Industry conferences have distinct personalities. Most feel steady and predictable, others give off a slightly desperate sense of wanting to be liked. The Ellie Mae Experience conference is like that one popular kid in high school who was also really nice — successful and confident but still likeable. Coming off a blockbuster year for the company, this conference also feels like a victory lap.
Ellie Mae reported $360.3 million in revenue for 2016 — a 42% increase from 2015. That lift was reflected in other yearly metrics, with a 21% growth in Encompass users and a stellar 70% growth in net income for the year. That momentum is palpable at the conference.
The 3,000 mortgage lenders in attendance are a mix of current customers and prospects looking for confirmation to jump in to the deep end of mortgage automation. The conference includes panels on broad topics like regulatory updates and marketing strategies, but then skews to in-the-weeds sessions on Encompass-specific functionalities.
The setting — the bright, exuberant Wynn in Las Vegas — provides a fitting backdrop for the upbeat conference. But make no mistake: Ellie Mae’s growth is a result of some serious challenges facing the mortgage industry, and many at the conference are there to find answers.
A session on the latest regulatory changes to the TRID rule required overflow seating. The panel of compliance experts walked lenders through the specifics of working with the proposed rule, which still contains contradictory requirements. As always, compliance has a very real effect on lenders’ bottom line, and the attendees were focused on how to leverage Encompass to meet regulatory standards without sacrificing productivity.
Indeed, that desire to find efficiency in every part of the origination process is the sweet spot for Ellie Mae, whose long-term mission to automate the mortgage process started in 1997. No one was worried about a regulatory quagmire at that time, but the company’s experience in developing and integrating software solutions makes it a seasoned provider at this critical juncture. The proverbial flywheel spinning on its own momentum.
The company was strategic in another way that continues to bear fruit — succession planning. The company successfully made the transition from its founding CEO, Sig Anderman, to new CEO Jonathan Corr in February of 2015. Corr began at the company in 2002 as senior vice president of product management, taking on larger duties every three or four years. Corr’s rise is emblematic of the company’s approach to building layers of next-generation leadership.
Ellie Mae’s drive to innovate continues to fuel new initiatives. The company announced the release this week of two new functionalities for Encompass, bolstering its self-serve offerings to mortgage lenders with Encompass Developer Connect and Encompass Consumer Connect.
Encompass Developer Connect is the portal into the Encompass Lending Platform, and provides developers with documentation and tools supporting the company’s Application Programing Interfaces.
The APIs enable developers to add new functions, putting Ellie Mae clients in the driver’s seat to build out solutions that meet their specific business needs. The first APIs to be released to clients include loan data, loan view, loan events and documents.
The other release, Encompass Consumer Connect, enables lenders to deliver a branded, self-service online loan origination experience for homebuyers. Lenders can offer borrowers a customized web experience that allows them to research rates and loan options, request information and complete a loan application all online. The loan application minimizes data entry while ensuring high data accuracy.
With Consumer Connect lenders can automate and authenticate data collection through integrated services, such as pulling a credit report and online asset verification, which allow consumers to accurately complete loan applications in less time. And users will automatically receive applications in Encompass underwritten by Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter or Freddie Mac’s Loan Product Advisor.
Ellie Mae also announced enhanced integrations with Arch MI, MGIC and Radian to streamline the mortgage insurance ordering process.
The integrations through Ellie Mae’s Total Quality Loan program provide process improvements, automated ordering and access to data and alerts. These new enhancements will be available later this year and will include:
• The ability for users to process multiple rate quotes simultaneously
• Automated ordering for rate quote or MI certificate
• The ability to monitor key data changes and alert Encompass users when to re-order a rate quote or MI certificate
In 2016, Ellie Mae announced new TQL service ordering options through relationships with First American Mortgage Solutions and DataVerify and an integration with CoreLogic.