Posts

Optimal Blue Launches Market Share Analytics Solution

Optimal Blue launched a business intelligence tool that provides real-time visibility into a lender’s market share. Market Share Insight provides lenders with the ability to review and analyze current and historical market share by lock request volume in comparison to all other lenders using the Optimal Blue platform. Lenders can track their ranking by metrics such as price, rate, loan amount, FICO and product type and can also compare changes in their volume against overall market performance. Market share can be evaluated over any time period based on MSA and loan attributes, and lenders can view results online or schedule reports for automatic delivery via email.

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
“The Optimal Blue customer base originates roughly one in four loans in the industry,” explained Scott Happ, CEO of Optimal Blue. “Market Share Insight provides a meaningful measure of a lender’s relative share in specific markets. Because of Optimal Blue’s broad market coverage, this capability is unique, enabling lenders to compare their lock activity to a significant cross section of the market for all loan types and lock scenarios. We are excited to deliver this powerful tool to our customers, and we are confident that it will help lenders optimize their volume and profitability.”

Featured Sponsors:

 
“The release of Market Share Insight is a gamechanger for those institutions looking to track real-time changes in their lock share percentage,” said Danny Earley, SVP of Revenue Optimization at PrimeLending. “Gone are the days of waiting on stale, lagged, funded data that does not provide an apples-to-apples comparison of loans locked in a similar timeframe. By combining real-time share with Optimal Blue’s Insight application, lenders can easily track the impact of targeted pricing moves on their share garnered.”

Featured Sponsors:

 
When paired with Optimal Blue’s popular Pricing Insight solution – used to benchmark retail pricing in real-time – lenders are equipped with an innovative and powerful toolkit to guide decision-making. Sheryl Teague, Product Manager for Optimal Blue, added, “With the launch of Market Share Insight, our inclusive suite of competitive intelligence tools cover all angles, from real-time to historical analytics. We are delighted to provide our customers with the capabilities needed to instantly evaluate the success of marketing, pricing, and growth strategies.”

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 tony@progressinlending.com.

Don’t Make The Same Mistakes Again

website-pdf-download
I want to continue the conversation that I started last month. Let’s talk about the most common mistakes that occur when evaluating, implementing, or using mortgage business intelligence (MBI). Today’s article discusses system evaluation and allocating administrative resources.

Hot Button Purchasing 

This tends to happen when people are moving too quickly. Those that are in too much of a hurry to implement MBI often zero in on a single feature without taking the time to thoroughly evaluate a platform before purchasing.

I was talking to a lender at a conference recently who had just undergone an audit. Some of the more pointed feedback had to do with the fact that the lender had no scorecards in place. Guidelines around best practices for quality assurance outline the use of scorecards for each origination channel and branch, as well as scorecards for each and every individual participating in the origination process including loan officers, processors, underwriters, appraisers, closers, and funders. He was doing laps around the exhibit hall asking anyone and everyone occupying a booth if they could do scorecards.

Featured Sponsors:

 

As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, mortgage business intelligence has become a prominent movement in our industry. In my view, the present market is comprised of two types of mortgage companies: those who have implemented MBI, and those who will. If the industry’s adoption of this technology continues at its current pace, the vast majority of spreadsheets and traditional reports could disappear within the next ten years.

With this long-term outlook, it makes sense to avoid jumping the gun and to take a more thoughtful approach to evaluating MBI platforms. While virtually any platform might succeed in a setting where a single feature or function is the sole focus, it’s a sure bet that this focus will eventually shift, or expand to other areas of the enterprise. A thorough evaluation up front will provide the foresight necessary to take full advantage of this expanded focus when it happens.

Limiting Administrative Resources

Experienced industry professionals understand the pervasive reluctance to dedicate resources toward managing mortgage technology initiatives. Whether it’s a loan origination system or any other system that requires some level of on-site administration, resource constraints are ever-present as employees are constantly multitasking, focusing their efforts where they’re most needed on any given day. Spending time on non-revenue-generating activities seems impossible when an organization is set up to consistently perform at, or just above maximum capacity.

It’s therefore useful to remember that implementing mortgage business intelligence is all about saving time, not spending it. Without exception, every experienced MBI user with whom I’ve had the opportunity to speak has gone through the same transformation in terms of their philosophy on resource allocation. They’re all trying to find ways to spend more time fine tuning their platform, because they have come to understand that the broader the MBI footprint within their organization, the more efficient and profitable they become.

While extending the reach of an MBI system to cover every corner of an enterprise takes time, it is time well spent. For every non-recurring man hour spent rolling out MBI to more users, an organization will realize several hours of recurring time savings with each and every business transaction.

