A look at Biden’s first week in office

This episode reviews last week’s inauguration of President Joe Biden, examining which housing issues the new administration has already taken action on.

Biden’s executive order will extend foreclosure moratorium

President Biden revealed his plan to sign 17 executive orders his first day in office, including am extension of the eviction and foreclosure moratorium to at least March 31.

How servicers continue to protect neighborhoods amid COVID

We spoke with MCS CEO Caroline Reaves about self-service technology, the shift to virtual and how servicers can prepare for post-COVID success by improving processes today.

HomeBridge’s Brian White on diversity at a practical level

HomeBridge's Brian “Woody” White discusses ways to increase diversity within the housing finance industry.

Politics & Money

Tech Roundup: MBA Tech Show Kicks Off

As the annual MBA Technology in Mortgage Banking Conference kicks off today in Las Vegas, a number of industry technology vendors have announcements of new technology and enhancements to their platforms. Today, we’re running an extended version of our weekly Tech Roundup department to ensure you’re kept up-to-date with the latest. Mortech’s Marksman Gets New Features Mortech’s Marksman platform, an integrated PPE/CRM platform for originators, has been updated with a bevy of new features, the company said Monday morning. Updates to the solution include CRM developments, additions to Marksman’s pricing engine and interactive lender communication tools. Among the highlights: the ability to personalize email campaigns via a new email campaign interface, so lenders can instantly make a connection with prospects by adding loan officer photos, title and website to email messages sent to leads. The updated PPE engine also incorporates PMI guidelines and shows live investor rate statuses via a unique set of ‘traffic light indicators.’ Other enhancements planned for this year, according to the company, include expansions on new and current integrations with LOS providers, the ability to add new government mandated GFE’s (good faith estimates) to automated quotes and additional partnerships with leading CRM companies. For more information, visit http://www.mortech-inc.com. RCS Implements Overture for Special Servicing Residential Credit Solutions, Inc., a Fort Worth, Texas-based mortgage servicer and specialist in managing sub- and non-performing residential mortgages, said Monday that it is implementing Overture Technologies’ Mozart for Special Servicing platform to increase the productivity of its efforts to quickly and accurately identify the optimal workout solutions for borrowers. Overture said in a press statement that it worked closely with RCS to customize the decisioning technology using the servicer’s own proprietary market information, loss mitigation strategies and business processes. “Overture’s special servicing technology will improve our productivity by allowing us to more quickly evaluate loss mitigation options for delinquent and at-risk borrowers,” said Dennis Stowe, President of RCS. “By automating a segment of the decisioning process, the Overture solution allows us to be more responsive to the borrowers and keep more people in their homes.” Mozart for Special Servicing is an automated decisioning system for servicing distressed mortgage assets, using proprietary analytics to get borrowers into the right option the first time, reducing re-defaults by using the most current, relevant data and information about the borrower, the property and the loan. Overture recently expanded its technology offerings into the loss mitigation space. “Finding the right modification or other alternative used to be a long, laborious process, causing many loans to be lost before a solution could be agreed upon,” said Linda Simmons, Overture’s general manager for mortgage finance solutions. “Mozart for Special Servicing allows servicers to manage and successfully apply a more robust set of alternatives for borrowers in distressed mortgages in minutes, and while the borrower is still on the phone, the servicing associate can offer a modification that makes sense for both parties, one that can vastly reduce the chances of re-default and will preserve the value of the mortgage asset.” For more information, visit http://www.residentialcredit.com and http://www.overturecorp.com. Kroll Factual Data touts Fraud Prevention Tool Loveland, Colo.