Industry Briefs Feb. 1, 2022: Ginnie Mae Streamlines Servicing Requirements
Ginnie Mae Streamlines Requirements for Servicers Moving Homeowners from Forbearance to Permanent Loan Modification
Ginnie Mae issued All-Participants Memorandum 22-01 streamlining its documentation requirements for servicers participating in the FHA Advanced Loan Modification program.
This step will eliminate the requirement for recordation and title insurance. The new policy, effective for all ALMs, including those already in process or completed, is designed to create more efficiency so that servicers/issuers can help more homeowners transition from forbearance into a permanent modification.
“In order to fully stabilize the economy, issuers need as many tools as possible to help homeowners recover from the pandemic’s economic effects,” said Ginnie Mae President Alanna McCargo. “This policy gives issuers clear guidance on how to move forward to help tens of thousands of FHA homeowners coming out of forbearance benefit from the FHA Advance Loan Modification.”
Credit Plus | UniversalCIS Launches HMDA LAR Reporting
Credit Plus | UniversalCIS, Philadelphia, announced through its QC Review product suite, it is now offering HMDA LAR reports, designed to help lenders prevent loan defects throughout the mortgage lifecycle and more easily comply with HMDA requirements.
QC Review’s HMDA LAR reports validate data lenders collect from borrowers and applicants and also provide a data discrepancy analysis so they can find opportunities for improvement. It enables lenders to complete and file their reporting forms effectively and efficiently while flagging defects – quickly identifying incorrect loan file attributes and developing trends that might cause data integrity risks.
Spring Labs, TransUnion Bring Credit Data to Public Blockchain Networks
Spring Labs is bringing TransUnion’s identity and credit data on-chain via the ky0x Digital Passport to help accelerate Web 3 and DeFi adoption.
Off-chain credit data from TransUnion will be made available on public blockchain networks via Spring Labs’ ky0x Digital Passport. The move enables better-informed, privacy-preserving DeFi and Web3 applications (internet applications based on public blockchains), unlocking a new world of permissioned and reputation-based products and features.
Redfin: Rents Rise 14% in December—Biggest Jump in Two Years
Redfin, Seattle, said average monthly listed rents in the U.S. increased 14.1% year over year to $1,877 in December, the largest annual jump since at least February 2019—the earliest month in Redfin’s rental data.
Meanwhile, the national monthly mortgage payment for homebuyers climbed 21.6% year over year, also the biggest increase in Redfin’s records.
“The growth in mortgage payments has been driven by both climbing prices and climbing mortgage rates,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “And those rising mortgage costs push more potential homebuyers into renting instead, which pushes up demand and prices for rentals. Mortgage rate increases are accelerating, which will cause both mortgage payments and rent to grow throughout 2022.”
Sales Boomerang, Mortgage Coach Get Investments from LLR Partners
Sales Boomerang, Baltimore, and Mortgage Coach, Irvine, Calif., announced investments from Philadelphia-based private-equity firm LLR Partners. Sales Boomerang and Mortgage Coach will maintain their existing brands and teams.
The transactions will support product enhancements designed to make both companies’ widely used technologies even more valuable to lenders. Go-forward initiatives include support for a wider range of financial products and lending institutions and a tighter integration between Sales Boomerang and Mortgage Coach.
Redfin: Share of Homebuyers Looking to Relocate Is Near Pandemic Peak
Nearly one-third of Redfin.com users looked to move away from their hometown in the fourth quarter, close to the record high set in the first quarter, reported Redfin, Seattle.
The report said nationwide, 31.2% of Redfin.com users looked to move to a different metro in the fourth quarter, down from the record high 31.5% set in the first quarter of last year, but is still up significantly from pre-pandemic levels, with 26.3% of Redfin.com users looking to relocate in fourth quarter 2019.
Redfin said homebuyer interest in relocating to a new part of the country rose with the onset of the pandemic and has remained elevated for nearly two years, partly due to low mortgage rates and partly the surge in remote work that’s allowing Americans to choose where they live based on things like affordability and weather rather than proximity to an office.
CondoTek Launches Online Ordering Portal for Condo Lenders
CondoTek, Philadelphia, launched an online ordering portal to streamline delivery of its products and services. The new CondoTek Ordering Portal features CondoTek’s newest product, Condo Project Warrant, an end-to-end platform that leverages the company’s proprietary technology to deliver risk-free warrants for condo and co-op loans.
The CondoTek Ordering Portal also provides clients with access to CondoTek’s expanded offerings resulting from its recent acquisition National Condo Advisors, a nationwide provider of condominium project approval services. Lenders can also use the portal to order CondoPak, CondoTek’s flagship product for streamlining documents and data. CondoPak enables lenders of any size to acquire and service a complex array of data and documents required for underwriting and approving condominium and homeowner association properties nationwide.
TMC Emerging Technology Fund LP Invests in Capacity
The Mortgage Collaborative, San Diego, announced the TMC Emerging Technology Fund LP recently participated in a $38M Series C investment round for AI Software LLC dba Capacity.
Capacity is an AI-powered support automation platform that connects into an organization’s tech stack to answer questions, automate repetitive support tasks and build solutions. Capacity provides mortgage lenders with a single platform to automate customer support and internal business processes. With Capacity’s AI-powered support automation platform, lenders can enhance their user experience while streamlining operations, resulting in an 11-day improvement in closing times over the national average of 47 days.
IDS Expands Mortgage eClosing Platform with eVault
International Document Services Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, released its eVault platform, expanding the capabilities of its eClosing platform, Solitude Solution.
