Industry Briefs Mar. 16, 2022: Wolters Kluwer to Acquire IDS

Wolters Kluwer to Acquire IDS

Wolters Kluwer Governance, Risk & Compliance, Minneapolis, signed an agreement with The Reynolds and Reynolds Co. to acquire International Document Services Inc., Draper, Utah, a provider of compliance and document generation software platforms for the mortgage and real estate industry, for $70 million in cash.

IDS will become part of GRC’s Compliance Solutions business, a provider of compliance software for U.S. banks, lenders, credit unions, insurers and securities firms. The acquisition builds on GRC’s existing experience in digital loan compliance, with end-to-end capabilities spanning from document generation to eClosing, loan analytics and lien platforms.

IDS serves more than 450 clients, including U.S. mortgage lenders, banks and law firms. IDS, founded in 1986, employs 75 professionals.

wemlo Adds New Product Offerings to Third-Party Mortgage Loan Processing Platform

wemlo, Denver, a third-party mortgage processing company with an all-in-one digital platform, today announces it has added support for new loan products to provide loan processing for mortgage brokers and loan originators.

wemlo now supports processing for nonqualified mortgage loans, including DSCR & Bank Statement, Specialized Borrower Assistance loans for low credit score and down payment assistance, Manufactured Home and Construction loans, plus VA IRRRL and FHA Streamline loans.

Ginnie Mae Issues $53 Billion in February

Ginnie Mae, Washington, D.C., said it financed 191,000 homes and apartment units through guaranteed mortgage-backed securities in February. Ginnie Mae’s MBS issuance volume for February totaled $53.01 billion.

A breakdown of February issuance of $53 billion includes $50.26 billion of Ginnie Mae II MBS and $2.75 billion of Ginnie Mae I MBS, which in turn includes approximately $2.59 billion of loans for multifamily housing. As of February 28, Ginnie Mae’s total outstanding principal balance rose to $2.179 trillion, up from $2.168 trillion in January and up from $2.106 trillion in February 2021.

HomeBinder Launches Adaptive Home Value

HomeBinder, Boston, announced availability of its Adaptive Home Value tool, designed to paints a more accurate picture of a home’s value by taking into consideration property-specific details that other automated valuation models fail to consider, such as regular maintenance and upkeep, projects and renovations, and updates to the major systems and appliances of the home.

The web-based platform also features a user-friendly interface, ensuring homeowners can easily log maintenance, home improvement projects, appliance upgrades and other items that can affect their adaptive home value estimate. In addition to tracking homeowners’ personalized adaptive home value within the HomeBinder dashboard, the platform automates monthly emails containing adaptive home value updates and maintenance recommendations for increasing home value. HomeBinder’s adaptive home value email updates are branded with the colors, logos and images of authorized professionals who have gifted the HomeBinder, keeping them top of mind with homeowners for years beyond close.

Fannie Mae Issues Working Paper on Mortgage Costs

Fannie Mae published its latest working paper, “Mortgage costs as a share of housing costs—placing the cost of credit in broader context,” which focuses on different components of housing costs to show the contribution of each expense to overall housing costs, specifically focusing on a breakdown of mortgage costs.

Authored by Mark Palim, Fannie Mae Deputy Chief Economist, and Jackie Begley, Fannie Mae Economist, the working paper matched internal Fannie Mae loan acquisition data with closing costs data to establish examples of housing costs for three average borrower profiles (all purchases, first-time homebuyers, and low-income first-time homebuyers) over a typical homeownership lifecycle of seven years.

The paper can be accessed at

Redfin Report Examines Pandemic’s Effect on Housing Market

The housing market has changed drastically since onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020—there are now half as many homes to choose from, and prices have surged 34%, according to a new report from Redfin, Seattle.

The report also found homebuyers are now twice as likely to pay above the asking price as they strive to beat out the competition, which is one reason home prices have climbed so high; the typical home sells in 25 days, down from 53 days two years ago; and a record 70% of home offers written by Redfin agents faced bidding wars on a seasonally adjusted basis in January—the most recent month for which Redfin has data. Additionally, a record 32.4% of users nationwide looked to move to a different metro area in January—the most recent period for which data is available. And homebuyer demand for second homes was up 87% from pre-pandemic levels in January—the most recent period for which data is available. That’s the highest level in a year and just shy of the record 90% gain in September 2020.

Redfin: Home Prices Surge to Record High as Competition Heats Up

In a separate report, Redfin said home prices spiked to a record-high $363,975 as the market continued to heat up during the four-week period ending February 27. The median home-sale price rose by16% year over year, the biggest annual gain since August.

