How the COVID-19 pandemic kick-started digital innovation in mortgage

The social protocols mandated by the COVID-19 pandemic have jumpstarted the mortgage industry’s pursuit of digital solutions to keep origination volume in motion. Three origination leaders discussed the innovations during a HousingWire webinar on Friday: “Social Distancing Paves Way for Digital Proximity.”

Origination leaders on the webinar included Jason Cramer, managing director and head of fulfillment at CitiMortgage, Tammy Richards, chief operating officer at loanDepot, and Rakesh Sheth, head of consumer direct sales and business insights at Wells Fargo. Karthik Kumar, global head of mortgage practice at Tata Consultancy Services, moderated the webinar.

“This crisis has inspired creative thinking to its highest order,” Kumar said. “And our own U.S. mortgage industry has been quite innovative – not just the active exploring all the possibilities of video-based closings, remote online notarization regulators and investors easing restrictions, but enabling remote working by a mammoth and diverse workforce.”

Sheth acknowledged the housing market went into the pandemic in a very strong state of health, with consumer interest in homeownership fueled by historically low interest rates.

“Each customer need is going to be unique and circumstantial, depending upon where they are. But from the macro perspective, the market is very healthy, the home prices are holding up quite well, and there’s a continued lower interest rate environment,” Sheth said.

“We’ll be strongly supportive of the market going forward, and I think the Federal Reserve has indicated the market rate to be fairly accommodative in a reasonable and continued expansion.”

Sheth also credited the government-sponsored enterprises for coming out with an “accommodative guidance for supporting homeownership” that also ensures investor confidence in the secondary market. And while acknowledging the challenges in maintaining jumbo mortgages and non-QM loans on balance sheets during the ongoing crisis, he believed “the industry will continue to support products and homeownership to the extent that is allowed by the investors.”

Cramer said social distancing and stay-at-home edicts did not break the bond between consumers and retail lenders.

“It all comes down to the fact that borrowers still need a trusted advisor, and they still want a trusted advisor in their home-buying experience,” Cramer said. “We have invested pretty heavily in our retail footprints – we actually have branches and can serve those customers’ needs, along with our direct consumer channels and the correspondent [who] are able to go out to perform and provide banking services on our behalf. Once we actually have the loan in the door, we hopefully can have a customer for life.”

Richards observed that the pandemic altered how lenders determine borrower eligibility, with both parties trying to balance social distancing mandates while still eager to pursue the transaction. The solution, Richards pointed out, was digital, and she predicted it would outlast the pandemic.

“Pre-qualifying customers has never been easier with online applications,” she said. “Nobody wants to go face-to-face right now. So, the online application and also customer portals are another good way to work with our customer to be able to have communication.”

Still, not every stakeholder is rushing to embrace digital solutions. Kumar highlighted that “technology-based mortgages can save up to 2.2 billion a year sheets of paper pages per year,” but Cramer countered by observing that “sometimes folks just want to add paper and they want to touch and feel and then put a ballpoint pen or something.”  

Cramer also questioned if some highly-touted digital solutions now being used in the appraisal process are worthy of a full embrace.

Sheth noted the new importance that e-closings have taken on in what he dubbed a “low-touch or no-touch economy,” and he did not believe the technology would lose popularity in the post-pandemic era.

“My expectation is that it will accelerate,” he said. “There is always going to be a customer segment who will demand [in-person closings] and lenders will have to meet those needs.”

Richards highlighted that digital solutions are already shaping how the mortgage industry hires its next wave of employees.

“loanDepot did a virtual job fair recently and we were able to hire 400 employees through our virtual job fair,” she said. “We had 10,000 people join the virtual job fair. I think that there’s a lot of a lot of people that are wanting to find a new way to look for jobs.

Hear more of their deep-dive into the topic here.

The post How the COVID-19 pandemic kick-started digital innovation in mortgage appeared first on HousingWire.

Offerpad launches consumer-driven real estate solutions

Real estate tech company and iBuyer Offerpad has announced its launch of the Real Estate Solutions Center. The center is a customer-driven suite of real estate solutions, including an advanced listing option with concierge services, the company said.

On May 6, Offerpad announced it would resume extending cash offers for properties in the more than 800 cities it operates in. The iBuyer implemented a newly developed health and safety plan in conjunction with HealthyVerify and said home sellers can expect a contactless experience throughout the entire home-selling process.

