Appraisal Logistics Updates AMC ROI Calculator

Appraisal Logistics, a provider of high quality, compliant appraisal management solutions for the residential mortgage industry, announced today that the company has updated its Internal Appraisal Management Cost Calculator to better reflect the expenses lenders can expect to pay to handle the collateral valuation function in house. The tool is designed to help lenders better anticipate the expenses they will incur for handling this work and to calculate the Return on Investment of outsourcing this work to an AMC.

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“It’s very difficult to calculate the true ROI achievable for outsourcing any function if you don’t have a very good idea of what it will cost you to perform the same function in house,” said Frank Danna, CEO of Appraisal Logistics. “We developed this tool to give lenders a view into the internal expenses they will incur should they choose to handle the collateral valuation function internally. Without taking all of these expenses into account, lenders may feel that outsourcing to a particular AMC is generating a return when it is not. At the same time, a more complete view of internal expenses will make comparing potential AMC partners easier.”

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Appraisal Logistics has earned the important ISO 9001:2015 Certification, awarded by LRQA, a Lloyd’s Register Company. Despite this clear differentiator, Danna still feels that lenders must also evaluate potential AMC partners in terms of the ROI they will receive from partnering with them.

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“Lenders should only be working with firms that care enough about their businesses and their customers to invest in third-party certifications to back up their own claims,” Danna said. “That should only be the price of entry for a relationship with the lender. Any outsourcing partner must be capable of demonstrating a clear ROI. Our calculator is free and will allow a lender to evaluate the ROI of any prospective AMC partner.”

VirPack Strategy Offers Lenders More Immediate ROI

The name of the game is return on investment. The vendor that can offer lenders the fastest and most sustainable ROI will become a market leader. To this end, VirPack, a provider of document management, imaging and workflow solutions, has launched “Preconfigured” Document Management and Delivery System (DMDS), which enables rapid deployment delivering immediate operational efficiency gains and ROI throughout the loan lifecycle.

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VirPack’s preconfigured methodology ensures that each lender’s deployment is swifter and more streamlined, unlike traditional document management rollouts. By leveraging VirPack’s preconfigured document management software, lenders can quickly automate business processes throughout every step of the mortgage lending process while supporting retail, wholesale and correspondent lending operations.

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With traditional or LOS-provided document management implementations, the burden of creating and managing electronic loan delivery profiles has been placed squarely on the lender. By utilizing the preconfigured implementation methodology, this major pain point is eliminated. Lenders can immediately deploy one-click electronic loan delivery that improves secondary market execution and significantly minimizes suspense issues and lock expiration penalties.

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“Our previous document management provider notified us that they were sunsetting their product. Due to our growth and other high priority projects, our staff had limited time and resources to implement a new document management solution in time for our busy spring home buying season,” said Jill Quinn, executive vice president of operations at Philadelphia Mortgage Advisors. “We selected VirPack for their experience, advanced technology and preconfigured methodologies based on best practices that enabled us to gain immediate ROI and provided operational efficiency with the goal of closing more loans with existing staff.”

The combination of VirPack’s preconfigured methodology and advanced technology significantly reduces the cycle time from origination to closing. As a result, lenders will gain increases in production and operational efficiencies, resulting in better service levels. These better service levels improve customer satisfaction, attract and retain talented operations teams and grow realtor and builder relationships.

“Historically, with traditional or LOS-provided document management implementations, the process has been extremely taxing on lenders due to its time consuming and resource draining nature” said Cy Brinn, president of VirPack. “By utilizing VirPack’s preconfigured implementation methodology and advanced Document Management and Delivery System (DMDS), lenders can immediately reduce their dependency on paper, generate greater operational efficiency, increase productivity, facilitate collaboration and improve customer and staff satisfaction.”

Lenders that implement VirPack’s preconfigured document management methodology can readily turn their focus to leveraging additional DMDS capabilities that further optimize their operations including: automated document recognition and indexing using optical character recognition (OCR), rule-based workflow and tasking, customizable web portals for third party originators and borrowers and deeper integrations with other technology partners.

