*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.
****For example, many industry professionals still view Calyx as just a broker solution, but that is not the case. Although our initial solution served brokers extremely well over the years, we now work with almost 4,000 mortgage banking accounts and 2,500 financial institutions, including credit unions, community banks, and S&L’s. Our fastest growing clientele now comes from mortgage banks, and they, as well as the banks and credit unions, have more complex needs that we at Calyx strive to meet.
****Financial institutions are highly concerned with security; they want and require strict compliance. These entities are not as concerned with workflow—but they are concerned about having centralized data, and ensuring absolute control over its privacy to comply with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act . Ultimately, these financial institutions want a tool that does not control their data—they want to host their own data and control their compliance to federal regulations.
****On the other hand, mortgage bankers are more focused on flexibility. They want to take their business practices and get a system that conforms to their process. A lot of systems require that users change their business process, but that’s not really what the mortgage banker wants to do. The key is configurability. An LOS should not make business decisions, but they should facilitate the business decisions made by lending management. Mortgage Bankers require a robust business rules engine to support—not dictate— their business processes.
****The point I’m making is that financial institutions and mortgage bankers, with their need to adhere to strict compliance rules and their desire for flexibility, do not actually need separate systems to accomplish both things. Too often vendors are classified as one or the other when in fact the best vendors have a system that can work for many different constituencies. That is the difference between perception and reality.
****So, what sound advice can I give these different entities when looking for new technology? I would recommend them to push past preconceived notions and really scrutinize the vendors out there in the market today. And in doing so, don’t limit yourself to just talking with the vendors that you think do what you want, but rather talk with the vendors that can do what you want them to do, and much, much more. Reality can be much more efficient and profitable if you just get to it.
Ted Hicks is the Director of Product Management at Calyx Software. He started working for Calyx over 4 years ago and is responsible for the research and design of all Calyx products including all issues related to compliance and forms. Ted has spent the last 14 years working as a product management professional in small and large firms providing enterprise software solutions across a variety of industries including Siebel Systems (now Oracle), Aspect Telecommunications, and Epiphany.