Offerpad Greenhouse, the company’s research and development group, has been working toward creating the Real Estate Solutions Center for over eight months. Users share details of their current home, upload recent photos and schedule virtual tours from anywhere, the company said.

The home is then evaluated by the company’s real estate experts and Offerpad’s data-driven real estate platform. Within 24 hours, the user will be presented an Offerpad cash offer, along with additional exclusive selling options. Those options include selling the home instantly to Offerpad or partnering with Offerpad to list the home.

“We’re known for providing quick competitive cash offers, which will always remain a core offering,” Offerpad Founder and CEO Brian Bair said. “For those looking to list their home, Offerpad is by far the most advanced way to maximize a home’s value on the open market. Our 100% free services matched with our Home Improvement Advance program and back-up instant cash offer are unparalleled.”

Offerpad said it has been hiring licensed real estate agents to help with listings, showings and renovations. As the company tests its solutions under Offerpad Greenhouse, it is continuing to hire licensed agents in its markets. They declined to specify how many agents they’ve hired across their 800 markets.

“This is by no means the ‘traditional way’ to sell a home,” Bair continued. “I am confident that with our extensive real estate experience and one-of-a-kind renovations division, Offerpad’s solutions cannot be duplicated. Sellers are now, more than ever, in control of their experience through our solutions center – we provide solutions, they select their option.”

The post Offerpad launches consumer-driven real estate solutions appeared first on HousingWire.

People movers: Notarize, eXp and Home Point Financial

Kate Brigham has been named the vice president of product at online document notary company, Notarize.

Prior to joining Notarize, Brigham was the vice president of product, design and research at ezCater, a catering delivery service. There, she led the product management, design and research teams in developing user centered solutions, achieving ROI across ezCater’s suite of products and solutions for consumers, restaurants and delivery partners.

Michael Valdes

Before that, Brigham was the design director for ezCater, and has many years of experience with product design.

eXp Realty has announced the appointment of Michael Valdes to the role of executive vice president, international expansion.

Valdes has over 25 years of experience in global real estate and finance. Prior to joining eXp, Valdes was the senior vice president of Global Servicing for all Realogy Corporation brands, including Better Homes & Gardens, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Corcoran, ERA and Sotheby’s International Realty.

Before he began his career in real estate, Valdes was director of private banking at Deutsche Bank in New York and San Francisco for 10 years.

Delane Olin

Home Point Financial has named Delane Olin its first chief learning officer.

Olin has over 15 years of experience developing and managing corporate training programs for Planet Home Lending, Stearns Lending, Caliber Home Loans and Nationstar Mortgage.

Olin has experience in the design, development, implementation, delivery, and evaluation of training content that is aligned with key business strategies and provides demonstrated return on investment. Olin has led learning and development functions across multiple lines of business, including Retail, Joint Venture, Wholesale and Servicing channels.

The post People movers: Notarize, eXp and Home Point Financial appeared first on HousingWire.

June 1: Processor, LO jobs; referral, accounting products; webinars & training through your computer

I was speaking to a successful long-time real estate agent this weekend who is as busy as she’s ever been. Couples are weary of working from home in a one-bedroom apartment. In talking about families leaving the city, she observed, “No family wants to push an elevator button to go home.” Redfin is in the news, not only talking about bidding wars, but also how its mortgage company has moved into Arizona, Delaware, and New Hampshire (state MBA organizations should hit it up for membership!) and certainly butting up against Zillow’s Mortgage Lenders of America. Chatter in the airwaves suggest that May was a) another month for the record books for fundings for many lenders, and b) with the volatility of March a few months in the rearview mirror, lenders are adding to their capital reserves. Talking about months, we still have over five (5) months until the November election, assuming it isn’t delayed for whatever reason, and the rhetoric is as strong as ever as curfews around the nation have escalated. And coming out Friday, May’s drop in nonfarm payrolls is expected to be 8 million! And for the unemployment rate to climb to 20%!


