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LOS Adds Mobile Connection

Mortgage Builder has introduced an Architect Connect enhancement to its flagship LOS, Architect. Architect Connect allows borrowers to directly interact with the system through their computers and mobile devices, adding convenience for consumers and saving time and money for lenders.

John Vella, Chief Operating Officer of Mortgage Builder and Equator, both Alitsource businesses, said, “Architect Connect brings borrowers into the loan experience online from wherever they happen to be, anywhere in the world. They can upload required information, communicate with their lender via the LOS on a 24/7 basis and check real-time loan status from their tablet, smartphone or computer. It’s instant gratification for borrowers and lenders alike.”

Architect Connect provides benefits to both lenders and borrowers. Lenders can now offer customers more services via their computers and mobile devices including lead capture, prequalification and interactive Form 1003 loan applications, and the reporting and analytics they need to stay compliant. Borrowers can now use Architect Connect to quickly check the status of their loan on a computer or mobile device, avoiding constant time-consuming phone calls that have long been a costly fact of life for lenders.

Brian Abbott, Mortgage Builder’s Director of Corporate Initiatives, said, “Architect Connect enables a secure, completely transparent process that allows lenders to know exactly how their sales efforts are doing at any time.  Many tasks that used to take hours on the phone with a loan officer or a processor can now be completed on a self-service basis by the borrower using Architect Connect.”

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Choosing The Right Vendor

TREND has signed a multiyear agreement to use Matrix by CoreLogic as the primary component of its next multiple listing platform. TREND serves approximately 25,000 real estate agents and brokers from more than 3,000 offices in the Philadelphia metropolitan region, with coverage in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Here’s why they made this choice:

“TREND wanted a technology vendor we could collaborate with to design a rich, property-centric system that would be unique to the TREND market area,” said Tom Phillips, president and CEO of TREND. “After many meetings with CoreLogic about what form our next multiple listing platform might take, it became clear that CoreLogic was the right company—and Matrix was the right platform—to help meet our members’ needs. Matrix offers the design flexibility our members want and exemplifies the performance and mobile functionality our members need.”

TREND has also chosen to deploy GoMLS by CoreLogic, a mobile app for real estate agents and their clients that is compatible with the iPhone, iPad and Android devices, which will be launched in the first quarter of 2014. TREND is scheduled to launch the Matrix system, which will incorporate TREND public record data in its property-centric design, in the fourth quarter of 2014. With the addition of TREND, CoreLogic now serves a significant portion of the multiple listing organizations in the mid-Atlantic region.

“TREND’s decision to enter into a business relationship with CoreLogic is especially gratifying due to the size and high profile nature of its market area and the fact that it has an ultra-professional product development team with first-hand knowledge of the system management and development processes,” said Brian de Schepper, vice president of Real Estate Solutions for CoreLogic. “Working together closely, our two teams will create a solution that sets a new standard for the real estate industry.  We are truly honored to be selected to work with TREND on this landmark project.”

Keeping Everything Connected

*Keeping Everything Connected*
**By Tony Garritano**

TonyG***Every day we hear more and more about companies closely integrating their products. Everyone wants to offer the lender a seamless experience. For example, Wipro Gallagher Solutions, a Wipro Technologies company and provider of origination lending solutions for financial institutions, has launched its “Lend Value” suite of enterprise loan origination solutions, which are designed to deliver consistency and optimization across the entire lending value chain; from back-end processing to the front-end customer experience.

****The Lend Value suite of solutions encompasses its flagship NetOxygen Loan Origination System, Enterprise Mobile Origination (e·MO) app and the LendCentric user portals, all of which seamlessly interact to synchronize lending activity within a centralized data repository.

****The LendCentric Launch Pad allows the borrower to remain actively engaged throughout the loan process from application intake through supporting document upload. As a result, the lender experiences significant uplift in customer experience as the borrower is kept up to date with the progress of their application. The LendCentric Business portal enables partners and correspondent lenders to effectively communicate with lenders, which speeds the loan approval process and improves loan quality through increased transparency. Finally, the Enterprise Mobile Origination app enables sales teams to produce loans from any location using their tablet device. Data received from digital, online and back-office workstations are instantly updated across all channels.

