Mortgage Companies Are Hiring For Success

In order to remain competitive and excel in the current mortgage market, mortgage lenders and technology providers are hiring high-powered executives to take their businesses to the next level. Here are some recent examples of this trend:

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Alexis Anderson, (daughter of industry tech icon Tim Anderson) was recently appointed as Director of Marketing with MortgageFlex Systems based in Jacksonville, Florida.  She will be responsible for all corporate digital marketing and PR for the firm.  She graduated Cum Laude from the School of Communications at the University of Alabama with a major in Public Relations and specific focus and studies on Digital Marketing Communications and Design.

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Also, Mortgage Network Inc., one of the largest independent mortgage lenders in the eastern U.S., is pleased to announce that Chris Horley has joined the company as manager of its new Newport, Rhode Island branch office. Horley (NMLS# 7836) brings to Mortgage Network 23 years of mortgage banking experience in the Rhode Island area. Most recently, Horley served as a senior loan officer for Citizens Bank. He is a lifetime Rhode Island resident and has lived the past three years in Newport. He is an active affiliate member of the Newport County Board of Realtors and the Newport Chamber of Commerce.

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Roostify, a digital lending platform provider, announced that Eric Amblard has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer. Amblard comes to Roostify from EverString Technologies, where he also served as CFO. “Roostify has undergone considerable recent growth, including a funding round and continued push into enterprise accounts,” said Rajesh Bhat, CEO, Roostify. “Eric’s extensive financial and operational experience with growth-stage enterprise SaaS companies will be a great asset to the leadership team as Roostify continues to scale. Eric will also manage the company’s internal regulator, compliance and contract teams. Eric has already brought a great energy into the role and we are extremely excited to have him on board.” Amblard comes to Roostify with over a decade of broad operating experience scaling B2B SaaS companies.

Lastly, LERETA, LLC, a national provider of real estate tax and flood services for mortgage servicers, has selected Rick Holcomb as senior vice president of its tax outsourcing operations. In his new position, Holcomb oversees LERETA’s tax outsourcing, call center and customer care teams. Holcomb comes to LERETA with more than 25 years of experience focusing on all facets of servicing, insurance and tax with a core emphasis on strategic planning, customer relationships, process improvement and operational management. “LERETA has invested significantly in technology and integrated solutions focused on transforming the tax service industry,” said Jim Micali, COO at LERETA. “Adding Rick will enhance our leadership team, and his overall industry experience also brings significant value to our current and future clients.” Most recently, Holcomb was vice president of operations at CoreLogic. He began his tax service career at First American Real Estate Tax Service and had increasing responsibilities throughout the operational departments. He also worked for Midland Mortgage, a division of MidFirst Bank in Oklahoma.

LOS Offers A New Service

MortgageFlex is now offering Managed System Administration services to their customers, in addition to the hosting and professional services already provided. Simplifying mortgage lending is the company’s credo and offering managed system administration services will allow their customers to focus on their real business – lending. Here’s how it works:

TRID has generated numerous process and staffing changes for lenders of all sizes and severely strapped their existing resources. With this new service offering, administration changes are managed by MortgageFlex, at the client’s direction, saving customers money and time by allowing staff to refocus their daily efforts.

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“Managed Services is a cost-effective solution to a burdensome situation. Lenders are expected to meet all of the on-going regulatory demands and educate their staff and borrowers while still maintaining their origination process,” stated Craig Bechtle, chief operating officer, MortgageFlex Systems. “Managed Services gives our customers an opportunity to take a break while they re-group or permanently pass off the system administration responsibilities.”

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The MortgageFlex professional services group, an experienced team of industry experts, provides the administrative services. Typical functionality that is included in the offering is building business workflows, maintaining a business rules library, manage the system and user security modules, and set up all system parameters.

“We are flexible in meeting our customer’s needs and will accommodate any mix of services they require. We were founded to simplify mortgage lending and thirty-five years later, we still holding true to that course,” concluded Bechtle.

