Thursday, September 27, 2012

From Mortgage Technology Magazine: Finalist Named for Inaugural Lenders’ Choice MT Award

From Mortgage Technology Magazine: Finalist Named for Inaugural Lenders’ Choice MT Award

The 2012 Top Tech-Savvy Lenders and Servicers have voted and Mortgage Technology is pleased to announce the finalist for the first-ever Lenders’ Choice Award.

Draper, Utah-based International Document Services (IDS), Laguna Hills, Calif.-based QuestSoft and Sandy Spring, Ga.-based Xerox Mortgage Services received the top-three point totals in the survey of mortgage companies conducted by MT’s editorial staff and this year’s finalists.

The finalist that received the highest point total will be announced as the winner of the Lenders’ Choice Award at the 13th Annual Mortgage Technology Awards Ceremony on October 21 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago.

Voting was open to the lenders and servicers named to MT’s Top Tech-Savvy Lenders & Servicers list, released in the September issue of Mortgage Technology Magazine.

The Lenders’ Choice Award recognizes the technology provider that offers the best customer service, value proposition and overall user experience. Lenders and servicers were asked to rank their top three technology providers based on their combined evaluation of the three metrics.

Points were assigned to each vote—first, second and third place votes received three, two and one points, respectively. The judges then compiled the points totals derived from all the votes to select the finalists.

This year’s Lenders’ Choice Mortgage Technology Award is the first time in the history of the MT Awards that the finalists and winner of a category was decided by industry participants and technology users. The finalists for the 11 other MT Awards categories were determined by a panel comprised of Mortgage Technology’s editorial staff and announced in August. The judges also select the winners of those categories, which will also be revealed at the MT Awards Ceremony and published in a special edition of the magazine.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fun With IDS: Tailgating

Here at IDS we believe in some fun while we are not at work and doing those fun things with our fellow co-workers. This is a new post that I will do once a week to let everyone know what fun we have here at IDS as a team.

Last week I told you about the Holy War that happens once a year in Utah during college football season: Brigham Young University vs. University of Utah. This is a big deal to most everyone who lives in Utah, has grown up in Utah and who has attended either school.

Three of our very own were able to attend the big tailgate at the University of Utah before kick off! They sure look like they had fun. Thanks for sharing Falon Gilson, Molly Terry and Kyle Long. Utah did end up winning the Holy War this year and we all look forward to rivalry week next season.

Tell us how your company has fun together!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rivalry Week aka The Holy War

There are several college campuses in Utah, but rivalry week only exists between two of them: The University of Utah and Brigham Young University (BYU).

Rivalry week, also called the Holy War, comes around once a year when the BYU Cougars and the Utah Utes meet during the college football season. This is a highlight for most Utah residents and also a time of division between Utah fans and BYU fans.

There are a number of components that make the Holy War Particularly fierce. As the name of the rivalry implies, religion is a large component to this rivalry. The long length of the rivalry is also a major element. Another factor was that both teams played in the same conference from 1922 to 20120, and the Holy War game often decided the conference title. In 2011, Utah joined the Pac-12 and BYU became independent. The proximity of the two schools and the successful nature of the two teams also fuel the rivalry.

The Holy War is one of America’s oldest and most heated college football rivalries and very fun and competitive for all of us football fans. Here in the office we typically celebrate this fun week with everyone representing their team by wearing team colors and team apparel. Many of us are BYU Alumni and Utah Alumni so it is fun to take us back to the days where all week the two campuses rallied together to be the best fans for their team. We also have a tailgate party to bring all fans together!

Tyler Sebresos BYU Fan

Kyle Long & Clint Salisbury BYU Fans

Jason Hargis, Genevieve Schneider and Alecia Shaw Utah Fans 

Let the tailgating begin at IDS and Progressive Finance!

I will add my two cents: Go Utes!!! Also tell us about any of your football team and office rivalries and how you celebrate in the office.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Day Never Forgotten

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. This is a day that will never be forgotten by all that witnessed the events that took place on that Tuesday morning in New York City.

The September 11th attacks were a series of four suicide attacks that were committed in the Unites States on Tuesday September 11, 2001. The attacks were coordinated to attack areas of New York City and Washington D.C. on that Tuesday morning eleven years ago. Nineteen terrorist from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets. The hijackers intentionally piloted two of those planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines 175, into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City; both towers collapsed within two hours of being struck. The hijackers also crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virgina and intended to pilot the fourth hijacked jet, United Airlines Flight 93, into the United States Capitol Building in Washington D.C.; however, the plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after its passengers attempted to take control of the jet from the hijackers. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks, including 246 civilians and 19 hijackers aboard the four planes.

Many of us will never forget the images from that day and we will never forget those people who died. Let’s all take a moment today to remember everyone who was affected by September 11th.
Today IDS employees are remembering what took place that day; many of us will never forget where we were when we heard about it, how we felt and what we did that day.