Redfin reported the typical home sold for 0.8% above list price, the largest premium since October. Redfin Deputy Chief Economist Taylor Marr said intense competition among buyers driven by an extreme shortage of homes for sale is driving prices up unseasonably fast.

“The war in Ukraine has rattled the global economy, causing mortgage rates to fall after weeks of increases,” Marr said. “The dip in mortgage rates should buoy homebuying demand temporarily, fueling continued price gains. But demand may drop off if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates again as expected.”

The report said new listings of homes for sale were down 1% from a year earlier. Compared to 2020, new listings were down 10%. Active listings (the number of homes listed for sale at any point during the period) fell 24% year over year, dropping to record-low 456,000. Listings were down 50% from the same period in 2020. Additionally, the report said 58% of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within the first two weeks on the market, a record high. Forty-five percent of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within one week of hitting the market, also a record high.

TitleEase Adds Global Integrity Finance as New Franchisee

TitleEase, McKinney, Texas, a title and settlement services franchise business, announced a new franchisee, Global Integrity Insurance Services LLC, a subsidiary of Global Integrity Finance, a direct private lender that specializes in hard money, fix-and-flip and investor loans as well as all other real estate investment financing.

The new franchise is located in McKinney, Texas and will serve customers nationwide.

Black Knight’s Optimal Blue Mortgage Lock Data Used to Forecast Short-Term Prepayment Activity, Enhance Behavioral Models

Black Knight Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., released a complimentary white paper exploring use of mortgage pipeline rate lock data to inform daily prepayment modeling.

“Interest rate movements are the leading signal of prepayment rates,” said Scott Happ, president of Optimal Blue, a division of Black Knight. “As rates fall, borrowers are incentivized to refinance, which leads to a higher incidence of prepayment. In most cases, a rate lock will occur at roughly the same time as the application is submitted to the lender, reflecting a concrete decision on the part of a borrower to pursue funding. The timing of the lock makes it the most reliable, initially observed event in the mortgage process and a leading indicator of prepayments to the extent that a new mortgage, identified by the rate lock, will replace an existing loan. Pulling near real-time rate lock data into prepayment modeling pushes our industry closer to achieving a daily view of mortality rates.”

The white paper looks at the viability of predicting short-term prepayment speeds by tracking Optimal Blue Mortgage Lock Data. Among core takeaways included in the white paper is the demonstrable correlation between prepayment prediction and in-stratification lock activity. This parallel suggests that including combinations of selected cohorts into a predictive prepayment model could prove beneficial for more accurate valuations of mortgage-backed securities and mortgage servicing rights. 

CFPB Estimates $88 Billion in Medical Bills on Credit Reports

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a showing the U.S. healthcare system is supported by a billing, payments, collections and credit reporting infrastructure where mistakes are common, and where patients often have difficulty getting these errors corrected or resolved.

“When it comes to medical bills, Americans are often caught in a doom loop between their medical provider and insurance company,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “Our credit reporting system is too often used as a tool to coerce and extort patients into paying medical bills they may not even owe.”

The report details how medical bills are often incurred through unexpected and emergency events, are subject to opaque pricing and involve complicated insurance or charity care coverage and pricing rules. In emergencies, patients might not even sign a billing agreement until after receiving treatment. In other instances, patients, including those with chronic illnesses or who are injured or ill, may desperately feel that the need for medical care forces them into accepting any costs for treatment. When those bills end up in collections, the repercussions can be far-ranging. Medical bills placed on credit reports can result in reduced access to credit, increased risk of bankruptcy, avoidance of medical care, and difficulty securing employment, even when the bill itself is inaccurate or erroneous. The report outlines how these repercussions are especially acute for people from Black and Hispanic communities, as well as people with low incomes, veterans, older adults and young adults of all races and ethnicities.

FHA Implements Enhancements for Electronic Submission of Flood Insurance Data

The Federal Housing Administration announced enhancements to FHA Connection that require mortgagees to indicate if property improvements are in a Special Flood Hazard Area and if so, provide the applicable flood insurance data electronically. The enhancements implement new fields for the electronic submission of flood-related data currently contained in FHA case binders.   This electronic data collection will enable FHA to perform more data analytics on FHA-insured properties in flood zones. Mortgagees can now submit the following additional flood-related data electronically for single family forward mortgages and Home Equity Conversion Mortgages on the corresponding Insurance Application Screens in FHAC:   These enhancements do not change FHA’s existing flood insurance policy detailed in the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1.

