— Lenders benefit from shorter closing times, higher loan volume, higher quality loans, and increased client satisfaction —

Optimal Blue, architect of the industry-leading enterprise product and pricing engine, announced entry into a technology partnership with San Francisco, CA.-based Roostify, a leading digital mortgage platform provider. Optimal Blue’s robust enterprise mortgage pricing service, backed by an unbeatable 99.999+% accuracy rate, is now accessible to banks and mortgage originators nationwide that utilize Roostify’s innovative technology to deliver a streamlined home lending experience to their borrowers and partners. This strategic alliance of two technology experts will further accelerate and demystify the home loan and closing experience.

Roostify enables loan officers and borrowers to seamlessly share and track critical information in the mortgage application and closing process through a secure interface that significantly improves client responsiveness and reduces cycles for loan officers. The combination of Optimal Blue’s expertise in pricing, along with the transparency and step-by-step guidance in Roostify’s loan application and closing processes, provides increased efficiency and profitability through accurate and precise tools.

“Our goal is always to enable lenders to offer the best possible loan application experience to consumers, and we’re excited to further that goal through partnering with an industry leader like Optimal Blue,” explained CEO of Roostify, Rajesh Bhat. “The integration with Optimal Blue is a win for our joint customers, who will be able to close loans faster and more seamlessly. It’s also a win for their customers, who will benefit from a more transparent, streamlined application process and realize a far less stressful home-buying experience.”

“Lenders have an insatiable appetite for innovative, market-leading solutions that drive ease, transparency and efficiency to the mortgage process,” said Bob Brandt, Vice President of Marketing and Alliances at Optimal Blue. “We’re extremely excited to see Roostify connecting with the Optimal Blue platform in such a way that the tools driving pricing and product decisions, as well as workflow, will be interwoven into a unique experience within Roostify that provides tangible value for both the lender and consumer.”

The Roostify platform — accessible from anywhere, including mobile devices — provides shorter loan processing times by allowing lenders to eliminate manual application origination tasks, documentation, and status communication, reducing the time required to close a loan. In addition, applicants can pull data into the application directly from their financial institutions, circumventing mistakes that can delay or derail a loan decision.

The partnership has been well-received by Roostify and Optimal Blue’s mutual customers. Gellert Dornay, President and CEO of Axia Home Loans explained, “Roostify is a key component in giving our clients the ability to quickly and confidentially submit financial information to begin the process of an entirely new mortgage experience, while Optimal Blue’s automation tools increase our efficiency and profitability. The integration of these services will further streamline and improve our clients’ mortgage experience, addressing increasing customer demand for greater transparency, confidentiality and ability to expedite! This all fits perfectly into Axia Home Loans’ strategy to improve the process for our clients to make educated decisions around sustainable homeownership.”

ABOUT ROOSTIFY
Founded by three technologists frustrated with their home buying experiences, Roostify enables a more efficient, transparent mortgage process for lenders, agents and homebuyers. Roostify’s software platform is trusted by prominent banks and mortgage brokers nationwide to deliver more loan volume, faster closes and happier customers. Roostify is backed by private investors, and headquartered in San Francisco. For more information, please visit www.roostify.com.

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PRESS CONTACT FOR OPTIMAL BLUE
Robert J. Brandt
Vice President, Marketing & Strategic Alliances
(469) 609-5585
bbrandt@optimalblue.com

— Strategic alliance between industry pioneers —

The premier cloud-based provider of Enterprise Lending Services (“ELS”) to the mortgage industry, Optimal Blue, recently announced it has entered into a technology partnership with SimpleNexus. Optimal Blue’s compliant pricing services, backed by an unrivaled 99.999+% accuracy rate, will now be available to industry professionals and consumers through the SimpleNexus mobile platform. Having this dynamic blend of resource tools at their fingertips, loan officers will be more efficient in nurturing clientele and facilitating all phases of the loan process.

There has been an unprecedented demand for pricing through mobile platforms, so executives from both companies are confident that this alliance will set the new standard for compliance, convenience, security and mobility. The combination of Optimal Blue’s expertise in pricing, along with the robust capabilities of SimpleNexus’ mobile platform, will provide loan officers and other stakeholders with increased profitability and productivity by providing the necessary tools when and where needed.

