FirstClose’s Digital Home Equity Solution is Now Integrated with MeridianLink

AUSTIN, Texas (November 16, 2022) FirstClose, Inc., a leading fintech provider of data and workflow solutions for mortgage and home equity lenders nationwide, announced today that its end- to-end digital home equity origination solution, FirstClose ONE™ Equity, is now integrated with the MeridianLink® One platform.

FirstClose’s one-of-a-kind equity solution reduces operational touchpoints and improves the overall customer experience for borrowers. The end-to-end platform includes a borrower-facing point-of- sale solution that gives consumers instant online feedback on their home valuation, available home equity, loan options and delivers credit decisions in minutes. Automated workflows, including the ordering of settlement services, enable lenders to complete the application through closing process in five to ten days versus the industry average of 45 to 60 days.

“The MeridianLink partner marketplace is a trusted resource for our customers, and we are thrilled to add FirstClose’s digital HELOC solution to our ecosystem,” said Amy Daniels, senior vice president, Partner Marketplace, MeridianLink. “In the current lending environment, offering more home equity lending capabilities to our customers can help them better meet consumer expectations.”

“We are extremely pleased to deepen our relationship with MeridianLink and to provide a modern, digital home equity solution to its clients,” said Tim Smith, chief revenue officer, FirstClose. “Lenders using our ONE Equity solution have experienced overall time savings as high as 77%, 35% increases in online applications and 25% improvements in pull through.”

About MeridianLink

MeridianLink® (NYSE: MLNK) is a leading provider of cloud-based software solutions for financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders, specialty lending providers and consumer reporting agencies. Headquartered in Costa Mesa, California, MeridianLink provides services to more than 1,900 customers, including a majority of the financial institutions on Forbes’ 2021 lists of America’s Best Credit Unions and Banks. Further information can be found at www.meridianlink.com.

About FirstClose

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, FirstClose provides technology solutions to HELOC and home equity lenders nationwide.  The company’s mission is to help lenders increase profitability and reduce cost. FirstClose makes this possible through offering systems and relationships that enable lenders to more effectively assist the lender’s borrowers, reduce closing costs, and ultimately shorten closing times. For more information, visit www.firstclose.com.

FirstClose Names James Bolger Chief Financial Officer

New Executive Hire Further Strengthens FirstClose’s Executive Team

AUSTIN, Texas (November 10, 2022) FirstClose, Inc., a leading fintech provider of data and workflow solutions for mortgage and home equity lenders nationwide, announced today that James Bolger has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer. In this role, Bolger will be responsible for all aspects of the company’s financial affairs including reporting, budget planning, capital raising and financing the company’s aggressive growth strategy.

Bolger brings more than two decades of experience in leading the financial operations of mortgage and financial services firms. Prior to joining FirstClose, Bolger was the Chief Financial Officer of ClosingCorp. During his tenure, ClosingCorp experienced significant client and revenue growth which eventually led to ClosingCorp’s acquisition by CoreLogic. Prior to ClosingCorp, Bolger was Chief Financial Officer of PTI Marketing Technologies, a cloud-based intelligent marketing solution provider, where he was responsible for all aspects of financial operations, including mergers and acquisitions, tax and treasury. Earlier in his career, Bolger held senior financial positions at Accredited Home Lenders and GreenPoint Credit Corp.

“Jim is a seasoned financial executive with a proven track record of driving business results and harnessing financial information to empower decision making.” said Tedd Smith, Chief Executive Officer of FirstClose. “Jim will be a key component in FirstClose’s continued growth and success, and we’re excited to welcome him to our team.”

FirstClose has developed a one-of-a-kind home equity solution that reduces operational touchpoints and improves the overall customer experience for borrowers. The end-to-end platform includes a borrower-facing point-of-sale solution that gives consumers instant online feedback on their home valuation, available home equity, loan options and delivers credit decisions in minutes. Automated workflows, including the ordering of settlement services, enable lenders to complete the application through closing process in five to ten days versus the industry average of 45 to 60.

About FirstClose

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, FirstClose provides technology solutions to HELOC and home equity lenders nationwide.  The company’s mission is to help lenders increase profitability and reduce cost. FirstClose makes this possible through offering systems and relationships that enable lenders to more effectively assist the lender’s borrowers, reduce closing costs, and ultimately shorten closing times. For more information, visit www.firstclose.com.

Evolve Mortgage Services and FirstClose Join Forces to Deliver an End-to-End Digital eHELOC Solution

New Solution Offers Seven-Minute Approval and Seven-Day eClosing

FRISCO, Texas (October 20, 2022) — Evolve Mortgage Services, LLC, a top provider of outsourced mortgage solutions and eMortgage technology solutions, announced today it is partnering with FirstClose, Inc., a leading fintech provider of data and workflow solutions for home equity lenders nationwide, to automate the HELOC origination process. The new solution will enable lenders to approve HELOCs within seven minutes and eClose lines within seven days.  

The new collaboration combines FirstClose ONE’s home equity application management system with Evolve’s SigniaDocument engine and its full eSign and eNotary (RON) capabilities.

