Bye-bye regulation, the mortgage industry found a new focus: technology innovation

Posted By HousingWire on Nov 04, 2016

There was a clear difference in the atmosphere at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual convention and expo in Boston this year. A positive difference.

Headlines from last year’s coverage read, “MBA Annual: Lenders want to lend, but is it safe?” and “[Video] MBA's Stevens details False Claims risk.”

And then compare that to this year’s tweet about MBA President and CEO David Stevens.

Of course, the industry is safer because of all the hard work it put in over the past several years complying with new regulations.

The industry was so completely stifled by TRID last year that the burden carried over into the mood of the conference. Everyone was coping with the new TRID implementation.

Then, in an almost complete 180-degree turn, there’s this year’s conference, which featured only one panel session on TRID — a significant change from all the hype surrounding it last year.

And while TRID isn’t fully over, as noted here, the industry is finally able to come up for air, look around and see a new path forward.

On the one-year anniversary of TRID, Fenn Meents, chief growth officer with iEmergent, explained that he is more positive on the future of the industry now that the industry has had time to understand TRID.

“TRID was such a massive undertaking for the industry. It was all hands on deck. Other initiatives to strategically increase revenue were selected as tier-two initiatives and put on an extended timeline for completion,” he said.

“As I talk with more lenders, now that they have taken a deep breath from TRID, they are looking at 2017 as a period where their enterprise’s resources, both human and financial, will not be as heavily monopolized by a single impending regulatory event."

This became very apparent at the convention in Boston.

A theme throughout this year’s convention was data automation and technology. Basically, the industry started to execute on plans that have long been needed. The industry started to innovate.

Just take two of the biggest announcements at the conference as an example: “Fannie Mae announces sweeping program for mortgage lender ‘freedom’ from penalties” and “Freddie Mac announces new tools designed to cut mortgage origination costs.”

Freddie Mac’s new Loan Advisor Suite will now offer automated borrower income verification, automated borrower asset verification and automated assessment of borrowers without credit scores.

And Andrew Bon Salle, executive vice president of single-family business at Fannie Mae, commented on his company's announcement saying, "Advancements in technology have enabled these capabilities — we couldn’t have done this several years ago, but we've also shifted our focus and strategy at Fannie Mae to providing a simple and certain customer experience. Before we were focused on helping borrowers impacted by the crisis to stay in their homes, but now we can turn our attention to helping industry move forward, and this is a huge step in doing that.”

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg with these announcements.

Kelly Adkisson, managing director for Accenture's Credit Consulting Practice in North America, said in an interview at the conference that the pace of technology in the industry is faster than had ever been seen before. 

Adkisson explained that Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage really pushed the technology innovation conversation to another level and forced companies to start doing something on the digital side.

“We see automation as a key enabler to driving efficiency gains and also customer experience benefits,” she said.

Now, Adkisson noted, the focus and investment is all around innovation.  

And while the industry will never be done with regulation, Adkisson summed up the conference well saying, “The conversation has changed from regulatory to innovation.”

Here at HousingWire, we're looking forward to covering those companies innovating and moving markets forward. 

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