Movement Mortgage bolstered its presence in the Midwest with the addition of the Farley team in Northeast Ohio. John and Bill Farley served more than 500 families over the last two years, closing north of $150 million in volume. “Numbers and money follow, they don’t lead. Movement gives us an opportunity to not only serve families and grow our business, but to do it with a focus on community first,” says John Farley. The move comes on the heels of yet another record month for Movement. Movement recorded its first-ever $2 billion month in April ($2.6 B) as the company served nearly 10,000 families. Movement surpassed the $2 billion mark again in May and is projected to hit a third month with more than $2 billion in volume in June. To learn more about joining Movement’s growing team, email Regional Director Mike Brennan. an established mortgage lender, is seeking experienced, smart, and friendly Loan Processors. Work onsite in our Irvine, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, or Dallas locations, or remote from your home. Family-owned and in business for 25 years, we have a keen focus on treating our team members like family. With manageable pipelines of approximately 50 loans while funding 2/3 of the pipeline monthly, you can make over $150K while setting your own hours. Management lets you set your own pace, working as much or as little as you like. We provide best in class technology and tools to keep you working efficiently. We require 2 years minimum loan processor experience. Benefits Include, Company Match 401K, Healthcare, Dental, Vision, Life and Disability Benefits. Big company benefits, small company feel. A place where everyone knows your name. Email us at”

Agility 360 is a mortgage recruiting and project staffing firm based in Dallas, Texas, with a proven record of matching qualified candidates with employers for long-term employment or short-term contract. With interest rates at historical lows, matching staffing levels to meet demand continues to be a big profitability driver. Since 2014, Agility 360 has leveraged its unique methodology and proprietary candidate network to place experienced processors, underwriters, and other originations personnel across the country. We always meet our goal of finding “the right person for the job” because THIS IS ALL WE DO. By focusing on the mortgage industry, we’ve created and tested a highly successful model that consistently delivers results for our clients. If you want to stop wasting time and money with other companies please contact Raj Sharma (469-208-6337).”

Recently named among Top 5 Best Mortgage Companies to work for by National Mortgage News, Geneva Financial, Home Loans Powered By Humans, is filling 500 Branch Manager and Loan officer positions in 43 states. Geneva strives to humanize every aspect of its business from the inside-out. With a culture-forward mindset, management focuses on loan originators and support staff to ensure an unbeatable experience for their customers. Their Geneva Gives, BE A GOOD HUMAN, and Hero of The Year initiatives deemed them a recipient of this year’s AZ Business Magazine’s Excellence in Banking Award for Community Impact. In 2019 Geneva was ranked a nationally fastest growing company in the financial sector, mortgage industry and all industries categories. Geneva consistently hit record-breaking months, doubling volume in most. Geneva Financial is excited for another historic year, with no plans on slowing down. Explore Branch and Originator opportunities here.

In other news and in a personal note, congratulations to Rebecca Sommer who is taking over in managing the Great West Region for Wells Fargo Funding from 26-year veteran Shana Chrisman.

Lender services and products

Caliber Home Loans recently sponsored an inspirational and heartwarming documentary, “The Greatest Bond,” which aired on PBS on May 22. The film highlights the journey of disabled veterans whose lives are forever changed through the unconditional love of service dogs that have been expertly trained by female prison inmates in the Patriot Paws organization. Caliber is proud to continue its partnership with Patriot Paws and has sponsored a service dog, aptly named “Caliber” who will support a veteran who is facing physical and emotional challenges. Patriot Paws provides a sense of family and enables veterans to enjoy the freedom that they fought for. Dennis Irwin, Co-Chair of Caliber’s Military Veteran Resource Group stated, “I am grateful to work for a company that supports Patriot Paws, an organization that is focused on helping veterans that have given so much for our country. Saving veterans, saving lives.”

Top 20 National Mortgage lender FBC Mortgage, LLC now has an unprecedented look into their financials, with real-time data at their fingertips by utilizing Loan Vision. “Our executives always want to know where we are at this very minute and with Loan Vision, we’re able to make that happen,” expressed Dyron Watford, CFO at FBC Mortgage, LLC. “In today’s market especially, analyzing data at a speed where you can make an appropriate decision is a must. I have the confidence in this system that when I provide that data, it’s real-time and it’s correct.” Read more about FBC Mortgage’s success with Loan Vision here, then contact Carl Wooloff with Loan Vision for more information on how the accounting solution can help your finance department.

