AwardsIn The NewsLending Luminary Award

The 2019 Lending Luminary Award Winners Are …

A luminary is defined as “a person who inspires or influences others.” And that type of person is exactly who PROGRESS in Lending is honoring. Right now the market is filled with uncertainty. Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting, recently said of mortgage applications, “Ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China led to volatile, yet declining Treasury rates. Consumers continue to act on these lower rates, but the volatility in the market is likely leading some borrowers to pause refinancing and buying decisions.”

What does this mean? The lending market will remain in flux for some time to come. But a true Lending Luminary will better handle and navigate constantly fluctuating market conditions.  These mortgage bankers, lenders, servicers, technology executives, consultants, etc. will help their companies and this industry thrive. These executives deserve to be recognized for their industry vision and leadership. The first ever Lending Luminary Award Winners are:

Evolve Mortgage Services

Paul built Evolve in a way that reflects his mission of changing how loans are bought and sold across all stages of the lending lifecycle. Over the last 12 months, the company has grown dramatically, and Evolve has had 6 straight record months, exceeding the firm’s 2018 numbers by July of this year, and 2018 was a previous record for Evolve. He leads by example and never alters his message or beliefs in how the company can improve mortgage originations, closings, and the secondary market. Evolve has made strategic decisions and some acquisitions in the last year that have put the company in a unique position to capitalize on market fluctuations. For example, when conventional volume declined, Paul anticipated this and Evolve adjusted to offer new programs.

Chief Visionary Officer and Co-Founder
Monster Lead Group

Ken’s decision to invest millions purchasing and then mining the entire U.S. residential mortgage databases was a bold move that has separated him from every other marketing company serving the industry. He then doubled down, adding a full time team of data scientists, analysts, programmers, developers and engineers to build customized algorithms that removed the many limitations of Black Knight and CoreLogic’s simple query system and transformed that data into five years’ worth of behaviors and details now accessible and rank-able by Monster’s technologies to reveal micro trends, buyer readiness models and opportunities within govy and conventional markets that his clients can exploit for a competitive edge, and drive far higher revenue.

President & CEO
20/20 Vision Your Success Coaching & Consulting

Christine has been the senior executive leader of sales organizations, lastly AnnieMac Home Mortgage where she oversaw both the sales & the technical aspects of many financial tech platforms including but not exclusive to the CRM, Pont-of-Sale and other Educational technology platforms used for training. She is at the cutting edge of all things fintech in this industry, speaking and writing for the leaders who are also developing, promoting and managing new fintech. Christine served on the Progress in Lending Fintech advisory in Washington DC and of course she is on the cutting edge of Social Media where Christine serves as an industry expert and has spoken this year for Gary Vaynerchuk, the MBA and Housing Wire on these topics.

Senior Vice President
National Credit-reporting System, Inc. (NCS)

As Senior Vice President at National Credit-reporting System, Inc.
(NCS), Lisa Binkley is leading the change for the mortgage industry to create standards that address 100% of a borrower’s employment, income, and asset attributes. In the last 12 months, Lisa has spearheaded some cornerstone initiatives and best practice procedures that supplement the current digital footprint of our lending environment for borrowers that; 1) do not receive W2 income, 2) are unwilling to allow a lender access to their bank accounts, and/or 3) have employers who do not report to a third-party repository. Lisa is promoting a cascading tool that will allow all consumer’s employment and income to be serviced in today’s digital market.

President & CEO

Amy Brandt is a highly accomplished entrepreneur and senior executive with a track record of over 20 years of success within the mortgage, software, tech, aerospace and financial services industries. Since joining the Docutech team in May 2017, Amy has driven the company’s strategic vision and leads its growth initiatives by adding new products, entering new market segments and seeking strategic acquisitions. She also provides leadership to all aspects of daily operations, including product development, sales, partner integrations, and customer satisfaction. As president and CEO, Brandt spearheaded Docutech’s continued growth, playing an instrumental role in many areas, including the expansion of its operations into an Arizona office.

Chief Strategy Officer & EVP

With 10-plus years of experience in mortgage and real estate technology, Kelcey works towards lowering lenders’ origination costs through digital point-of-sale applications and benefits the mortgage industry with engaging modern websites. in the last twelve months, he has worked diligently towards developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining strategic inititiatives. For example, not only has he become the point of contact for all clients, but he has also spearheaded a new solution, to ultimately drive new leads to their website and point-of-sale through social media and automated messaging. He recognizes that the current millennial homebuyer, who is taking over the industry, literally lives on social media. He wants to help lenders reach these borrowers.