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Outsider Apps

Unless you‘ve been living under a rock, you’ve already heard of apps. Apps are ways to get deals, music, travel, exercise, cooking, and the list goes on. In short, ya, there’s an app for that! There’s even an app named the “Outsider app” – it’s a Windows phone app. But, what the heck is an outsider app?

In the technology/security world, outsider apps are software applications, whether mobile, tablet, or PC based, that can be used for a standalone purpose or integrated into other primary applications within your internal environment but originate from a source outside of your environment. Sometimes these apps can be seen as add-ons and can be confused with simple third-party interfaces, but outsider apps are little too avant-garde to fit that convention.

A little unconventional thinking could be just the thing your organization needs for a boost of vitality. In the art world, there is an entire genre of “outsider” art (and an app for it). According to the Philadelphia Museum of Art , outsider art “is made by people who have not gone to art school, who usually do not operate professionally or earn their livings as artists…Not categorized by styles, movements, or trends, it is art made by individuals who are driven to create by their own particular inner compulsions, which may be visionary, derived from memories, evangelical, or popular-culture inspired…The best outsiders produce work that is out of the ordinary, edgy, imaginative…”

That description fits today’s app developers perfectly. Software development used to be an exclusive, elusive club of geekdom for a specific and very intricate purpose. That has changed and today we even have children creating apps! In 2011, the World Record Academy recognized Thomas Suarez from Los Angeles, age 12, as the world’s Youngest App Developer. Young Tom has already established his own company, CarrotCorp, and made two iOS apps.

Imaginative inventors abound and businesses have many opportunities for internal improvements. To succeed in today’s business world, you need every edge you can get. There are numerous secure apps that can be used with your existing infrastructure that will lower operating costs, boost productivity or just let you communicate with your customers easier. Whether you purchase a hosted application from a service provider to help you access your accounting system on the go, or integrate a new project management application into your business suite, finding an out of the box solution to integrate into your infrastructure rather than going to the time and expense of building something from scratch will almost always lead to faster implementation and decreased costs.

Twitter is a great example. To most people, Twitter immediately conjures images of posts noting what people are having for dinner, that they just left the metro, or that Best Buy has a sale…but Twitter is used every day as a major communications tool for companies to notify customers of status alerts, emergency situations and general news items. For instance, the MortgageFlex Support Services team uses “Mort Support” to communicate with customers via Twitter. In fact, we have integrated Twitter into our help desk app so that customers can even request support through the Twitter interface.

One of the most popular enterprise app suites available during the past few years is Google Apps. Whether using the consumer friendly apps to create documents, send e-mail, or video chat, the collaboration offered has been adopted by individuals through Fortune 500 companies, as a matter of fact, these outsider apps are now used by over 5 million businesses worldwide, including MortgageFlex. During the past year we have moved all of our internal documentation (training materials, guides, technical manuals) to Google drives, allowing our team easier remote access and giving them better collaborative abilities. This article was written and reviewed using a Google app.

So why have outsider apps like the Google Apps suite become so popular? It all comes back to the consumerization of technology into small but purposeful apps. Strategy Analytics, a global research and consulting firm, recently published that smartphone users have now topped over 1 billion, with another billion to be added to this by 2015. Apps have become part of our daily lives so integrating easy-to-use apps that keep us connected to our workplace just makes sense. Not only can you collaborate in real-time via a web interface, you can also store your email and files securely in the “cloud” without the worry of ever losing your data. Companies can now easily fix a cost to a new employee for this whole collaboration suite and not have to worry about increasing infrastructure costs associated with these apps since they are not hosted internally.

Ultimately, integrating outsider apps into your organization will become a necessity. As a financial institution or mortgage lender, it is imperative that these outsider apps be fully vetted by your technical and security teams before deploying for internal use or your external customer use. In the end, though, having an app – mobile, tablet, or desktop – will increase your business efficiencies and decrease costs.  So next time you need a solution that you don’t have with your current software, take a look – I bet there’s an outsider app for that!


