Historically, verification of assets (VOA) has been a complex element of mortgage underwriting, requiring borrowers to secure and submit comprehensive, physical bank statements to document credit eligibility. That all changed in October 2016, with Fannie Mae’s introduction of Day 1 Certainty®, an initiative that provides lenders with freedom from representations and warranties on key aspects of the mortgage origination process, including asset, income and employment verification, when performed through Desktop Underwriter® (DU®). Recently, Fannie Mae announced an enhancement to DU® allowing auto-generated borrower-permissioned verification of asset (VOA) reports that factor borrowers’ 12-month positive rent payment history in the credit assessment phase.
When Fannie Mae tapped FormFree as an approved report provider for new VOA enhancement, AccountChek® users like Thrive Mortgage became among the first to benefit from this pioneering initiative. A new case study by Fannie Mae describes how adopting AccountChek VOA reports inclusive of an applicant’s 12-month positive rent payment history has helped Thrive Mortgage engage a market of homebuyers who had previously been unable to qualify for a mortgage.
Three top takeaways from the case study include:
Takeaway #1: Compresses times to close without sacrificing borrowers’ data security
Thrive Mortgage has made opting-in to the AccountChek automated VOA efficient via its iThrive portal, prompting borrowers to grant permission for AccountChek to auto-generate a VOA report using their direct-source bank data. From there, it is a hands-off experience for the homebuyer, and AccountChek automatically sends the report to DU® on behalf of Thrive Mortgage. By automating the VOA process, the lender eliminates duplicate reviews of bank accounts, as well as the need to manually submit bank statements, creating up to six day time-savings for Thrive Mortgage and their borrowers.
Most importantly, automating the VOA process with direct-source data strengthens data integrity because it is not subject to error data collection methods like optical character recognition (OCR) and old-fashioned “stare and compare” readings. Moreover, automating the VOA process avoids putting Thrive Mortgage borrowers’ personal data at risk, since DU® and AccountChek are secure systems that provide ‘read-only access’ exclusively to the lender. Thrive Mortgage has trained its frontline team to highlight security measures built into these systems to homebuyers who may have concerns about the safety of their personal data.
Takeaway #2: Automated VOA is easily accessible and reduces eligibility barriers
Implementing automated VOA was a simple process for Thrive Mortgage, which prioritized its adoption by way of monthly update calls, weekly sales team calls and regular communications from the operations team. Comprehensive loan officer (LO) live training and coaching as to how 12-month positive rent payment history reports function within the iThrive point-of-sale system also facilitated a seamless transition.
Additionally, automated VOA has helped Thrive Mortgage identify missed opportunities and reduce eligibility barriers. When a customer does not opt into automated VOA using their positive rent payment history, Thrive Mortgage analysts work with the LO to identify processing strategies that help them better illustrate the benefits of positive rent payment history to future prospects. By teaching LOs tactics that more clearly educate prospects on how incorporating 12-month positive rent history in the VOA step can help them qualify for a loan, Thrive Mortgage helps more first-time borrowers with limited credit history access sustainable home financing.
Takeaway #3: The majority of loan applicants opt in to automated VOA
Positive rent payment history has rapidly gained popularity nationwide, as it offers historically underserved markets an opportunity to qualify for sustainable home financing they may otherwise never have achieved — all via a streamlined digital process. Automating VOA also eliminates the stress of physical bank statement retrieval and submission from first-time borrowers as they navigate the homebuying experience.
Now, approximately three in five loan applicants choose automated VOA as a faster and more convenient alternative to paper asset verification. Since Thrive Mortgage LOs were so well-equipped to explain the cost and time-saving benefits of positive rent payment history, its adoption was even more impressive, with nearly 74% of all Thrive Mortgage customers opting in to have their history of positive rent payments considered via AccountChek VOA.
In summary, Fannie Mae’s automated VOA initiative using borrower-permissioned, 12-month positive rent payment history from AccountChek has made financing a home through Thrive Mortgage more accessible, compressing turn times and reducing eligibility barriers. These benefits not only save Thrive Mortgage time and effort in the asset verification process, but are also a huge selling point for borrowers looking to streamline the homebuying experience and relieve the pressure of paper asset verification. Ultimately, this groundbreaking initiative has proven mutually beneficial for all parties in the mortgage transaction.