From May 2 - 4, 2022, Regulators, compliance experts, and lenders gathered at our Inaugural Fair Lending Forum in Charlotte, North Carolina. Here are the highlights from this groundbreaking compliance industry event.
The Forum’s wide array of attendees and speakers included prominent government officials such as Sandra Thompson, Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and Jon Seward, Principal Deputy Chief of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Sessions throughout the Forum covered important topics in compliance, including Fair Lending, Fair Servicing, HMDA, CRA, and Redlining:
The Forum also hosted fun networking events during which attendees and speakers got to know one another. Attendees enjoyed receptions, local foods and brews, and a nail-biting Kannapolis Cannon Ballers baseball game!
The Fair and Responsible Hall of Fame was established to honor individuals who have greatly impacted the industry, with fair and responsible banking achievements, over the course of their careers. During the Fair Lending Forum, inaugural members of the Hall of Fame were inducted. They are:
Mike Calhoun is president of the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), the policy affiliate of Self-Help, the nation's largest community development lender. For more than 30 years, Mike has been on the front lines of working for economic justice. At CRL, he provides management and policy leadership.
Ensuring compliance and fairness within the lending industry can be complex, with numerous associated risks. Mike discussed the mortgage compliance industry’s challenge, saying, “Our biggest risk over the next five years is that we will not make the necessary changes in products and procedures and devote sufficient resources to begin to close the racial homeownership and wealth gaps.”
For fun, Mike loves sailing, gardening, and playing basketball.
Dr. Marsha J. Courchane is Vice President and Practice Leader of Charles River Associates and heads the Financial Economics Practice. She specializes in financial institution analyses for regulatory reviews and is a leading expert in the areas of mortgage and consumer lending.
In an interview with the Asurity team, Marsha expressed her thoughts on how the lending industry has changed and how it will need to adapt moving forward, saying, “Fair lending oversight requires a very strong basis in the history and purpose of supplying consumer credit, and must have the statistical tools to both analyze the applications for credit and the performance outcomes of originated loans.”
When asked what Marsha likes to do for fun, she said, “Before the pandemic, our favorite pastime was foreign travel. My husband and I have traveled to 47 countries and all seven continents since our marriage in 2005. For those of you now traveling again, three of our favorite trips were to Antarctica, the Galapagos, and Istanbul. Happy travels!”
Loretta Kirkwood is the Vice President of Fair Lending at loanDepot, providing an integrated approach to assisting clients in developing and implementing effective regulatory risk management programs. She has over 30 years of financial services industry experience focused on regulatory compliance with extensive knowledge of mortgage lending, bank regulations, loan operations, and technology.
As regulatory priorities continue to influence the direction of the lending industry, lenders and servicers will need to be quick to adapt to a constantly changing environment. Loretta explored the most important needs within the mortgage industry, saying, “The regulatory landscape continues to evolve, and consistency is an ongoing concern with all compliance professionals. Ensuring that lenders have the appropriate guidance and resources to implement effective internal controls to address both federal and state laws and regulations is of utmost importance.”
Interestingly, Loretta wanted to be a doctor when she was younger. She told us, “As a child, I dreamed of being a doctor – so I could help people feel better. I never in my wildest dreams aspired to be a regulatory compliance professional focusing on HMDA, Fair Lending, or Fair Servicing - nor do I believe anyone would.” Here she is today, though, earning her place in the Hall of Fame.
Lynn Woosley is the Managing Director of Fair and Responsible Banking with Treliant. She is a seasoned executive with extensive risk management experience in regulatory compliance, consumer and commercial credit risk, credit and compliance risk modeling, model governance, regulatory change management, acquisition due diligence, and operational risk in both financial services and regulatory environments.
As a seasoned industry professional, Lynn offered advice to fellow lenders entering the industry: “Learn everything you can about your institution’s lines of businesses and products. As you improve your understanding of the products your firm offers and the criteria used for marketing, underwriting, pricing, and servicing those products, you will be able to create better fair lending analyses and offer better compliance advice.”
When asked about her favorite sports team, she said, “My favorite team is the University of Georgia Bulldogs. Go DAWGS!”
Wes Zickefoose is a former Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) Examiner turned Consultant who retired from the industry in 2018. He has had extensive experience learning and instructing in fair lending software products and developing fair lending learning programs.