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Choosing The Right LOS

*Choosing The Right LOS*
**A Hard Decision**

thinking***Lenders continue to switch their loan origination systems. In this case, FORUM Credit Union has selected the MortgageFlex LoanQuest loan origination system for their mortgage and consumer lending needs. FORUM is headquartered in Fishers, Indiana and is the sixth largest Credit Union in Indiana. Here’s why they chose LoanQuest:

****FORUM was organized by the employees of Indiana Bell Telephone Company in 1941 and has more than 107,000 members and 12 branches located throughout Indiana. They have experienced many changes over the past 60+ years and have led the credit union industry in dedication to their members and innovative practices.

****In May 2012, they began a search for a new loan origination system culminating in the recent selection of LoanQuest. According to Brian Crum, vice president of lending, FORUM Credit Union, “MortgageFlex provides a flexible software solution that offers efficient and effective loan origination tools. Their configurable solution will improve our member’s experience and give us the flexibility to offer a wider range of products and adapt to the ever changing market.”

****FORUM also originates mortgages for other credit unions through its FIMI CUSO and has an active wholesale line of business, making a multi-channel origination system a necessity. The LoanQuest lending system accommodates retail and wholesale mortgages in addition to consumer loans and utilizes a single database that provides lenders with a comprehensive view of their customer’s financial situation. LoanQuest is delivered with integrated workflow, a robust product and pricing tool and an imaging center that allows users to clear conditions while viewing. All are driven by lender defined business rules that are easily configured.

****Equally important to FORUM was partnering with a vendor that has a proven track record. MortgageFlex has focused on the mortgage lending since 1980 and has earned industry recognition numerous times, with over 200 implementations to its credit. MortgageFlex’s experience was validated during FORUM’s due diligence process, “They have a great reputation as an experienced software provider in the industry”, Crum stated.

****MortgageFlex’s industry tenure gives them a distinct advantage over other vendors and they pass that experience onto their customers. “We’ve seen a lot of mergers, acquisitions, and closures among our competitors and we’ve learned from them. We’ve learned that you have to continue to improve your technology and listen to your customers. You have to be willing to work with them and incorporate their needs and best practices into a system that works for them,” said Craig Bechtle, chief operating officer, MortgageFlex. “To be selected by a progressive lender like FORUM after a yearlong due diligence is very gratifying and we are looking forward to a long-term partnership.”

A Big Day For Three Executives

*A Big Day For Three Executives*
**By Tony Garritano**

TonyG***I usually don’t talk about new hires in my column, but today I have to make an exception. Global DMS, STRATMOR Group and MortgageFlex have all added new high-powered executives to their teams. I know these people and these companies well and I am excited to report on their new positions. First, Global DMS, a provider of Web-based valuation management software, has recruited Jody Collup as vice president of marketing. What a coup! Here’s the scoop on all three new hires:

****Jody comes to Global DMS from Calyx Software where she successfully implemented an aggressive marketing strategy that established a high-impact brand that positioned the company as the industry’s preferred mortgage technology solution for loan origination software. She is a dynamic, senior-level marketing professional with almost 20 years of experience working in all facets of marketing communications.

****“We are fortunate to have added a marketing executive of Jody’s caliber who understands the mortgage industry through-and-through and has a proven track record of successful execution,” said Vladimir Bien-Aime, chief executive officer of Global DMS. “Our organization is in a growth mode; this newly created position is a key aspect of our business strategy to expand our footprint in the appraisal management technology space.  Jody has the background, experience and drive to take our brand to new heights.”

****“I am excited to join the team at Global DMS and I look forward to helping further drive its ongoing success in the valuation management space,” remarked Collup. “The value proposition that Global DMS delivers to its clients is why they boast a 100 percent client retention rate. They are an outstanding, innovative, well-respected organization that continually develops solutions to aid lending institutions in streamlining what has now become a business-critical appraisal process. Joining Global DMS was an easy, clear-cut decision for me.”