Supplement vs. Replacement

The most successful MBI projects are those which produce the most compelling results for their user communities. When people ask me about the implementations where I’ve seen MBI make the biggest impact, I often think of the smaller boutique firms. Many have yet to fully leverage spreadsheets and traditional reports, instead using a combination of legal pads, calculators, and white boards. Bringing MBI into this type of setting is as revolutionary as it gets, and no one would dream of picking up a calculator, pen, or dry erase marker ever again once they have access to the new system.

So it’s baffling when we see users hang onto their spreadsheets long after they have equivalent functions in an MBI system at their disposal. Sometimes users fixated on data integrity keep running their spreadsheets and traditional reports to compare them to the output of their MBI platform. Other times there is a reluctance to change when time constraints produce skepticism around the feasibility of tackling any learning curve associated with a new system.

Whatever the cause, this practice may be one of the most damaging when it comes to implementing MBI. Mortgage business intelligence isn’t intended to be an adjunct to traditional analytics. It’s intended to replace them. The central idea is taking an antiquated approach to an activity and updating it, thereby saving time, and enhancing the derived results.

If MBI is simply added to a firm’s traditional analytics efforts, not only will things not get better, things can get worse. Instead of paring down the time spent on analytics, it’s expanding, which runs counter to the whole idea of MBI in the first place, which is to dramatically reduce the time that firms spend on analytics, while increasing the value and timeliness of information delivery.

Making it an IT Project: Ignoring Business Users

While business intelligence endeavors are generally thought of as technology projects, I’ve always contended that mortgage business intelligence is more of a business project than a technology undertaking, particularly since the technology behind automatically pulling data from production systems and transforming it into effective visualizers is well established. IT-centric projects are focused on using the newest, cutting-edge tools, and the value of these tools lies in enhancing not only the data processing environment, but also the resumes of the IT staff deploying them.

Technology is clearly important, and while it makes sense to ensure that your MBI provider is using up-to-date technology, it is much more important that they have a deep understanding of the mortgage industry and exactly what it takes to effect process improvements across the board. This expertise can best be leveraged by working directly with business users to understand the current state of their analytics and to help them convert these into MBI functions within the new platform.

Projects that focus solely on IT divisions run the risk of ignoring the business case for MBI and providing little or no benefit to business users. This approach eliminates the possibility of optimizing operational dynamics and setting stage for increased profitability.

Making Decisions Based Solely on Cost

While it’s a familiar and rarely disputed principle that purchasing decisions should never be based solely on price, cost of ownership still appears at the top of most buyers’ criteria lists. A thorough comparison of your options should quickly uncover whether or not significant price differences are warranted and your potential vendors should be able to make this very easy for you. If nothing else, extensive reference checks will give you a good idea of how much implementation support you can expect, and this is where good vendors tend to differentiate themselves.

Another detrimental practice is viewing mortgage business intelligence as a cost center. Think about the well-known attributes and effects of MBI: operational efficiency, expanded volume, improved customer service, and the overall effect of boosting profits and reducing costs. It can certainly be said that unlike the rest of IT, MBI can genuinely be a profit center.

Even a cursory survey of the market reveals the fact that business intelligence is new enough to the mortgage industry to be priced unusually low: well below what users in other industries pay for comparable platforms. Closing an extra couple of loans per month should be enough to offset the cost of a system, and when properly implemented, MBI surely has a much bigger impact than that.

Replicating Current Analytics in MBI

It must be said that it’s not necessarily a mistake, but this approach does tend to keep users from realizing the full value of an MBI platform. The true value of MBI doesn’t lie in merely automating your current analytics; it lies in changing the way you think about your business.

In my present line of work, I have the opportunity to see a great many MBI installations, and I know that replicating and automating current analytics is almost always the first step that lenders take during an implementation. It’s an obvious, reflexive move, and one that can represent enormous time savings. I’ve seen quite a few MBI projects in which lenders take their current spreadsheets and simply make replicas of them in the new system.

This can seem to be a huge advantage: some spreadsheets take days to produce, and when automated within an MBI system, the same information is consistently available without the legwork. But even though a lender might be saving time, they’re ultimately automating an antiquated process. The true goal of mortgage business intelligence is to do away with the vast majority of traditional spreadsheets and reports and focus instead on a small collection of key performance indicators that provide a real time picture of overall business health and performance. Detail should be readily available but drilled into only when these KPIs reveal issues that necessitate intervention.

I see this tendency to replicate traditional analytics as the first wave of industry adoption of MBI. It’s not a bad start, but as mortgage companies build fluency with this technology, and begin to truly understand how it enables them to drive effective and successful behaviors in staff at all levels, they’ll eventually discover that in the wake of MBI, traditional analytics are of little or no value.

