— Real-time data provides insights into competitive position, market trends, and risk mitigation strategies during uncertain times —

The transition from 2019 into 2020 proved to be more difficult for mortgage lenders than in past years. In the switch of a year and the blink of an eye, the world changed dramatically.

The first quarter of 2020 ushered in a sea of change, including a worldwide pandemic, national and state stay-at-home orders, significant economic challenges, business shutdowns, record unemployment, and more.

Yet, despite it all and fueled by a lengthy period of historically low rates, today’s lenders generated a record number of mortgage rate locks in the first quarter — production levels rarely experienced in our industry.

As the federal government continued to provide stimulus and assistance to consumers, businesses and the economy as a whole, the challenging market volatility experienced in Q1 of 2020 did not subside in the second quarter. Nor did the heavy mortgage volumes.

Mortgage investors and servicers changed pricing, product eligibility requirements and underwriting standards at a record clip, further multiplying the complexities facing mortgage lenders. Now, as many states begin to open back up and start their economic engines, opportunities and challenges are once again shifting.

No matter what comes next, successful mortgage lenders have learned that maximum market transparency is the key to anticipating and understanding rapidly changing conditions.

Real-time data and comprehensive analytics are at the heart of market transparency, providing highly sought-after insights into competitive position, market trends and risk mitigation strategies amid these uncertain times.

Although Optimal Blue did not initially develop its actionable data and analytics products with a global pandemic in mind, they serve as a perfect fit for what lenders need in this volatile and dynamic environment.

The largest single source of rate lock data, Optimal Blue provides the mortgage industry with information on pricing and key transaction variables 60 to 90 days before closing data is available.

Updated daily, Optimal Blue’s rate lock data is deep and comprehensive, including a robust set of transactional data elements such as loan product, property type, LTV, FICO, geographical location, borrower demographics and more.

Representing over one-third of all mortgage loans completed within the industry every year, Optimal Blue’s platform locks more than $1 trillion of mortgage loans annually.

Optimal Blue’s actionable data and analytics products provide clients and partners with highly granular, early insights across the entire mortgage market. Delivered in raw data form and through a visually compelling analytics tool, Optimal Blue has drawn particularly strong interest from a diverse array of companies, including mortgage lenders, mortgage investors, investment firms and industry regulators.

In addition, attention has grown across public policy think tanks that study the mortgage industry, such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), as well as risk analytics and consulting firms for residential loans and MBS, and mortgage insurance providers like Genworth. Optimal Blue’s data and analytics enable users within those companies to:

1. Benchmark against the competition.

In today’s highly competitive industry, lenders need to not only understand their position relative to their competition but also have access to the tools that provide visibility into those specifics. Optimal Blue’s data and analytics products provide that sought-after transparency.

Lenders that use Optimal Blue’s Product & Pricing Solution can leverage Optimal Blue’s Competitive Analytics to more effectively analyze the competition, understand overall market composition, create competitive comparisons in real time and effectively evaluate how their margins measure up — both as a whole and at the more detailed, MSA level. This can help inform smarter lending strategies and decisions moving forward.

“Lenders that utilize Competitive Analytics are far better equipped to make agile decisions and take appropriate action, particularly in times of market uncertainty and fluctuation,” said Rick Allen, vice president of Business Transformation at Optimal Blue. “Their ability to remain nimble is in large part due to their use of a real-time, transactional data set as opposed to surveyed or aged data.”

For lenders that are not using Optimal Blue’s Product & Pricing Solution, Optimal Blue’s Market Analytics product enables any lender to benchmark their production against the broader market in a variety of different ways, including loan types, rate and price, FICO, LTV and more.

2. Focus marketing efforts.

When analytics are broken down at the geographical level, lenders gain visibility into new opportunities, have the power to better refine their outreach efforts and make more effective use of marketing dollars.

Optimal Blue’s Competitive Analytics product analyzes transactional mortgage data on over 350 MSAs across the country, offering visibility into local loan volume, pricing and other trends. Each granular filter enables the lender to hone into specific loan programs and assess trends across various timeframes, and due to the diversity and extensive reach of Optimal Blue’s network, data is available on a wide range of scenarios.

Lenders can then leverage this data to identify high-potential markets and better allocate financial and human resources. It can also cut down on wasted ad spend.

3. Understand borrower segments.

Borrowers can vary widely from one market to the next, in profile and in behavior. Actionable analytics can help lenders better grasp these market-level nuances, offering insights into borrower credit scores, LTV, DTI, loan amounts, property types and more. Further, they can even spot trends related to loan use which can inform better investment, hedging and resource allocation decisions.

AEI Housing Center produces a weekly research product focused specifically on the mortgage industry, called the “AEI Housing Market Nowcast” (formerly the Flash HMI Report). Released every Monday, the Housing Market Nowcast provides much-needed and timely insights on the single-family residential housing market convulsing from the effects of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Using newly acquired data from Optimal Blue, the AEI Housing Center is now able to provide near-real-time market indicators on purchase loan rate lock volume, home price, credit, and cash out refinance trends,” said Ed Pinto, resident fellow and director of the AEI Housing Center.

“After extensive historical analysis of Optimal Blue data going back seven years, we have concluded that this rate lock data tracks closely with that which is reported in our National Mortgage Risk Index (NMRI), covering 99% of the agency market. As a result, today’s Housing Market Nowcast will provide an advanced look at tomorrow’s housing market as today’s rate locks will become next month’s home purchases and mortgages.”

4. Predict and leverage industry-wide trends.

Optimal Blue’s Market Analytics product enables users to better understand ongoing market tendencies, including trends in refinancing, specific loan products, home price trends and mortgage volume as a whole.

Because of its frequency, depth and overall position in the mortgage process, Market Analytics users gain an early indication of closing volume months before it occurs. Confidently understanding the mix of business that the industry will close in future months can be an immense benefit to lenders and other firms, such as mortgage insurance companies, that provide valuable services to the mortgage industry.

“In order to remain a committed, long-term provider of relevant products and services to the mortgage industry, it is imperative that Genworth closely monitors the trends, hotspots, and overall mix of business within industry,” said Kevin McMahon, senior vice president of Customer Solutions at Genworth. “Because Optimal Blue’s data and analytics products leverage actual mortgage rate lock data, our company has early and very detailed insight into industry closing activity, months before it occurs.”

5. Fine-tune MBS and MSR analytics to effectively mitigate risk.

With access to loan-level pricing, rate and loan data that covers over one-third of the market, lenders can improve predictive modeling efforts and reduce risk. Various studies using Optimal Blue’s Mortgage Market Indices (“OBMMI”) or custom indices derived from Optimal Blue’s Market Analytics product have shown the increased precision of using a more granular and accurate primary rate input, which can significantly improve prepayment modeling and estimates of refinance propensity.

The depth and granularity of Optimal Blue’s data may also help lenders and risk analytics and consulting firms for residential loans and MBS, like Andrew Davidson & Co., Inc. (AD&Co.), produce more vigorous prepayment forecasts in the future. Because the data is based on actual rates locked by consumers and fully reflects all risk-based pricing adjustments, it is proven to be more precise than the static risk-based spreads that many firms use for MBS and MSR analytics. A more accurate primary rate input results in a better prepayment prediction, which helps drive improved buy/sell and pricing decisions.

