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LendingQB is a provider of Lean Lending solutions for residential mortgage banking organizations. The Lean Lending solution consists of a 100 percent web browser-based, end-to-end loan origination system, best of breed integrations with key industry partners and ‘adoptimization’ services that result in faster cycle times and lower costs per loan. For more information, please call 888.285.3912 or visit

Here’s Why Modernization Is Important

Some times it’s important to take a page from other industries. For example, Syntel, Inc., a global provider of digital modernization, information technology and knowledge process services, finds that U.S. insurance companies are increasingly joining the digital revolution in response to a growing number of consumers who prefer to use mobile phones and other digital devices for their insurance needs.

Research from PwC has revealed that 71% of consumers have used some form of digital research before buying an insurance policy. The report also found that approximately 25% of consumers currently purchase their plans online. This number is expected to grow, particularly among the millennial generation.

While most insurance companies are focused on leveraging an eCommerce model to sell their traditional offline services in an online storefront, others are developing deeper, more personal and longer-lasting relationships by utilizing digital capabilities to improve their customers’ knowledge base.

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According to Nitin Rakesh, CEO and President of Syntel, “It is very clear that, like other industries, insurance is subject to the need for digital modernization, brought on by the demands of digital native consumers. Digital natives expect an omni-channel experience with greater accessibility and anytime, anywhere services —something that may be difficult for traditional insurers to deliver.”

Rakesh also asserts that engaging customers through social media channels enables insurers to uncover business insights that help them understand consumer sentiment, preferences, and behavior,all of which are vital components to making good business decisions.

recent report from IDC highlights the impact of emerging technologies on the highest levels in senior management decision-making. The report said that two-thirds of CEOs will be focused on digital transformation strategies throughout 2016. In the past, transformation has more traditionally been the dominion of CIOs, which underscores the increasing importance and business critical nature of these decisions.

“In a competitive market environment, speed and agility are vital for insurance companies to survive and grow,” said Rakesh. “Because CEOs are now being measured on their ability to quickly adapt to the changing digital landscape, it is vital to seek out a trusted service provider with the necessary expertise.”

Mr. Rakesh’s company, global IT and business solutions provider Syntel, offers a suite of digital modernization solutions that reduce the run the business cost and provide the efficiency and agility to increase speed to market, andenable businesses to funnel the savingsinto new innovations.

Rakesh states that it is crucial to embrace automation as part of this process.

“With many insurers stuck with business-critical legacy systems, the biggest challenge is to keeppace with digital innovations while maintaining and automating business-critical legacy systems,” he said.“Automation allows for faster and more cost-efficient transformations to take place.”

According to a recent report by Vertafore, insurers that do not automate their services face a significant decrease in customer satisfaction when it comes to customer experience. The report also found that 67% of insurance consumers are open to the idea of bypassing traditional insurers to purchase plans, looking instead to digital leaders like Amazon and Google for services.

As more non-traditional players enter the marketplace, 66% of the insurers surveyed recognize the threat and attribute it to the proliferation of Big Data. Those companies adapting to the need to digitize are seeing positive results. Of those companies employing marketing automation as a strategy, 77% observed increased conversation rates, while 80% saw an increase in leads.

“Digital modernization is the final frontier for insurers,” added Rakesh. “Automating and modernizingoutdated systems frees up the resources required to forge ahead with new innovations andexciting products that meet the needs of the more demanding 21stcentury consumer.”

Sound familiar? It should.

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at

New Study Shows That Lenders Are Ready To Invest In Technology

Lenders that rely more on purchase loan volume and retail channels are poised to rebound from a challenging 2015 due in part to planned technology investments, according to a survey released today by Velocify.

Based on the responses of more than 500 mortgage professionals, the survey, “Growth in a Changing Mortgage Market,” found lenders that relied more heavily on consumer direct channels made greater investments in marketing and sales technology and were more likely to experience high growth. In comparison, lenders that relied more on retail channels were less likely to invest in marketing and sales technology and less likely to experience growth.

“We found the results to be a wakeup call for retail lenders,” said Chris Backe, financial services director at Velocify. “Putting all of your eggs into the loan officer basket and referral strategy is not a sound approach without marketing support and state of the art technology.”

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According to the study findings, however, retail lenders may be prepared to do just that. Survey respondents with substantial retail channels and high purchase volume said they plan to increase their technology investments going forward. And what’s more, investment is being focused on technology that will drive growth, process improvement, and customer retention. Compliance is on the list, but ranks number four behind these top three drivers.

