Q: How would view the state of technology in today’s mortgage industry? On the whole, do you believe that the industry is proactive in developing better technology, or reactive to fixing problems as they arise?
Kingsley Greenland: The residential space seems to be more adept at introducing innovation than Commercial Real Estate, which tends to be a bit old school. Perhaps it is the fact that the resi market moves faster and is more dynamic. Since DebtX was founded in 2000, it has always focused on applying state-of-the-art technology to the secondary loan market. We’ve invested tens of millions of dollars. It has been very effective. We have created a liquid secondary market for resi, CRE, C&I and other types of loans. When we started, there was no liquid market.
Q: In June, your company announced that it sold 100,000 residential mortgages since September 2012 without a hitch. Without giving away trade secrets, of course, how is your technology able to accomplish such a remarkable feat?
Kingsley Greenland: It’s amazing how far we’ve come. Our technology not only handles enormous volume seamlessly, but also enables investors to perform due diligence at the loan level. That was impossible just three years ago. In the old days, you’d get a tape and do your due diligence. You’d have kick-outs and multiple bids. You can now do the due diligence ahead of time, so the bids are firm. That’s much more efficient for everyone.
We’ve been able to operate for scale by making incremental improvements across many areas of our marketplace. For example, we can now aggregate all servicer comments, which is very important information for potential investors. We’ve written software that receives loan files from multiple services and put them into a standard format, which recently allowed us to manage a deal with 20 million pages of documents without a hitch. Our implementation of bulk bidding functionality is another breakthrough. That capability further reduces friction in the transaction.
Lastly, our trading desk can monitor buying behavior over time. That allows us to proactively put the right product in front of the right buyers.
We’ve built all of this functionality on our own. It’s integrated into our marketplace, so we can track multiple transactions and histories, which is very helpful for bidders. The continuous enhancements to the marketplace have also been very beneficial to our clients – banks, insurance companies, investment banks and government agencies, among others. For sellers, reduced friction means greater demand, faster disposition, and often higher prices.
Q: Your company introduced an updated version of the DXSyndicate platform to help syndication professionals better manage deal flow. How do you know when it is time to update a longstanding a successful product like DXSyndicate?
Kingsley Greenland: We live in a technologically advanced world, but until now, the syndication market has not been the beneficiary of that progress. The new DXSyndicate is a quantum leap forward for the market. DXSyndicate utilizes the most advanced smart technologies and provides for tight email and calendar integration, market-specific functionality, and data mining capabilities.
We knew it was time for a change because our clients told us so. The new DXSyndicate is the product of a multiyear research and development project between DebtX and its syndication clients and partners. We re-wrote the entire code to make the platform flatter and lighter. It’s now the gold standard for the industry. We couldn’t say that before.
Q: Mobile technology is rapidly changing the face of how we do business. How is your company keeping up with the new wave of mobile technology requirements?
Kingsley Greenland: We’re making all of our solutions available across all devices and all browsers. That’s been a big change. You used to create a solution just for Microsoft office. Now you have to build for all of the different browsers and devices.
People expect more choice as technology proliferates. We’ve gotten much smarter about the development. We build apps that sit on top of the technology infrastructure. You don’t run the entire software; you just run pieces of it. We have teams of developers and engineers who have been building and continuously updating the technology. It’s been a very productive formula for DebtX.
DebtX is online at www.debtx.com
Phil Hall has been (among other things) a United Nations-based radio journalist, the president of a public relations and marketing agency, a financial magazine editor, the author of six books and a horror movie actor. Also, as you will discover, he is not shy about stating his views.