About Trinity Oaks Mortgage
Trinity Oaks Mortgage (Trinity Oaks) is a community-focused lender serving customers in Texas and nationwide. Founded in 2015, Trinity Oaks is a member of the JH Family of Companies.
When Trinity Oaks hired Michael Kuentz as chief operating officer in February 2019, the company was not yet four years old — yet it had already established a reputation for serving Texas customers with integrity and heart. With Kuentz’s help, Trinity Oaks sought to build on that reputation and accelerate the company’s growth.
To achieve an ambitious set of goals that included opening new branches and earning Fannie Mae seller/servicer approval, Kuentz needed to create efficiencies across the business, from managing overhead to streamlining loan manufacturing to maximizing secondary market execution. Early on, Kuentz zeroed in on asset verification as a process ripe for improvement.
“Our existing asset verification solution checked a lot of boxes, but it also had limitations as far as its ability to meet our needs as a builder-driven mortgage company,” explained Kuentz, who’s now the company’s president.
With more than 25% of Trinity Oaks’ loan volume stemming from its partnership with John Houston Custom Homes, Kuentz needed an asset verification solution that could accommodate new construction timelines of six to seven months. Reports from the company’s current asset verification provider expired in just 60 days, requiring loan teams to re-order asset reports before closing, driving up loan costs and creating unnecessary hassle for borrowers.
“As a home construction project nears completion, we need to make sure we don’t encounter any ‘gotchas’ that slow down loan processing and hurt last-mile execution,” said Kuentz. “Particularly in the current economic environment, we can’t assume a borrower’s asset situation has remained unchanged since they applied for the loan several months back.”
At the same time, Kuentz needed a solution that would be flexible enough to scale with the company as it grew its self-sourced, traditional retail business. And whatever solution Kuentz chose, he knew it would need to participate in Fannie Mae’s Day 1 Certainty® initiative and integrate seamlessly with Trinity Oak’s existing tech stack, including the LendingQB loan origination system (LOS) and SimpleNexus point-of-sale (POS) platform.
The solution was clear.
Finding the right vendor partner can feel like searching for a rose among thorns. Fortunately, Kuentz knew what he was looking for. As former CEO of mortgage cooperative Lenders One, Kuentz had helped a group of nearly 230 independent mortgage banks grow their businesses through advisory services and technology partnerships. Moreover, he had worked on the technology side of financial services as a former executive at Equifax and Rapid Reporting.
Kuentz turned to FormFree® as a provider whose solutions could grow with Trinity Oaks. FormFree’s patented AccountChek™ verification service makes it easy for consumers to demonstrate their ability to repay mortgage loans by consolidating and analyzing asset, employment and income data obtained directly from financial institutions and other authoritative sources. Faster and more secure than exchanging paper documents, AccountChek improves the borrower experience and reduces loan processing and underwriting times for lenders.
With real-time asset reports available in 30-, 60-, 90- and 180-day refresh periods, AccountChek offered the flexibility Trinity Oaks needed to manage both existing home and new construction transactions.
Existing integrations with both LendingQB and SimpleNexus would make it easy for Trinity Oaks to make the switch to AccountChek. And as a longtime Authorized Report Supplier of eligible verification reports for Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) validation service and Freddie Mac’s asset and income modeler (AIM), FormFree could provide Trinity Oaks freedom from representations and warranties on validated income, asset and employment information.
The results spoke for themselves.
- FASTER PRE-APPROVAL AND INCREASED LOAN PULL-THROUGH
Trinity Oaks receives a majority of AccountChek orders from borrowers who apply for a loan using the SimpleNexus digital mortgage app. Integrating FormFree at the point of sale means Trinity Oaks receives actionable intelligence earlier in the loan process, enabling better-informed credit underwriting decisions, expediting pre-approvals and increasing loan pull-through.
- A MORE EFFICIENT, MORE FRAUD-RESISTANT PROCESS
Manual asset verification takes days of back-and-forth as loan teams and borrowers chase down missing attachments and blank bank statement pages. Submitting information through AccountChek is significantly more efficient than emailing, faxing or mailing sensitive financial documents — and also more secure. Because AccountChek transmits encrypted data, not documents, straight from the source, there’s no opportunity for tampering.“During the transition from our previous provider to FormFree, we briefly reverted to manual, paper-based asset verification — and it was a glaring reminder of the inefficiency and fraud risk associated with manual VOA,” said Kuentz.
Especially with the type of volume we’ve been seeing in 2020, the opportunity to buy back even 5% of our processors’ and underwriters’ time has been invaluable.
- THE MODERN MORTGAGE EXPERIENCE CUSTOMERS EXPECT
Where homebuyers once balked at sharing sensitive financial data electronically, today’s consumers have come to expect a breezy, modern digital mortgage experience and are embracing tools like AccountChek that speed up the business of buying a home or securing a refi.“I’ve been extremely encouraged by the great adoption of AccountChek by our customer base,” Kuentz said. “We’re seeing very few people opt out and very few people drop out of the process. Consumers have confidence and trust that their data is safe and isn’t going to be manipulated or used against them.”
- FLEXIBILITY THAT SCALES
Since implementing AccountChek, Trinity Oaks has ordered 180-day asset reports for every loan. The longer refresh period gives Kuentz’s team a clear view into borrowers’ assets right up until closing without the hassle and expense of ordering a second report. As the company’s self-sourced retail business grows, Kuentz may consider letting loan officers select the AccountChek refresh period on a loan-by-loan basis. That kind of flexibility is critical to Kuentz’s growth strategy.“A 180-day refresh window opens up protections for both sides, especially on new construction loans. We can work with borrowers to quickly address any issues that may crop up, then refresh the report any time during that 180s days to keep our closing on track and ensure the loan is sellable.”
- BETTER LIQUIDITY MANAGEMENT THROUGH REPS AND WARRANTS RELIEF
AccountChek’s status as an Authorized Report Supplier of eligible verification reports for the Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) validation service is essential to Trinity Oaks’ liquidity strategy. That’s because Trinity Oaks relies on programs like Day 1 Certainty® to reduce its repurchase risk, which in turn enables the company to free up operating capital by decreasing its loan loss reserves.