“We have seen how sales and marketing technology has helped with growth in our consumer direct channel and are planning to invest in technology to help drive growth in our retail channel as the purchase market continues to heat up,” said Tony Pietrocola, the Senior Vice President at vLoan, an online mortgage lending platform backed by 40 years of mortgage experience from Union Home Mortgage Corp.

Other findings of the report include:

>> Lenders experienced significant growth in 2015; 88% percent of respondents reported their loan volume grew at least 5% since 2014.

>> Mortgage lenders that rely more heavily on purchase loans and retail channels are not growing as fast as those relying on refinance business and consumer direct channels.

>> Growing lenders were noticeably more likely to spend 10-20% of their revenue on marketing and also more likely to reinvest more than 20% of their revenue on marketing.

>> Lenders with more than 200 salespeople were almost 30% more likely to report growth than were lenders with 10 or fewer salespeople.

>> Lenders with high growth and higher marketing investments were most likely to be above average adopters of technology.

>> For lenders that plan to significantly increase their technology investment, business is 22% more likely to come from purchase loans.

>> Lead management, referral partner management, analytics, and marketing automation software were perceived to have the greatest impact on growth.

“With the purchase market finally starting to take charge, we were curious what strategies lenders were pursuing to take advantage of the current environment,” Backe said. “We found consumer direct lenders are poised to leverage the strategies developed during the refi boom to sell purchase loans. But there is no reason why retail lenders can’t use these very same strategies to close their sales gaps and boost conversion rates. At the end of the day, lenders that invest in technology to meet changing borrower expectations are more likely to succeed.”

The study was based on survey respondents from more than 500 mortgage professionals of all types, representing mortgage bankers, brokers, correspondents, wholesale lenders, banks and credit unions. The survey was conducted in collaboration with Velma, a world-class provider of mortgage marketing automation, and Mortgage Coach, a leader in mobile mortgage technologies. Download the full study, Growth in a Changing Mortgage Market.

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at

Clean Workflows Are No Longer Optional


Regulation is forcing cleaner workflows and massive changes to the way we “used” to do business! It can seem quite overwhelming at times, because numerous required changes are hitting our industry so rapidly. Many are trying to fit the round peg into the proverbial square hole when making business decisions. As most are finding out, this increases costs and reduces profitability through redundancy and manual tasking that could be automated, as well as a lack of communication between business units and a failure to be compliant. No business can sustain this type of dysmorphic behavior for too long.

The main objective is simple — Build a workflow that is compliant, efficient, decreases costs, and increases profit.

Step One: The regulators are concerned about how our industry treats consumers, so you’ll need to start here.

>> What does your company look like to the consumer?

>> Is your message consistent (marketing, social media, LO Pages)?

>> Are consumers receiving accurate information?

>> Is this information being delivered on a timely basis?

>> Are you compliant?

Step Two: In order to accomplish your goals, your systems have to work toward that goal.

Is your data organized, scrubbed, and consistent throughout your two databases of record (PPE/LOS)?

>> Do you have a proper integration for accurate data flow (Push/Pull Integrations)?

>> Can you demonstrate consistent and compliant pricing?

>> Is your LO Compensation being monitored?

>> Do you have the ability to produce historical pricing data electronically?

Step Three: Because compliance flows through every piece of your company workflow, this is an overlay to demonstrate monitoring, in addition to standard workflows. Doing this without the assistance of technology is considered by the experts to be impossible, because regulations overlap into each area of your workflow. Proper technology can remove redundancy.

>> How are you monitoring each piece of the workflow for consumer experience and compliance?

>> How will you be dealing with the intricacies of documentation and timing on TRID?

>> How does each piece of your workflow affect your companies’ Fair Lending and Disparate Impact results?

>> What other workflows do you have to monitor for all additional regulations?

Step Four: At the end of the day, you have to maintain customer service and satisfy the customer so much that they send their friends and family!

>> How do you monitor that your products and pricing are competitive, and keep the clients from going to another lender?

>> How do you ensure that you are meeting customer deadlines?

>> What do you do to ensure that the customer experience was a good one, and how do you manage what needs to be changed based on consumer feedback?

Step Five: And finally the “Piece de resistance” or the prize; how is your company going to continue to make money and do all of this? After all, you are in business to make a profit and these next items are the test of your workflow.