“I was watching the morning news with my friend and saw the planes hit the trade center live! Forty five people that I knew died that day. I spent the day in shock to say the least,” said Melinda Wexler.

“It was my graduating year, 2001, my first year of college and I was away from home. I watched a few news stories on the TV before heading to campus. At school most of the classes were cancelled and there was a mobile TV pushed into the common area with the news on. I remember calling my family and letting them know how much I loved them and was glad they were all safe. It is crazy to think it was 11 years ago, it still seems too recent,” said Beth Price.

“I remember my mom dropped me off at school early, I was in the 8th grade. A whole bunch of kids and teachers were sitting in the lunch room watching the small TV set and as we sat there watching we saw the second plane hit the second tower. I remember being in shock and watching the news in almost every one of my classes. I will never forget the images from that day; I had actually been visiting New York City and World Trade Center just a week earlier. I also remember we had a soccer game that evening and my coach had a few friends who died in the towers. We had a moment of silence before the game started to remember and pray for all those who were affected that day,” said Ali Linthorst.

“I was in the high school lunch room with a couple of friends, it was my senior year, I remember watching it happen and thinking this can’t be real, you only read about stuff like this, not witness it. We all sat there in silence until one kid spoke up and said… Well I guess this means we are going to war, and that scared me to death. My heart broke for the people at the trade centers and their families. I will never forget that day, and hope that the families of the ones that were lost have found peace and comfort in knowing they will never be forgotten,” said Kortney Harward.

"I was living in Macon, Georgia and was in biology class when the principal announced over the intercom that the teachers were to turn off all televisions and to continue with their class schedules as usual. My teacher thought that announcement was so odd that she left the room to out what it meant. She quickly returned and said that although there was an announcement to turn TV's off, she felt it was more important for us to watch what was happening. For the next 30 minute, we heard reporters give their stories in disbelief and saw images of the first tower on fire. Every other teacher obeyed the announcement and so I was left to wonder what was going on until I got home later that afternoon. As soon as I arrived home, I was glued to the television and in bewilderment to see that the other tower and the Pentagon had been hit. My thoughts and prayers went out to those who were affected that day; and they continue to go out to them this day," said Kyle Long

"I slept in and then drove into work. I didn't know what was going on until I got to work. I remember watching the TV in the break room listening about the events. Then later when I went to school at the University of Utah they had televisions out around the university for students and faculty to watch," said Beckie Santos

"I remember leaving my townhome early in the morning for law school when my neighbor came outside and told me that planes flew into the World Trade Center. I couldn't believe it, speechless. I went to law school and my classes were cancelled and we watched the news all day. I remember the day being overwhelming. I remember being horrified (and still am) for the people who were caught in the top floors of the towers, unable to escape, many of them plunging to their death and for the people who were on all the airplanes that crashed. My heart goes out to all of the families that lost close family members and friends. I'm amazed by the heroism of the firefighters coming to rescue and the heroism of the people on board the airplane that crash landed in a field in Pennsylvania," said Clint Salisbury.

"I was at work, in the copy room and it was announced over the PA that two planes had hit the World Trade Center in an apparent Terrorist Attack. I don't remember what I had for dinner yesterday, but I will always remember those words and that moment in history. It was a crazy day, our phones that normally rang all day, didn't ring at all for the rest of the day. I was pregnant and remember feeling pretty scared not knowing what it meant for our country and its future. I didn't fully understand what was going on, so I was just scared. Being pregnant I had such a hard time thinking of all children that lost their parents, parents that lost their children, losing loved ones. It was just an extremely emotional day and following few months." anonymous.

"One thing that I have thought over the years is that people my age didn't know much, if anything, about the war on terrorism. It was the first day of many lessons of what it is like to be a true American, to know patriotism and have a real sense of fear. Before 9/11 I didn't have a real taste of why our soldiers sacrificed their lives. It made me proud to be an American, as it did for most young people that took it for granted." anonymous.

Let’s all remember those affected today and take a moment of silence of our own. Take some time away from 

Friday, September 7, 2012

CFPB Servicing Proposal Raises Concerns

Mortgage lending and servicing industry representatives were able to get an advanced look at what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering imposing on the mortgage servicing sector, and that glimpse has generated a number of significant concerns right out of the box.

The American Financial Services Association, the Consumer Mortgage Coalition, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the Residential Servicing Coalition submitted a joint comment letter to the CFPB in response to its April 9 outline of servicing rules under consideration that the bureau provided to a panel of select small business entities.

A key concern is the potential for dueling regulatory requirements. "First, it is important for the CFPB to recognize that the largest servicers are subject to settlement agreements with the state attorneys general and that to the extent a term of the settlement agreements differs from a CFPB rule, those servicers must be permitted to comply with the settlement agreements," the groups said. 

