Industry Briefs Jan. 21, 2022: ICE Mortgage Technology Partners with Colorado Housing/Finance Authority

Colo. Housing and Finance Authority Partners with ICE Mortgage Technology

ICE Mortgage Technology, Pleasanton, Calif., announced the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority integrated Encompass Investor Connect and AIQ into its technology, enabling faster and easier loan delivery and funding.

Encompass Investor Connect provides a seamless, system-to-system delivery, directly from Encompass to CHFA, eliminating the need for lenders to locate, save and deliver data and documents that are already in their system. Lenders can go to their loan pipeline, select CHFA, and deliver files immediately.

With the addition of AIQ, CHFA further automated the process by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically extract, recognize and identify data and documents.

Rice Park Capital Management Closes $300 Million Capital Commitment for MSR Strategy

Rice Park Capital Management LP, a Minneapolis-based investment firm, closed on a $300 million capital commitment from M&G Investments for its inaugural mortgage servicing rights fund. Rice Park is targeting $600 million in total capital commitments for its MSR strategy in 2022.

Morgan Stanley served as the placement agent for the MSR fund.

Staircase Launches Low-Code Marketplace

Staircase, Philadelphia, launched a low-code marketplace that allows lenders to build applications that automate mortgage processes.

The first template available in Staircase’s low-code marketplace is PreApproval, which lenders can use to create a customized, white-labeled, web- and mobile-enabled pre-approval application process for their borrowers in just 30 minutes.

Over the next several months, the company plans to release other templates that will enable lenders to automate mortgage processes with less time and effort than they would otherwise spend acquiring and integrating new technologies.

Chimney Completes Seed Investment Round, Unveils New Brand/Mission

Chimney, New York, completed its seed round of funding, exceeding its investment goals. In addition to this capital raise, the company rebranded to better align with its, changing the company name from Signal Intent to Chimney.

The cofounders of Chimney, Matthew Covi who serves as CEO, Chase Neinken as CRO and Ryan F. Salerno as CTO, met while working together at NewsCred, a four-time Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for Content Marketing Technology (recently acquired by Optimizely). After holding leadership roles across numerous other companies, they teamed back up in 2020 with the mission to transform financial guidance, creating Signal Intent, now Chimney.

Chimney provides the tools and technology that help financial institutions engage their customers across web and digital banking to fund more loans. The company’s approach helps drive customer acquisition by connecting consumers to the right product in the right place at the right time. On average, Chimney’s financial institution clients see a 15% lift in conversions.

Fannie Mae: Economy, Housing to Turn Toward ‘New Normal’ in 2022

Fannie Mae, Washington, D.C., said the housing market and larger economy are expected to enter a “new normal” in 2022 as the unprecedented market disturbances and policy responses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic subside.

Fannie Mae’s ESR Group expects inflation to remain elevated in 2022, while still unknown is the extent to which structural shifts in the economy and housing markets over the past two years become permanent. However, the ESR Group foresees economic growth returning to more modest levels consistent with the long-run trend, while home sales and house price growth slow to a more sustainable pace. The ESR Group expects real GDP growth of 5.5 percent in 2021, which would represent the strongest annual growth rate since 1984, and 3.1 percent in 2022, a downgrade of only one-tenth. Inflation and supply chain disruptions remain key risks to the forecast, and the Federal Reserve’s policy response to the former – as well as the financial markets’ response to all of it – will be a critical storyline in 2022.

“We expect economic growth to continue slowing as the impacts of fiscal stimulus fade and the country’s attention increasingly turns to rising inflation,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “The Fed has accelerated the pace at which it intends to reduce monetary accommodation, as inflation appears more resilient than initially expected.”

Redfin: 1 in 10 Homebuyers and Sellers Say Climate Risk is Main Reason for Move

Redfin, Seattle, said one in 10 homebuyers and sellers say climate-related risks—hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, extreme temperatures and/or rising sea levels—are the primary reason for their move. Thirty-nine percent say these risks are contributing factors for their move.

“As natural disasters become more unavoidable, climate change is top of mind for homeowners in a way it wasn’t 10 years ago or even two years ago,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “Moving to homes in neighborhoods with lower risk and away from places with higher risk is a trend that will pick up speed in the next decade as people feel the impact of disasters like fires, floods and extreme heat both financially and emotionally. It’s expensive to protect your home or to fix water or fire damage, and many homeowners in high-risk areas like parts of California and coastal Texas are exhausted from worrying about the next wildfire or hurricane.”

When responses are divided between first-time homebuyers (people who are only buying a home) and move-up buyers (people who are selling a home and buying a new one), move-up buyers are twice as likely to cite climate risks as the primary reason for their move. Fifty-two percent of respondents have invested money to make their home more resilient to climate risks and natural disasters including hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, rising sea levels, extreme temperatures, wildfires, droughts and/or earthquakes.

ATTOM: Housing Market at Risk from Pandemic Downturns Concentrated in N.J., Ill., Calif.

ATTOM, Irvine, Calif., released its fourth-quarter Special Coronavirus Report spotlighting county-level housing markets around the United States that are more or less vulnerable to damage from the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic still endangering the U.S. economy.

The report shows that New Jersey, Illinois and parts of California had the highest concentrations of the most at-risk markets in the fourth quarter – with the biggest clusters still in the New York City and Chicago areas. The West, meanwhile, remained far less exposed outside of California. The fourth-quarter trends, which generally continued patterns from throughout the past year, showed New Jersey, Illinois and California had 31 of the 50 counties most vulnerable to the potential economic impact of the pandemic. The 50 most at-risk included eight counties in the Chicago metropolitan area, eight near New York City and seven sprinkled through northern, central and southern California.

Elsewhere, the rest of the top 50 counties were scattered mainly along the East Coast, including two of Delaware’s three counties and three counties in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.