Lending in the High Tech Age

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on the web employment verification services through Equifax's The Work Number database. C redit Plus announced it is now a certified reseller of Equifax Verification Services (EVS). EVS offers online employment verification from Equifax's The Work Number database. "Lenders today operate in an environment of heightened regulation, making the need to have reliable verification processes from a credentialed source more important than ever," said Michael Kuentz, verification services leader at Equifax. "As a reseller of The Work Number, Credit Plus is well positioned to deliver an unparalleled level of efficiency and documentation to lenders to help them better manage risk and meet regulatory demands." Equifax's The Work Number database includes 226 million total records and more than 53 million current employment records contributed by in excess of 2,500 employers. It is updated every payroll cycle. Credit Plus is able to manually verify employment within one to three business days for applicants not included in the database. Greg Holmes, national director of sales and marketing at Credit Plus, said Equifax's database will streamline operations for customers. "We make employment verifications easy and offer lenders an auditable process that ensures they are getting data they can trust," Holmes said. ON THE WEB CFPB Reveals Tool for Market-Level Mortgage Loan Data The agency rolled out a product that will provide heat maps and illustrative graphs highlighting local trends. A new tool released recently by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) provides heat maps and illustrative graphs that detail local mortgage market trends. It relies on data gathered through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HDMA) to offer consumers information on mortgage loan applications and originations, mortgage loan volume, and the volume of loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Veterans Administration (VA). The tool considers first-lien, owner-occupied, one- to four-family homes, and manufactured homes. "Our tool puts valuable information into the hands of the public in an accessible way so they can understand what is happening in their local mortgage markets," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "A more transparent mortgage market will lead to a better marketplace and better outcomes for consumers," he said. The HDMA—originally passed in 1975 to expose loan information to consumers—was under the jurisdiction of the Federal Reserve Board until the authority transferred to CFPB in 2011. "The public information is important because it helps show whether lenders are serving the housing needs of their communities; it gives public officials information that helps them make decisions and policies; and it sheds light on lending patterns that could be discriminatory," CFPB said. The tool currently reveals information about loan markets from 2011 to 2012. In that time, home loan originations increased 39 percent, while purchase originations increased 13 percent. The HDMA data confirms what has been noted throughout the industry—that refinances have driven the increase in loan originations. Refinance applications increased 6.6 percent from 2011 to 2012 and made up 8 million of the 13 million loan applications completed in 2012, according to CFPB. "Just as the real estate motto 'location, location, location' was true before the recent financial crisis, it was true for the crisis. Every community was affected differently," Cordray said. The new tool reinforces Cordray's statement, revealing a 47 percent rise in refinances in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a 205 percent increase in Las Vegas, Nevada. The amount of loans backed by the FHA or VA also varies by location. Overall, FHA loans increased 15 percent in 2012, while VA loans increased 7 percent. Metro areas with a high population of military families, however, tend to have a higher percentage of VA loans, according to CFPB. For example, in Gulfport, Mississippi, 21 percent of home loans were insured through the VA in 2012, and in Fairbanks, Alaska, 29 percent of loans were VA loans. The M Report | 9

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