The latest mortgage technology innovations included alliances and partnerships that boosted the value of existing offerings. Web site enhancements dominated digital advancements.
But first, in banking technology, due to the deployment of a new electronic mortgage application, First Federal Bank of Louisiana has signed a 7-year contract to use US-BankNet, the new "fault-tolerant encrypted enterprise-class" wireless banking network of ERF Wireless, a news release stated. While a BranchNet contract the bank signed provides connectivity to its 14 branches throughout southwestern and central Louisiana, US-BankNet delivers additional digital services, including fast access to key banking service providers, redundant routing across the network, IP WAN transport and access to a 50-mbps Internet gateway.
"At First Federal Bank, we are deploying a new, all-digital mortgage application and it requires a significant amount of bandwidth to implement all of its functionality," First Federal Chief Operating Officer James M. Fazende was quoted as saying in the release. "We simply need the extra bandwidth available from ERF Wireless' US-BankNet system to make it perform the way we want it to."
In the world of loan servicing, Financial Industry Computer Systems Inc. upgraded the runtime of its residential loan servicing system to allow increased productivity by its users, according to a news release. The increased performance of Mortgage Servicer reduces the amount of time it takes to execute programs, especially larger batch programs. Optimization of batch processes such as year-end, month-end, and escrow analysis have reduced run times by over 80 percent. Additionally, routine tasks are completed quicker, results are analyzed sooner, loans are serviced more efficiently and reporting to borrowers and investors occurs more promptly.
"With the increased processing speed of Mortgage Servicer, we have experienced a much faster runtime with the system, especially with our investor close report," Kathy Bartley, director of mortgage servicing for CUC Mortgage Corp, was quoted as saying in the announcement. "Reducing the amount of time required to generate reports enables our staff to work more efficiently and better manage a growing portfolio of loans."
Activity in quality control technology included Interthinx Inc.'s integration of the income/compensation metrics of PayScale into its loan level fraud detection tools, according to an announcement. The metrics will allow Interthinx customers to estimate a realistic income range based on a borrower's employment data. The integration will automatically trigger income estimation during loan scoring, eliminating lenders and investors the costly trips to third-party solutions outside of Interthinx's FraudGUARD scoring process.
"It's critical for lenders and investors to not only uncover potentially overstated Borrower income for accurate risk assessment, but to do so within the framework of 'fraud scheme detection," Interthinx said in the announcement.
"We predict the next onslaught of mortgage fraud will no doubt involve employment and income misrepresentation within new schemes created for borrowers and investors to bail out of mortgages they can no longer afford," the company added. "Precise and immediate income estimation is essential to today's loan risk mitigation processes."
Closing technology advancements included a partnership between FirstClose and ValueCheck Inc. The new venture will offer alternative lien services and warranted automated valuation models to existing and future ValueCheck customers. In addition to Equiguard and warranted AVMs, the customers will soon have access to FirstClose tax tracking services, according to an announcement.
To help lenders comply with regulatory requirements tied to Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, Wolters Kluwer Financial Services launched a line of electronic upfront disclosures and closing documents that allow for compliant document packages. The product line is available to lenders doing business in the top 10 states underwriting reverse mortgages -- California, Florida, Texas, New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania -- although more will likely be added based upon lender demand, according to a press release.
A partnership will enable Myers Internet customers access to PsPrint's quality print and direct marketing services, including graphic design, printing production, and direct mailing and farming list management services. Clients of Myers, a provider of Web site and online marketing tools for mortgage professionals, can create, manage, access and order designs online at anytime and utilize the printing services to execute their marketing campaigns. The partnership brings "convenience, affordability and help our customers save time by delivering one location that can meet all their print marketing needs," Myers reported.
TouchStar reported that its hosted call center solutions division, Dial-on-Demand, grew by 550 percent last year. Dial-on-Demand offers hosted predictive dialing, broadcast messaging, and call center management software, and growth is due to customers choosing hosted services versus purchasing equipment in order to avoid capital expenditures, long term expenses, and internal technical support, as Dial manufactures, operates, and supports the technology. Hosted solutions reportedly provide an affordable way to start a new business, test a new business model, expand for short term overflow, and secure an emergency backup solution.
Meanwhile, a la mode said it is providing free "Originator" level Mortgage XSites, which are loan originator Web sites that provide a "sleek, user-friendly" online loan application, the user's own dot-com domain name and virus- and Spam-fighting dedicated e-mail. Rather than "generic, stripped down" sites, a la mode says its product helps small businesses and independent brokers get the kind of attractive, professional mortgage Web site that some pay "hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for." The sites include 24 hour support, "easy, anytime" changes, user-friendly wizard and a free mortgage blog.
Due to a partnership agreement, the clients of wholesale lender Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. will be able to enroll with Enterprise Service Platform in the next few months, utilizing various tools, Web sites and services that empower originators to originate and process loans more efficiently. ESP's product, pricing and submission services are designed to integrate seamlessly while providing order management, tracking and enhanced communications to end-users, according to an announcement. Additionally, ESP is built to allow lenders, brokers, realtors, title agents, builders and borrowers to collaborate and communicate during the processing of a mortgage loan around the electronic ordering and delivery of mortgage-related services.
Nationwide Home Lending signed on with Sollen Technologies to use the Lender Online solution for searching loans, validation, pricing and locking. The solution will enable the strictly online lender to fully automate its loan process, while increasing efficiency and improving workflow.
"Lender Online allows my loan officers to find the best price and the most profitable deal without going through the gyrations of adding and subtracting on the rate sheets," Barbara Fisher, a Nationwide vice president, reportedly said in the announcement. "The ease of use of the technology is wonderful."