Industry Briefs Oct. 20, 2021: SimpleNexus Acquires LBA Ware

SimpleNexus Acquires LBA Ware

SimpleNexus, Lehi, Utah, announced its acquisition of software firm LBA Ware, Macon, Ga. The transaction, SimpleNexus’ first, brings together 325 employees in 29 states to serve 425 distinct lender customers and dozens of mortgage technology integration partners.

“Bringing LBA Ware into the SimpleNexus homeownership platform gives mortgage lenders an unprecedented array of competitive advantages across borrower engagement, loan origination and closing as well as operations and business intelligence,” said SimpleNexus CEO Cathleen Schreiner Gates. “This is an exciting moment for SimpleNexus. We welcome our new colleagues, who share our passion for helping lenders excel in their markets.”

LBA Ware CEO Lori Brewer will join SimpleNexus as EVP and general manager. Brewer founded LBA Ware in 2008 and shepherded the company through 13 years of product innovation and organic revenue growth. Initially a developer of custom software solutions for banks and mortgage lenders, LBA Ware created CompenSafe, incentive compensation management software. In 2019, LBA Ware diversified its product offerings with the introduction of LimeGear, a turnkey mortgage business intelligence platform.

The deal closed Oct. 19.

WFG Enterprise Solutions Launches MyHome Funder Dashboard

WFG Enterprise Solutions, Portland, Ore., announced availability of its WFG MyHome Funder Dashboard to regional and national mortgage lenders.

Created to simplify and accelerate loan funding and disbursement, MyHome Funder Dashboard gives loan funders and closing personnel real-time insight into their loan’s status as it progresses through closing. MyHome Funder Dashboard provides access to a loan’s history, current status and remaining milestones. It also makes vital information available instantly, including notary name, location and signing time; access to the executed loan package and conditions immediately after the borrower signs; a balance figure (including all fees escrow believes the lender is withholding); and even recording information.

ICE Mortgage Technology Launches Encompass 21.3 Enhancements

ICE Mortgage Technology, Pleasanton, Calif., announced additional enhancements to its Encompass platform. The Encompass 21.3 release supports the ability for lenders to offer 0% loans, making home ownership more accessible for first time buyers.

The new Encompass 21.3 release will also offer expanded capabilities for originating mortgage loans, including simple interest and options supporting a $0.00 payment with and without a disclosed balloon, improved workflows for home equity loans and HELOCs, simple interest amortization calculations and payments, as well as automated service ordering for additional mortgage service categories.

ClearValue Consulting Launches Property VeriPix Validation Technology

ClearValue Consulting, Chandler, Ariz., launched Property VeriPix, a photographic validation and chain of custody technology that verifies the location, date and time of subject property photos provided by third parties.

By automatically validating the authenticity of every property photo, Property VeriPix helps weed out fraudulent activity and engenders greater trust between property inspectors, field agents and other third parties that provide property photos and mortgage lenders making lending and investment decisions. Property VeriPix is available at no cost to users of ClearValue Consulting’s Acuity platform.

First American Docutech Expands Remote Online Notarization Through Partnership with Notarize

First American Docutech, Scottsdale, Ariz., announced lenders using First American Docutech’s Solex eClosing platform can now provide their customers with digitally notarizing closing documents from anywhere through a direct integration with Notarize.

Through First American Docutech’s partnership with Notarize, signers can connect via any device to a remote online video meeting with a live commissioned notary to notarize documents for a digital mortgage experience that is convenient, compliant and available in nearly all 50 states. The Notarize platform includes enhanced security features, such as forensic software analysis to verify government-issued photo IDs and passports, knowledge-based authentication questions for additional identity verification and a secure, tamper-proof audit trail.

First American Examines Link Between Education, Homeownership

First American Financial Corp., Santa Ana, Calif., examined the correlation between education and the ability to purchase a home. It noted In 2020, millennials with a bachelor’s degree had a median household income of $101,000, while those with at least a graduate degree had a median household income of $120,000. These levels are significantly higher than the median household income of millennials with just a high school degree (or some college), at nearly $60,000. The income difference is even more stark when compared with millennials with no high school degree, who have a median household income of $35,000, demonstrating the earning power benefit of greater educational achievement.