HomeBinder: Stay connected post-close, safely. As we emerge from our COVID-19 lockdowns, we need new tools that keep us connected with homeowners post-close without physical contact. Enter HomeBinder. Drive agent referrals by co-branding HomeBinder with the real estate partners you work with. Integration with Encompass automates the entire process (including loan docs!) Learn more today.

Webinars & Training

ARMCO Launches QC NOW Web Series to Support QC Professionals: Educational web series to provide insights and tips for quality control professionals to navigate changes to the current financial services and lending environment. The series launched on May 28, 2020 with “QC Operations in the New World – A Look Into the COVID-19 Era,” and is now available on-demand. The next webinar “How to Ensure Data Integrity with HMDA Reviews” will launch June 4th at 11:00am PDT. Register Today!

Are you ready for VA IRRRL and FHA Streamline refinance opportunities in this market?  Learn how to efficiently submit your files once for a final approval! Join Freedom Mortgage Wholesale for one or more of our live webinar training sessions on VA IRRRL or FHA Streamline mortgage products and origination processes. Ideal for new or experienced government originators. Sign up for a VA IRRRL or FHA Streamline webinar June 5 (VA IRRRL), June 8 (FHA SL), June 10 (VA IRRRL), June 12 (FHA SL), June 15 (VA IRRRL), and June 19 (FHA SL).

MBAC is offering Freddie Mac’s COVID-19 Webinar Series on Mondays in June addressing questions about appraisal requirements, forbearance, and income requirements during the COVID-19 situation. June 1st – COVID-19 Temporary Appraisal Flexibilities. June 8th – COVID-19 Temporary Income and Employment Requirements. June 15th– COVID-19 Relief: Forbearance and COVID-19 Payment Deferral.

National MI’s upcoming June Webinars are brought to you by its MI University. All webinar attendees will be entered in a random drawing and are eligible to win a National MI branded gift. On June 2nd, register for 5 Habits of Highly Effective Salespeople: Habit #1, with Bruce Lund, Ph.D. Mortgage Insurance 101, with Nancy Early will commence on June 3rd. The lineup of other webinars and registration information is available here.

FAMC published its June 2020 Wholesale “Customer Training Calendar”, including Loan Processing Using the Redesigned URLA, Faster Closings, Positive Negativity, Preventing Mortgage Fraud:  Taking a Closer Look, 5 Habits of Highly Effective Salespeople, Habit #1, Detecting and Avoiding Fraud Schemes. Click here:  Franklin American Mortgage Wholesale Customer Training Calendar.

Upcoming Plaza webinars: June 3: How to Use the Reverse Mortgage to Purchase a Home. June 8: Making the Most of Your Remote Day. June 18: Taking a Deeper Dive in to Plaza’s Cooperative (Co-Op) Program.

Genworth Mortgage Insurance provides complimentary webinar courses in June to help customers manage, protect, and grow their business, delivering you-centric solutions that matter. Dive into summer with new training webinars. Hosting Fannie Mae for Condo Conundrums with Condo Reviews and offering courses to help you succeed as you manage through the pandemic: 9 Things to Embrace Today and Positive Negativity.

On June 4th, FHA is hosting a live, virtual interagency discussion in response to the COVID-19 National Emergency. This event provides an opportunity for lenders, servicers, housing industry professionals, and other interested stakeholders to learn more about the actions these government agencies are taking to support struggling homeowners while ensuring sustainable homeownership during the pandemic. Updates on ongoing efforts to support the housing finance sector will be discussed, followed by a Q&A session to address questions submitted in advance.

With the current focus on all things digital, Join the Mortgage Coach webinar on Thursday, June 4thWinning in Today’s Virtual Lending Environment.

The Valuation 20/20 Conference has gone virtual…the new dates are June 16th-17th. Join from wherever you may be as technology lets you meet Exhibitors face to face. General Session brings you all the policy makers, Land Shark Pitches brings new product demos plus more.

Registration is now open.

Join Metrostudy on June 23rd for a webinar to discuss Strategies to Win Builder Business in the New Mortgage Market. In this webinar, Chief Economist, Ali Wolf, and VP of National Sales, Nicollette Chapman will provide strategic insights and economic analysis of what is affecting the mortgage industry.