Producing Reliable Results


I started running again. Again, because I used to run every day and competed in numerous races. Everything from 5Ks, which is a 3.1 mile run, to marathons which are 26 miles, 385 yards. While I certainly don’t run as fast as I used to, or as far, one thing hasn’t changed, the need to track my times in order to find out how to make myself better. If you are a runner or have ever known one, you know that this is one thing we have in common. We know every data point about our running process. We can tell you how many miles we run a day, a week, a month or a year. We can tell you our average minutes per mile, our best times and even how many seconds we took off our time for every race we run. All of this data is important because it helps us get better, as well as, better prepare for the next race. We use our last achievement as the benchmark for the next and we are obsessed with making sure we have a reliable methodology for meeting those times. More than anything we want to know what to expect when we sign up for the next race or focus on beating our own benchmark.

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While those of you who are not runners may think those of us that are as overly focused on this need to develop a high level of reliability in our results. However, we are not alone. More and more companies, especially those that provide direct consumer services have the same passion. Companies that are in the business of providing call center support are a perfect example. These companies, such as the country’s most outstanding global “customer experience management” provider, track numerous data points on an on-going basis. Each of these data points has an acceptable level of performance which must be met on a quarterly basis. These results then become a critical part of their ability to attract new clients. The reliability of the company to continuously provide service at the expected level is what allows them to charge a higher price for their services. In other words, reliability generates profitability.

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Direct customer contact services are not the only entities that profit from the utilization of a “reliable process” approach. This concept is observable in manufacturing as well. In fact, most of the people reading this article have more than likely benefitted from it. Think about the products you buy. Clothes, cars, food and just about every other purchase you make. Most people will buy multiple times from the same manufacturer if they are pleased with the product they originally bought. For example, my daughter bought a Volvo over 10 years ago. The car has over 150,000 miles on it and is still the one she takes on long distance drives because she knows it will get her to wherever she is going and back. If fact, she is planning to give it to her son when he starts to drive so that she has excuse to buy another one. This is where reliability really pays off. Why? Although a new Volvo has not yet proven it can perform the same, the confidence built up from the steady performance of her old one is the determining factor in her decision to get another, regardless of the cost.

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So what brings about this level of reliability? Is it a special plan or a “secret” approach that some companies have developed? The answer of course is no. It is simply the ability of any company to make sure their operations, the processes which produce their product and/or service are performed consistently. How do they do that you may ask. They do it in the same way a runner manages the consistency of his or her performance. By measuring, benchmarking and comparing.

Whether you are originating loans, purchasing them, warehousing them or servicing them, every function within every organization has a process for doing what they do. Much of this process may be technology driven or may depend entirely on human involvement. It doesn’t really matter.  Where there is an operational process there is an expectation of what will occur as a result of that process. Once that output is identified and the results tracked, you can begin to develop operational reliability.

The term “operational reliability” has become well-known to most industries as the foundation of producing quality products. It means that a company whose products repeatedly perform as expected is much more likely to provide a product that meets your expectations the next time you buy it. In other words, it you contract with the call center company mentioned above, you can expect that your customers will receive the level of service that has been promised and is documented through their data results.

All well and good you say, but I have at least two, if not three customers. There is the consumer who expects strong and consistent support from my production staff as well as providing the information necessary to choose the best loan. There is also the investor who expects that the loans they buy will repay based on the credit risk identified in the credit policies. Both the investor and consumer expect that servicing operations will effectively handle payment processing, the associated activities and, if necessary, manage the foreclosure and REO process. Finally, there is the warehouse lender who expects that the loans will be purchased in a timely manner and will not stagnate on the line or have to be repurchased.

Developing operational reliability.

Most companies have more than one customer with different needs and expectations. However, when we drill down into what each of their differing customers want, the answers are all consistent. All of these customers expect to receive what you have committed to provide. In order to do so you must ensure the operational reliability of your entire operation. So based on these expectations, how does one go about The most logical place to begin is with the operations themselves. Start by identifying all the processes that go into “manufacturing” the mortgage loan. Of course the first operation is the contact between the consumer and the loan officer. What is your process for making this happen? When the loan officer meets with a potential customer, what is supposed to be the result? What are the inputs the loan officer provides? What are the expectations from the consumer? What is the final output supposed to be?   What actions and/or activities produce that result? Are these expectations documented and measured for at least a sample of loans originated for each loan officer? Once you have collected the data you can use it to identify where the process is working and where it is not. Unfortunately, many times lenders fall prey to the belief that these activities cannot be measured and use this as excuse for not attempting to monitor this piece of the process. However, this can be done. Other industries, such as call centers have done it.