Wes also explored potential risks for the mortgage compliance industry moving forward, expressing the biggest risk would be to “let complacency and politics interfere with a very noble part of regulation and responsible lending.”
Wes is another traveler among the Hall of Fame inductees. He told us, “I convinced my wife that buying an RV and traveling the US and Canada would be fun. And it has been, even though it is a lot of work. Our first trip was ambitious, starting in Venice, Florida, and traveling through Colorado, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Redwoods, the Oregon Coast, Washington State, Whistler BC, Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Glacier National Park, Toronto, Western Pennsylvania and back home. I am an avid photographer, so I was in heaven in these beautiful places! We traveled 18,000 miles in six months.”
The Inaugural Fair Lending Forum was a major success. In the ever-evolving compliance industry, there is always more to learn, so save the dates May 15th - 17th for Fair Lending Forum 2023 in Washington, DC. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for additional details.
On June 24th, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced an initiative to enable consumers to assert their rights more effectively with large financial institutions. Specifically, the CFPB requests information about customer service experiences with their banks or credit unions. CFPB Director Chopra noted that the initiative is designed “to ensure the legally enshrined right to obtain basic customer service.”
The CFPB initiative is in response to the shift of focus of financial institutions from relationship banking toward consolidation and digitization, which may have resulted in a decline in customized advice, responsiveness, and care. The CFPB’s sense is that a sharper focus on relationship-based banking could play a critical role in fostering a fair, transparent, and competitive marketplace.
The link to the announcement and the Request for Information is here.
MISMO® (Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization), the standards development body for the mortgage industry, creates standards for many aspects of mortgage financing which are used by participants across the industry. Compliance experts from Asurity Technologies, LLC will be joining forces with other mortgage regulation leaders to create a standard dataset for Regulatory Compliance.
It’s tough to overstate the importance and value of standards that are applied throughout the industry. Implementation of MISMO standards has led to lower costs, greater efficiency of information sharing, faster loan closings, and importantly, an improved consumer experience.
In the regulatory compliance sphere consistent standards have meant better adherence to regulations and guidelines from both government regulators and industry partners, less time and money spent on compliant practices, and more efficient internal and external audits. Ultimately, this has resulted in a reduction in fraud, further decreased costs, and improved consumer confidence in mortgage financing.
The work in this phase of standards development in which Asurity Technologies, LLC is participating will focus on in part:
The widespread adoption of MISMO standards is one key to its success. The collaborative process of developing the standards includes bringing together experts from organizations throughout the industry, such as retail and wholesale lenders, GSEs, software and service providers, credit reporting agencies, and more.
Asurity leaders are in a unique position to provide insight into this standards development process. As developers of RegCheck, a best-in-class mortgage loan compliance solution, they have experience in applying technology and innovation to improve efficiency in compliance testing. They understand the benefits of speed and accuracy and the need to eliminate compliance failures at each stage of the lending process.
In a rapidly evolving industry mortgage standards must be continually adapted to serve all partners and consumers well. The Asurity team is looking forward to working with other professionals to move regulatory compliance standards forward.
On May 26, 2022, the CFPB published its Circular 2022-03 (available here), which confirms the obligation of lenders to comply with ECOA and Reg B adverse action requirements, even if the credit decision is made using complex algorithms, artificial intelligence, or machine learning often found in ‘black box’ computer underwriting engines. No matter the underwriting method used, the legal requirement for notice in the event of adverse action is the same: lenders must provide applicants with an accurate statement of the specific, principal reasons for any adverse action determination. It is not a defense that the technology used to make the determination is too complicated or opaque for the lender to understand. The CFPB confirmed that the notice requirement is necessary to support the anti-discrimination purpose of ECOA.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently announced an initiative to stop lenders from charging potentially excessive and exploitative ancillary “junk” fees that may obscure the actual cost of the product being purchased. While many notable instances of these fees are tied to credit card late fees, bank deposit overdraft, and insufficient funds fees, mortgage loan closing fees are also considered.
The first step in this initiative is a public request for information about consumers’ experiences with fees they believed were included in the price but were charged separately, unexpected fees, fees that seemed too high for the service provided, and fees where the purpose of the fee was unclear. The CFPB requests input not only from consumers but also from other potential stakeholders, such as small business owners, academics, local government officials, and financial institutions.
