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Case Study: How Sierra Pacific Mortgage increased underwriting capacity

CoreLogic's RealView QC solution allowed Sierra Pacific to improve loan approval times

Recent tech innovations have targeted point of sale or specific underwriting tasks to improve operational efficiencies, leaving the manual review of appraisals as an underexplored area ripe for digitization and automation. Collateral underwriting turn times in particular have been slowing for years as new guidelines, overlays and documentation processes have added to the already-long appraisal review process.

In a case study published with HousingWire, Sierra Pacific Mortgage outlines the pain points that led them to look for an automated appraisal review solution, how it worked with Mercury Network to configure RealView to its needs and the improvements it has seen since implementing RealView.

The Pain Point

Sierra Pacific Mortgage, a California-based nationwide direct lender licensed in 49 states, wanted to increase its underwriter productivity and improve collateral underwriting turn times. In 2018, Sierra Pacific conducted its own internal analysis and found that its 82 underwriters were spending an average of 45 minutes to an hour reviewing the details of each appraisal, which limited each underwriter’s productivity to 1.5 to two loan files per day. 

The firm began its initiative to expand underwriting capacity by centralizing the appraisal review under one team so its underwriters could focus on borrower qualification and improve turn times. After developing an Appraisal Review Team, stakeholders also looked for efficiencies in how saleable loans were handled, identifying opportunities to automate manual steps and eliminate “stare-and-compare” tasks. 

Todd Knowles, appraisal review lead at Sierra Pacific Mortgage, was instrumental in the firm’s search for a solution. “…We needed to equip our underwriters with a tool that could work in conjunction with the CU score to help us perform a risk-based review. It would need to analyze the appraisal based on risk factors like quality, complexity and value,” he said. “But just as important for a successful implementation was getting buy-in from our teams who would be using the tool.”

Key Requirements for The Tech

Sierra Pacific Mortgage was already using Mercury Network’s collateral platform, which included the fully integrated RealView automated appraisal review solution. After deciding to move forward with RealView, the decision-makers at Sierra Pacific had five key requirements as they worked with CoreLogic to configure the solution to its needs. They wanted to ensure that RealView would:

  • Run appraisal reviews automatically
  • Score quality, complexity and value
  • Provide trustworthy and credible results
  • Increase underwriters’ capacity and consistency
  • Shorten overall loan underwriting turn times

CoreLogic’s RealView team worked closely with Sierra Pacific to set up configurable review rule sets to meet the firm’s needs. Rick Bargioni, vice president of National Underwriting Manager at Sierra Pacific Mortgage, called working with CoreLogic on RealView a “very easy and accommodating process.” 

Find out more about how Sierra Pacific Mortgage worked with CoreLogic’s Mercury Network to configure RealView and the results Sierra Pacific has seen since by reading the full case study here

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