The next set of operational activities include the decision-making and closing steps. Here, the actions taken are many times reviewed by others, such as QC or senior managers. Unfortunately, these measurements are not focused on whether or not the operations we perform actually support the customers’ expectations. For example, let’s look at the credit underwriting guidelines. Nowhere in these guidelines are there statement regarding how the loans produced using them will perform. We recognize that there are many different standards for underwriting, based on the risk appetite of the organization. The operational reliability of this process is making sure those are guidelines are followed and if an exception to them is warranted, it is properly documented and tracked. Tracking exceptions to guidelines is much more important than just having documented them. Imagine if an exception to a guideline occurred 35% of the time and this exception was tracked and found to have no impact on the performance of the loans. What could that mean to the purchaser of those loans? How could that impact the guidelines and streamline the operations of underwriting loans in the future?

Servicing, with its multi-faceted process is ripe for reaping the rewards of operational reliability. Since the mortgage crisis they have been inundated with new consumer requirements, especially when it involves interacting with the borrower. These actions, both on a service provider level and a collection process operational standard could use the operational reliability measurements that have been developed by numerous call center operations. In addition, the CFPB has developed a set of standards that are expected to be met by servicers. Yet how often does any specific servicer meet them? We don’t really know because there is no benchmark that covers servicers. Maybe the operational reliability standards set by CFPB are excessive? Maybe with the level that can be reached is lower due to the associated operational processes? How can any servicer demonstrate that the operational reliability of their processes actually meets consumer demand? None of these questions can be answered because unlike other industries, this benchmark is absent.

A recent item in one of the industry trade journals suggested that servicers are at the breaking point; that if they are required to continue to meet all these requirements their operations will implode. The writer of this article basically blamed it on the outdated technology. However, If this is in fact the case, why haven’t servicing managers identified operational practices that are failing, measured the failure rate and looked internally to change the operations. Instead many have implement manual reviews that are too little and way too late. These reviews tend to identify specific loan issues rather than the operational failures that produce unreliable results. The results should also provide more than just a dump of data but instead should provide an in-depth understanding of what a process is supposed to produce and the rate it actually produces that result.

Most lenders pay close attention to their warehouse lines but not to measure operational reliability. Instead they are reviewing the number of loans and the days these loans have been on the line in order to avoid interest penalties. Imagine however, if the origination operation was so reliable that the concern over excessive interest payments was not an issue. If the reliability of the product was such that the loans were always purchased timely. Could that result in lower interest rates from the warehouse lender? Now we will never know because the operational focus on this process is on a lack of reliability rather than on how consistently the operation works.

Managing for reliability

The CFPB requires in its statement of expected organizational management, that every company will have a “CMS” or compliance management system. Too frequently organizations see this as a mandate to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. What it is really saying is that lending companies must have a system in place to ensure that what they say they are providing is what is actually occurring. This involves having data that updates all operational activities on a regular basis and in a meaningful format. If, because the data is not collected or not collected accurately, the results could lack the reliability necessary to make management decisions.

Unfortunately, most senior managers do not have the information they need to make effective decisions. While they get reports on volume, profit and/or problem areas, they have nothing to allow them to reconcile this issues with the overall operation of the organization. Getting a QC report that says a total of 1% of the loans had a “significant default” does nothing to help them understand the underlying operational process that caused the problem, the severity or impact of the issue and the priority of making management decisions on addressing the problem. Most of the time these reports rather than providing assurance to managers, make “mountains out of molehills” and result in wasted time and energy trying to fix random problems. In the desperate attempt to really understand what is going on in their organizations they demand more and more reviews and reports which only succeed in confusing issues and increasing operational costs. Despite the fact that attorneys at recent conferences pushed the need for companies to know more about their organizations than the regulators do this cannot happen if the data collection is focused on the wrong issues or is not statistically sound.  In particular managers must know not just such things as production counts or the turn times for handling complaints, but how likely they are to have the issues that are seen as a problem reoccur. This information comes from reliability measurements.

At the end of the day, organizations that want to produce reliable products and services, must identify, measure and report all facets of their operations. This means not only including every activity focused on the outcome, but having a means to measure its effectiveness and analyzing these results in a way that not only makes the operation efficient, but also ensures that the products/services produced are worth the highest possible price. This is what operational reliability is all about.