President & Founder
Blue Sage Solutions

Carmine Cacciavillani is revolutionizing the LOS market with the Blue Sage Digital Lending Platform, a cloud-based origination technology that is used by all parties involved in the mortgage process, including borrowers. But it’s only been during the past 12 months that Carmine’s company has emerged as a breakout star amid a heavily entrenched LOS market. In fact, it was one year ago that Prime Lending, a $14.5 billion nationwide mortgage lender, left its previous LOS vendor – one of the industry’s oldest and largest – to adopt the Blue Sage platform. Since then, other organizations have followed suit, including Member First Mortgage, a Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO) that provides technology to more than 200 credit unions nationwide.

VP of Quality Control
Planet Home Lending

Jackie Clark, CFCS, Vice President of Quality Control for Planet Home Lending, is the architect of a data-driven, profit-preserving quality control (QC) program. The program analyzes fraud and quality defect patterns, underwriting lapses, and risks in origination practices and procedures to determine where true financial, operational and compliance risk resides. Clark believes it’s important to build partnerships with operations and sales. She maintains a transparent, seamless pre-funding process, which allows QC to support Planet’s closing date commitments. Clark is constantly re-evaluating her program to incorporate changing trends, cost efficiencies and to improve early fraud detection. In 2019, Clark’s program findings inspired change.

President & CEO
Ellie Mae

As President and CEO of the leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry, Jonathan Corr is a prominent figure, spearheading technological innovation in a historically analog industry. Over the past 12 months under Jonathan’s direction, Ellie Mae made significant strides that moved the residential mortgage industry forward, increasing revenue totals year-over-year from $417 million in 2017, to approximately $500 million in 2018. By navigating the company through an acquisition by Thoma Bravo in April 2019, Jonathan opened up new opportunities for Ellie Mae to achieve its mission of automating everything automatable for the residential mortgage industry and providing a true digital mortgage solution for the industry.

Chairman & Founder

Historically Sanjeev has developed collaborative technology platforms for both mortgage servicing and mortgage originations, Quality Assurance and Quality Control. Through its branded solution HLP the technology makes it possible for several new programs to enable the expansion of home ownership to underserved markets.and low-to-moderate-income borrowers. How is this possible? These groups have been enabled by its flexible multistakeholder platform. In the end, transforming the various IndiSoft platforms to a digital model, and continuously integrating new applications to streamline the affordable housing originations process will ensure future success according to Sanjeev.

Co-Founder & CEO

James Deitch has spent the last 25 years combining his mortgage banking and technology expertise to help address some of the mortgage industry’s most pressing pain points, which include: financial stability, Cybersecurity, technological transformation, digital lending, and lender profitability, which led him to create Coheus. More importantly, in the last twelve months alone, he has guided enhancements to Coheus and Coheus Connector, achieved Elite Pro Consulting Partner status with Ellie Mae, and partnered with Ellie Mae on Data Connect to provide numerous mortgage lenders a solution to visualize all their data so they can more effectively navigate profits from enterprise to loan level. He is dedicated to improving lending.

NEXT Mortgage Events

As the co-founder of NEXT Mortgage Events, Molly Dowdy has provided a platform with two summits for women executives in the mortgage industry over the past 12 months. At these summits, high-ranking women execs meet to share competitive intel on lending technology that translates to faster implementation times, higher customer engagement and faster closings. At NEXT events, women executives collaborate on time-saving solutions, compliance issues, risk mitigation and many of the challenges every lending business faces. The collaboration and intel sharing has given those execs and the companies they represent a competitive edge in the market. Molly believes that no matter what the market is doing, there are technological and process improvements to be had.

President & Founder
NexLevel Advisors

Many executives focus solely on bringing success to their individual company, which Michael Hammond has done at NexLevel Advisors, he now dedicates himself exclusively to helping other businesses achieve extraordinary levels of success. Hammond helped NexLevel Advisors clients win more than 38 industry awards including clients being published more than 115 times in leading industry publications, securing more than 20 speaking engagements, significantly increasing sales volumes and helping grow their social media presence and engagement by more than 200% in the last 12 months alone. Hammond is only one of 60 individuals to earn the prestigious Certified Mortgage Technologist designation.

Founder & CEO

Matt Hansen is the mastermind founder and developer of SimpleNexus, the wildly popular, mobile-first lending platform that brings loan officers, borrowers and realtors together to seamlessly collaborate on home purchases from any device. In 2014 while the bulk of the mortgage industry was transitioning paper-based operations to desktops, Matt was already designing enjoyable lending apps to engage lending parties on the devices they’re most intimately connected to: phones. Now, just five years later, more loan officers (LOs) use SimpleNexus than any other mortgage point-of-sale platform. Under his leadership, the firm is clocking record loan application submissions and growing at an unprecedented rate.

