Thursday, January 26, 2012

Food for Thought: What Does Your Technology Vendor Have to Offer?


When reading through my emails and mortgage publication newsletters this morning, like I do every morning, one article caught my eye and really got me thinking. In today’s MortgageOrb email newsletter the Required Reading was about selecting your tech vendors and the process and suggestions to pick the exact one right for a company. As a tech vendor this seemed like a great read. There are several things that caught my attention.

Smart Technology solutions are no longer confined to a single department within a mortgage banking operation. Once the technology requirements are defined, the next challenge is to acquire the best possible solution.

In technology, as in fashion, one size never fits all. Everyone has unique needs, though there is a common ground in the need to meet regulatory compliance requirements. In this new era of intensive regulatory oversight, most lenders are looking for a business partner, not just a technology vendor. But this is not a task that can be achieved overnight.

At IDS we know that ‘one size’ doesn’t fit all and as an industry leader in document technology and preparation we cater to the exact needs of our lenders and the services they need to provide. We take pride in providing top of the line customer service and 20+ years of experience in the mortgage industry. We do not take our business relationships lightly and we consider each vendor a partner and step closer to achieving the best.

Another important factor to consider is the vendor’s willingness to form a partnership beyond the implementation. A true partnership is crucial to the continued business success of both parties. Good technology partners involve customer in product development, maintain user groups and promote open communications with their customers.

“At IDS we believe that it is easier to keep a new client than to go out and find another new client. We regularly make visits to our existing clients, and we have staff focused specifically on client appreciation and knowing that their experience with IDS is a good one,” said Mark Mackey, Executive Vice President of IDS.

“The employees we have and hire are here for the long haul, which allows our clients to build relationships with our team members who are going to be around for a long time.”

At this point in the process, it is vital to take the time to determine if you are talking to a software vendor or a business partner. The easiest way to do this is to speak with existing customers, ask how they decide on and develop product enhancements, and determine how willing the vendor is to adapt to your needs.

The IDS difference compared to other doc prep vendors and software vendors is that our document solution, idsDoc, is comprehensive and versatile. As IDS development has always been based on the requests of our users, idsDoc is jam-packed with customizable features and value added tools. The overall abilities and functions of idsDoc far exceed other doc prep solutions, making it more desirable for the mortgage company who has its own specific needs.

“IDS is definitely more than just a technology/software vendor, they are more like a business partner. Working with the IDS staff to customize the way we do business with their idsDoc solution is very easy to implement,” said Ruby Bongala, operations manager at Security First Mortgage Funding, LLC.

“It is always a pleasure working with IDS. They are professional, extremely knowledgeable and they are always very responsive to your needs. Working with IDS as more than a technology vendor, but as a business partner has allowed us to streamline our document preparation processes and customize everything so that we can accomplish what we need,” added Bongala.

Technology should not be sacrificed to a one size fits all, but it should be a true partnership that helps both parties to be successful.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

GOP Candidates & Their Very Own Real Estate

Watching the GOP debate and learning more about the GOP candidates it seems like they just might be normal people-- though they are wealthy, well experienced and running for president they also have families, their own houses and they do have hardships. Normal right?

After months of hitting the campaign trail, Republican candidates hoping to win their party's nomination for the 2012 presidential election have been spending most of their time in planes, trains and automobiles. Home, sweet, home has been a dizzying series of hotel rooms.

But out there somewhere, each of these politician actually does have a domestic domicile where there are no corn dogs to eat, no stranger's babies to hold and no stray swarms of supporters and fans.

AS the GOP primary season cranks into high gear, we're taking a look at the homes these candidates   wants to trade in for the Big White one on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Newt Gingrich the former House speaker was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in Georgia and served as a U.S. Congressman from the Peach State, but he now calls home McLean, VA. Gingrich purchased his home in McLean in 2000 for $995,000. The 5-bedroom, 5-bath home has 5,206 square feet of living space. The Colonial style home was built in 1987. Only 10 miles from the White House, McLean is a critical suburban outpost for the Beltway political crowd.

During his 20-year service in Congress, Republican Ron Paul established himself as one of the country's leading libertarians. The prophet of self-rule and minimal government is making his third bid for presidency. AT 76, Paul has been successful in rallying younger voters seeking a leader who promises to alter the political structure of the country. And true to the profile of a man who advocates for people doing things for themselves- in politics or elsewhere- it's not surprising to find that Paul is trying to sell his house via the Internet without a real estate agent or broker. The Lake Jackson home is priced at $325,000 and has 4-bedrooms, 5-bath and 5,500 square feet of living space. I mean who wouldn't want Ron Paul's house?