>> Are you maximizing every little basis point when selling your loans to the secondary market?

>> Have you streamlined the workflow to increase both profit and efficiency?

>> Are you avoiding operational mistakes through strong monitoring?

>> Are you perfecting profit potential in all areas?

>> Do your clients sing your accolades?

This is tough stuff, but a little bit of effort in researching solutions, you can quickly get your company where you want and need to be!


About The Author


Tammy Butler, Master CMB is the Director of Fair Lending and Compliance for Optimal Blue. Her diverse background in origination, operations, compliance and technology allows her to offer practical solutions to her clients that bridge the gap between regulatory requirements and workflow methodology.

Executive Spotlight: Ed Skornik of LRES

Ed-SkornikThis week, the spotlight shines on Ed Skornik, the new regional vice president of sales for the Dallas/Fort Worth office at LRES.

Q: TRID has been in effect for nearly a month. What measurable impact has TRID placed on today’s lending environment?

Ed Skornik: While it is still very early to confidently comment on TRID’s measureable impact on the industry at this time, it is important for lenders and technology vendors to keep in mind that the overarching goal of the regulation is to create more transparency in the lending process. More transparency leads to higher customer satisfaction.

Q: What is the current state of the Dallas-Fort Worth housing market? And where do you see it heading in 2016?

Ed Skornik: The housing market in the DFW metro-plex continues to climb at a steady rate. The four major DFW counties (Collin, Denton, Dallas, and Tarrant) continue to benefit from national corporations moving to North Texas. Most recently, Toyota Corporation, Facebook, State Farm Insurance, and Liberty Mutual have made major announcements regarding moving and/or opening operations here. These corporations are bringing thousands of jobs and ancillary business opportunities to North Texas.

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The Home Sales Index and NAR’s sales report for new home construction indicates the housing market activity in North Texas continues to rise and appreciate in value. Developers and home builders are doing well keeping up with the housing demand. Also, resales of existing homes have seen a significant spike in the past 13 months. Multiple offers on well-priced homes below $350,000 are becoming a common occurrence in several established neighborhoods. Higher priced homes have cooled off with the typical seasonal adjustments and upcoming holiday season.

Overall, the quality of life, no state income tax, climate, family oriented, and affordable housing has made North Texas a top 10 destination for Industry and employment opportunities in the country.

Q: In your new role at LRES, what are your priorities and goals?

Ed Skornik: My priorities and goals run concurrently within our business culture. LRES provides property valuations, asset management, HOA, insurance and technology solutions to financial institutions, loan servicers, investment firms, credit unions, and community banks throughout the country. Our priorities to each of our clients are to add value to their operations and successfully deliver efficiencies and productivity in making their businesses run seamlessly.

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Building long-term relationships with my clients involves more than simply understanding and meeting their needs. My primary goal in delivering value to our clients will require a high level understanding of what areas of their business has underperformed. It could be the client does not have adequate staffing or expertise in a particular area. I would discuss their workflows, systems and technology as well as assist in identifying any weaknesses and shortfalls. We will also look to fill gaps and provide a “relief value” to their business units’ daily activities. Our firm possesses specialized expertise that can easily be translated into added value.

I want to build a strategic relationship with my clients based on creating solutions. Whether it’s our sales department, client relations, operations, or our state of the art technology, my goals are focused on customer satisfaction and optimum service. My desires are for each client recognizing LRES as their “go to” company for real estate services. At the end of the day, LRES is playing a significant role in our clients’ successes.

Q: What do you see as the major issues that will shape the housing market – both in your area and nationally – in the coming year?

Ed Skornik: Employment and the economy remains at the top of the list for a majority of the country that has suffered downturns the past few years. 2016 will be a major turning point for national employers to focus and return to profitability with added and continued growth within their respective industries. Bringing back the manufacturing sector and growth of small business ownership will play key roles in the re-shaping the economy. Of course, the housing market will rely on continued economic growth and will be dependent on household incomes, low interest rates, consumer confidence, mortgage availability, and the housing supply in 2016.

Lastly, there are ongoing concerns in the financial markets. The current uncertainty of a slowing U.S. economy may cause buyers to remain on the fence regarding home purchases as well.

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.

Spreadsheets And Business Intelligence


eletter-jon-maynellMortgage business intelligence (MBI) seems to be getting more than its fair share of press lately. Is it really the next must-have platform, or is it just a fad? Let’s get to the bottom of what MBI is supposed to do, and how it does it.

