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Residential Briefs

MBA Staff--July 25, 2014
Ellie Mae Launches Consumer Direct Access for Lenders
Ellie Mae, Pleasanton, Calif., announced a new Consumer Direct service for its Encompass mortgage management platform.

Encompass Consumer Direct is a new self-service and lead-generation service. Borrowers can access this secure web-based service 24/7 to research loan products and rates; apply for a loan through a guided, user-friendly interactive application; order and pay for credit reports; shop for loan programs and compare products and rates side-by-side; receive disclosures and online status updates about their loan from the lender; and upload and electronically sign documents.

Fannie Mae: Greater Consumer Demand in 2nd Quarter
Fannie Mae, Washington, D.C., said a new survey showed greater consumer mortgage demand in the second quarter of the year, a steady and positive near-term mortgage demand outlook and divergence between larger and smaller lenders in underwriting credit standards.

The survey said consumer purchase mortgage demand has picked up from the first quarter to the second quarter. Regarding the near-term outlook, lenders surveyed continue to report positive expectations, although expected growth remains modest. Additionally, the comparison between responses gathered from Fannie Mae’s Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey and National Housing Survey (among consumers) shows that mortgage executives are significantly more likely than consumers to say it is difficult for consumers to get a mortgage today. Also, lenders’ responses to questions regarding credit standards pointed to net tightening among smaller and mid-size lenders, but net easing among larger lenders. Changing regulatory requirements were cited as the most common reason for tightening credit among all lenders surveyed.

AllRegs Launches Training Program to Meet Depository Lender Requirements
AllRegs, Eagan, Minn., launched a mortgage training package designed to address state and federal training needs now facing depositories.
AllRegs Depository CE Library consists of more than 25 self-study courses covering both federal and state laws as they relate to activities surrounding mortgage employees. Content licensing is available, allowing companies to access training within their internal systems. Individual employee achievement certificates and auditor-ready reporting options round out the offering.

Mortgage Returns Introduces Prospect Manager Product
Mortgage Returns, St. Louis, announced an addition to its CRM called Prospect Manager, which provides mortgage originators with the ability to manage prospective borrowers throughout the entire loan process.           

Prospect Manager is a bolt-on website for loan originators that allows Mortgage Returns clients to submit 1003 loan applications online. The product provides mortgage originators with an online portal to track details of a prospective borrower’s account and loan application while delivering relevant, automated marketing. The product also offers lenders with complete automation and integration between the LOS and CRM system.

Comergence Inks Deal With LenderLive Network
Comergence, Mission Viejo, Calif., which develops, implements and hosts third-party risk-management platforms for the mortgage industry, announced that LenderLive Network Inc., Denver, a mortgage services provider, selected and deployed REALM for Third Party Originators.

REALM for Third Party Originators, a proprietary platform offered by Comergence, aggregates critical data such as licensing, criminal and civil records, financial sanctions, as well as bankruptcies and foreclosures. The platform also enables clients to stay informed of the status of its third-party originators and maintain compliance with federal regulations.

RealtyTrac: Underwater Homes Stall at 9.1 Million in 2Q
RealtyTrac, Irvine, Calif., said its U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report for the second quarter showed 9.1 million U.S. residential properties as “seriously underwater”--where the combined loan amount secured by the property is at least 25 percent higher than the property’s estimated market value--representing 17 percent of all properties with a mortgage, unchanged from the first quarter.

RealtyTrac said the second quarter saw a small percentage decrease in homes that were seriously underwater 17.2 percent versus 17.4 percent in the first quarter, bringing it to the lowest level since RealtyTrac began reporting negative equity in 2012. The recent peak in negative equity was the second quarter 2012, when 12.8 million U.S. residential properties representing 29 percent of all properties with a mortgage were seriously underwater.

States with the highest percentage of residential properties seriously underwater in the second quarter were Nevada (32 percent), Florida (30 percent), Illinois (30 percent), Rhode Island (29 percent) and Michigan (27 percent).

