New Agreement Will Make HLP.guru Accessible to Millions of Americans May 2017
Take 5 John Alexander discuss how Affinity Partnerships helps their members get the best mortgage or consumer loan
HLP is teaming up with a financial technology company to offer HLP.guru to potentially millions of new users seeking to improve their credit and qualify for a mortgage loan. Affinity Partnerships provides a technology platform for major corporations, labor unions and others that offers competitive pricing and product information online for consumers seeking auto, home and other consumer loans. The company’s financial assistance platform is often integrated into its’ partners’ websites. Once a person qualifies for a mortgage loan, Affinity has agreements with a variety of banks and mortgage companies that provide custom loan options for each applicant.
Affinity Partnerships plans to roll out a HLP.guru landing page on its platform this summer before offering it to its other affiliates. Each of these companies decides if they will accept the landing page and, in turn, offer it to their members.
New Grant HLP receives a grant from a Native American tribe to support work with new or prospective homeowners Page 3
More Adopt New Case Seven of the largest US mortgage servicers have decided to use HLP’s new post-HAMP case type Page 4
“Providing access to HLP.guru fits with our business model to partner with organizations …continued on page 4
What’s Involved in an Audit? HLP’s Louann Bernstone Explains HLP goes through a variety of audits annually to make certain its technology platform meets the data security needs of government regulators, financial institutions and others. Here is an update on current and upcoming audits from Louann Bernstone, HLP’s Senior Vice President of Risk, Governance and Compliance:
How many audits will HLP undergo this year? Each year HLP has two major technology, risk and compliance audits on site at our data centers. A team from one of our mortgage servicers will schedule a visit to our data center to review physical security, logical security, policies, procedures, business continuity, disaster recovery and information security. …continued on page 5
John Alexander is the founder and chief executive officer at Affinity Partnerships, LLC. Based in Pocatello, Idaho, Affinity Partnerships is dedicated to ensuring that consumers have access to quality lending products and excellent customer service. Alexander holds a master’s degree in business administration from Idaho State University.
What is your business model and why is it unique?
Our model is based on developing partnerships with organizations to help their members get a mortgage, auto or consumer loan that is best for them. We’ve created technology that connects individuals with lenders that will offer the most competitive interest rate and other terms. For example, Costco uses our platform to enable all of their members and employees to find mortgage loans online. Using our technology, individuals using HLP.guru can manage their credit and qualify for a mortgage loan by going to our platform and find a loan with lowest rates and fees.
How did you develop this technology? I formerly served as president of a company that developed technology that evaluated thousands of products for the mortgage and banking industries. The objective was to determine which products would deliver the maximum profit to the financial institution. I decided to take the opposite approach, so I started Affinity Partnerships. Our platform requires banks to offer the best deal to consumers. I’ve partnered with a limited number of banks and mortgage bankers that have agreed to a code of conduct, value proposition and quality customer service.
How will you work with HLP?
Individuals using HLP.guru to manage their credit and qualify for a mortgage loan will be able to visit our platform and find a loan with lowest rates and fees for their situation. We are going to build a landing page on HLP.guru so HUD-approved counselors and visitors can run various scenarios for a mortgage loan. For my existing clients, we
are working to promote and potentially incorporate HLP.guru into our other platforms as well. So HLP will not only provide opportunities for counselors to help their clients, but for my key stakeholders and other affiliates to help their members.
Can you provide an example of how it will work? Once a consumer using HLP.guru takes their home readiness assessment, verifies their credit with a counselor and qualifies for a mortgage loan, we will help them find a mortgage offer which they believe best fits their situation. They will plug data into our platform for any zip code in the US or Puerto Rico. They will also provide other information that may help them get better terms, such as if they are a military veteran. Once all data is submitted, at least three mortgage lenders will compete for their business by providing loan rates, fees and other information.
How do you know it can work?
We asked two individuals, who are currently renting, to test HLP.guru. Each person didn’t believe they would qualify for a loan, but one actually did qualify for a mortgage. The other person, following an improvement in their FICO score and other minor modifications, was able to purchase a home and save hundreds of dollars per month. In each case, there was a vast difference in the perception of their creditworthiness vs. reality. Each person will save money and interest on their mortgage loan because they can see various offers. Instead of listening to Uncle Bob, they found their credit score, ran various scenarios for a loan and qualified for the lowest rate available.