MBI enhances an activity that all mortgage companies are already engaged in. That activity is analytics, and the vast majority of mortgage companies measure and track their business using some combination of spreadsheets and reports. Spreadsheets and reports comprise a toolset that has stood the test of time. The mortgage industry has been running on this toolset for decades. Simply put, MBI is a better toolset for analytics. Some say a much better toolset, akin to using a lighter if you’ve grown accustomed to rubbing two sticks together.

Is it really worth all the hype? A closer examination of MBI reveals a number of differences. The biggest and ironically the least obvious is that MBI platforms come with their own data management engines. It is said that 75% of any MBI undertaking resides here, where a lender’s production data is copied and reassembled into a high performance database. Although transparent to the user, this high performance data model is critical to carrying out the functions that users employ on the run side of an MBI platform.

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The most obvious difference is how data is presented, where the focus is on how much information can be absorbed at a glance, how the eye scans a page or screen for information, and what shapes, sizes, colors and groupings make information easy to read, understand, and retain. As users of MBI have much more data at their disposal than ever before, an interface that takes human cognitive science into account is considered paramount.

But does this foster efficiency? Data presentation alone may not, but it’s the constant stream of data that can. MBI data visualizers are updated in near-real time, every couple of minutes. It is here that we’re introduced to the power of persistent situational awareness, as opposed to the periodic situational awareness provided by running periodic reports or spreadsheets.

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A few minutes after a report or spreadsheet is assembled, awareness decays until another report is run. With persistent situational awareness, the energy within an organization can change. We’ve all seen and felt the ebb and flow of operational focus that corresponds to the rhythm at which management reports are run. Persistent situational awareness keeps this focus in place, and this can have a profound effect on production. Even a modicum of increased focus, if persistent, can transform any operation that involves manual tasks.

MBI is beginning to prove itself out. The pervasive human element within mortgage lending operations does seem to lend itself particularly well to optimization through MBI, if the rave reviews of CEOs across the country are to be believed. At the very least, itís worth a closer look.

About The Author


Jon Maynell

Jon Maynell is a mortgage industry veteran, with over 25 years of experience designing, marketing, and writing about mortgage technology. He is currently Vice President of Client Services at Denver-based Motivity Solutions, Inc. He can be reached at 303-721-9000, or

Executive Spotlight: Mathew Crosswy of Stonehill Strategic Capital

matt-crosswyThis week, the spotlight shines on the lodging sector within commercial real estate, and our guest expert is Mathew Crosswy, principal at Atlanta-based Stonehill Strategic Capital, where he is in charge of the company’s efforts in sourcing and underwriting new credit opportunities, while continuing to build and maintain existing relationships with investors and borrowers. Prior to heading Stonehill Strategic Capital, he was responsible for sourcing, negotiating, and financing hotel investment opportunities for Peachtree Hotel Group.

Q: What kind of a year has 2014 been for the hospitality sector within commercial real estate, and what factors shaped the year? 

Mathew Crosswy: As a whole, 2014 has been a strong year for the hospitality industry.  Underlying lodging fundamentals continue to improve with strong business, group and transient travel, resulting in Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) growth expected to exceed 8.0 percent for the year.  RevPAR growth was fueled primarily by historically high levels of demand coupled with a strain in supply during the “Great Recession” and moderate supply growth during 2014. The long term average historically hovers around two percent.  In 2014, it was slightly above 1 percent.

Occupancy growth was strong in the past few years, but in 2014, ADR growth finally came to the market.

Q: Looking ahead, what kind of a year will 2015 be for the hospitality sector? And what markets do you predict will enjoy the greatest activity in the hospitality sector in 2015?

Mathew Crosswy: Lodging fundaments are projected to remain strong in 2015 with RevPAR growth projections from 6 percent – 8 percent. The strong performance indices and projections are great, but this also is resulting in new equity flooding into the space.

A trend towards the end of 2014, which is likely to continue into 2015, is that trades are becoming more and more difficult to justify from both a cost per key basis and a cap rate perspective. In the third quarter of 2014, cap rates for all hotel trades averaged around 8 percent, down 28 bps from 2013, but most notable is the spread between the sectors:  full service, down 58 basis points (bps); limited service, up 29 bps; major metros, down 74 bps; secondary markets, down 36 bps; and tertiary markets, up 13 bps. This trend illustrates equity chasing trophy assets, which competition will get so aggressive, the pricing trend will move into limited-service hotels in secondary and tertiary markets.