****Second, long-time friend Lisa Springer, an executive with more than 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry, has been hired by the STRATMOR Group in the new role of practice manager. As Practice Manager, Springer is charged with ensuring that the integrity and “boutique” nature of the STRATMOR Group remains intact while, at the same time, creating improved service offerings, intellectual expertise in the form of salable white papers, case studies, survey results and peer group analyses and instilling best practices across all lines of STRATMOR’s business.

****“We are confident that her efforts will allow us to maintain the integrity and boutique nature of our firm while creating a strong foundation for our future growth,” said Matt Lind, Managing Director for STRATMOR Group. “Lisa was instrumental in building several professional services and technology companies that still serve the mortgage space, enabling them to become leaders in their fields of expertise. We are an elite team and we think Lisa will fit in here very well.”

****In her new role, Springer will provide leadership as the STRATMOR Group strives to create better market awareness; enhance customer service protocols; develop client surveys and strategic services to better serve the mortgage community; streamline proposals and project delivery processes; and improve their overall interactive communications both internally and externally.

****Previously, Springer served as EVP of Sales at Motivity Solutions, where her responsibilities included development and execution of “go to market” sales strategies for various product lines. She was instrumental in building this company through sales, leadership, and strategy.  She helped take Motivity Solutions from two customers as a startup in 2009 to the industry leader in business intelligence in the mortgage space in 2012.

****Prior to joining Motivity Solutions, Springer was EVP of Sales for an industry leading financial and technology firm. Her primary responsibilities with this firm were to drive sales strategy as well as manage and direct the resources of several teams to effectively consummate enterprise transactions. She is proficient in working with small and large organizations alike, having been the driver of successful sales initiatives to a variety of national organizations and prominent Wall Street institutions.

****“I have high aspirations and confidence that our team will continue to provide the industry with valuable, relevant peer data, executive workshops to ensure that decision makers understand how to optimize this information, actionable execution strategies, and recommendations to maximize mortgage company shareholder value,” Springer said.

****Lastly, LOS pioneer MortgageFlex informed me today that Bill Persichetti has joined their team as Vice President, Business Development. Persichetti is responsible for the identification of West Coast sales expansion opportunities and aligning MortgageFlex technology with the business needs of servicers, loan originators and correspondent lenders.

****Persichetti has over 20 years of technology sales experience with Fortune 1000 and the financial services sector. Prior to joining MortgageFlex, Bill was Vice President, Sales, at ServiceLink Commerce Velocity and Director of National Accounts at Interthinx, a national provider of risk mitigation solutions.

****Good luck to all these executives. I know that they will all be huge assets to their new companies.

Lenders Line Up For New LOS

*Lenders Line Up For New LOS*
**Live Clients Added**

***PROGRESS in Lending Association named MortgageFlex’s newly rewritten LOS a top innovation. Any time you launch a new version of your LOS it can be tricky. Will it be what lenders want? Will they switch from the older version? In this case, Mortgageflex went public with the news that not only have clients switched, but seven of their new clients are LIVE on the .NET version of LoanQuest with several more expected to be in full production mode soon.

****MortgageFlex is seeing an increased focus and interest on the advantages the right technology and services mix can provide to lenders. New customers range from mortgage bankers to community banks, Credit Union Service Organizations (CUSO), national banks, credit unions, as well as state housing finance agencies.

****“Our customers are telling us that with the market coming back, they don’t have the time or resources to squander with inefficient processes,” said John McCrea, senior vice president, business development at MortgageFlex. “They are aggressively seeking technology that can eliminate multiple platforms, make the lending process easier for consumers, and improve their internal business processes.”

****MortgageFlex has taken a proactive approach and redesigned their service offerings and hosting options to compliment the rewrite of their mortgage solution – LoanQuest. The LoanQuest loan origination system supports retail, consumer, wholesale, correspondent, and conduit lending channels.

****“Being an entrepreneurship, gives us the flexibility to work with our clients on a personal level. They are more than just a number to us and we value each relationship,” stated Craig Bechtle, executive vice president, MortgageFlex. “Other providers may not have the same singular focus on the origination space and will often make unilateral decisions based on what’s best and easier for them and not for the customer. We engage and ask first.”