Originator Connect is a 3-day weekend event designed around one purpose: help you realize your goals. Originator Connect is focused solely on the origination community at brokerages, banks, and credit unions. With exclusive programs like Build-A-Broker and Your First Million Dollars, our unique Certified Military Home Specialist certification class in conjunction with Boots Across America, compelling and high profile speakers, and a complimentary NMLS renewal course, you’re sure to come out feeling prepared, motivated, and energized to become the best originator you can be… August 21st-23rd in Las Vegas.

TMBA’s Reverse Mortgage Day is being held in conjunction with the Mortgage Symposium, September 14-15, 2020 at the Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel, Plano, TX. You MUST register separately for Mortgage Symposium, Reverse Mortgage Day and TWMB.

Todd Duncan’s Sales Mastery 2020 will be a LIVE Digital Experience September 16-18 with an incredible line up of 40 game-changing presentations with world-class keynote speakers, relevant panel discussions, and interviews and conversations with trusted industry experts.

Capital markets

For only a four-day workweek this past week, it seemed much longer, with many explosive headlines. President Trump intensified his confrontation with China over its pandemic response and the crackdown in Hong Kong, as he moved toward revoking Hong Kong’s special trade status. Hong Kong is vital to the global economy, acting as a major port, trade center, and market for capital flows between the U.S., Europe, and mainland China, and has previously been exempt from the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese goods. Nothing that President Trump said in his news conference is likely to deter Beijing by truly slowing trade. He also said the U.S. will terminate its relationship with the WHO, accusing it of being under China’s “total control,” though threats to end contributions to the global health agency have raised questions about whether he has the authority to do so without Congressional assent. He did not institute sanctions on Chinese officials, however, as was anticipated. And the announced measures didn’t include withdrawal from the “phase one” trade deal signed in January. Looking into actions, Trump might do something in the future, but markets weren’t worried too much about that in the now. All of that weighed on risk tolerance, and Treasury yields rallied across the curve. The 10-year closed Friday -6 bps to 0.65 percent, down -1 bp for the week.

As far as economic releases to close last week, U.S. consumer spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of our economy, plunged in April by the most on the record (going back to 1959). On the bright side, the personal savings rate, as a percentage of disposable income, jumped to 33 percent, representing a lot of pent-up spending potential. What is done with those savings will be paramount to the recovery trajectory, as it could either be spent or continued to be saved preparation for a long recovery and extended period of high unemployment. Separately, the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment missed expectations for May as it dropped from April.

This week sees the usual start-of-the-month releases, capped by May’s payroll data on Friday. Today: final May Markit manufacturing PMI, May ISM manufacturing PMI, and April construction spending. Zip tomorrow. Wednesday sees the usual Weekly MBA Mortgage Index, as well as May ADP Employment Change, April Factory Orders and May ISM Non-Manufacturing Index. Thursday brings jobless claims figures, Q1 Revised Productivity and Unit Labor Costs, April Trade Balance, as well as May prepayments after the close, before the weekly calendar concludes with May Employment figures and April Consumer Credit on Friday. Fed appearances are limited ahead of next week’s FOMC meeting, while the RBA, Bank of Canada and ECB will be out with their latest respective decisions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The NY Fed will conduct two FedTrade purchase operations today totaling up to $4.47 billion starting with $1.5 billion GNII 2.5 percent and 3 percent followed by up to $2.970 billion UMBS30 2 percent through 3 percent. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices down/worse a few ticks versus Friday and the 10-year yielding .68.

I was in the McDonald’s drive-through yesterday morning when the lady behind me honked at me and flipped me off because I was taking too long to order. Wow.

“Take the high road” I thought to myself. So I paid for her food.

I moved up and she leaned out the window looking all crazy at me because the cashier told her I paid for her food. Maybe she felt embarrassed? Maybe not.

When I got to the second window to get my food, I showed them both receipts and took her food as well! I paid for it; it was mine! Now she had to go to the end of the line and start over.

(You just don’t mess with us old people.)

Visit for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “Reducing Friction”, focused on operations changes. If you have the inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.


(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is designed for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to Copyright 2020 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold, or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)


PropTech Special Reports

The process of buying or selling a home is constantly evolving to reflect changes in not only home prices and inventory but the technology available to support the needs of lenders, agents and their clients.

As real estate professionals adapt to trends and market shifts, they continue to turn to proptech companies to help them eliminate pain points and provide clients with a streamlined experience.

