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Housing Tech Rundown: Quantarium, Equifax and Ellie Mae

AI solutions and cloud integration reign supreme this week as companies work to make lenders' lives easier

Artificial Intelligence company Quantarium announced on Thursday its partnership with Valligent Technologies to launch a condition adjusted “Quantarium Valuation Model” for equity lending, broker price opinions and real estate owned valuations.

The latest tech, coined QVM-Insights, leverages Quantariums AI power to incorporate real-time updates of a property’s condition to provide users with an automated valuation model.

It does so by prompting the AI to run hundreds of thousands of generations to understand and optimize information on micro-markets at the neighborhood, ZIP code or county level. Coupled with Valligent’s real-time streaming data and virtual inspection, the AI can then validate and learn what is most valuable in the data itself. It can also factor in the effects of local events like foreclosures and recent sales.

“QVM relies on a cascade of proprietary solutions, including machine learning techniques such as evolutionary programming, neural networks and genetic modeling that mimic biological processes, to get the most accurate results,” said John Smintina, Quantarium’s chief analytics officer.

For Quantarium, AI integration in the mortgage process has been a longterm goal – and something chef marketing and revenue officer, Romi Mahajan, said servicers should be prepared for.

“Servicing is very much about knowing your customer not only in the present state but being able to predict where they are going in future states, based on intelligent guessing, otherwise known as analytics,” Mahajan explained. “AI, especially ground-up, explainable AI, is perfectly suited to this task of knowing the customer.”

A Wednesday announcement from Zest AI, formally known as ZestFinance, revealed mortgage giant Freddie Mac is also planning to utilize AI for borrower solutions. According to the release, Zest’s machine learning tools will partner with Freddie Macs credit decisioning models for managing risk.

Appropriately named the Zest Model Management System, the tech enables lenders to analyze large amounts of credit data that Zest says will help increase approval rates and reduce the risk of faulty credit decisions.

The platform also provides the ability to explain data modeling results to measure business impact and help comply with regulatory requirements.

“Freddie Mac is always evaluating technology solutions that meet our high standards and support our continued commitment to expanding homeownership opportunities responsibly, especially among first-time homebuyers, communities of color, and those living in underserved markets,” said Michael Bradley, Freddie Mac’s senior vice president of modeling, econometrics, data science and analytics for its single-family business.

“Zest allows us to do our machine-learning modeling work more efficiently and with less operational risk,” Bradley said.

Credit reporting agency Equifax also announced on Thursday its latest effort to expedite the borrowing process with its launch of Mortgage Duo – a platform that allows credentialed mortgage lenders to return instant verifications of employment and income for joint applicants.

The tech works through a single transaction via The Work Number database – a centralized commercial repository of income and employment information in the U.S. Users then eliminate the need for a lender to place individual orders for each borrower’s report.

“We recognize that people often apply for mortgages with a co-borrower, such as a spouse,” said Joel Rickman, senior vice president of verification services for Equifax. “The breadth of The Work Number database, with more than 111 million active records, allows us to deliver a new verification solution that helps lenders continue to build efficiency into their digital originations.

“With Mortgage Duo, they can instantly verify employment and income for both borrowers through a single automated transaction which helps decrease duplicative tasks and further reduces friction in the loan origination process,” Rickman said.

Lastly, cloud-based platform provider Ellie Mae released its latest updates to the Encompass platform on Monday. The 20.2 version arrived just over six months after the 20.1 Major Release in May, and boasts enhancements for lenders that support an omni-channel approach and the ability to design around business process terms and workflows.

The latest updates include:

  • Updated functionality that provides a more flexible, lender-configurable model that can support omni-channel business models
  • Offering enhanced administrative tools to manage condition templates
  • Supporting more granular options for condition management controls
  • Extending APIs to support external workflow engines

According to the release, a new document viewer is an added perk that utilizes cloud storage for automatic document conversion. The document viewer leverages v3 of Ellie Mae’s Encompass Developer Connect eFolder Attachment APIs which are backward compatible to Encompass.

In September, Ellie Mae was officially acquired by Intercontinental Exchange. With the release of its latest Encompass enhancements, ICE President Joe Tyrrell said that ICE is constantly working to innovate and deliver more automation of digital mortgages on behalf of its lenders.

“With this major release of Encompass, we are providing new levels of automated service ordering, efficient and collaborative workflows and the foundation for our hybrid eClosing which we are launching in just a few weeks. This is mission-critical for lenders, especially when they are experiencing peak volumes, remote workforces and homebuyers seeking high tech capabilities with human touch availability,” Tyrrell said.

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