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 jon.maynell@motivitysolutions.com.

The Top Business Intelligence Mistakes

website-pdf-download

eletter-jon-maynellThis article will discuss the most common mistakes that occur when evaluating, implementing, or using mortgage business intelligence (MBI). Today’s article covers defining upfront requirements for all departments, as well as selecting the best industry specific platform for your needs.

Focusing On One Department, Instead of the Whole Enterprise

This comes up more often than one would expect. It’s typical for software initiatives, particularly in the mortgage industry, to be approached quite thoughtfully. Much care is typically given to polling each and every department for requirements before doing a vendor search. Extensive demonstrations and exhaustive evaluations generally follow to decide upon the best possible path forward.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

When it comes to MBI, this process doesn’t always come into play. Given the wide array of systems that profess to fall under the category of MBI, this important initiative can manifest itself in a variety of different ways. A user in secondary marketing could appear with a free evaluation copy of a data visualizer that amounts to nothing more than an advanced graphing tool. Someone in operations might latch onto a data services provider for strategic benchmarking or peer group analysis. A compliance user might gravitate toward tools centered on customer surveys and complaint resolution.

To avoid getting stuck with a system that might later prove to be incomplete, give even the smaller, introductory offerings and above all their providers the same treatment that’s given to loan origination systems in terms of thoughtful analysis and evaluation. While some may be integral parts of larger platforms that can function at the enterprise level, many are ultimately limited in scope.

Using Generic BI for MBI

This is another unfortunate misstep that occurs more frequently than most would assume. I’ve seen firsthand a number of would be MBI systems exposed as general BI platforms, and this exposure generally doesn’t happen until lots of money, time and effort have been spent. There are quite a few popular BI systems on the market that offer a high level of versatility along with a low to moderate price tag. These are sold in the MBI marketspace by referencing one or more users that happen to be mortgage firms.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

Sooner or later, the truth emerges, and most projects are abandoned and must be restarted with a more suitable system, if they’re restarted at all. To be clear: efforts such as sales directors leveraging a BI tool to help their loan officers target realtors based on a business maturity index derived from their license number to gauge their tenure alongside a host of other open source data is in fact a business intelligence exercise. But it’s not unique to the mortgage industry: collecting open source data for analysis to drive strategic alliances occurs across multiple industries.

What mortgage companies need is a platform that can scale to the level of their enterprise, and guide them through every aspect of the mortgage lending process with prebuilt solutions, business analysts and consultants with a high degree of mortgage lending experience, and above all, a large client base of other mortgage companies with whom they can exchange ideas.

Implementing without a data integrity plan

This is a perfect example of putting the cart before the horse, and the effects can be as aggravating as they are costly. With all of the money spent on mortgage technology year after year, little if any is directed toward data quality initiatives. There are still a large number of lenders whose data integrity efforts are limited to policing loan level data only, and this has left many with a lack of awareness and understanding of the databases that ultimately store and help manage that data.

While a good MBI provider can certainly come in and help you clean up your data, there are reasons why you don’t want to delay instituting a data integrity program. Data quality is a reflection of business process quality, and reengineering these processes takes time. Leaving these concerns on the table to be dealt with during an MBI implementation can bog the project down. Users won’t know if they can trust the data they’re seeing, and user adoption will suffer, even in the wake of a good analytics conversion effort. Help your MBI provider help you by taking the time to understand the state of your data and which contributing processes need attention before you begin your implementation.

Failing to account for remote users

Another common late breaking realization that often occurs sometime after an MBI rollout is that remote users can’t access the system, or that their user experience lacks functionality or performance compared to that of users on the network. This syndrome isn’t just limited to loan officers, as might be assumed. As time goes on, more and more loan participants are becoming at least part time field operatives, and people in management roles often find themselves in settings where they’re not connected to their corporate network.

Beyond gauging current remote access needs, it’s a good idea to make provisions for future eventualities as well. Ideally, you’ll have a wide variety of options to connect full or part time remote users with their data. Automated email delivery of dashboards, scorecards, and other data should be a standard feature of any MBI platform, and the better systems will make certain that each user only receives data that complies with their security privileges.

To ensure they’re keeping pace with best practices in terms of system architecture, look for MBI vendors who adopt a ‘mobile first’ philosophy, in which the system will adapt to whatever device a user happens to be using. This progressive approach entails beginning with the smartphone experience in mind, and retrofitting that design to more robust devices like tablets and eventually PCs, instead of trying to force views designed for PC screens onto a mobile platform.