“Accurate and timely market data should be a part of every modeler’s toolkit,” explained Sanj Chatterjee, director of Modeling for Andrew Davidson & Co. “Optimal Blue’s rate lock data helps us monitor the evolution of rates on a continuous basis, especially for FHA, VA and jumbo prime loans.”

Making the case for data & analytics

Data and analytics that enable participants to benchmark against the competition and understand the impact of trends as early as possible are status quo in most every industry. While this level of granular business intelligence has always been important, conditions are now changing at such a pace that it would be incredibly difficult for any lender to keep up without it.

Being able to make informed decisions amid rapidly changing conditions, and doing so in near real time, leads to more effective and more profitable results — making actionable data and analytics a critical ingredient of success over the long haul.

“Operating in today’s volatile mortgage market without the right data is like taking a road trip without your GPS,” Allen concluded. “You might find your way with a lot of trial and error, but it won’t be the best or most economical path forward by any means.”

This piece was originally featured on HousingWire.com.

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

— Competitive Analytics provides sophisticated industry benchmarking capabilities —

Optimal Blue’s position as the largest provider of secondary marketing automation gives it unique visibility into $750 billion of loan transactions across its Mortgage Marketplace Platform.

The company is using that data to create business intelligence solutions that provide benchmarking at an unprecedented scale.

Optimal Blue started with Enterprise Analytics, released two years ago to shed light on lenders’ margins and profitability through dynamic visualizations of their internal locks and change requests.

This summer, the company launched another powerful BI tool: Competitive Analytics.

This game-changing innovation enables Optimal Blue clients to gauge performance through granular illustrations of their market position, compare margins and profitability and assess the effectiveness of current pricing strategies.

Competitive Analytics provides three types of sophisticated industry benchmarking capabilities, including:

Volume benchmarking: Allows the user to compare their loan production to the overall market and chart volume trends across specific time periods – by week, month, or year. In addition, volume benchmarking provides a trended production percentile market rank by business channel, institution type, state, MSA, loan type and other parameters, as well as the ability to compare the percentage of their locks that observed change requests or lock extensions to the overall market.

Lending profile benchmarking: Enables clients to compare characteristics of their loan production by charting loan level parameters such as FICO, LTV, loan amount, property type, occupancy, loan type and loan purpose against the overall market.

Pricing strategies benchmarking: Provides a market comparison for a variety of secondary marketing metrics that impact profitability. Clients can compare margins, concessions, price and note rate to the market, and filter by business channel, institution type, state, MSA and more.

Future offerings will measure market share by origination volume, providing unrivaled transparency into the mortgage market through widgets available to lenders and other interested parties, like MI companies or investors, through a subscription.

Competitive Analytics is updated with new transactional data daily, which is a sharp contrast to historical HMDA data or survey data that lenders had to depend on in the past.

“Lenders are hungry for this kind of information because it puts the power in their hands,” said Scott Happ, CEO of Optimal Blue. “Our clients are really delighted with their sudden ability to have full visibility into what’s happening elsewhere in the market and with their peers.”

This piece was originally featured on HousingWire.com.

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

— With Optimal Blue’s Competitive Analytics, lenders get anonymized transactional data that’s updated daily —

In any industry, it’s hard to win if you don’t know what your competition is doing. Traditionally, lenders have relied upon just a few very limited options to do so, such as often flawed survey data based on a very small market sampling, latent servicing data illustrating what business looked like six or more months ago, or an annual HMDA ranking. Suffice to say, none of these resources enabled them to effectively compare the current state of their business to those they compete with.

Optimal Blue has upended those concerns with a powerful new business intelligence offering called Competitive Analytics. This solution touts daily updates of comprehensive transactional data and features insightful visualizations that can be configured through a variety of highly granular filters.

Competitive Analytics is powered by data from actual mortgage transactions across the country and is updated every night, providing the most accurate, granular, and timely view of mortgage transactions available in the industry.

Further, the solution enables lenders to benchmark their results against the overall market in the areas that matter most, resulting in far more informed corporate decision-making and highly targeted lending strategies.

“Competitive Analytics is the only product available to lenders that provides such an extraordinary level of market transparency and sophisticated business intelligence,” said Optimal Blue CEO, Scott Happ. “Our clients are incredibly excited about their ability to benchmark against peers, as well as with the wealth of innovative new tools to create, adapt, and confirm winning business strategies.”

Optimal Blue’s market share is what makes this competitive analysis possible. As the largest provider of secondary marketing automation to the mortgage industry, Optimal Blue floats on a sea of operational and transactional data. One of every three mortgage loans completed nationwide every year are priced and locked through the Optimal Blue platform, uniquely positioning the company to provide meaningful and unrivaled benchmarks.

Competitive Analytics uses fully anonymized transactional data, a game-changer for Optimal Blue clients concerned about compliance and privacy. The company laid the foundation for its suite of business intelligence solutions by investing heavily in data infrastructure, building its data warehouse from the ground up and partnering with Microsoft to house and analyze Optimal Blue data in Microsoft’s Azure Data Lake.

How competitive are my lending strategies?

One of the many hallmarks of the Competitive Analytics solution lies in the advanced filtering capabilities, which were built and designed with extensive client feedback.

With Competitive Analytics, lenders can easily determine whether their market share is growing or declining and how it’s evolving over any configurable range of time. Lenders can choose to filter by loan type, loan purpose, and loan amount. They can also drill down by state, MSA level, or a user-defined market area to gauge their performance as it relates to FICO range, LTV, property type, occupancy, and more.

“Competitive Analytics enables insightful decisions that ignite action by intelligently grouping large chunks of data for comparison, and then providing lenders the tools to slice that data however they want,” explained Erin Wester, senior product manager.

The data that populates Competitive Analytics is interactive and interrelated, allowing lenders to observe trends across a diverse set of product and borrower profiles at the same time.

For example, a lender can see that they are closely aligned with the market in northwest Texas on conforming loans with credit scores over 680 and loan-to-value ratios above 80%, while also confirming an opportunity for growth in an entirely new market, like California, where they have been considering an FHA, non-conforming, or non-qualifying mortgage (Non-QM) product offering aimed at specific borrower profiles.

How does my profitability stack-up?

While Competitive Analytics does a masterful job at providing visibility into market share, its value continues through unique insights into lender profitability.

Users can compare rate and price to determine where they are operating at a higher or lower margin than others – with or without the impact of loan officer compensation. Then, directly next to those visualizations, Optimal Blue clients can also see what portion of their margins are being eroded by concessions and how concessions offered compare to the overall marketplace.

“It’s easy to overwhelm people with data. We wanted to provide out-of-the box capabilities to dig deep on front-of-mind questions, like whether their price is competitive and how their margins or concessions compare to other lenders in their producing markets,” Wester said.

“This really gets into profitability, not only providing lenders with the tools to highlight where they are most competitive, but – more importantly – illustrating where they can adjust resources and strategies to be even more competitive and profitable.”