-based Kroll Factual Data said last week that it will offer its consumer identity verification product in conjunction with tri-merge credit reports, in an update to its FactualID platform. The company says the platform allows for comprehensive borrower assessment, and helps lenders prevent fraud and reduce risk by uncovering possible identity misrepresentation. Kroll Factual Data launched FactualID in January 2007, as a standalone risk assessment tool. Today, the company offers clients the option to automatically request identity verification when a credit report order is placed. This option adds an extra measure in verifying the borrower’s true identity to counter fraud at the beginning of the loan process. “A recent report issued by FinCEN indicated that more than half of mortgage fraud filings were filed by only ten institutions, around 8 percent of the SAR’s filed referenced a repurchase demand, suggesting the filing institution did not learn of the possible fraud until a buyback was requested,” said Jeff Gentry, VP of emerging services at Kroll Factual Data. “Uncovering fraudulent activity at the point of origination is essential. By combining FactualID with our credit reports, we aim to help financial institutions fund accurate, high quality loans, and ultimately reduce losses due to fraud.” To perform a FactualID assessment, clients provide Kroll Factual Data with the borrower’s name, Social Security number and property address. From this data, clients receive a report that assesses the risk of identity and occupancy misrepresentation and also searches the OFAC List of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN), the OFAC Non-SDN Palestinian Legislative Council List (NS-PLC) and other exclusionary lists. Results are translated into a numerical risk score to provide easy risk assessment parameters that can be customized for each client, the company said. For more information, visit http://www.krollfactualdata.com. RealEC Platform Surpasses 42 Million Orders Processed, Touts HVCC-Compliant Solutions Santa Ana, Calif.-based RealEC Technologies Inc. said Monday morning that more than 42 million real estate orders have been processed through its settlement services and transaction-based network since the company was founded in 1998. The RealEC Collaborative Partner Network currently processes more than 880,000 orders, 3.6 million documents and 10 million unique loan fulfillment events per month, according to a press statement. The company, which is majority-owned by Jacksonville, Fla.-based Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS), said it has recently signed five new major lender clients, including AmTrust Bank and Flagstar Bank, that will use its robust appraisal management solution, which is fully compliant with the Home Valuation Code of Conduct. The HVCC is set to go into effect on May 1. RealEC’s platform for appraisal management is a little bit different than most firms vying for market share in what will be a dramatically changed collateral valuation space, in that it focuses on allowing lenders to manage appraisal management firms via the company’s partner network, the company said. Officials with the company said that RealEC will continue to provide “robust” solutions for individual appraisers, as well. “RealEC’s HVCC-compliant appraisal management suite has allowed Flagstar Bank to quickly take the necessary steps to meet the requirements of the HVCC,” said Marni Scott, senior vice president at Flagstar. “We believe our selection of RealEC also positions our business well to make any needed adjustments as the market continues to evolve.” For more information, visit http://www.realec.com. Mortgage Cadence Touts Loan Modification, Reverse Mortgage Capabilities Denver-based Mortgage Cadence, Inc. said Monday that its flagship Orchestrator platform has been adapted to manage loan modifications and offer expanded support for reverse mortgage originations. The number of distressed mortgages within the industry is growing at a rapid rate. CEO Michael Detwiler said the company’s platform offers an enterprise lending and document solution that enables lenders to automate the modification of troubled mortgages. The Orchestrator platform’s rules engine and workflow technology allows for automated analysis and task completion, he explained. Leveraging this technology, the company says that lenders can easily compare servicing performance, review original loan documentation and data, run custom DTI, LTV, and foreclosure calculations, and automate vendor service ordering and fulfillment to reduce the cost per loan modification. The company also said its platform will help lenders manage new mandatory live pricing requirements for reverse mortgages recently introduced by Fannie Mae (FNM). “With private investor purchasing and proprietary portfolio products going away, lenders will find it difficult to ignore Fannie Mae’s new pricing requirements,” the company said in a statement. “What many lenders do not understand is that incorporating the new mandatory live pricing and delivery requirements into their pricing strategy opens them up to exposure and increases the risk and challenge of correctly pricing and delivering loans.” Detwiler said the Orchestrator platform offers a streamlined approach to mandatory live pricing, and puts reverse lenders in a position to minimize risk, optimize market opportunities, and competitively price reverse loans to the broker base. For more information, visit http://www.mortgagecadence.com. Rapid Reporting Sees Increases in Volume of Over 300 Percent, as Companies Seek Shelter from Fraud Combating mortgage fraud is becoming big business these days, and Fort Worth, Tex.