Mitt Romney the former Massachusetts governor is hoping that his 2008 failure to secure the GOP nomination will turn into a presidential election win in 2012. He's running as a non-politician, calling himself a businessman who can turn the wheels of the U.S. economy. As the wealthiest of the candidates with an estimated net worth between $190 million and $250 million, it's clear Romney knows how to spur his own economic recovery. Out of the slew of GOP candidates, Romney also owns the most real estate, although he has downsized in the last few years, he did have six houses. He currently owns a townhouse in Boston, as well as a beachfront home in La Jolla, which he bought in 2008 for $12 million. Romney applied for a permit to expand his beachfront La Jolla home in 2011 and will reportedly begin construction when his presidential campaign is finished.

Former two-term Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum lost his seat to Democrat Bob Casey in 2006, but he proved that his governmental connections were good for business in his years as a Philadelphia Inquirer writer, Fox News commentator and conservative think-tank leader. In 2007, after much controversy about whether he and his large family actually resided in Pennsylvania during his Senate terms, Santorum bought a yellow Colonial-style home in Great Falls, VA for $2 million in 2007. The 4-bedroom, 5-bath home sits on five acres and includes a cobbled drive and heated pool.

If all the GOP candidates enjoy their own real estate they will start worrying and discussing the issues of the housing industry and the need for recovery.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Housing Finance Reform Mired in Primary Politics

The following article is from The MReport Magazine. It is a great magazine to follow up on the posts we have had regarding the presidential hopefuls and their take on the housing industry recovery.

Presidential hopefuls remain quiet on subjects related to housing finance reform- except when it comes to politics. With former House Speaker Newt Gingrich trumping former Gov. Mitt Romney in the South Carolina primary Saturday, the latter went on the attack Monday by reportedly criticizing his opponents for a $1.6 million contract he signed with Freddie Mac to advise the GSE at one time.

"What was he doing at Freddie Mac?" CNN quoted Romney as saying before an audience in Florida. the news outlet added claims from Romney that Freddie Mac plays a prominent role in low home values for residents for the Sunshine State.

The Washington Post reports that D.C. lobbyist J.C. Watts, whose firm signed the contract for Gingrich, offered in response that "the first time I head Newt Gingrich's name was probably 45 days ago, and that was probably that first week of December, when he was getting hit in Iowa basically  saying that he was peddling influence for Freddie Mac."

News outlets said that Gingrich agreed to release his contract with Freddie Mac to quell concerns in the meantime.

These rows touch on the politics of housing and offer the only such war of words for candidates over the industry, signaling only peripheral discussion of a still-lagging sector of the economy.

Former Gov. Jon Huntsman, who left the race for the Oval Office last week, drafted one of the only comprehensive reform proposals by pledging to dismantle Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, and 'fix' the Basel III Accords.

Gingrich and Romney made stabs at housing reform earlier last fall, but neither revived any discussion related to housing until the latter drew up claims that his rival deployed his connections on behalf of the GSE to reap private gain.

Numerous polls and surveys suggest that public appetite remains wet for a meaningful conversation about housing finance reform despite the absence of it this season.

In December the National Association of Realtors released a survey that found about on-third of likely voters want to hear more solutions to the housing crisis from their presidential candidates.

Of some 1,500 respondents polled by the National Association of Home Builders in early January, in another instance, three in four backed a federal role in taxation and policy incentives favorable to homeowners and homebuyers.

"Those running for office in November need to understand that voters will not look kindly on any candidates who seek to dismantle the nation's long-term commitment to homeownership," Bob Nielsen, NAHB president and a Reno-based home builder, said of the figures in a statement.

Another Washington Post story Monday said that Florida- hardest-hit among several for a foreclosure glut that keeps home construction at bay- could force GOP candidates to debate their solutions to the crisis.

Michele Dickerson, Arthur L. Moller chair in bankruptcy law and policy at the University of Texas Law School, tells us that she doesn't think talk of housing finance reform matters much to the broader electorate or voters in primaries and caucuses outside of hard-hit states like Florida.

"I don't think the general public has a clue about the intricacies of mortgage finance or housing finance," she says, calling housing a 'third rail' in politics, not unlike Social Security.

She says that housing politics come down to a matter of political will and predicts that something as complicated as the importance of federal guarantees in agency mortgage-backed securities will stay near the sidelines of discussion.

The debate over Fannie and Freddie 'is important, but I don't think that it will be part of any candidate's platform on either side of the aisle," she adds

Several news outlets report officials saying that President Barack Obama will likely touch on housing in his State of the Union address Tuesday.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What Are the Presidential Candidates’ Positions on Housing Plans?