Where do I rank in my current (or future) markets?

Another unique feature of Competitive Analytics is the analysis into the efficiency of a lender’s lock desk. A comprehensive volume snapshot lets lenders view their rank based on their number of locks and lock volume, as well as post-lock changes.

The unique and well-known lock desk management functionality of Optimal Blue’s PPE powers the data collection of how many change requests a lender receives and how long it takes to process those changes.

By leveraging that data, Competitive Analytics empowers lenders with deep visibility into their operations and unique comparisons to the overall market to inform profitable strategies, drive new efficiencies, and create competitive differentiation.

“The lock desk is a critical and expensive part of a mortgage operation and lenders are hungry to see how efficient and productive they are compared to others,” Happ said. “Optimal Blue is not only building software to support a more efficient, lights-out lock desk, but we now provide the visualizations to illustrate that efficiency in relation to their competition.”

Optimal Blue’s data engineering, data science, and product management teams worked hard to make the solution’s visualizations as compelling as possible so lenders can quickly understand and act on the analysis. The teams drew on the experience they gained in creating Optimal Blue’s Enterprise Analytics solution, which has received rave user reviews since being released two years ago.

Additionally, as part of an ongoing corporate effort to align product development closely to client needs, Optimal Blue’s product team conducted numerous collaborative feedback sessions with clients on Competitive Analytics through popular nationwide roadshows, conferences, and webinars. The results were impactful.

Ultimately, business intelligence that leads to improved efficiencies and a more competitive offering helps lenders better serve their most important stakeholder: the borrower. Daily insight into successful strategies to better serve borrowers and grow their businesses is the differentiating factor that lenders need in the current mortgage landscape.

“We are proud to announce the release of Competitive Analytics, which joins an established and growing base of data services offerings,” Happ concludes. “Optimal Blue is committed to helping our lenders visualize their business in new and unique ways, implement strategies to help them further differentiate, and aide them in their journey to better serve today’s mortgage borrower.”

This piece was originally featured on HousingWire.com.

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

— The only social media compliance automation platform designed for the mortgage industry —

The mortgage industry is aggressively pursuing the digital mortgage while margins are tight and competition is at an all-time high. Additionally, vendor integration is a must and consumers are requiring transparency like never before.

Because of all of these challenges, the industry is calling for an integrated platform, as well as more granular automation and functionalities. Optimal Blue, a pioneer in secondary marketing automation, offers an innovative, integrated, end-to-end platform that lenders rely on to meet and exceed their secondary marketing needs.

With the largest resource commitment to secondary marketing technology in the industry, Optimal Blue is used more widely than any other solution and is exclusively focused on helping lenders streamline the entire secondary marketing process, from content to commitment, and everything in between.

“Our comprehensive secondary marketing automation platform sits at the center of our Digital Mortgage Marketplace, which breaks down silos between industry participants – lenders, investors, and mortgage technology providers – and brings them together for mutual success,” said Optimal Blue CEO Scott Happ.

The Optimal Blue platform includes a robust content management application, a product eligibility and pricing engine (PPE), a hedge analytics and digital loan trading system, data and analytics, and the only social media compliance automation platform designed specifically for the mortgage industry.

In addition, Optimal Blue offers a comprehensive set of APIs and automatic connections to a broad network of best-of-breed mortgage technology providers and strategic partners.

Due to Optimal Blue’s size and reach, participants benefit from the “network effect.”

Investors and originators benefit from a larger pool of both buyers and sellers, while technology providers benefit from being connected to the largest networks of originators, investors and real-time content versus a “closed network” strategy.

By bringing loan buyers and sellers together — along with best-of-breed mortgage technology providers — on a single, unified technology platform, Optimal Blue equips every player in the secondary market to compete and thrive.

EXECUTIVES PROFILED IN THIS ARTICLE

Scott Happ, CEO
Scott Happ has 30 years of experience in financial services and mortgage lending technology. He founded Mortgagebot in 1997 and built the company into a nationally recognized SaaS solutions provider, selling the company to D+H in 2011. In 2016, Happ teamed with GTCR, a leading private equity firm, to acquire Optimal Blue, where he serves as CEO.

Sue Baker, VP of Product and Client Services
Sue Baker brings over 30 years of experience in the mortgage industry, beginning as a loan officer and later assuming responsibility for sales and training for a network of over 200 loan officers. She also designed a software solution that allowed loan officers to gather applications and request online underwriting approval electronically at the point of sale. Baker serves as chief product officer at Mortgagebot.

Bob Brandt, VP of Marketing and Alliances
Bob Brandt has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to Optimal Blue, Brandt established and managed the sales and marketing organization at Mortgagebot, where over 15 years he helped the company acquire productive, multi-year relationships with more than 1,500 banks and credit unions nation-wide and was named to the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest growing companies.

This piece was originally featured on HousingWire.com.

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

— The company’s suite of products provide a transparent process for buyers and sellers —

The last 18 months have seen a significant shift in both the primary and secondary mortgage markets. Facing shrinking loan volume and compressed margins, lenders have broadened their loan products for borrowers who fall outside of traditional government or conforming guidelines, prompting investors to add programs that incorporate these loans.

But these new opportunities present real challenges. The number of investors has grown significantly since the financial crisis, with 150 organizations now actively buying loans. And the types of loans available for purchase have also multiplied. Combined, these factors have compounded the complexity of the secondary marketing function, demanding sophisticated automation for accurate content management and execution.

Fortunately, Optimal Blue has spent the last several years relentlessly auto-mating the entire secondary marketing process — from content to commitment, and everything in between — and can meet these challenges head-on.

Optimal Blue, founded in 2002, provides not only industry-leading solutions for originators and investors but also an enterprise-level, end-to-end platform that processes more than $750 billion worth of transactions each year. Its Digital Mortgage Marketplace connects mortgage buyers and sellers in an efficient, transparent process that facilitates a broad set of secondary market interactions.

The company’s view into the data associated with these transactions led it to develop the Optimal Blue Mortgage Market Indices (OBMMI) to provide consumers and mortgage professionals with greater visibility into key drivers of mortgage pricing. Based on actual locked rates with consumers across more than 30% of all mortgage transactions nationwide, OBMMI provide the most extensive and accurate interactive analysis of pricing ever conducted in the mortgage industry.

OBMMI aggregates data from 2 million transactions a year between 800 lenders, 3,000 brokers, and 200 buyers of loans and synthesizes that data into 16 primary and detailed mortgage rate indices. Updated daily through a robust API, the indices can be compared with each other to isolate specific market movements and spot trends.

“For close to two decades, Optimal Blue has led the mortgage industry with pricing automation technology designed to facilitate transactions between consumers and lenders,” explained Bob Brandt, vice president of marketing and alliances at Optimal Blue. “Complete with the industry’s largest product eligibility and pricing library, and backed by an unparalleled commitment to accuracy, Optimal Blue’s platform ensures that consumers are presented with the best-fit financing alternatives and that lenders consistently deliver the best price.”

Optimal Blue continues to evolve its platform, providing lenders and investors with inspired technology that automates key functions of the secondary marketing process.

