Origination Technology: Alive, Well, or None of the Above?

With the collapse of much of the loan origination market, you’d think that the highly-saturated technology space in mortgage originations would start to thin out a bit. Or more than just a bit. And, to be sure, it has to some extent — but if the press deluge this Monday morning was any indication, there is plenty of kick left on this side of the industry. No less than 20 different press statements hit the wires early this morning touting various enhancements, partnerships and other news tied to key technology vendors in the mortgage origination space. Oddly missing, however, were any press statements from the vendors that focus on the default and REO industry — two sides of the mortgage industry that are absolutely booming right now due to the current mortgage crunch. I’ll be headed to the MBA National Technology in Mortgage Banking Conference later today and tomorrow to report from the floor on what’s being said, and what new ideas are out there. I’ll specifically look to see if any default and REO technology firms waded into the show’s waters this year; in years past, the show has primarily been an origination-centric affair. eDocs: hot; Disclosure management: hotter In the meantime, before I get to the show, there is plenty of tech news being made today. And one thing is amply clear: document management — and in particular disclosure management — is hot-hot-hot in the origination space. Last week, Housing Wire covered a new e-disclosures platform released by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services. This morning, competitor MRG Document Technologies and Calyx Software introduced e-disclosure solutions as well. Calyx said it had embedded a new disclosure management solution into its Point LOS platform that interfaces directly with key e-doc providers, including DocMagic and MRG, among others; MRG introduced a new solution for distribution and signing of electronic disclosures. Not to be outdone, Massachusetts-based SigniaDocs, Inc. partnered up with e-signing and transaction management firm Wave Systems Corp. to manage the electronic signature process for documents managed via its platform. Partnerships, par for the course Nearly every tech show brings with it announcements of new partnerships, and this week’s MBA event has been no different so far. Perhaps the most interesting partnership was one announced between next-gen appraisal firm Zaio and risk management provider Veros Real Estate Solutions. The two companies will integrate their core offerings, allowing users of the VeroSELECT property information platform to directly access Zaio’s unique appraisal-based property valuation reports. For those that aren’t familiar with Zaio, I’ll admit the company has the eye of our editorial team here at HW. The idea behind Zaio, essentially, is to provide AVMs that aren’t automated: instead of providing computer-based AVMs, the company utilizes its network of appraisers to continually assess subject properties in key “zones,” which then get databased and fed into a valuation model that pumps out value estimates in real-time. So instead of providing a pure algorithmic estimate, the company bases property values on the work being done by independent appraisers. And they’re aiming for complete national coverage. You’ve got to admit, that’s ambitious. And it’s a unique way to co-opt appraisers into the AVM universe, too. Zaio wasn’t the only one partnering up, however. Financial Industry Computer Systems, Inc., which offers a branded LOS called Loan Producer, said it had linked up with Triad Guaranty Insurance Corp. to automatically send applications for mortgage insurance directly to the insurer from within the platform. The verdict Amazingly, we’ve barely scratched the surface here of all the product announcements put out today alone by origination-focused providers in the mortgage technology space. There are plenty of other companies forging new partnerships, rolling out new products, and improving existing one that we haven’t yet covered here at HW. And that means one of two things. Either everyone is hanging on, hoping for the market to return, or — more likely — there is still business to be had. After all, while originations have most certainly fallen off a cliff, overall origination volume will still be a multi-billion dollar business this year. And, just as importantly, some aspects of origination are changing dramatically. It’s the strong technology firms that have the most to gain in terms of successfully co-opting this change into the solutions they offer.

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