Industry Briefs Apr. 1, 2022: Homebridge Launches ‘Our Community’

Homebridge Launches ‘Our Community’

Homebridge Financial Services Inc., Iselin, N.J., launched its “Our Community” hub on the company’s website. This resource provides a new level of transparency about Homebridge’s current diversity and inclusion internal workforce efforts and measures progress.

The overall D&I section and the new hub describe ongoing D&I initiatives at Homebridge, such as additional training resources for all associates, new human resources programs to assist associates in their career paths and an internal council created to promote diversity and inclusion within the company. Our Community also highlights a number of associate success stories nationwide, and shares initial metrics about Homebridge’s workforce demographics, as the company continues its journey to ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace for its associates.

Clear Capital Announces Desktop Appraisal, Desktop Property Data Collection Platforms

Clear Capital, Reno Nev., launched Desktop Appraisal and Desktop Data Collection, two products designed to further modernize and increase certainty in the appraisal process.

Clear Capital is now offering Desktop Appraisal, a GSE-compliant 1004 Desktop/70D residential appraisal that delivers a reliable opinion of value with price certainty. Additionally, the company announced Desktop Data Collection, a certified, background checked data collector-enabled property data gathering service designed to capture information, photos, and generate high-fidelity floor plans with interior walls and ANSI-aligned digital gross living area to help appraisers complete a desktop appraisal with confidence. 

Seroka Brand Development Certified in Black Knight’s Mortgage Lender Social Media Platforms

Seroka, Brookfield, Wis., a branding, digital and strategic communications agency specializing in the mortgage industry, announced its marketing team has received certification in Black Knight’s Social Media Management platform. This certification allows Seroka to offer social media marketing assistance to its lenders using the tool.

The Social Media Management platform leverages intuitive social media capabilities that make lending teams more efficient, while simultaneously protecting those lending organizations against the growing compliance risks of social media usage in the mortgage industry. The suite enables lenders to sign up and access social media content that they can customize with personalized information or an entire schedule of pre-approved social media marketing posts. Additionally, Seroka will consult with lenders, offering social media enhancement strategies that are based on its analyses of various reports provided by the platform that detail social media growth analytics.

CFPB: Credit Card Companies Charge $12 Billion in Late Fee Penalties in 2020

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a report showing credit card issuers charged $12 billion in late fees in 2020.

“Many credit card issuers have made late fee penalties a core part of their profit model. Markets work best when companies compete on price and service, rather than relying on back-end fees that obscure the true cost.” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “Given their current practices, we expect that credit card issuers will hike fees, based on inflation, as limits continue to rise.”

The report said many major issuers charge the maximum late fee allowed under the immunity provisions set by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in 2010. Eighteen of the top 20 issuers set late fees at or near the established maximum level. Subprime cards and private-label cards are particularly susceptible to late fee charges.

Additionally, the report found low-income areas, areas with high shares of Black Americans and areas with lower economic mobility all bear more of the late fee burden. In 2019, credit card accounts held by cardholders living in the United States’ poorest neighborhoods paid twice as much on average in total late fees than those in the richest areas. Cardholders in majority-Black areas paid more in late fees for each card they held with major credit card issuers in 2019 than majority white areas. And people in areas with the lowest rates of economic mobility paid nearly $10 more in late fee charges per account compared to people in areas with the highest rates of economic mobility.

ICE To Launch U.S. Residential Mortgage Rate Lock Index Futures

Intercontinental Exchange Inc., Pleasanton, Calif., plans to launch its first mortgage futures contracts on June 13, subject to regulatory approval.

The two futures contracts will be cash-settled and based on the ICE U.S. Conforming 30-year Fixed Mortgage Rate Lock Index and the ICE U.S. Jumbo 30-year Fixed Mortgage Rate Lock Index. The indices are published daily and track U.S. residential mortgage loan applications where borrowers and lenders have committed to lock-in the interest rate prior to closing. By being underpinned by primary market rates, the futures contracts offer investors a more refined hedge to manage exposure to U.S. residential mortgage rates than the existing suite of available products.

Staircase Introduces Total Data Interoperability with Staircase Language

Staircase, Philadelphia, launched Staircase Language, which enables companies in the mortgage industry to translate data from any data language into another language, including MISMO standards.

Using a single line of code, Staircase Language can translate any data language to MISMO standards or to a company’s specific data model across a company’s entire technology ecosystem. As a result, Staircase Language enables lenders, servicers, software companies and third-party service providers to work with each other without having to change their own data language.

Staircase Language also can take any data language or schema and translate it into a canonical language that can be used by any company working with Staircase. This enables any company to communicate with Staircase in their language and connect to a variety of software and service providers in the Staircase Marketplace. Information received back from a partner will be automatically translated back into the company’s own data language or schema.

Minnesota Housing Finance Agency Partners with ACES Quality Management & Control

ACES Quality Management, Denver, announced the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency selected ACES’ flagship platform ACES Quality Management & Control software to support its mortgage origination compliance and quality control. 

ACES Quality Management & Control software enables financial institutions of all sizes to manage volume peaks and valleys to ensure quality and compliance throughout their operations while providing the flexibility to scale as volumes change. With ACES Flexible Audit Technology, QC providers can configure the system to meet its specific needs to improve productivity and quality while controlling costs and risk.

Planet Home Lending Selects Mortgage Coach

Planet Home Lending LLC, Meriden, Conn., selected Mortgage Coach to give loan officers a tool to provide a better customer experience.

With Mortgage Coach, mortgage loan originators can offer borrowers modern, consultative service with digital, interactive presentations that illustrate the costs and benefits of mortgage loan products and strategies over time. This partnership also enables Planet Home Lending to grow its marketing technology offering to its MLOs.