*Optimizing Technology Across Verticals*
**By Harvey Foster**
***Lagging technology is a key cause of higher operational costs and organizational inefficiency, which negatively affect both profit margins and the borrower experience. For lenders using numerous lending platforms to manage various loan products, the challenges associated with aging technology are only multiplied. In uncertain markets, IT budgets are quickly eaten up on maintenance and compliance initiatives, with little left over for new products, services and capabilities.
****Maintaining different technology platforms across lending silos also breeds duplication of effort, redundant processing and IT support, and inefficient use of valuable staff resources. Since each platform is unique, there is virtually no standardization of processes, procedures or best practices.
****Disparate Lending Platforms Deliver Operational Inefficiencies
****Lenders that utilize different loan origination systems to support mortgages, business loans and consumer products cannot help but find operational inefficiencies lurking around every corner. Multiple platforms inhibit enterprise-wide customer views and data utilization. As a result, cross-sell opportunities are missed, communication both internally and with the borrower is ineffective, and customer data retrieval and verification are inconsistent.
****Lending platforms often utilize entirely different processes and procedures, severely limiting the ability to have a collaborative lending strategy on an enterprise scale. A multiple-platform approach also triggers inconsistent decisioning, which lengthens the loan origination process and impacts profitability. This approach can even affect the borrower experience, as inefficient processing dashes customer expectations for “right now” loan options, approvals and documentation. Further, since each system requires maintenance and support, there is significant – and costly – duplication of effort, driving up operational costs and wasting manpower.
****Challenges Posed by Inefficient Technology
****In a poll conducted by Fiserv in late 2009, 40 percent of respondents indicated that they have the right business strategy but need to better leverage technology. When asked if their technology enables them to keep pace with the current lending environment, nearly one-third said they wished they were better at leveraging opportunity.
****The figures are telling and suggest some of the circumstances faced in the executive suite relative to lending strategy going forward.
****>> Chief Operating Officer – Developing, enhancing and maintaining efficient organizational processes can be severely challenging for organizations. The reporting and monitoring of operational metrics for multiple lending platforms is labor intensive and cost prohibitive. The effort required to promote best-practice processes across verticals can divert attention away from more beneficial duties, such as fine tuning day-to-day performance to promote company growth, increased profitability and future expansion.
****>> Chief Information Officer – Directing data information and integrity throughout the organization can be problematic. Each lending system has its own technology, making the infrastructure and networks extremely difficult to manage and maintain. Disparate loan systems may not link together, making the validation and certification of customer data exponentially more challenging for the CIO and the organization.