AUTOMATING THE SECONDARY MARKETING FUNCTION

Product Eligibility & Pricing

Optimal Blue is the largest product eligibility and pricing (PPE) provider in the industry, serving more than 50% of the market and processing $600 billion worth of rate locks every year. The company has made significant investments to automate this functionality and the result is a robust system that delivers a single source of compliant pricing with 99.995% accuracy, making Optimal Blue’s PPE the system of record for the mortgage industry.

That accuracy is a hallmark of Optimal Blue, which uses an extensive set of product filters to identify applicable loan programs and then evaluates best execution pricing among eligible products. This capability is even more critical given the growing number of non-QM loan products in the market.

In addition to the execution, content, and margin management that Optimal Blue’s flagship PPE is known for, the company recently rolled out a new innovation — a “lights-out” lock desk functionality that can automatically lock the loan, change the lock, change the product type, grant exceptions, and more.

“When it comes to secondary marketing, the lock desk is a high-cost function,” said Optimal Blue CEO, Scott Happ. “We’ve automated the entire process. Lenders can configure auto-accept policies for locking and relocking products with characteristics that don’t require a manual touch, thereby reducing lock desk involvement in scenarios where automated policies can do the work instead.”

Hedging

Optimal Blue’s sophisticated hedge advisory and analytics platform integrates seamlessly with its PPE and digital loan trading platforms. This automated collaboration provides Optimal Blue clients with a tremendous competitive advantage.

First, interest rate locks from the PPE flow into the pipeline in real time, ensuring that the hedge position is always fully updated. Second, the broadest possible set of executions is available, ensuring that lenders will always discover the best price.

In addition, automating the loan trading and committing process through the Resitrader system reduces costs and error rates. “By combining exceptional analytics with unmatched system integration, Optimal Blue is uniquely positioned to help lenders succeed when deploying a mandatory execution strategy,” Happ said.

Loan Trading

In July 2018, Optimal Blue acquired Resitrader, creating the mortgage industry’s largest mortgage loan trading platform. Resitrader’s interactive trading environment enables buyers, sellers, and their advisors to transact in real time using an auction process and replaces the widely-used method of exchanging bid tapes via email.

The solution also helps traders optimize executions by supporting shadow-bidding, the posting of axes, chat-based communication, and color reports. Resitrader has achieved remarkable success with its trading platform over the past year, recording a 400% increase in transactions.

Optimal Blue has made it easy for investors to use Resitrader through the recent launch of another robust API designed to integrate with investors’ existing, internal systems. The APIs embed and trigger the market-leading capabilities of Resitrader into whatever trading application the investor is currently using, similar to the API plug-in capability offered through Optimal Blue’s PPE.

“Most clients are perfectly fine with coming into the Resitrader system to do their business,” explained Happ. “However, the largest investors look to our highly functional and real-time APIs to integrate with their own infrastructure and technology, so they are still able to take advantage of the benefits of the Resitrader platform. This is just another step for us to integrate into investor and origination businesses to maximize the efficiencies they require.”

Social Media Platform

Social media is an extremely powerful business development tool for lenders and Optimal Blue provides the only fully automated social media compliance platform designed specifically for the mortgage industry. The comprehensive platform enables lenders to manage the social media activities of loan officers through audits, monitoring, and collaboration. The audits are point-in-time, comprehensive reviews, while automated monitoring constantly evaluates social activity and proactively identifies trigger terms and keywords to isolate compliance concerns requiring remediation.

This piece was originally featured on HousingWire.com.

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

— Resitrader by Optimal Blue connects lenders and investors in real time to accelerate results —

For the last several years, the mortgage industry has experienced a disruptive wave of technology innovation by vendors aiming to improve results and lower costs. Until recently, the vast majority of these innovations have focused on automating the front-end of the digital mortgage loan process, leaving significant opportunities to automate post-closing processes such as whole loan pricing and loan trading. Now, Optimal Blue has upended the status quo in the mortgage industry by building a revolutionary digital marketplace that is transforming the way loans are bought and sold in the secondary market.

Optimal Blue’s recent acquisition of market leader Resitrader created the largest loan trading platform in the industry. In the last year, Resitrader saw a 350% increase in the number of sellers and more than 300% growth in loan trading volume, while also increasing the offer-to-purchase rate for sellers on the platform.

“Given Optimal Blue’s unique and strong market share position, the acquisition put us in the front seat to create an industry-standard platform for whole loan pricing and trading,” explained John Ardy, vice president of Resitrader by Optimal Blue.

By connecting lenders and investors in real time, Resitrader automates what used to be a manual, email-based trading process and makes it incredibly scalable. Besides the immediate time savings, the Resitrader platform fosters real relationships between engaged buyers and sellers, which is mutually beneficial to both sides.

Benefits for sellers

On the sell side, Resitrader empowers the lender to optimize true best execution by offering loans to an entire marketplace of buyers instead of the four or five investors they are used to dealing with. Originators can connect with new investors almost instantly and accelerate the traditionally protracted, difficult shadow bidding process, so what used to take weeks is now accomplished in seconds by clicking on someone’s name to view their pricing.

Benefits for buyers

The transparency of pricing within the platform creates the opportunity for sellers to find investors quickly and provides investors with valuable insight into the competitiveness of their bids. Resitrader reports this information automatically, so investors can see why they won or lost certain bids and adjust their strategy accordingly.

“Resitrader takes a function that was manual from end to end and fully automates all of it,” continued Ardy. “It streamlines communication and eliminates the latency that occurs with the manual process. It’s very exciting — in an area that was never very exciting.”

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Understanding their critical role as investors, Optimal Blue has paid special attention to streamlining connections with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The company completed an early integration with Fannie Mae’s Pricing and Execution – Whole Loan application last year and was first to integrate with Freddie Mac’s Loan Selling Advisor in August. Because Optimal Blue operates in a SaaS environment, Resitrader clients had full access to the new capabilities on the same day.

The integration with Loan Selling Advisor allows the user to seamlessly acquire Freddie Mac pricing data and compare against alternative executions, such as bulk bids. It also enables the automated commitment of Freddie Mac loans by returning trade confirmations directly back to the Resitrader user, so they don’t have to use multiple systems to conduct a single transaction.

Optimal Blue then followed up with an enhanced integration that fully automates the cash pricing and commitment process to include cash pay-ups for fixed-rate mortgages across all specified loan attributes. Prior to this integration, sellers would have to download and print a .PDF from Freddie Mac and calculate these loan details.

Now, that data pull takes seconds.

New efficiencies

Once buyers and sellers see the ability to interact at such a fast rate, the platform quickly becomes indispensable to their business model.

Jim Glennon is the director of secondary services at Optimal Blue and he noted a major gain in efficiencies using Resitrader for Optimal Blue’s full-service hedge advisory clients. “As we add new layers of innovation to our core platform, we are giving lenders and investors incredible new opportunities to get things done faster and better. This is part of the mortgage process that no one spent much time on, and now it has caught up to the rest of the digital mortgage process,” Glennon said.

As significant as the evolution of the Resitrader platform is individually, the seamless integration of Optimal Blue’s solutions across the entire secondary market platform is the true game changer.

