COVID-19 has impacted many things, including the release of the long-anticipated new URLA. While we’ve had plenty of advance notice at this point, the March 1st deadline is now fast approaching. This extra time has been a gift for most, allowing an opportunity to get squared away leading into the new year. But the next few months are a crucial time to prepare and ensure your organization is ready for the changes required for the new URLA — fortunately, Blend is here to help.
What is the new Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA)?
In case you need a refresher, the Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) is a standardized document, jointly published by the GSEs, used by borrowers to apply for a mortgage. The new URLA includes substantial changes to format, content, and structure. The redesigned format is more consumer friendly, enables better efficiency, and supports accurate data collection.
How will these updates help borrowers and lenders? According to a GSE fact sheet:
- With obsolete fields removed from the form, the new and updated fields reflect today’s mortgage lending business
- The application includes clearer upfront instructions to enable borrower self-service
- With an easily fillable format, the dynamic electronic form uses consistent organization of fields and labels plus sections expand or contract based on the information provided
- The new URLA is supported by the Uniform Loan Application Dataset (ULAD), mapping to the MISMO® version 3.4 reference model
These changes are a strong collective step forward for the industry — in fact, Blend’s mortgage platform has utilized some of these features for years, so we understand the value that they can bring for borrowers and lenders. We are excited that the ideas we have been championing are being adopted at scale.
Keep in mind that the loan application process does not change for lender or borrower, but the changes support the collection of loan application details that are relevant and useful in making an underwriting decision.
When do we need to start using the new URLA?
We are currently within the Limited Production phase, where lenders have controlled access to the GSEs’ AUS production environments based upon validation of eligibility requirements and completion of the Partner Readiness Questionnaire.
At Blend, we’ve conducted extensive testing with our customer base across the country. These financial institutions participating in the Limited Production Period have already processed thousands of applications — aligned with the new URLA requirements and submitted through Blend’s platform.
Over the next few months, we have a few key milestones in mind:
- Starting on January 1, 2021, all lenders may submit the MISMO v3.4 loan application submission files to GSE-specific AUS production environments using the new URLA
- On the March 1, 2021 deadline, lenders will be required to submit the loan application submission files using the redesigned URLA
- And on March 1, 2022, the current URLA and loan application submission files based on previous AUS specifications will no longer be accepted, regardless of their original date
For the year in between (The Pipeline Transition Period), the Blend platform and our supported LOS integrations will maintain support for old and new URLA loans throughout the pipeline transition period.
3 ways Blend is helping our customers make updates for the new URLA
We understand that updates like URLA bring many ramifications for financial institutions. Working with Blend means lenders don’t have to make any manual changes to their application or workflow — we’ve got it handled.
1. Easy transition
With the recent development we’ve made to support URLA changes, Blend can increase the chance data is being collected correctly and syncing between systems. Our unified digital lending platform is built for integration with your LOS and all the systems you work with. Blend has out of the box integrations with many LOS, including:
- Ellie Mae Encompass
- Black Knight Empower
- MeridianLink LendingQB
- Wipro NetOxygen
- Accenture MortgageCadence
- Fiserv Mortgage Director
And for custom integrations, Blend’s APIs fully support the ability to integrate New URLA applications with your system of record.
2. Guided testing
Blend customers are now able to begin beta testing for all integrations, which means lenders can take in sample applications, make sure they are working, and look for any issues or areas to improve. Blend will be by your side throughout the URLA transition process and providing a dedicated channel for questions or feedback.
3. Support resources
Blend is creating a library of materials to help our customers and their lending teams feel comfortable and confident about the URLA changes. We’ll surface only the most relevant resources for your organization, as many of our assets are customized for your specific LOS. As always, Blend prides itself on being a true partner to our customers and finding new ways to support their businesses.
Whether a financial institution is looking for assistance with a change like URLA or new ways to close more loans at a lower cost, Blend’s digital mortgage suite can help. Our lending platform is constantly evolving and improving to ensure that borrowers have the best possible experience and lending teams have the right tools to feel empowered. At Blend, we strive to be thinking three steps ahead so your organization stays ahead of the curve.