-based Rapid Reporting, which provides income, identity and employment verification services to the mortgage industry, said it saw significant growth in the number of income verifications ordered from the company during 2008. Monthly volume has increased approximately 30 percent each month since Nov. 2008, the company said Monday in a press statement. The company said it attributed the growth to a growing trend among originating parties to screen for fraud on a greater percentage of loan applications. According to a recent Washington Post analysis of federal data, the number of borrowers that defaulted on their FHA-backed mortgages prior to making even a single payment has nearly tripled in the past year. This trend “…clearly suggests impropriety and fraudulent activity,” according to Kenneth Donohue, the inspector general of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which includes the FHA. “Companies are using verification services on a larger percentage of their loans, and in many cases they’re verifying borrower-provided information on every single transaction. We’ve also seen a wider variety of clients using our verification services,” said Jay Meadows, CEO of Rapid Reporting. “Companies large and small, whether working on new originations or loan modifications, are starting to take definitive steps to protect themselves against the repercussions of mortgage fraud.” In response to the surge in demand, Rapid Reporting said it has expanded its processing division from 15 employees in January 2008 to 55 employees as of January 2009. The company anticipates growing the number of staff members by another 50 percent throughout 2009, as well, and is in the process of moving to a new 20,000 square foot facility, more than doubling its office space from its previous 8,800 square foot location. For more information, visit http://www.rapidreporting.com. SigniaDocs Integrates with World Wide Notary to Offer Complete eClosing Processes Houston-based SigniaDocs said Monday that it has integrated its eDoc platform with World Wide Notary, an electronic notarization platform — the combined platforms support eSignatures and eNotarizations for any mortgage document or document set, the company said in a press statement. The integration of data from LOS through to MERS registration eliminates many errors that result from fragmented paper-based systems, SigniaDoc said, meaning that lenders “essentially never have to print mortgage documents requiring signatures by borrowers, so mortgage transactions remain electronic from start to finish.” Using SigniaDocs eVault, all documents that are traditionally “papered out” and laboriously reviewed during the closing process are now available in advance of closing, the company said. Borrowers can review and click-to-sign the majority of documents at their leisure, and then the few that need to be eNotarized or witnessed by a notary are passed to World Wide Notary’s platform to complete the documents. “This streamlined process eliminates many of the routine errors that can go undetected,” the company said in a press statment. “The eSigning process is far simpler, faster, more secure and accurate than the vast majority of paper-based signings that routinely take more than an hour to finalize.” “Adoption of eMortgages has been slow because borrowers are inconvenienced when asked to do some documents electronically and still have to paper-out and ink sign others with a notary,” explained SigniaDocs president Tim Anderson. “This has been referred to as a ‘hybrid’ eMortgage because most systems today still do not support eNotary. Now we can keep virtually all the documents and processes totally paperless and deliver the same customer experience to the borrower, from eDisclosure to eClosing.” Lenders are also protected from transaction pitfalls, like missing signatures or expired notary commissions, Anderson said. “We’ve seen the trend lately where borrowers later claimed that certain provisions of their loans were not adequately explained to them,” he said. “Especially in light of the pending new RESPA requirements, lenders can customize a specific disclosure that borrowers must execute with eInitials to acknowledge their understanding of their interest rate, terms, and other specifics. “This additional measure of protection can be of great assistance if challenged later.” For more information, visit http://www.signiadocs.com. Write to Paul Jackson at paul.jackson@housingwire.com. Editor’s note: Tech Roundup runs every Monday, and offers a look into the various technology that makes the entire mortgage market work — whether origination or default, through to secondary market operations. If you’ve got a tech bit that we should know about, email the reporter. Disclosure: The author was long LPS when this story was published, and held no other relevant investment positions. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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