Using a single data source

Like any technology undertaking, MBI projects can plateau, keeping the potential for advanced functions and practices unrealized. Even after groundbreaking achievements in efficiency and profitability, users can become complacent, and won’t get around to considering other areas where additional value can be realized. Once you’ve transformed the full spectrum of your operational dynamics, applied scorecards to your branches and individual originators, and implemented TRID monitoring, it’s time to consider data sources beyond your LOS production data.

Bringing in accounting data can set the stage for accurate loan level cost tracking. Blending in data from marketing or lead management platforms can dramatically increase the effectiveness of advertising campaigns as well as tighten up your lead handle time, leading to higher conversion rates and increased volume. Folding in customer survey data can reveal valuable opportunities to enhance service levels, leading to more repeat business and referrals. And combining data from secondary marketing can help managers maximize gain on sale by focusing on recreating the common elements of the most profitable transactions, along with shifting their product mix or applying pinpointed product training for the offerings that generally yield less.

Placing limits on usership

Another interesting development I’ve often seen crop up is the tendency of users to hoard their mortgage business intelligence. This territoriality has a number of potential causes. Most often, managers believe that staff level employees simply don’t need the data. They feel that having converted their own analytics and having much more time to consider and make effective decisions is all that they need to optimize production levels. In other cases, I’ve heard managers express the opinion that granting production staff access to another system will lower their performance levels by reducing the time they spend in their production systems.

In both of these cases, nothing could be further from the truth. Every MBI installation I’ve worked with clearly demonstrates that there is a direct relationship between MBI usership and profitability. Organizations with larger user bases always exhibit more efficiencies than those with just a handful of users. This reveals the true power of MBI, namely to induce staff to reflexively gravitate toward peak performance, and there are two reasons why this happens.

The first is the observer effect, otherwise known as the Hawthorne effect, in which people instinctively change their behavior by boosting their work levels in response to being continually measured, or observed. Even more impactful is the dramatic shift from task-oriented to goal-oriented workflow, which can only happen if employees are connected to their departmental goals through dashboards. Whether these metrics are on wall monitors in the operations division, on desktop PC monitors, or automatically delivered to individuals via email, connecting employees to their goals gives them the vision they need to prioritize their work. They’ll become more dynamic thinkers, they’ll be driven to hold more information in active memory, and will constantly look for ways to be more efficient.

About The Author

[author_bio]

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 jon.maynell@motivitysolutions.com.

Key Performance Indicators: A Primer

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are easily the most talked about element of mortgage business intelligence (MBI) these days. As MBI continues to gain momentum industry-wide, it’s interesting to see how this first wave of user adoption is playing itself out.

Predictably, as I’ve discussed in previous articles, the first thing that most lenders tend to do with their shiny new MBI platforms is to replicate and automate their current analytics. While this can present significant time savings, it’s somewhat of a dead-end tactic, as this approach merely automates antiquated tools. Users who replicate their legacy spreadsheets tend to enjoy a short period of perceived benefit but ultimately wonder why they’re not seeing process improvements.

Fortunately, the result is that many MBI users are now taking a second look at their systems, focusing on KPIs for process improvements. Much of the discussion around KPIs centers on a topic that’s been well covered in other industries: which KPIs are more effective than others? Here are a handful of principles that have become standard practice in the world of BI when it comes to configuring KPIs:

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

The number one rule of KPIs: avoid dollar amounts. Lenders are generally fascinated by this rule, as almost all traditional mortgage industry analytics are filled with monetary values. This is the main reason why you’ll tend to see monetary KPIs in most prebuilt MBI solutions. Lenders are used to them, and MBI providers have been very thoughtful about building in metrics that are familiar to their prospective users.

Why are dollar amounts less than ideal? If you think about it, by the time you’re looking at a monetary value, the actions or behaviors that have produced that value have already transpired. If it’s perceived as being too low, it’s often too late to do anything about it. Instead, users should focus on the tasks upstream from that dollar value that contribute to it. KPIs can foster improved behaviors around these tasks to produce a more desirable result. Rates or ratios are always better than absolute or aggregate values when it comes to creating KPIs for process improvement.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

A good KPI is easy to understand. Complex metrics aren’t generally retained or discussed. They should be comparative in nature, making it easy to measure different entities, processes, or time periods relative to each other. KPIs should also be predictive in nature, which is to say that as the measurement changes it should be easy to identify trends that aid in producing more accurate forecasts. Finally, the most powerful KPIs are those that are designed to guide behaviors. Metrics that don’t address behaviors should always be reevaluated.