In this section, we highlight two companies with solutions that are helping move the real estate market forward. Click through to read more:
First American Data Tree

The post PropTech Special Reports appeared first on HousingWire.

With Remote Bid app, investors can bid on select foreclosure auction properties from any location aims to make distressed real estate investments accessible for all buyers.

Its marketplace goes beyond traditional disposition to give buyers and sellers new, innovative ways to transact on distressed homes for better outcomes, including two new capabilities – Remote Bid and Offer Interact – that extend the ability of buyers to access and purchase assets.

Remote Bid is a mobile app feature that allows buyers to bid on select in-person foreclosure auction properties for investment from the comfort of their own home.

Buyers can use their phone to bid on properties from any location, participate in multiple auctions at the same time and track bids in real-time.

Remote Bid allows buyers to save time, save travel expenses, and avoid large crowds and bad weather. Importantly, bidding remotely also means buyers can stay focused on the continuity of their businesses even during disruptions to mobility, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Remote Bid is a groundbreaking capability which digitizes the courthouse at a time when the trend for online foreclosure and REO sales is unmistakable,” said Ravi Singh, chief product and technology officer for “More than 89% of online REO auction properties sold in the first quarter of 2020 have attracted multiple competing bidders.”

Offer Interact provides a new way for sellers to transact in’s marketplace, as buyers can submit sealed bid offers for sellers to review in real time.

Also, the platform includes a feature that lets buyers send information to sellers regarding the property. This correspondence can include the property’s condition, repair estimates, or other pertinent asset information.

Offer Interact saves time and energy for buyers and increases the quality of bids and likelihood of stronger offers for sellers.

With Offer Interact, sellers appreciate that these properties continue to leverage’s world-class marketing exposure to millions of interested buyers.

Buyers in turn appreciate the ability to make direct offers on properties and to enter comments about properties so sellers can consider their input when making decisions.

“Since 2007, the marketplace has been introducing technology and, recently, real-time functionality that increase the power to buy and sell distressed homes so buyers and sellers can reach their disposition goals,” CRO Ali Haralson said. “Offer Interact contributes to a healthy real estate market and neighborhood stabilization.” is the largest online marketplace for the disposition of distressed residential properties, with a platform that includes 26,000 properties available for sale and 5.6 million registered users.

“Real estate and technology are our passion,” Auction COO Min Alexander said. “We will continue to apply our industry leading experience, proprietary data and relentless innovation to continue transforming how real estate is bought and sold.”

Ravi Singh, Chief Product and Technology Officer

Ravi Singh is an entrepreneur, investor, advisor and a product evangelist, with an acute understanding of the market, trends, competitive activities, challenges and factors for success. He brings a deep understanding of how to leverage data to drive innovation and product development across multiple verticals. Prior to joining, Singh held the position of executive director at Demco, where he led the software division.

Min Alexander, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer

Min Alexander has nearly 20 years of experience as a real estate technology executive, private equity fund manager and institutional investor focused on residential real estate. Over the past eight years, Alexander has led two national real estate transaction marketplaces, national field operations and a top 10 ranked U.S. brokerage serving investors to drive the marketing and sales strategies for over 500,000 single family homes in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Min is a graduate of Duke University (BA) and MIT (MBA).

Ali Haralson, General Manager and Chief Revenue Officer

Ali Haralson oversees the business development of an auction platform that has sold more than $49 billion in residential properties. With over 25 years of experience in the distressed residential industry, she partners with clients to optimize programs to return homes to the market faster, ensure the preservation of homeownership and enhance neighborhood stabilization. She has expanded’s community involvement by supporting housing, neighborhoods and veterans.

The post With Remote Bid app, investors can bid on select foreclosure auction properties from any location appeared first on HousingWire.

DataTree Lists leverages comprehensive data to help marketers quickly identify and reach specific targets

Modern real estate experts and mortgage lenders must adapt the way they identify and engage their audiences to meet the unique challenge of a quickly changing landscape.

DataTree by First American recently launched DataTree Lists – a powerful customer acquisition and marketing list solution for marketers, list brokers and lead consultants. DataTree Lists provides highly targeted, direct marketing leads sourced from the largest, most comprehensive database of U.S. property and homeownership information.  

Marketing professionals rely on quality data to gain a wholistic view of the available market and target prospects to win new business.