Chief Revenue Officer

Hassan has led the incubation, realization, revenue generation and business development for some marquee logos in the Fintech industry after having cut his teeth at Freddie Mac where he was part of the team that developed Loan Prospector. He was instrumental in leading engineering, business and sales teams at, Dorado and then brought his experience and expertise to Tavant. Hassan has been at the helm of sales and business leadership at Tavant for more than 10 years. He has created and governs the eco-system of growth for the company’s Fintech business. In the last 12 months, Hassan has successfully led Tavant’s positioning as a business solutions and products company that solves the most complex lender and borrower challenges.

Director of Customer Success

Mariko is a passionate, customer-centric leader, who implements a 360°comprehensive approach for leading Floify in the mortgage software industry. She believes it’s paramount to earn the trust of our clients, as well as understand their ever changing hurdles and goals, so we can work in close lockstep together. There’s a difference between a vendor and a partner, and Mariko without fail knows we must be partners with our clients to continue long term client relationships. Mariko orchestrates and executes trainings, face-to-face meetings regularly with customers, daily communication to foster continual account growth, strategic initiatives, and cooperatively creates new features and inspiration with Product/Engineering.

Founder & Managing Director
TruLoan Mortgage

As a leader of branches nationwide, Daniel traveled the country to help the sales force focus on best practices and Realtor education, resulting in a 48% increase of same branch sales year over year, while simultaneously increasing the company’s purchase money market share. In mid-2019 Daniel and two of his long-time associates formed a new venture called TruLoan Mortgage. Why did they do this? They wanted to create an elevated mortgage experience that leverages consistent best practices for efficiency and a lending experience to love. Daniel believes firmly that the future of mortgage lending will depend on utilizing technology to enhance relationships rather than replace them, on a holistic experience.

Co-Founder, CEO and Chief ROI Booster
Sales Boomerang

Alex Kutsishin is Co-Founder, CEO and Chief ROI Booster with Sales Boomerang, a provider of tracking and notification software designed to help lenders identify prospects who are ideal candidates for loans. This year alone Alex has guided Sales Boomerang in helping its clients generate over 3 billion in originations from the Sales Boomerang automated Borrower Intelligence and Retention notification system. Under Alex’s leadership Sales Boomerang has tripled its number of enterprise accounts this year alone. He has also worked to integrate with all leading CRM solutions. “No Borrower Left Behind” is our mission, said Alex. The idea came from hearing all the horror stories of borrowers who were turned down or simply couldn’t qualify for a loan when they initially applied.

Take Three Technologies

As a noted thought leader, Ruth’s unique leadership offers Take Three Technologies insight into both the current market and what lies on the next horizon. “It doesn’t take a crystal ball, rather critical self-assessment in a period of change, which, for the mortgage industry, is constant. Ask why you are doing what you are doing, what incoming changes are impacting the efficacy of your process or product, and whether you enage in self-limiting behavior.” Following Ruth’s very simple ethos, solve the problem, provide efficiency, and empower the user, the company’s flagship product, TrueRuleTool, has grown over 40% in less then a quarter. “Fintechs often try to solve everything, but that isn’t productive.”

Advantage Systems, Inc.

Twelve months ago, volumes were down, margins were being squeezed and profitability was a challenge. Over those twelve months rates came down, volumes went up and margins have improved. Brian Lynch, President of Advantage Systems, leads by working hard, and Advantage Systems focuses heavily on client support and on new product development. Last year reinforced what the company already knew – that they need to help their clients save money. Since the company’s inception Advantage Systems has focused on providing functionality that makes a difference. This year, Advantage Systems has started rolling out the second phase of the next generation of its industry leading AMB software, version 7.


As the founder and CEO of Clarifire, Jane was the brainchild behind the development of CLARIFIRE®, an application that uses intelligent business rules to automatically distribute work, critical information and documents to users for action. CLARIFIRE includes a robust underwriting engine that has all investor, GSE and government workouts, including disasters, coupled with workflow that standardizes and adds transparencies. The technology can also easily share data with existing technologies. Over the past year, Jane and her team have managed to take several steps ahead of the market by paying close attention to industry operational impediments, understanding where and how technology falls short in addressing housing industry issues.

VP of Mortgage Business Development

With a focus on Digital Mortgages, the industry can be a complex puzzle in terms of getting a consistent, systematic technological infrastructure in place. There are so many entities that need to come together for a digital closing to work. Bill directed and expanded eO’s national mortgage partner network including (industry-leading LOS, Doc Prep, MERS, Title & Settlement, eNotary and eRecording providers) and managed industry affairs, strategy and indirect revenue opportunities for eO’s Mortgage LOB while serving on industry committees for MBA, ESRA and ALTA Digital Mortgage Taskforce. These key integrations will enable many players embrace digital lending.

President & CEO
Williston Financial Group.