MBI is off to a roaring start in our industry, but we have miles to go before we sleep. A good MBI provider will be able to guide you through a consultative process of configuring the perfect set of KPIs for your business. They should continually reevaluate your processes with you as well, to help gauge results and evolve your metrics accordingly.

About The Author

[author_bio]

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 jon.maynell@motivitysolutions.com.

Top 12 Mortgage Business Intelligence Mistakes :: Part 6

This is the final installment of a six-part series on the most common mistakes that occur when evaluating, implementing, or using mortgage business intelligence (MBI). Today’s article discusses cost considerations and replicating outdated analytics.

 Making decisions based solely on cost

While it’s a familiar and rarely disputed principle that purchasing decisions should never be based solely on price, cost of ownership still appears at the top of most buyers’ criteria lists. A thorough comparison of your options should quickly uncover whether or not significant price differences are warranted and your potential vendors should be able to make this very easy for you. If nothing else, extensive reference checks will give you a good idea of how much implementation support you can expect, and this is where good vendors tend to differentiate themselves.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

Another detrimental practice is viewing mortgage business intelligence as a cost center. Think about the well-known attributes and effects of MBI: operational efficiency, expanded volume, improved customer service, and the overall effect of boosting profits and reducing costs. It can certainly be said that unlike the rest of IT, MBI can genuinely be a profit center.

Even a cursory survey of the market reveals the fact that business intelligence is new enough to the mortgage industry to be priced unusually low: well below what users in other industries pay for comparable platforms. Closing an extra couple of loans per month should be enough to offset the cost of a system, and when properly implemented, MBI surely has a much bigger impact than that.

Replicating current analytics in MBI

It must be said that it’s not necessarily a mistake, but this approach does tend to keep users from realizing the full value of an MBI platform. The true value of MBI doesn’t lie in merely automating your current analytics; it lies in changing the way you think about your business.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

In my present line of work, I have the opportunity to see a great many MBI installations, and I know that replicating and automating current analytics is almost always the first step that lenders take during an implementation. It’s an obvious, reflexive move, and one that can represent enormous time savings. I’ve seen quite a few MBI projects in which lenders take their current spreadsheets and simply make replicas of them in the new system.

This can seem to be a huge advantage: some spreadsheets take days to produce, and when automated within an MBI system, the same information is consistently available without the legwork. But even though a lender might be saving time, they’re ultimately automating an antiquated process. The true goal of mortgage business intelligence is to do away with the vast majority of traditional spreadsheets and reports and focus instead on a small collection of key performance indicators that provide a real time picture of overall business health and performance. Detail should be readily available but drilled into only when these KPIs reveal issues that necessitate intervention.

I see this tendency to replicate traditional analytics as the first wave of industry adoption of MBI. It’s not a bad start, but as mortgage companies build fluency with this technology, and begin to truly understand how it enables them to drive effective and successful behaviors in staff at all levels, they’ll eventually discover that in the wake of MBI, traditional analytics are of little or no value.

About The Author

[author_bio]

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 jon.maynell@motivitysolutions.com.

Top 12 Mortgage Business Intelligence Mistakes :: Part 5

This is the fifth installment of a six-part series on the most common mistakes that occur when evaluating, implementing, or using mortgage business intelligence (MBI). Today’s article discusses retiring old analytics and focusing on the right users.

Supplement vs. Replacement

The most successful MBI projects are those which produce the most compelling results for their user communities. When people ask me about the implementations where I’ve seen MBI make the biggest impact, I often think of the smaller boutique firms. Many have yet to fully leverage spreadsheets and traditional reports, instead using a combination of legal pads, calculators, and white boards. Bringing MBI into this type of setting is as revolutionary as it gets, and no one would dream of picking up a calculator, pen, or dry erase marker ever again once they have access to the new system.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

So it’s baffling when we see users hang onto their spreadsheets long after they have equivalent functions in an MBI system at their disposal. Sometimes users fixated on data integrity keep running their spreadsheets and traditional reports to compare them to the output of their MBI platform. Other times there is a reluctance to change when time constraints produce skepticism around the feasibility of tackling any learning curve associated with a new system.

Whatever the cause, this practice may be one of the most damaging when it comes to implementing MBI. Mortgage business intelligence isn’t intended to be an adjunct to traditional analytics. It’s intended to replace them. The central idea is taking an antiquated approach to an activity and updating it, thereby saving time, and enhancing the derived results.

If MBI is simply added to a firm’s traditional analytics efforts, not only will things not get better, things can get worse. Instead of paring down the time spent on analytics, it’s expanding, which runs counter to the whole idea of MBI in the first place, which is to dramatically reduce the time that firms spend on analytics, while increasing the value and timeliness of information delivery.

