Posts

Technology That Serves A Purpose

It’s always great to see technology in action doing good for the industry. For example, Crown Title, a full-service real estate title company that provides title, settlement and escrow services for residential and commercial real estate clients nationwide, has selected IndiSoft’s RxOffice Title module to manage its title ordering operations. RxOffice Title automates title task workflow management and allows data import from other systems. Here’s why they made this decision:

“This latest module on the RxOffice platform allows Crown Title to further improve its workflow process and hold efficiency in high regard,” said Sanjeev Dahiwadkar, CEO and president of IndiSoft, a technology development firm that specializes in systems for the financial services industry. “RxOffice Title module allows companies such as Crown Title to enhance internal processes and better serve their customers. The module is unique in the sense that it has the ability to import and export data from other systems and export invoices in QuickBooks.

In addition to automating title workflow management, RxOffice Title enables email invoices and uploads title reports. RxOffice Title also creates PDFs and merging document packages.

By using the RxOffice Title, Crown Title is able to customize workflow management, ultimately increasing productivity and effectiveness of processes. The module also features a customizable dashboard.

“We wanted a system that would allow us to automatically generate and capture title reports in quick manner while improving our day-to-day process,” said David Thurston, president of Crown Title. “The customizable workflow element allows us to tailor the system around our processes. We aim to provide our customers with exemplary title services, and RxOffice Title helps us achieve that goal.”

About The Author

[author_bio]

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Partnership Looks to Help Lenders Automate Strategically

Global professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) has formed a strategic alliance between the firm’s Real Estate Advisory Services practice and METIS Financial Network, offering clients the benefit of A&M’s extensive real estate valuation, operational and consulting industry expertise, and proprietary tools, alongside METIS’ highly adaptable, scalable data, document and workflow solutions. Here’s how everything comes together:

The alliance enhances the best-in-class, value-added services and technologies available to financial institutions, private equity firms, and other sophisticated investors who look to A&M and METIS for real estate transaction support and valuation management.

Floyd W. Kephart, Chairman of METIS, stated “the breadth and depth of A&M’s real estate consulting practice, together with our unique customizable technology, provides a paradigm shift in how real estate information is transformed into actionable, value-enhancing strategies.”

METIS provides platform technology that automates key elements of a client’s process to enhance productivity, improve transparency and streamline communication between all stakeholders in the process. “We differentiate ourselves by listening to our client and understanding their workflow, strategies and business goals in order to develop and implement a tailored solution that addresses their unique needs. Our technology not only converts “big data” to user-focused data quickly, but produces key analytics and market information critical for effective management and decision making”, said Joy Hou CEO of METIS.

Privately-held since 1983, A&M is a global professional services firm that delivers performance improvement, turnaround management and business advisory services to organizations seeking to transform operations, catapult growth and accelerate results through decisive action. METIS provides custom-tailored platform technology for the management of data, documents and workflow, and has extensive experience in delivering solutions to the real estate industry, with a focus on financial institutions, equity funds and investors.

About The Author

[author_bio]

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Credit Union Sees Big Growth

Richland, Wash.-based HAPO Community Credit Union (HAPO), with 1.2 billion in assets and over 109,000 members, has increased its loan origination and processing with the Velocity loan origination solution from Fiserv. This tool supports consumer, business, home equity and indirect loans all on the same platform, and integrates all of the essential system components required for lending success, including loan origination, decision support tools, workflow software and image capture capabilities.

An enhanced version of Velocity, Velocity 3.0, is currently in beta testing and will include improved system administration capabilities and improved data mapping of forms and standardized interfaces. “HAPO has built a reputation for making good loans to good people and the Velocity platform has given us greater control in offering a smooth, efficient lending process to our members,” said Scott Mitchell, Chief Lending Officer at HAPO. “We use the system to support multiple loan types, such as boats, RVs, secured lines of credit and dealer direct auto financing.

“The customizable workflow tools allow our staff to tailor the processes that work best for our organization. We’re also looking forward to deploying Velocity 3.0, which will provide the foundation for additional self-service options in our lending operation,” he concluded.

