Industry Briefs Nov. 23, 2021: Fitch Says Banks Relatively Unscathed by Pandemic

Fitch Ratings: Financial Institutions Ratings Relatively Unscathed by Pandemic

Fitch Rating, New York, said global financial institutions’  credit ratings have been affected less severely by the pandemic than by the two previous crises this century.

The agency’s transition and default analysis shows global FI ratings fell by 0.15 of a notch on average from January 2020 to March 2021, compared to 0.84 of a notch during the global financial crisis (July 2007 to July 2009), and 0.71 of a notch for EMEA FIs during the eurozone crisis (January 2010 to January 2013).

Fitch said the vast majority of ratings were unchanged in 2020 because near-term credit risks were largely offset by government support to economies and borrowers. Regulatory forbearance in some jurisdictions also helped issuers to operate effectively through the periods of greatest uncertainty. Consequently, most of the negative rating actions in 2020 were limited to Negative Rating Outlooks and Watches, centered on issuers whose ratings were more likely to face pressure as the fallout of the pandemic continued.

Patriot National Bancorp, American Challenger Development Corp. Agree on Merger

Patriot National Bancorp Inc., Stamford, Conn., and American Challenger Development Corp. entered into a definitive agreement under which Patriot will acquire American Challenger via a reverse subsidiary merger, with American Challenger surviving as a wholly owned subsidiary of Patriot.

Following the Merger, Patriot Bank will adopt the American Challenger business plan and will operate as two divisions – the Patriot Bank Division, which will continue to operate Patriot Bank’s existing business; and the American Challenger Division, which will execute the high-growth American Challenger business plan.

The merger is expected to close in first quarter 2022.

Ncontracts Acquires OnSemble Software from Passageways Inc.

Ncontracts, Brentwood, Tenn., a provider of integrated risk management platforms for the financial services industry, acquired the OnSemble intranet portal from Passageways Inc. The OnSemble intranet portal provides a full communication platform.

With this acquisition Ncontracts will expand its software platform that automates development and updating of employee intranets for the financial services industry, which includes banks, credit unions, mortgage companies and fintechs, to ensure that information needed for compliance and risk management can be rapidly shared and distributed across the organization.

Black Knight: Loans in Forbearance Tick Up by 2,000

Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla., said its McDash Flash daily loan-level forbearance data showed after seeing a decline of more than 200,000 over the first weeks of the month, the number of active forbearance plans held essentially steady last week, ticking up 2,000 from last Tuesday.

Slight declines among FHA/VA (-2,000) and GSE (-1,000) were offset by a 5,000 rise in plans among loans held in bank portfolios or private label securities. As of November 9, 1.01 million mortgage holders remain in COVID-19 related forbearance plans, representing 1.9% of all active mortgages, including 1.2% of GSE, 3.1% of FHA/VA and 2.4% of portfolio held and privately securitized loans.

Mortgage Coach Integrates with First American Title

Mortgage Coach, Irvine, Calif., announced its integration with First American Title Insurance Co., enabling lenders to incorporate title fees into custom Total Cost Analysis presentations, providing consumers with greater insight into their closing costs.

Mortgage Coach enables lenders to provide a consultative home financing experience using digital TCA presentations that deliver actionable financial advice and compare the performance of mortgage loans over time. The platform’s connectivity with lenders’ tech stacks allows loan originators to automatically generate and send custom TCA presentations to borrowers via email, text or Mortgage Coach’s native mobile app. The integration with First American Title makes it possible to import exact title fees — including lenders’ title insurance, recording, Escrow service and borrower closing service fees — into TCA presentations.

TitleEase Announces The Buy904 Team at Select Realty as Newest Franchisee

TitleEase, Providence, R.I., announced addition of its next franchisee, Clive Davidson and 904 Title. Select Realty is a full-service real estate broker serving the greater Jacksonville metro area and Northeast Florida.

TitleEase offers a compliant and simplified way for mortgage originators, servicers and real estate professionals to own and operate a title agency without the burden and expense of building a platform from scratch. Franchisees own a tangible asset with its own terminal value.

Shastic launches Elle App on Finastra’s

Shastic, a technology company that offers a zero-investment Robotic Process Automation platform for banking, announced its Elle application is available for purchase through Finastra’s FusionStore.

The application, which integrates with Fusion MortgagebotLOS, allows lenders and bankers to connect and communicate with applicants at any stage of the loan process from looking-to-booking, 24/7 using text messaging.

HUD Awards $3.6 Million for Neighborhood Revitalization Plans in 8 Communities

HUD announced $3.6 million awarded to eight communities to support comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plans to redevelop severely distressed HUD-assisted housing, improve outcomes for residents and bring new amenities to neighborhoods.

HUD has named Annapolis, Md.; Augusta, Ga.; Brownsville, Texas; Jackson, Mich.; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; McKees Rocks, Pa.; and Richmond, Va., as this year’s grant recipients. Each recipient is being awarded a grant amount of $450,000.

The Choice Neighborhoods initiative supports revitalization of communities through an emphasis on linking housing improvements with comprehensive social services and physical neighborhood improvements. Local leaders, residents and stakeholders, such as public housing authorities, cities, schools, police, business owners, nonprofits and private developers, come together to create and implement a plan that revitalizes distressed HUD-assisted housing and addresses the challenges in the surrounding neighborhood. This year’s awardees were selected from a pool of 32 applications.

OptiFunder Secures $25 Million in Capital Led by Arthur Ventures

OptiFunder, St. Louis, announced today it raised $25 million in additional capital lead by Arthur Ventures, a growth capital firm focused on high-growth, founder-led and capital efficient B2B software companies.

Founded in 2018 by Michael McFadden, OptiFunder is a fast-growing mortgage technology companies. In 2021, OptiFunder’s growth has surpassed 400% and is currently funding more than 50,000 loans per month on its platform. This investment will further allow OptiFunder to continue its innovation and growth rate.

OptiFunder’s Warehouse Management System leverages Machine Learning and AI to optimize warehouse funding decisions and fully integrate the primary origination market to the secondary market.