A year of unprecedented changes in home values and an ongoing tidal wave of defaults is a great time to recognize the contributions of mortgage industry players who've focused their efforts on technology advancements on the collateral and loss-mitigation sides of the mortgage banking equation. This can-do bunch of thought leaders and get-'er-done types are people who like to lead rather than follow, and they definitely think outside the box--way outside the box. * The specific contributions made by this year's group of Technology All-Stars include creating open-data standards to support appraisals; tools to improve collateral analytics; workflow improvements in loss mitigation; and the creation of appraisal-management systems and platforms able to handle the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) programs, as well as the first eDisclosures for those government loan-modification programs. * We celebrate this year's group of industry innovators and the significant work they do. Here they are--our 2011 class of Technology All-Stars.
Chief Executive Officer, President and Co-Founder
Veros Real Estate Solutions
Santa Ana, California
GIFT TO THE INDUSTRY: Pre-funding quality control of appraisals, and intelligence and analytics for collateral value
What do you get when you cross a litigator and a techie? Darius Bozorgi, a former Chicago lawyer who today practices more law as chief executive officer (CEO) of Veros Real Estate Solutions, an appraisal, property valuation and risk analytics company, than he ever did as a trial lawyer. Disenchanted with the tiny amount of time he spent in the courtroom and the huge amount of time he spent pushing paper, the litigator was lured to Southern California in 2000 by his uncle, Veros Co-Founder Bijan Bozorgi.
"I got hooked on the notion that automated decisions would revolutionize the way financial services companies made decisions," Bozorgi says. "We saw numerous voids in the way property valuation was dealt with in the mortgage market That was where we could be successful as a company and, more importantly, it was an area where we could provide the biggest value to the market and make the biggest difference."
Starting off in data and analytics, the company produced automated valuation models (AVMs) that were single-point estimates of value, then expanded into products that predict how collateral values would move in the future. These products ranged from market risk and fraud scores, default and real estate-owned (REO) AVMs, risk-based approaches to property valuation, transaction quality scores and evaluation of whether a transaction was really arms'-length.
In 2006 and 2007, when the market was going crazy and everyone else was battening down the hatches to weather the storm, Veros gambled that an enterprise class system to manage and evaluate collateral risk from cradle to grave would be exactly what the industry would need.
In 2009, that bet paid off when Fannie Mae selected Veros as technology provider for the Collateral Data Delivery Program. In 2010, Freddie Mac came on board and the Uniform Collateral Data Delivery Portal (UCDP) joint project was born, again with Veros as the technology provider.
"Real estate markets are cyclical," Bozorgi says. "There will always be ups and downs. What needed to change was our ability to identify, manage and price collateral risk on a holistic basis."
Bozorgi is an unusually deserving Technology All-Star choice because he made a second contribution to the industry that, on its own, would have been reason enough to add his name to the honor roll: the creation of the highly influential biennial Predictive Methods Conference (PMC).
While many mortgage market players hold client conferences, Bozorgi chose to create an open-source, industrywide conference and invited everyone--including competitors. He made it an all-comers ball where investors, originators, servicers, service providers and regulatory agency officials could have frank discussions about property valuation and risk.
At home, Bozorgi is a self-proclaimed gadget geek. His gadgets du jour are the Live-scribe[TM] smartpen, which allows you to digitally take and record handwritten notes, and a digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. He uses the camera on hikes and in his second job as the unofficial photojournalist for his three children's soccer teams, and the pen to keep his thoughts and notes organized for recording in notebooks.
Director of Business Development
JVI Solutions LLC
Lake Mary, Florida
GIFT TO THE INDUSTRY: Chaired the MISMO committee that brought real estate property and valuation data standards to the marketplace
John Cirincione is a tinkerer at heart, and the industry has been the lucky recipient of his efforts during a 30-year career in which he's focused himself on resolving weaknesses and deficiencies in the mortgage lending and appraisal process.
During tenures as the chair (and now vice chair) of MISMO's Appraisal Workgroup, Cirincione served as a subject-matter expert during the development and creation of data standards for real estate property and property valuation information. That sounds a lot easier than it was.
Devising the appraisal component of the MISMO...