Black Knight seeks AI might with HeavyWater deal

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Black Knight has acquired HeavyWater, a developer of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology for the mortgage industry, and plans to incorporate the startup's borrower data verification and other automation capabilities into its existing product suite.

"AI, machine learning and neural network solutions are the future of delivering enhanced productivity and capabilities to our clients, and we are very excited about the potential HeavyWater has to offer," Black Knight CEO Anthony Jabbour said in a press release. "Now, with HeavyWater a part of Black Knight, we'll be able to apply this groundbreaking technology at scale and pursue our shared goal of transforming the industry."

The acquisition price was not disclosed.

HeavyWater has been using its AIVA technology to help lenders verify income, assets and insurance. The Philadelphia company's CEO, Soofi Safavi, was the chief technology officer at the mortgage insurer Radian, also of Philadelphia, from 2010 to 2015.

"Our focus has always been on pioneering research in machine learning and artificial intelligence and applying it to the financial services industry," Safavi said in the press release. "By using sophisticated neural networks and 'contextual knowledge' to continuously improve AIVA's learning and performance, we've helped our clients save money, increase efficiencies and reduce turn time."

Verification of income and assets has been a hot topic in the mortgage industry in part because Fannie Mae is offering immediate representation and warranty relief based on it when offered by approved vendors through its Day 1 Certainty program. Black Knight is an approved integration technology provider for Day 1 Certainty.

Income and asset verification also is considered a key component of lender strategies aimed at offering more efficient digital mortgages that offer an improved customer experience.

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Artificial intelligence Machine learning Digital mortgages Underwriting M&A Black Knight Radian