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Having Good Technology Pays Off A Lot

*Having Good Technology Pays Off A Lot*
**Huge ROI Seen**

good-technology***Whoever said the right technology doesn’t matter was dead wrong. California-based The Ventura County Credit Union has been able to effectively manage rapid growth, maximize productivity across operations, cut originations costs and ensure excellence in member service with its new LOS. Using LendingQB’s LOS, VCCU doubled its mortgage lending volume in just a 12 month period, and this was achieved with the addition of only one new staff member.

****Because LendingQB’s end-to-end LOS utilizes a single database that is native to its platform, data can be effectively controlled thus reducing errors and eliminating manual touch points using a seamlessly connected workflow.  Beginning at the point-of-sale (POS) through closing and funding, LendingQB’s browser-based design consolidates all of VCCU’s lending tasks onto a single platform that creates a true end-to-end experience.

****“We’re seeing a big uptick in mortgage applications from our members and we needed one platform that could cost effectively manage our growth, keep us in compliance and ensure that our level of high touch interaction with members was not compromised in any way,” said Greg Uttal, director of lending at VCCU.  “LendingQB proved to empower us to do more with less, reduce our cost per loan, optimize our lending practices and maximize employee performance.  Unlike nearly all of the LOS platforms we evaluated, LendingQB was one of the few vendors that could completely run our mortgage unit using only a Web browser.  There is no install whatsoever, which has really made it easy to use and virtually effortless to maintain.”

****Key efficiencies gained include:

****>> Browser-based LOS platform significantly reduced VCCU’s technology maintenance costs

****>> Single, all-in-one solution eliminated the previous need for additional applications

****>> Proprietary AUS increased VCCU’s pull-through rate with investors to 80 – 85 percent

****>> Doubled mortgage lending volume in just a 12 month period, having to add only one new staff member

****>> Improved organizational communications and response times, resulting in better member service

****>> Compliance issues are immediately caught and constant audits are automatically run throughout the origination and closing processes

****>> Scalability and flexibility of the platform has allowed VCCU to grow at a controlled rate

****“We designed our LOS to flex and scale with all types of lending organizations to automate every single area of their lending processes as they grow and change with market conditions,” said Binh Dang, president of LendingQB.  “Most LOS platforms on the market today are not browser-based and cannot take organizations to the next level for the long-term.  They may suffice for the now, but they do not future proof an organization.  The success VCCU has had since implementing our LOS and their ability to capture more market share while easily managing growth is a testament to how advanced our system is.”

More Technology Successes

*More Technology Successes*
**By Tony Garritano**

***Yesterday I told you about a lender that had a great deal of success with a new LOS. Today I’m going to tell you about the other side of that coin. I got information from LOS vendor Ellie Mae in which they released the findings from a new commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on the total economic impact that lenders may realize by using the Company’s Encompass360 mortgage management software system. Here’s what the study found:

****Forrester Consulting’s analysis showed that a lender funding approximately $1 billion annually and using Encompass360 and Success-Based Pricing could:

****>> See a return on investment of 57% over three years;

****>> Receive total benefits of $2,679,000 over three years vs. total costs of $1,702,170;

****>> Break even in as short as 2.9 months on a risk-adjusted, cash-flow basis; and

****>> Receive an average benefit per loan of $232.

****Forrester Consulting arrived at this conclusion after interviewing four existing Encompass360 clients, who were representative of the profile of Ellie Mae’s user base, and then developing a composite company to illustrate quantifiable costs and benefits.

****The research company then evaluated the benefits, such as improved compliance and increased staff efficiency, as well as the costs of using Encompass360. Cost elements included software licensing, self-hosting, internal labor and training.

****This study was commissioned by Ellie Mae, and Ellie Mae identified the clients who were interviewed by Forrester Consulting, which does taint the results in favor of the LOS vendor for sure. Although Ellie Mae was able to review and provide feedback on the study, Forrester Consulting maintained editorial control over the study and its findings. Forrester Consulting and Ellie Mae make no assumptions as to the potential ROI that other organizations will receive.

****“All loan origination system developers talk about ROI, but we decided to quantify it,” said Jonathan Corr, chief operating officer of Ellie Mae. “While total economic impact analyses are common in the enterprise software space, this was the first one that Forrester has ever conducted in the mortgage market. The findings support what our clients have been telling us: Encompass360 and Success-Based Pricing can help deliver a quick and significant economic improvement over licensed, self-hosted models, improve productivity, back stop compliance and pay for themselves in a matter of months.”

