Articles by Ben Lane

Movement Mortgage, Better.com CEOs: The "one-click" mortgage is not the endgame for the housing business

Top mortgage execs on why the human element won't disappear
For the last several years, much of the narrative surrounding the housing business has been focused on the digitization of the mortgage and home buying process. Seemingly every day, there's another lender unveiling a digital mortgage process. And every few weeks, it seems as if there's another iBuyer joining the market, offering homeowners the opportunity to sell their home with the click of a button. But two of the top CEOs in the mortgage business said Friday that the "one-click" mortgage is not endgame that so many people seem to think it is.
Read More

The shifting landscape: Top lenders share insight on attracting today's borrowers

Highlights from HousingWire's engage.marketing conference
Depending on how you look at it, the wave of Millennial homebuyers is either already happening or may not happen at all. Either way, the face of the mortgage borrower is changing. It may not be changing as fast as we once thought, but change is happening. And all across the industry, mortgage companies are working to be in a position to capitalize on that change, in whatever form it takes.
Read More

HUD declares FHA is no longer backing DACA mortgages

"DACA recipients remain ineligible for FHA loans"
After months and months of uncertainty about whether the FHA is backing mortgages for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients or not, HUD has finally given an official answer. And that answer is no.
Read More

Citizens Bank unveils digital home buying and mortgage experience

Customers can search for homes online, apply for a mortgage digitally, and more
Citizens Bank, which became one of the country’s largest mortgage companies when it acquired Franklin American Mortgage last year, is now diving headfirst into digital mortgages. This week, Citizens unveiled a new digital mortgage experience that will enable borrowers to both apply for and manage their mortgages online. But that’s not the only part of the home buying journey that Citizens is digitizing. The bank is also now offering to help borrowers find their next house as well.
Read More

MERS, NYSE owner Intercontinental Exchange increases mortgage presence by buying Simplifile

Completes $335 million purchase of electronic document platform
Intercontinental Exchange, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, moved into mortgages in a big way last year when the company bought MERS. And now, ICE is increasing its presence in the mortgage business. ICE announced Wednesday that it has acquired Simplifile, which acts as an electronic liaison between lenders, settlement agents, and county recording offices, for $335 million.
Read More

Real estate startup ZeroDown will help you buy a house in San Francisco with no down payment

Startup launches with $30 million in funding
It’s fairly well known at this point that San Francisco is one of the country’s (if not the world’s) craziest housing markets. Houses there are incredibly expensive, and only getting more so. Heck, even ramshackle San Francisco shacks are listed for $2.5 million. But, now, there’s a way for people to buy a house in San Francisco for as much as $1.75 million with no down payment.
Read More

Former HousingWire Editor-in-Chief Jacob Gaffney partners with former CoreLogic exec to launch media and PR firm

Joins with Alyson Austin to form Gaffney Austin
Two of the most well-known names in the housing space are partnering together to launch a media and public relations firm. Jacob Gaffney, who led HousingWire’s editorial team for more than a decade, recently left the company and is partnering with Alyson Austin, a former CoreLogic executive, to launch Gaffney Austin.
Read More

FHA is increasing lending to riskier borrowers

Share of borrowers with DTIs above 50% rises to highest level since 2000
Citing rising risks among the mortgages it's backing, the FHA announced earlier this year that it was changing some of its lending rules to increase the prevalence of manual underwriting to try to decrease the risk in its portfolio. And it seems like those changes may be more than warranted, because new data released Friday shows that the FHA appears to be loosening its lending standards and backing loans for increasingly riskier borrowers.
Read More

Homebridge expands mortgage business by acquiring retail loan centers from HomeStreet Bank

Completes first part of acquisition
Two companies that share similar names are heading in different directions in the mortgage business – HomeStreet Bank is moving away from mortgage lending, while Homebridge Financial Services is diving in. Homebridge announced this week that it has acquired HomeStreet’s mortgage loan production branches and fulfillment functions in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, including processing, underwriting and funding, and hired the related personnel.
Read More

CFPB finds Freedom Mortgage intentionally reported inaccurate HMDA data

Bureau hits Freedom with fine for HMDA reporting errors
Loan officers at Freedom Mortgage intentionally reported inaccurate Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data over a several-year period, the CFPB said Wednesday. According to the bureau, an investigation found that Freedom reported "inaccurate race, ethnicity, and sex information" and that "much of Freedom’s loan officers' recording of this incorrect information was intentional" during that time. Click the headline for details.
Read More