Mortgage tech platform helps simplify homebuying process
In the months since nCino closed its purchase of Utah-based SimpleNexus, Ben Miller (pictured) has continued to work on growing opportunities for the platform he helped develop and launch.
The North Carolina-based cloud banking and fintech company completed the acquisition of SimpleNexus – a cloud-based homeownership platform – in January, for close to 13 million shares of its common stock and $270 million in cash.
SimpleNexus has continued with its employees and corporate identity intact. Cathleen Schreiner Gates is leading the company’s growth phase as CEO, having replaced founder Matt Hansen, who stepped down in 2021 and remains involved with operations. SimpleNexus employs 360 people, and Miller remains with his “co-founder” title as a sort of jack of all trades and a few key points of focus.
“I can dive in and help anywhere in the company, but my focus is around go-to-market and strategic partnerships,” Miller said.
He added that the acquisition helped preserve SimpleNexus’s approach and culture.
“That was a big part of the acquisition for us, knowing the culture and views of how nCino wanted to go about this,” Miller said. “They wanted to preserve who SimpleNexus is and strengthen [it] and so it’s very much a kind of merger of equals. We’re the best at mortgage and they’re the best at commercial [lending]. They just want us to keep doing what we do.”
The homeownership platform
Such is the latest chapter for SimpleNexus, which launched in 2011 with a focus on serving the technology needs of the US residential mortgage market with mobile-first technology that addresses referrals, partner engagement, mortgage origination and closing.
The company serves mortgage lenders (particularly independent mortgage banks), as well as banks, credit unions and other depositories. Users of the technology include loan officers, borrowers, realtors and settlement agents. The platform is designed with software-as-a-service, or SaaS in mind.
SimpleNexus’s centerpiece is a homeownership platform that facilitates not just point-of-sale functions but also tasks such as engaging the customer before filling out a loan application.
“It’s a single log-in, a single place for borrowers to go through the homeownership journey,” Miller explained.
The SimpleNexus platform relies on APIs to connect it to a number of other services and technologies, and Miller said the company has more than 200 integrations with things like loan origination systems, credit ordering systems, CRM platforms, appraisal management and pricing engines.
“All allow a two-way sync or integration into SimpleNexus to pass data information back and forth,” Miller explained.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are also in play, to help boost efficiency by automating processes that humans used to do.
“That’s really been a focus of ours, taking what was… traditionally in mortgage, a 40-, 50-, 60-day cycle to originate a loan and reducing the number of days, but also reducing the number of touches within that cycle,” Miller said.
The platform itself was designed for borrowers to use on mobile devices. It is a white-label platform, intended to help lenders enhance their mobile brand with something “more up-to-date and advanced,” Miller added.
Integrating the software with a customer involves a traditional sales process. That starts with a discovery process to make sure SimpleNexus is compatible with what the client wants to solve, such as improving the loan application experience or making loan officers more productive.
Once both sides establish that an integration makes sense, there is a two- to three-month process involving, in part, SimpleNexus engineers building configurations to fit a client’s needs.
“There’s a common architecture that every client is using, but we’ve built a lot of configuration into the platform,” Miller said. “We can help a client have a somewhat unique experience or integrate with the piece of software that they already have to then create this experience for them within SimpleNexus.
Over the integration period, meetings take place weekly, sometimes every other day, as SimpleNexus’s project team coordinates with its client counterparts.
During the pandemic, a lot of integration meetings went virtual, but SimpleNexus also meets clients on scene as needed.
“It’s usually when a client has a rush-type scenario where they need to go to market very quickly with this new experience,” Miller said. “In-person is the best way to do that. We sit in their office, with hands on keyboards and work with them.”
Pilot testing and training is also part of the process.
All SimpleNexus lender clients pay to license the software per seat, or user. Customers who add a subsequent product known as Nexus Closing, which facilitates electronic loan closings, pay a per-closed loan fee for the service.