****By pairing the NetOxygen LOS with value enhancing technologies, lenders can use a single source of rules, products and pricing data to make quicker and more accurate pipeline and portfolio decisions anywhere and at any time. This single source of setup data can be used across all platforms reducing administrative costs and ensuring customer convergence.

****“Lending activity is often fragmented across multiple devices and technology products. By delivering a suite of solutions that instantly communicates with a single source of truth, lenders can achieve a holistic view of the operation, truly optimize their processes and deliver targeted products to their customers,” said Narayan Bharadwaj, general manager and business head at Wipro Gallagher Solutions.

Head In The Clouds

*Head In The Clouds*
**By James Comtois**

JamesC***When I first started covering the mortgage technology industry, one of the most frequently used buzzwords was “paperless.” Firms were very eager to reduce the paper trail of the mortgage lending and servicing processes. These days, the industry is pretty gosh-darned paperless. Heck, not just the industry, but the world (a number of newspapers I used to write for now no longer have a print edition and are completely paperless products).

****With the industry having more or less succeeded in being a paperless one, the trend has gone much, much further. But the more the industry has gone paperless, a new problem has developed—that of storage within a firm’s computer network. Although there’s no longer the need for those large, metal filing cabinets in the office, the need for more virtual cabinets has arisen, now that hard copies are becoming things of the past.

****Now, the industry relies heavily on wireless technology and cloud computing, also known as “the cloud.” With the cloud, not only do we have to no longer worry about using paper, but also cluttering up storage space on a computer’s memory is now becoming a thing of the past.

****One firm that’s all about maximizing the use of such modern technologies as smart phones, tablets and the cloud is FotoNotes. Originally launched in 2009 as Fotobabble, FotoNotes helps firms make the most out of wireless communications technology. (Considering this is inevitably where all industries are going, it looks to be a pretty smart business model.)

****Recently, the organization has launched a cloud platform for property preservation and other real estate services.

****Launched at the National Association of Mortgage Field Services Annual Conference in Chicago earlier this month, the FotoNotes’ Mobile Property Preservation Solution boasts such services as enabling users to create, assign and manage work orders; access work orders in the field; capture photos and other data from the job site; and automatically stream work orders, photos and data to and from such back-office systems as Property Pres Wizard.

****In the online demo for the product (which can be found here http://www.fotonotes.com/sneak-preview-fotonotes-mobile-property-preservation-solution/ ), FotoNotes founder and CEO Kamal Shah explains that the FotoNotes’ Mobile Property Preservation Solution will ultimately enable udders to streamline operations, reduce manual work, improve vendor scorecards and (this perhaps could be the best part) get paid faster.

****The demo also shows that signatures can be captured, reports can be generated (in PDF format) directly onto one’s mobile phone and then emailed.

****All of this, of course, can be done without eating up any memory on one’s PC, tablet or smart phone.

Mobile And Commercial Mortgages

*Mobile And Commercial Mortgages*
**By Tony Garritano**

TonyG***It has been a while since I last shared news about mobile technology penetrating the mortgage space. I recently learned of an interesting use of this technology in the commercial mortgage space. In this case, Real Integrated Technology, LLC has entered into a relationship and begun early adoption testing of its Commercial Site Inspector, (CSI), a mobile site inspection platform, with StanCorp Mortgage Investors, LLC (SMI). The ability to reduce the time it takes to perform a commercial property inspection, improve accuracy, and connect to its servicing system led the company to opt to proceed with additional field testing of CSI.

****SMI is a subsidiary of StanCorp Financial Group, Inc., a provider of financial products and services. SMI has a loan portfolio that includes approximately 6,500 loans, valued at $8.3 billion as of June 30, 2013. SMI currently sources and services the vast majority of their loans through an independent correspondent network.

****“We are very pleased that SMI has recognized the benefits of CSI and has decided to test the platform, evaluate its performance, and experience first hand the advantages it delivers to users,” said Mark Chrisman, CEO of Real Integrated Technology. “The result is that the firm will be able to quantify for itself the efficiency gains our inspection platform provides to the company and the industry.”

****“I am excited about the potential of the new technology which incorporates the efficiencies gained during the inspection by using the iPad, and the ability to directly and easily integrate the data into our servicing platform,” said Gregg Harrod, AVP, Operations at SMI.

