Merchants deploys AI powered loan servicing portal

Mortgage lender Merchants Capital has entered into a two-part agreement to implement, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered underwriting and servicing platform for lenders and brokers of all sizes provided by Clik Technologies Inc.

Initially, the workflow automation engine will integrate into the Merchants Capital loan servicing operations.

Under the partnership will also support the wider digitization of Merchants Capital data and customer services, Merchants said, to ensure a level of automation that offers the “experience the creativity of a small lender, with all the capabilities of a large institution.”

Implementing technology “was a natural fit” for Merchants Capital’s business goals, said John Karazsia, vice president of loan production at Merchants Capital. “The adaptable, AI-driven programming will provide numerous benefits for our originations teams, ultimately optimizing our workflow and helping us service our clients in a reliable, fast and flexible way.”

The nationwide lender offers acquisition and refinance loans, as well as new construction and substantial rehabilitation of multifamily, affordable, senior and student housing. The new technology will help ‘assist with the massive influx of loan applications” from small to mid-size commercial real estate property owners, the company said in a statement. is a proprietary extraction and classification engine open to asset managers and underwriters but designed to extract the data from the system automating the data transfer into the lender’s proprietary platform and servicing operations. Merchants Capital will be able to review rent roll and property cash flow data in minutes, making it easier for software users to manage assets.

Simple plug-n-play cloud software tools automate the workflow for property valuation and transaction due-diligence.

Merchants Capital is a partner in leveraging “quick and accurate technology that will enable FSA & Rent Roll Automation in minutes coupled with efficient customer support,” said Parag Goswami, CEO and co-founder of “Merchants’ mission is to provide its loan products with exceptional customer service, accuracy, creativity, speed, and conformance to regulations. We look forward to witnessing Merchants Capital grow.”

Over 20 North American mortgage lending, servicing, and real estate management companies use to process $1 billion in commercial real estate transactions evaluated every month, according to the company website.

QuestSoft & Vendorly team up to simplify due diligence process

A new partnership stands to reduce due diligence turn times from days or weeks to just minutes. Automated mortgage compliance software provider, QuestSoft Corporation and management platform Vendorly have teamed up to improve and streamline the mortgage lending due diligence process.

Following the agreement, QuestSoft will upload its due diligence information into the Vendorly platform providing instant data access to all the private lenders, banks and credit unions who use QuestSoft products and the Vendorly platform.

Vendorly is an Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. company designed to streamline vendor due diligence, document maintenance, monitoring and audits. Under the arrangement, Vendorly is waiving any due diligence fees for QuestSoft customers “that would be normally assessed to add and maintain the vendor relationship,” the company explained in a statement.

“This provides substantial efficiency for both mortgage lenders and QuestSoft,” said Leonard Ryan, president of QuestSoft. “It saves our company time processing individual requests and reduces the need for lenders to contact QuestSoft separately.”

The one time download makes it easy for lenders visiting the Vendorly platform to indicate they are a QuestSoft customer, so the QuestSoft Vendor Management department can verify the information and unlock access to the due diligence documents.

System users should expect a much faster process, over 90% faster, Ryan said, so customers “have their due diligence completed in minutes, not days or weeks.”

The partnership is a direct response to federal regulator’s requirements for lenders.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommends financial institutions “take steps to ensure that business arrangements with service providers do not present unwarranted risks to the consumer,” the company noted, which includes conducting thorough due diligence.

Similarly, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) specifically states that, “an effective risk management process” includes proper due diligence in selecting a third party.

A robust third-party risk due diligence process protects financial institutions and helps ensure they comply with regulatory requirements, said Steve Greenfield, CMB, Vendorly’s Director of Operations, but also protect all parties “while removing unnecessary delays.”

LendingTree’s rent payment deferrals by state

Rental deferments are adding up to big bucks in some states, while renters in other states are hardly deferring at all. A LendingTree analysis of data from the most recent U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey showsthe national average in rent deferrals by state is 2.1%.

Ohio topped the rankings of states where Americans are deferring rent most, as 5% of all renters, more than double the national average. Nearly 102,000 Ohio renters deferred rent last month. Assuming they deferred the entire rental payment, the report notes, it means Ohio renters added about $81 million in debt in one month alone.

Maryland ranked second as 4.9% of renters deferred rent. According to Census data, the average rent in Maryland is $1,371 per month, suggesting the total amount deferred is more than $82 million.

Illinois was in third place with 4.1% of renters deferring rent, followed by tenants in Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan, who also deferred rent payments at higher-than-national rates.

On the opposite end, surprisingly, not one person in Rhode Island reported deferring rent. Data show 159,836 tenants paid rent on time and 17,613 paid rent late. Nine states had less than 1% of renters saying they deferred last month’s rent, while three had less than 0.5%.

At 1.4%, California has a relatively low proportion of rent deferrals. Yet it means more than 144,000 renters are in deferral.  By the time deferred payments are due, they will owe upwards of $219 million. It is “the highest sum across all states” because besides the large population, California has a relatively high median rent of $1,520.

By race, Asian and Black Americans are deferring rent at a higher-than-national rate. Up to4.6% of Asian Americans and 3% of Black Americans have deferred rent. Comparatively, the rate for Hispanic or Latino Americans was 2%, Whites 1.7%, two or more races, or other races 2.1%.

About one in three, or 31% of renters “have little to no confidence” they will be able to pay next month’s rent on time, according to Census Bureau data. Nearly 1% of renters say they already have plans to defer rent next month.

Two reasons stand out: the national unemployment rate is 13.3%, and the increased unemployment benefits from the Coronavirus Aid, Response and Economic Security (CARES) Act expire at the end of July. 

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