Complying with increased regulations has taken a toll on the mortgage industry in the last few years — and the effects extend well beyond a company’s bottom line. As lenders and servicers have concentrated on creating compliant processes and services, they’ve had less time to devote to transforming their businesses for the future.
“For the last several years, keeping up with the rapid pace of regulatory change has overwhelmed many mortgage lenders and servicers, preventing them from focusing on innovation,” said Rick Seehausen, CEO of LenderLive. “Lenders and servicers need to become innovative again, but they don’t have to build an internal infrastructure to do so.”
As the cost to originate loans climbs higher, banks face tough decisions when it comes to scaling. Higher fixed costs require more volume, but compliance concerns are still a top priority.
In the middle of this pressure, many lenders are turning to private-label solutions to minimize their operational risk.
“The scalability bar has risen on these mortgage lenders,” Seehausen said. “It used to be that if you were financing 40-50 loans a month you had a healthy mortgage business. But with the cost of technology and compliance, now you have to be doing significantly more volume to have a profitable mortgage business.
“Many financial institutions are rethinking their business models and considering everything from getting out of the business, to stepping up investments in technology and compliance so they can continue do everything in-house, to finding new ways to grow and partnering with service providers like us.
“The pressure is only going to increase from here as regulators turn their attention from initiating and implementing regulatory change to policing the new standards.”
LenderLive stands ready to help these lenders with a full suite of compliant mortgage fulfillment services that increase loan quality while decreasing risk. Lenders can confidently grow their volume, knowing that LenderLive is handling the processing, underwriting and closing of their loans with best-in-class compliance and technology capabilities.
Executives, left to right: Brad Knapp, EVP of WALZ; Rod Walz, founder and president of WALZ; Rick Seehausen, CEO of LenderLive; Jonathan Kunkle, president of GuardianDocs; Joe Mowery, president of LenderLive Settlement Services; Dave Vida, president of mortgage services, LenderLive.
LenderLive, a single-source, comprehensive mortgage services provider, offers efficient solutions to help their clients thrive in the current regulatory environment.
“We have invested heavily in innovative tools and technology that allow lenders and servicers to employ repeatable and scalable compliant processes across the most critical components of the mortgage process,” Seehausen said.
As a true end-to-end solutions provider, LenderLive specializes in enabling key functions for a lender’s organization including loan origination, document management and document preparation, settlement services, loan servicing, due diligence and operational compliance.
Moreover, LenderLive’s expansion into loan subservicing comes at the right time for mortgage companies, banks and credit unions looking for help with subservicing. LenderLive offers these companies a complete subservicing solution enabling these lenders to benefit from LenderLive’s scale.
“The cost to service a loan is rising to an unsustainable level,” Seehausen said. “This is a real issue if you haven’t reached optimum capacity and can’t spread the cost of servicing across enough loans. A community bank or smaller organization servicing a limited number of loans has to bear the full cost of compliance across too small a portfolio.
“These servicers would benefit from leveraging compliant technologies to reduce their costs or outsourcing their entire portfolio to LenderLive’s subservicing solution to realize the operational benefit and service levels of a true private-label experience.”
LenderLive’s acquisition of Walz Group in June brought a new dimension to the company’s range of services. The company now offers document compliance solutions that span the entire loan lifecycle, from origination to servicing to default. The company’s integrated solutions for loss mitigation through GuardianDocs, and for title and property detail through LenderLive Settlement Services, and default notifications through WALZ, create a single source for compliant and expedient asset recovery and protection.
“LenderLive offers a real advantage because we’re both a settlement services provider and a document provider. Our ability to couple those services together means that lenders can come to us as a settlement services provider to access property data and rely on us to marry that property data correctly to the appropriate legal document.
“We are tightly integrating those businesses so it’s seamless from a client perspective. Whether they need origination or servicing documents, they can take advantage of best-of-breed in document and compliance technology. From fulfillment to default management, we now cover the entire spectrum.
“That is unique in this industry, and important because it minimizes rekeying data to generate a document, which, as we all know, is not only inefficient, but prone to error. Our offerings can save lenders and servicers money and increase the level of quality,” Seehausen said.
THE SCIENCE OF UNDERWRITING
One of the newest innovations from LenderLive is FACTCheck Tax Transcript Analysis. Using the new tax transcript capability, lenders can get a detailed, interactive report that calculates qualifying income and provides messages of explanation and instruction when any income source needs to be documented or verified to comply with Appendix Q and a borrower’s Ability-to-Repay.
“When it comes to calculating income, mortgage industry underwriters may have different views on how to do it and what should be included. FACTCheck helps a lender create a single source of accuracy and a standardization across the underwriting function as to what should be included in a borrower’s income, regardless if they’re strictly a wage earner, have W2 wages plus additional income, or solely self-employed. FACTCheck improves the quality of those underwriting decisions and standardizes how those decisions are made,” Seehausen said.
FACTCheck is flexible enough to support a wide range of loan underwriting, including loan origination, performing due diligence and evaluating a borrower’s ability to repay under a loss-mitigation program.
“Ideally, underwriting should be more of a science than a subjective exercise, so there’s a real need for what FACTCheck offers,” Seehausen said.
LenderLive has been a meaningful player in the due diligence space for years. With the private secondary market reemerging post-crisis, the company is again growing its market share in that business.
“We’re committed to that business and we desire to be a leader in that space,” Seehausen said. “We can provide a technology advantage to our clients because with GuardianDocs we have a data extraction and analysis capability.
“This is very important to the due-diligence process, as we can perform the reviews and complete all of the information requests in the ratings process. So we are intent on growing market share in that space and look forward to continued growth.”
LenderLive is an approved Third-Party Review provider by Fitch, DBRS, Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s and Kroll rating agencies. The company’s ability to analyze and capture data from all parts of the loan process allows it to meet the ratings agencies’ review criteria and provide accurate and timely reports.
LenderLive’s vision for the future is focused on growth and quality of its service throughout the loan lifecycle. From providing accurate data at the front end of the loan process to providing third-party rating agency-compliant review services to maximize portfolio results, the company’s commitment to providing quality service stands at the forefront of its offering.
“The first key to ensuring superior delivery of service is measuring that performance, so we are very diligent about service level standards and KPIs,” Seehausen said. “We are very deliberate in making sure every service we provide has a metric tied to it to measure performance.
“LenderLive is very transparent with clients about how we are performing and that transparency gives clients greater control and greater insight. We have an exceptional track record of meeting and executing service-level requirements; proof of that is the longevity and tenure we have with so many institutions.”
What does the future look like? Seehausen notes that regulatory pressures continue to be a significant burden on small to midsize lenders, which is counterintuitive to what the regulators had hoped to achieve.
“Borrowers deserve choice and should be able to rely on lenders in their local communities to provide that choice. With the right strategy and partnerships, I am extremely confident that lenders can thrive in the coming environment. As regulatory changes are adopted, and the focus on efficiency continues, there is a bright future for the industry, and LenderLive will have an important role as that plays out,” he said.