Making it an IT project :: Ignoring business users

While business intelligence endeavors are generally thought of as technology projects, I’ve always contended that mortgage business intelligence is more of a business project than a technology undertaking, particularly since the technology behind automatically pulling data from production systems and transforming it into effective visualizers is well established. IT-centric projects are focused on using the newest, cutting-edge tools, and the value of these tools lies in enhancing not only the data processing environment, but also the resumes of the IT staff deploying them.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

Technology is clearly important, and while it makes sense to ensure that your MBI provider is using up-to-date technology, it is much more important that they have a deep understanding of the mortgage industry and exactly what it takes to effect process improvements across the board. This expertise can best be leveraged by working directly with business users to understand the current state of their analytics and to help them convert these into MBI functions within the new platform.

Projects that focus solely on IT divisions run the risk of ignoring the business case for MBI and providing little or no benefit to business users. This approach eliminates the possibility of optimizing operational dynamics and setting stage for increased profitability.

About The Author

[author_bio]

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 jon.maynell@motivitysolutions.com.

Top 12 Mortgage Business Intelligence Mistakes :: Part 4

This is the fourth installment of a six-part series on the most common mistakes that occur when evaluating, implementing, or using mortgage business intelligence (MBI). Today’s article discusses system evaluation and allocating administrative resources.

7. Hot Button Purchasing 

This tends to happen when people are moving too quickly. Those that are in too much of a hurry to implement MBI often zero in on a single feature without taking the time to thoroughly evaluate a platform before purchasing.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

I was talking to a lender at a conference recently who had just undergone an audit. Some of the more pointed feedback had to do with the fact that the lender had no scorecards in place. Guidelines around best practices for quality assurance outline the use of scorecards for each origination channel and branch, as well as scorecards for each and every individual participating in the origination process including loan officers, processors, underwriters, appraisers, closers, and funders. He was doing laps around the exhibit hall asking anyone and everyone occupying a booth if they could do scorecards.

As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, mortgage business intelligence has become a prominent movement in our industry. In my view, the present market is comprised of two types of mortgage companies: those who have implemented MBI, and those who will. If the industry’s adoption of this technology continues at its current pace, the vast majority of spreadsheets and traditional reports could disappear within the next ten years.

With this long term outlook, it makes sense to avoid jumping the gun and to take a more thoughtful approach to evaluating MBI platforms. While virtually any platform might succeed in a setting where a single feature or function is the sole focus, it’s a sure bet that this focus will eventually shift, or expand to other areas of the enterprise. A thorough evaluation up front will provide the foresight necessary to take full advantage of this expanded focus when it happens.

8. Limiting Administrative Resources

Experienced industry professionals understand the pervasive reluctance to dedicate resources toward managing mortgage technology initiatives. Whether it’s a loan origination system or any other system that requires some level of on-site administration, resource constraints are ever-present as employees are constantly multitasking, focusing their efforts where they’re most needed on any given day. Spending time on non-revenue-generating activities seems impossible when an organization is set up to consistently perform at, or just above maximum capacity.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

It’s therefore useful to remember that implementing mortgage business intelligence is all about saving time, not spending it. Without exception, every experienced MBI user with whom I’ve had the opportunity to speak has gone through the same transformation in terms of their philosophy on resource allocation. They’re all trying to find ways to spend more time fine tuning their platform, because they have come to understand that the broader the MBI footprint within their organization, the more efficient and profitable they become.

While extending the reach of an MBI system to cover every corner of an enterprise takes time, it is time well spent. For every non-recurring man hour spent rolling out MBI to more users, an organization will realize several hours of recurring time savings with each and every business transaction.

About The Author

[author_bio]

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 jon.maynell@motivitysolutions.com.

What Is The Measure Of A Top Producer?

website-pdf-download

Tyler-ShermanDo you still rank your top producers solely based on units or volume? The new loan officer compensation rules have drastically changed the dynamics between employee and employer. A natural, synergistic bond once existed between the loan officer and the lender. Both parties were aligned to maximize price and minimize revenue loss during the loan transaction. However, this paradigm has now shifted to a one-sided relationship where the lender is stuck with the majority of the financial risk on every transaction. Each revenue loss that occurs between the lock and the closing is borne solely by the lender.

In the aftermath of the mortgage meltdown, investors, regulators and borrowers are all demanding more transparency and accountability from lenders. To effectively create this, lenders need to broaden their focus.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

Volume is still important, but quality and customer satisfaction also play an important role as loan officer performance is being assessed. Scorecards are the optimal business intelligence tool to provide this assessment.

