Cheri Shine was named president of NexGen Compliance Solutions LLC, a mortgage loan closing document processing company. Previously executive vice president at the firm, Shine led TitleHound’s technology and business-development strategies for two years. She has more than 20 years of mortgage banking and title vendor management experience. She recently spoke to Providence Business News about TitleHound, patent pending software. and more technological advances on the way.
PBN: Where are you in the process of developing and implementing TitleHound?
SHINE: TitleHound has been available in the market since January 2009. However, we have been continuing to enhance the product for agents and lenders. We recently released version two of our WebServices product for those that want to integrate directly with TitleHound. In this version, we provided [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] mapping, a single call for data, and more document and transaction types. This means that our integrated clients have access to information for a larger number of real estate loan transactions. Additionally, we added functionality that allows our agents and lenders to add defaults making it easier for their loan officers to get quotes for good faith estimates even more quickly. During 2012, we will continue working towards integration with several title production software platforms, as well as lender operating systems, allowing for seamless data flow for agents and lenders.
PBN: What are the benefits to a company/person using TitleHound?
SHINE: The greatest benefit to using TitleHound is getting accurate information for good faith estimates and HUD settlement statements. The critical information that TitleHound provides is in the area of title insurance premiums, endorsements, settlement fees, and government recording fees as well as transfer and mortgage taxes. Using TitleHound to calculate these amounts ensures accuracy when quoting closing costs to borrowers, which is why we guarantee our information. Additionally, we maintain the insurance rate tables for our clients. The calculations for title insurance are very complex and by maintaining these for our clients, they are assured accuracy, which helps them remain compliant with disclosure rules as well as with title underwriters. Agents using TitleHound also save time and money by allowing our experts to maintain the rate tables rather than have their own staff maintain them.
Another and perhaps important advantage of using TitleHound is our ability to compare the products of various underwriters and agents. Not all insurance products and prices are the same and it is through comparison that borrowers can save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in closing costs by comparing products and service charges. Only TitleHound offers the most robust tool for a lender to compare all of their agents’ products and services and quickly find the best priced product for the borrower.
With our improved rate engine, clients can customize the data to fit their business needs. TitleHound allows agents more control than ever. They get to direct how their data is presented to their lender clients through use of custom business rules from the company level down to the individual user. With our streamlined approach, we ensure that closing costs are accurate so lenders don’t have to redisclose and we minimize problems at the closing table.
With the many regulations set forth in the Dodd-Frank Act and the broad rulemaking authority given to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, lenders and agents have peace of mind knowing that TitleHound is RESPA – or, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act – compliant, minimizing any potential tolerance loss violations.
Today’s consumer is more apt to gather information online. Agents can compete in the marketplace by offering TitleHound for free on their Web site, easily accessible to lenders and Realtors, assisting in building a relationship-based marketing model.
PBN: What other technological advances do you see NexGen making?
SHINE: NexGen is always looking for ways to help lenders and agents. We have been listening to our clients who are asking for more support for the Realtors they work with including enhancing our Seller's Statement and adding a Buyer's Sheet. We're also working with GFEazy to provide our clients with inspection services and expect to have this ready for the first quarter of 2012.
With the new GFE and HUD-1 forms set to be released at the end of the year, NexGen is always working to provide user friendly GFE and HUD formats to improve the TitleHound user experience.
And since more and more people are utilizing smartphones, the TitleHound mobile application will be ready in 2012.
PBN: Do you see the process of mortgage loan closings changing in any way?
SHINE: The regulations continue to change as do the forms required. We are just beginning to see the need for comparisons. Additionally, we are seeing agents and lenders getting a better handle on tolerance losses; however, many are still quoting on the high side in order to avoid losses. We believe the market is now ready for the comparisons in order to provide competitive quotes to potential borrowers while still having confidence in the actual quoted figures.
Overall, the process for closing loans includes more technology and use of third party providers whether it is third party software or third party specialist. We believe this will continue as lenders and agents find the best ways to control the costs. There are also several lawsuits that are being watched for their impact on the closing process. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Nov. 28 in the case First American Financial Corporation v. Edwards. The Supreme Court will review whether a plaintiff can bring a claim under RESPA without alleging injury in fact. This case can expose the title insurance industry and mortgage industry with unforeseen liability and open the door for increased lawsuits filed under RESPA.
PBN: What kind of trend are you seeing when it comes to mortgage loans/ closings?
SHINE: Regulations will continue as the industry finds its way through the current environment. Technology will continue to grow in order to control costs and ensure compliance with regulations. For example, electronic signings have been available for sometime, but our clients are beginning to see more activity with this method of signing. We are anticipating that the entire mortgage transaction will be handled from an iPad in the future with benefits to all parties which include accurate, secure and instantaneous transactions. Additionally, we are seeing an increase in the availability of electronic recording of documents following disbursement or closing. This eliminates risk for the parties involved.
The 2010 HUD settlement statement was attempting to make the disclosure of fees more transparent to the borrower, but because the fees are lumped together, there are many in the industry that feels that the form is not as helpful as originally intended. We anticipate both the GFE and HUD to undergo changes as regulators work with industry professionals and consumers to ensure better disclosure of the closing costs. One benefit we have seen is that since the 2010 HUD came out, borrowers are not getting up charged after the loan application. However, on the flip side, more conservative closing costs are being disclosed upfront by lenders who do not want to suffer tolerance losses. This leaves the borrower vulnerable to paying the higher fees disclosed upfront. This is where TitleHound offers a tremendous value with its ability to assess the borrower’s qualifications for discounts and provide upfront quotes that protect the lender by being accurate and add value to the borrower by comparing premiums and fees and providing the borrower with the best price available from the quoting agent.
Finally, third-party service providers, specialize in a particular aspect of the industry continue to gain market share as companies look for ways to control costs, ensure compliance, and mitigate risk by allowing the third party provider to take on the risk through guarantees. TitleHound is in this space offering title agents and lenders a tool managed by experts in title fees. Our team helps agents and lenders manage complex rate calculations so that the rates are always accurate because it’s what our rate specialist do everyday, unlike an agent or lender who assigns the rate maintenance to an employee who may where multiple hats. Errors in today’s environment are costly to the agent and lender, so allowing third party experts handle risk is a growth area in the industry.