****How do these results compare to the ROI gained by using competing LOS systems? I don’t know, but if you’re an LOS with similar numbers to share let me know. The point that I’m trying to make by sharing this story with you is that technology can make a huge difference, so lenders need to automate.

Magazine Feature: Attaining Compliance Despite Limited Resources

*Attaining Compliance Despite Limited Resources*
**By Sharon Matthews**

***Over the last several months, refinancing activity has once again surged to the highest levels and even originations are now finally showing some signs of growth. In the midst of this active market, loan officers also have to keep up with a growing number of new regulations that are forcing process change.  Unfortunately, pull-through rates aren’t keeping pace. The average time to close has lengthened from 30 to 45 days, and in many cases much longer. Some of this is simply because of the heavy workload. Loan teams today are fighting to keep up with record volumes.

****Another reason, though, is new regulations are increasing the number and type of disclosures required, forcing lenders to modify processes and systems while trying not to skip a beat. First, there was RESPA that regulated the time to disclose and the allowable variances in loan fees. Now, the CFPB’s integration of HUD and TIL will likely place further burdens on a lender to ensure borrowers are informed and fees are controlled. Looking ahead, the CFPB is discussing the possibility of adding automated valuation models used in appraisals to the list of required consumer disclosures. Banks are doing everything they can to keep up with these changes because the repercussions of regulatory non-compliance are costly and damaging to a lender’s reputation.

****Is Technology Really The Answer

****Many banks have reasonably looked at technology as a way to stay on top of these new compliance requirements, manage costs, and create a better user experience. For example, creating loan documents electronically, and then being able to distribute them to all parties in an electronic fashion addresses the compliance need, while also being faster and less expensive to execute. Even with compliance as a driving force however, we’re still not seeing significant changes industry-wide.

****Last year, we wrote about some of the best practices lenders could use to improve the success rate with electronic document delivery, both within their internal teams and with consumers. A year later, we see incremental improvement but the journey is far from over. In fact, if you look at the state of eMortgage – researched by us as well as others – that evolving destination point is still a ways off.

****Nonetheless, the value of using technology to manage loan documents and data continues to be compelling and quantifiable. Certainly, eliminating paper costs and compliance penalties result in direct savings. Our analysis also indicates that if a consumer accepts the initial disclosures electronically, there is a 70 percent to 80 percent probability she will continue to interact with the lender in an electronic fashion all the way through closing. This improves pull-through, speeds time to close, and creates a competitive advantage in the market. We estimate, based on client experience, that every day shaved from the loan pipeline can save from $25 to $110 per loan, depending on the average loan value. With today’s loan volumes, this equates to substantial savings very quickly. Figures like these have to make you wonder – why aren’t more banks rushing to deploy eDelivery services for their mortgage documents in a comprehensive fashion?

****Not surprisingly, it comes down to resources and prioritization. Because external market and regulatory forces are putting such a strain on banking resources, lenders usually implement technology or deploy eDelivery services one document or process at a time, usually where the need or risk is the greatest. Maybe it’s initial disclosures. Or appraisals. Or an adverse action letter. Further down the process it might be the closing documents or the HUD statement. Regardless, lenders frequently attack what they feel to be the most relevant problem at the moment, document by document, because they feel these measures can quickly address the area causing the greatest bottleneck or triggering the highest non-compliance risk. In addition, this piecemeal approach presumably makes it easier for internal IT resources to provide the necessary integration support. IT scarcity is a significant hurdle as they usually have multiple projects demanding their time and attention.

****A More Manageable Issue

****What lenders may not fully realize: It’s possible to implement eDelivery services in a simple and pragmatic fashion without internal IT integration support. In so doing, lenders can realize the cost savings, work load, quality, and compliance benefits enabled by technology, without investing a significant amount of time or resources. As an example, eLynx eDelivery services can be installed and appear as a network printer. Loan officers, processors, underwriters, or closers prepare the documents they normally do, and simply print them to the eDelivery printer. The workflow doesn’t change so there’s no retraining required or disruptions caused by new technology. And delivering documents to consumers electronically saves days in the loan cycle, and ensures that compliance deadlines are met.