****Consultants use CSI because it reduces the time that inspections require while improving their performance. “As an inspector, receiving and completing inspections on the iPad has greatly improved my efficiency by eliminating the need to return to my computer to capture my notes and pictures,” said Matthew Fisher, CEO and Chief Inspection Officer at California Property Inspection.

Lender Launches New Website

*Lender Launches New Website*
**Links Multiple Devices**

website-launch***Total Mortgage has launched a new and improved website that provides users with a dynamic browsing experience across all devices. The new website features responsive web design that provides users a superior experience whether they are using the site on their phone, tablet, or PC.

****“We are very excited to unveil our new and improved Total Mortgage website, which was designed based on the feedback we have received from our customers,” commented John Walsh, President of Total Mortgage. “Our commitment to offering borrowers industry-leading technology remains a top priority, and we are proud to offer one of the industry’s most user-friendly websites that focuses on educating borrowers to enable them to make the best choice for their home mortgage.”

****The new website utilizes responsive web design, which provides an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones by adapting the layout to the viewing environment, resulting in a consistent product across all platforms. The website’s proprietary content management system (CMS) allows Total Mortgage’s development team to make quick updates and improvements to the site that improve the user experience and allows mortgage experts to publish quality, up-to-date rate and product information with maximum efficiency. The website also provides greater accessibility to users with vision impairments through a screen reading software system which quickly identifies important information on a webpage. Visitors to the new website will notice new resources, such as in-depth guides to purchasing or refinancing a home, as well as many other useful tools.

****“We look forward to receiving feedback from our customers on the new website, and plan to use these valuable responses to inform our plans to roll out additional resources and elements that meet the needs of our customers,” added Mr. Walsh. “At Total Mortgage we understand that as the mortgage industry and technology changes, we must change with it, and our refreshed website is part of our overall goal to deliver the right mortgage solution and best service to borrowers.”

Are You Doing Enough With Mobile?

*Are You Doing Enough With Mobile?*
**New Trends**

smartphone-trend***A lot of players in the mortgage industry are starting to dabble with mobile. However, there is more that’s possible with this new technology. For example, FotoNotes, a provider of enterprise mobility, has launched FotoNotes 2.0, a major upgrade of its mobile data capture and cloud collaboration solution. Here’s the scoop:

****This release includes robust offline capabilities that allow mobile workers to complete their tasks without an Internet connection. It also introduces the powerful FotoNotes Configurator, which makes it easy for companies to customize and mobilize their forms and processes in a matter of minutes

****FotoNotes is now offering a free trial of its mobile solution to qualified companies. To request a free trial, click here.

****“FotoNotes 2.0 responds to our customers’ needs to be able to collect data on iPhones or iPads in remote sites where there is no Internet connection,” said Kamal Shah, FotoNotes’ Founder and CEO. “FotoNotes 2.0 provides a complete solution for mortgage field services, construction, facilities management, real estate, and other businesses that perform mobile tasks, such as inspections and appraisals, damages reports, punch lists and facilities checks.”

****The FotoNotes 2.0 Mobile App now includes:

****Offline capabilities that let mobile workers perform tasks and capture data without Internet access.

****A powerful data synchronization engine that automatically transfers data when an Internet connection is detected

****A number of improvements to the photo-taking user experience

****The FotoNotes 2.0 Configurator allows businesses to:

****Use a web-based drag and drop editor to mobilize forms, processes and workflows;

****Customize the solution to match the needs of the business; and

****Continuously optimize and improve mobile business processes.

Magazine Feature: Thinking Of Moving To Mobile?

*Thinking of Moving to Mobile?*
**By Kamal Shah and Michael DeLapa**

mobile-fotonotes***Today’s mobile revolution promises to be as important for business as computers were in the 1980s, the Web in the 1990s, and software as a service (SaaS) in the 2000s. Today’s mobile phone is a computer, a still camera, a video recorder, a tape recorder, a barcode scanner, a fax machine, a web-device, and a collection of software applications fully integrated with your back-office systems. It’s been widely reported that the average smart phone today has far more computing power than Apollo 11 did when it journeyed to the moon.

****As a consequence, mobile smartphones and tablets offer profoundly exciting opportunities for transforming business operations for mortgage services. By leveraging the power, convenience, and usability of next generation mobile devices, mortgage companies and service providers can improve the quality of the data they gather, drive efficiency and productivity, and standardize processes to minimize risk and meet compliance targets. And this is just the beginning.