What Are the Presidential Candidates’ Positions on Housing Plans?

What are the biggest issues facing the real estate market? What are candidates campaigning to do to encourage a recovery? Presidential hopefuls are facing these questions and others as they head from state to state.

Each candidate has their own specific views on the top housing issues. Below is the views of each candidate for specific issues

  • President Barack Obama
    • Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID): Scale back MID, eliminate MID for the 'rich'
    • Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs): Use Fannie and Freddie to help the ailing housing system but eventually phase them out
    • Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP): Supportive of HAMP
    • Underwater Mortgages/Foreclosures: Allow 'underwater' borrowers to refinance their mortgages at today's low rates. Believes nation's struggling housing market is holding back the economy
    • Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP): Supportive of HARP, "HARP helps more people refinance their mortgages at interest rates that are now near 4 percent."

  • Mitt Romney
    • Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID): Supportive of MID believes that MID "Needs to remain."
    • Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs): Shut down Fannie and Freddie
    • Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP): Opposed to HAMP, believes HAMP has slowed the housing recovery instead of helped it.
    • Underwater Mortgages/Foreclosures: Less government interference. Foreclosures have to run their course, prices must bottom out to restore confidence and stability. "The right course is to let the markets work."
    • Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP): "Worth Considering"

  • Newt Gingrich
    • Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID): Supportive of maintains MID
    • Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs): Gingrich would like to break up Fannie and Freddie. Smaller privatized institutions would increase competitiveness and accountability. Housing GSEs have made an 'important contribution' to home ownership.
    • Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP): No information available on Gingrich stand on HAMP
    • Underwater Mortgages/Foreclosures: Gingrich does not favor free market approach. Believes there is a need to renegotiate bad mortgages and make banks share losses with homeowners.
    • Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP): No information available on Gingrich stand on HARP

  • Ron Paul
    • Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID): No information available on Paul's stand on MID
    • Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs): Privatize Fannie and Freddie. Fannie and Freddie is a 'deeply flawed' system tied too closely to the government
    • Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP):  No information available on Paul's stand on HAMP
    • Underwater Mortgages/Foreclosures: Government should be enforcing contracts, not undermining them. Government assistance for underwater homeowners is prolonging market correction. Leave it to the market.
    • Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP): No information available on Paul's stand on HARP

  • Rick Santorum
    • Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID): Supportive of maintaining MID
    • Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs): Privatize Fannie and Freddie, attributes financial crisis to Fannie and Freddie
    • Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP): No information available on Santorum's stand on HAMP
    • Underwater Mortgages/Foreclosure: No information available on Santorum's stand on Underwater Mortgages and Foreclosures.
    • Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP): No information available on Santorum's stand on HARP
    •  
     
       
       

Friday, January 20, 2012

GOP Republican Presidential Candidates & Housing Industry- Mitt Romney Style

Today I wanted to focus on the debates that have been taking place between the GOP Republican Presidential Candidates and the issue of the housing industry specifically from the point of Mitt Romney. I will cover all the candidates and where they stand on the same issue the next couple of weeks.

For the past few months Americans have watched and listened as the Republican candidates take the stage and discuss or rather 'debate' how they are the the best and better than the rest to be the next Republican candidate for the president.

With only four candidates left in the race for the presidential nomination their campaigns have been cranked up and intensified as they take on South Carolina. According to CNN the candidate who has won in South Carolina since 1980 has been the Republican presidential candidate- therefore it has been a heavy and intense battle.



While traveling from state to state promoting their campaigns and stressing their plans to fix the issues of America the big question in the minds of the mortgage industry is: do you have an answer or a plan on how to solve the housing crisis. Five years into the housing crisis, the sector remains sluggish with some 4 million people behind on their mortgage payments or in foreclosure and nearly 23% of residential properties upside down. So what are they going to do?

The main contender Mitt Romney has taken a hit for saying we should let the foreclosure process run its course. "As to what to do for the housing industry specifically, and there are things that you can do to encourage housing, one is don't try and stop the foreclosure process," said Mitt Romney in an interview for the Las Vegas Review Journal in October 2011.

"Let it run its course and hit the bottom. Allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix homes up, and let it turn around and come back up. The Obama administration has slow-walked the foreclosure processes that have long existed, and as a result we still have a foreclosure overhang," said Romney.

At times it seems that the Romney is intentionally vague in explaining his vision for improving the state of the housing market, not highlighting the issue. The issue he is highlighting is his plan for job creation. "We have to allow the economy to reboot," he said. "The best thing you can do for housing is get the economy going and get people working again."

