Residential Briefs

Oct. 13, 2015--MBA Staff

October 13, 2015

Fannie Mae: Home Purchase Sentiment Up in September

Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index increased to 83.8 in September as consumer confidence in the home buying and selling market bounced back from a recent dip, suggesting continued gradual improvement in housing activity.  

The HPSI Good Time to Sell component increased by 13 points on net in September due likely to a strong home price environment coupled with a slight improvement in consumers' economic outlook. Additionally, the Good Time to Buy component increased by 3 points on net as high rental costs may be encouraging more renters to consider homeownership. Although net home price and mortgage rate expectations dipped in September, consumers' confidence in their employment and financial situations climbed 2 and 3 points, respectively, further suggesting a possible firmer footing for housing.  

"With consumers' expectations for rental price increases continuing to outpace their expectations for home price growth, many consumers may view homeownership as a more attractive option," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist with Fannie Mae. "This should have positive implications for the housing market, which remains well below historical norms in relation to housing starts."  

Dart Appraisal Completes SOC 2 Examination

Dart Appraisal, Troy, Mich., announced the successful completion of the Service Organization Controls 2 (SOC 2) Type 1 attestation.   

The independent attestation validates that Dart Appraisal has suitably designed controls in place for effectively maintaining the security and confidentiality of client information.  

New Penn Financial Uses FormFree AccountChek Asset Verification Report

FormFree Holdings Corp., Atlanta, said New Penn Financial, a nationwide mortgage lender licensed to do business in 48 states, began using FormFree's AccountChek automated asset verification service to verify financial statements of its mortgage applicants.  

AccountChek replaces the need for borrowers to submit paper bank statements that show they have the financial resources to qualify for a mortgage.  

Collateral Analytics Launches Automated Tool to ID Property Complexity

Collateral Analytics, Honolulu, developed the CA Complexity Profiler, which analyzes the subject property characteristics and compares them to those of the surrounding market sales.  

The objective is to identify each property as being complex or non-complex, which will allow lenders and appraisers to predetermine the level of difficulty of appraising each property within seconds. The product conforms with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's new TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule that assesses properties that are likely to be complex and subject to higher appraiser fees.   

Metro Credit Union Chooses Ellie Mae Encompass

Ellie Mae, Pleasanton, Calif., announced that Metro Credit Union, Chelsea, Mass., selected Ellie Mae's Encompass mortgage management platform for selling mortgages.   

Encompass enables banks, credit unions and mortgage lenders to originate and fund mortgages while improving compliance, loan quality and efficiency in the process. As a single system of record, Encompass can be used by everyone in the loan production chain.    

MRG Document Technologies Partners with Land Gorilla

MRG Document Technologies, Dallas, and Land Gorilla, a risk management provider for construction and renovation loan products, announced a partnership to create construction loan products.

The partnership enables Land Gorilla to use compliant loan disclosures and mortgage loan closing documents.  

DocMagic Selected by PHH Mortgage

DocMagic Inc., Torrance, Calif., announced that PHH Mortgage signed a multi-year license agreement to use its set of products to help ensure compliance with the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, as well as other federal, state and investor requirements.  

PHH, its clients and their borrowers can access DocMagic's eSign/eDelivery technology that enables electronic delivery of TRID documents and the electronic viewing of closing disclosures and related documentation. DocMagic's Audit Engine electronically tracks and logs transactions touched by all parties working with its Compliance Engine as well as its SmartCLOSE portal, while continuously comparing the initial Loan Estimate against the final Closing Disclosure to ensure RESPA compliance throughout the process.  

Ernst Launches TRID-Ready Calculator

Ernst Publishing Co., Albany, N.Y., announced its TRID-ready closing cost calculator is now live and lenders can use it in parallel with Ernst's existing GFE/HUD fee tools. This will allow the company's lender customers time to test their new process with the system TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure implementation.  

STRATMOR: Contact Prior to Closing Supports TRID Compliance and Dramatically Improves Borrower Satisfaction

STRATMOR Group, Peachtree City, Ga., released results from its MortgageSAT borrower satisfaction survey offering indicating that reaching out to borrowers prior to loan closing dramatically increases borrower satisfaction while, at the same time, regulators will likely view as a step towards better TRID compliance.  

"One aspect of TRID compliance is making sure that the customer is notified before closing about any changes in costs and that they have time to review," said Tim Ryan, Senior Director at STRATMOR Group. "The data [are] quite clear that borrowers want a call from someone they trust inside the lender's shop before they are asked to sit down at the table and sign the closing documents. It is important to note that they are less satisfied when they don't receive it.  