A truly effective scorecard is a comprehensive balance of the following metrics.

>> Volume: Tracking this end result is important; however, all of the activities that lead up to the result are also valuable information. In other words, the actual outcome is ultimately the result of an accumulation of activities that drove that result. What activities took place and how many were required for a successful outcome?

>> Quality: Loan officers should also be accountable for the thoroughness of the prequalification process as well as completeness of the files that they submit to processing. These quality metrics include pull-through ratios, number of conditions per file, number of lock extensions, cycle times and how many loans achieved a “first submission” approval rating.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

>> Customer satisfaction: It is imperative for the lender to conduct surveys to determine loan officer performance from a customer-satisfaction perspective as well as from their peer employees. Is the loan officer easy to work with? Does he or she represent the company well and adhere to policies? These are critical performance factors that provide a clear, overall picture of total performance. If you are still measuring your sales team based on volume alone, the wrong people are likely being recognized.

For all these reasons and more, lenders should leverage technology to automate the creation of these scorecards, as they can expect immediate return on investment from their use. Once the lender has this visibility, targeted and effective training programs can he instituted to continuously improve performance and change behaviors accordingly.

This unprecedented level of visibility allows lenders to track the activity of every loan originator. The technology even translates these scorecards into dashboards that can be viewed by upper management. As lenders look for more control over their loan process, they are finding that this is simply not possible if you first don’t have a total picture of everything that’s going on within your lending institution.

While most talk around regulatory issues this year centers around TRID, the less recent changes to the Truth in Lending Act (TILA/Regulation Z) remain the focus for sales managers. Consistently ensuring that originators are not steering consumers into transactions not deemed to be in the best interest of the borrower, based on the ability of the originator to receive greater compensation is as difficult as it sounds. This challenge for sales management is compounded by the need to refine originators’ prospecting and qualifying efforts to produce application files that are complete as well as compliant.

To address these challenges, loan originator scorecards are a necessity if lenders want to consistently evaluate their loan officers using multiple criteria, instead of rewarding just one behavior, traditionally funded volume.

In addition to promoting compliance and efficiency, originator scorecards enable the lender to enforce accountability and transparency. With data comes insight, and with insight comes power.

In the end, that insight can be made accessible to investors looking to buy loans from the most transparent lender, regulators looking to make sure that the lender is on the up-and-up, and borrowers looking for instant status updates on their loan. Lenders actively using scorecards are seeing an immediate return on their investment in these and many other ways.

To illustrate how lenders are utilizing powerful performance and scorecard tools, Jackie Amato, president of TowneBank Mortgage, uses Motivity Solutions’ Movation dashboards to monitor pipeline activities, production goals, and originator activity and performance.

Each individual loan officer utilizes pipeline dashboards to track his or her loans as they progress through the loan origination system (LOS). The TowneBank originators also focus on lead management and creative ways to cater to their best, highest-value referral sources.

TowneBank proactively tracks individual performance to hold team members accountable and to target training opportunities. More importantly, via individual scorecards, Movation will soon enable employees to self-monitor and strive to improve based on the goals established for them by their managers and the company.

From an executive perspective, TowneBank’s Amato watches trends to gauge potential ebbs and flows in production volume so that she can anticipate activities and allocate resources accordingly.

About The Author

[author_bio]

As co-founder and CEO of Motivity Solutions, Tyler Sherman is responsible for establishing the vision and long-term strategy of the company. Tyler has more than 20 years of sales, marketing, and executive leadership experience across the mortgage and technology industries. Before founding Motivity Solutions, Tyler was a co-founder of Watermark Financial Partners, where he led the sales team to unparalleled productivity and profits. The sales and marketing programs developed by Tyler led Watermark to become one of the largest organizations of its kind. Tyler understands the need for flexible technology that can help companies navigate the inevitable ebbs and flows of any industry. His capabilities for using technology and business intelligence to enhance the sales and marketing functions helps create a sustainable competitive advantage for Motivity’s clientele. Tyler’s operational and executive expertise in running successful companies effectively aligns Motivity’s interests with that of its customers, and his philosophy of creating value for all stakeholders by building long-term relationships through ethical business practices is applied to all aspects of Motivity Solutions. Tyler has a B.S. in Finance and Marketing from the University of Colorado and an MBA from the University of Denver.

Top 12 Mortgage Business Intelligence Mistakes :: Part 3

This is the third installment of a six-part series on the most common mistakes that occur when evaluating, implementing, or using mortgage business intelligence (MBI). Today’s article discusses alternate data sources and user access.

