year over year in April, marking the 11th straight month of 80%-plus growth. Second-home mortgage rate locks are holding steady at more than double pre-pandemic levels.
The rise in demand for second homes is more than twice the increase for primary homes, with the number of buyers who locked in mortgage rates for primary homes rising 78% year over year in April.
“The combination of the wealthy becoming wealthier, remote work turning into the new normal and low mortgage rates is creating an ideal environment for affluent Americans to buy vacation homes,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “As long as the economy continues to grow, I don’t foresee demand for second homes slowing down anytime soon.”
OptifiNow Integrates with Encompass TPO Connect
OptifiNow, Seal Beach, Calif., a provider of CRM and marketing automation software, announced an integration to the ICE Mortgage Technology platform that focuses on wholesale lenders and third-party originators. OptifiNow used the Encompass API to integrate with TPO Connect and provide lenders with an efficient method to synchronize the TPO Connect and Encompass loan data with their CRM platform.
The integration enables OptifiNow to synchronize data stored in TPO Connect, including account and contact data. OptifiNow provides seamless access to critical information on TPO customers that can be combined with associated loan data stored in Encompass. This mix of customer, loan, and sales data enables OptifiNow to create targeted campaigns and efficient automations that enhance sales and marketing operations.
MAXEX Market Report: U.S. Economy ‘Caught in Balancing Act’
MAXEX, Atlanta, issued its monthly Market Report, noting the U.S. economy is caught in a balancing act between consumer spending driving inflation and a dismal April jobs report showing unemployment on the rise.
“Consumer demand for homes continues to put strong upward pressure on home prices, but fortunately Treasury bond yields stabilized in April, which helped keep mortgage interest rates relatively low as the purchase market stays hot,” the report said. “30-year jumbo rates remained relatively flat resulting in a fairly even split between purchase and refinance volume coming through the exchange. The Federal Reserve’s continued commitment to its current federal funds target rate and bond purchases solidified that mortgage rates will remain steady for the foreseeable future.”
The report also examines latest trends in the non-agency space and how borrowers and originators are reacting to the changes.
Promontory MortgagePath Virtual Hiring Event May 20
Pomonotory MortgagePath will hold a Virtual Hiring Event on May 20 from noon-4:00 p.m. ET.
The company is expanding to support rapid growth and are hiring for more than 40 mortgage operations positions nationwide. The virtual meetings/interviews with hiring managers are for positions for immediate hire, including Processors, Underwriters, Closers, Post-Closers, Disclosure Desk Specialists, and others. For more information, click https://reg.ecareerfairs.com/e/promontorymortgagepath.
Sales Boomerang Integrates with Volly; Announces Two Webinars
Sales Boomerang, Washington, D.C. announced its integration with Volly, a provider of SaaS-based fintech and creative marketing services to the financial services industry. The combination of Sales Boomerang and Volly positions lenders to take immediate action when a customer or prospect is ready for a loan, enabling higher borrower retention, increased loan volume and lower per-loan costs.
By piping Sales Boomerang opportunity alerts into Volly, lenders can use rules-based automation to take immediate action, such as enrolling a consumer in a relevant marketing campaign or scheduling follow-up tasks for the loan originator who owns the contact. Loan originators can even invite referral partners to share their own contacts for monitoring by Sales Boomerang and automated co-marketing powered by Volly.
Sales Boomerang also announced two upcoming webinars, on May 19 and May 20. The first webinar on May 19, Survey Says: Happy Borrowers Come Back. Or Do They?, features Kristin Messerli, VP of Mortgage Sales, Experience.com (formerly Social Survey); Alex Kutsishin, CEO, Sales Boomerang; and Malcolm Hollensteiner, Head of Mortgage Production, Sandy Spring Bank, as they reveal the secret to higher customer satisfaction and borrower retention. For more information, click https://hubs.ly/H0N8xw50.
The second webinar on May 20 (2:00 p.m. ET), Good is Fine, But Your LOs Could Be Great, features Joe Puthur, President, Mortgage Coach; Alex Kutsishin, CEO, Sales Boomerang; and Karissa L. Stiglic, Head of Marketing, Finance of America, as they reveal the ingredients that produce great LO performance: higher volume, increased conversions, speed to lead, lower cost of funding loans, and higher borrower retention. For more information, click https://hubs.ly/H0N8zFw0.
Adwerx Adds National Parks Realty, Class-Harlan Real Estate
Adwerx, a provider of localized digital advertising for more than 200,000 real estate agents and brokers, launched online listing and sphere advertisements for National Parks Realty and Class-Harlan Real Estate, providing all of their agents with a platform to build their brands and market their properties to consumers who are spending time online.
With this new service, digital ads for new listings launch when a property is publicly listed, and appear on popular websites including CNN and ESPN, as well as local news outlets and social media sites. These advertisements contain a listing photo, agent contact details, brokerage branding, and a link to the listing, and are easily customizable. By combining these ads with traditional marketing efforts, agents are able to reinforce their local brand and maximize the visibility of each listing.