DataTree Lists leverages the industry’s most trusted source for real estate information, including public record data covering nearly the entire U.S. housing stock, over 7 billion recorded document images, title plants, homeowner association (HOA) information, listing data and more.

Customers use DataTree Lists to quickly identify and reach specific and unique target markets, including advanced segmentation by available property equity, propensity scoring, new movers listing status, tax and foreclosure status, and loan and financing specifications.

“We’ve combined the unrivaled depth and breadth of First American data assets with our commitment to customer service, delivering quality lists faster,” said Jim Portner, vice president of product and strategy at First American DataTree. “Our customers now have access to new highly qualified target markets across a variety of stages in the homeownership lifecycle, boosting the efficiency of marketing strategies and budgets to stay ahead of their industry.”

DataTree Lists is an easy-to-use option for those who want to self-generate lists or leverage DataTree Lists fulfillment specialists.

DataTree solution experts help translate and derive a specific list of a prime audience, adjusting search queries as needed, to achieve the desired count for the marketing campaign or to target the right number of properties within a campaign’s budget. For complex search queries and parameters, DataTree delivers a quick counts system, robust suppression options, saved searches, data security and compliance measures.

“The commitment of our data solution experts to deliver best-in-class data – the way customers need it, when they need it – is reflected in DataTree Lists and throughout our solution suite,” said Robert Karraa, president of First American DataTree and 2019 HousingWire Vanguard Award winner. “Our collective experience building, curating and growing the industry’s largest public record database, coupled with unmatched technology innovation, provides solutions to fuel growth and set our customers apart from their competition.”

DataTree Lists serves modern marketing professionals who value data quality, coverage, currency and completeness to fuel lead generation and customer acquisition.

Robert Karraa, President

Bringing more than 30 years of financial and information services industry experience to his role as president, Robert Karraa provides strategic direction to drive the company’s leadership position in the market. Karraa currently oversees all data and analytics offerings within First American, including the flagship solutions offered by DataTrace, First American DataTree and Fraudguard.

Jim Portner, Vice President of Product and Strategy

Jim Portner brings a wealth of experience to DataTree by First American with over 25 years in product leadership for several top real estate data and analytics organizations. Portner provides a deep understanding of the dynamic mortgage and analytics technology marketplace and the opportunities and challenges in delivering solutions for modern lenders, title companies and other real estate service industries.

Matt Key, Director of Sales

With over 15 years of experience, Matt Key manages sales and business development for First American DataTree. He leads the sales strategy and direction of enterprise-wide data delivery to many customer segments, including government, technology, property and real estate services and resale channels.

The post DataTree Lists leverages comprehensive data to help marketers quickly identify and reach specific targets appeared first on HousingWire.

Three ways to scale during a boom: focus, pivot, outsource

Scaling and adding efficiencies are challenging in any market, but being behind the curve in a boom market makes it that much more stressful.

We asked some of our clients to share their advice on how they’ve been able to scale their business to take advantage of unprecedented opportunities in this current boom market.

Here are their insights:

1.   Keep MLOs Focused on Sales.

Clients using Pareto’s 80/20 principle to increase volume from their existing sales team are seeing significant increases in originations by focusing 80% of their MLO’s time doing only the 20% of things that make money.

At Caliver Beach Mortgage, Brad Bennett moved the most time-consuming tasks to other resources in the organization, allowing his MLOs to focus 90% of their time on selling.

“They just pitch it, close it, book it and move on to the next one and that allows our loan officers to get three to four times the pipeline size that they normally would get,” he said.

Redistributing the MLO’s lower-value tasks moves the needle for efficiencies as well as productivity.

Instead of spending time chasing documents, verifying income and ordering appraisals ad nauseum, move those tasks to other resources who can focus on reducing and eliminating conditions to pave the way for underwriting. This is the exact strategy JFQ Lending used to go from $0 in August of 2017 to over $300M a month in volume in February of 2020.

2. Pivot Your Products and Mindset.

Additional training is added to keep minds fresh, talent scaled up and confidence high.

Bennett applies the “5-wide” football strategy used by defensive players to draw from any of five different plays.