While Ozonian previously held executive positions at Chicago Title & Trust, Coldwell Banker, Prudential Real Estate,, Bank of America and Re/Max and also served on the boards of LendingTree, Global Mobility Solutions, Realty Mogul and RealtyTrac, he is far from slowing down. This year, Ozonian and his team launched DecisionPoint, which speeds up the mortgage lending process by providing lenders with an immediate title clearance decision. The DecisionPoint platform uses a proprietary algorithm that delivers a full, detailed pre-title report nearly instantly, alerting lenders whether the loan is “clean,” or needs some curative measure that will take longer to rectify.


Working closely with the OpenClose management and technical teams, Jason helped spearhead a technology undertaking to offer its own POS digital mortgage technology, integrating it tightly with their consumer direct portal, ConsumerAssist. Officially introduced in 2019, it enabled OpenClose to offer an end-to-end digital mortgage solution starting at the POS with key functions like 1003 capture, VOE, VOI, VOA, and tax returns — with instant validation. Credit is then pulled and the loan seamlessly and swiftly moves to underwriting for automated decisioning within OpenClose’s LenderAssist LOS. Jason was instrumental in this major technology and business decision to penetrate the digital space, which has disrupted the existing POS space.

VP of Secondary Marketing
Guaranteed Rate

Over the last year, Leora has been instrumental in bringing on new investors and products to the Guaranteed Rate Companies, and continues to find new and efficient ways to bring new products to the market. Her vast knowledge and expertise in specialty products, such as Non-QM, have helped to keep Guaranteed Rate at the forefront of product development. Leora brings over 12 years of experience in secondary and capital markets to the industry, and is well-known for her passion in developing better and safer ways of helping everyone achieve the American Dream of homeownership. Leora continues to be involved with MBA, through her volunteer efforts.

NewRez LLC

In her current role at NewRez where she is the leader for Non-QM Lending, Lisa is responsible for production, client management, and profitability, working with operations and the corporate team to ensure overall success of this line across the organization. Notable recent accomplishments include externally launching NonQM AUS LoanScorecard to bring the NonQM loan decision closer to POS, Ellie Mae’s Investor Connect to allow clients more efficient loan delivery, and LoanNex to enable a broader set of clients access to NewRez’s products, all in support of an aggressive growth strategy. Through these strategies and assembling a strong team, the correspondent division, which Lisa led, has grown.

Co-Founder & CEO

Tedd Smith, Co-founder and CEO of FirstClose, has led the team at FirstClose to provide robust technology to the settlement services aspect of the mortgage and consumer lending industry. Over the past year, Smith has played an integral part of the rollouts of products like SmartSelect and EquityIQ. SmartSelect is an AI like product offering that eliminates lenders’ title vendor selection headaches by handling vendor due diligence, but ultimately auto-selects the best title vendor on each individual loan based on turn-time, quality, price, geographic coverage, and service levels, while providing vital data and statistics to the lender in real time. Smith and the team at FirstClose also introduced EquityIQ, the only home equity lead generation tool on the market.

Founder & Executive Chairman
Williston Financial Group

Pat Stone is a leader in the mortgage industry, with several decades of experience, notably serving for eight years at Fidelity National Financial as president, chief operating officer and director. Stone is currently overseeing the Williston Financial Group family of companies, as they transform the mortgage lending process. Stone has led WFG to become a leader in national title reporting services, becoming one of only six national underwriters, in less than 9 years; a record. Earlier this year, Stone oversaw the launch of WFG’s DecisionPoint, a completely automated title decisioning system. Lenders will know almost instantly the application-to-close time, as well as any curative steps needed based on the results. This is a big improvement over the competition, which often require the borrower’s Social Security number and provide only a simple grade rather than a full report.


In 2017 LERETA released Total Tax System (TTS). TTS was a complete re-write of the technology that runs LERETA’s outsource tax business. Over the last two years LERETA has released three new versions of this solution, with a fourth scheduled for release shortly. TTS has been meaningful to the industry in three ways. First, TTS is the first significant new technology innovation in the tax service business in years. Second, TTS has allowed LERETA to significantly raise the bar for outsource tax service. Since its release, LERETA has met 99.7% of customer SLA’s for all customers. LERETA has not missed a SLA for any customer in over 5 months. Last, TTS provides customers real-time, complete visibility into LERETA’s tax service.

Director, Product Delivery, Financial & Risk Management Solutions

With over 14,000 clients including banks, credit unions and financial services providers such as independent mortgage bankers and brokers, Fiserv supports mortgage lending in multiple ways. Kim works within Fiserv and with its many partners to provide the mortgage industry with capabilities for increasing production, reducing the cost of origination and loan acquisition, and providing a better borrower experience. Over the past year Kim has managed the expansion of Fiserv’s digital mortgage transformation suite, which provides functionality to increase efficiency throughout the origination cycle including more effective workflow with the lender’s customers and business partners. Kim uses her 25 years of experience to support Fiserv.