“Credit union employees often have to wear many hats, and HAPO is committed to delivering exemplary service to its members across each of those experiences. With Velocity, HAPO has been able to provide superior member convenience by eliminating manual steps throughout the origination process using just one system to support a wide range of loan types,” said Kevin Collins, president, Lending Solutions, Fiserv. “Velocity has the capabilities credit unions such as HAPO need as they adjust to the current loan origination landscape.”

Velocity is a pre-configured solution with features designed for small and mid-tier credit unions and community banks seeking to grow their business. Velocity simplifies and expedites loan closing and provides greater control over business operations by integrating with numerous account processing systems and an extensive array of third-party applications.

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Unlocking The Value Of Documents And Data

Download This Article As A PDF HERE

TME-Alec-CheungEver since the ESIGN Commerce Act of 2000, the mortgage industry has gradually adopted electronic signatures as a way to improve the efficiency of the mortgage transaction and to speed up the pace of commerce. No more waiting for mortgage documents to be sent via courier for paper signature. No more faxing of signed documents while originals followed in the mail. With the growing acceptance of electronic delivery and signature of documents, workflow has become more efficient, more secure and easier to monitor for status.

The mortgage industry has not yet completed its journey though. We still have not transitioned to a completely electronic workflow and the vision of a totally electronic mortgage has not been realized. There have been many real external barriers to progress. Not until last year did the IRS officially accept electronically signed documents for the request of tax transcripts; and as of this writing, the FHA has STILL not issued their formal guidance on the acceptance of electronically signed documents, though that is expected very soon.

Other impediments that are more industry-related remain as well. There is the matter of needing paper printouts for many county recordings and for investors. Because state laws vary so widely, legal experts will still often advise that it is safer to have the actual mortgage note in hard copy rather than in an electronically signed format. These obstacles will eventually fall as technology continues to improve, as early adopter banks prove that electronic formats are viable, and perhaps most importantly, as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau takes up the mantle in 2014 of championing the eMortgage and forcing the necessary changes to make that a reality.

But there is also an additional hindrance, a more subtle one that if not recognized may in the end prove to be the most persistent because it is not caused by a lack of technology or an external constraint, but by the very way the mortgage industry has incrementally adopted electronic fulfillment. This hindrance has to do with the way banks deploy electronic delivery and signature as a series of add-on projects rather than as a holistic system that ties together the entire mortgage process.

Why does this matter? Because the mortgage workflow is a complex, multi-step process that involves many participants, is very document centric, and heavily reliant on the data within those documents to ensure quality, compliance and a positive customer experience.

When the delivery of documents and the exchange of crucial data within those documents is implemented merely as a feature to be added to process support systems, it results in a fragmented approach that is constrained by the very activities it was meant to support. There is in fact a sizable missed opportunity to leverage documents and data across the mortgage lifecycle from one participant to the next in order to better monitor compliance, to mitigate fraud, to enhance quality and to deliver a truly superior customer experience.

Siloed Approach to Delivery

To understand why this has happened, you have to look at how we arrived at our current state.  The adoption of electronic delivery and signature in mortgage has frequently been driven by a series of loosely related but nonetheless individual triggers.

The first of these is compliance. Banks often end up adopting electronic delivery and signature only when triggered by new regulations. Appraisal deliveries are a good example of this. When the CFPB stated that lenders would have to provide borrowers with copies of appraisals for all mortgages and not just higher-priced ones, it forced banks to prioritize the electronic delivery of appraisals as a high priority initiative in order to be able to meet the 3-day delivery time period mandated by regulation.

Overcoming legacy processes and a “the way it’s always been done” mentality is a second factor. Just because something is legal doesn’t always mean that businesses will change their processes right away. When they do change, it often comes one step at a time. It took the IRS till just last year to finally begin accepting electronically signed tax transcript request forms. This was just ONE form and though glad for the progress, it’s yet another example of how the migration to electronic delivery and signature has unfolded in a piecemeal fashion.

A third contributing factor is that there are multiple actors involved in transacting a mortgage, and each has its own systems. Lenders rely on loan origination systems. Title agents have their settlement software. Underwriters utilize title systems. Appraisers have appraisal systems and appraisal valuation models. Even income verification vendors for the IRS have their own proprietary systems. These are separate parties, with their own systems, their own buying behaviors and, therefore, they look at the adoption of electronic delivery and signature in their own way.