Cedar Band Palutes
Native American-Owned Firm Supports HLP’s Mission HLP received a $20,000 grant award from a company owned by a Native American Indian tribe in support of HLP’s mission of helping families achieve and sustain homeownership. CBC Mortgage Agency is a nationally chartered housing finance agency owned by the Cedar Band of Paiutes of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah. Through its Chenoa Fund, it provides down payment assistance to borrowers that qualify for FHA-guaranteed mortgage loans. People that meet CBC’s credit score and debt-to-income requirements can receive a first mortgage and a second mortgage or grant to cover their 3.5 percent minimum investment. “We are deeply appreciative CBC Mortgage’s support of HLP’s mission and their commitment to helping its borrowers become successful homeowners,” said Mark Cole, HLP’s executive vice president and chief strategy officer. “This grant will support our systems and efforts to connect potential homebuyers with the financial counseling and education they need to succeed.” Based in Cedar City Utah, CBC was founded in 2013 and provides affordable housing solutions to its clients. “Our unique affordable housing programs help many people unable to save money for a down payment purchase their first home,” said Richard Ferguson, CBD Mortgage Agency’s president. “We want to encourage responsible homeownership and appreciate HLP’s role in making that possible in the marketplace.”
Training on HLP Platform Underway for Pennsylvania Counseling Agencies HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in Pennsylvania this month will receive training on HLP’s Case Management System, which will improve their productivity and free up more time for counseling activities. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority (PHFA) works with counseling agencies to provide a wide variety of counseling, ranging from pre- and post-purchase, foreclosure prevention, rental assistance, and reverse mortgage. Until now, the agencies have used multiple systems to report their activities to PHFA. Training sessions started May 18. All counseling agencies affiliated with PHFA have been offered training either in-person in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia or online. Housing counselors will gradually start using HLP’s platform later this month and in June. HLP’s platform will make it faster and easier to submit reports and other data, including custom reports to track counseling agency activities for billing. HLP will continue to work with PHFA to integrate additional counseling activities into the same platform. Upcoming programs
include the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, which involves capturing information across multiple documents. “Using a single, unified platform means counselors will spend less time entering data and more time counseling clients,” said Alex Kolodner, HLP’s training and technology coordinator. “Counseling agency managers will be able to use pre-built reports to better track time, counseling outcomes, and dozens of other specific metrics to help improve productivity and efficiency in the agency.” The new platform also enables a counselor to enter data only once to submit a case to multiple different Initiatives for billing. “It’s troublesome to think that a housing counselor has to spend a disproportionate amount of time manually building reports and filling in the same documents multiple times instead of counseling clients,” Kolodner says, “We expect the new platform will halve the amount of time it takes to create multiple cases for a client and generate the mandatory reports for billing.”
HLP Working With Servicers to Prepare for Flexible Modification HLP is now working with mortgage servicers to determine how it can best support their processes to implement Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s new Flexible Modification program. The GSEs announced that that they have combined the features of their former Home Affordable Modification, Standard Modification and Streamlined Modification programs into the new “Flex Mod” program. The intent is to offer servicers an easier, flexible way to help more borrowers qualify for a loan modification in a changing housing environment. HLP Chief Executive Officer Cam Melchiorre said HLP is well positioned to meet servicers’ needs and help them make a smooth transition to this new product. “HLP has worked with homeowners and servicers on more than 450,000 foreclosure prevention cases since our founding in 2009,” he said. “As the premier technology platform for exchanging data and documents, while also meeting all compliance regulations, we will work servicers to be ready to implement this new product.”
Seven Mortgage Servicers Switch to Post-HAMP Case Type Seven of the largest US mortgage servicers have decided to use HLP’s new post-HAMP “Home Retention—Loan Modification” case type. Through mid-May, nearly 800 new foreclosure prevention cases using the new case type have been submitted to HLP. US Bank, NationStar, CitiMortgage, PNC, Carrington, Everbank and Ditech have begun using the new case type. HLP created the new case type to continue helping people file for loan modifications and other home retention options following the elimination of the Home Affordable Mortgage program. The new case type has updated data and document requirements that differ from the HAMP cases. Most loan servicers will continue to accept the standard “Home Retention” case until they make the transition. Until then, counselors should continue to use the existing case type; there will be no changes until a servicer makes the switch.