With the addition of the eVault to Solitude Solution, lenders now have the ability to deliver documents, including eNotes, to partners though Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. eRegistry.
The IDS eVault is approved by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and includes secure eDelivery and eTransfer functionality for digital mortgage documents, allowing lenders to register eNotes with MERS. Prior its release, the eVault underwent a beta testing phase, during which IDS collected feedback on the product.
ChainLogix Automates 65 of 67 Florida Counties
TaxLogix, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a proprietary platform using robotic process automation to generate property tax reports, automated 65 of 67 Florida counties with more than 25,000 automated property tax reports processed.
The ChainLogix property tax reporting platform leverages robotic process automation to solve challenges related to scalability and speed of delivery. The platform’s real-time dashboard offers simplicity of use, enhanced order tracking, analytics and customized reports.
CFPB Launches Effort to Cut ‘Junk Fees’
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched an initiative to save households billions of dollars a year by reducing “exploitative junk fees” charged by banks and financial companies. The request allows the public to share input that will help shape the agency’s rulemaking and guidance agenda, as well as its enforcement priorities in the coming months and years.
“Many financial institutions obscure the true price of their services by luring customers with enticing offers and then charging excessive junk fees,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “By promoting competition and ridding the market of illegal practices, we hope to save Americans billions.”
The Bureau said companies across the U.S. economy increasingly charge inflated and back-end fees to households and families. “This new ‘fee economy’ distorts our free market system by concealing the true price of products from the competitive process,” the Bureau said.
CFPB research found in 2019, the major credit card companies charged more than $14 billion each year in punitive late fees. Also in 2019, bank revenue from overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees surpassed $15 billion.
CFPB Identifies Consumer Reporting Companies Public Can Hold Accountable
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its annual list of consumer reporting companies. The list identifies dozens of specialty reporting companies that collect and sell access to people’s data, including individuals’ finances, employment, check writing histories or rental history records. Using the list, people can exercise their right to see what information these firms have, dispute inaccuracies and file lawsuits if the firms are violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The Bureau said while the three nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian – allow people to check their reports for free once a week through December 2022, many of the specialty companies charge people a fee to access this data. The list allows people to see which companies provide this information for free, as well as search for those that provide specialized reporting by specific markets, including employment, tenant, insurance and medical.
The list can be accessed at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/credit-reports-and-scores/consumer-reporting-companies/.
STRATMOR Group: Consumer Direct Lenders Need to Act Now to Prepare for Success in Purchase Business
STRATMOR Group, Greenwood Village, Colo., in its monthly Insights Report, said while Consumer Direct lenders have done very well capturing the bulk of refinance business over the past few years, with the mortgage business shifting to purchase money loans, CD lenders will need a different strategy.
That’s the conclusion STRATMOR Group’s Senior Partner Garth Graham reaches in his article, “Consumer Direct: It’s Nurture vs Nature in Purchase Business” in the January issue of the Insights Report. Consumer Direct lenders who think they can just pivot and start a purchase business are in for a rude awakening, Graham said. Even when the lender can capture or buy purchase leads, they will take six to nine months to convert.
“To make it work, CD lenders are going to have to understand the needs of purchase money borrowers and craft marketing messages that will appeal to them, tweak the processes for purchase money loan origination and then train their LOs to close this business,” Graham said.
The report can be accessed at https://www.stratmorgroup.com/insights-report/.
Redfin: Sales, Supply Surge for Most Affordable U.S. Homes as Mortgage Forbearance Ends
Redfin, Seattle, said sales of the most affordable homes in the U.S. rose 11.3% year over year in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, sales of luxury homes dropped 16.3%.
“The market for homes at lower price points is booming for a few reasons. Not only is there demand from workers who are now earning higher wages, but investors, who have an appetite for lower-priced homes, are buying up properties at record rates,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “And with the end of both mortgage forbearance and the foreclosure moratorium, many homeowners who don’t have much cash in the bank are choosing to sell their homes to clear their mortgage debt, providing plenty of supply to meet the high demand.”
For luxury homes, the big year-over-year sales drop is partly due to a surge during the fourth quarter of 2020, when affluent Americans took advantage of low mortgage rates and remote work to buy high-end homes. Sales are also constrained by a lack of supply. Luxury sales are still elevated above pre-pandemic levels—sales were up by nearly 27% from the last quarter of 2019 to the last quarter of 2021—but the initial pandemic-driven frenzy for high-end homes is calming down.
The report can be accessed at https://www.redfin.com/news/luxury-price-tier-report-q4-2021.
Gateway First Bank Extends Sagent Mortgage Servicing Partnership
Sagent, King of Prussia, Pa., announced a multi-year partnership extension with Gateway First Bank, Jenks, Okla.
For nearly a decade, Gateway has partnered with Sagent to power its mortgage servicing tech stack with LoanServ (system of record), CARE (consumer experience), and DataScape (cloud-based data reporting and insights) to simplify the servicing experience for Gateway’s consumer customers and team members.
Incenter Tax Solutions Launches to Protect Property Owners from Overpaying Property Taxes
Incenter Tax Solutions, Fort Washington, Pa., launched a platform to provide relief for owners across the United States who may be over assessed. The firm is offering complimentary reviews of property tax assessments and has a network of real estate attorneys and appraisers covering the country’s 19,495 municipalities.
If they determine that an owner’s assessment is excessive, they will offer to prepare and file the appeal free of charge, except for an initial appraisal (which clients then own). Incenter Tax Solutions only gets paid a one-time contingency fee if an appeal is successful.