Tech giants are once again under the microscope. Antitrust efforts to clamp down on big tech companies in America and in the European Union (EU) appear to have started to take shape as of late, according to The Economist (gated).
Earlier this month, the EU unveiled two draft digital-services laws “that would create a sweeping supervisory apparatus to control Silicon Valley,” while the U.S. federal government has launched antitrust cases against Google and Facebook that follow an antitrust case launched in October by the Department of Justice accusing Google of abusing its monopoly in internet search.
“Five years ago antitrust was a backwater,” the publication states. Now trustbusters say they are going after the tech giants. However, markets do not take them seriously, even though these moves mark the biggest shift in competition policy in a generation, probably because there is a lack of transatlantic unity and two flawed, different strategies.
In case you’re wondering, the market value of the five biggest Silicon Valley firms has risen by 46% in 2020, to reach $7.2 trillion, according to The Economist.
Meanwhile, on the other side of multi-trillion-dollar assets, life keeps dispensing regular types of problems to regular types of folks. That’s why it’s good to have a one-stop resource for addressing the issues that matter to the majority of us. Nonprofit Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA) said it launched its #FedLifeHacks program in 2018 to help federal employees better understand a host of non-work-related topics via written and video content. Recently the program marked over 110,000 visits via the FEEA site from users across the country.
Visitors can get info that ranges from how to get mortgage help during the pandemic; financial counseling if a loved one is struggling financially; what to do before signing a new rental home lease, after a bankruptcy or change in credit scores; to basic life info, like which smart travel accessories can help you stay safe during solo travel; and how to deal with stress.
Speaking of stress, as the end of the year approaches, mortgage companies are still busy trying to keep up with the booming marketplace.
This week, in mortgage tech news: At ACES Quality Management (ACES), the focus is on upgrades that allow highly customizable UX; SimpleNexus & Unify integration reduces loan app drop-offs; Fidelity introduces the inHere app and Stewart Title expanded its partnership with Quisitive.
SimpleNexus & Unify integration reduces loan app drop-offs
Digital mortgage lending platform SimpleNexus, LLC and Unify, a mortgage fintech designed to assist banks, community banks, mortgage brokers, credit unions and loan originators more effectively connect with their clients, have completed a two-way integration.
The integration of Unify’s Business Growth Platform™ with the SimpleNexus platform streamlines the loan application process to improve efficiency for mortgage lender users and reduced abandonment of loan applications or applicant information entered into the system as SimpleNexus automatically creates new contact records in Unify.
As a result, mortgage professionals can follow up, manage customer relationships and deploy automated marketing campaigns.
SimpleNexus brings to the equation loan officers, borrowers, real estate agents and settlement agents. The two-way integration with Unify’s platform helps detect loan application abandonments (when borrowers start, but do not finish their loan applications) by alerting Unify, whose automated outreach campaigns include pre-written emails, call scheduling and appointment setting.
The integration also automatically pushes data from Unify to SimpleNexus, “with a simple push of a button,” the company said, eliminating the need for mortgage originators to enter data manually in 32 distinct data fields.
“U.S. mortgage volume is on pace to exceed $4 trillion in 2020 for the first time in history. This unprecedented volume is challenging loan originators to find new ways to be more efficient and productive,” said Matt Hansen, SimpleNexus founder and CEO. “By leveraging the combined power of SimpleNexus and Unify, lenders can reduce originators’ workloads and keep more business in the pipeline.”
We offer loan originator clients a tight-knit integration between Unify and SimpleNexus, said Scott Lidberg, president of Unify. “Automation and efficiencies this integration provides will allow them to manage their days more effectively and grow their businesses.”
In addition, the company’s app enables lenders to originate and process loans from anywhere, connects loan officers to their borrowers, real estate agents and settlement service providers.
ACES upgrades loan audit platform
Denver, Colo.-based fintech ACES Quality Management (ACES), announced the completion of several enhancements to its Quality Management & Control Software™ designed to improve reporting via an in-app and updated user interface. System updates ultimately will help provide a highly customizable easy-to-use experience for lenders.
Higher loan volumes bring a higher risk of compromises to loan quality, “increasing the need to utilize technology that mitigates risk while boosting productivity and quality,” explained Trevor Gauthier, CEO of ACES, formerly known as ACES Risk Management (ARMCO). “The newest enhancements to ACES’ user interface and reporting functionality are part of our ongoing strategic initiative to improve direct access to live data – whether lenders need to quickly distribute reports or better understand their productivity.”