“SimpleNexus enables originators to interact with borrowers and agents, not only during the loan, but before and after as well,” said Matt Hansen, president of SimpleNexus. “This strategic partnership was an ambitious accomplishment. Optimal Blue’s reputation and focus on innovation align perfectly with who we are, so we are confident that lenders and their partners will see increased production when utilizing these technologies.”

“This is the perfect blend of skills and services provided by two best-in-class companies,” commented Mark Coupland, vice president of business development at Optimal Blue. “This will further extend the reach of both companies’ offerings into the loan origination process, benefiting all stakeholders in the process and most importantly, the consumer. This is just the beginning”

From lead generation to closing, Optimal Blue and SimpleNexus will continue to provide innovative solutions that offer organizational-level compliance, while improving the experience for all parties involved in the mortgage process.

ABOUT SIMPLENEXUS
In 2011, SimpleNexus pioneered private-labeled mobile apps for the mortgage space. Focusing on mobile, SimpleNexus provides convenience from the beginning of the home search to closing. Borrowers, loan officers and agents all use the technology to stay connected and close loans faster. Furthermore, SimpleNexus is a select member of the Mortgage Bankers Association and the only mobile technology provider with a SOC 2 security audit incorporated into its services. SimpleNexus is a trusted partner and has the resources and expertise to help companies deliver above and beyond their customers’ expectations. For more information, please visit www.SimpleNexus.com, or contact SimpleNexus at (855) 684-2777 or info@simplenexus.com.

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PRESS CONTACT FOR OPTIMAL BLUE
Robert J. Brandt
Vice President, Marketing & Strategic Alliances
(469) 609-5585
bbrandt@optimalblue.com

As a mortgage originator grows, it becomes apparent that many processes which worked in the past need to be changed to accommodate the larger volume. Most owners or managers are familiar with the origination process and can make good decisions regarding changes to those processes. The secondary market, however, typically is a mystery and not as well understood.

Originators with a best efforts strategy often hear that they can make more money selling mandatory if they have enough volume. However, they have no way of assessing that statement. In addition, there are many other considerations a mortgage company must evaluate before making a decision to sell their loans mandatory.

The improvement in price achieved by selling loans mandatory is often referred to as the best efforts – mandatory spread. This is the difference achieved by pricing to the loan officers based on best efforts rate sheet and the price achieved by selling the loans mandatory. However, this revenue opportunity does not come without a cost. When selling mandatory, the loan originator now has to manage the fall out assumptions and the interest rate risk from lock to commitment of loans at funding – a task that previously was passed on to the best efforts investor. To accomplish this, the originator must implement a hedging strategy.

An originator can implement a hedge strategy in several ways. They can hire the appropriate talent to perform this task or they can outsource this task to a hedge provider to manage it for them. If they decide to manage it in-house, they still must decide what analytical tools to use. This can be a complicated decision and one that will be addressed in a future column. In addition to how to manage the hedge, there are many other internal changes that an originator must address when making the transition to a mandatory commitment strategy. These include:

Loan Delivery: In my experience, this can be more important than the best efforts – mandatory price improvement on an operation. When growing it becomes very onerous to manage each lock individually with the investor. By moving to a mandatory strategy, most originators say the improvement in operations creates about 1 -3 bps improvement to profits. Loans are delivered in bulk instead of individually improving loan delivery efficiencies. Also, loans data is final (no management of loan data during the underwriting process) and loan substitutions in commitments are allowed so there is much more flexibility in delivery.

Lock Desk: For a mandatory strategy, a centralized lock desk is a necessary. Some shops let their loan officers manage the locks. This will not work with a mandatory strategy. I recommend implementing a centralized lock desk first while you still are operating with a best efforts strategy. This will reduce dramatically the work required of a lock desk and will pave the way for the transition to mandatory commitments. When a new lock comes in at a best efforts shop, the lock desk must turn around and lock the loan with the investor. Data changes have to be managed on an individual loan basis. With a mandatory strategy, this does not have to be done. In addition, the lock desk would have to administer any lock changes with the investor based on the investors lock policies. With a mandatory strategy, lock policies are determined by the originator. This includes extensions, relocks, renegotiations and other changes. This means there can be consistent policy that can be published for all loans locked by the originator. In addition, the economics of the lock policy are managed by the originator and not passed along to the investor.

Underwriting: I suggest, although it is not required, that you create a common underwriting guideline per product when selling loans mandatory. Best efforts shops lock loans with the investor as soon as they lock a rate with the customer. It makes sense to underwrite to the investors guidelines. When selling mandatory, the investor is not selected until funding of the loan. Therefore, underwriting to a single guideline gives the secondary markets group the most flexibility to sell the loan to the investor with the highest price. Issues arise when investors have soft overlays that are different from other investors. In that situation, there should be a mechanism to include or exclude investors available for the sale of the loan.

