In this series of interviews, we focus on the people who are shaping the state of housing at the top — the policy and regulation experts. The FHFA and the GSEs are essential to painting the picture of today’s housing market and industry trends. To help shed some light in this area, several of the 2022 HousingWire Vanguard honorees shared their insights on what’s happening at the federal level that’s going to affect housing this year and into 2023.
Seth Appleton, president at MISMO
HousingWire: Which trends in housing regulation are you and your team most focused on as we move into 2023?
Seth Appleton: The cost to originate a mortgage remains stubbornly high, so we are focused on developing standards that enable the industry to leverage data and technology to reduce costs, maximize efficiencies and lessen the need to constantly reverify and revalidate information.
On the servicing side, we are focused on easing friction by standardizing the information exchanged during a servicing transfer transaction; this is particularly important given the high volume of servicing transfers that have taken place this year. Across the board, we are fostering interoperability, innovation and efficiency in the digital mortgage process.
HW: As a 2022 Vanguard honoree, what has been your proudest accomplishment?
SA: In 2022, it is the release of a new version of the MISMO reference model, which is used to manufacture every residential mortgage today. The new version will bring significant benefits to the industry, including a standardized data exchange to support the non-agency market. Looking back, steering Ginnie Mae through the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely my proudest career accomplishment to date; we were able to provide stability to the market at a very uncertain time.
HW: What major changes in federal regulation and legislative policies should people be paying more attention to?
SA: There is an increased focus on financial technology and innovation from all corners of Washington and beyond, so any policies in this space must be clear, thoroughly vetted, well-reasoned and ultimately beneficial to consumers.
HW: From your perspective, how has collaboration in the industry helped move the needle when it comes to eClosings?
SA: Every mortgage transaction has multiple stakeholders, so collaboration to develop standards, best practices and a common language has been absolutely vital to the industry’s digital progression. It is fundamental to what MISMO is and does.
HW: What do you think the next frontier in digital mortgages is? Or the next area of focus and implementation?
SA: There is a lot of room to grow the scalability of fully digital transactions that start with electronic applications and end with eNotes. This includes many of the processes in the middle of an application, closing and secondary marketing, in which today there can be back-and-forth movement from digital to analog formats.
This interview was originally published in the October/November issue of HousingWire Magazine. To view the full issue, click here.