But when it comes to housing affordability, said First American Deputy Chief Economist Odeta Kushi, household income is not the only consideration. “As with income, house-buying power increases as educational attainment increases, but has also benefited from declining mortgage rates,” she said. “The average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate decreased from 3.94% in 2019 to 3.11% in 2020, boosting the house-buying power for millennials across all educational attainment levels. Even though the boost in house-buying power has positive implications for millennial homeownership, the homeownership rate among millennials still varies across educational levels. The homeownership rate for millennials with a bachelor’s degree in 2020 was nearly 9% higher than those with just a high school degree. Even when comparing millennials at the same age of 30, those millennials with a bachelor’s degree have a homeownership rate that is 5.5% higher than those with just a high school degree.”

Kushi said the importance of education to homeownership has only increased over time, noting in 2000, the difference in the homeownership rate between those with a high school degree and those with a college degree was 3.7%. By 2020, this gap almost doubled to 6.9%. “Millennials’ pursuit of higher education is good news for the housing market, because it seems that education is not only the key to greater earning power, but also to homeownership,” she said.

Black Knight: Another Sharp Drop in Forbearance

Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla., said its McDash Flash daily loan-level forbearance data reported another significant drop in the number of active forbearance plans last week, as the first wave of final expirations continues. Active plans fell by another 10% over the past seven days, for a 143,000 overall reduction since Oct. 12.

Declines were seen across all investor classes, led by an 88,000 (-19%) plan drop among loans held in bank portfolios and private-label securities. Plans among GSE and FHA/VA loans saw matching 6% declines, for 22,000 and 33,000 reductions, respectively.

As of October 12, 1.25 million mortgage holders remain in COVID-19 related forbearance plans, representing 2.4% of all active mortgages, including 1.3% of GSE, 4% of FHA/VA and 3% of portfolio held and privately securitized loans.

Redfin: One-Third of Homes Find Buyers Within a Week

Redfin, Seattle, said the share of homes selling within one to two weeks is on the rise during a time of year that typically sees the market slow down. One-third of pending sales were under contract within a week, up 2.2 points from a month earlier. During the same period in 2019, this measure fell 0.4 points.

Redfin said the hot market is largely fueled by the ongoing crisis-level supply shortage. Over the past six weeks, active listings of homes for sale have dropped 5.9%, compared to a decline of just 1.6% over the same period in 2019.

The report said the median home-sale price increased 13% year over year to $355,600. Asking prices of newly listed homes were up 12% from the same time a year ago to a median of $362,047, down 0.7% from the all-time high set during the previous four-week period ending October 3 as sellers began to back down from the record-high asking prices we saw in September. Asking prices typically increase in September and then begin to decline in October through the end of the year.

Additionally, the report said 46% of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within the first two weeks on the market, above the 42% rate of a year earlier. Homes that sold were on the market for a median of 22 days, a full week longer than the record low of 15 days seen in late June and July, and down from 32 days a year earlier.

SimpleNexus Launches NexusPay for In-App Payments

SimpleNexus, Lehi, Utah, debuted Nexus Pay, which enables mortgage loan applicants to seamlessly pay for any mortgage-related charges.

Payments such as appraisal fees, credit checks, first month’s payment and more can be fulfilled in the same mobile hub borrowers use to receive loan status updates, eSign documents, collaborate with loan officers and realtors and complete other loan-related tasks.

NexusPay also loan applicants to submit payments via credit card or ACH within the SimpleNexus app without human assistance, accelerating delivery of payments and creating process efficiencies for mortgage lenders. In-app push notifications alert applicants when they need to complete a payment task, and lenders can use the SimpleNexus admin portal to track payment history; view payment status on the borrower’s loan details page; and edit, void or refund payments if necessary.

ICE Mortgage Technology Ads eNotes, eVault Support in Encompass eClose

ICE Mortgage Technology, Pleasanton, Calif., announced Encompass eClose expanded its hybrid capabilities to now include full eNote and eVault functionality.

The addition of eNotes and eVault capabilities further streamlines the digital mortgage closing process by offering seamless integration with the MERS® eRegistry, owned and operated by MERSCORP, that is the national registry of record that identifies the holder and custodian of each registered eNote.