The combination:

  • Delivers a fully digital, paperless eOrigination and eClosing process from application to close.
  • Gives consumers instant online feedback, including their home valuation, available home equity, loan options as well as an instant credit decision.
  • Reduces time to close from weeks to days with automated workflows, including ordering of required settlement services.
  • Provides a superior, streamlined consumer experience
  • Uses RON eClosing to decrease closing time from 50 minutes to 15 minutes.
  • Allows investors to eRegister and board loans the same day for quicker accurate funding.

FirstClose ONE is a home equity application management system that qualifies a consumer and continues to nurture them throughout the entire process. Consumers can explore loan options and once ready, apply and receive an instant credit decision. FirstClose offers everything from application to close, including the ability to order required settlement services such as credit, flood, appraisal, title, tax, income, employment, and asset verification on one easy-to-navigate platform taking friction, cost and risk out of the process.

“While home equity products are experiencing something of a renaissance thanks to record home values, the market is nothing new to FirstClose. We were the pioneer in this space nearly two decades ago,” said Tedd Smith, Chief Executive Officer of FirstClose. “Lenders are continuously looking to optimize their closing processes and services, while borrowers want the white-glove service and seamless experience. Our partnership with Evolve’s SigniaDocument engine, to deliver the eClosing experience consumers and lenders desire, completes the cycle.”

Evolve’s SigniaDocuments, provides the electronic documents for initial and final closing as well as the full eSign and eNotary. SigniaDocuments’ proprietary doc engine produces a complete document library built entirely on native XML SMARTDocs®. SMARTDocs include embedded enabled eSignature and eNotary tags eliminating need to OCR or create templates and manual tags. Its integrated compliance engine also ensures legally compliant, rep and warranted mortgage documents further reducing risk and expanding scalability.

Paul Anselmo, Evolve’s President and CEO said “Mortgage market constituents need a forward-looking game plan to help position themselves to compete in this tightening and dwindling market for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023.  This partnership allows us to digitize the entire process from app to close, reduce cost and risk and boost production and profitability.  As we like to say at Evolve, our experienced team of people, proven platform, and innovative technology and tools, we provide our clients the opportunity to “Close With Confidence and Fund Next Day With Certainty®!”

About FirstClose, Inc.

Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, FirstClose provides technology solutions to HELOC and lenders nationwide.  The company’s mission is to increase profitability and reduce cost for mortgage lenders. FirstClose makes this possible through offering systems and relationships that enable lenders to more effectively assist the lender’s borrowers, reduce closing costs, and ultimately shorten closing times. For more information, visit www.firstclose.com.

About Evolve Mortgage Services

Evolve Mortgage Services is a top provider of outsourced mortgage solutions and eMortgage technology solutions. Evolve enables companies to eliminate roadblocks and focus their valuable resources on growth. The company’s services empower mortgage lenders, servicers, and investors to reduce inefficiencies in their mortgage loan process and dramatically improve profitability. Founded and run by a team of industry veterans, Evolve provides seamless component or end-to-end loan services and creates custom strategies for each client. The firm has extensive experience in origination and post-closing services; institutional, whole loan, and servicing acquisition due diligence; collateral recovery HMDA and forensic compliance reviews; whole loan sales; agency deliveries; and TPR securitizations. Evolve is based in Frisco, Texas.

For more information, visit www.evolvemortgageservices.com.

CONTACT: Lea Pedros, Director of Marketing, lea.pedros@evolvemortgageservices.com

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FirstClose Names Industry Veteran Carol Crawford Chief Marketing Officer

AUSTIN, Texas (October 6, 2022) – FirstClose, Inc., a leading fintech provider of data and workflow solutions for mortgage and home equity lenders nationwide, announced today that industry veteran Carol Crawford has joined the company as Chief Marketing Officer. In this role, Crawford will lead strategy and manage execution for brand development, integrated marketing and multi-channel communications planning to enhance awareness of FirstClose and increase demand for its fintech offerings. 

FirstClose’s fintech platform streamlines the origination and closing processes for home equity lines of credit (HELOC) and home equity loans. Its solution is the industry’s first and only tool that offers everything from a borrower facing point of sale solution to closing, including credit score, valuation, title, tax, flood, closing and recording. FirstClose is used by more than 200 banks and credit unions and processes hundreds of thousands of transactions per year.

Crawford brings more than 20 years of experience in mortgage and financial services marketing and leadership. Most recently, she served as Senior Director at ICE Mortgage Technology where she was responsible for business strategy and product marketing for ICE’s AIQ and TPO Connect solutions. Prior to ICE, Crawford was the Chief Marketing Officer of ClosingCorp where she led the account management and marketing teams and set the company’s go-to-market strategy for nearly eight years. During her tenure, ClosingCorp realized exponential client and revenue growth and was acquired at a premium by CoreLogic. Earlier in her career, Crawford held senior marketing roles at both CoreLogic and First American.

“Carol is a highly accomplished and visionary leader in data and technology marketing and sales with a proven track record of creating effective campaigns that drive revenue growth,” said Tedd Smith, Chief Executive Officer at FirstClose. “She is both a hands-on executive and a well-respected, collaborative team leader and will be a significant factor in FirstClose’s continued growth and its product and market expansion.”