Major metropolitan statistical areas (population 500,000 or more) with the highest percentage of residential properties seriously underwater were Lakeland, Fla. (37 percent), Las Vegas (35 percent), Cleveland (35 percent), Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla. (32 percent), Chicago (30 percent), Cape Coral-Fort Meyers, Fla. (30 percent), and New Haven-Milford, Conn. (30 percent).

Credit Plus, Inc. Introduces Verification Program
Credit Plus, Salisbury, Md., introduced FraudPlus, a tool to help mortgage lenders verify applicant information, minimize risk and comply with new regulations.

FraudPlus enables lenders to perform a risk assessment on applicants and identify problems with applications. Lenders can customize FraudPlus to provide types of data they want. Three separate are generated, each with a Summary of Findings page that highlights areas of caution and shows at a glance whether an applicant is a risk.

Study: African-American Homeownership Increasingly Less Stable
A study from Rice University, Houston, and Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., said while historical barriers that excluded African-Americans from the homeowner market for decades have crumbled, signs suggest that emerging types of racial inequality are making homeownership an increasingly risky investment for African-American home seekers.

The study, Emerging Forms of Racial Inequality in Homeownership Exit, 1968-2009, said African-Americans are 45 percent more likely than whites to switch from owning their homes to renting them. It said despite modest gains in attaining homeownership over time, the racial gap in the likelihood of changing from ownership to renting began to widen in the 1990s. During the next two decades, African-American homebuyers were consistently over 45 percent more likely than whites to transition out of homeownership. The authors claim their findings point to a historical shift in racial stratification in American housing markets, from a system of overt market exclusion to, more recently, one of market exploitation.

Rapattoni Selects RealtyTrac as Data Licensing Partner
RealtyTrac, Irvine, Calif., announced an agreement to license tax, deed and mortgage information, foreclosure data and Homefacts neighborhood data to Rapattoni Corp., a provider of internet-based MLS software. The multi-year agreement will encourage growth and innovation between both companies.

Ditech Selects Ellie Mae Encompass
Ellie Mae, Pleasanton, Calif., announced that Ditech Mortgage Corp. selected Ellie Mae’s Encompass® as its mortgage management service.

ditech plans to implement Encompass to support a nationwide expansion of its lending operation. ditech will also use Ellie Mae’s software-as-a-service and Success-Based Pricing offerings. Ellie Mae’s Success-Based Pricing is tightly aligned to the client’s success in originating loans, allowing the company to pay for their software and services based on the number of loans they close every month.

Study: Lenders Earn Much More by Retaining Customers
STRATMOR Group, Peachtree City, Ga., said results of an internal statistical study show that direct lenders earn much more for retention loans than they do for attracting new customers.
According to STRATMOR Group Managing Director Matt Lind, a statistical analysis of consumer direct lending for 2013 showed fully loaded pre-tax profit margins (as a percentage of loan balance) of 146 basis points for "retention" borrowers versus only 32 basis points for "new" borrowers.

“There are two primary forces at play here,” Lind said. “First, revenues for ‘retention’ borrowers in 2013 reflected a relatively high net gain on sale for HARP refinances. Second, and more important, marketing and other customer acquisition costs for new borrowers are substantially higher than for existing borrowers seeking a new loan (i.e., retention borrowers).”

Altisource to Acquire Mortgage Builder Software
Altisource Portfolio Solutions SA, Luxembourg, announced it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Mortgage Builder Software Inc., Southfield, Mich., a provider of award mortgage loan origination and servicing software systems. The acquisition is expected to close within 30 days and is subject to customary closing conditions.

Curb Call Expands to Six Markets
Curb Call, San Francisco, announced it will expand into two more new markets. Curb Call had already signed an exclusive agreement with Realty One Group for San Diego and Orange County, Calif.; Phoenix and Las Vegas metro areas; now, the company includes Seattle and Washington D.C. in its portfolio.

Agents access Curb Call on their mobile phone to notify the app that they are “available for showings.” Buyers see a listing and want an immediate showing, and those who are not working with an agent can use Curb Call to view available agents and find one available for an on-demand showing of the property. Each agent receives a “buyer alert” with the buyer’s location and profile and can accept or decline the request.  If the agent accepts the request, he receives the buyer’s complete profile and contacts the buyer to set up a showing.

