*Ask the Bank That Owns One*
**By Daniel Liggett**
***The title of this article is a twist on a classic advertising slogan for a legendary automobile brand. The manufacturer implored the reader to ask the person who owns one and why they bought it knowing full well the satisfied owners’ words would be more convincing than any they could possibly dream up.
****This transparent approach is extremely powerful, but the manufacturer better have the utmost confidence in their product. If the owner doesn’t like what they bought, they’re surely going to say so when asked. This is more true today than ever, with the increased use and adoption of social media.
****At a recent technology symposium held in New England, lenders had the rare opportunity to hear from a group of decision-makers on why they chose their loan origination system and the reasons behind their decisions.
****The panel of lenders differed in asset size, loan volume, lending models, deployment and workflow requirements, but they were similar in certain aspects as well. They set the table by discussing the reasons that motivated them to perform their technology search. Most were prompted by upcoming regulatory changes and the lack of confidence in their present system or in their vendor to handle these changes. Fear is a great motivator, but most of the lenders had a detailed plan long before compliance deadlines became realities. The lenders’ plans all included a wish-list of capabilities they both required and desired and all echoed that it had to be an integral part of their banks’ overall growth program. It was here that their needs began to differ and requirements became unique to their operations.
****One adopter said that he wanted an internet-based solution in order to relieve his thin IT staff from the burdens of maintenance and upgrades while providing access to loan officers in the field. A second lender said flexibility, customization and ease-of-use topped her list. A third lender desired to mirror their present workflow and then improve upon it. One said a key component was the LOS’s ability to grow with their organization, and not just accommodate more bodies, but have true scalability. Another lender wanted one system to handle both mortgage and consumer lending on the same platform.
****Each individual then described their lending operation in detail; the nuances that they embraced and those that they wanted to change. What became evident was how the differences in each operation clearly outnumbered the similarities, meaning each one had a distinctly different way of lending and thus a unique set of requirements. They described how the chosen LOS allowed them to achieve their goals and the effort that was involved. They described future plans and outlined their growth expectations. They also included candid details about their implementation experience, including both the successes and pitfalls and described what they learned along the way.
****In an effort to share this valuable knowledge and insight directly from the individuals making these decisions, I will be adding a “Lender Spotlight” section to this column. Come back next week to see how and why technology decisions are being made directly from the decision makers.