Industry Briefs May 27, 2021
Genworth Mortgage Holdings is Now Enact
Enact Holdings Inc., Raleigh, N.C., a provider of private mortgage insurance through its insurance subsidiaries, introduced its new brand and visual identity. Formerly known as Genworth Mortgage Holdings Inc., Enact is a wholly owned operating subsidiary of Genworth Financial Inc.
The rebrand includes a new name, visual identity and corporate website—www.EnactMI.com. It partners with lenders to bring service, underwriting expertise and risk and capital management to the mortgage process, helping to put more people in homes.
IL Group Launches New Website
IL Group, Gulf Shores, Ala., a third-party provider of customized insurance products and services to financial institutions, launched a new website featuring information and an updated look.
The website includes client testimonials and expanded information about IL Group’s products and services, which include mortgage insurance products, cybersecurity insurance, risk management services, flood zone determinations and tax services. The website is www.ILGroup.com.
FHFA Publishes Dataset on Mortgage Risk from 1990-2019
The Federal Housing Finance Agency released a revised staff working paper, “A Quarter Century of Mortgage Risk.” Using a dataset that contains aggregated results using more than 200 million purchase-money and refinance mortgages from 1990 to 2019, the paper provides a summary measure of mortgage risk by estimating a “stressed default rate.” The stressed default rate takes a loan made at any time from 1990-2019 and measures that loan’s risk as though it originated at the dawn of the 2008 financial crisis.
The size and scope of the expanded dataset in the paper provides researchers and policymakers more complete and more accurate historical information of mortgage risk. Based on the expanded data, the paper presents key findings about mortgage risk in years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis and in America today.
The paper was written and researched by William Larson of FHFA, Morris Davis of Rutgers University, Stephen Oliner of the American Enterprise Institute, and Benjamin Smith of the University of Pennsylvania. It can be found at https://www.fhfa.gov/PolicyProgramsResearch/Research/Pages/wp1902.aspx.
ACES Quality Management Launches ACES CONNECT
ACES Quality Management, Denver, launched ACES CONNECT as well as addition of 30 integrated vendor partners into ACES Quality Management & Control software as part of its spring product release.
Designed to give senior management at mortgage lenders and third-party providers on-demand access to key reporting data, ACES CONNECT provides users with the ability to self-remediate audit findings, access reporting and trending data, review audit documents and manage corrective action plans in coordination with their organization’s risk department. In addition, ACES CONNECT allows users to have access to the ACES QC reporting to provide easy to view reporting for senior management along with any designated third parties. ACES CONNECT will enhance productivity and boost collaboration in resolving defects, requesting or supplying additional documentation and answering questions and concerns with trackable communications.
TRIO Integrates with IndiSoft’s National Housing Advocacy Platform
IndiSoft LLC, Columbia, Md., integrated the mortgage financing programs of TRIO into its National Housing Advocacy Platform.
Since 2001, TRIO has worked with current and prospective homeowners, mortgage servicers, lenders, state, local and federal government agencies as well as non-profit organizations to provide financing programs to would-be homeowners and homeowners seeking to avoid foreclosure but unable to qualify for a traditional purchase mortgage or other home retention options.
Top of Mind Makes Surefire Creative Available as Standalone Marketing Resource
Top of Mind Networks, Atlanta, launched Surefire Creative, an online library of marketing collateral designed to supplement mortgage lenders’ prospect, client and partner marketing programs.
The collection of on-demand email, video and interactive content, available as a subscription service, is hand-selected by mortgage industry experts from the content library available to Top of Mind’s Surefire CRM customers. While mortgage lenders can use Surefire Creative to deploy content on a one-off basis, it can also integrate with lenders’ existing marketing automation workflows. For instance, lenders who build customer journeys using Salesforce Marketing Cloud but don’t have in-house mortgage marketing expertise can plug in content from Surefire Creative and deploy it at scale.
STRATMOR Group: Lenders Should ‘Level-Set’ for Second Half of 2021
As the country begins to emerge from the shadow of the COVID pandemic and millions of homeowners prepare to exit forbearance, mortgage lenders would be wise to do a level-set to understand where the pandemic-powered momentum is likely to drive the industry, according to the May Insights Report from mortgage advisory firm STRATMOR Group, Greenwood Village, Colo.
In her article, “Eyes on the Prize: How Mortgage Lenders Can Make Economics, Operations and Technology Actionable,” STRATMOR CEO and Senior Partner Lisa Springer explains why lenders need to look at their business from multiple angles to better manage a transitioning market. “The real question now is whether the industry is in any condition to close that much business,” she said. “The refinance boom is winding down but it isn’t over, and the industry is showing signs of burnout, evidenced primarily by elongated turn-times and a dramatic reduction in borrower satisfaction.”
The report can be found at https://www.stratmorgroup.com/insights-report/.
