Residential Briefs

MBA NewsLink Staff

May 03, 2019

Intercontinental Exchange Announces Agreement to Acquire Simplifile LC
Intercontinental Exchange, an operator of global exchanges and clearinghouses and provider of data and listings services, announced it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Simplifile, LC, Provo, Utah.

Simplifile operates anetwork connecting the agents and jurisdictions that underpin residential mortgage records, serving as an electronic liaison between lenders, settlement agents and county recording offices.

Acquisition of Simplifile expands the ICE Mortgage Services portfolio, which includes MERS. ICE will pay $335 million to acquire Simplifile, The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.

FormFree Files Patent Application for Employer Data Extraction, Verification Tech
FormFree, Atlanta, announced filing of a patent application, "Method and System for Employer Verification," which describes the company's proprietary method and system for verifying employment and income history of loan applicants.

FormFree is a provider of electronic asset, income and employment verification. Earlier this year, FormFree joined the Financial Data Exchange, a nonprofit group of influential financial institutions and fintech companies that promotes information sharing and security standards for the financial sector.

NotaryCam, Milo Credit Complete International Remote Online Closing Transaction
NotaryCam, Newport Beach, Calif., partnered with Milo Credit to complete the lender's first remote online closing transaction.

The transaction brought together a client in Venezuela, a lender in Miami, a notary in Virginia and a U.S.-based attorney from Brazil. The clients were able to complete a cash-out refinance on a property they have owned in Miami for some time.

Wolters Kluwer's Lien Solutions Launches Portfolio Sync
Wolters Kluwer's Lien Solutions, Minneapolis, launched Portfolio Sync, a lien management platform designed for lenders who use multiple methods of submitting Uniform Commercial Code filings.

As an addition to iLien, Lien Solutions' flagship lien management product, Portfolio Sync combines customers' existing iLien filings with public records data into one view, providing greater visibility into one's entire lending portfolio, and identifies associated gaps that may require risk mitigation or other actions to maintain a lender's secured interests.

New Residential Investment Corp. Announces Investment in Covius Holdings
New Residential Investment Corp., New York, entered into agreements to make an investment in Covius Holdings Inc., Denver, a provider of technology-enabled services to the financial services industry.

Following the investment, New Residential will own a minority stake in Covius, with an option to increase its ownership position through specified future investments. Aquiline Capital Partners, a New York and London-based private equity firm investing in financial services and technology, has been Covius' majority shareholder since 2014 and will continue to be so, following the transaction.

Ginnie Mae Guarantees First SOFR-Indexed Security
Ginnie Mae, Washington, D.C., announced settlement of its first real estate mortgage investment conduit tranche indexed to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate. The transaction is a step towards implementing alternatives to the widely used LIBOR floating rate index. This security is the culmination of a team effort between Amherst Pierpont and Ginnie Mae.

The SOFR-indexed security is a $40 million floating rate tranche, within a $265 million REMIC, backed by adjustable rate mortgages, or mortgage-backed securities pools. The interest rate formula includes a spread of 40 basis points over the SOFR floating rate index value. The transaction settlement date was April 30.

Freddie Mac Forecasts Continued Low Mortgage Rate Environment
Freddie Mac, McLean, Va., said the mortgage market is expected to see favorable mortgage rates for the remainder of the year, which will help homebuyer affordability.

"While mortgage rates have risen in recent weeks, they remain lower than where they were a year ago and wage growth has accelerated and is finally growing at the same rate as home prices for the first time in seven years," said Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater. "We expect to see the result of these low mortgage rates and stronger wage growth translate into better home sales in the coming months, along with better than expected refinance activity for the year."

The forecast expects the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to average 4.3 percent for 2019, below last year's average of 4.6 percent. Total home sales are forecast to surpass 2018 levels and reach 5.98 million units in 2019. Most of the increase is expected to come from existing home sales. The first quarter forecast on housing starts was lowered due to January and February data, which effectively lowers the 2019 annual forecast to 1.26 million units.

WestMark Commercial Joins TCN Worldwide
TCN Worldwide Real Estate Services announced WestMark Commercial, Lubbock, Texas, as its newest member.

Founded in 1981, WestMark Commercial is an independent, locally owned real estate company.

Fitch Ratings: No US RMBS Rating Impact from Ocwen's Merger with PMC
Fitch Ratings, New York, said it does not expect to take any actions on U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities bond ratings in response to PHH Mortgage Corp. becoming the successor servicer to Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC. The change of successor servicer will occur in connection with the proposed merger of OLS into PMC.

