Optimal Blue, the leading provider of secondary marketing solutions and actionable data services in the mortgage industry, recently collaborated with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to enable the real-time distribution of Optimal Blue Mortgage Market Indices™ (OBMMI™) on the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) platform. This addition of timely mortgage data is another step forward in Optimal Blue’s ongoing commitment to make its proprietary rate indices more easily accessible to a broader market segment.

FRED, created and maintained by the Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, is a free online database consisting of hundreds of thousands of economic data time series from scores of national, international, public, and private sources. The inclusion of granular and accurate indices that depict the daily movement of mortgage rates provides lenders, investors, researchers, and economists with an unprecedented level of daily insight into observed transaction activity, as well as greater visibility into key drivers of mortgage pricing. Together, Optimal Blue and FRED now provide a new and unique access point to this valuable data.

“As the only transaction-based set of mortgage rates available to the industry and beyond, OBMMI establishes transparency beyond what is offered by lenders to what is actually being locked by consumers across 35% of all mortgage transactions nationwide,” explained Rick Allen, Vice President of Business Transformation at Optimal Blue. “Our new collaboration with FRED enables Optimal Blue to deliver this near real-time visibility to even more recipients that are thoroughly invested in this data.”

OBMMI was created by Optimal Blue to provide mortgage and finance professionals and consumers alike with greater visibility into how key credit factors impact mortgage pricing. Based on actual locked rates, each of the sixteen mortgage rate indices are developed around the most popular mortgage loan products and the primary credit-related attributes that impact mortgage pricing. OBMMI can be compared through compelling, interactive, and configurable visualizations to provide an unprecedented level of daily insight into mortgage rate trends.

“Our signature economic database known as FRED provides our users around the globe with the economic data they need—anytime, anywhere they need it,” said Maria A. Arias, FRED Data Engineer at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Allen concluded, “We believe the addition of OBMMI as an economic data series on FRED will assist thousands of users to better understand mortgage rate movements and important dynamics across the evolving mortgage landscape.”

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PRESS CONTACT FOR THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF ST. LOUIS
Laura Taylor
(314) 313-4613
laura.taylor@stls.frb.org

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

Indices provide granular and accurate data to daily movement of mortgage rates

Optimal Blue, a leading provider of secondary marketing solutions and actionable data services in the mortgage industry, recently announced the completion of integration with Nasdaq’s Contributor API (CAPI), which enables the real-time distribution of Optimal Blue Mortgage Market Indices™ (OBMMI™) on Nasdaq’s Global Index Data Service℠ (GIDS) platform.

Individuals who closely monitor the U.S. economy understand the strong correlation between the performance of the housing industry and the overall economy. For that reason, the availability of granular and accurate indices that depict the daily movement of mortgage rates provides a great benefit to the investing public. Optimal Blue’s timely indices offer substantial visibility into some of the critical drivers of mortgage pricing and trends over time for all GIDS data recipients, at no additional cost.

“We are thrilled to announce the availability of OBMMI on the Nasdaq platform,” said Scott Happ, CEO of Optimal Blue. “OBMMI are uniquely positioned to provide unparalleled transparency into mortgage rates and this partnership enables Optimal Blue to deliver additional visibility into these key market metrics to even more financial services professionals—that’s a win for all involved.”

OBMMI was created by Optimal Blue to provide mortgage and finance professionals and consumers alike with greater visibility into how key credit factors impact mortgage pricing. Based on actual locked rates with consumers across 35% of all mortgage transactions nationwide, OBMMI are a compilation of sixteen mortgage rate indices developed around the most popular mortgage loan products and the primary credit-related attributes that impact mortgage pricing. These unique and granular indices provide an unprecedented level of daily insight into mortgage rate trends—the most comprehensive, accurate, and timely analysis of pricing ever conducted in the mortgage industry.

“Nasdaq is dedicated to bringing transparency throughout the financial ecosystem, including through our Global Index Data Service (GIDS),” explained Oliver Albers, Senior Vice President and Head of Data with Nasdaq’s Global Information Services. “The addition of mortgage rate indices known as OBMMI on GIDS provides additional clarity to an important asset class.”

Nasdaq GIDS provides data recipients, either directly or through a third-party distributor, the opportunity to reduce network, administrative, and data center costs through one connected ecosystem, rather than multiple data feeds. More than 700 firms—including all major market data vendors, market exchanges, sell-side banks, buy-side firms, trade automation providers, and financial web portals—receive real-time data feeds from Nasdaq GIDS and distribute to financial industry participants around the globe.

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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

— Consumers and industry professionals gain insights into key product and credit risk factors that impact nationwide mortgage pricing —

Optimal Blue, operator of the mortgage industry’s leading secondary marketing automation platform, announced today the release of its latest market innovation – Optimal Blue Mortgage Market Indices or OBMMI. Created to provide consumers and mortgage professionals with greater visibility into key drivers of mortgage pricing, OBMMI provide an unprecedented level of daily insight into observed mortgage transactions. Based on actual locked rates with consumers across more than 30% of all mortgage transactions nationwide, OBMMI provide the most comprehensive, accurate, timely, and interactive analysis of pricing ever conducted in the mortgage industry.

Scott Happ, CEO of Optimal Blue said, “This is an important milestone in Optimal Blue’s transformation from a pricing engine to a digital mortgage marketplace. We are uniquely positioned to introduce these new benchmarks and trust they will be of value to a broad range of participants looking for transaction-based mortgage price data.”

In this groundbreaking inaugural release of OBMMI, Optimal Blue provides multiple mortgage rate indices developed around the most popular mortgage loan products and specific borrower attributes. Each of the sixteen mortgage indices are represented with the national average of mortgage rates locked by consumers each day and include the change from the previous day. Indices can be compared through compelling interactive and configurable visualizations. For example, users can easily select pre-defined or custom time periods to isolate specific market movements or illustrate unique trends, such as the well documented jumbo-conventional spread inversion that currently exists.

“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, VP of Marketing and Strategic Alliances at Optimal Blue. “Complete with the industry’s largest product 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. OBMMI will help both audiences better understand trends and pricing in the mortgage market.”

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