The last contributing factor is industry standards. This has more to do with data that documents, but it is equally important. It has taken many years for MISMO to achieve a broad level of acceptance as the de facto standard for exchanging mortgage data. Prior to MISMO, two parties that needed to pass data back and forth had to agree on a data exchange format themselves. It was much simpler to do so for very specifically defined data sets in relation to certain documents. With MISMO’s latest v3.1 standard, we now have a commonly accepted standard that will simplify and normalize data exchange for the benefit of all.

Put together, these various factors have resulted in electronic delivery and signature as a technology added onto to (or perhaps integrated into) existing systems. This assessment is not meant as a criticism. If anything, our industry deserves credit for recognizing problems and them methodically tackling them. We have been pragmatic about our approach if nothing else. It just so happens that as we look back, we can see that the end result is a mortgage process that is rather stitched together in terms of workflow and data exchange between multiple participants.

Single Delivery Platform

This uneven approach where electronic delivery is tied to individual systems means we have no opportunity to leverage delivery as an underlying process that can bring the entire mortgage lifecycle together in a more efficient and effective way. After all, the delivery of documents and the exchange of data within those documents is the one process that touches every participant in the mortgage lifecycle. That simple but fundamental insight bears repeating. From application to processing to underwriting to closing to post-close, documents and data are central to every step along the way. They are used to demonstrate compliance. They are analyzed to uncover risk. They are carefully designed to ensure an effective customer experience.

As a mortgage progresses through each phase, the value of the data that accompanies documents grows. During the application and processing phase, the lender sends the initial disclosure so the borrower can review and understand the loan she has applied for – how much she will pay in interest, her rights as a borrower, etc.

At closing, the lender sends the final approved loan package to the settlement agent. A common delivery platform is in the optimal position to compare the data from initial disclosures to final approved loan to corroborate that the loan the customer is getting matches the loan initially applied for and quoted to the borrower. This is an example of how documents and data from one loan phase can be valuable in the next loan phase.

Likewise, after close, the settlement agent can send a copy of the signed loan for delivery back to the lender. Again, with a common delivery platform for document and data exchange, the signed loan can be immediately compared to the approved loan to ensure discrepancies are within quality and regulatory tolerance. The automation and simplification of these checks – QM, RESPA, anti-predatory lending, etc. – can considerably speed up the time it takes for a lender to complete its processing. Faster processing means faster time to loan sale to investors, which directly and positively impacts bank revenue.

* * * * *

It is easy to think of the electronic delivery and signature of documents as an efficiency driver. E-signature vendors are partly to blame for this. It is much simpler to tout the advantages of e-signature independent of the kind of document or workflow you are supporting. Faster transactions. Better audit trails. Simple to use. These are all benefits that vendors typically advertise.

But the actual workflow process being supported is fundamentally important to the value proposition of electronic document delivery and signature. For complex, multi-step processes like mortgage lending that involve many participants, document delivery is the common component that ties many of the activities together.

Furthermore, the data that is accessed via document delivery can help a lender demonstrate compliance, better manage risk and deliver a superior customer experience. Full access to documents and document-related data puts lenders in a position to be able to substantiate that the loan the borrower applied for is consistent with the loan that was approved, with the loan that was actually signed at the closing table, and with the loan that was ultimately sold to investors.

You can achieve this by building numerous custom connections and integrations with the various systems that support the mortgage process, or you can choose a single delivery platform that already has the connectivity in place. One way or another, this will be needed, and it is something that lenders should begin to think about.

About The Author

[author_bio]

Alec Cheung
Alec Cheung is Vice President of Marketing at eLynx where he is responsible for product management, corporate marketing and corporate communications. Alec is a seasoned B2B marketer with 14 years experience in software and outsourced business services. He is passionate about customer experience and service delivery. Alec earned a BA in Economics and an MBA degree from UCLA.

Let’s Learn From The Auto Industry

The best people are always open to new ideas. They’re always learning. So, I like to bring in topics on other industries that I think you might learn a bit from. In this case, I learned that the auto industry is doing some interesting things that the mortgage industry might try.

I was told that Fiserv’s Automotive Loan Origination System (LOS) was used by dealers and lenders to process more than 13.6 million credit applications in 2013, an increase of 16.5 percent over the previous year. More than 4.6 million contracts were funded on Auto LOS – a 14.3 percent increase over 2012 — of which nearly 900,000 were electronic contracts (e-contracts). 2013 was the first full year that e-contracting capabilities were integrated into the company’s end-to-end solution for automotive loan origination.