****Consider the trends:

    ****

  • The Internet is everywhere, over Wi-Fi or cell. More than 94% of the U.S. and 72% of Europe now has broadband Internet coverage.
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  • Smart phones and tablets are exploding in numbers. Half of all adult Americans now own either a tablet computer or a smartphone.
  • ****

  • Global Internet usage will more than double by 2015, and most of these users will be mobile.
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  • According to IDC, worldwide IT spending in 2013 will exceed $2.1 trillion. “The biggest driver of that growth will be mobility. Sales of smart mobile devices including smartphones and tablets will grow by 20%, generate 20% of all IT sales, and drive a whopping 57% of all IT market growth. Excluding smart mobile devices, IT industry growth will be just 2.9%.”

****The benefits of mobile are widely acknowledged, but how do you get started? What things should your company take into account before going mobile?

****Five Key Considerations

****There is an overwhelming amount of conflicting information about what mobile approach is best, and a sea of vendors competing for your attention. Here are five key considerations for successfully choosing the right mobile solution for your business.

    ****

  1. Is it flexible and configurable? Choose a configurable mobile solution that lets you adapt and optimize business processes over time.
  2. ****

  3. Does it take advantage of the latest smart phone features? Leverage the full power of mobile devices for rich data collection, including video, photos, text, audio, GPS, time stamps, signature capture, and other smart phone functionality to maximize the productivity of your field staff.
  4. ****

  5. Is all the data centralized in a single repository? Adopt a mobile-cloud platform that lets you centralize data storage and easily analyze, manage and report on that data.
  6. ****

  7. Does it integrate with your other systems? Ensure that your systems integrate via APIs so data flows seamlessly from mobile devices to your backend systems.
  8. ****

  9. Is it cost effective? Consider a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that lets you get started quickly and inexpensively, without on-premise installation, provisioning, maintenance, or setup.

****Now let’s dig into each of these a little deeper.

****1. Flexibility

****To succeed in the mortgage service business today, flexibility is critical to business agility—the ability to adapt quickly to the ever-changing landscape of regulations, customer requirements, competitors and operational needs. A flexible solution is one that can be configured and modified on an ongoing basis to meet your business needs—for both today and the future. It should allow you to capture the data that you need, customize reports to present the data, and specify your unique business rules.

****Whether you configure it on a mobile device or a web browser, it’s got to be simple – something that a non-technical person can do without requiring a developer or outside vendor.

****When you acquire a new customer with specific data collection or report generation needs, or if new compliance and regulatory requirements come up, you need to be able to adapt your solution quickly and easily. Being able to do so can give you a huge advantage over your competitors

****2. Leveraging the latest technology

****If your business is using multiple devices and applications to collect information in the field—paper and pencil, laptops and digital cameras, digital uploads and spreadsheets—you’ll soon feel like your company is stuck in the stone age.

****Today’s smart phones keep getting smarter and easier to use. New mobile touch screens with advanced user interfaces make data collection on a mobile phone exceedingly easy. And smart phones are becoming more and more powerful every year. The iPhone 5?s new A6 processor, introduced in September 2012, is twice as fast as the iPhone 4, introduced about two years earlier.

****To truly transform your business operations, your mobile solution should take full advantage of the latest technological advances, both hardware and software. Most solutions provide the ability to capture data through standard inputs like dropdown lists, check boxes and text fields—that’s old school. You’ll want a more feature-rich solution that lets your mobile workers:

****–       Capture data visually with photos and video

****–       Capture descriptions with voice notes in addition to long form text

****–       Automatically attach GPS locations and date/time stamps to all information

****–       Support real-time communication and sharing over Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G

****–       Display geographic data on maps and provide driving directions

****–       Support signature capture, bar code scanning and other next generation inputs

****Solutions that leverage these features today are also well positioned to take advantage of the other amazing advances we’re going to see in mobile technology over the next few years.

****3. Secure, centralized storage

****Collecting this vast array of information via mobile devices is great, but if it’s scattered through a variety of systems—e-mails, text messages, documents and shared drives—it becomes a nightmare to manage. Your new technology may have made things worse, not better. Whatever solution you choose should ensure that mobile data is captured and stored in a centralized, structured, and secure way.