****Running a more personalized shop also allows MortgageFlex to review product enhancements and quickly implement best practices based on client feedback. This philosophy has proved to be very effective with all of the regulatory changes during the past few years and allowed system updates to be available ahead of the effective dates and to fit the way lenders really do business.

****Kennebunk Savings Bank, Kennebunk, ME, who recently went into live production mode, agrees that MortgageFlex has done things the way right with their .NET product release. According to  Patricia Pratt, loan systems administrator, “The biggest advantages that we have found when using LoanQuest are the process efficiencies we’ve gained using the workflow functionalities for our back office, and the regulatory parameters that are set up to alert users that there is a potential violation.”

****LoanQuest has continuous compliance features that validate the data at the time of entry and since LoanQuest is built on a relational database, there is only one source of the data, improving quality.

MortgageFlex has endeavored to give lenders several options to accomplish their goals, including hosting services, which over 60% of the new clients have selected.

****The MortgageFlex hosted environment  is unique when compared to other “cloud” offerings available due to dedicated hosting environments. Every client has an exclusive instance of the application and a dedicated database.

The Result Of Technology Consolidation

*The Result Of Technology Contraction*
**What Do All These M And As Mean?**

***Technology acquisitions have been hot and heavy this year. We’ve seen midtier technology companies become giants. I guess the strong truly are surviving. But what does all of this mean for our industry? Is it a positive or a negative? Will we see more or less innovation? Here’s what two industry insiders had to say on this topic:

****“It’s all about agility,” said Craig Bechtle, EVP/COO at origination vendor MortgageFlex Systems. “One of the overriding characteristics of the independent technology provider is their ability to react quickly to market changes. A flat organization is able to change direction, shift resources, and focus energy on a problem without having to seek approvals from multiple organizational layers.”

****MortgageFlex has been active in the mortgage industry for 30 years. This year PROGRESS in Lending named their latest technology release a top industry innovation. Why? Because they literally changed the game and advanced their system to meet the needs of this ever-changing market.

****“Whether the technology provider is controlled by a larger company or an investment firm, the parent organization wishes to understand where its resources are being used and for what purpose,” noted Bechtle. “Even if the technology provider is able to operate somewhat independently, there is always the burden of having to justify decisions to the parent. The independent technology provider with its flatter organization structure is free of these constrictions, resulting in more agile decision making with faster responses to market needs.”

****Certainly independent firms are more agile and thus better prepared to deal with industry change. Nonetheless, the rubber hits the road with the lender. If the lender isn’t buying a given technology, it doesn’t matter how innovative that technology is. So, what do lenders think of the recent technology contraction?

****Brian Koss, EVP of National Production at national lender Mortgage Network, Inc., responded, “It seems as though because of the sins of the past, the business of mortgage is less attractive. The major lending institutions don’t want to be seen as sticking their neck out because their reputation may suffer. For existing players, they’re pulling back to mitigate risk. Quality is so much better now, but the public doesn’t see that, which is keeping investors away. Investors don’t want to be seen as entering or doubling down in the mortgage business.

****“The biggest risk to innovation in my view comes from the agencies,” believes Koss. “Fannie and Freddie aren’t spending a dime. Further, you don’t see Wall Street providing innovation. The market was always been about finding a better way to do things, but now everyone is stagnant. We get approached by the street about new alt-a solutions, but it never goes anywhere. Until we work out the secondary market, the only innovation will be around compliance.

****“In terms of technology, our CTO often tells me that he is disappointed by the technology out there, so we build a lot of our own technology and bolt on to it,” continued Koss. “Also, when we see good technology we fear that they are not well funded. We see great technology in some small companies that we choose not to invest in. So, a lot of times we build our own. Right now we are rolling out an AllRegs platform. We want to thoroughly train all of our people. We offer a lot of different products and services, but we’re not just going to throw people at reverse lending, for example. So, technology helps, but you have to choose wisely.”