The CFPB’s stated goal is to remove unnecessary barriers to homeownership, as well as additional charges that may price a homeowner out of a home. While the period for sending comments has passed, the link to the announcement is here.
Asurity Technologies, LLC (“Asurity”) is pleased to announce Era Williams has joined the
company as Director of Marketing. Era brings with her over 20 years of experience in
marketing. Over the course of her career, she has guided technology companies in integrating
digital and traditional marketing, sales and business development, client relations and retention,
as well as lead and demand generation, brand awareness, and event management. Prior to
joining Asurity, Era directed a wide range of activities for Anju Software, a leading provider of
comprehensive software solutions to the life sciences industry, including product launches,
optimizing digital marketing strategies and SEO, and modernizing corporate and product
Asurity delivers compliance-focused products and solutions to the mortgage and consumer
lending sectors. Asurity’s software offerings include RiskExec®, a reporting and analytics
platform for HMDA, CRA, redlining, fair lending, and fair servicing; Propel™, a leading solution
for the dynamic preparation of compliant mortgage document packages; and RegCheck®, a
loan compliance engine that seamlessly integrates to mortgage LOS software to produce real
time compliance checks and certificates.
“We are constantly evolving ways to get the word out about our exceptional software products,
and Era will play a critical role in messaging the potential for the lenders that we serve to better
automate their processes while improving compliance and driving cost efficiencies,” said Luke
Wimer, COO of Asurity. He continued, “Building on the rapid adoption of RiskExec® by our
financial services clients, Asurity this year released its fully updated mortgage loan document
platform, Propel™, a highly configurable application that supports innovative lenders. And, in
Q1 2022, Asurity launched RegCheck®, also built on an entirely new, integrated technology
stack for flexibility, rapid deployment, and scalability.”
Driving lead generation and sales growth through effective marketing and brand-building
strategies is Era’s passion. She commented, “I am proud to join the Asurity team. The organization demonstrates innovation and garners accolades from its dedicated clients across the financial services industry. With the mortgage industry undergoing a digital transformation, Asurity is already playing a big role in helping to simplify and automate critical steps in lending and servicing processes. I look forward to leveraging digital and traditional marketing strategies to increase market share and expand brand awareness of all Asurity’s solutions and services.”
For more information on Asurity’s suite of software solutions, contact us at (202) 765-2150 or
The CFPB recently announced separate initiatives designed to ensure that home valuations used by lenders to determine loan amounts and other terms are fair and accurate, and not discriminatory. The first initiative announced here creates a Small Business Review Panel that will investigate potential quality control standards for automated valuation models (AVMs). The report will inform a future CFPB rulemaking that will be designed to ensure a high level of confidence in the AVM value estimate, protect the AVM from data manipulation, avoid conflicts of interest, and require random sample testing and reviews of AVMs. The CFPB also anticipates that future rulemaking will also specify quality control criteria to ensure compliance with applicable nondiscrimination laws.
The CFPB’s second initiative is the Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE), which published a report and action plan to promote valuation equity (the Report), available here. The Report notes the results of recent research indicating that appraised property values tend to decrease as the share of historically marginalized populations increases. Appraiser ‘free-form narratives’ in the appraisal reports themselves sometimes make racial and ethnic references that may indicate bias. A widespread pattern of undervaluation in minority communities can have a significant effect on the accumulated wealth of homeowners in those communities. The action plan in the Report includes the potential use of alternatives to traditional appraisals to reduce the impact of appraisal bias, use of value ranges instead of a specific value, modification of the sales comparison approach to yield more accurate and equitable valuations, and public sharing of aggregated historical data to foster the development of unbiased valuation methods.
May 24, 2022 – Vesta, a modern mortgage loan origination system and software-as-a-service company,
today announces a new first-class integration with Asurity Technologies, LLC® (“Asurity”), a leading
provider of mortgage compliance technology. With this partnership, lenders using the Vesta loan
origination platform will be able to seamlessly access real-time compliance monitoring and verify
compliance with all key regulations via the Asurity RegCheck® solution.
