With all that has hit the mortgage industry over the past several months, Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni has a positive message for residential lenders and servicers. “It seems like the industry has done a fantastic job of finding solutions in this crazy environment,” Fratantoni said during MBA Live: Technology Solutions Conference. “We are hearing anecdotally that lenders are closing loans at roughly the same rate as they were before they switched to remote workplaces.” Fratantoni said recent extraordinary events—the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shutdown of the U.S. economy over the past several months—could have knocked the industry on its head. Instead, he said, lenders and servicers showed remarkable agility in adapting to changing conditions, particularly in technology. Fratantoni noted MBA and MISMO have had some success in getting Remote Online Notarization adoption in a number of states—an option that customers have responded to in a positive way. “We are getting much closer to eClosing,” he said. “All of this will lead to a great improvement in productivity over time but it remains to be seen if this will accelerate the industry’s efforts to use more digital resources.” From a housing standpoint, Fratantoni said a unique aspect of this crisis is that” although there is pain everywhere, it is most concentrated in certain areas. This creates an unusual situation for housing, Fratantoni said. “Our suspicion right off was that we were going to see more distress in the renting sector instead of the mortgage sector, and that appears to be borne out,” he said. “We’ve heard speculation about what the economic recovery might look like—is it going to be ‘U’-shaped, ‘V’-shaped, ‘W’-shaped,” Fratantoni said. “As far as housing demand, we are seeing a ‘V’-shaped recovery. And this happened almost as soon as some of the pandemic lockdowns began to let up."
Source: Mortgage Bankers Association