“A 5-wide strategy means VA, FHA, conventional, non-QM and purchase. It gives me 5 pillars to stand on and I looked at the business as a tabletop,” he said. “So, if I have four legs, I’m good. If I break one, my table is going to be a little wobbly. If I break two, I will lean to one side, but I’m still standing on this side. If I have 5 legs, four on the sides and one in the center then I’m indestructible.”

Pivoting your MLO’s mindset is also critical, “because it’s the difference [between] being an order taker versus being an adviser and you have to be an adviser,” explained Nick Borunda, vice president of sales at JFQ Lending.

“The No. 1 thing is recalibrating that mindset and practicing what it actually sounds like. And it’s not just a one and done. I’m on a regional level, so every Tuesday and Thursday we’ll [train] a hundred people plus at once. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, our sales directors are doing that on more individual basis with the people that need more practice.”

3. Outsource Your Marketing.

“Go with experts,” explained Franco Prezioso, President of Service 1st Mortgage. “I wear a lot of hats; I’m too busy for that. I let them do the stuff that I’m not an expert at. I’ve got other things to do in order to stay on top, to grow our business.

For lenders who use direct mail in particular, there’s no question this task requires time, talent and focus most leaders don’t have in abundance. Especially if you have no internal marketing team, getting this critical business process off your plate frees up hours or even days each week.

Manny Fajardo, President of Premiere Lending, knows consistent lead generation is the golden egg and direct mail marketing is the goose.

“We had kind of poked around on some landing pages and stuff like that but to me that’s just hoping and praying that the SEO is performing the way it needs to,” he explained. “That’s why I think this approach for us has been so successful because we understand that we’re not blindly sending mail. We may be sending mail to people that aren’t expecting it, but that mail is going to that specific person for a reason. It makes it more powerful. And we have really given up all other lead sources that we were involved in before and gone 100% with Monster because of that.”

To find out how to use direct marketing strategy to grow your business, download the free guide, The 7 Deadly Sins of Mortgage Mailers at, or call us at 240-MONSTER.

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2020 HW Rising Star: Samantha Budzyn

Samantha Budzyn
Nexsys Technologies Director of Operations, Age: 30

Samantha Budzyn spent nearly 18 months visiting states around the country, helping to blaze a path for adoption of digital closing legislation. She lobbied and testified for changes to existing laws and regulations, working with lawmakers and secretaries of state providing education about why digital closings are important to their constituents. She contributed to industry groups—speaking at multiple conferences and events to provide guidance on how to implement digital closings (as well as addressing their benefits and common pitfalls), and acting as a co-chair for key committees where she drives change in the mortgage and title industries and brings awareness of new topics and trends. Before joining start-up company Nexsys Technologies, Budzyn reported directly to the president of a nationwide title and closing services provider, which gave her unique insight and understanding into the needs and expectations of the mortgage industry. Now on the solution-provider side, Budzyn helps Nexsys Technologies craft digital closing products. 

What is one habit that has helped you succeed? 
“I’ve developed a true passion for learning, and I’m never satisfied with my current level of knowledge. I continuously reassess what I know about current processes, and I’m always eager to expand my knowledge base, plunge into a new certification or business education program or explore new industry trends.”

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2020 HW Rising Star: Gary Brownell

Gary Brownell
Home Point Financial Senior Managing Director of Business Strategy, Age: 29

Over the last five years, Gary Brownell has helped the company grow from a small lender in 2015 into a major nonbank. He built out a multi-site consumer direct group into a $150-million-a-month operation from the ground up, all while simultaneously leading enterprise-wide marketing and communications. In his current role, Brownell is the principal architect of Home Point Financial’s Home Ownership Platform, which has drawn more than 200,000 active users since its launch in October of 2019. As a spinoff to the Home Ownership Platform, Brownell created the exclusive Customer For Life program, an initiative focused on building relationships with and providing long-term value for mortgage brokers by helping them retain their clients. Since Customer for Life’s launch in 2019, thousands of customers have been reconnected back to their original loan officer. Brownell has taken the lead on working with agencies to challenge the current process of loan origination and streamline the customer experience using customer data on an ongoing basis.

What is one thing you had to overcome to succeed in this industry? 
“Trying to change thinking and strategy in a mortgage environment is uniquely challenging, because so many parts of the industry are deeply entrenched. In my experience, pushing ideas to the table that have no precedent is a massive ongoing challenge, but it’s what I enjoy most.”

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