…Affinity–continued from page 1
that want to give their members access to loans at competitive rates,” said John Alexander, Affinity’s chief executive officer. “People could use the app to manage their credit and qualify for a mortgage, then find competitive rates for a loan. There’s a lot of value for us in a partnership with HLP.” Affinity Partnerships is a perfect fit for HLP since it aligns the organization with several trusted partners. “Members of Affinity’s affiliate companies will be able to
use HLP.guru to help people improve their credit so they can qualify for a home,” said Mark Cole, HLP’s executive vice president and chief strategy officer. “Working with Affinity’s trusted partners will provide a new avenue for our services.” Separately, the Pocatello, Idaho-based company will also build a separate platform to help HUD-approved counseling agencies and their clients receive mortgage products and services from a select group of lenders.
…Audits–continued from page 1
“With the increase in attempts by the bad guys to exploit information, data at rest encryption is imperative.” This review is comparable to a SOC Type 2 or 3 review and is designed to ensure that HLP is performing up to Federal Financial Institute and Exam Counsel (FFIEC) standards.
or procedure that outlines the compliance requirement. We must document our compliance through attestations, policy or procedure updates and occasionally a change to our current “business as usual” process.
In addition to annual on-site reviews, we complete approximately 20-30 due diligence assessments about topics such as third-party management, information security, human resources policies and procedures, business continuity, disaster recovery, company licensing and officers, and other topics as needed. The only difference is that we are not on site at an HLP facility, but using online tools and conference calls to provide evidence of compliance.
Have we made any recent improvements in security or other areas you would like to point out?
How many audits has HLP gone through recently? Our most recent audit was with Bank of America in Denver at our disaster recovery site. It lasted two full days, plus a review of items that require additional information. We have completed 18 questionnaires and follow up on open items weekly. Most often we find that we are compliant with the questions, but may be missing a policy
We occasionally we make improvements to our platform or policies and procedures following an audit. Most recently we encrypted all of our data at rest with 256 megabytes encryption. This has become a hot topic for all companies that have access to non-public information data nationwide, after the Target and Sony incidents that received international attention. With the increase in attempts by the bad guys to exploit information, data at rest encryption is imperative. It ensures that if someone is able to get through all of our security controls to the data, it will be unreadable. This protects consumers from possible identity theft or fraud.
US Bank Submits 245 Foreclosure Mediation Cases Via HLP US Bank, which began using HLP in April for its foreclosure mediation cases, has submitted 245 cases into the portal through May 1. After its existing inventory of cases has been created in HLP, US Bank is likely to submit an additional 200 new cases monthly. US Bank is currently using HLP to communicate with its own attorneys handling foreclosure mediation cases in several states. The second phase of the process will be to invite debtor’s attorneys to use HLP to share documents and create a record of all activity. Phase three will involve engaging mediators to participate in this process. HLP’s platform supports up to seven different stakeholders working together on one case. All parties are able to view all documents and updates in real time in HLP. The portal also provides complete transparency and security of data and documents and provides a permanent audit trail of all cases. Finally, the portal provides custom reports and data export capabilities.
HLP wants you to know about six facts, figures and upcoming events:
1 Female renters have a harder time buying a home than their male counterparts due to several factors, including lower wages, more student loan debt, more risk aversion, and lower credit scores.
3 Many Americans facing a financial crisis tend to prioritize
efinancings are down significantly over the past six months, R while purchase loans are on the rise.
unsecured personal loans ahead of other debts such as credit cards, auto loans and even mortgages, according to a new study conducted by TransUnion.
5 The delinquency rate for mortgage loans for residential
umerous startup companies have launched apartment-sharing N businesses that rent out individual rooms rather than entire apartments.
properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.71 percent, a decline of six basis points from a year ago.
6 Fifty-six percent of homebuyers deem that â€œforever homesâ€? are outdated and are looking to new home construction rather than a resale in order to get the exact floor plan they want.
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Published on May 22, 2017
News and updates from HLP. This month features information on the new agreement between HLP and Affinity Partnerships, a grant reeceived fro...