Fannie expands Green Bond issuance

Fannie’s going green(er). Fannie Mae announced the issuance of a Single-Family Green Mortgage-Backed Security (MBS) transaction, the latest addition to its Green Bond Program and planned commitment to green finance.

Fannie’s issuance of Single-Family Green MBS has now exceeds $40 million, the agency said in a statement, since April 22, 2020 – when the agency issued the first such bond to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

“We are excited about the Single-Family Green MBS program and look forward to increasing our issuances backed by green, energy-efficient mortgage loans,” said Renee Schultz, senior vice president, capital markets at Fannie Mae. “These offerings have attracted investor interest and serve to enhance liquidity in the single-family mortgage finance market.”

Fannie’s Single-Family Green MBS transactions “include only mortgage loans backed by newly constructed single-family residential homes,” granted they are ENERGY STAR certified. Properties must meet or exceed the national program requirements for ENERGY STAR Certified Homes.

Future Single-Family Green MBS issuances, however, may meet or exceed “other energy-efficient new construction standards,” Fannie said, such as the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, Version 3.0. ENERGY STAR Certified Homes are at least 10% more energy efficient “than typical single-family homes built to code,” and 20% more efficient than atypical single-family homes built to code.

Fannie has been a driver of innovation in green mortgage finance, said Hugh R. Frater, CEO at Fannie Mae. “Our new Single-Family Green MBS issuances further our commitment to sustainability in our business, the homes we finance, and the communities we serve.”

These transactions are the latest step in a decade long journey. Fannie “introduced green finance to the multifamily market,” and started measuring Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) outcomes in 2010, he added. Since, Fannie has issued $75 billion of Multifamily Green MBS “backed by either green-certified properties or properties targeting a reduction in energy or water consumption.”

Fannie’s Single-Family Green MBS program “recently received a Light Green Second Opinion,” from CICERO Shades of Green, an independent, global provider of green bond ratings based on research evaluations of investment frameworks that offer investors insights into the environmental quality of these bonds.

Fannie has been the world’s largest green bond issuer since 2017, according to the agency’s website. Every year since 2015, Fannie has received the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).


Orchard launches new lending division

There’s a new lender on the block. Home buying marketplace fintech, Orchard has added another convenience for homeowners looking to sell their old house before they purchase a new home. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered home search platform has launched Orchard Home Loans LLC, (OHL), a digital lending services company headquartered in New York and licensed to do business in Colorado, Georgia and Texas.

Traditionally, homeowners who want to sell their old home have to move twice, first when they get out of the old home and then they purchase the new one. OHL solves that problem by enabling Orchard customers to buy their new home using Orchard’s cash – before they sell. It takes just a few clicks, the company said.

Orchard pioneered the process of allowing consumers to buy their new home before they sell their old home, said Court Cunningham, CEO and co-founder of Orchard and in addition, has updated the closing process “by giving consumers the choice of an integrated, all digital closing.”

OHL is the last addition to Orchard affiliates, which include Orchard Title, a national title and escrow company.

“We’ve heard repeatedly from customers that they loved their buying experience with Orchard and only wish we could’ve helped them with their mortgage as well,” said Cunningham. After piloting in Texas, now all of Orchard’s customers have the option to take advantage of multiple competitive interest rates, a clearly explained, simple way to finance their home, and receive answers to all their questions, he said. “No excess paperwork! No bots! No banker lingo!”

After its initial piloting in Texas, the real estate fintech firm explained in a statement, OHL now offers its mortgage products on a fully integrated, one-stop-shop real estate platform for buying and selling a home across the company’s footprint.

The response in Texas “was overwhelmingly positive,” the company said, over 50% of customers who were buying with Orchard chose to use OHL for their purchase. OHL received “an average 5 out of 5 star rating.”

Orchard has helped more than 1,000 people buy and sell their homes, according to the company website. It assists homebuyers, those who are looking to buy and sell, and those who only wish to sell.

Genesys deploys Microsoft Teams integration

Genesys, a San Francisco based, in cloud customer engagement and contact center provider has expanded its partnership with Microsoft to help enterprises improve contact centers experiences for customers, including homebuyers.

The Genesys Cloud, a global, all-in-one public contact center platform, has integrated with the Microsoft Teams portal. As a result, agents using the platform can collaborate with any contact center employee that uses the Microsoft Teams portal “to resolve customer issues faster and deliver better service,” the company said.

The integration of Genesys Cloud and Microsoft Teams platforms aims to bridge the gap between the front and back office, making multiple system collaboration and data exchanges easy.

For example, if a customer asks a question about a loan for a new vacation home while on a support call, “an agent can quickly find an available mortgage specialist to help address the issue during the interaction,” according to Genesys. The system facilitates and expedites teamwork, knowledge sharing and results in faster problem or inquiry resolution for customers.

Before the integration, contact center employees had to work in several different systems across multiple devices, “constantly toggling back and forth,” Genesys explained in a statement.

The integrated platforms address these challenges by enabling contact center employees to call Microsoft Teams users throughout their organization from the Genesys Cloud, “so they can provide experiences tailored for every customer.”

Even if agents need to consult with a subject matter expert outside of the contact center, they can use the integrated directory to find a Microsoft Teams user with the right expertise from within their Genesys Cloud desktop, “and collaborate in real time, with a single click.”

The addition of this new capability to the long-standing partnership with Microsoft gives Genesys customers a strong sense of experience-as-a-service, said Olivier Jouve, executive vice president and general manager of Genesys Cloud. “With more than 75 million daily active users, Microsoft Teams is a predominant unified communications and productivity tool for thousands of enterprise organizations.”

More organizations are recognizing that all employees throughout any business “contribute to outstanding customer experiences – not just those in the contact center,” said Mike Ammerlaan, director of Microsoft 365 ecosystem marketing at Microsoft.

The Genesys Cloud and Microsoft Teams integration provided the right tools to collaborate across the enterprise using “advanced routing, call recording and interaction analytics to deliver consistent service.”

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