“When Resitrader operated independently, we were able to grow to $2 billion a month,” said Ardy. “Now, backed by the power of Optimal Blue’s Digital Mortgage Marketplace, our growth rate will accelerate and catapult Resitrader into the largest industry destination for digital loan trading and bring considerable value to platform participants.”

As adoption of these interactive loan trading platforms flourish, Optimal Blue aims to continue looking toward the future of the industry with an ongoing commitment to deliver market-leading mortgage automation.

This piece was originally featured on HousingWire.com.

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

— The company’s PPE network now includes more than 2,000 clients —

Over the last two years, Optimal Blue has strategically acquired several companies, built an extensive API network, and invested heavily in automation and technology with one goal in mind: to create an entirely automated secondary marketing ecosystem for mortgage originators and investors, as well as the technology providers they rely upon every day.

Those efforts have established Optimal Blue’s product and pricing as the mortgage industry’s system of record — from leads at the beginning of the process to hedging and selling into the secondary market — approximately one of every three mortgages is facilitated by the company’s Digital Mortgage Marketplace.

Optimal Blue’s recent acquisition of LoanLogics’ PPE business unit, LoanDecisions, is just the latest in a series of strategic buys, including its purchase of Comergence in 2017 and Resitrader earlier this year.

Comergence enables Optimal Blue to offer a wide array of comprehensive due diligence and oversight capabilities, while the acquisition of Resitrader assets created the industry’s largest digital loan trading platform, allowing Optimal Blue to support more than $750 billion in transactions across its marketplace.

With the LoanDecisions acquisition marking the beginning of what seems to be a consolidation trend in the PPE space, Optimal Blue has expanded the reach of its PPE network to a client count exceeding 2,000+.

These customers are already in the process of migrating to the Optimal Blue PPE and the company will continue to expand its partnership with LoanLogics to automate correspondent loan transactions.

Essential to all of this innovation is Optimal Blue’s expanding universe of APIs, created over the last 18 months by a dedicated team of developers. The company has more than 50 customers using their APIs directly, with more than 40 vendors providing solutions that allow originators and investors to build a custom set of solutions that maximize opportunity at every critical inflection point throughout the mortgage process.

Originators are using Optimal Blue APIs for best execution product and pricing, loan and pipeline management, configuration, search results, and lock management, while investors are leveraging them for counter party oversight, NMLS verification, historical production, prospect marketing, compliance questionnaires, and FHA performance scores.

In September, Optimal Blue launched the latest in its series, a set of post-lock management APIs that enable users to easily incorporate worse case evaluations, change request submissions, and historical pricing for any loan or scenario.

Erin Wester, senior product manager at Optimal Blue, explained how the new post-lock APIs fit into the company’s initiative to fully automate everything within the Optimal Blue user interface via an API.

“We took a look at the API products we have today and some common use cases — how our clients are using them,” explained Wester. “With the post-lock APIs, users can now execute searches, create and manage loans, and submit lock requests. You can lock and register the loan through our APIs.”

The new offerings include APIs for change requests and APIs related to historical pricing results. The latter allows searching for a loan ID with a desired date and time, or even searching for a specific scenario based on a certain date and time.

Optimal Blue also recently introduced a direct data access option for its business intelligence suite, which provides users with a robust data that contains an extremely granular history of every change that has taken place within the Optimal Blue platform — including who requested a change and when, who accepted it, who denied it, etc.

The direct data access option lets users connect internal data warehouses, support custom analytics, and uniquely integrate to any in-house visualization solution. This includes data visualizations on locking analytics and change request analytics. For example, users will be able to see how many times a lock desk is having to touch a loan, as well as average cost and days per lock extension.

“The direct data access product is an automated way for the user to gain access to their organization’s unique raw data and run their own in-house, custom analytics,” Wester said. “This competitive and actionable insight is then reported to internal data warehouse solutions within the institution, opening the door for any mortgage professional to quantify and transform operational data into an advantageous asset.”

In reflecting on the previous year and the extensive progress that the company has achieved, CEO Scott Happ explained, “2018 has been a prolific year for Optimal Blue, both from an acquisition and product development perspective. Not only have we strengthened our offering with substantial new capabilities, we’ve expanded our network with scores of new client and vendor relationships.”

It has, in fact, been a noteworthy year for Optimal Blue, as the company continues to thrive in its quest to fully automate the secondary marketing function.

This piece was originally featured on HousingWire.com.

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

— Exemplifying commitment to client-focused product development and functional depth —

These are certainly exciting times in the mortgage industry. The industry has experienced a massive influx of mortgage technology solutions in the past several years and the pace of innovation has greatly increased. Never before have mortgage lenders been provided with as many digital alternatives to automate their mortgage process.

The fast pace of innovation and technology adoption across the industry coupled with heightened competitive pressure for originations, is driving today’s mortgage lenders to expect more from the providers they choose to partner with. Lenders have quickly ascertained that the next level of value and sustained competitive advantage requires functionally deep solutions that are continually enhanced to address their specific needs and objectives.

“In today’s landscape, lenders are searching for new ways to stay competitive and do more with less,” explained Brandon White, Secondary Marketing Supervisor at Affiliated Bank. “To accomplish that, innovative lenders are partnering with vendors that offer functional depth and are committed to extensive innovation. Optimal Blue has been the trusted partner we’ve embedded across our business to provide that competitive edge.”

In light of the industry’s new reality, Optimal Blue has invested heavily in the expansion of the features and functionality available through its enterprise secondary marketing solution. Surrounding core capabilities with a powerful and robust feature set not only differentiates Optimal Blue from other providers, but – more importantly – enables their client base to further enhance their already sophisticated secondary marketing strategies and sustain their competitive edge. Additionally, by leveraging ideas and direct feedback drawn from product design client workgroups as well as direct input sessions with many more, Optimal Blue can validate the impact and value of new offerings and enhancements before they are introduced to the marketplace.

“Optimal Blue is fortunate to have productive, long-term partnerships with some of the industry’s most innovative mortgage lenders, firms that are leading the industry with their focus on using workflow automation to drive efficiency,” explained Scott Happ, Chief Executive Officer of Optimal Blue. “Automating complex secondary marketing functions is of particular interest to our clients, and we are thrilled with their reaction to a number of groundbreaking workflow automation features we’ve recently developed.”

Optimal Blue’s recent product innovations exemplify the company’s ongoing commitment to client-focused product development and market-leading functional depth across its platform. Designed and developed around core themes originating from its clients – Transparency, Granularity, and Personalization – the following are just three of the recent innovations available to Optimal Blue clients at no additional cost:

1. Transparency: Compelling Margin Management & Revenue Visualizations
As the mortgage landscape becomes more competitive, today’s lenders constantly evaluate mark-ups, margins, and overall profitability to improve results. Until recently, lenders have done so by managing just a single data point, their total margin. With this powerful enhancement to Optimal Blue’s business intelligence solution, Enterprise Analytics, lenders can easily assess metrics associated to profitability by understanding the breakdown of margin revenue and how it trends over time. Through compelling, interactive visualizations, geographical heat maps, and more, lenders can analyze the effectiveness of origination strategies and view margin data at the loan level, or by branch, loan officer, product, business channel, and investor.