FHFA: House Prices Rise 12.6 Percent over Past Year; Up 3.5 Percent in First Quarter
U.S. house prices rose 12.6 percent through the first quarter, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index. House prices rose by 3.5 percent from the fourth quarter. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for March was up 1.4 percent from February.
“House price growth over the prior year clocked in at more than twice the rate of growth observed in the first quarter of 2020, just before the effects of the pandemic were felt in housing markets,” said Lynn Fisher, Deputy Director of FHFA’s Division of Research and Statistics. “In March, rates of appreciation continued to climb, exceeding 15 percent over the year in the Pacific, Mountain and New England census divisions.”
House prices have risen for 39 consecutive quarters, or since September 2011. House prices rose in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and rose in 99 of the top 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. over the past four quarters.
Harrison National Employment Agency Expands Services
Harrison National Employment, Marlton, N.J., a national staffing firm that partners with companies nationwide to identify qualified candidates with experience in finance, banking and mortgage lending for temporary, consulting, and direct hire employment opportunities, expanded its services to support companies seeking professionals with IT experience.
Launched in February 2020, HNE matches qualified professionals with banks and mortgage lenders, many of which have experienced soaring volumes due to historically low interest rates. HNE has grown quickly in spite of having to transition its team to remote work, placing more than 1,150 professionals in temporary and permanent positions across the country since February 2020.
QuoteWizard: Rising Fears of Eviction, Foreclosure
QuoteWizard, Seattle, issued a new report, The Rising Fear of Eviction or Foreclosure by Nick VinZant, reporting high housing costs, a potential end to a moratorium on evictions and prolonged unemployment have many Americans worried about keeping a roof over their heads. The report said nationwide, nearly 25% of people (1 in 4) are worried they will face foreclosure or eviction in the next two months.
The report also found nearly 6% of people are behind on their mortgage payments; Rhode Island, Louisiana and Arkansas have the highest numbers of people facing foreclosure; Maine, Arizona and Colorado have the highest numbers of people facing eviction; and nationwide, housing costs have risen by nearly 70% in the last decade. Income, meanwhile, is up only 30% over the same period.
“Combine this disparity with record pandemic unemployment and we have a situation where housing has simply become unaffordable for many people,” VinZant wrote.
AAFMAA Mortgage Services Launches Construction Advantage One Loan to support Military Homebuyers
AAFMAA Mortgage Services LLC, Morrisville, N.C., launched a Construction Advantage loan product set — the Construction Advantage One Loan. The product is a one-time close and one-time qualification mortgage program that complies with VA guidelines.
Construction Advantage One Loan locks in the mortgage rate during the loan qualification stage and prior to beginning construction for the home. In addition to the 1-time qualification and closing process, the military homebuyer may qualify for up to 100% financing in order to buy the lot, finance home construction, and obtain permanent financing such as a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
Experian Launches Income/Employment Verification Platform
Experian, Costa Mesa, Calif., announced its expansion into Employer Services with release of its new suite of real-time income and employment verification products, Experian Verify.
Experian Verify is designed to improve borrowing experiences and support consumers with limited credit histories by empowering lenders to verify income and employment status in real-time. Lenders can create a more complete picture of a consumer’s financial situation. The products provide credit card, personal loan, auto and mortgage lenders as well as tenant screeners and employment screeners with near-instant access to tens of millions of active records to verify an applicant’s income and employment status in origination, account review and prequalification decisions.
Stavvy Announces $40 Million in Series A Financing, Partners with Flagstar Bank to Provide COVID Loan Relief to Consumers
Stavvy, Boston, announced a $40+ million Series A funding round. The investment will be used to expand the company’s hiring initiative to accelerate growth in paperless and digital solutions for banking and lending. The round was led by Morningside Technology Ventures, a private equity and venture capital investment firm based in Cambridge and Hong Kong.
Stavvy also announced its alliance with Flagstar Bank, the sixth-largest bank mortgage originator in the country, to provide remote loan modification services. Its software includes eClosing functionality like remote signature, remote notary, and video conferencing tools that enable businesses, lenders and their customers to perform remote transactions.
Fitch: U.S. Job Market Slack Will Persist Until Late 2022
Fitch Ratings, London, said a return to full employment in the U.S. is still 18 months away and will require the creation of a further seven million jobs, noting labor-market slack will limit upward pressures on wage inflation.
Fitch noted stimulus measures and the reopening of face-to-face service industries are now boosting labor demand strongly. But the speed at which unemployment falls will be dampened by a relatively swift recovery in labor force participation as social distancing recedes.
“We do not see a return to ‘full’ or ‘maximum’ employment – with the unemployment rate back down to its non-inflationary rate and labor force participation rates back to sustainable mid-cycle levels – until 4Q22,” Fitch said.