****Because eDelivery services appear as a printer, there’s little to no work for the internal IT team. In this scenario documents will go out electronically. Of course, it’s usually better to fully integrate into your LOS with bi-directional data, so that returned documents and status messages are automatically updated within the LOS. But if you can’t secure sufficient internal IT support immediately, and yet you have compliance holding fast to a strict deadline, implementing eDelivery services in this simple fashion may be a very pragmatic solution.

****Another way to achieve near-term needs with minimal outlay is to select a flexible technology solution that can start with a single document, but can also expand quickly and easily as you enable eDelivery across more of the lending processing lifecycle. Today’s regulatory climate might change if we have a new administration in 2013, but the need for business flexibility will most certainly not. Being able to start small and expand later is a valuable option. As proof, we need only look at the LOS market or the document preparation market where interest is shifting to SaaS-based vendors. When it comes to eDelivery, look for that same flexibility and expandability. Don’t just solve today’s compliance needs. Put yourself in a position to handle the next business or compliance risk as well.

****A final point worth considering is whether the lengthy, multi-step nature of the mortgage lending process itself may also lead to the “one-document-at-a-time” approach. Banking processes and systems are still rather siloed. As a result, it’s easy to compartmentalize needs and look for point solutions to handle each area. What banks may not realize – and, frankly, what we vendors may need to better communicate – is that comprehensive solutions exist that can support the entire mortgage lending process flow.

****The Real First Step: A Scalable, Long-Term Solution

****Covering the entire mortgage process flow is the key to unlocking the full business value of eDelivery services. Our data shows that today’s consumers prefer the speed and convenience offered by electronic delivery and receipt of mortgage documents. Beginning with an application and following through to disclosures and closing packages, consumers will stay electronic all the way through if you start that way out of the gate. Having to switch from electronic to paper and back is where the value starts to erode.

****From a practical standpoint, we understand that most banks will convert to electronic in phases. Whether you use compliance mandates as the catalyst, or you have the foresight to get ahead of that curve, using a SaaS-based solution for eDelivery gives you the flexibility to set a pace appropriate to your organization. Also, you can minimize the amount of IT support needed by using a common delivery platform that can handle all stages of the mortgage process from application to post-closing and reselling. For complete risk mitigation, that platform should also incorporate a fallback capability for those instances when an eDelivery is not achievable, recognizing and handling the printing and mailing of necessary documents within compliance timeframes.

****Finally, don’t assume that your internal IT’s schedule is a showstopper. There are ways to deploy some technology solutions immediately without IT assistance. This allows you to meet pressing needs today and begin realizing the benefits of eDelivery services. As you have time and resources, you can then go back later to more fully integrate your solutions. Ultimately, it’s critical for banks to understand that simple, incremental changes like those discussed can drastically reduce risk, empower teams to do more with less, and improve the data quality and consistency of loans. These are essential steps that enable today’s financial industry to move forward and stay on track in an environment with ever-changing rules and priorities.

I Always Say Knowledge Is Power

*I Always Say Knowledge Is Power*
**By Tony Garritano**

***As we talk about things like the new CFPB disclosures, we all need to be educated about what to do to comply. But we should just look to be educated about new rules, we should look to also get more educated about just how to improve our overall lending process. For example, LendingQB will be holding two educational webinars that address how lenders should develop an analytical approach to identify hidden problems in their lending processes and technology weaknesses, helping them make informed decisions on which technologies will have the biggest impact on profitability.

****The webinars largely focus on how to perform an analysis of a lender’s operations, workflows and existing technologies to arrive at a strategy that will reduce cost per loan, maximize employee productivity, remove manual touch points, eliminate unnecessary applications, increase profitability and optimize enterprise-wide performance.

****LendingQB will introduce its Enterprise Process Assessment (EPA), which is a complementary holistic, in-depth review and discovery process of a lender’s specific lending workflow. The EPA dissects every step of the loan life cycle from the moment an originator engages with a borrower to when the loan is sold on the secondary market. A comprehensive report is then provided to lenders on how to achieve their technology goals.

****“We constantly see lenders challenged to make intelligent, strategic technology decisions that are business-critical to both their short and long-term growth and profitability,” said Binh Dang, president of LendingQB. “The webinars we put together are all about helping lenders fully understand the real impact of how technology can positively or negatively impact their bottom line using established metrics. Attendees have a solid starting point to initiate this type of evaluation process.”

