Bumble co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd

It looks like another tech player just might have dipped its foot in the hot IPO market. According to Bloomberg, Bumble, the dating app co-founded by Whitney Wolfe Herd — who also co-founded dating app Tinder — is swiping right on an IPO.

Serial dating entrepreneur Wolfe Herd is a force whose mission is to build the “female internet,” and her company reflects that: her mission to “create a world where women feel empowered to make the first move in all areas of their lives” is behind virtually all decisions at the company.

The dating app, which was founded in 2014, is reported to have quietly filed for a February IPO that could target a valuation of $6 billion to $8 billion.

And while some folks are busy planning how to make gobs of moola, others are figuring out how to give it all away. So far this year, MacKenzie Scott has given away $6 billion, mostly to small charities and non-profits. Some experts say that could be the highest amount ever given directly to charities by a single living donor.

MacKenzie Scott is a philanthropist and an award-winning author of two novels. She also happened to be married to tech bigwig, Amazon founder and CEO, not to mention world’s richest person since 2017, Jeff Bezos. When she and Bezos divorced last year, her $38 billion in Amazon stock was the biggest settlement ever awarded in a marital split.

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

But to whom she was married isn’t what makes Scott so interesting. In July of this year, the philanthropist accelerated her giving, targeting immediate support to people suffering the economic effects of the crisis. Her advisors took a “data-driven approach” she said in her Medium.com posting, as they sought to find “organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.”

Scott made gifts to more than a dozen historically Black colleges and universities, as well as community and technical colleges and schools serving Native Americans, women, urban, and rural students. Among the groups she singled out in her Medium post and urged others to donate to were the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, the Chicago Community Loan FundFeeding America, the Navajo and Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund, and HBCUs ranging from Dillard University to Mississippi’s Tougaloo College.

To get an idea of the types of organizations that Scott supports, you can see her post where she references her 2019 pledge “to give the majority of my wealth back to the society that helped generate it, to do it thoughtfully, to get started soon, and to keep at it until the safe is empty.” For more information, check out her page on The Giving Pledge.

Borrowers: Digital is great, but they want in-person closings

Solidifi recently commissioned a consumer survey, and it looks like borrowers (still) want it all. Three out of five borrowers indicated that they want a more digital experience. More than half preferred to review documents digitally at the beginning of the process and use eSignatures for documents in advance of closing. However, an overwhelming majority (87%) still want to close in-person where they can be walked through the process face-to-face.

Borrowers actually prefer paper over fully digital closing methods, according to the survey, especially when it came to reviewing and signing the closing documents, and having a notary or closing agent witness the signing.

This year’s survey coincides with last year’s survey findings. Solidifi’s 2019 survey indicated that borrowers wanted the best of both worlds, a streamlined experience that leverages technology in a way that’s convenient, and a trusted in-person expert guide them at key moments.

Other findings of note include:

  • Quality and professionalism drive higher borrower satisfaction when it comes to the appraisal and closing process
  • The overall experience with the closing agent is almost as important as the process itself
  • During COVID-19, 78% of borrowers surveyed experienced issues or delays in the closing process, a significant spike from 48% last year
  • Despite the increase in issues and delays, there was a higher level of borrower understanding. As a result, satisfaction ratings were relatively unaffected by the pandemic
  • A lower-than-expected appraised value of the borrower’s home did not automatically result in borrower dissatisfaction, instead, dissatisfaction was highest amongst borrowers who felt the appraisal was not thorough enough
  • More than half of unsatisfied borrowers attributed their poor appraisal experience with the quality of their appraisal and the professionalism of the appraiser

The Solidifi 2020 Consumer Mortgage Experience Survey surveyed over 1,000 borrowers who refinanced or purchased a home within the last two years — that includes the period during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the respondents 52% had recently purchased a home and 48% had recently refinanced their mortgage.

Home flipping declines but profits are up

ATTOM Data Solutions released its Q3 2020 U.S. Home Flipping Report. According to the report, in Q3 2020, 5.1% of all home sales, or one in 20 transactions, represented a home flip. That’s a decline from the previous quarter’s 6.7%, or one in 15 home sales. Q3 2019 also saw more flips, at 5.5% or one out of every 18 home sales.

However, even though home flipping continued its decline, profits and profit margins were up. Gross profit on the typical home flip nationwide (that is, the difference between the median sales price and the median paid by investors), rose in Q3 2020 to $73,766 – the highest amount since at least 2000. That amount was up from $69,000 in the Q2 2020 and from $61,800 in Q3 2019.

Profit margins increased from Q3 2019 to Q3 2020 in 65.4%of the 159 metro areas with enough data to analyze. Texas towns saw some of the biggest gains, with three metros in the top five in the country. Brownsville, TX saw a 182.9% increase in return on investment, Austin, TX was up 176.4% and Waco, TX, jumped 157.4%.  Rounding out the top 5 were Springfield, MO, up 145.3% and Savannah, GA, up 143.6%.              