Common data reporting is now available via direct access to ACES user interface (UI) through a library of standard reports. The simpler, more flexible and intuitive user experience enables lenders to customize their ACES environments, create their own reports or modify default reports, drill down on specific data points, and apply filters, sort columns and order preferences.
In addition, based on feedback from users, ACES said, it has introduced a new and improved layout of the software features adding independent scrolling sections, drag-and-drop items, and improved menu navigation. The updated look of its UI also aligns the company’s recent rebranding.
“Soliciting user feedback is an invaluable step in our process of continuously adapting our system to fit lenders’ ever-changing needs,” said Gauthier. “ACES invested in a team whose sole purpose is to continuously modernize our technology and improve the user experience.”
Fidelity introduces inHere app & portal
Fidelity National Financial, Inc., (FNF) one of the nation’s largest title insurance companies serving the mortgage industry, has introduced the inHere App, a new component of the inHere Experience Platform designed to enhance the experience of buying, selling, or refinancing a home that includes notarizing and e-signing documents at closing.
FNF’s digital strategy combines in-house expertise from a nationwide network of escrow and settlement professionals, with cloud-based mobile enabled technology in the millions of real estate transactions the company handles every year, said Michael Nolan, president of FNF.
The first component of inHere, startSafe®, which was originally announced in early 2020, is a digital experience that guides buyers and sellers through the completion of the opening process.
The second major component of the inHere Experience Platform is the inHere mobile app and portal available to all parties involved in the home purchase, sale, or refinance process. It allows parties to track the progress of a transaction and communicate with local escrow and settlement professionals. Since inHere will be provided and supported by all of the FNF family of title companies, the benefits extend to lenders and real estate agents.
“We have reimagined the process of managing and closing a real estate transaction within the footprint of settlement service providers,” said Jason Nadeau, chief digital officer of FNF. “By investing in a digital infrastructure instead of investing in outside ventures, we don’t need to rely on new entities to drive change.”
Lenders and mortgage companies, real estate agents and attorneys, title and escrow companies, and consumers each have different needs in a real estate transaction. The integrated technology solutions provide transparent real estate sales and financing from start to closing.
Components of the inHere Experience Platform such as remote notarization and guided closing are being deployed throughout FNF’s family of title companies and will continue through 2021.
“We are committed to expanding our technology investments that will assist in bringing to market new parts of the inHere Experience Platform,” said Randy Quirk, CEO of FNF. “The real estate industry is now at an inflection point. Evidence supports the fact that real estate professionals and consumers are ready to embrace change in the closing process…inHere provides the necessary scale needed for change to occur.”
Quisitive & Stewart Title partnership expands
Microsoft cloud solutions provider Quisitive Technology Solutions Inc.reported a new agreement with global real estate services company Stewart Title to drive its application development and migration to the Microsoft Azure cloud.
The new partnership follows a prior collaboration when Quisitive helped accelerate Stewart’s goal to leverage the public cloud for the Stewart family of companies including title services and customer experience.
Added capabilities of the Microsoft Azure cloud will enable Stewart to reorganize its previous infrastructure and processes and develop an advanced set of digitized applications, the company said. More specifically, Quisitive will assist in developing new customized business-to-consumer (B2C) cloud-based applications.
As a result, Stewart will have the capacity to develop an operational product within 45 days, which affords Stewart with the flexibility to go to market at an expedited rate.
Under the terms of the annual agreement, Quisitive will serve as Stewart’s IT services provider for Microsoft-centric initiatives, including application development (web + mobile), data and analytics, and Azure cloud optimization.
“Quisitive’s talent, resources, and expertise in modern application development make them the right company to help us optimize, streamline, and enhance our overall operations during these unprecedented times,” said Mark Doggett, VP of enterprise solutions at Stewart Title. “Quisitive is providing us a mix of onshore, offshore, and near-shore resources to augment our software development team and the necessary support services.”
Access to the Azure cloud, Stewart will now have the ability to enable immersive experiences, services, and products when engaging with customers in B2C scenarios, he explained.
Quisitive, which specializes in helping enterprises move, operate, and innovate in the Microsoft cloud, will provide customized solutions in their Microsoft Cloud journey, said CEO Mike Reinhart. “Our integration will equip Stewart Title with the necessary tools to more seamlessly grow.”
Amilda is a journalist and branding consultant interested in how entrepreneurs turn brilliant ideas into products and services that advance business acumen and improve people’s lives in unprecedented ways. She has covered mortgage finance for over 15 years.