2. Granularity: Configurable & Automated Lock Management Policies
Optimal Blue clients constantly search for opportunities to fine-tune the overall efficiency of their operations to reduce costs and improve overall execution. A common high-impact area, one where even the most modest of improvements can produce material results, is the lock management process. With this enhancement, Optimal Blue greatly extends its lock management automation by enabling clients to achieve significant granularity with the post-lock policies that surround various changes occurring after the initial rate lock. For example, if the borrower profile changes after the initial rate lock and this new scenario requires a change, Optimal Blue now enables lenders to auto-accept unique post-lock changes based on embedded logic. Furthermore, if a financing scenario change requires a modification to the loan product offer, lenders can configure specific rate lock policies for each type of modification to enforce consistency across their organization. With this enhancement, Optimal Blue clients can easily establish highly sophisticated, granular lock policies and self-administer unique customizations to those policies over time as strategies change.

3. Personalization: Additional Product Type Filters to Easily Identify Specialty Products
Non-QM or Expanded Guideline products are a popular growth area for many Optimal Blue clients, and a substantial new system enhancement now allows lenders to better support customers with specialized needs. With this enhancement, Optimal Blue users are provided with new, powerful product filters that can be used to display the products and pricing most appropriate for specific borrower scenarios. Examples include loans designed for borrowers with alternative income, low credit scores, and low debt-to-income ratios. This user personalization not only improves sales efficiency, but it helps Optimal Blue clients close more loans by aligning specific borrower needs with the most appropriate financing alternatives.

Ultimately, the future is bright for the mortgage industry. Opportunities for further automation are everywhere, and compelling change can indeed lead to the next level of value and true competitive differentiation for participants. However, high-level automation for automation’s sake is not always the answer. Many times, the most impactful successes with automation are found in the details of the workflow and the specifics of a process. Optimal Blue’s client-focused product development and commitment to functional depth serves as a model for the industry and illustrates the considerable benefits of deeper, continuous automation for lenders.

This piece was originally featured on HousingWire.com.

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

— Fifth consecutive recognition as a technology leader in the housing economy —

Optimal Blue, the leading provider of secondary marketing automation and services in the mortgage industry, was recently named to HousingWire’s HW Tech100™ for the fifth consecutive year. The HW Tech100 takes a broad focus approach to innovative technology across the U.S. housing economy, spanning real estate to mortgage lending and servicing, as well as investments, recognizing industry leaders in a new, unique, and powerful way.

As explained by HousingWire’s Online Editor, Caroline Basile, “These companies provide innovative solutions and are moving the housing finance industry forward as technology rapidly changes how the landscape operates.” Since 2002, Optimal Blue has been a pioneer of mortgage technology innovation – known to provide the scale and experience that many in the industry rely upon for results every day.

Thousands of leading originators, investors, and providers rely on Optimal Blue’s technology and together, create a unique, multi-sided network referred to as the Digital Mortgage Marketplace. Through this single, unified technology and value-added services platform, originators can automate their entire secondary marketing operation, from content through commitment, while investors are empowered with network access and an array of compliance and business intelligence tools. By providing innovative mortgage technology firms with API-based access to the Digital Mortgage Marketplace, Optimal Blue has connected virtually every vendor in the digital mortgage space.

“Optimal Blue supports an extensive ecosystem of digital mortgage providers and has helped bring positive change to the industry by reducing the barriers to collaboration,” explained Scott Happ, CEO of Optimal Blue. “What an honor to be a part of this incredible revolution, and to be recognized as a technology leader in the HW Tech100. Together, we are helping move our industry forward.”

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

— Data and analytics solutions offer valuable insights —

Optimal Blue has always been a data company. Founded in 2002, the company pioneered a variety of technology software solutions and eventually built a Digital Mortgage Marketplace that is now relied upon by thousands of originators, investors, and leading providers. In connecting these different parties through a single, unified technology and value-added services platform, the company did more than just automate secondary marketing — it evolved into a robust repository of data that provides critical insights into the mortgage loan process.

“We are uniquely positioned to provide data driven insights. That has a lot to do with our scale, as we are the largest industry marketplace of this type by a fair stretch,” explained Scott Happ, CEO of Optimal Blue.

Supporting the daily activity between buyers and sellers has positioned the company to see more than 200 million searches in a year and lock over $500 billion in loans. Optimal Blue now touches one out of every four loans being originated in the U.S., generating a huge volume of transactional data.

As part of its marketplace function, Optimal Blue’s platform ingests raw data from investors and translates that into actionable information for originators looking to achieve best execution pricing. Through price comparison tools, originators can achieve entirely new levels of awareness about how others are pricing in different markets, and how competitive their own pricing is. As a result, they gain visibility into what market niches present growth opportunities.

“It’s a hyper competitive market and different originators have different strengths,” Happ said. “Say you want to offer FHA low-FICO loans, or jumbos in Seattle – without a tool to determine how instantly competitive you are, it’s really difficult to execute on that strategy.”

Happ continued, “That’s why we have customers that are running hundreds of geo-specific searches every day to get a quick handle on how they should adjust pricing. It’s a very dynamic marketplace and our tools provide real time information at the loan scenario level.”

But originators are only one part of the equation since Optimal Blue also provides data solutions to investors. When Optimal Blue acquired Comergence in May 2017, it was the equivalent of pouring rocket fuel on a fire — providing a completely new set of data points around the 18,000+ firms that originate the majority of loans nationwide. That information provides location, number of loan officers, licensing and loan production data for Optimal Blue’s investor clients.

“Comergence is a great fit with Optimal Blue because they offer services to the same investor base that we work with,” Happ explained. “Providing an investor with real-time insights into an originator’s profile allows for a more targeted sales strategy while ensuring low risk relationships.”

Gathering data is one thing, translating it into actionable insights is a different, more complex challenge. Last year, Optimal Blue worked with Microsoft to deploy a powerful business intelligence platform. This sophisticated visualization tool helps Optimal Blue make data understandable and meaningful to originators.

“One of the historical challenges with data solutions is that they necessitate additional resources or people who can slice and dice that data, but not all originators employ data scientists to help with analytics,” Happ said. “We built a tool to help originators visualize information – it really democratizes data! The Optimal Blue solution is available to anyone that wants a better understanding of what is happening within their operation.”

With an ever-growing volume of mortgage data, Optimal Blue continues to find new ways to leverage that information for originators and investors, with several innovations ready for release in the next few months.

“We have one foot in the marketplace, facilitating transactions, and another in data,” Happ said. “Our goal is to figure out how to package that information and make it a valuable resource for the mortgage industry.”

This piece was originally featured on HousingWire.com.

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

— Leading API platform powers the industry’s largest ecosystem —

In a world fueled by technological advancements, it is no surprise that the “digital movement” has taken over the mortgage industry. Today, nearly all consumers begin the mortgage loan process online and have come to expect on-demand, transparent, consistent information at the immediate point of need.