On the other end of the spectrum, the areas that had the biggest year-over-year declines in investment returns on home flips during Q3 2020 were Corpus Christi, TX, Hilton Head, SC, Boulder, CO, Wilmington, NC, and South Bend, IN.

There were 14 markets where investors were selling for at least double what they paid: Pittsburgh, PA, Hickory, NC, Scranton, PA, Davenport, IA, and McAllen, TX. On the flip side, the smallest Q3 2020 profits for typical home flips were seen in Boulder, CO, Corpus Christi, TX, Hilton Head, SC, Reno, NV, and Killeen, TX.

In terms of actual dollars made, the West and Northeast U.S. dominated, with 22 of the top 25 markets seeing the most raw profits from their deals. San Jose, CA led the market, with a gross profit of $290,000, followed by Ventura, CA at $180,000, Bridgeport, CT at $177,500, Los Angeles at $161,500 and San Francisco at $158,000.

Southern metro areas dominated the list of metros with the smallest profits. Corpus Christi, TX led the list at $14,817. The next closest metros all clocked in at between $24,000 and $29,000: Hilton Head, SC; Killeen, TX; El Paso, TX; and Lubbock, TX.   

In Q3 2020, 42.4% of flipped homes were purchased with financing, very close to Q3 2020, where 42.6% of flipped homes were financed.

It seems to be taking longer to flip a home. In Q3 2020, investors averaged 192 days to complete the transaction, the highest level since Q3 2003. In comparison, they averaged 184 days in the previous quarter and 176 days a year prior, in Q3 2020.

FHA buyers decreased from the previous quarter. In Q3 2020, 14.7% of homes were sold to buyers with loans backed by the FHA, down from 15.3% in Q2 2020, but up from 13.6% in Q3 2019.

Planet Home Lending creates Advocacy Team

And now, some pandemic-inspired tech-based advancement. While some folks busied themselves complaining about the Covid-response virtual world, Planet Home Lending, LLC saw how virtual processes were opening opportunities. Planet Home has expanded and improved its Advocacy Team, which helps onboard and support new retail branches and loan originators. The team, says the lender, was a natural outgrowth of its need for virtual onboarding that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We successfully transitioned to virtual onboarding, but that made us realize we could expand the program,” said Brenda Colter, director of branch advocacy, who manages the team. “We have added specialists in areas, such as IT and underwriting, as well as people with knowledge of specific programs or systems, including Encompass, Ellie Mae’s WebCenter and Optimal Blue. This allows us to support new branches for, as we like to say, ‘Day One, Week One and Beyond.’”

While conventional onboarding processes may have specific stop dates, the Advocacy Team’s approach provides continuous support. The Advocacy Team includes experienced mortgage professionals in underwriting, sales, and systems support.

Top of Mind Integrates with Sales Boomerang

Top of Mind Networks has partnered with Sales Boomerang with a recently announced integration that embeds Sales Boomerang directly inside Top of Mind’s Surefire CRM. Surefire’s technology can be used to deliver timely reminders to LOs to follow up on the opportunities presented by Sales Boomerang. Alternatively, lenders can use Surefire to automatically deploy context-specific marketing campaigns to consumers on behalf of LOs, ensuring opportunities are never overlooked. 

Sales Boomerang notifies mortgage lenders the moment an unqualified lead becomes qualified. For example, when a prospect’s FICO score improves, when a borrower could reduce their mortgage payment or pay off debt by refinancing, or when a consumer’s credit activity indicates they may be shopping for a mortgage. Lenders can define the criteria for a triggering event at the enterprise or loan originator level.

“As refi volume declines in 2021, lenders will need to nurture existing relationships to stay competitive in a purchase market,” said Top of Mind VP of Sales Nick Belenky. “Together, Surefire’s CRM and marketing automation platform and Sales Boomerang’s automated borrower intelligence and retention system act as a powerful client retention force that empowers lenders to establish themselves as an indispensable partner in the homeownership journey.”

LBA Ware joins ACUMA

LBA Ware has joined the American Credit Union Mortgage Association (ACUMA) as an affiliate member. The company, which provides incentive compensation management and business intelligence (BI) technology for the mortgage industry, aims to equip credit unions with solutions that simplify the mortgage compensation process and help teams use their data to drive new levels of performance.

LimeGear, LBA Ware’s turnkey BI platform, helps lenders increase productivity and efficiency with out-of-the-box dashboards and team-, employee- and loan-level data insights. Credit unions can use LimeGear to efficiently track the progress of loans through the pipeline without ever logging into their loan origination system (LOS).

The company’s CompenSafe, which automates variable compensation plans, eliminates errors associated with manual data entry, updates originators of the status of their compensation in near real-time.

ACUMA is an organization of and for credit unions that brings together shared real estate lending and financing interests. ACUMA member organizations include federal- and state-chartered credit unions and Credit Union Service Organizations (CUSOs), mortgage insurance companies, secondary market investors and investment banking firms and mortgage technology firms.

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