****If mobile phones are the worker bees collecting the data in the field, the centralized database is the hive. A powerful mobile application needs to be paired with powerful, cloud-based services, centralized data storage and easy to use web-based applications to access that data from any computer or device. This combination allows for real-time uploads and data synchronization, centralization of data from multiple devices into a single database, and rich data management, editing, reporting, and analytics.

****Web-based interfaces, coupled with robust security, make it easy and safe to grant users access to data anywhere and anytime. You should look for flexible access control features that allow different levels of data access for different users—for example, full access privileges to administrators, read/write access to employees, read-only access to partners and customers, etc.

****Finally, any good solution should be robust and scalable to ensure reliable availability and performance. It should protect your data with state-of-the-art security features, and offer full backup and recovery in case of unforeseen problems.

****4. Integration

****You likely have software systems in place today for managing various aspects of your business. When considering a mobile solution think about how your legacy systems should tie-in with your mobile ones.

****In well-integrated systems, data flows in real-time between all the key users. When you integrate mobile solutions into your systems, the mobile data should flow seamlessly between mobile workers and back office workers in formats that are easy to understand and act on. With a good integration strategy, back office workers can continue to use the systems they’re familiar with, minimizing disruption within the organization.

****That’s why the mobile solution you choose should be able to talk with your other software applications. You may use Saleforce.com for CRM, Quicken for accounting, and SharePoint for file management, and your mobile solution is not going to replace those systems. Rather, it should integrate and enhance them—extending their power to the field and making it easier for your workers to both access the data they need for their jobs and share new data they collect with the appropriate applications. Ideally, the solution should also support “single sign-on,” meaning that users can use a single username and password to log into all of their systems.

****Modern platforms have well-documented, open APIs that make integration easier than ever. Make sure your mobile solution has an API based on today’s latest standards.

****5. Cost effectiveness

****The days of buying, installing and setting up hardware and software are ending. Realizing the total cost of ownership, no one wants to buy servers and maintain software. Cloud services are faster, cheaper, and safer than onsite storage and processing. You turn them on, and you go—in days, not weeks or months. Software as a Service (SaaS) has become the de facto choice for virtually any organization in the past 10 years.

****These models also let you test and scale. You can try the system out with a few users, see how you like it, and then expand as you realize the value of the solution or as your organization grows. Paying for what you need when your business needs it only makes sense. Again, it’s about agility.

****This all adds up to significant cost savings: a lower total cost of ownership, no capital expenditures, no internal IT staff.

****As you evaluate mobile solutions, make sure you take the benefits of a SaaS solution under consideration.

****To stay competitive you need to constantly improve the quality of your services, increase productivity, drive down costs and keep your customers happier. The right mobile solution can be critical in achieving those objectives. The time is now, and these five considerations can help you in your selection and evaluation process.

‘Dig’ These Apps

*‘Dig’ These Apps*
**By Lew Sichelman**

LewS***There are apps – as in mortgage applications – and then there are apps – as in application software designed to help perform specific tasks. And the real estate space abounds in new apps, the latter kind anyway.

****The latest newsmaker is Zillow’s Digs, the site’s new remodeling estimator. The tool allows users to click through thousands of images of remodeled spaces and then provides a ballpark estimate of what it would cost to reproduce the project in their own homes. The photos are taken from the 110-million homes in Zillow’s vast database, while the estimates are generated by contractors and designers.

****Outfits like the seven-year-old Zillow, which has three other popular online tools, including one that focuses on the mortgage market, get all the buzz because of their sheer size. But there are many others that, though just as useful, never get any “ink”

****Here’s a few that haven’t received much publicity but may prove to be handy. Many were previewed at the recent Real Estate Connect conference in New York:

****>> Hubzu – This online residential marketplace makes it easy for consumers, investors and brokers to buy and sell houses. From start to finish – that is, from searching and bidding to financing and closing – the app provides a totally online experience. Hubzu, from Altisource Portfolio Solutions in Atlanta, isn’t entirely new, having replaced the firm’s GoHoming platform more than a year ago.