About FirstClose

Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, FirstClose provides technology solutions to HELOC and home equity lenders nationwide.  The company’s mission is to help lenders increase profitability and reduce cost. FirstClose makes this possible through offering systems and relationships that enable lenders to more effectively assist the lender’s borrowers, reduce closing costs, and ultimately shorten closing times. For more information, visit www.firstclose.com.

For media enquiries, please contact Bill Campbell, Campbell Lewis Communications at bill@campbelllewis.com

FirstClose Plans to Accelerate Growth with $35 Million Investment from Lateral

AUSTIN, Texas (May 17, 2022) – FirstClose, Inc., a leading fintech provider of data and workflow solutions for mortgage and home equity lenders nationwide, has closed a $35 million investment from growth equity firm Lateral Investment Management to accelerate its product and growth strategies. 

FirstClose provides underwriting workflow automation technology, point-of-sale software, and data services for the U.S. home equity and mortgage markets.  FirstClose will use the funds to expand its ever-growing financial services footprint to leverage property data intelligence, industry-leading partners, and groundbreaking technology to enable lenders to compete for and close consumer loans unlike any other solution in the industry.

“FirstClose is excited to announce this next step in our company’s journey,” said Tedd Smith, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of FirstClose.  “Our mission has always been to improve the way that banks and credit unions serve consumers by accelerating loan closing times, increasing loan volumes and reducing costs. This year, as interest rates continue to rise and home equity lending volumes skyrocket, this funding will allow us to continue innovating faster and provide a superior customer experience, while delivering end-to-end solutions that are in high demand in today’s constantly changing lending environment.” 

Soaring home prices have made home equity lending products a clear option for lenders looking to diversify their lending portfolios while creating new revenue streams.  The increase in mortgage rates since the beginning of the year has caused the additional demand for home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and other home equity lending products to increase significantly.  The new funding for FirstClose is the first institutional equity investment round in the company which has been self-funded since it was founded in 2000. 

“Lateral is excited to partner with the FirstClose team as they accelerate growth,” said Stuart Barden, Managing Director at Lateral Investment Management, a San Mateo, California-based growth equity investment firm. “We believe that FirstClose has a critical role to play in streamlining the origination, underwriting and closing processes in the $200 billion consumer home loan market.” 

Based in Austin, Texas, FirstClose provides solutions that dramatically reduce the time to close HELOCs and mortgages for more than 400 banks and credit union customers.  Lenders using the FirstClose EquityIQ solution have experienced a 35% increase in online applications, a 25% increase in pull through, and a 77% reduction in time to close from application to funding. The company has strategic partnerships with MeridianLink and other industry-leading LOS companies to embed its workflow automation and data solutions into their platforms.

“We want to keep providing more value for our customers.  The demand for a simple and easy way to get instant feedback on a home value, available home equity, and instant loan decision while applying for a HELOC has become a business imperative,” said Tim Smith, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of FirstClose.  “We are expanding our sales and customer success teams to serve more customers across the home loan market.  By partnering with Lateral, we have found a team that has the skills and experience to support our growth – both organically and through acquisition.”

FirstClose recently expanded the leadership team to add Pat Carney as Chief Technology Officer and Kathy Mantych as Senior Vice President of Sales.  Carney has more than 20 years of industry experience formulating strategies and developing innovative products for the real estate and title industries, including as Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships at ClosingCorp.  Mantych has been a veteran sales leader in the mortgage banking and financial services industries.  

About FirstClose

Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, FirstClose provides technology solutions to HELOC and mortgage lenders nationwide.  The company’s mission is to increase profitability and reduce cost for mortgage lenders. FirstClose makes this possible through offering systems and relationships that enable lenders to more effectively assist the lender’s borrowers, reduce closing costs, and ultimately shorten closing times.

For more information, visit https://firstclose.com/

For media enquiries, please contact Michael Hammond, Chief Marketing Officer at Michael.hammond@firstclose.com

About Lateral Investment Management

Lateral Investment Management is a private investment firm focused on partnering with lower middle market companies facing transformational growth. Lateral provides “first institutional” growth capital ranging from $5MM to $50MM along with value-added assistance to established businesses that can be leaders in fundamental sectors such as manufacturing, business services and infrastructure that are at the intersection of technology and disruptive change. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Lateral believes that profitable and sustainable businesses create a wealth of opportunity for all. Lateral embraces the mission of companies that create high quality jobs, protect the earth, and solve problems for humanity. 

For more information, visit https://lateralim.com/

For media enquiries, please contact Margret Hardardottir, Managing Director at mags@lateralim.com

National Mortgage Professional Announces FirstClose Investment From Lateral

Fintech says it will use the investment to expand its growing financial services footprint.

FirstClose Inc., a fintech provider of data and workflow solutions for mortgage and home equity lenders nationwide, said Tuesday it has closed a $35 million investment from growth equity firm Lateral Investment Management to accelerate its product and growth strategies.  [Read more…]