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Surefire CRM error results in 600K errant, unsolicited messages: sources

Because of an apparent error made by staff at ICE Mortgage Technology‘s Surefire customer relationship management (CRM) platform, more than 600,000 emails and texts were sent without permission to real estate agents, business partners and past clients of loan officers around the country.

These messages, part of Surefire’s weekly “Markets in a Minute” deployment, mistakenly contained a New Jersey-based LO’s marketing materials and contact information (including NMLS details). Sources also said the New Jersey LO has received multiple angry messages for an error that he did not make.

A spokesperson for ICE did not answer detailed questions asked by HousingWire, but they did say in a statement that the issue itself was “resolved in short order that same day” and that the company has “multiple teams investigating root causes and will be sending an official communication to all impacted stakeholders.”

Marketing executives across the country were surprised to discover on Monday that the “Markets in a Minute” email had been sent from their LOs’ contact lists.

Several mortgage executives and LOs told HousingWire that despite not being current Surefire customers, messages were sent to the contacts of terminated accounts. The incident could raise questions about the safeguarding of data, as well as the procedures and protocols in place, to purge data from terminated accounts.

In communications with clients reviewed by HousingWire, ICE staff acknowledged that the Monday email contained “a branding mix up,” but in the first 24 hours since deployment, few details have been provided about how it happened and what was being done to fix it.

In a message sent to clients on Tuesday, ICE told clients its Surefire systems were restored to normal operation, “except for the creating or editing of recurring deployments.” The company also said it immediately paused all deployments and removed the erroneous “Markets in a Minute” deployments from the queue. It also disabled all links to the “Markets in a Minute” video so that recipients could no longer access “the incorrectly branded landing page.”

The errant email blast has “caused confusion and frustration for some of our LOs and their business partners,” said a mortgage marketing executive whose lender is an active Surefire client. “We were in the dark for way too long. Our rep didn’t reach out to us, and no follow-up emails sent.”

Two separate mortgage executives and one antitrust attorney told HousingWire they were concerned about potential compliance concerns with regulators given that some Realtor partners and past clients received unsolicited emails from lenders that are not current Surefire customers.

Surefire, the most popular CRM platform in mortgage, has had three ownership groups in less than four years, beginning with its 2021 sale from Top of Mind to Black Knight. It then changed hands when ICE Mortgage Technology acquired Black Knight in 2023 for $11.8 billion, a deal that went through only after a settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC regulates antitrust concerns and also monitors companies for data privacy and security breaches.

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