Entries by Ted Hicks

Beating The Competition

*Beating The Competition*
**Ted Hicks**

***Let’s think for a moment about Superman. Do any of you believe that simply donning glasses and a suit made Clark Kent completely indistinguishable as Superman? No. He still looked like Superman. Just as this may seem obvious to you, it may still escape your attention that the key to beating your competition is not really a secret. It’s written in the script, too. To win in the mortgage business you need the right tools to be efficient—and you need to use those tools to save yourself time and energy you can use to do other things. Provide better customer service, focus on revenue generating marketing activities, stay in control of your pipeline no matter where you are, spend more time with your family—that’s what you can do when you get your processes automated and efficient. It’s the efficiency that what will set you apart, get you more referrals and allow you to grow your business.

The Evolution Of The Mortgage Banker

*The Evolution Of The Mortgage Banker*
**By Ted Hicks**

***Who is the mortgage banker of the future?  It’s the mortgage broker of today.  The mortgage banking industry is seeing a return to basics. The future is becoming the past on a rocky path to recovery.  It’s cyclical as we’ve seen in the past.  We’re seeing more borrowers having to come to the table with 20% down which makes the number of qualified buyers with adequate funding less than optimal.  Competition for this smaller business pool is fierce, allowing borrowers a choice on a more personal level who they would prefer to do business with.  It’s the basics—customer service—that can make the difference.

Our POINT Of View: What’s On The Minds Of Lenders?

*What’s On The Minds Of Lenders?*
**By Ted Hicks**

***As I talk to lenders around the nation, I find consistently that lenders have a lot on their minds. Certainly market conditions are challenging for you and the industry as a whole. But concerns and fears regarding compliance are at the forefront, followed closely by the need to grow your businesses. As a lender, you want and need to control where your business is going and what’s happening in your office. And if you don’t achieve this objective, regulators and investors are ready to step in and take over by mandating practices that ensure both compliance and transparency, making growing your business even harder.

Our Point Of View: Perception Is Not Reality

*Perception Is Not Reality*
**By Ted Hicks**

***Vendors are type-cast. It’s human nature to categorize things that may or may not be grounded in reality. Often we get a glimpse of something or pick up a piece of information from a magazine or newspaper article, and that’s what sticks in our minds. Using that information, we compartmentalize and put our vendors into specific niches. But what we perceive to be true isn’t always the case. In this market you have to look beyond the perception to get what works best for you.

Our POINT Of View: The Truth About Workflow

*The Truth About Workflow*
**By Ted Hicks**

***The commonly used definition of workflow as one linear process is simply outdated. In a mortgage shop there are multiple processes going on at the same time. Most technology platforms can only handle the main workflow. A loan process goes from point-of-sale, to processing, to underwriting, etc. Many people in the mortgage space think of a loan process as a one-dimensional process, but what about the lock process, the confirmation process, the compliance process, etc? There are several processes going on at the same time as the loan is going through the workflow. So, how do you make everything happen in a streamlined, efficient manner? Here are my thoughts:

Our POINT Of View: Do You Need An iPad?

*Do You Need An iPad?*
**By Ted Hicks**

***Everyone is talking about the latest iPad. Is it cool? Yes. Is it a technological advance? Yes. Is mobile computing here to stay? Yes. But can this technology really help lenders in the mortgage market today? I can see the practical application for iPads, for sure. I think tablets could be the future of mobile technology. The one issue is content creation. However, for reviewing or viewing content, tablets are what you need. Here’s how mobile will reshape origination in the years to come:

Our Point Of View: We’ve Been Through This Before

*We’ve Been Through This Before*
**By Ted Hicks**

***Yes, we’re in a downturn. Origination volume is predicted to fall again this year. However, at a time when you have fewer players and industry consolidation, the 15-year low volume prediction makes sense. Nothing I hear would lead me to believe otherwise. Why? Credit is still tight and foreclosures continue to be on the rise because there are still a tremendous number of people underwater on the value of their home now as compared to when they bought it. But with adversity comes opportunity. The good lenders will survive because they are able to offer superior service. How will the good technology vendors survive? Here’s my take:

Our POINT Of View: Beyond The Buzz

*Beyond The Buzz*
**By Ted Hicks**

***Our industry loves buzzwords. But those buzzwords have created a lot of confusion in the market concerning technology as definitions vary greatly. Two of today’s most common buzzwords are “web-based” and “end-to-end”. When we consult with lenders, we find that sometimes think that they want one thing but their actual need speaks to a different option.

Our Point Of View: The Technology Shift

*The Technology Shift*
**By Ted Hicks**

***Let’s face it, there’s a lot of bad news circulating, the least of which is a 20% decline in origination volume predicted for next year. However, I choose to be an optimist. Surely we’re still waiting for the new “normal.” Nonetheless, with transaction volumes dropping, more of our accounts are focusing on technology in what I call the “technology shift.” Lenders simply need technology more than ever and they’re looking to technology vendors to help them automate their entire gamut of processes.

Our POINT Of View: Turning Negatives Into Positives

*Turning Negatives Into Positives*
**By Ted Hicks**

***Last week I talked about two hurdles that lenders face today, namely the task of keeping compliant with new rules and also the task of attracting new business in a down market. People in the mortgage industry today have been in the mortgage industry for a long time. The bad players or the part-time players have gone away. Those that were trying to get a quick buck aren’t here anymore. Yes, the market isn’t ideal. Yes, there are still challenges. Those that are left have the experience and know the technology. You are the survivors and you have the ability to turn those challenges into opportunities by seeking out new business channels.