Sunday, January 20, 2019

Kevin Wall of First American Financial Corp. on the Technology Revolution

By MBA Insights Staff
December 10, 2018

Kevin Wall
First American

KevinWallKevin Wall is President of First American Mortgage Solutions, Santa Ana, Calif., a provider of data and technology offerings covering the entire residential loan spectrum, including 100 percent coverage of U.S. property ownership data, fraud and verifications, regulatory compliance, valuations, fulfillment services, quality control, title and settlement, post-closing document management, home equity and default services. It is a subsidiary of First American Financial Corp.

Wall is responsible for the company's alignment with lenders, servicers and investors and strategically positioning the company to offer products and services focused on providing accuracy and transparency at every point along the mortgage continuum. Prior to First American Mortgage Solutions, he served with First American, CoreLogic, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley.

MBA INSIGHTS: How do you see the fintech revolution taking place? What are the key trends you've seen over the past year?

KEVIN WALL, FIRST AMERICAN FINANCIAL CORP.: The game is absolutely on for digital mortgages in an effort to create a more modern, efficient experience for everyone. The primary trends have been aimed at improving the consumer experience, facilitating mobile and digital adoption, and providing seamless integration into existing operating systems used by lenders and servicers. Operational efficiency and transparency are also key priorities, and new technologies are helping lower costs, speed production, reduce errors, combat fraud and strengthen compliance.

Today's consumers are increasingly defining when, where and how they want their mortgage experience to be, and our industry has an incredible opportunity to reinvent the traditional mortgage process. With robust data assets, advanced technology and deep expertise in the title industry, First American Mortgage Solutions is ready to partner with lenders and servicers for the next era of mortgages.

INSIGHTS: What do you think is the most important element powering this transformation?

WALL: Investments into modern, modular ways to access data, services and technologies is the most important element driving this transformation. At First American Mortgage Solutions, we're engineering products, services and platforms with digitized components that can be consumed individually or in customized packages. This allows lenders to leverage the underlying attributes of any of our industry-leading solutions earlier in the mortgage process, without the redundancy of static packaged products. APIs play a central role in this process.

First American's Digital Gateway serves as an example of our investment in APIs. Offering a single point of access to First American's vast data assets, products and services, our Digital Gateway saves lenders a significant amount of time on data quality and loan review, while offering a better experience for the borrower.

For example, the ability to pre-populate loan applications, so that one can validate borrower information in real-time essentially turns many origination processes from an exercise of creation to one of validation. Unleashing the data and services from our solutions saves time and frustration, while reducing the number of defects.

INSIGHTS: What roles are the GSEs playing in this transformation-and why can't they be ignored?

WALL: Alongside lenders and service providers, the GSEs are supportive of digital mortgages and innovations that help reduce timelines and enhance loan quality. One trend we've been watching over the past year is the move toward enabling remote online notarization. As the landscape evolves, there will need to be increased alignment across all parties involved to enable a better, more efficient borrower experience, while mitigating potential risks.

INSIGHTS: Are there other technologies you are looking at to improve efficiencies?

WALL: A digital mortgage cannot happen without a digital title and settlement experience. First American Mortgage Solutions is leveraging our unique data, decision analytics, underwriting expertise and technological advancements in data extraction to deliver a quicker title policy. Secure digital settlement is also a key priority, which is why we launched our eClosing solution. Harnessing the power of our Closing Portal, eClosing via hybrid or remote online notarization enables borrowers to be in control of a flexible closing experience, while reducing risk and operational errors. Our technology has been validated, operational readiness has been cleared, and remote and hybrid eClosings are in flight.

Our robust technology is underpinned by deep experience and industry leadership in the evolving landscape of eClosing legislation and county acceptance. We're engaged with county recorders to confirm their preparedness for recordable native digital documents and eSignatures. We're ready to partner with lenders and share how our digital settlement solutions are the perfect complement to their business strategy.

NEWSLINK: How do you see the digital mortgage space evolving even further in the next year?

WALL: A heightened sense of urgency for operational efficiency coupled with consumer demand for an ultramodern mortgage process will continue to motivate lenders and service providers to accelerate their digital strategy. While lenders are at varying degrees of readiness to go digital, API-enabled data and analytic solutions are available today to complement their current operating models.

We anticipate seeing further adoption of these innovations in 2019, and as a result, the need for widespread collaboration will increase for our industry. Meanwhile, First American Mortgage Solutions will continue to make investments across the loan lifecycle to assist lenders and servicers in realizing their vision for the ideal digital mortgage experience.

(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA Insights welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to Mike Sorohan, editor, at; or Michael Tucker, editorial manager, at

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