These evolving consumer expectations paired with the industry’s highly competitive environment are causing a rush by originators to adopt digital capabilities. In the process, originators must grapple with how to integrate digital mortgage technologies, deliver information to the consumer in a real-time compliant manner, and ensure consumers have a consistent experience across channels and throughout the origination process.

To address these needs, Optimal Blue supports a wide array of third-party applications used in the digital mortgage process that enable originators to connect the product and pricing data within the Optimal Blue System with over 25 vendors. Now, for the first time, originators can rely on a single platform to power their digital pricing presentation, including CRM, mobile, point-of-sale, and marketing.

Because these applications are all connected using Optimal Blue’s common API framework, product eligibility and pricing is handled consistently by each application and APR calculations, payment disclosures, and mortgage insurance quotes are always correct. To ensure third-party applications comply with data and connectivity standards, Optimal Blue maintains a rigorous vendor certification process.

“By creating a platform supporting third-party applications, Optimal Blue has crushed the barrier to the digital mortgage,” said Scott Happ, CEO of Optimal Blue. “By connecting virtually every vendor in the digital mortgage space to the Optimal Blue platform, we have paved the way for originators to join the digital mortgage movement.”

Optimal Blue supports a wide variety of transactions for vendor partners through its API platform, including product eligibility, complete price results, and locking. Since the API platform was announced nine months ago, more than 70 clients have subscribed.

To further support the use of Optimal Blue as a single source for product eligibility and pricing data, the company has also invested heavily in integrating with LOS and lead generation sites, and now has a Quick Quote solution allowing originators to easily embed live price quotes on their website or mobile application.

With Quick Quote, an originator can provide live, personalized, and compliant pricing to borrowers visiting a lender’s website or to loan officers through a mobile-enabled link.

“The ability to quote accurate pricing with a mobile device empowers the loan officer to develop and maintain relationships outside of the office,” said Sue Baker, vice president of product at Optimal Blue. “Not only do they remain competitive, but they build a solid foundation to transition the consumer through the application process – electronically and compliantly.”

Originators can control what products and pricing are returned in the Quick Quote solution through configuration settings.

The digital mortgage wave has caught the imagination of our industry and has spawned innovative technology providers. At the same time, rapidly changing consumer preferences are pressing originators to become more transparent, responsive, and consistent throughout the mortgage origination process.

To help originators grapple with the growing array of technology choices and address consumer needs, Optimal Blue now supports the largest ecosystem of digital mortgage providers in the industry with an advanced API platform connecting third-party applications to Optimal Blue’s network. Clients are using these third-party applications along with native solutions like Quick Quote to jumpstart their entry into the digital mortgage arena, and are realizing operational and compliance benefits from using Optimal Blue as a single source for loan pricing.

This piece was originally featured on HousingWire.com.

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

— Drives originator success With powerful business intelligence solution and expansions to API platform —

Secondary marketing automation and services provider Optimal Blue recently introduced an advanced data visualization tool and significant expansions to its highly-advanced application programming interface (API) platform. These innovations align with Optimal Blue’s commitment to develop best-in-class solutions that increase the competitiveness of their clients, enable sustainable operational efficiencies, and break down traditional integration barriers with the mortgage technology providers they rely upon.

With Optimal Blue’s Enterprise Analytics, originators finally have an intuitive and convenient centralized reporting mechanism to quickly and efficiently gather information for better decision-making. Originators can measure and compare expectations against their results to accurately determine if performance is truly aligned with organizational goals. Secondary marketing managers can also benchmark their business channels to easily compare lock volume by product type, loan purpose, note rates, FICO score and more.

“The Enterprise Analytics platform is a concise, integrated solution that breaks unnecessary dependency on database and reporting resources, putting the organization in the driver’s seat to nimbly adapt to driving market forces, and optimize profitability and expansion,” explained Richard Martin, assistant vice president of HomeStreet Bank. “The framework offers dynamic, customizable, and exportable dashboard solutions for every layer of management.”

Trends in change requests and lock volume are apparent and can be easily tracked, so decision makers can clearly identify and understand the behavior behind company numbers. Originators can utilize this valuable information to determine if their profit margins are sufficient to cover operational costs or if mark-ups should be created, if additional training should be provided to sales team individuals, or if other actions need to be taken.

“Enterprise Analytics provides the crucial business insight that our clients need to more rapidly solve problems, seize opportunities, and drive success. We’ve also expanded our API product lineup, allowing clients to further integrate highly-advanced APIs into their unique business processes,” said Bob Brandt, vice president of marketing and alliances at Optimal Blue. “This elevated data transparency and availability are fundamental components in our strategic product initiative.”

The recent expansion of Optimal Blue’s API platform is yet another innovation pioneered to set the technology standard for the mortgage industry. This expanded suite of API offerings provides originators with full listing search results, best execution search results, pipeline and lock management. Users can easily create, update, and retrieve loans, and seamlessly retrieve, filter, and sort pipelines. Additionally, the API features a built-in capability to register loans, request locks, and automatically accept locks.

Clients have experienced enormous success by creatively leveraging these APIs to automate dynamic marketing campaigns, advertise corporate rates, perform accurate and fast borrower-specific searches, and more. The expanded API suite has also encouraged customers to leverage mobile apps and online portals, allowing them to take control of the entire user experience, from start to finish.

“Through our API integration, Mace Innovations has the power of Optimal Blue with added flexibility,” explained Chris Mace, president and founder. “We now have a comprehensive complement of data and a modern, intuitive technology platform to transfer additional data points and custom fields – all of which helps eradicate the obstacles that have historically hindered innovation within our industry.”

As the fintech landscape continues to change, Optimal Blue resolves to stay in the forefront as an industry leader. By providing comprehensive insight into real-time, loan-level metrics and exposing new channels to coherently source accurate data throughout the loan lifecycle, Optimal Blue proves that there is no limit to what can be achieved through innovation.

This piece was originally featured on HousingWire.com.

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

— Significant speed, accuracy, and compliance advantages achieved throughout the lending process —

Optimal Blue has experienced incredible growth in the past year by offering a unique, end-to-end secondary marketing automation solution for originators. Optimal Blue automates the entire secondary marketing operation — from content through commitment — which has created an entirely new mortgage technology category in the marketplace.

“Secondary marketing is an enterprise-wide function that touches every aspect of the mortgage lending process, from lead generation through application, closing, and delivery,” said Bob Brandt, vice president of marketing and alliances at Optimal Blue. “What makes Optimal Blue different is that, with one end-to-end system integrated tightly with the various systems our clients rely upon, we’ve taken a more holistic approach to automating secondary marketing that covers the full gamut of the lending process.”

Through a single, unified technology and value-added platform, Optimal Blue’s Enterprise Secondary Marketing Solution incorporates every critical secondary marketing function throughout the loan process in a user-friendly, feature-rich way, including:

CONTENT
Optimal Blue’s end-to-end platform replaces manual processes with real-time, automated ingestion of loan program and pricing data. Because content is fully automated for a wide array of investors, originators can quickly activate new investor relationships and self-configure mortgage loan programs with embedded investor guidelines and company policies, or by blending the best pricing available from multiple investors.

