A la mode’s Mercury Network to offer broker price opinions
Oklahoma City-based a la mode, a mortgage technology firm, is scheduled to announce a new cloud-based software service to support the ordering and management of broker price opinions. The nationwide service, which a la mode believes to be the first of its kind, will use the company’s existing Mercury Network vendor management platform, which currently provides some 10,000 daily appraisal transactions. A la mode said it will make the announcement of the new service on Wednesday during the Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Mortgage Servicing Conference & Expo. The BPO platform is expected to go live this spring, somewhere in the April to May timeframe, said Jennifer Miller, executive vice president of products for a la mode’s mortgage solutions division, who spoke to HousingWire on Tuesday from the conference’s exhibit floor. A la mode’s goal is to log 20,000 real estate brokers/agents onto the site. Agents will be able to register and receive BPO orders on the web-based platform without charge. The platform will connect a la mode’s servicer clients to real estate agents and brokers for the BPOs, effectively cutting out third parties who now sometimes arrange BPOs on behalf of servicers, but with a markup, Miller said. Users will select providers based on their own preferences, including proximity to the property and average turnaround times, among other criteria. In addition to no middleman markups, the process’ direct ordering should reduce delays, Miller said. Under the platform, an agent can set his or her price for BPOs, or a servicer can enter a price. The two will also have the option of negotiating the price over the platform. The solution will fully integrate with appraisal ordering, making it easier to manage both processes from one platform, the company said. “Our BPO service will be radically different than what’s currently on the market,” Miller said. Miller said a la mode will initially tap real estate brokers and agents from its own real estate solutions division to populate the platform. It will use servicers who are already clients to Beta-test the service in the coming months. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.