Right now, every lender and AMC should be preparing for compliance with the CFPB January deadline, as well as the new OCC Third-Party Relationship risk management bulletin. Many technology partner decisions are being made this month, and I wanted to provide an objective list of considerations for when you’re choosing any technology vendor. It definitely pays to look beyond just your basic feature requirements.
>> Are they honest? Is their marketing deceptive? Do they advertise AMC directories that are nothing more than their own client list, or advertise products that aren’t really available? If something seems off, be wary. You’re ultimately liable for the performance and worthiness of your Third-Party relationships, so watch for warnings of unreliability.
>> Will they build software integrations for you? You’ll probably have to use more than one technology solution for different aspects of your business, so make sure your providers are really willing to build software integrations so your systems can communicate for a more cohesive infrastructure and better workflow. If they say they’ll build it, get a time frame and ask for references on integrations they’ve built for other clients. Speed and modern development are critical to your success, so make sure they have a proven track record.
>> Can you count on their infrastructure? The Third-Party Relationship guidelines issued by the OCC and CFPB require your vendors have robust, secure, redundant technological backbones. Ask your potential vendor for infrastructure details to ensure they meet these standards. It’s a compliance issue, but it should also be a concern for your business continuity.
>> Do they have a history of updates? How often do they update their software or add features? How are features added? If you request something, will it be incorporated in your software? Take a look at their release history to verify they’re a modern software provider with consistent updates and new feature releases. Are they continuously improving their platforms?
>> What’s their main priority? Many smaller technology providers came into existence as a particular software solution built for one large company. In other words, they built a system and then monetize it by selling to others. In this situation, you may not have the flexibility you need since the workflow is built around one particular organization. In addition, you won’t necessarily see improvements or changes that you need since your priorities will come after the bigger fish. Take a look at their overall customer base and verify you won’t be relegated to only the tools one of your larger competitors wants.
Choosing partners is always difficult and there are several outstanding technology companies out there. I hope these five issues give you more perspective to make faster, better decisions. You can download a longer list at www.MercuryVMP.com/Backbone. If you have “tech fail” stories or input on any of these tips, I’d love to hear them. E-mail me any time at Jennifer.Miller@alamode.com.
About The Author
Jennifer Miller is president of Mercury Network, a web-based software platform used by more than 600 lenders and AMCs to manage compliant collateral valuation workflow. Jennifer can be reached at Jennifer@MercuryVMP.com.