STRATMOR's analysis of more than 40,000 MortgageSAT borrower surveys indicates that when lenders discuss loan details prior to the closing of the loan, average borrower satisfaction scores 92 on a 100 point scale, a relatively high average score. Of those surveyed, 12.9 percent report they were not contacted, and the subsequent satisfaction level dropped to 61. When satisfaction falls to this level, it is likely to result in adverse borrower comments to friends and relatives and/or adverse comments and postings to regulators or social media. This exposes the lender to reputation risk and negates the possibility of gaining referral or repeat business from the borrower.  

California Third Appellate District Court Finds in MERS' Favor

MERSCORP Holdings Inc., Reston, Va., announced that the Court of Appeal of California for the Third Appellate District affirmed the demurrer granted by the California Superior Court, Nevada County.  

In Boyle v. Bank of America NA, the homeowners sued Bank of America and MERS for fraud and wrongful foreclosure, claiming that the MERS deed of trust was invalid because MERS lacked any interest in the promissory note, which rendered the MERS deed of trust and assignment of the deed of trust to Bank of America ineffective. The homeowners alleged that Bank of America's attempts to foreclose on the property were improper because the defective assignment failed to convey to Bank of America the right to foreclose. The homeowners also claimed that Bank of America lacked the right to foreclose because of the failure to properly transfer the note to a securitized trust that owned the loan.  

The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court's rejection of the homeowner's claims, finding that MERS was the original beneficiary under the deed of trust and that its assignment of that interest was not fraudulent. The Court also rejected the borrowers' reliance on Glaski v. Bank of America, in support of their fraud claim.

In Glaski, the Fifth Appellate District permitted a homeowner to challenge the foreclosure based on alleged failures to properly transfer and assign the note and deed of trust, respectively, to the securitized trust that acquired the loan after origination. Here, the Court found that no state or federal court had adopted the Glaski holding and therefore, the Court held that it "... will follow the federal lead in rejecting this minority holding." 

Further, the Court held that California's non-judicial foreclosure scheme did not provide for a judicial action to determine whether the person initiating the foreclosure process is authorized.  

Stewart Launches Refined Brand to Support Strategic Growth Initiatives

Stewart, Houston, launched a refined brand to support the company's strategic growth plans and efforts to communicate its focus on operating.   

The refresh aligns its services under two key brands, Stewart and Stewart Title. All core title business lines will now be branded under Stewart Title. Services aligned under the Stewart Title brand include residential, commercial and international through Stewart Title direct-issuing offices, as well as Stewart Title Agency Services supporting the organization's network of Stewart Trusted Providers.  

Class Appraisal Launches TRID Valuation Support Desk

Class Appraisal, Birmingham, Mich., made its TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule Valuation Support Desk available to any industry broker or lender, whether they are a current Class Appraisal client or not.    

The TRID Valuation Support Desk can be reached by calling 866-333-8311 or by emailing  

Valuation Partners Launch New Appraisal Tool

Valuation Partners, Sugar Land, Texas, launched a new appraisal tool that protects mortgage lenders from potential loan buybacks when properties receive a high-risk rating on Fannie Mae's Collateral Underwriter findings.  

The company's new Market $en$e report examines reasons why an appraisal receives a high-risk score and offers solutions if the appraisal can be improved to get a better score. Every Market $en$e report includes analysis and explanation of the CU score by a licensed, certified appraiser, including a discussion of any unique property factors that made the appraisal challenging. The report identifies and explains any unusual items and includes a sales analysis, key statistics on comparable properties and nearby sales going back several years. If the appraisal can be improved, the Market $en$e report suggests remedies, including fixing any appraiser issues or including better comps.  

Pavaso Offers Free Public Beta of IDMAXX Identity Validation, Character Reference Tool for Mortgage/Real Estate eClosing

Pavaso, Plano, Texas, announced availability of IDMAXX, an identity validation/character reference tool. The tool is currently in beta and being offered to users free of charge until the end of 2015.  

Through this tool, the consumer sends a request to their network of friends and colleagues, asking them to validate the identity of that consumer and rate them using a series of questions that address various aspects of the consumer's character. The system also takes into account the type of relationship the reference has with the consumer and the length of that relationship. IDMAXX then collects the scores provided by the references and generates an average score for each category. To prevent possible ID fraud, consumers can input their driver's license number.  

Pro Teck Valuation Services Announces Integration with Ellie Mae's Encompass

Pro Teck Valuation Services, Waltham, Mass., announced that its appraisal management services are now available through Ellie Mae's Encompass mortgage management platform. The seamless integration allows lenders to order Pro Teck's appraisal products directly through Encompass drive quality and efficiency in the loan origination process.

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