Magazine Cover Story

*Looking Toward The Future*

**Executive Roundtable**

***Over 120 mortgage executives came together to attend PROGRESS in Lending Association’s Innovations Event. We named the top seven innovations of 2011. After that event, we wondered what would happen if we brought together executives from each winning company to talk about mortgage technology innovation. Where do they see the state of innovation? And what innovation is it going to take to get our industry going again?

****To get these and other questions answered, we got the winning group together. In the end, (Back Row Left to Right) Lester Dominick, President of MortgageFlex Systems; Brent Stokes, Senior Vice President of Sperlonga Data & Analytics; Jeff Wirsing, President and Co-Founder of GreenBar America LLC; (Front Row Left to Right) Ravi Ramanathan, President and CEO of Decision Ready; Joe Badalamenti, President and CEO of Five Brothers; Bruce Backer, President of LoanSifter; and Jennifer Miller, President of a la mode’s Mortgage Solutions Division, talked about a lot of pressing industry concerns.

****Q: Some say innovation has to be sweeping change. Others say innovation can be incremental change. How would you define true innovation?

****JEFF WIRSING: More often than not innovation involves incremental change in how something was done previously … but the end result is to effect a significant change, or ripple effect, that reaches a critical mass. It’s almost like a chess match. As in chess … a piece gets moved from one square to another. When that happens it opens up a multitude of other opportunities for the other pieces. That being said, it’s only true innovation if the result is an improvement over what you had before. And in business, that means a “monetizable” improvement.

****JENNIFER MILLER: A true innovation creates a solution to a problem that has never been done. It’s a new and creative way to describe, solve, or redefine a problem that impacts the daily lives of a particular market. And taking it a step further to provide context – it’s applying technology to solve a problem in ways that no one has done before.

****LESTER DOMINICK: True innovation is the creation of a product or service that does a better job of solving a real problem than what currently exists. Sometimes a small incremental change can have a great impact and carry a small cost. Sometimes it takes a completely new solution to have great impact. The determination if a product or service is a successful innovation is ultimately determined by the market, which considers costs and benefits. True innovation has to be proven and sustainable. Change for its own sake and without lasting impact is a huge waste of valuable resources.

****JOE BADALAMENTI: Innovation is at the heart of all progress and success. It is the introduction of new methods, ideas or products. Innovation can take the form of sweeping change, while at other times it may take the form of incremental change. Five Brothers defines true innovation as the process of applying knowledge, expertise, and technology to meet the challenges and opportunities in the market. This approach allows us to deliver major productivity gains, while meeting our timeframes and goals, helping our clients achieve success in a dynamic, competitive and highly regulated marketplace.

****BRUCE BACKER: It is possible to have incremental innovation without a sweeping change by applying proven techniques to a new market or product or by enhancing products in ways the market hasn’t seen. By studying technology innovators such as Google, we’ve been able to create performance efficiencies and reliability that this market has not experienced with product eligibility and pricing engines, and I would consider that incremental innovation. But your purest innovation is often sweeping, or at least it has a sweeping impact on the market. By getting a clean start, you are not held back by tunnel vision or the design limitations of the current system. It’s often beneficial to the industry when a company can repeatedly step back and examine the tradeoffs of a complete re-design of any particular solution.

****RAVI RAMANATHAN: I believe true innovation always stems from creative approaches to difficult challenges. Innovation is taking creativity a step further by putting ideas into action. That means coming up with a new solution, product or service that will have an impact. It usually involves taking risks, and thinking outside the box, which of course is at the very heart of innovation.

All innovation is important, whether it be a large and far-reaching change, or come in the form of smaller, incremental changes to build upon an original idea, which seems to be more the norm. But all innovation requires taking action. It’s not enough to simply come up with the creative idea; you must find a way to apply it so that it’s useful.