As the front runner, Romney makes good points and has solid plans that could be exactly the answer to get us out of this economic downfall, but what about the housing industry? It is still a mystery and other candidates feel the same way.

"What we know won't work is what this president's done, which is try to hold off the foreclosure process- the normal market process- to put money into a stimulus that failed, and to put in place a whole series of policies from Obama-care to Dodd-Frank that have made it hard for this economy to get going," said Romney. "The reason we have the housing crisis we have is that the federal government played to heavy a role in our markets." "Barney Frank and Chris Dodd told banks they had to give loans to people who couldn't afford to pay them back."

This is has been an interesting run for the Republican nomination and I have a feeling that it is just going to get better. Let me know your thoughts on the candidates and what you think will happen next! Just leave your comments would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

MBA NewsLink: CFPB Ramps Up Mortgage Examination Procedures

As I opened up my email this morning there were the usual mortgage publication newsletter emails with today's mortgage industry news. But one did pop-out and that was MBA NewsLink's article about CFPB and the new procedures that they are implementing. I decided I wanted to share this with our IDS blog readers and get some feedback on what they think about the CFPB and the things they are doing.

MBA NewsLink: CFPB Ramps Up Mortgage Examination Procedures

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week published procedure implementing its Nonbank Supervision program, outlining how its examiners will scrutinze originators in both the bank and non-bank sectors.

The publication, Mortgage Origination Examination Procedures (http://www.consumerfinance.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Mortgage-Origination-Examination-Procedures.pdf), serves as a field guide for CFPB examiners and targets what CFPB Director Ricahrd Cordray said is a "significant part of the mortgage market- including independent lenders, brokers, servicers and others unaffiliated with banks and depository institutions-- that has not been subject to federal supervision."

"The mortgage market cannot work well for consumers if the spotlight shines only on one part of it, while the rest is left in darkness," Cordray said. "Our supervision program will illuminate the entire marketplace by making nonbanks play by the same rules as the banks."

CFPB described the "nonbank: mortgage sector as including many of the largest subprime lenders. The Dodd-Frank Act provided the CFPB with authority to supervise a wider range of mortgage participants.

The publication outlines the CFPB's supervisory approach to ensure mortgage originators, including lenders and brokers, comply with federal consumer financial laws. It describes types of information that the agency's examiners can gather to evaluate mortgage originators' policies and procedures, assess whether originators are in compliance with applicable laws and identify risks to consumers throughout the mortgage origination process. The manual tracks key mortgage originator activities, from initial advertisments and marketing practices to closing practices.

The procedures consist of modules covering various elements of the mortgage origination process; each module identifies specific matters for review. Examiners will use the Procedures in examinations of mortgage brokers and mortgage lenders, generally called "mortgage originators" int hese procedures.

To carry out the objectives set forth in the Examination Objectives section, the examination process also will include assessing other risks to consumers generally prohibited by Dodd-Frank. Thse risks may include potentially unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices with respect to mortgage originators' interactions with consumers.

To read the rest of this article and to see the standards the CFPB will use in assessing such practices read the full story.

It seems like the CFPB are really taking part in the well-being of the consumer and originators must be in compliance with their practices. Are you ready for these changes and the compliance that comes along with it?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New England Mortgage Expo

Matt Mackey and Mark Mackey are at the New England Mortgage Expo in Foxwoods, CT! Make sure to stop by the booth if you are in attendance! Should be a great show for IDS, we are looking forward to it.


Housing Wire: Survey Shows Wide Support for Mortgage Interest Deduction

It seems like the housing market has been getting some boosts at the beginning of 2012. With mortgage applications up from previous weeks and now a survey shows wide support for mortgage interest deduction. It might just be the year of full recovery?

The 30-year, fixed-rate home loan and the government's mortgage interest tax deduction are popular homebuying incentives for Americans, the National Association of Homebuilders said Wednesday.

The trade group based its conclusion on a survey of 1,500 likely voters. The poll was conducted Republican-leaning Public Opinion Strategies and the the Democratic-leaning Lake Research Partners.

The results show 75% of respondents believe it's reasonable for the government to offer a tax incentive to promote homeownership. It seems to be that this could be the extra spark needed to make the housing recovery continue on an upward climb during 2012. It is interesting that across party lines- 68% said they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports an end to the mortgage interest deduction. . Sixty-nine percent of independents and 68% of Republicans and Democrats are in support of homebuyer tax relief.

"The American electorate is sending a clear message that owning a home remains a cornerstone of the American dream and preserving a federal commitment to homeownership is essential to maintain a thriving middle class and get housing and the economy back on track," said Neil Newhouse, co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies.