Pricing: Many originators begin a mandatory strategy for selling loans but continue to use best efforts pricing for origination. I highly recommended that the originator transition to one pricing strategy per program to match the common underwriting guidelines. Many loan officers are used to picking the investor with the best price so this might require a cultural change within the organization. And this could take time. If the originator decides to continue to offer pricing based on investor best efforts rate sheets, extra care should be taken to make sure that best efforts pricing offered can be sold mandatory at a profit. Sometimes, investors offer a very aggressive best efforts price for a short period of time. In such cases, it could be more aggressive than mandatory pricing. This typically is a short-term phenomenon and will adjust back to a price that is lower than mandatory. But any origination occurring during that time could experience a loss. I would recommend either (1) adjusting origination spreads to compensate for the difference or (2) locking loans best efforts at the time the lock is taken from the customer.

Investor Management: When going from a best-efforts to a mandatory strategy, it is important to make sure that (1) your current investors are aware of the new delivery strategy and (2) they are evaluated to ensure that they are the best outlets for the new strategy. Many investors offer incentives on the delivery method used by the originator. By notifying investors of the change in strategy, it will ensure that the originator will make the most profit from the change.

There are a lot of opportunities to improve profitability and efficiency with a mandatory strategy. I have seen many customers successfully go from best efforts to mandatory but the work on the above items needs to be done first. For originators who have volume over $10 million per month and a net worth over $3 million that want to get to the next level, this is a worthwhile endeavor. But as you could see from the items described above, many operational changes have to take place to be successful.

This article was featured in the May issue of Mortgage WOMEN Magazine. View the entire article here.

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PRESS CONTACT FOR OPTIMAL BLUE
Robert J. Brandt
Vice President, Marketing & Strategic Alliances
(469) 609-5585
bbrandt@optimalblue.com

— Two mortgage technology experts pioneer further innovation —

Optimal Blue, the premier cloud-based provider of enterprise lending services to the mortgage industry, recently announced its technology partnership with Easy Mortgage Apps. This exciting integration will provide loan officers, real estate agents, and consumers with the flexibility to utilize the Optimal Blue platform within a lender’s native application, powered by Easy Mortgage Apps. The result is the ability to easily generate eligibility and rate quotes directly on their preferred device: the smartphone.

Optimal Blue is known as the premier cloud-based provider of enterprise lending services, including their industry-leading Product eligibility and Pricing Engine (PPE), Optimal Blue Banker. This integration represents a valuable opportunity for lenders to communicate vital information with all relevant parties, including product and rate information, as well as track application statuses and share time-sensitive data between loan officers and borrowers via mobile channels.

“Easy Mortgage Apps looks forward to building this partnership with industry leader, Optimal Blue, to offer all parties involved in the mortgage process a mobile-centric and more efficient way to instantly provide loan options for consumers,” said Michael Kelleher, President and Founder of Easy Mortgage Apps. “The result is a more engaged borrower. Companies who are looking to attract the millennial mortgage applicant need to review and evaluate mobile strategies designed to enhance the consumer experience, versus lead generation. We will continue to focus on developing strategic relationships with companies like Optimal Blue, which share the vision of a technically evolved lending industry.”

“We are excited about this strategic alliance,” added Mark Coupland, Vice President of Business Development for Optimal Blue. “Easy Mortgage Apps shares our passion for creating new technology and mobile experiences that will continue to reduce friction in the lending process! The added transparency and clarity resulting from this strong integration will only further enhance the lending experience for lenders and consumers alike.”

ABOUT EASY MORTGAGE APPS
Easy Mortgage Apps (EMA), the mobile-first platform where borrowers, loan officers and realtors communicate, upload info, and track in-process loans. EMA’s white labeled product helps banks and lending institutions close the gap between today’s mortgage technology and borrowers’ expectations to use smartphones in the home buying process. The EMA native app is industry compliant and seamlessly integrates into all major loan processing systems. EMA now serves 100+ enterprise customers in 47 states.

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PRESS CONTACT FOR OPTIMAL BLUE
Robert J. Brandt
Vice President, Marketing & Strategic Alliances
(469) 609-5585
bbrandt@optimalblue.com