****>> Clipix – The brainchild of New Jersey’s own Oded Berkowitz, a former Wall Street exec, this free online tool allows shoppers to bookmark any link they find on the web to create a single destination for the short list of properties to their liking. The list can be viewed, edited and shared at any time, plus you can ask for price drop alerts to monitor price reductions. Beyond saving web links, Clipix can upload any document, creating a complete paperless real estate organizer.

****>> HomeZada – This tool is a Daytimer for the home, tying together everything needed to manage the property. The flexible system runs from basic to complete, including an inventory of all your possessions, plans for home improvement projects, various home-centric spending categories, checklists for home maintenance and news and alerts. If you have more than one property, HomeZada can manage them all.

****>> REESIO – With this app, there should be no more piles of paperwork. REESIO takes the pain out of the real estate transaction by simplifying the experience every step of the way. You can upload and save all documents, e-sign those which require a signature, and remind participants of what needs to be done next. The tool also allows agents to schedule showings and transmit offers for the seller’s approval or rejection.

****>> Contactuality – This tool automatically and tactically manage the users’ contacts by promoting actions that help you remain relevant and top-of-mind. It will tell you who’s most important on your list of previous contacts and those you haven’t contacted in a specific amount of time. The system will prompt you when to reconnect and, using such clues as social updates and recent conversations, when it matters most to reach out.

****>> BlockAvenue – Moving? Search neighborhoods, block by block, to find out what it’s really like to live there. Data will include amenities, wining and dining, schools, transit and crime. Using this neighborhood platform, you also can communicate directly with folks who already live in the area for their assessments, good or bad.

****>> Sensopia – No longer the purview of just crime scene investigators and archeologists, this app measures and draws floor plans. Simply snap a shot of the corners of each room and MagicPlan measures walls and doors, identifies the shape of the room and draws a plan for each one. Then you can assembles rooms with your fingers and even add in some furniture for placement purposes.

****>> Revestor – Billed as the “new way” to hunt for real estate, this patent-pending, “next generation” search engine allows investors and others to seek properties based on their highest return rates. Enter the location, price range and how you want to search, by either capitalization rate or cash flow.

Slow Recovery, But Good Technology News Ahead

*Slow Recovery, But Good Technology News Ahead*
**By Tony Garritano**

TonyG***This study had me jumping for joy this morning. The William Mills Agency has released its 10th Annual “Bankers as Buyers” survey. This year’s findings indicate a slow but positive climb out of the financial crisis. Strength is returning to the financial services industry, and established technologies are gaining more ground, according to the research. Here’s why:

****Interestingly, this year’s survey found the largest percentage increases in technology spending in the coming years will not be from the larger institutions, but from the next tier of banks, those between $1 billion and $10 billion, according to IDC Financial Insights.

****Some key findings from this year’s “Bankers as Buyers” survey include:

****>> North American financial institution technology spending is expected to increase to $57 billion according to IDC Financial Insights.

****>> A total of 14,210 financial institutions make up today’s depository landscape, which is down 3.7 percent from 2011 according to the FDIC and CUNA.

****>> While much of the focus on payment technology is on mobile, financial institutions are looking at improvements in online payments, ACH, P2P payments and even prepaid payment cards to attract customers.

****>> Mobile Banking gained a stronger foothold in 2012 as financial institutions sought to meet increasing consumer demand for anytime, anywhere financial services.

****>> Consumer Mobile Banking is now used by 33 percent of mobile consumers according to Javelin Strategy & Research.

****>> According to the 2012 KPMG Community Banking Outlook Survey, 47 percent of respondents identified regulatory and legislative pressures as the most significant barrier to growth over the next year.

****>> Raymond James predicts North American bank IT spending will continue to grow at the three-year compound annual growth rate of 3.1 percent.

****>> An older technology that is getting increased adoption in financial institutions is branch/teller capture with a 98 percent expected adoption rate in 2013 and 2014, according to Celent.

****>> Cloud computing is a reality now, financial institutions no longer need to be convinced, rather executives are asking about different cloud strategies, according to Dan Holt, president and general manager, Managed Services, CSI.

****>> Being able to leverage data will be increasingly important to a financial institution’s profitability, both in terms of serving consumers and in serving small businesses according to Jim Swift, CEO of Cortera.

****>> According to Celent, 80 percent of financial institutions are considering mobile RDC, enabling a consumer to take a picture of a check and email it for deposit.