Another concern is that the outline apparently would override existing rules, guidelines, or industry practice despite any real problems with the current practice or rule, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines that specify what evidence of insurance coverage a borrower must supply to a servicer when flood insurance is required.

The bureau's outline also raised the specter of preemption-driven compliance problems. "The issue of preemption is a very real and serious concern for the industry as states are encouraged to exceed Dodd-Frank Act provisions and CFPB's rules," the industry reps said. The result, however, can impact compliance, especially as it relates to the current broad interpretation of what is an unfair and deceptive act or practice under state law or an unfair, deceptive, or abusive act or practice under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Less Than 150 Days

That's how long the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has to issue all of these complicated residential mortgage finance rules in final form:

  • Qualified Mortgage standards.
  • Truth in Lending Act regulations for ability to repay.
  • Mortgage originator standards and compensation prohibitions.
  • Quality control standards for automated valuation models.
  • Servicing standards and disclosure requirements.
  • Combined integrated disclosure forms.
  • High-cost mortgage definition.
  • Appraisal independence.
And then the rush is on to figure out how to enforce the new rules... so much to do, so little time.

New CFPB proposals and where they are likely to trip you up.
  • Those who've had an early look at the CFPB's servicing proposal are concerned that compliance with the CFPB rules could cause servicers to run afoul of other regulations and investor agreements. Will your existing agreements collide with new federal rules?
  • The bureau's proposal for supervising nonbank mortgage lenders has some hidden potholes, including a strict waiver regime that may limit a nonbank's defense to arguments or evidence presented in an initial written response. Will you be prepared to adequately defend yourself when the CFPB comes knocking?
New and changed state regulations and what you have to do to fall in line with them.
  • California has a new Homeowner Bill of Rights that will require all servicers conducting business in the state to follow most of the standards imposed on the top five players by the national servicing settlement. The becomes effective Jan. 1, 2013. How will you retrain your staff to meet the new provisions?
  • Texas changed its disclosure form requirements in mid-June with a July effective date. The state has promised not to hand our violations for using outdated forms until Sept. 1. Are your vendors updating their systems quickly enough?
Litigation and settlements and the lessons to be learned from them.
  • Wells Fargo's $175 million fair lending settlement coincided with its decision to discontinue funding mortgages from independent brokers. Do you have safeguards in place to reduce your liability for acts by third parties?
  • A federal judge has rejected an industry challenge to the Department of Labor's interpretation that loan officers are owed extra pay for overtime. What are your payroll practices?

*Let us know your thoughts and concerns regarding CFPB and what is to come!

Romney Offers Glimpse of Housing Policy

After months of providing relatively little detail on his plans to address the housing crisis, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has offered the outline of his housing policy proposals.

In a new page added to the candidate's website, Romney presents what he calls "A Plan to End the Housing Crisis." The four-part solution, presented here verbatim, is as follows:

  • Responsibly sell the 200,000 vacant foreclosed homes owned by the government;
  • Facilitate foreclosure alternatives for those who cannot afford to pay their mortgage;
  • Replace complex rules with smart regulation to hold banks accountable, restore a functioning marketplace and restart lending to creditworthy borrowers; and 
  • Protect taxpayers from additional risk in the future by reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Romney's website claims the federal government owns "almost half of all of the foreclosed homes in the country," while the candidate promises to "facilitate creative alternatives to foreclosure for those who cannot afford to pay their mortgage" - however, the specifics of these alternatives were not spelled out.

Romney also appeared to echo an earlier proposal if his running mate, Paul Ryan, by calling for a "reform" of Fannie Mae and Freddie while seeking to ensure that "taxpayer dollars in the housing market are replaced with private dollars." Again, however, the Romney plan avoided specifics on how to achieve these goals.

However, Romney was specific in blaming his opponent for the current state of housing.

"Under President Obama, home prices have fallen, homeowners have received more than 8.5 million foreclosure notices and 11 million American owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth," says Romney on his website. "President Obama's only plan to address the housing crisis was the same plan he used to try to fix the economy: spend more taxpayer money on big-government programs. To address the housing crisis, President Obama rolled out an alphabet soup of more than 10 housing finance programs rather than offering a real solution. Meanwhile, creditworthy borrowers are struggling to get a loan as a result of uncertainty caused by the president's policies.

"By continuing to insist on a government-centric approach to housing and to the economy more generally, President Obama has hamstrung the economic recovery and slowed the recovery of the housing market," Romney adds. "Right now, taxpayers are on the hook for almost 90 percent of all new mortgages. The two government-sponsored government housing corporation (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) fueled a predictable disaster, and President Obama has done nothing to reform these entities."

David H. Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, acknowledged the Romney plan in an email to the trade group's membership.

"While more detail is needed, this provides good insight into his views," Stevens wrote.