Industry Briefs May 12, 2022: Planet Home Lending to Acquire Homepoint Correspondent Assets

Planet Home Lending to Acquire Homepoint Correspondent Assets

Planet Home Lending LLC, Meriden, Conn., entered into a definitive agreement to acquire certain assets of the delegated correspondent channel of Homepoint Financial Corp., a mortgage originator and servicer and a subsidiary of Home Point Capital Inc.

Correspondent lenders served by both companies will benefit from consolidation in a volatile market, said Planet Home Lending President of Lending John Bosley. “The move to Planet Home Lending will give Homepoint lenders access to niche products, as well as consistent pricing and fast turn times,” he said. “Working with a single long-term, strong partner reduces risk and allows lenders to gain execution and operational efficiencies.”

Homepoint generated $20.7 billion in delegated correspondent volume in 2021, making it the 13th largest correspondent lender, according to Inside Mortgage Finance data. Planet Home Lending is ranked 12th with $22.8 billion in correspondent volume.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter, subject to customary closing conditions. McGuireWoods, LLP acted as legal adviser to Planet Home Lending. Jones Day acted as legal adviser to Homepoint. STRATMOR Group acted as investment banking adviser to Homepoint.

Constellation Mortgage Solutions, Entrinsik Announce Partnership

Constellation Mortgage Solutions, Southfield, Mich., provider of enterprise mortgage loan origination and servicing software systems, announced a partnership with Entrinsik, a provider of embedded business intelligence. This partnership will use the Informer Embedded platform, enabling CMS users to maximize the value of their data through visualizations and self-service analytics.

CMS customers will better manage and measure their performance in real-time using Entrinsik Informer through the CMS enterprise LOS platform. Easy adoption of the technology and user-friendly and visually pleasing reporting relevant to all levels of an organization further enhances productivity and communication throughout the loan origination process.

FormFree Opens Registration for Annual Golf Tournament

FormFree, Athens, Ga., opened registration to its third annual Heroes Golf Classic, taking place September 9 at Lanier Islands Legacy Golf Course in Buford, Ga.

All proceeds from the event will be donated to the American Red Cross of Northeast Georgia, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides emergency assistance and preparedness education to communities affected by disaster.

For more information, visit  

realMLS Partners with Down Payment Resource

realMLS, Jacksonville, Fla., serving 11,000 members in northeast Florida, partnered with Down Payment Resource, Atlanta, to enhance its platform with DPR’s suite of real estate agent tools that help MLS customers connect homebuyers with homebuyer assistance programs.

realMLS is a multiple listing service that provides advanced tools and reliable listing data to its MLS members serving Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties in Florida. As a subscriber benefit, realMLS integrated DPR with its listing data so properties that qualify for one or more homebuyer assistance programs will be searchable and flagged with the DPR icon. Additionally, realMLS subscribers will receive Down Payment Connect, a unique lead generation landing page that allows visitors to search for homeownership programs and Realtors to collect prospect contact information. Subscribers will also be given access to DPR’s library of marketing resources, which includes graphics, social media images and customizable flyers.

Stark Accelerators Commercial Real Estate Joins TCN Worldwide

TCN Worldwide, San Diego, an alliance of independent commercial real estate brokerage firms serving more than 200 markets globally, announced Stark Accelerators in Boise, Idaho, joined the organization as its newest member firm and affiliate.

Stark was founded in 2004 and is a full-service real estate company specializing in commercial brokerage, including broker’s price opinion; property sales; property leases; tenant representation; landlord representation; consulting and business brokerage.

Ginnie Mae April Volume Shows Strong Overall Portfolio Growth

Ginnie Mae, Washington, D.C., guaranteed nearly $52 billion in mortgage-backed securities in April, supporting affordable homeownership and rental units for more than 186,500 households during the month.

April issuance includes $49.29 billion of Ginnie Mae II MBS and $2.38 billion of Ginnie Mae I MBS, which includes $2.25 billion of loans for multifamily housing. As of April 30, Ginnie Mae’s total outstanding principal balance rose to $2.199 trillion, an increase from $2.182 trillion in March and $2.105 trillion in April 2021.

Plaza Home Mortgage Offers USDA Renovation Loan Program with 100% Financing

Plaza Home Mortgage, San Diego, announced a new USDA renovation loan program that will enable qualified low to moderate income borrowers to purchase and renovate with no down payment and with loan amounts up to the “as improved” value.

