Category Archives: Servicing

174 Congress members pressure Carson to finalize FHA condo rules

Congress members and National Association of Realtors teamed up to put pressure on Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to finalize the rules regarding condos and Federal Housing Administration loan approval. Members of both parties, include 54 Senators and 120 members of the House of Representatives, signed a letter asking Carson to get a move on and finalize the rules in H.R. 3700.

Congress passed H.R. 3700, which made changes to rules that restrict FHA loan approval for condos, back in July 2016. Nearly two years later, with Carson  dragging his feet on setting these rules in stone, the industry, Senate and House have had it up to here.

“For nearly two years, Realtors have pushed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to finalize its rule streamlining and simplifying the process of securing a condominium loan. Thanks to the support of 120 Congressmen and more than half of all U.S. Senators, affordable homeownership opportunities could soon become available to countless additional Americans. NAR commends Sen. Tim Scott and Bob Menendez and Representatives Bill Posey and Emanuel Cleaver for their leadership on this issue, and we look forward to working with HUD to finalize this rule,” NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall said in a statement.

NAR was involved in rounding up support for this initiative, helping to round up the 54 Senators and 120 House members that signed the letter calling for action.

The letter expresses its authors’ displeasure with the FHA restrictions on the purchase and sale of condos. The authors cite these restrictions as an affront to affordability and decry them as a stymieing force on industry growth.

H.R. 3700’s proposed new rules include spot loan (a loan to purchase a single unit in a multi-unit building) approval, reductions to certification requirements, and changes to the owner-occupancy ratio, which NAR says will make condos a viable option for more homebuyers.

It remains to be seen how Carson will respond to the immense pressure from the industry and bipartisan forces in Congress.

To read the letters from Congress in full, click here.

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Glassdoor: Here are the best CEOs in the housing business

Glassdoor, the workspace-satisfaction ratings website, recently announced the winners of its Employees’ Choice Award, including seven housing market titans.

The Employees’ Choice Award is an annual report honoring top U.S. and European CEOs.  Housing market CEOs appearing on Glassdoor’s top 100 list include Sheryl Morrison, Jon Davis, Anant Yardi, Jonathan Corr, Pierre Nanterme, Robert Sulentic and Bob Faith.

Employees were able to rate several factors about their employment experience by submitting anonymous and voluntary reviews to Glassdoor, which gaged workplace satisfaction and CEO approval.

“Winning a Glassdoor Top CEO award is a true acknowledgement of exceptional leadership, as it reflects the opinions of the employees who work with a chief executive every day,” Glassdoor co-founder and CEO Robert Hohman.

Leading the pack: Ellie Mae’s Jonathan Corr is 14 on the list, receiving a 96% employee approval rating. Corr’s company is no stranger to praise, Ellie Mae was named a San Francisco Business Times Best Place to Work and was one of Fortune’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies in 2017.

Taylor Morrison CEO Sheryl Palmer is number 19 on the list, receiving a 96% approval rating. This is outstanding since among the 770,000 companies reviewed on Glassdoor, the average CEO approval rating is 69.

Jon Davis of Keller Williams is number 30 and has an employee approval rating of  95%.  Davis’employees commend him on his ability to create a fun working environment.

Anant Yardi, CEO of Yardi Systems has a 93% approval rating, ranking number 53 on the list. Earlier this year, Yardi systems announced the debut of a new research function in its Matrix solution, the company’s comprehensive multifamily market intelligence tool.Pierre Nanterme of Accenture, a HousingWire tech 100 winner, is number 57 on the list and has a 93% approval rating. In 2018 and 2012, Accenture was named one of Glassdoor’s best work satisfaction companies. 

Robert Sulentic, CEO of CBRE is number 63 on the list and has an employee approval rating of 93%. Sulentic’s employees say, that the company is a great place to begin a career and it has cultivated an environment that truly values its workers

Bob Faith, of Greystar is number 86 on the list, averaging a 91% employee approval rating. Earlier this year, Greystar initiated funding for a $500 million debt fund, focused on acquiring subordinated and securitized debt issued by the government sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“The best CEOs are inspiring, trustworthy, innovative and can be great motivators for people to bring their best selves to work,” Hohman said.

Winning a spot on the Glassdoor’s Top 100 CEO list, imply the employees of each of these industry leaders see those traits come to life.  

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Blend launches tech to help lenders keep origination costs down

Blend announced Thursday its launched new technology that will help mortgage lenders become more efficient and keep mortgage origination costs down.

The new technology, Blend Vision, will digitize certain documents. The product will look at uploaded paper documents and convert them to a digital file, extracting the data from the documents.

Blend pointed out that while 70% of borrowers in its applications opted to connect directly to source data, 100% of the loans include at least one uploaded document.

The new technology will not only increase efficiency as it allows lenders to focus on other things, and not have to manually input data, but it will also reduce the amount of human error that occurs while manually inputting the data.

“Automated data validation checks that the data lifted from uploaded documents is well-formed and complete,” Blend said in a statement. “If data does not pass our validation check, then these inputs will not be used.”

“Real-time monitoring allows us to track trends in our computer visioning success rate,” the company continued. “Whenever we see anomalies in the trendlines, we will manually spot check documents to ensure good coverage. Lastly, we routinely do manual quality checks by comparing documents and data inputs as another layer of diligence.”

Blend Vision will not only increase the data available to lenders, but also seeks to deliver higher quality data, Blend Product Manager of Intelligence and 2018 HousingWire Rising Star Grace Qi said.

Here she is, on the cover of our magazine (click pic to read more)!

Grace Qi, rising star

Qi explained in a new interview with HousingWire that Blend’s usage of optical character recognition, while new to the mortgage lending space, is not a new tool. She said Blend is taking tech that exists and applying it to the mortgage market.

And this is just the first step in Blend’s plan. Qi said this first version will be able to read larger, more common documents and digitalize them, however the company hopes to soon develop technology to read any kind of documents borrowers upload.

Blend’s initial version of Blend Vision is already available to a few of its clients, and the company plans to roll it out to all of its customers by the end of the month. It will be included in Blend’s basic package of product offerings.

While the company still does not have a timeline for future versions of Blend Vision, Qi said she hopes to be able to introduce the next offering soon, giving lenders access to higher quality data lifted off of actual documents.

This comes at a time when lenders reported a negative profit for the first time since 2014, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows.

Many lenders hope that utilizing digital mortgages will help cut back on costs as competition rises. Freddie Mac talks more about that in this podcast.

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