Fitch's primary servicer ratings for Ocwen are currently 'RPS3-' with a Stable Outlook. Ocwen's servicer ratings reflect the company's legacy regulatory challenges and financial constraints in recent years. PMC serves mostly as a residential subservicer. Fitch's primary servicer ratings for PMC are currently 'RPS3' with a Stable Outlook.

Guild Mortgage Announces Homebuyer Protection Program
Guild Mortgage, San Diego, announced Homebuyer Protection, designed to give customers added protection and peace of mind during the mortgage process.

Homebuyer Protection combines three of Guild's loan programs and services, effectively allowing homebuyers to protect their rate, earnest money and closing date. The program is available on purchase loan applications received by Guild after April 15. The Homebuyer Protection program is available on FHA, VA and conventional.

Liberty Title Deploys SafeWire to Protect Against Wire Fraud
SafeChain, Columbus, Ohio, announced Liberty Title, the fourth largest independent title company in Michigan, selected SafeWire to safeguard wiring instructions as part of the firm's "Umbrella by Liberty Title" program.

Consumers who choose Liberty Title to close both sides of their transaction are automatically enrolled in the program and receive protection that extends to their real estate agent and lender through every phase of the closing process. SafeWire provides title agents with the ability to verify the identities of both the buyer and seller in the transaction and authenticate bank account ownership to ensure funds are transferred to authorized parties and accounts. In addition, the platform uses blockchain technology to securely store and transmit wiring instructions for real estate transactions, preventing fraudsters from intercepting and tampering with transaction data.

Redfin Mortgage Expands to Florida, Maryland and Tennessee
Redfin Mortgage LLC, Dallas, is now offering loans to homebuyers in Florida, Maryland and Tennessee.

Redfin Mortgage offers fixed- and adjustable-rate conforming mortgages as well as jumbo loans for higher-priced homes in every state where it operates. Redfin Mortgage launched in Florida last week and has been providing loans to homebuyers in Maryland and Tennessee since January 2019 and November 2018, respectively. Since its launch in January 2017, Redfin Mortgage has expanded to serve homebuyers in 12 states and the District of Columbia. The company plans to launch in additional states in the coming months. Title Forward serves 12 states and the District of Columbia.

Peoples State Bank Selects Calyx Path as its Loan Origination Software
Calyx Software, Dallas, announced that Peoples State Bank, a community bank headquartered in Wausau, Wis., selected Calyx Path as its loan origination software.

The community bank is now using the cloud-based software to originate fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority loans, guaranteed rural housing loans, FHA/VA loans, construction loans and land loans. It also plans to use Path for home equity lines of credit.

Planet Home Lending Announces New Regional Location in Dallas
Planet Home Lending LLC, Meriden, Conn., a national mortgage lender and servicer, opened a regional office in Irving, Texas.
As the company's first Regional Operating Center, the 25,000 square-foot facility accommodates 130 employees and offers space to expand to house more employees. The ROC has five conference and training rooms, in addition to access to a large-scale meeting and conference center.

Employees and departments previously based in Dallas have moved to the new office. This includes legal and enterprise risk management, credit policy, origination support service, national operations, human resources, IT, project management and servicing.

J.P. Morgan Accepting eNotes for Mortgage Companies
J.P. Morgan, New York, said its Corporate Client Banking and Specialized Industries Mortgage group is now accepting electronic promissory notes as collateral to fund warehouse lending transactions.

The CCBSI Mortgage group offers independent mortgage companies warehouse lending capabilities and traditional financial services. CCBSI collaborates with other lines of business, including Investment Banking, Chase Home Lending, Sales and Trading and Asset and Wealth Management.

ClosingCorp Integrates with Blue Sage
ClosingCorp, San Diego, a provider of residential real estate closing cost data and technology for the mortgage and real estate services industries, announced its SmartFees platform is now integrated with the Blue Sage Digital Lending Platform, a browser-based, mortgage platform.

SmartFees delivers real-time rates and fees from more than 20,000 individual service providers, including title, settlement and appraisal companies, to populate the appropriate mortgage disclosures. With this integration, lenders can manage rates and fees from SmartFees without ever leaving the Blue Sage Lending Platform, which handles pricing, underwriting, closing, funding and post-closing for all mortgage channels--retail, wholesale, correspondent and consumer direct.

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