The program, which is available through Plaza’s Wholesale and National Correspondent Divisions, offers fixed rates and 100% financing on owner-occupied single-family properties in eligible USDA rural areas. Borrowers must meet USDA income requirements and Plaza’s minimum credit score of 620. The loans can be used to purchase a home and complete upgrades like modernizing kitchens and bathrooms, building additions, adding amenities to accommodate disabilities, installing energy conservation improvements, and repairing Accessory Dwelling Units.

Planet Home Lending Further Expands in San Antonio

Planet Home Lending LLC, Meriden, Conn., has a new team in San Antonio, Texas, led by Hugh Blevins. Joining him are Mortgage Loan Originator Dale Lucas, Lending Partner Kristal Respondek and Senior Processor Becca McCaghy.

Planet Home Lending continues to build its Texas footprint with its seventh team in the state. The new team works with consumers looking for new home funding as well as those who want to use assets and investments to qualify for a home loan, rather than income. In addition, the team has experience with VA home loans and mortgages for self-employed business owners as well as retirees.

Wolters Kluwer Launches OmniVault for Real Estate Finance

Wolters Kluwer Compliance Solutions, Minneapolis, launched its OmniVault for Real Estate Finance platform, using eVault technology to support digital home equity lending, both HELOCs and home equity loans, in addition to already supported conventional, U.S. government and jumbo first mortgages.

The OmniVault Real Estate Finance platform provides clients with the same user experience and visibility across all asset classes.  With Wolters Kluwer’s Rapid Deployment Solution, lenders can be using its platform for HELOCs within two weeks.

MCT: Lock Volume for April Down 5%

MCTlive! Mortgage Lock Volume Indices show total mortgage rate locks by dollar volume decreased 5.0 percent in April, and lock volume is down 25.4 percent from a year ago.

The report said purchase locks are up 2.2 percent over the course of the month and 7.55 percent from one year ago, a bright spot even as mortgage rates have increased rapidly in 2022. That increase in mortgage rates is evident in the refinance figures, as rate/term refinances are down 36.4 percent and cash out refinances are down 31.1 percent month-over-month. From one year ago, cash out refinance volume is down 51.7 percent, while rate/term refinance volume has dropped 89.2 percent.

HUD Expands Eviction Protection/Diversion Program with Additional $20M

HUD announced $20 million in new grants for its Eviction Protection Grant Program, doubling the amount originally allocated for the launch of the Program in November.

HUD has offered grants to 11 organizations, in addition to the 10 organizations selected in November, to help non-profits and governmental entities provide legal assistance to low-income tenants at risk of or subject to eviction. Through HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research, these competitive grants were made available to legal service providers serving or expanding services in areas with high rates of eviction or prospective evictions, including rural areas. The first cohort of grantees funded by the program are implementing a total of seven statewide programs (Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, and Utah) as well as two regional (Northwestern Ohio and Western New York) and three local (Albany, Atlanta, and Las Vegas) programs. This expansion will support additional statewide, regional, and local programs across the Northeast, Southern and Western United States.

Class Valuation Releases New Insights on Desktop and Digital Appraisals

Class Valuation, Troy, Mich., released new statistics on the impact desktop and digital appraisals have made on the industry since new rules were released earlier this year.

According to statistics gathered by Class Valuation, increasing desktop and digital appraisals have impacted the way loans are processed. For example, with more than 10,000 digital appraisals completed by Class Valuation over the last year, first-pass revisions have fallen by 50 percent. Second-pass revisions are down 70 percent.

“With digital appraisals, everyone is looking at the same, comprehensive data set. And any disputes are easier to resolve because everyone has the exact same view of the property,” said Scot Rose, Chief Innovation Officer of Class Valuation.

The report said transaction turn times are down by as much as 50 percent in some of the more challenging areas, demonstrating the benefits of using technology rather than appraiser legwork to complete valuations.

Centier Bank Leverages DocMagic’s eVault Technology to Accept and Manage eNotes

DocMagic Inc., Torrance, Calif., announced Indiana-based Centier Bank is now equipped to receive eNotes from its warehouse clients through DocMagic’s eVault platform. The move positions Centier to secure more business as mortgage bankers increasingly adopt eClosing technology.

Centier implemented DocMagic’s eVault specifically for its mortgage warehouse lending business. DocMagic enables the bank to accept and fund eNotes from customers closing loans electronically. The new eWarehouse lending process reduces cycle times functioning in minutes versus days. The overall process to close, fund and sell the note is effectively fast-tracked.