****Topics include:

****>> An overview of the mortgage technology challenges lenders face in today’s market;

****>> Using metrics to achieve a high ROI;

****>> The importance of a seamless workflow;

****>> How to reduce cost per loan and increase profitability;

****>> Identifying vaporware and avoiding feature-based buying traps;

****>> Technology buying pitfalls to look out for.

****Two sessions will be offered on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012. Session 1 starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT and Session 2 starts at 4:30 p.m. EDT. For additional information contact LendingQB at 888-285-3912,, or by visiting

Technology Spotlight: Let’s Have The ROI Talk

*Let’s Have The ROI Talk*
**iServe Residential Lending**

***It’s all about return on investment. You don’t want to invest in a technology that won’t produce results. So, when PROGRESS in Lending hears good ROI stories we bring them to you. In this case, iServe Residential Lending, LLC a retail mortgage banker, has reported a dramatic increase in employee productivity, slashed technology costs, and reduced costs per loan since implementing origination system LendingQB. iServe selected LendingQB approximately a year ago because it eliminated having to use multiple platforms, databases and integrations. Here’s the story:

****“We were previously using three different systems that were technically integrated together, but they still had a number of issues,” said Michael Wilson, director of operations at iServe. “The system-to-system communication was poor, integrations often required employees to re-key data, and we had to call three different vendors when we needed technical support. This was hampering our operational performance.   We came to the conclusion that we needed to look for a single provider that could efficiently do the job of these three vendors.”

****During the diligence process, iServe was provided with the opportunity to test drive the LOS unencumbered from that of a traditional sales-guided demo, allowing the lender to run a loan through the entire LendingQB system from start to finish. Dubbed the ‘Guest Suite Invitation,’ lenders are able to work with the solution in an isolated environment to ensure it meets their specific needs.

****“Working successfully in LendingQB’s Guest Suite Invitation empowered us with the insight to ensure the platform would work for us,” said Wilson. “Immediately after implementing LendingQB, we were able to completely eliminate any re-keying of data, realize greater employee productivity via tighter workflows, and work towards being paperless in the same system. This reduces our cost per loan by an estimated 30% and optimizes every single area of our lending practice, from origination through secondary marketing and interim servicing. The improved communications and data integrity of being on one platform has substantially improved our operations.”

****“We don’t consider ourselves to be just another loan origination system (LOS) vendor that loosely uses the ‘end-to-end’ buzzword,” said Binh Dang, president of LendingQB. “We like to move away from this overused term and instead refer to our platform for what it really is — a seamlessly connected profit optimization system that is focused on the lender’s business first and foremost. The bottom line should be the bottom line. We advise our clients on how to develop their workflows to reduce cost per loan and increase productivity. That’s how we help clients ‘win the lending game’ in ways they never knew were possible.”

Life-Cycle Lending: The Cost Of Change

*The Cost Of Change*
**By Joe Dombrowski**

***Organizations looking to improve their lending operations essentially have three options:

****1. Do nothing – continue to maintain existing technology with limited ability to add functionality.

****2. Attempt to build an in-house solution with possible staff additions and increased technology costs.

****3. Invest in a platform that provides an efficient, consolidated technology solution for all loan products.

****Many institutions have grown accustomed to supporting outdated technology or a stratified operating environment. But cost and risk pressures prevent others from updating technology, even though the risk of failure increases and the cost to maintain the status quo escalates rapidly. This situation may jeopardize the entire lending infrastructure.

****For example, having to apply regulatory changes to multiple technology systems is laden with risk. Applying regulatory changes to a consolidated platform provides consistent compliance across product lines, with just one source of data to maintain. Financial institutions opting to retain multiple software systems may regret that decision down the road. Policy, process and procedure costs will continue to stress budgets, regulatory compliance initiatives and personnel. On the other hand, proprietary systems developed and supported in-house can be equally expensive and pose the same staff and compliance challenges.

****Regardless of the option, it is important to understand that there is more to consider than the hard costs. One full-service, regional bank with 60 branch offices and loan centers, replaced multiple servicing systems with LoanServ to manage both its mortgage and consumer loans. Prior to the conversion, the bank was handling first-mortgage servicing and secondary market securitization on one system and HELOCs and consumer loans on in-house platforms. Using this combination of software limited which products the bank could offer. For instance, prior to using LoanServ, the bank could not offer rate locks and credit card access on HELOCs. The consumer lending systems just could not provide those capabilities.