Fannie Mae: Mortgage Lenders Remain Bearish on Profits Amid Rising Mortgage Rates, Declining Volume

Fannie Mae, Washington, D.C., said a majority of mortgage lenders continue to expect near-term profitability to decrease amid rising mortgage rates and declining refinance activity.

The company’s Q1 2022 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey reported 75% of mortgage lenders believe profit margins will decrease in the next three months, up from 65% in the prior quarter, while 17% believe profits will remain the same and 9% believe profits will increase. Competition from other lenders, market trend changes, and consumer demand were the top reasons cited for the decline in profitability expectations. Mortgage lenders also grew more pessimistic about the larger economy in Q1 2022, with 59% now reporting that the economy is on the wrong track, compared to 29% in Q1 2021.

Floify Integrates with ICE Mortgage Technology’s Encompass eClose

Floify, Boulder, Colo., integrated with Encompass eClose through ICE Mortgage Technology, Pleasanton, Calif. The integration enables customers to leverage Encompass to drive quality and efficiency in the loan origination process.

Encompass eClose enables lenders to electronically order documents, digitally collaborate with settlement agents and partners, eSign documents with borrowers, deliver electronic notes to the MERS eRegistry, electronically record, and will soon support eNotarization. 

SimpleNexus Webinar Mar. 24 on eClose Adoption

SimpleNexus will hold a webinar, The Lender’s Guide to Accelerating eClose Adoption, on Thursday, Mar. 24 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET.

Featured speakers include Jay Arneja, Group Product Manager, SimpleNexus; Michael R. Pulver, SVP – Residential Lending, Genesee Regional Bank; and Michael C. Ridgway, CEO and President, Community Title Network.

To register, click here.

Incenter Adds Mortgage Due Diligence, Document Management through Edgemac

Incenter LLC, Fort Washington, Pa., added Edgemac to its family of 11 companies.

Founded in 2006, Edgemac helps investors, originators and other industry participants evaluate loan quality so they can make informed risk management decisions when buying, selling or securitizing mortgages. The company offers loan file due diligence and related document management services to support the closing, purchase, sale and securitization of residential and business-purpose mortgage loans.

Homebridge Launches ‘Our Community’

Homebridge Financial Services Inc., Iselin, N.J., launched its “Our Community” hub on the company’s website. This resource provides 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 publicly for the first time, initial metrics about Homebridge’s workforce demographics, as the company continues its journey to ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace for its associates.

Plaza Home Mortgage Launches DCSR Investor Solutions

Plaza Home Mortgage, San Diego announced a new debt service coverage ratio investor loan program, DSCR Investor Solutions, that bases qualification on property cash-flows. The program provides investor financing up to $3.5 million and compliments Plaza’s Non-QM Solutions set.

Available through Plaza’s Wholesale Lending Division, DSCR Investor Solutions offers 30-year fixed fully amortized and 40-year fixed interest only loans with DSCR ratios as low as 0.75 percent. Qualification is based on property cash-flows and does not consider borrower income or employment. Loan amounts can range from $100,000 to $3.5 million with LTVs to 80% and FICO scores as low as 620. Property types include 1-unit SFR/PUDs, 2-4 units and condos. DSCR Investor Solutions is available with and without prepayment penalties.

Staircase Introduces Third-Party Service Waterfalls

Staircase, Philadelphia, launched new click-to-deploy technology that enables lenders to access a wider number of third-party service providers in waterfall fashion through their loan origination systems. The new technology removes the lengthy process of integrating new services and eliminates wait times when accessing automated borrower verifications and document classification and data extraction services.

Staircase’s click-to-deploy technology provides an automated, integrated loan processing workflow that starts with a lender’s preferred service partner for borrower verifications, document classification and data extraction. If there are no results or incomplete results, Staircase automatically goes to other partners in waterfall fashion until the process is complete. The result is an average reduction of 20 minutes of loan processing time and a reduction of four to six days in application-to-closing time.

ICE Mortgage Technology Updates Website to Display Real-Time Mortgage Data

ICE Mortgage Technology, Pleasanton, Calif., updated its website home page with access to real-time mortgage data with Insights by ICE Mortgage Technology. These interactive tools present data including 30-year note rates, closed loan rates, days to close and loan purpose information.

Interactive tools on the home page specifically include 30-year Note Rates; Average FICO Scores; Average Loan to Value; Average Debit to Income Ratios; Millennial Tracker; Days to Close; and Loan Purpose.