2014 was one for the books. The industry had to absorb the complications of complying with the Qualified Mortgage and Ability to Repay rules while dealing with much lower origination volume. The refi market officially went on life support, despite dropping interest rates, and the net cost to originate a loan was as high as $6,253 in the first quarter of the year, before falling to $5,074 in the second quarter.

Despite the many challenges, there were companies in the housing finance industry that flourished in 2014. These companies found a way to adapt to stricter compliance standards, navigate through a brutal winter season and still come out on top.

What distinguishes success in this market? And which companies are going to be the ones that squeeze lemonade from a potentially sour housing market in the coming year?

There will be continued regulatory headwinds, from implementing the new TILA-RESPA disclosure timelines to expanded HMDA reporting, and the job market is likely to continue its slow recovery. There’s no magic bullet for a sluggish economy, so companies that want to excel in the midst of a constrained environment will need new processes, new solutions and new vigor.

In this section we are profiling 15 companies who are well positioned to take on the challenges of 2015. The companies occupy different roles within the housing finance space — from lenders to servicers to technology providers — but they all share a vision for an outsized impact in the year ahead.

Editor's note: The profiles in this section are sponsored content.

B2R Finance

Carrington Holding Company


CMG Financial



Ellie Mae

First American Mortgage Solutions

Global DMS



Nationwide Title Clearing


Quality Mortgage Services

Specialized Loan Servicing