This substantial volume of credit applications and funded contracts reflects the slow return to health of the U.S. automotive industry, which registered robust growth in sales and financing for both new and used cars and trucks. The growing adoption of e-contracting mirrors the automotive industry’s transition to new technology and digital lending. E-contracting systems enable auto dealers to submit an electronically signed contract to a lender, greatly reducing the time needed to approve and fund loans, minimizing errors and leading to improved customer satisfaction. Are you listening Mr. Mortgage Lender?

“Increasing automobile sales and the recovering economy contributed to the impressive growth of credit applications and contracts supported by our Automotive Loan Origination System,” said Kevin Collins, president, Lending Solutions, Fiserv. “Captives and their dealers realized the role that technology can play in reducing costs, improving customer satisfaction and facilitating faster decision-making. This led to the impressive volume gains and growing adoption of e-contracting processes.”

By using e-contracting through Automotive LOS from Fiserv, auto dealers have been able to realize same-day or next-day funding and approval of contracts, a significant improvement over the laborious and slow paper-based contract process.

Fiserv technology gives lenders access to tools that help them better understand their borrowers’ financial situation, and offers a holistic view of their entire lending portfolios so they can make smarter lending decisions and close more deals. The efficient and error-free execution of e-contracts helps lenders reduce costs by eliminating paper, deliver high-quality service and remain competitive in today’s auto finance market.

Fiserv’s Automotive Loan Origination System is a solution for automotive loan origination, from electronic application capture through credit processing, funding verification, validation and booking of new loans and leases. The system assures a fast and efficient origination process, enforces compliance, mitigates risk and promotes profitable growth by lowering processing costs without sacrificing quality for quantity.

Mortgage lenders just might learn a thing or two from what these auto lenders are doing in my humble opinion.

About The Author

[author_bio]

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

New Paperless Trends Emerge

*New Paperless Trends Emerge*
**Data Shows Advances**

files***In its ninth Path to Paperless study Xerox Mortgage Services found that even with compliance demands front and center, 63% of respondents noted having electronic document solutions in place, compared with 55% in 2012, which underscores the commitment to adopting paperless technologies in the near term. Here’s what else they discovered:

****The survey showed other positive trends in the acceptance and implementation of electronic initiatives, including:

****>> 78% of respondents’ companies are implementing technology to handle the flux of the industry.

****>> 45% feel their LOS’s imaging capabilities are lacking – they either use the capabilities but do not consider them sufficient or do not use them due to considering them insufficient.

****>> 76% of respondents prefer solutions that accommodate paper-sourced, imaged and electronic documents, and 75% value solutions that work seamlessly throughout the entire loan lifecycle.

****>> 80% of respondents cited decreased turnaround and processing time per loan, and 78% cited decreased processing costs per loan as benefits of going paperless.
2013-path-to-paperless-data

****You can request a copy of the Path to Paperless Survey HERE to see how your paperless technology initiatives compare to your peers. The survey results represent a cross section of industry executives and functions ranging from origination, underwriting, closing and more.

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Remember, Don’t Be Rigid

*Remember, Don’t Be Rigid*
**By Tony Garritano**

TonyG***In a changing world, and let’s face it the changes are coming fast and furious in the mortgage space these days, nobody can allow themselves to be close minded. We all have to be flexible. And in the end, your technology should help you be flexible. For example, Specialized Business Software, a provider of custom software solutions for insurance, mortgage and financial services companies, has just released Docunym 2.2, an enhancement to its Web-based document management and workflow solution enabling users to manage and retrieve loan documents faster and more efficiently.

****Docunym 2.2 allows for easy and secure document sharing with non-Docunym users while keeping existing encryption and audit trails in place. The new system also includes an enhanced document upload feature that enables users to drag and drop files from their computers into the appropriate Docunym folder. Users are also able to select and work with batches of documents so that updates and workflow actions are performed across all selected records resulting in increased efficiency.

****“Docunym 2.2 provides the capability to securely communicate across geographic, technological and business lines,” said Steve Wiser, president and founder of Specialized Business Software. “The upgrade was designed specifically to allow data to easily transcend different technology platforms without sacrificing security.”