Is this the extra push we need to get everything back on track? What are your thoughts and will whether this incentive stays or not affect the way you vote?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Utah Jazz

Here in Utah there is lots to do- there are mountains covered in snow, red rock, rivers, lakes and cities all filled with different activities for everyone to enjoy. One thing we don't have much of is professional sport teams, there are two to be exact. Real Salt Lake, which is our Major League Soccer (MLS) team and of course the Utah Jazz. Both of these franchises have given us much to cheer about! Real Salt Lake won the 2009 MLS cup against the coveted LA Galaxy (David Beckham's team) and the Utah Jazz lost in the playoff finals against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1997. Here in Utah we love our Jazz and cheer them on no matter what the circumstance may be.

The 2010-2011 season was a rough and emotional one for Jazz players and fans. After losing head coach of 23 years, Jerry Sloan, in the middle of the season the Jazz took a turn for the worst, losing star guard Deron Williams and having an extra rough end to the season. Hopefully this season will be different!

With the end of the NBA lockout the Utah Jazz had a fresh start. Showcasing many new, young and talented faces on the team, it was a different site for Jazz fans, but it has turned out to be a good one. Gaining momentum and team chemistry the Jazz are on a 5 game winning streak (6-3). The Jazz are off to their best start at home (5-0) since beginning the 2008-09 season at 6-0. This only the beginning of what will hopefully be a successful and refreshing season.

GO JAZZ, GO!!

Utah Jazz- Paul Millsap drives for the hoop on Tuesday nights 113-105 victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers




Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mortgage Purchase Applications decreased over Holidays

IDS customer, 360 Mortgage Group did a blog post at the beginning of December regarding the Holiday Housing Market and what this busy time of year does to the amount of housing applications.

"The end of the year is already considered a busy time, but for many who also take part in holiday festivities, the thought of buying or selling a house during this time is absolutely ludicrous. Case in point, the week of Thanksgiving saw mortgage applications decrease by nearly 12 percent compared to just one week earlier." said Amy Elms 360 Mortgage Group's professional blogger & content writer.

The MBA's Weekly Applications Survey is clear evidence that the holiday season doesn't seem to be a big purchasing time for future homeowners. According to the survey, despite the lowest interest rates in 2011, mortgage application activity fell over the two-week holiday period for the weeks ending December 23 and December 30.

The hustle and bustle of the holidays doesn't seem to allow time to shop for houses on top of shopping for all of those on your holiday list. I believe that the idea of putting your house on the market right on January 2nd makes sense. Everyone is slowing down from the holidays and is figuring out their budget and future plans for 2012.

Hopefully the mortgage industry will see an increase in mortgage applications this next year, especially the next couple of months. According to Reuters "Economy Gaining Momentum, Housing Shows a Pulse" article it states that "recent data on home sales and construction have been fairly up beat, suggesting an improvement in a sector that has been the economy's weakest link, but prices continue to trend lower."

3 Big Social Media Moments of 2011

The year 2011 saw many milestones in the world of social media. While some were more positive than others, one thing is for sure- the impact and involvement of social media is changing the way society interacts. Even the old fashioned, paper obsessed mortgage industry is investing more time and energy into the world of social media and all it has to offer. According to Search Dog Marketing there are 3 big social media moments, out of the countless others, that hold importance for Internet marketers and business owners. Feel free to share your comments on these and other big social media moments of 2011.

1. Google Launches Google+ Pages: Google finally joined the social media party, but definitely on their own terms. Google+ launched in 2011 and since then everyone has been in a rush to join and dominate this new network. It remains to be seen whether this social network will truly be useful to marketers, but it's definitely a nice tool to add to the arsenal and connect with friends.

2. Twitter Get $300 Million Investment From Saudi Prince: Just this month Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and his investment company, Kingdom Holding Company announced plans to invest millions into the micro-blogging site. Happy New Year Twitter!

3. Fox News Twitter Hack: After several alarming and unusual tweets were sent from the Fox News Twitter account, it became apparent that they were the victims of a malicious hack job. The tweets were false and claimed that President Obama was assassinated when he was actually spending time with his family.

Fox News released a statement confirming as much. Twitter accounts get hacked every other day, so that wasn't a huge shock. It's what the tweets said that blew everyone away. Although Fox promised to launch a full-scale investigation into how the hack took place, we all know that there is no escaping the wrath of hackers.

Even though none of these moments involve the mortgage industry it is just another testament that social media is a part of our everyday lives whether personal or professional. As the mortgage industry continues to embrace social media, we will continue to grow and succeed as an industry. Can you think of any big mortgage social media moments of 2011? Share your comments if you can think of any.