Vesta is building the LOS of the future that allows lenders of all sizes and specialties to build
customizable no-code workflows and rules around their business logic directly into the platform. Vesta’s
open, cloud-native API’s allow lenders to take advantage of best-in-class solutions such as Asurity’s
RegCheck, which powers comprehensive compliance tooling and allow lenders to accelerate loan
closings by flagging and remediating complex compliance issues.
“We’re delighted to announce our partnership with Asurity, a leader in driving digital transformation and
increased efficiency through its suite of compliance software. Together, we’re excited to help lenders stay
operationally efficient and nimble, particularly in today’s ever-changing regulatory environment,” said
Mike Yu, Vesta CEO.
Asurity officially launched RegCheck in January 2022, adding this exciting new compliance technology
solution to its existing product suite of Propel™, for compliant document generation, and RiskExec®, the
leading Fair Lending, CRA and HMDA analysis and reporting platform. “Today’s lenders want more
efficient and effective loan processing and access to real-time compliance monitoring seamlessly
integrated into their processes. We’re excited to partner with Vesta to further our mutual goal to advance
digital transformation for the mortgage industry,” said Andy Sandler, Founder and CEO, Asurity.
On February 16, 2022, the CFPB announced a new process (available here) to receive public petitions for rulemaking or regulatory changes, and to post them on a public docket on the CFPB website for review and comment. The move is intended to strengthen the public right in the U.S. Constitution to petition the government, enhance transparency at the CFPB, and also address the CFPB’s sense that individuals and small businesses often feel the need to engage former government officials, lawyers, or lobbyists to petition federal government agencies.
The CFPB will accept these public petitions under the Federal Administrative Procedures Act, which become part of the public record when received. The CFPB expects each petition to give the contact information for the submitting party, describe the requested action, such as a new rule or repeal or amendment of an existing rule, the factual and legal reasons for the request, and also the expected effects of the proposed action. The CFPB has committed to deliver a final, public response to each petition that it posts to its website with an assigned docket number.
April 14, 2022 (Washington, D.C.) - Today, Asurity Technologies, LLC® (“Asurity”), a premier provider of digital compliance products and solutions, announced that its Asurity Mortgage Group (“AMG”) software has been successfully deployed by DLS Servicing Consultants, LLC, a trusted provider of mortgage and default servicing headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, to deliver mortgage loan servicing capabilities to mortgage servicers DLS supports. On behalf of its clients, DLS maximizes the return on delinquent and defaulted loans by providing expert services and by using its proprietary system WaterfallCalc.com software to conduct loss mitigation reviews, as well as to support short sale, deed-in-lieu negotiations, default servicing consulting and training. Asurity and DLS have been collaborating for some time and, in the past year, have delivered on large-scale projects in response to market needs. By combining the expertise and tools both organizations can offer, clients capture the benefits by having a complete solution that efficiently and compliantly meets their needs.
DLS leverages Asurity’s advanced loan document technology to produce compliant loan modification and partial claims document packages, as well as the expertise offered by AMG’s dedicated services team to track the receipt and review of a borrower’s executed documents, coordinate counterparty signatures, record, and deliver fully executed and recorded documents to appropriate counterparties.
The combined offering delivers more efficient loan processing and fewer risky loans, which results in serviceable and saleable loans, and a better user experience in a time of heightened digital transformation in the mortgage market. “Loss mitigation involves a series of complex steps with specific technical, process, and document requirements,” says Ken Mezger, the Director of Operations and leader of the services team at AMG. “Leveraging our automated compliance technology and our team’s extensive years of deep mortgage and process expertise, Asurity is excited to support DLS in assisting mortgage servicers to minimize losses, to scale operations to meet volume demand, to control costs, and to expedite the loss mitigation process.”
Donna Schmidt, Managing Director of DLS Servicing Consultants and co-founder of WaterfallCalc.com, commented, “Asurity’s ability to quickly deploy document software and expert services which complement our capabilities have allowed us to more seamlessly take on loss mitigation work for large lenders, while providing the excellent compliance and operational efficiency that our customers have come to expect.” Schmidt further explained, “together we can help servicers extend their operations to process large backlogs of distressed assets with our outsourced services, saving the time and money to build internal operations while providing compliance and assurance throughout the process.”