Applications Programming Interfaces (APIs)

Lennar Mortgage, LLC.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) Spotlight

Lennar Mortgage has achieved a more streamlined underwriting process, which enhances its Lennar Mortgage Elite loan program.
The new API integration has helped the company to reduce the number of underwriting resubmissions.

The Challenge

Lennar Mortgage, like many mortgage companies, continually seeks ways to improve its customers’ experiences. The company’s leaders aspire to simplify processes. They aim to improve capabilities within the business’s operations as well as customer satisfaction. In addition, they plan to trim the company’s costs per loan and reduce the amount of manual effort that their current process entails.

The leaders envision a better customer experience through properly designed borrower-facing technology systems that effectively deliver data. They also foresee more efficiencies for their staff. In order to achieve their goals, they tasked the company’s technology team with finding a solution that would do accomplish both objectives.

All of our successes would not have been possible without the DU Messages API.

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The Solution

In 2019, Lennar Mortgage’ technology team sought out a solution to help streamline the company’s procedures and create more enjoyable interactions for both customers and employees. 

“We’ve been automating things left and right this past year, and that’s how we found Fannie Mae’s API,” explained Allen Lance, Lennar Mortgage’s manager of product systems implementation.

An API is a digital technology tool that bridges the gap between different systems. It can help systems communicate and leverage the exchange of information with each other. Using an API along with existing technologies enables companies like Lennar Mortgage to automate processes for a simpler, faster, and less cumbersome loan origination process. 

Lennar Mortgage’s participation in Fannie Mae’s Day 1 Certainty® pilot program led to the development of its Lennar Mortgage Elite loan program. Company leaders identified, trained, and certified senior loan processors to underwrite loans with borrower(s) income and employment data validated through the Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) validation service, a component of Day 1 Certainty. 

“A Lennar Mortgage Elite processor would process and underwrite their own loans from start to finish,” said Arlene Polifroni, Senior Vice President of Operations for Lennar Mortgage. This helped to improve the borrower’s experience.  

The validation shrunk the amount of paperwork required from the borrower and reduced the back-and-forth in underwriting.

However, the team knew they were missing other loans that could potentially qualify for their Lennar Mortgage Elite program. The members simply had no easy way to identify those loans without manually analyzing each of the messages from the DU Findings report. 

Distinguishing loans for the Lennar Mortgage Elite program was a tedious, manual process. The company relied on loan officers to recognize loan applications that would qualify and would then require review of those specific applications. 

“We weren’t going to rely on somebody looking at the file and clicking a button,” said Lance. 

The developers soon discovered a way to distinguish loans that could be eligible for the DU validation service — Fannie Mae’s DU Messages API. The API is an additional service for Desktop Underwriter users. It uses the casefile ID and either the  borrower’s name, zip code, or Universal Loan Identifier to retrieve DU messages that the lender wants to view. 

A call, or request, to the API retrieves a dataset from the casefile.  The API presents this dataset in a digestible data file format, e.g. JSON or XML, which includes DU findings messages. The messages incorporate DU calculations like loan-to-value and debt-to-income ratios as well as more detailed borrower information. This raw data that the API retrieves can be parsed and programmed for automation and integrated into other applications.

The Result

Streamlined Processes and a Better Customer Experience
Lennar Mortgage has achieved a more streamlined underwriting process, which enhances its Lennar Mortgage Elite loan program. The new API integration has helped the company to reduce the number of underwriting resubmissions. 

“We have experienced a 19% reduction, year over year, on the number of resubmissions to underwriting per loan.  A portion of this reduction is attributed to the Lennar Mortgage Elite loan program,” explained Polifroni. “All of our successes would not have been possible without the DU Messages API, which allows the system to automatically identify Lennar Mortgage Elite  loans.”

The DU Messages API gives the loan processor more control of the loan and limits the need to request additional information from the borrower at the last minute. The improved process makes it possible to obtain approval of a borrower’s income, credit, and assets more quickly. 

“Before she sends  out her commitment letter to the borrower, she’s already partially processed and underwritten the loan. So, to the borrower, there are fewer conditions,” said Polifroni. 

It opened the door for API as a solution. It’s paved the way for other opportunities.

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More Quality Controls and New Opportunities

Lennar Mortgage’s experience with the DU Messages API has inspired its technology team to further understand the capabilities of this particular API as well as others.

“It opened the door to us using the API as a solution,” said Lance. “It’s paved the way for other opportunities.”

Now that the team members realize the value of the API, they are developing new ways to use the feature to help improve quality controls.  Currently, they are evaluating the API process that was developed to determine whether a loan has received a Property Inspection Waiver. Polifroni believes that this capability could increase efficiencies within underwriting and secondary marketing as well as improve the customer experience even further.