Staircase Launches New Tools for MSR Transfers

Staircase, New York, launched three tools to enable transfer of mortgage servicing rights among mortgage lenders, servicers and investors. The new tools are:

•           Loan diligence – enables companies to automatically classify documents, extract data, apply business rules, compare to the original servicer’s data tapes, and provide exception handling through an outsourcer

•           Automated loan auditing – identifies the value of key data elements and their location in the loan file

•           Blockchain-based data sharing – allows companies to manage the complexity of data access and sharing between their different partners

Down Payment Resource Partners with

Down Payment Resource, Atlanta, announced deployed DPR’s search tool that helps home shoppers find homebuyer assistance programs.

DPR maintains a comprehensive catalog of homebuyer assistance programs available in the United States, including down payment and closing cost programs, Mortgage Credit Certificates and affordable first mortgages. According to DPR’s Q1 2022 Homeownership Program Index, there are 2,238 homebuyer assistance programs, with at least one available in each of the United States’ 3,143 counties.

First American Financial Corp., Brands Venture Capital Arm as Parker89

First American Financial Corp., Santa Ana, Calif., launched the official brand and website for the company’s venture capital arm – Parker89. Since 2019, First American’s venture capital arm has invested more than $350 million in more than 20 high-growth proptech companies, many of which have become strategic partners and customers.

The new brand, Parker89, pays homage to First American’s roots, which can be traced to the year 1889. Parker89 is a blend of 1889 and C.E. Parker, the name of the founder of the company that decades later would become First American Title Insurance Company, the largest subsidiary of First American Financial Corporation.

Homespire Mortgage Donates $20,000 To World Central Kitchen

Homespire Mortgage, Gaithersburg, Md., announced its support of $20,000 for World Central Kitchen, a not-for-profit organization founded by Chef José Andrés. WCK provides meals for people impacted by natural disasters and other crises around the world.

The $20,000 donation was made possible through the success of Homespire MOVE, a new company health and wellness campaign that encourages employees to record their physical exercise, such as hiking, biking, swimming and walking. Reaching a combined goal of 100,000 minutes of physical exercise meant the company would contribute financial aid to WCK.

First American Completes Acquisition of Mother Lode, Operating Subsidiaries

First American Financial Corp., Santa Ana, Calif., completed its acquisition of Mother Lode Holding Co., a California-based provider of title insurance, underwriting and escrow services for residential and commercial real estate transactions with 17 operating subsidiaries throughout the U.S., including its principal subsidiary Placer Title Company.

Mother Lode Holding Company Chief Executive Officer Randy Bradley, Chief Operating Officer Lisa Steele and President Darrick Blatnick will continue to lead the company, which will now operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of First American. The company and its operating subsidiaries will continue to operate under their existing brands.

Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index Shows Approval Rates Inching Upward

Small business loan approval percentages at big banks ($10m + in assets) rose from 14.9% in March to 15.1% in April, and small banks’ approvals also increased from 20.6%in March to 20.8% this past month, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index.

Among several categories of non-bank lenders, approval percentages also climbed. Institutional lenders approved 25.4% of funding requests in April, up one-tenth of a percent from 25.3% in March. Alternative lenders’ approval rates rose from 26.6% in March to 26.8% in March. However, Credit unions stalled at 20.6% in April after dropping one-tenth of a percent in March.

“Small business lending approval rates continue to take incremental steps, but we are still nowhere near pre-pandemic highs,” said Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora.

First American Mortgage Solutions Integrates with ICE Mortgage Technology’s Encompass Platform

First American Mortgage Solutions LLC, Santa Ana, Calif., announced an integration with ICE Mortgage Technology, Calabasas, Calif. The integration enables a loan officer, loan processor and First American’s title representative to communicate in real-time throughout the transaction, increasing efficiency and reducing time to close. Additionally, documents are automatically placed in the appropriate order’s e-folder, further reducing tasks for the loan processor throughout the title and settlement process.

In addition to title and settlement services, First American has a full suite of platforms integrated into the ICE Mortgage Technology’s Encompass® platform, including its risk identification tool, FraudGuard, as well as its title rate and fee calculator, home equity services, valuation services, document generation solutions and eClosing options.

Agile Launches Agile Chat for Lenders and Broker Dealers

Agile, Philadelphia, launched Agile Chat, a chat feature designed to increase transparency and efficiency between lenders and broker dealers.

With the addition of messaging functionality on Agile’s electronic MBS platform, dealers and lenders can discuss transaction details, trade levels, MBS pooling and more through the embedded functionality. Chat functionality has been designed to help close the gap between trading counterparties and encourage a sense of community.