Industry Briefs Oct. 7, 2021: WFG Whitepaper Examines Title Agent-Underwriter Relationship

WFG Whitepaper Examines Title Agent-Underwriter Relationship

WFG National Title Insurance Co., Portland Ore., published a new whitepaper that explores the title agent-underwriter relationship in great detail. The paper, “Creating a True Partnership Between Title Agencies and Underwriters,” is available as a free download on the WFG Blocks website.

“A number of states have recently enacted rating structures that will directly impact the title insurance industry and its pricing structure,” said WFG Executive Chairman and Founder Patrick F. Stone. “If legislative changes trigger actions by federal and state regulators to drive down premiums, those independent title agents who have not established cooperative, ‘optimal’ working relationships with underwriters will be at a disadvantage.”

WFG special program is referred to as “Blocks,” a name that underscores the modular structure of the program. These “Building Blocks for Business” support WFG’s agent network with a set of turnkey back-office processes available for title companies to use to build out their own businesses more efficiently.

First American Title Expand RON Availability with Notarize

First American Title Insurance Co., Santa Ana, Calif., announced expanded remote online notarization availability for residential real estate transactions via the company’s Direct and Agency division operations.

First American has accelerated use of RON with the company’s preferred RON platform, Notarize, and currently offers title insurance on RON-executed real estate transactions in 32 states, with additional states to follow. First American Title’s Direct division offers RON closing options to buyers, sellers and borrowers through a centralized team of certified RON specialists. The company’s Agent Advantage team provides title agents with RON capabilities through a variety of options, including strategic partnerships with Notarize and other platforms. First American Title’s Agency division also offers an eClosing toolkit and a comprehensive collection of training resources to help title agents implement eClosings in their operations.

Agile Launches MBS Pool Bidding

Agile, Philadelphia, a fintech bringing mortgage lenders and broker dealers on to a single electronic platform, launched MBS pool bidding.

Agile’s new MBS pool bidding offering includes efficiency and convenience by ingesting and streamlining email workflows into the Agile platform; best execution analysis on pool bids compiled automatically; granular loan-level data with all the specific characteristics lenders need to get sharper pricing; and a wide network of dealers returning bids.

Agile will debut the MBS pool bidding functionality on an industry webinar planned for October 14, at

RedfinNow Expands to Charlotte, Raleigh; Rolls Out Direct Access Home Tours

RedfinNow announced its launch in the Charlotte and Raleigh metro areas, bringing its iBuying service to North Carolina for the first time.

RedfinNow gives homeowners a way to sell through Redfin. Sellers can request a cash offer directly from RedfinNow and sell without preparing their home for market or accommodating open houses and private showings. So far this year, RedfinNow has expanded to 11 markets, and is now serving homeowners in a total of 29 markets in 14 states and the District of Columbia. RedfinNow uses local insight and its proprietary machine-learning algorithms to make a competitive cash offer based on the home’s location, condition and the cost of repairs. Sellers can pick their closing date between 10 and 90 days from accepting RedfinNow’s offer.

Redfin also announced a nationwide rollout of Direct Access, which lets homebuyers self-tour vacant Redfin-listed homes with or without an agent, using the Redfin app to unlock the door. ADT will equip Direct Access homes with smart locks and sensors that allow buyers to enter and tour a home worry-free and keep sellers informed about who enters and exits the property.

The ADT partnership is helping Redfin bring Direct Access to new markets faster by taking advantage of ADT’s national network of security professionals to install the smart home hardware in Redfin’s Direct Access listings. The feature is now available in the 22 markets listed below, and Redfin plans to expand the program to eventually reach all of its U.S. customers.

Fitch: U.S. Home Price Growth to Slow; Majority of U.S. Metro Areas ‘Overvalued’

Fitch Ratings, New York, said with national home prices at the highest annual growth rate in history as of July, national home prices are 11.7% overvalued on a population-weighted average basis, with the increase in overvaluation estimate driven primarily by rapid home price growth outpacing improving economic fundamentals.

Fitch said home prices in 75% of the country’s metropolitan statistical areas are considered overvalued, with half of the MSAs more than 10% overvalued, compared to only 4% pre-pandemic.

“Sales of existing homes are starting to slow and uncertainty remains around the impact of the Biden administration’s housing policies on affordability of home prices,” the report said. “Factors such as decreasing lumber costs, expiration of foreclosure and eviction moratoriums, new construction activities and potentially higher mortgage rates could slow home price growth in the future.

The report, U.S. RMBS Sustainable Home Price Report: Third-Quarter 2021, is available at

Black Knight: Forbearance Plans Down Another 11,000

Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla., said active forbearance plans fell another 11,000 (-1.4%) last week, with larger declines likely on tap for the coming weeks. As of September 28, 1.58 million mortgage holders remain in COVID-19 related forbearance plans, representing 3% of all active mortgages, including 1.7% of GSE, 5.2% of FHA/VA and 3.8% of portfolio held and privately securitized loans.

Black Knight said forbearances are now down 192,000 (-11%) from the same time last month, marking the fastest rate of decline seen since July as early forbearance entrants begin to reach their final expirations.

Promontory MortgagePath Adds Guild Mortgage Correspondent to Investor Network

Promontory MortgagePath LLC, Danbury, Conn., a provider of digital mortgage fulfillment services, added Guild Mortgage Correspondent to its investor network.

Coupled with Promontory MortgagePath’s, tech-driven mortgage fulfillment services, lenders can maintain control of all aspects of the origination process — including its contractual relationships with investors — while leaning on Promontory MortgagePath’s expertise to create and manage a compliant, efficient, scalable loan manufacturing process that supports the lender’s secondary market goals.

Sales Boomerang Releases Q3 Mortgage Market Opportunities Report

Sales Boomerang, Washington, D.C., released its Q3 2021 Mortgage Market Opportunities Report. Despite market-wide declines in loan volume, Sales Boomerang’s report identified several fertile opportunities for mortgage lenders, including a high frequency of borrowers who are well positioned to refinance for a better rate, remove FHA mortgage insurance or tap into home equity.

The report found many FHA borrowers with mortgage insurance are unaware they have the option to remove their MI once they reach 20% equity. With a 366% quarter-over-quarter increase in FHA MI Removal alerts, lenders have the opportunity to deliver immediate monthly savings to borrowers. Additionally, although the frequency of Equity alerts fell slightly from Q2 to Q3, nearly one in 12 borrowers saw significant home equity growth over the last quarter. Moreover, the almost 300% quarter-over-quarter increase in Cash-Out alerts shows that borrowers have grown their credit scores alongside their equity, paving the way for more cash-out refinance and HELOC activity in the coming months.