****BRENT STOKES: I also don’t believe that innovation has to involve sweeping change. Innovations often incrementally improve an important aspect of daily life in surprising ways. We’ve had cell phones for more than a generation now, but innovative technologies have made them far more useful over the last 10 years or so. Those changes have been incremental in nature. True innovation usually means turning a good idea on its ear and creating something that works better, easier, faster, cheaper or a combination of all of these. Sometimes innovations first appear to be solutions in search of problems, but true innovations are generally things that make people ask, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

****Q: How would you define the state of mortgage industry innovation? Is it thriving or in a state of decay?

****LESTER DOMINICK: A little bit of both and a whole lot of being stuck in neutral. There is a tremendous amount of focus required on current and future regulatory compliance. Even the most aggressive innovators must devote their most valuable resources to compliance as their highest priority. There are certainly many opportunities to create innovative products and services taking advantage of new technologies and information distribution channels. New consumer technology innovations are happening every day and lenders have realized that today’s consumer expects the same advanced conveniences in their lending experience. I’m only seeing a few companies devoting resources to pursue this opportunity while most are just trying to get by with just focusing only on compliance. There are clearly some products in the marketplace that are entering their sunset phase.

****JEFF WIRSING: From my perspective, I see very little true innovation in the mortgage industry. It’s not thriving and it’s not in decay. It’s just stuck. I compare the “system” that we call the mortgage industry to a car that worked for many years. But times have changed and the old reliable car just doesn’t serve our needs any more. In an effort to fix a variety of problems the participants in the mortgage industry have been dismantling the car, re-building it with the exact same parts, and (surprise, surprise) getting the exact same result.

****BRENT STOKES: Mortgage industry innovation may not be thriving the way it was in previous real estate cycles, but it’s certainly not in decay. On the origination side, we are not seeing as many new loan programs or technologies that make mortgage credit as widely available as before. We are, however, seeing new ideas to make loans more safely. On the servicing side of the mortgage business, we are seeing innovation, especially in the foreclosure segment. Why? Because mortgage servicers are still trying to cope with the aftermath of the largest financial crisis in U.S. history. There is no choice but to find fresh solutions.

****JOE BADALAMENTI: The past few years have been extremely challenging to the mortgage industry. The industry has been forced to respond to the massive influx of new rules and regulations, challenging economic conditions and uncertainty in the market. These changes have spurred a wave of new innovations to meet these challenges. The silver lining is that the innovations created over the last year specifically address new market conditions, which are helping servicers maintain control in this new environment. Some innovations have been sweeping changes, while others have delivered incremental change, but one thing is certain, innovation in the mortgage industry is not in a state of decay.

****RAVI RAMANATHAN: Overall, I would say the state of innovation in the mortgage industry remains vibrant, but in different areas from those we saw prior to the crisis we are presently dealing with. As a sector, we continue to innovate in the segments most in need of help. Because the market demands it, Decision Ready is focused on default servicing technology, but we are already looking at using data obtained on the servicing side for different applications in the origination space.

****BRUCE BACKER: I believe mortgage technology innovation is thriving. Today’s regulatory and consolidative environment is forcing innovation to be centered first and foremost around compliance needs and tight integrations between best-of-breed solutions. This type of “forced” innovation may not be as press-worthy as the big splash of production innovation, but it doesn’t suggest any sort of ongoing concern.

As consolidation slows and the regulatory environment stabilizes, those companies that may appear to be lagging in innovation should be able to re-engage with more exciting initiatives. For example, we’ve seen renewed innovation in jumbo products and warehouse banks looking to mitigate risk while increasing liquidity. For LoanSifter, we’ve had more time and resources this past year to innovate, the results of which will become clear over the next six months.

****JENNIFER MILLER: There’s no doubt that mortgage industry innovation is currently thriving. Regulations have necessitated considerable innovation with regard to appraisal independence and delivery, just to name one industry example. The market has also been an impetus for innovation since mini booms require technological investment to seize market opportunities. In addition, industry professionals are actively looking at how technology can be applied to streamline their operations in the most cost effective manner possible.

