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​NMP's Visionary Organizations

Feb 14, 2014

Every once in a while, an organization comes along, an organization that sets trends, remains ahead of the curve and sets a bar by which all others strive to attain. This month, we take a look at a sampling of these organizations, organizations that we have deemed “Visionary” for their inspiration to always strive to improve and go above and beyond to assist their clients, but ones that have successfully navigated an ever-changing mortgage industry marketplace. We present to you the following movers and shakers in the industry and the leaders behind them. AllRegs Dan Thoms ♦ President What was the original vision of the company? AllRegs launched in 1989 as a digitally-formatted regulatory reference library with the goal of streamlining and improving the mortgage guideline and compliance reference process. Since then, our product menu has grown to include AllRegs Academy, a professional services team, a database of over 3,000 loan products and a custom publishing solution. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? One of newest initiatives centers our consumer training and helping consumers understand and navigate their way to buying or maintaining a home. Not only are we providing the highest quality online home education to homeowners and homebuyers, we are providing the real estate finance industry with a way to easily provide this consumer training to their existing clients, or potential new clients. Where do you see your company in five years? At AllRegs, we will continue to provide our customers with a comprehensive suite of tools and resources to meet the needs of the mortgage industry, including research and reference tools, business intelligence, education and training, and professional services. Based on our corporate objectives and with an unwavering commitment to excellence, we will continue to: Help people and companies grow by providing them with knowledge, content and training resources; present people with solutions to everyday problems to increase their productivity and create efficiencies; and create opportunities for them to grow and maintain their business based on industry standards, guidelines and compliance.   America's Choice Home Loans Cory Fowler ♦ National Sales Manager What was the original vision of the company? The owners of America's Choice Home Loans (ACHL) began as loan originators and still originate today, when they started our company, the first and foremost important vision was for a company to be loan originator friendly! What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? What we are doing today in our industry and our local marketplace is providing a “superior” service! We want everyone involved in the transaction to understand how America’s Choice Home Loans values them. Where do you see your company in five years? Our hope is to see the company grow in the next five years, but with that said we do not ever want to lose our accessibility to the decision makers or our excellence service! ACHL believes in doing it RIGHT!   The Bond Exchange Mason Grashot, CPA ♦ President What was the original vision of the company? The Bond Exchange was formed in 1990 to function as the surety department for a multi-line independent insurance agency with a few locations serving Arkansas. Due to its separate brand and experienced surety professionals, The Bond Exchange was able to assist other local insurance agencies with their bonding needs that didn’t fit within the underwriting guidelines of the few insurance carriers who primarily provided surety products in the state. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? Since The Bond Exchange is truly focused on surety products, our perspective is quite different from insurance agents who try to write the bonds as a compliment to their other products. We believe that most surety products such as mortgage license bonds are commodity items. You have to have it. Through our partnership with NAMB, The Bond Exchange offers the absolute lowest pricing available at a premium rate of only $5 per thousand. Where do you see your company in five years? Our simple, southern roots have instilled in us the low-margin philosophy of charging the lowest price we can find instead of the highest price we can get away with. Our custom-built technology platform has empowered us to truly practice the lost art of real customer service instead of giving us a wall to hide behind. In five years, we will be shining a spotlight on those two fundamental values as the world moves further away from them. The Bond Exchange will still be answering phone calls and e-mails with prompt, professional, courtesy, while providing incredibly low prices through a simple, straight-forward approach. Brokers Compliance Group Jonathan Foxx ♦ President & Managing Director What was the original vision of the company? Many independent mortgage professionals involved in originating residential mortgage products are often unable to pay the cost of hiring a compliance manager, let alone fully staffing a compliance department. Yet they struggle to comply with numerous regulations, frequently dependent on lenders for such guidance. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? Brokers Compliance Group is the first and only compliance firm in the United States that provides low-cost regulatory compliance advice to the residential mortgage industry, by offering the professional knowledge and experience of subject matter experts in all areas of mortgage compliance. We offer clients the real-world, practical solutions to regulatory process issues, with an emphasis focused on operational improvement, policies and procedures, and mortgage risk management. Where do you see your company in five years? The professionals of Brokers Compliance Group have extensive experience in mortgage risk management, licensing, mortgage quality control, and all other areas of legal and regulatory compliance that affect the residential loan originations of independent mortgage professionals. By providing ongoing, compliance support to mortgage brokers, we plan to substantially strengthen their prospects for maintaining exemplary service and responding to regulatory requirements and examinations. Calyx Software Doug Chang ♦ President What was the original vision of the company? Founded in 1991, Calyx Software began its operations in San Jose, Calif., with one vision—to provide accessible, affordable and reliable software for all mortgage professionals. More than 20 years later, Calyx Software remains dedicated to helping mortgage professionals increase their profitability by providing software that streamlines and optimizes all phases of the loan process–from initial application through trailing docs–including secondary marketing. We are committed to providing our customers the highest level of service and support possible. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? Calyx Software continues to work to provide mortgage professionals the tools they need to use technology that allows parties to exchange data easily. We work to develop and introduce products that streamline, integrate and optimize all phases of the loan process while providing flexibility and comprehensive functionality to increase efficiency and maximize profitability. Our products are designed to simplify loan processing and enable seamless integration. Our focus remains on our clients’ success and growth in the industry. Where do you see your company in five years? Since Calyx’s founding, business has been brisk. According to a 2010 study conducted by Access Mortgage Research & Consulting, more than 72 percent of mortgage brokers reported using Calyx Software as their preferred loan origination platform. Further, Calyx supports 36 percent of community banks, credit unions and mortgage bankers. As the industry evolves, so will our products. We hope to remain the preferred choice of those individuals and organizations by listening to them, responding to their needs and by being proactive to stay ahead of regulatory changes. CBC National Bank Charles Wagner ♦ Executive Vice President What was the original vision of the company? CBC National Bank was established in 1999 with the formation of our mortgage division in 2007. Our original vision was to be a small boutique wholesale lender in the Southeast but we quickly determined that our mortgage division would not only complement the Bank, but it would add significant value to CBC’s franchise. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? Over the last 24 months, CBC National Bank has taken the original vision to a wider base of clientele with expansion in both our retail and wholesale divisions, thus making us a national lender. Where do you see your company in five years? In five years, CBC National Bank hopes to be recognized as the best mortgage lender, not the biggest, and keep with our trademark, “Big Enough to Matter … Small Enough to Care.” Credit Plus Inc. Steve Grant ♦ President What was the original vision of the company? At Credit Plus, the original vision was to supply credit information to mortgage bankers and brokers in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, with a strong focus on customer service. Back then, there were few companies doing this and they were so inundated with requests that they would often shut off their phones so they could catch up. Clients and prospects welcomed our new presence in the marketplace as we helped them dig out from their backlogs. Our product then, consistent with today, focused on quality service and exceptional value. Because of those principles, our service and product popularity grew quickly across the country. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? Today, we constantly monitor the industry volumes, practices, problems and legislation searching for new needs to develop problem-solving products. Credit Plus has evolved into providing thousands of mortgage professionals with more than 160 different products. We are rolling out four new products this year that will dramatically improve total production in all our clients’ offices. We also offer free mortgage educational classes through Credit Plus University and provide first-time homebuyer seminars on a local level.   Where do you see your company in five years? The past couple years have been very good for Credit Plus as the industry reestablishes its footing. We have doubled our market share for two consecutive years. We feel this will be a continuing trend as more mortgage professionals lean on our vision and foresight for developing problem-solving products. Our nimble structure offers us the luxury to react quickly to solve not only the current, but often unforeseen, mortgage lending hurdles. DocMagic Inc. Don Ianitti  President and CEO What was the original vision of the company? When DocMagic was founded, 25 years ago, mortgage lenders lived in a paper-based world. They needed a highly reliable service provider to get document packages to the closing table on time. We started our company to provide that, developing same-day turnaround, remote electronic document delivery and data auditing technology as necessary along the way. Our original vision was to create a service that would allow lenders to push a single button and get a fully compliant set of documents delivered. We accomplished that. Over time, our vision expanded as the needs of our customers changed, resulting in the DocMagic of today. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? DocMagic is known today for compliance, reliability, speed of delivery and a steadfast commitment to paperless lending. We have made the necessary investments in infrastructure and human resources as well as in a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art facility to ensure that our ability to deliver on these priorities is unmatched in the industry. We now provide every document the lender needs. We are the only company to provide eSign FREE and the only company to achieve 100 percent uptime. Our compliance department is the best in the industry, our technology provides thousands of compliance, data integrity and custom checks throughout the loan origination process and we are integrated with every leading LOS. Where do you see your company in five years? Lenders doing business five years from now will not use paper in any part of their businesses. To them, the data and the documents will have merged into one easily manageable, totally secure online and mobile environment that allows them to share whatever information they need to with their borrowers precisely when they need to and track everything that happens along the way. DocMagic will continue to lead the industry, providing not only the data and document management that future lenders require, but also meticulous compliance and error-checking capabilities from the moment of application, through closing all the way to the secondary market and beyond. Equity Loans Eddy Perez ♦ President What was the original vision of the company? The original vision of Equity Loans was to dedicate the first two years to building our platform and infrastructure–including warehouse lines, licensing, recruiting, investors and learning the back end–to help achieve great growth from 2010 onward. After that two-year period, we began to open branch offices nationwide to build our local presence in each marketplace. Five years later, Equity Loans’ operations extend to more than 30 states and we’re consistently increasing our loan production year after year. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? A family-oriented corporate culture is incredibly important to Equity Loans so we can offer a positive experience for our employees along with our clients.  Since no situation is the same, the key to success in the mortgage lending business is flexibility and options, which is why we’re committed to offering one of the most diverse arrays of lending products in the industry. In late 2011, we decided to pursue our government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) approvals and currently, we are approved with Fannie Mae and in the final stages with several other GSEs. We understood early on that these approvals would not only bring more products that would allow our loan originators to help more clients, but set a standard for the company in the marketplace. The approvals will also allow our branch managers help their local markets with faster service, more products and more flexibility to meet their clients’ needs. Where do you see your company in five years? Currently, we are 100 percent retail. In the next five years, we’d like to expand our product mix to offer correspondent services to other fellow mortgage bankers to help build our servicing portfolio. We feel very strongly about the servicing side of the business and are slowly starting to enter it with our agency approvals. In 2013, we are also expanding in the Midwest, since 80 percent of our production is currently based on the East Coast. We want to diversify our portfolio not only in revenue channels, but also in strategic locations to avoid the concentration risk that we experienced from Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast, as we have learned this can lead to some challenges. First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation Andrew Peters ♦ CEO What was the original vision of the company? First Guaranty was founded with the idea of serving a broader class of worthy customers. We’ve always believed that the FICO only tells a small part of a customer’s story. From the start, we’ve tried to treat borrowers as people, rather than numbers or variables in a mathematical formula. Even today, we emphasize the use of manual underwriting and quality control as an alternative to leaning only on FICO scores, whether they’re seeking an FHA loan or a traditional, “plain vanilla” mortgage. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? We have spoken up time and time again for the use of more manual, skilled underwriting and more robust production (quality control, due diligence, compliance)to offset the alarming growth in reliance upon FICO scores and other formulas to determine quickly whether or not a mortgage applicant is qualified. We truly believe there are thousands of qualified and deserving borrowers in America who have been shut out of home ownership for the sake of speed in the loan production process. Where do you see your company in five years? I believe First Guaranty will come to be known not only as a niche lender, but as a national lender dealing in most traditional mortgage products as well. There is a place for a mortgage company that goes about originating loans or working with TPOs without cutting corners in this market. We believe this will lead to our continued growth. Maximum Acceleration Erik Janeczko ♦ Head Coach/Business Development Strategist/Speaker What was the original vision of the company? To create not just a best of breed coaching but a completely different kind of coaching system that focused and the critical skills level. Through an exhaustive 14-month research and development phase we broke down the specific tactical details of how to create radical growth, and built technology to drive the process at that level. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? Refocused on our original mission of striving for aggressive but sustainable growth, and focusing on quickly and strategically adapting both internally and externally to the changing landscape of the market. Leveraging emerging technologies to create faster implementation and further accelerate performance growth for our clients. Where do you see your company in five years? As the most valued and respected coaching program in the industry, not because of our marketing and positioning, but because of our performance record. Continually pushing the envelope leading the charge with effective implementation of technological innovations and enhanced performance growth systems. Continuing a pattern of exceptional growth. Real Estate Mortgage Network Inc. (REMN) Peter Norden ♦ Chief Executive Officer What was the original vision of the company? The original vision of REMN, was to create a national, multi-business channel mortgage banking company. We recognized that the turmoil in our industry that drove so many companies away from residential lending created an opportunity for a well-financed, and strategically-run mortgage company. By aggregating quality loans from diversified business channels and building a solid servicing platform, REMN could become one of the premier privately-held mortgage companies in the country. Mission accomplished. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? We originate loans via our retail, wholesale and correspondent lending business channels. Each channel takes a unique approach to the way their business is run and the way they service their customers. An example being our wholesale focus on the purchase money market. They are committed to offering the fastest turn-times in the industry and they are delivering it. Our retail group prides itself on multiple origination strategies, including traditional real estate agent business, consumer direct and affinity lending. We are very pleased to say that our customers are responding. The fact that we are a Ginnie Mae seller/servicer and direct with the agencies, has been instrumental in our success. Where do you see your company in five years? We will continue to grow our overall origination business and to continually build our servicing platform.  With our management team, financial strength and our ability to adapt to an ever changing industry, we see great opportunity ahead. Some of our biggest challenges will be regulatory and compliance related. By keeping focused on quality and compliance, we will continue to be one of the top mortgage lenders in the country.   We are all about quality loans, quality service to our customers, and creating a quality work environment for our many associates. Residential Home Funding Tom Marinaro ♦ President What was the original vision of the company? The company’s initial vision was to be the largest mortgage banker in the nation. Since the original vision, we have changed our business philosophy to be the largest East Coast lender. We currently have a geographical footprint that encompasses Connecticut to Florida. Our current goal is to be the largest lender within that footprint.  What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? We are truly making a difference in the marketplace by hiring the best employees of the industry. We have not only created a product for the “Mortgage For Champions” where we do a “no lender closing costs” product, but also have started a foundation where we have given more than $100,000 to local hospitals in our communities. Where do you see your company in five years? I truly see us as being the largest lender on the East Coast. StreetLinks Lender Solutions Tom Hurst ♦ President What was the original vision of the company? Simple–to operate an AMC the way we believed it should be done … the right way. We believed in revolutionary concepts (remember, this was 2006) like attracting the best appraisers by treating them as partners and letting them set their own fees. We believed in selecting appraisers based on proximity, historical service, and quality–not fee. We believed in using the best technology while maintaining manual quality control, and in having enough associates to respond to messages in minutes, not hours or days. At the onset, we had no idea that our mission would change the way the industry operated. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? In 2012, we took our promise to the next level by executing on ideas within an area of the industry we hadn’t yet touched. We saw an opportunity to address an industry-wide lack of confidence in the dependability of automated collateral review options. After years of planning, analysis and testing and over $5 million invested, we launched our Automated Examination & Valuation Division, including the industry’s most powerful collateral underwriting utility, StreetLinks QX. This niche was craving change, so we addressed the longstanding issues and flaws in traditional AVMs. We’re proud to continue to drive positive change to our industry.  Where do you see your company in five years? We see QX and our new division as a major leap in our journey to further identify ourselves as the stand-alone leader in valuation solutions. We’ll continue to combine our expertise with the most advanced technologies available to launch solutions that make lasting, positive impacts on our industry. With our original model, we had no idea if we could make money–but we knew it was the right way to do business. It proved to be profitable, but we continue with the same mindset: A singular focus on profitability stifles innovation and is a road to failure in service-oriented businesses.   TagQuest Caleb Guillory ♦ President What was the original vision of the company? The vision of TagQuest is to be a leader in providing what we call a “customized customer.” These are the clients that are the easiest to work with, last the longest, and are the most profitable. Our ability to effectively research and target qualified prospects helps our clients acquire more new business and most importantly retain those customers for years to come. TagQuest's unique approach focuses on the specific needs of each of our clients. We do not offer cookie cutter products or services. Each campaign is researched and designed separately for each of our clients. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? TagQuest has remained ahead of the mortgage industry by using our ability to monitor marketing all over the country and track changes in the market before the market can see the change itself. This very unique insight allows to keep our clients out front of their competition. We are also the most knowledgeable marketing firm in nation when it comes to compliance. While we are not attorneys, knowing the ins and outs of compliance and being able to discuss different options with our clients openly lets them make educated decisions about how best to get in front of their prospects. Where do you see your company in five years? TagQuest will grow to lead the financial service sector in marketing, advertising and branding. Our customers are creating some commotion about the success of their campaigns with us which is leading to more industry awareness about our company. With the compliance crack down coming from government agencies like the CFPB you will see a lot of companies shut their doors. TagQuest may just emerge as the leader, the safe bet, the company you know and trust. United Wholesale Mortgage Mat Ishbia ♦ President What was the original vision of the company? The original vision for United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) was to create a wholesale lender who puts the importance of service and the customer experience ahead of everything else. By delivering consistency, communication and unparalleled customer service, originators know that we are their partner and that we want them to succeed. With this framework, we have become the fourth largest wholesale lender in the nation, known for our commitment to “Lending Made Easy,” and we continuously strive to improve every day. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? We differentiate ourselves by providing an elite level of service and we have consistently delivered on our fast turn times. We listen to our client’s needs and strive to be innovators for our industry. We take pride in what we have built at UWM, from direct access to underwriting, to our expert sales force. The success of our brokers is worth every investment, from our award-winning technology to the unique ways that we train our employees. Where do you see your company in five years? I see United Wholesale Mortgage as the number one lender in the nation in the coming years. We are adding more than 600 employees to our dedicated team in 2013 alone, and we have established a culture that sets us apart from the competition. UWM is going to continue to be an innovative force in our industry and we will continue to grow as we support the growth of our clients. We are going to be a long-term presence, and we are excited for what is in store. United States Appraisals Aaron Fowler ♦ President What was the original vision of the company? We started as a regional staff appraisal company with a focus on providing superior service, rigorous quality assurance and flexibility to the needs of our clients. When the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) was introduced, many of our clients shared their concerns with the regulatory environment and the role of an appraisal management company. We launched United States Appraisals in 2008 to meet the needs of those clients. Our vision was to bring our regional focus on service, quality and flexibility to the national landscape. We never wanted to be the biggest–just the best. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? We have invested significant resources into the development and launch of a proprietary software platform that places us at the forefront of industry technology. The solution provides our clients with a robust, user-friendly order, communication and delivery platform. We can easily integrate with their LOS systems for a seamless business solution. On our end, it provides visual, point and click appraiser selection based upon proximity and historical quality. The workflow manager provides exception identification and escalation, creating focus on orders at risk of exceeding one of our performance standards. This focus allows us to handle increasing volume without sacrificing service. Where do you see your company in five years? The AMC marketplace exploded with new players with the advent of HVCC. We have already seen some contraction as some companies not fully committed to the model have exited. A drop in mortgage volume (as projected) coupled with increasing costs associated with multiple state registrations will continue to push financially limited companies out of the space. We also expect some lenders to tire of the “appraisal mill” approach employed by some of the larger players in our industry. We believe our technology platform positions us for growth as our reputation for service, quality and flexibility continues to attract new clients. WCS Lending Eric Wallberg ♦ Co-Chief Executive Officer What was the original vision of the company? Our vision remains the same as when we opened the company–to combine technology-driven entrepreneurialism with mortgage banking to create a flexible, growing, profitable platform that is customer-centric. We knew that if the customer remained our primary focus, everything else would fall into place. What are you doing today to make a difference in the industry or in your local marketplace? We’re growing and adding opportunities daily. We’ve opened a regional operations center in Concord, Calif. and we are expanding throughout the West and East, as well. We have also spent a great deal of time and resources to further our proficiency in government lending–FHA, VA and USDA, so if you are looking for a lender with true expertise in government products, you’ll find WCS Lending. Where do you see your company in five years? We see WCS Lending growing exponentially, offering even better products and services to our customers as we continue to gain efficiencies through state-of-the-art technology and training unparalleled in the industry. As a direct lender, we anticipate that WCS Lending will significantly increase its market share, becoming a premier lender in the United States. 
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