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Oct 1 2016, Innovation Focus: Chronos Solutions
Providing end-to-end services and solutions from origination to default management
Chronos Solutions, a national real estate financial services provider, reached a tipping point last year. The company, formerly known as Matt Martin Real Estate Management, rebranded itself in October 2015, but the name change was just part of a much bigger strategy shift going on within the company.
Chronos’ new direction has been fueled by a series of key acquisitions over the last 18 months. In 2015, the company acquired RealtyBid.com, which specializes in the expedited sale of bank-owned assets, and Cogent Road, a credit, verification and origination technology-based business.
In 2016 Chronos has purchased Commerce Title and Closing as well as UPF Services, which provides process-driven services and technology solutions for the real estate and mortgage industries.
ChronosBy acquiring these companies, Chronos has assembled the industry’s first independent end-to-end source for services and solutions, including all of the services listed on the HUD-1. The company now offers technology enabled services and solutions that span the mortgage continuum, from origination and post-close, through servicing and default management.
Chronos’ comprehensive service offerings now include credit reporting and analysis services; income, tax return, employment, asset and SSN verification services and title and closing services. The firm also offers flood hazard compliance services, real estate tax monitoring, document preparation and recording services; lien release, assignment and trailing document services.
In addition, Chronos offers appraisal management technology, appraisals and valuation services; ownership and encumbrances reports, property information reports and HOA solutions for loan origination and post-closing and default title, closing and recording services.
The company also provides lien, flood, insurance and real estate tax portfolio monitoring services; BPOs and valuations; HOA risk mitigation solutions, accelerated asset liquidation and marketing services, including online CWCOT and Trustee Sale Plus auctions; short sale and deed-in-lieu services, field services and REO asset management and disposition services for servicing and default management.
“These acquisitions enable us to offer even more value to clients by providing technology and integrated solutions for lending and credit risk management, while decreasing the cost of fulfillment,” said Matt Slonaker, executive vice president of business development at Chronos Solutions.
“We have acquired the raw materials and now we are figuring out ways of putting them together to provide a one-stop shop for customized transactional Chronosand business process management services,” Slonaker said.
The company, which prides itself on being “large enough to execute, but small enough to care,” provides real partnership for its clients. Instead of functioning merely as a vendor, Chronos Solutions employs a unique consultative approach, sitting down with clients to find out what their goals and processes are, and then customizing professional solutions to meet those needs.
“We have made strategic acquisitions and internal investments for organic growth to offer a full suite of products for the mortgage origination, servicing and default management channels,” said Slonaker. “Whether our clients are a top 10 lender or servicer or young companies just starting out, our solutions suite can be tailored to work for all sizes.”
ADDRESSING CUSTOMER PAIN POINTS
Chronos developed its strategy to address specific customer pain points. For example, a lot of lenders were dealing with compliance inefficiencies even as they wanted to fund more loans. With its purchase of Cogent Road, Chronos now offers those firms a state-of-the-art platform, Funding Suite, to provide detailed cost accounting, business dashboards and advanced credit analysis tools.
Chronos solves another pain point for clients — errors in the income tax verification process — with Taxdoor, an automatedtax transcript solution that allows lenders to order verified income tax data from IRS tax transcripts.
Loan applicants can verify addresses and digitally approve the release of their tax information using a smartphone. Using Taxdoor, clients who once dealt with IRS rejection rates averaging 15% to 20% have seen rejection rates plunge to 5% to 7%.
“It’s not just having products, but developing the right product and technology to help fix the real problems our clients have,” said Matt Harrick, senior vice president of business development and lender services at Chronos Solutions.
“Our role is as a trusted advisor offering in-house solutions to help everyone become more successful,” Harrick said.
The company’s Trustee Sale Plus solution is another example of the company’s drive to develop meaningful solutions. Many Chronos clients were having challenges understanding trustee sale and Claims Without Conveyance of Title (CWCOT) programs.
The CWCOT program was developed to help servicers sell properties quickly at auction without having to convey them back to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program has been in effect since 1987, but received a crucial update in 2014 when HUD recognized that the properties needed to be discounted to be competitive.
“Before this update, banks and servicers had to get a bid that protected their full interest, and no investor would pay that, so all these properties that were foreclosed went back to the bank as REO,” said Tony Isbell, president of RealtyBid.com, the auction platform of Chronos Solutions.
Now, to expedite the sale of default properties, HUD is allowing bids that are below the total debt owed on the asset, which opens up a new avenue for investors. However, many servicers were missing out on this opportunity because of the complexity of the program. By offering a high-touch service that walks them through the process, Chronos helps servicers navigate the challenging program and maximize their opportunity.
In addition, Chronos differentiates its CWCOT service offering by bringing HOA lien, title curative and other services inside one auction fee, which is saving servicers significantly.
“We make this process easier by providing transparency through in-depth reporting and analytics,” Slonaker said.
Chronos can offer incredible value to its clients by bundling its many service offerings to deliver significant cost savings.
“Our customizable, bundled solutions allow us to be very flexible in meeting customer needs,” Slonaker said. “We are not a publicly traded company, so our actions are not mandated by shareholders and we can be very creative on models that help customers be more efficient and reach their goals.”
The enthusiastic reaction from the industry is clear: Chronos is seeing exponential growth in multiple product lines just months after adding them through both internal development and acquisition.
Technology is central to the efficiencies and service Chronos offers clients. The company has baked Business Intelligence inside its applications and made investments in both systems and personnel, recently hiring long-time mortgage technology industry veteran Arun Pimpalapure as its new chief information officer.
Chronos' Technology plays a major role in our company — not just tech services but also tech in daily operations. As we’ve increased business intelligence throughout the firm it has implications in sales, CRM, accounting, client portals, data exchanges and security networks,” Slonaker said.
Chronos’ tech advantage is available to all its clients, no matter what their position in the market. The company’s acquisitions have added more than 600 new clients to its roster, but Chronos is committed to maintaining the intimacy of its partnership model.
“For us, it doesn’t matter what size the company is — we want everybody to be successful,” Harrick said. “Most of our 700 customers would be classified as middle market accounts, but with Chronos they get the best technology no matter what size they are — they are all important.”
That commitment to technology is also essential for remaining compliant. With such a large client base, Chronos has been through the vendor boarding process for a variety of banks, agencies and credit unions, which translates to a robust understanding of compliance demands.
“Our experience should provide a high level of confidence to clients because we complete multiple audits and vendor reviews on a weekly basis,” Slonaker said. “We know what is needed and we can educate our clients on their processes and help them be more compliant through our solutions.”
With the company’s significant growth this year, Chronos will be concentrating on integrating those acquisitions going forward, especially with UPF Services, its most recent buy.
Chronos will also be focused on boarding and servicing its major accounts, including the asset management, HOA and title services for a number of banks. The company will also look to cross sell and nurture the captive client base it has acquired.
“We are laser-focused on giving them the great service they expect,” Slonaker said.