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Mortgage Tech: Blend, Black Knight and QuestSoft

Integrations, AI and an end-to-end digital experience lead the way for 2021 tech

Mortgage tech is already off to the races, with companies introducing new digital products early in 2021.

Digital mortgage platformer Blend is back this week, announcing that they are furthering their Freddie Mac partnership by integrating the GSE’s automated underwriting system, Loan Product Advisor.

With the integration, Blend will have access to the companies Dual AUS functionality – a product unveiled in 2018 with the ability to run an application through both systems and quickly identify property inspection waivers early on in the process. According to Freddie Mac, the AUS system can even double the chances for appraisal waivers.

Andy Higginbotham, chief operating officer of Freddie Mac’s Single-Family business, said the partnership with Blend was a natural choice as both companies hone in on consumers demand for a fully digital lending experience.

Though this isn’t the first time the mortgage tech startup has worked closely with the government entities.

Blend became the first digital lending platform approved for Freddie Mac’s asset and income modeler program, AIM for Assets, in August 2019, and has reportedly already prepared its systems for the new Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) transition set for March.

The San Francisco-based mortgage tech startup also achieved unicorn status in August following a $75 million Series F seed round that bumped its valuation to $1.7 billion.

Data and analytics giant Black Knight continued its stride in to the secondary mortgage market, announcing a new AI function within its Optimal Blue application programming interface (API) platform.

Coined as API Webhooks, the AI integration will deliver data on lock requests, concessions, extensions, profile and product changes and other lending functionalities without the need for a request. Black Knight says the tech will intuitively send data and transactions as soon as they become available.

“The new webhooks component of our Optimal Blue API platform is the next step, saving our clients valuable time and effort by eliminating the need to request data. Webhooks take automation one step further and deliver up-to-date, relevant details directly to the user,” said Scott Happ, president, Black Knight Secondary Marketing Technologies.

The API is divided into two parts:

  • a documentation page that provides all subscriptions available, business developments and event payloads
  • and a “self-serve” dashboard that can be manipulated to clients preferences

Black Knight’s secondary market strategy ramped up at the end of December after announcing the launch of its Mandatory Analytics dashboard, which allows investors to analyze and benchmark their actions on the secondary market.

The company also acquired Optimal Blue in July, gaining access to the company’s PPE engine to efficiently price and originate mortgage products that can be sold on the secondary market.

Mortgage compliance software provider QuestSoft was acquired by Ncontracts, a Tennessee-based risk management software company, for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition will allow Ncontracts to expand its compliance footprint to the 2,700 banks, credit unions and mortgage companies QuestSoft currently services for compliance.

According to the acquisition, the combined company will have close to 260 employees for the 3,700 financial institutions and mortgage organizations on its roster.

Ncontracts will also gain access to QuestSoft’s Compliance Eagle product – a platform that allows lenders to order loan loan services, reviews, and tests at the loan-level to ensure compliance, integration and integrity.

In 2019, QuestSoft added a CRA Saleability module to the platform to help lenders identify potential investors based on geographic location.

“The need for this “RegTech” software has become more critical as federal and state regulations have become more complex, and as the impact of COVID-19, PPP loans, and lending diversity and equity initiatives continue to evolve,” Ncontracts said in a release.

Though that need may have started long before the pandemic. According to a 10-year study by QuestSoft, since 2019 the percentage of “Outstanding” ratings on CRA performance evaluations dropped across the board for large, intermediate and small institutions.

Also, in case you missed it…

SimpleNexus, a digital mortgage startup, announced on Tuesday that it picked up $108 million in a Series B funding round spearheaded by Insight Partners. The investor had previously dropped $20 million on the Utah-based software developer in 2018.

Principal of Xcentric Consulting, Scott Petronis, delved into end-to-end tech, new uses for AI and what to do with all that data in the December issue of HousingWire Magazine and debates an aching question for several companies – Build vs buy?

***

For the mortgage tech industry aficionados: The 2021 Tech100 nomination window is officially closed, but we’re looking for industry professionals to be a part of our Tech100 Selection Committee.

To be considered as a judge, nominees must be mortgage lenders or real estate sales / brokerage professionals. Click here to nominate yourself or an industry colleague to be part of the 2021 Tech100 Selection Committee. Committee members will have a 45–60 minutes time commitment for review and feedback.

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