ELIGIBILITY AND PRICING
Optimal Blue’s platform renders real-time loan quotes by instantly evaluating up-to-date investor content, and also delivers best execution results that display all eligible products ranked by price. In addition, originators can control and track pricing exceptions as well as mortgage insurance integration, which enables borrowers to obtain accurate total loan cost information.

LOCKING
Replacing manual lock desk functions with automation provides an immediate boost to an originator’s efficiency, giving them the ability to initiate rate lock requests and receive instant lock confirmations through a highly configurable, auto-accept process. Automating the change request function allows lock desk personnel to allocate more time handling exceptions, which results in a reduction of errors and ensures a pipeline position that is always current.

PIPELINE RISK
With Optimal Blue’s Enterprise Secondary Marketing Solution, pipeline positions are updated with real-time market and lock data feeds, providing secondary marketing managers with continuous visibility into risk positions. The platform includes strong error examination routines, identifies eligibility problems as loan characteristics change, and leverages native investor content to generate precise, mark-to-market reports for managers, auditors, and regulatory authorities.

HEDGING
Optimal Blue enables risk managers to perform “what-if” analyses to understand how various actions affect their risk position, as well as model the P&L impact of market changes. Positions and market values are constantly updated, so potential hedging actions may be evaluated and positions modified at any time, allowing the secondary desk to react promptly to incoming locks or market changes. Additionally, it supports note rate hedging for those who sell forward commitments through the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cash window.

COMMITTING​​​​​​​
For originators that access the popular bulk bid market execution, automation helps streamline an otherwise tedious process. If system-to-system integration exists with the investor, committing can be initiated from within the Enterprise Secondary Marketing Solution once an execution is selected, resulting in substantial time and cost savings. Commitment automation also eliminates the need to reconcile two systems, reduces error rates and ultimately risk levels by enabling the offsetting of incoming locks more quickly.

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE​​​​​​​
Secondary marketing managers are required to make quick, high-impact decisions but often lack access to the data and analytical tools necessary to operate effectively. To address this issue, Optimal Blue offers impressive business intelligence capabilities that provide instant access to broad data sets along with analytical tools that help users understand and evaluate opportunities. These systems also provide access to real-time production, performance and competitive data, as well as insight on competitive positioning and market share.

One of the most valued aspects of Optimal Blue’s Enterprise Secondary Marketing Solution extends well beyond the robust functionality. The API-first strategy of Optimal Blue led to the development of the industry’s first comprehensive RESTful API platform that supports automated product eligibility, pricing, lock desk and pipeline management integrations with the third-party technology providers the industry relies upon.

Optimal Blue clients can directly gain access to the company’s API library and develop an integration on their own, or they can choose from a library of turnkey APIs developed in partnership with a wealth of leading providers focused on lead generation, marketing, CRM, consumer-direct, point-of-sale (POS), loan origination (LOS), and more.

“Throughout the loan lifecycle, no matter what system is relied upon, the originator has the confidence that they are quoting accurate, compliant, and real-time product eligibility and pricing,” said Brandt. “With our robust API capabilities and the numerous leading mortgage technology vendors who have built to them, Optimal Blue is breaking down the integration barriers that have held back the industry.”

Optimal Blue has pioneered the full range of capabilities required to offer true, end-to-end secondary marketing automation with the emergence of its Enterprise Secondary Marketing Solution. Early adopters report significant efficiency and profitability improvements, all imperative in the compliance-critical, competitive environment in which we operate today.

This piece was originally featured on HousingWire.com.

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

— The company continues to refine secondary market automation for lenders —

Optimal Blue’s significant investment in developing and deploying comprehensive secondary market automation propelled the company’s growth in the first half of 2017, netting a 21% increase in new clients.

The company released a number of new enhancements to its end-to-end technology this year, including a market share analytics solution, a business intelligence tool and a social media compliance solution.

It also launched capabilities that integrate mortgage technology systems across the industry. Through its highly scalable API interface platform, lenders can easily integrate compliant product and pricing content with the leading third-party technology and service providers they rely upon for lead generation, CRM, consumer-direct, mobile, LOS and more.

With Optimal Blue solutions, lenders can automate their entire secondary marketing function and interact seamlessly with the industry’s largest network of leading investors, all through a single, unified platform.

“The competitive mortgage industry landscape comes with numerous complex challenges, and our goal is to enable customers to manage and conquer those challenges as simply and as efficiently as possible,” said Scott Happ, CEO of Optimal Blue.

Optimal Blue’s Digital Mortgage Marketplace connects originators, investors and providers and the company continues to forge strategic partnerships with other mortgage tech providers, such as Roostify and Easy Mortgage Apps. In May, Optimal Blue announced its acquisition of Comergence, a provider of due diligence automation and ongoing surveillance services.

“Optimal Blue and Comergence are well-aligned around our principal mission of facilitating transactions between buyers and sellers of loans,” Happ said. “Comergence solutions help build trust and confidence among marketplace participants by verifying third-party compliance in real-time, a capability unmatched in the industry.”

The Comergence acquisition was one more milestone in the company’s ultimate two-pronged mission: to enable originators to automate their entire secondary marketing operation, from content through commitment; while enabling investors and leading providers to accelerate the loan origination process by leveraging automated data exchange, streamlined value delivery, robust innovations and actionable business intelligence.

The market response to Optimal Blue’s development and acquisition of cutting-edge solutions had been dramatic, with record customer growth and adoption this year. The company’s Digital Mortgage Marketplace already touches one of every four mortgage loans in the U.S., and Optimal Blue is poised to continue that growth with its commitment to innovation.

“I am thrilled to welcome so many new customers to Optimal Blue, and I’m equally honored that they’ve entrusted our secondary marketing solutions to further automate their operation and successfully accomplish their technology and business goals,” Happ said.

This piece was originally featured on HousingWire.com.

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

— Award honors top technology innovators in the real estate industry —

Optimal Blue, operator of the mortgage industry’s digital marketplace, was recently named to HousingWire Magazine’s 2017 HW TECH100, an award listing reserved for the top technology companies leading the housing industry. This marks the fourth consecutive year Optimal Blue has been honored as part of this prestigious group.

The HW TECH100 is the only list of tech innovation that captures the entire U.S. housing economy, spanning real estate, mortgage lending, servicing, and investments.

“Inclusion on this list is a truly special honor,” said Ben Lane, HousingWire’s senior financial reporter, announcing the winners. “Making the cut puts these companies into unique territory as a tech leader in the housing economy.” Optimal Blue was recognized for its slate of technology services. At the core of Optimal Blue’s digital marketplace is a comprehensive Secondary Marketing eCommerce Platform used by the largest network of mortgage lenders, investors, and providers to share real-time content and price, lock, hedge, and sell mortgage loans.

Optimal Blue remains the industry leader, operating the largest SaaS-based network of investors and lenders, and providing that network with solutions for content management, loan quoting, margin administration, pipeline risk management, best execution, and competitive analysis. Lenders capture efficiencies by automating a variety of secondary marketing functions, including pricing updates, locking, and committing, while investors distribute content in real time and gain visibility into the competitive landscape. The customizable platform can be tailored to fit any lender or investor business model.

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