MCT Automates MSR Retain/Release Decisions
Mortgage Capital Trading Inc., San Diego, announced its Enhanced Best-Execution tool used for MSR retain-release decisions has now automated the function of pulling comprehensive data from MCTlive! and MSRlive!
This new automation eliminates the need entirely for secondary marketing professionals to manually upload data and provides users with real-time execution to inform their servicing retain-release decisions. With the click of a button, clients can get more strategic about their servicing decisions than previously possible by better understanding the impact of retaining servicing, including cash break-even point, cash drain and tax implications. This tool equips clients for advance decision making by leveraging all of the relevant data elements, while the automation analyzes the data and provides a simple, user friendly recommendation.
Zillow: 41% of Agents Say Cash Offers are Most Effective Strategy, but ‘Don’t Underestimate the Power of Pizza’
Zillow, Seattle, said real estate agents throughout the past six months submitted nearly four offers per client on average before one was accepted, with 13% saying it took on average six or more. The survey of Zillow Premier Agent partners said agents are using a variety of tactics to help their clients’ offers stand out. At least half of listing agents surveyed encountered an all-cash offer, an escalation clause, submission before the offer review date, a higher down payment or more earnest money when reviewing offers. More unconventional strategies that agents are using include offering leaseback, throwing a pizza party, and sending flowers to the sellers.
The survey also reported with the market moving so fast, the best and easiest way to get a speed advantage is to get tech savvy. Agents say 31% of clients always or usually tour a home virtually before visiting in person.
Top of Mind Launches Retention Center to Help LOs Foster Customer Loyalty
Top of Mind Networks, Atlanta, launched the Surefire CRM Retention Center to help loan originators foster loyalty among their clients.
The Retention Center is an online retention gift store that enables loan originators to curate a gift-receiving experience for clients in lieu of or in addition to corporate-level client retention initiatives. Within the Retention Center, LOs can build automated retention gift campaigns based on rules such as loan type (refinance or purchase), loan amount and occasion. Once a retention gift campaign has been activated, Top of Mind customizes, professionally packages and ships the retention gift to its recipient. Retention Center gift options include bamboo cutting boards, premium whole-bean coffee, a self-inking address stamper and dynamic birthday cards.
HUD Completes Direct Sale of N.Y. Single-Family Mortgage Notes
HUD completed a direct mortgage note sale with the State of New York and a non-profit partner to support the revitalization of vacant and abandoned properties and reduce neighborhood blight.
The sale, which was finalized on May 6, included 70 mortgage notes for single-family homes located in cities and towns throughout New York that are vacant or abandoned, and with mortgages that were 90 or more days delinquent. The sale agreement includes provisions that the notes should be held and resolved in ways that promote affordable housing, reduce neighborhood blight, and align with HUD’s mission to strengthen neighborhoods.
The transaction was completed with NJCC-NYS Community Restoration Fund II LLC (CRF), a limited liability company comprised of the State of New York Mortgage Agency and New Jersey Community Capital, a non-profit entity. CRF will be able to leverage its public-private partnership in a way that resolves the delinquent mortgages and revitalizes the vacant and abandoned mortgaged properties.
Fannie Mae: Housing Sentiment Dips Amid Consumer Pessimism
The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index decreased in April by 2.7 points to 79.0. Four of the HPSI’s six components decreased month over month, most notably the component related to home-buying conditions, which turned net negative for the first time in the survey’s history. This decline was offset in part by consumers’ ongoing optimism toward home-selling conditions, which continued its significant rise from this time last year and has nearly returned to its pre-pandemic peak. Year over year, the HPSI is up 16.0 points.
“April’s HPSI reading appears to have been acutely impacted by the ongoing lack of housing supply despite improving economic conditions,” said Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Consumer sentiment toward buying homes reached the lowest level in our survey’s ten-year history; unsurprisingly, respondents overwhelmingly cited the lack of supply and high home prices as primary reasons for their pessimism.
Duncan said the decrease in homebuying sentiment likely indicates that some consumers, potentially flush with savings – perhaps boosted in part by stimulus payments – may be attempting, but failing, to buy a home due to heightened competition for relatively few listed homes. “Notably, consumers in the household income range of $50,000 to $100,000, a range inclusive of the Census Bureau’s reported median household income level, showed a particularly large decrease in overall housing sentiment, and we know that the housing market serving the affordable segment has been particularly competitive,” he said.
ENACOMM Launches Intelligent, Voice Customer Self-Service on Finastra’s FusionStore
ENACOMM, Tulsa, Okla., announced the ENACOMM Financial Suite with intelligent IVR application is available for purchase through Finastra’s FusionStore.
ENACOMM’s IVR will enable banks, credit unions and credit card institutions to benefit from its multichannel, intelligent customer self-service applications, which are delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS) or hosted solutions and provide analytics for improving the customer experience and fighting fraud.
Provisioning in the FusionStore marks the final stage of the application development journey for organizations using Finastra’s open development cloud platform, FusionFabric.cloud. The FusionStore enables Finastra’s more than 8,500 banking and financial institution customers worldwide to access, test, purchase and deploy certified applications on top of their core systems, helping them to quickly realize the benefits and deliver added value to their customers.