Loan originators are inviting borrowers, real estate agents, title and escrow officers, appraisers and just about anyone else involved in a home purchase or refinancing to track the loan approval process online using Sthenia Solutions’ LoanMarq application.
LoanMarq tracks 73 milestones and more than 30 documents involved in originating, processing underwriting and closing a loan, generating updates and reminders, and allowing all participants to check on a loan’s status.
"From a real estate agent’s perspective, they are often in the dark about where loans are in the process, and spend a lot of time on the phone getting status updates," said Paul Piers, CEO of Knoxville, Tenn.-based Sthenia. Piers said LoanMarq helps agents "make more money selling real estate" rather than "babysitting contracts they’ve already put together."
Whenever a borrower or settlement service provider completes a task — such as submitting a tax return or appraisal — LoanMarq generates an instant notification that the milestone has been completed.
For now, Sthenia is targeting lenders as clients, charging $49 per month per loan officer ID. For each transaction, loan officers can add as many other users, such as real estate agents and settlement service providers, as needed. Eventually, Sthenia intends to offer LoanMarq up to borrowers as well, on a per-transaction basis, Piers said.
In addition to reducing the time and expense involved in processing a loan, LoanMarq also aims to increase transparency and accountability.
Sthenia is building a referral network that the company said will allow consumers and real estate professionals to find reputable vendors, partners and companies in their area. The network will include profiles of vendors and the level of service provided, based on past transactions processed through LoanMarq. Piers said ratings will be based on objective criteria, such as the average turnaround time for preparing documents.
Piers said that LoanMarq began life as a proprietary program used for two years at Trinity Mortgage Capital, a mortgage company owned by Piers. The program worked so well, he said, that he decided to make it available to other lenders about two months ago.
The application is primarily a communications manager and tool, with lenders uploading their own documents in PDF form. It’s up to lenders to make sure those documents comply with applicable regulations, such as the Truth in Lending Act and the new Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act rule to be phased in during 2009.
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