****By consolidating its consumer and mortgage loans, the bank was able to redeploy FTEs to other areas of the bank and is laying the groundwork for future growth.

Market Analysis: Make Electronic Signing Easy

*Make Electronic Signing Easy*
**By Tony Garritano**

***Who said eSigning has to be difficult? It doesn’t and you can get immediate return on investment both in terms of hard dollars saved, efficiency gained and increased compliance with a host of new rules. Interested? You should be. To this end, PROGRESS in Lending has learned that eSignSystems, a division of Wave Systems Corp., has updated its SmartSAFE, a solution designed to handle lifecycle management of electronically signed, legally-binding documents and records requiring ESIGN and UETA compliance. This new version of SmartSAFE features a redesigned SigningRoom that simplifies the entire eDelivery and eSigning process for all parties. Here’s why you need to be aware of this product:

****This updated offering now includes expanded cross-browser support, which allows users to log into the SigningRoom with all the most popular web browsers. Additionally, the SigningRoom has been optimized for tablets and mobile devices, bringing new convenience to field agents and consumers who need to complete transactions from remote locations.

****“eSignSystems’ SigningRoom provides a centralized, secure environment where parties can login to review and eSign documents from wherever they are at the time they need to conduct their business,” said Kelly Purcell, EVP of eSignSystems. “Powerful new customization options ensure that partners can integrate the SigningRoom directly into their own business processes with a similar user interface. By extending the look and feel of our partners’ existing web infrastructure, eSignSystems ensures a seamless eSigning experience for the end-user.”

****And today customers and integration partners using this product are realizing the benefit. For example, integration partner Compliance Systems Inc., a provider of dynamic document technology to the mortgage space, is praising the new tool. “Given the regulatory environment of today, our customers demand high integrity around the document and data,” said long-time advocate of a more data-driven mortgage process Roger Gudobba, Chief Strategy Officer of Compliance Systems Inc. “That applies to the eSignature piece as well. That’s why eSignSystems is our preferred solution—couple the ease of use of the SigningRoom with the audit trails of the SmartSAFE eVault and it’s a solution that can stand up to the rigorous requirements of electronic transactions.”

****The redesigned SigningRoom, which resides within the SmartSAFE, is more intuitive to use and has improved graphics. This release delivers three options to define the look-and-feel of the SigningRoom branding. Partners can set colors and images to match their existing Web properties, through an easy-to-use configurable Web interface. Secondly, the system supports the easy installation of cascading style sheets (CSSs), which provides graphic designers with complete control over the branding of the SigningRoom. Lastly, new architecture isolates the SigningRoom in a way that lets skilled developers modify and customize the SigningRoom to integrate with their organization’s existing business processes and technology.

****“The SigningRoom is a powerful solution for any organization that requires legal or regulatory proof of document eDelivery, and is even implemented in many cases where documents may not even require a signature,” continued Purcell. “Great focus was put on the expansion of eDelivery based on customer requests and feedback, to meet the growing document lifecycle management issues and regulatory concerns of our partners in the insurance and mortgage industries, as well as the healthcare marketplace.”

****In addition, from the technology perspective the SigningRoom has been refreshed using the latest Web development techniques, ensuring compatibility across a wide array of web-accessible devices. The SmartSAFE now generates expanded alerts around eDelivery actions within the SigningRoom. As an example, through the eDelivery process when a document is reviewed in the SigningRoom, an event is automatically generated and sent to the SigningRoom owner. Another new notification alert tells the SigningRoom owner if a signer opts-out of doing business electronically, allowing for quicker reaction time for paper fulfillment.

****The global economy is increasingly migrating to electronic signing instead of traditional transportation of documents to obtain wet ink signatures. Organizations seek alternatives for document delivery for several reasons: to address stronger regulation of document management; to better protect transmission of personal private information and sensitive data; and to offset postal rate increases and decreased service.  SmartSAFE is not only a cost-saving and more efficient solution to all these needs, but also supports green initiatives. With eSignSystems, document integrity is assured throughout the entire lifecycle of an electronic document, for the strongest confidence that a signed document remains unaltered, legally-binding and easily accessible. So, don’t be afraid of eSigning, embrace it.