****Since 1999, Cleveland-based Specialized Business Software has developed custom technology solutions for insurance, mortgage and financial services companies to enable them to improve business processes, operate more efficiently and increase profitability. SBS’ customtechnology solutions automate routine tasks on behalf of the user, with the goal of eliminating the need for spreadsheets and manual processes.

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Will Xerox Continue To Be A Thought Leader?

*Will Xerox Continue To Be A Thought Leader?*
**New Head Speaks Out**

thinker***Xerox Mortgage Services has a long history of being headed up by industry thought leaders. There’s no denying the role both Greg Smith and Nancy Alley have played in advancing paperless processing. Now the company has named Ken Marlin as its new VP and general manager. How does he stack up to his predecessors? PROGRESS in Lending sat down with him recently to ask him a few probing questions. Here’s what he said:

****QUESTION: Describe your industry experience for our readers Ken.

****KEN MARLIN: I’ve been here at Xerox Mortgage Services for over 15 months. During that time, I’ve been focused on building out partnerships and the platform itself. I’ve been in the mortgage business for over 20 years. I started as a loan officer and I’ve worked in every business unit imaginable when it comes to mortgage lending.

****QUESTION: How do you think your style compares to Greg Smith and Nancy Alley?

****KEN MARLIN: Moving into the general manager position was the next step for me. Nancy, and Greg Smith before her, left a well-oiled machine. I’m moving into comfortable shoes. We are constantly rethinking how the industry does business so we can improve and advance our industry.

****QUESTION: How will Xerox Mortgage Services change under your leadership?

****KEN MARLIN: This will be a continuation. We have always looked to build out a collaborative network. Everyday we are getting closer to the data. The industry can expect us to do deeper integrations and improve the overall mortgage process.

****QUESTION: How do you see the mortgage industry evolving over time?

****KEN MARLIN: This is an interesting time. We have enjoyed good volume, low interest rates and a lot of refinancing. As interest rates now start to inch up, we see lenders looking closer at improving their process to find efficiency, which is ideal for us because that’s what we do.

****QUESTION: Now look into your crystal ball. Where will the mortgage industry be five years from now? More of the same or drastically changed?

****KEN MARLIN: There’s always buzz around the CFPB and new regulation in general. In my view, new rules are always painful, but the new rules are causing some positive things to happen. We’ll come out much better, as an industry, on the other side of these regulatory shifts.

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Technology Should Go Farther

*Technology Should Go Farther*
**By Tony Garritano**

TonyG***Nobody likes a one-trick pony. Technology should do many things and solve many problems. As I see evidence of this, I think you should know about it. For instance, I was told that IndiSoft, has expanded its offerings to serve the commercial real estate industry. IndiSoft now provides its RxOffice Valuation Portal to Newport Beach, Calif.-based Brillion Asset Solutions, Inc., a commercial valuation services provider. Here’s what you need to know:

****The RxOffice Valuation Portal is a Web-based application that connects Brillion to real estate agents and its clients, including banks, credit unions, real estate investment trusts (REIT), private equity funds and hedge funds. It provides one seamless platform for Brillion to efficiently receive orders and produce reliable and timely valuation reports. The portal supports several of Brillion’s valuation products, such as its commercial property inspection and broker opinion of value (BOV) services.

****“Based on the positive effect that RxOffice has had on the residential real estate industry, making the platform available to the commerical market has been a natural next step for IndiSoft,” said Sanjeev Dahiwadkar, CEO and founder of IndiSoft. “This expansion makes it possible for us to help companies such as Brillion, which is using the Valuation Portal to give all parties transparency to track the progress of their orders and effectively streamline the entire valuation process.”

****Customizable workflow and document management, secured messaging and an accounting interface to manage payments and fees are features also available to Brillion through the RxOffice platform.

****“We constantly strive to deliver the best valuation products to the commercial real estate markets by combining the latest technology with our network of knowledgable, certified commercial real estate professionals,” said John Fukuda, CEO of Brillion Asset Solutions. “IndiSoft’s RxOffice Valuation Portal now lets us deliver even more value to our clients. The technology is simple for agents to use and helps them receive compensation more quickly. The platform unifies everyone through a common interface and has the robust features and applications to improve our overall productivity and client relationships.”

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.