****Q: Lastly, if there was one innovation that the mortgage industry needs to get closer to recovery, what would it be?

****BRUCE BACKER: We’ve seen the aftermath of some innovations that have driven the industry’s boom periods, so I’d be skeptical of any magic bullet that will substantially enhance the market in the short term. For the industry to strengthen its reputation, it needs to continue supporting the education and empowerment of borrowers, which is what the LoanSifter Available Mortgage Rate index was designed for. Borrowers are becoming increasingly savvy, and the ability for online shoppers to quickly locate a fair deal and apply for a loan represents an ongoing opportunity for customers of our eOriginations platform, our auto-quoting partnerships, and for the market as a whole.

****RAVI RAMANATHAN: Finding a quicker and more efficient way to resolve delinquencies and foreclosures would help get the industry back on track. As everyone knows, there are markets in the country with a shortage of housing inventory, yet an abundance of foreclosed properties waiting to come onto the market in the form of shadow inventory. Often servicers are stymied by the fear of lawsuits and potential compliance issues. Addressing those concerns and using technology to ensure that foreclosure processes are legal and compliant will ease servicers’ minds. Then the number of properties currently being tied up and hanging over the market can be moved. Already, it’s starting to happen, which is good news.

****JOE BADALAMENTI: Implement innovative, regulatory-compliant mortgage technology solutions that enable residential mortgage servicers to effectively respond to constantly changing market conditions. This type of innovation will provide servicers with the ability to maximize asset preservation, reduce costs, and optimize borrower relationships.

****JEFF WIRSING: It’s all about the quality of the mortgage backed asset and reestablishing the secondary market. Over the last 3+ years we’ve seen changes in the mortgage industry that effected licensing, valuation, compensation, legislation, fraud, analytics and underwriting guidelines. Despite all of those efforts the result (for all intents and purposes) is a complete lack of investors coming back to the secondary market. And the one thing that has been conspicuously absent in all of these “fixes” is the consumer. The innovation the industry needs to get closer to is focusing on the borrower at the point-of-sale. Let’s face it … if the borrower never defaulted there would be no need for any of the aforementioned changes. That may be a very simplistic comment … but that doesn’t make it any less true.

****LESTER DOMINICK: A loan product that would reduce the financial risks for a family being homeowners would be great. The product would offer financial stability and flexibility in all economic conditions for the majority of homeowners. It would balance the benefits of an appreciating market against the downside of a declining market. There are institutions that could take this risk, as their investment-planning horizon is much longer than the average homeowner. New technology could be developed to support this product offering. This would be a way to bring buyers back to the market again and stabilize neighborhoods over a long term.

****JENNIFER MILLER: The biggest area where innovation can be applied is in the arena of analytics – especially when it comes to evaluating appraisals in such a way that the good can be picked from the bad. Appraisers are coming under fire because they are being viewed as the party that is “killing deals.” But in some cases, the deal should to be killed. We need analytics – proof – that will refute these negative perceptions of appraisers and provide the potential buyer, agent, and LO with solid reasons why the loan should or shouldn’t have been approved.

****BRENT STOKES: We also need more efficient ways to bring qualified buyers and motivated sellers of properties together. With interest rates at an all-time low, the real estate market should be more robust. The overhang of foreclosure inventory needs to be absorbed so that the housing market can help revitalize the national economy. This means removing the friction that separates the housing supply, including REO and the distressed borrower inventory, from willing and capable buyers. Short term answers like investors who purchase homes for the rental market are good fixes, and they will help house families that were displaced by the crash. But we need an innovation that will bring home ownership efficiently to those who are able to handle the obligation now. There is a pent up demand out there that is being underserved by a lack of loan programs with realistic parameters.

Video Insights: Loan Quality Vs. Loan Quantity

*Loan Quality Vs. Loan Quantity*
**Industry Insiders Speak Out**

***What’s the difference between loan quality and loan quantity? Find out here. Our Straight Talkers Roger Gudobba and Kelly Purcell discuss the new subprime. Also, MortgageFlex details how integrations can enforce loan quality. Further, Michael Hammond schools you on how to craft a better presentation. Lastly, Tony Garritano breaks down the latest trends.