Q: What role will foreign investors play in the purchase and operation of major hospitality properties in 2015?

Mathew Crosswy: As evidenced by recent trades, foreign capital is chasing major metro trophy assets and safer havens for yield.  This trend is likely to continue, but the growth in dollar valuation will play an interesting role in the longevity and the countries from which the foreign nationals participate.

The health of these countries and the concerted efforts to improve the economies through monetary policies and capital injections will be key, as well. EB-5 also continues to be a popular source of capital that is benefiting from a robust number of regional centers being formed and also sponsors finding deals.  However, the huge influx of this capital has caused a constraint in the oversight and approvals making this an attractive source of capital, but one that requires patience.

Stonehill Strategic Capital is online at

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.

How To Be Productive When You’re A Perfectionist

In the mortgage industry, perfectionism is almost a prerequisite. Making sure you’ve crossed your “t”s and dotted your “i”s has always been imperative in the business but, with the increasing regulation in recent years, it has really come to the forefront. As a leader in your organization, making sure everything is on the up-and-up is certainly one of your top priorities.

Of course, it’s good to have everything in order and know what your doing. As they say, fortune favors the prepared. However, being too focused on getting things right can also backfire. We’ve all heard of “paralysis by analysis.” When we want everything to be perfect, sometimes we fail to act. We become indecisive. We spend all of our time and energy in preparation, waiting for the stars to align, and we miss the opportunities that could really make a difference in our organizations.

I’ll admit it. It’s a little tricky. There is a very thin line between being a perfectionist who doesn’t get anything done and being so trigger-happy that you mess everything up out of carelessness. Being a great leader is about finding that middle ground–being cautious when it’s merited but also being willing to act when an opportunity presents itself. Possessing this kind of judicious understanding takes time and experience. There is no magic pill to instantly develop it. However, there is something that can help speed the process along…

In his book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, author Mark Batterson speaks of seizing opportunities. He quotes from television producer Mark Burnett, famous for reality shows Survivor and The Apprentice. Burnett says, “Nothing will ever be…perfect. And nothing can be totally planned. The best you can hope for is to be about half certain of your plan and know that you and the team you’ve assembled are willing to work hard enough to overcome the inevitable problems as they arise.”

So, what’s the secret? Did you notice it? When things go awry, as they inevitably will, what can you count on to get you through? The team you’ve assembled. If there is a trick to help you be cautious and productive at the same time, that’s it. It’s all about your team. If you’ve built a competent and talented team, then you don’t really have anything to worry about.

Great leaders know how to delegate. If you try to bear every burden yourself, it will break you. That’s why it’s so important to build a team that you can really trust. You have to be about to rely on the people who ware working for you. They must have integrity, they must work hard, and they must consistently produce results. If you surround yourself by people who know how to get the job done, you won’t have to worry about it.

You’ll never be 100% ready. The timing will never be perfect. The only thing you can do is be as prepared as you can be…and then rely on your team to make the best decisions possible. Don’t worry about getting everything right. Worry about getting the right people in place–and the rest will take care of itself.

About The Author


David Lykken has garnered a national reputation as a visionary, entrepreneur and business leader within the mortgage industry. He has also become a regular guest on the FOX Business News with Neil Cavuto, Stuart Varney, Liz Claman, Dave Asman and others. He has been a special guest of Governor Mike Huckabee on FOX News’ #1 weekend rated program “Huckabee”. He has appeared several times on the CBS Evening News, Bloomberg TV & radio, NPR and many radio shows. On matters related to the economy, housing and mortgage lending, David is frequently quoted in leading newspapers across the country as well as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. Additionally, David has his own national weekly radio program called “Lykken On Lending” that can be heard each Monday at Noon Central time by going to .

As co-founder and Managing Partner of KLS Consulting doing business as Mortgage Banking Solutions, David Lykken has over 37 years of management experience as an owner/operator with in depth expertise in real estate finance and housing. His knowledge and skills comprise a unique blend of technology and business strategy. Above all else, David loves helping business owners and executives navigate through extremely difficult business circumstances helping them overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles while rediscovering themselves and their passion for life and living.

Dave is married, has two daughters and currently resides in the beautiful Hill Country of Central Texas near Austin, Texas. David received a bachelor’s degree in 1973 year from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.