5. Using a single data source

Like any technology undertaking, MBI projects can plateau, keeping the potential for advanced functions and practices unrealized. Even after groundbreaking achievements in efficiency and profitability, users can become complacent, and won’t get around to considering other areas where additional value can be realized. Once you’ve transformed the full spectrum of your operational dynamics, applied scorecards to your branches and individual originators, and implemented TRID monitoring, it’s time to consider data sources beyond your LOS production data.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

Bringing in accounting data can set the stage for accurate loan level cost tracking. Blending in data from marketing or lead management platforms can dramatically increase the effectiveness of advertising campaigns as well as tighten up your lead handle time, leading to higher conversion rates and increased volume. Folding in customer survey data can reveal valuable opportunities to enhance service levels, leading to more repeat business and referrals. And combining data from secondary marketing can help managers maximize gain on sale by focusing on recreating the common elements of the most profitable transactions, along with shifting their product mix or applying pinpointed product training for the offerings that generally yield less.

6. Placing limits on usership

Another interesting development I’ve often seen crop up is the tendency of users to hoard their mortgage business intelligence. This territoriality has a number of potential causes. Most often, managers believe that staff level employees simply don’t need the data. They feel that having converted their own analytics and having much more time to consider and make effective decisions is all that they need to optimize production levels. In other cases, I’ve heard managers express the opinion that granting production staff access to another system will lower their performance levels by reducing the time they spend in their production systems.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

In both of these cases, nothing could be further from the truth. Every MBI installation I’ve worked with clearly demonstrates that there is a direct relationship between MBI usership and profitability. Organizations with larger user bases always exhibit more efficiencies than those with just a handful of users. This reveals the true power of MBI, namely to induce staff to reflexively gravitate toward peak performance, and there are two reasons why this happens.

The first is the observer effect, otherwise known as the Hawthorne effect, in which people instinctively change their behavior by boosting their work levels in response to being continually measured, or observed. Even more impactful is the dramatic shift from task-oriented to goal-oriented workflow, which can only happen if employees are connected to their departmental goals through dashboards. Whether these metrics are on wall monitors in the operations division, on desktop PC monitors, or automatically delivered to individuals via email, connecting employees to their goals gives them the vision they need to prioritize their work.  They’ll become more dynamic thinkers, they’ll be driven to hold more information in active memory, and will constantly look for ways to be more efficient.

About The Author

[author_bio]

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 jon.maynell@motivitysolutions.com.

Top 12 Mortgage Business Intelligence Mistakes :: Part 2

This is part two of a six part series on the most common mistakes that occur when evaluating, implementing, or using mortgage business intelligence (MBI). Today’s article covers data quality and remote access.

3. Implementing without a data integrity plan

This is a perfect example of putting the cart before the horse, and the effects can be as aggravating as they are costly. With all of the money spent on mortgage technology year after year, little if any is directed toward data quality initiatives. There are still a large number of lenders whose data integrity efforts are limited to policing loan level data only, and this has left many with a lack of awareness and understanding of the databases that ultimately store and help manage that data.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

While a good MBI provider can certainly come in and help you clean up your data, there are reasons why you don’t want to delay instituting a data integrity program. Data quality is a reflection of business process quality, and reengineering these processes takes time. Leaving these concerns on the table to be dealt with during an MBI implementation can bog the project down. Users won’t know if they can trust the data they’re seeing, and user adoption will suffer, even in the wake of a good analytics conversion effort. Help your MBI provider help you by taking the time to understand the state of your data and which contributing processes need attention before you begin your implementation.

4. Failing to account for remote users

Another common late breaking realization that often occurs sometime after an MBI rollout is that remote users can’t access the system, or that their user experience lacks functionality or performance compared to that of users on the network. This syndrome isn’t just limited to loan officers, as might be assumed. As time goes on, more and more loan participants are becoming at least part time field operatives, and people in management roles often find themselves in settings where they’re not connected to their corporate network.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

Beyond gauging current remote access needs, it’s a good idea to make provisions for future eventualities as well. Ideally, you’ll have a wide variety of options to connect full or part time remote users with their data. Automated email delivery of dashboards, scorecards, and other data should be a standard feature of any MBI platform, and the better systems will make certain that each user only receives data that complies with their security privileges.

To ensure they’re keeping pace with best practices in terms of system architecture, look for MBI vendors who adopt a ‘mobile first’ philosophy, in which the system will adapt to whatever device a user happens to be using. This progressive approach entails beginning with the smartphone experience in mind, and retrofitting that design to more robust devices like tablets and eventually PCs, instead of trying to force views designed for PC screens onto a mobile platform.

About The Author

[author_bio]

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 jon.maynell@motivitysolutions.com.