FormFree Issued U.S. Patent for Verification Technology
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office issued FormFree Holdings Corp., Atlanta, U.S. patent #8,762,243 for AccountChek, an automated asset verification system for the lending industry.

By using AccountChek, lenders and consumers can authorize and share critical borrower information essential for closing loans on any device. The patent formally acknowledges FormFree’s proprietary process for electronic certification of financial account data and protects the technology used in AccountChek.

Carrington Property Services Obtains SSAE 16/SOC 1 Type II Internal Control Assessment Report
Carrington Property Services LLC, Santa Ana, Calif., announced it obtained a SSAE 16/SOC 1 Type II report following an independent accounting firm's detailed review of Carrington’s processes and controls relating to operations.

The Type II assessment, which included detailed testing of the national property management and REO asset management company’s controls, covered control environment, risk assessment, monitoring, computer operations, data center operations, access/security, systems development, systems maintenance and QA procedures.

VA Renews Contract for Black Knight Mortgage Reporting Application
Black Knight Financial Services, Jacksonville, Fla., announced the Department of Veterans Affairs signed a contract renewal for the web-based reporting application Veterans Affairs’ Loan Electronic Reporting Interface, which the VA has used since 2007.

VALERI is built upon Black Knight’s Process Management technology, a workflow, imaging and communication management system that provides real-time connectivity among lenders, service providers, vendors and portfolio investors. VALERI enables mortgage servicers to report “significant events,” through either the servicing system or the servicer’s Web portal user-interface within VALERI.

Homefacts Releases Mobile App for Neighborhood Info
Homefacts, Irvine, Calif., launched a new mobile app for iPhone. The app enables homebuyers, homeowners and renters to view detailed property and neighborhood information and statistics on more than 100 million homes in the United States.

Homefacts provides data on more than 30 key local and neighborhood dynamics for residential properties nationwide including detailed local school information, location and details of environmental hazards such as underground storage tanks, spills, EPA polluters, brownfields and superfunds, along with former drug labs, sex offenders, natural hazard risk and building permit activity in a neighborhood.

W.J. Bradley Introduces Portfolio of Non-Agency Mortgage Products
W.J. Bradley Mortgage Capital LLC, Denver, introduced WJB | ONE, a portfolio of specialized first mortgage programs that provide financing opportunities for “prime” borrowers who are ineligible for traditional lending programs. The first portfolio program was released today, which will offer financing for non-warrantable condominium projects.

Available to W.J. Bradley retail branch locations across the country, the non-warrantable condominium loan product offers financing to eligible primary residence and second home buyers for condo projects that do not qualify under current Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac guidelines. The company will introduce other WJB | ONE products throughout the second half of 2014, such as those that serve high net-worth borrowers with liquid assets, as well as provide higher loan amounts for investment properties and cash-out refinance options for second home owners who own multiple financed properties.

USRES Updates Valuation Portal
USRES, Lake Forest, Calif., enhanced its proprietary Valuation Portal, powered by RES.NET.

The portal now provides improved security to borrowers by allowing them to securely pay for appraisals through the portal rather than share credit card information over the phone. This enhancement provides loan officers an added option for completing the payment portion of the appraisal ordering process once they order an appraisal through USRES’ online ordering system. 

Wolters Kluwer Introduces New Tools to Meet TILA-RESPA Implementation Challenges
Wolters Kluwer Financial Services, Minneapolis, released a tool kit designed to help lenders understand, manage and implement the new Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act requirements, which go into effect on August 1, 2015.

The TILA-RESPA Tool Kit comprises recorded trainings, job aids, gap analysis and project management templates. Toolkit resources will be monitored and updated with industry changes through the regulation effective date.

PrimeLending Selects ISGN’s TCL Residential Construction Loan Servicing Software
ISGN Corp., Palm Bay, Fla., announced that PrimeLending, a national residential mortgage lender, implemented ISGN’s TCL product, a software system developed specifically for servicing residential and commercial construction loans. 

PrimeLending will leverage TCL to better manage residential construction loans from one streamlined, automated and configurable system, allowing control of the end-to-end management of the entire loan lifecycle.