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The Impact Of Fintech

According to a recently published working paper by researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) and New York University, fintech lenders have quickly expanded their market share since the Financial Crisis, and in the process have developed efficiencies that give them a significant advantage over more traditional lenders. Prominent mortgage industry executives gathered in Washington, DC at the 8th Annual PROGRESS in Lending ENGAGE Event sponsored by Get Credit Healthy, QuestSoft and Optimal Blue, to really drill down on this industry trend. How has fintech impacted mortgage lending? Here’s the scoop:

“Everything has to be relevant,” says Joseph Ludlow, VP at Advantage Systems. “The proliferation of cell phones has driven technology and innovation. Everything has to be real-time, all the time.”

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“We can’t think of innovation as something that happens over night,” noted Luke Wimer, COO at Asurity Technologies. “It’s about changing what a customer usually does. No one person or vendor will bring all the innovation. We have to bring people and systems together.”

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“The average originator is 52 years old,” points out Christine Beckwith, National VP of Realtor and Sales at Annie Mac. “The customer wants to be mobile and so do the new originators, but we have to get the average originator in his or her 50s onboard. It’s a balancing act.”

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“The older originator’s adaptability is challenged,” concluded Ski Swiatkowski, Business Growth/Leadership Specialist at Silver Hill Funding. “However the new originator is a millennial and they want fintech. Rocket by Quicken was good for the industry because now everyone sees the value of using fintech to improve the mortgage process.”

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Technology Does Offer ROI

When used correctly, technology does pay off. For example, Alterra Home Loans, an independent mortgage bank headquartered in Nevada with offices in 12 states, has been able to sustain significant growth since implementing  Advantage Systems’ Accounting for Mortgage Bankers (AMB) software.

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Alterra Home Loans selected AMB as its accounting system in 2015 in order to eliminate manual processes and gain access to detailed loan-level reporting tools. Alterra Home Loans has leveraged AMB’s automated processes to eliminate time-consuming manual entries during the lender’s rapid growth.

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Alterra Home Loans is also taking advantage of Advantage Systems’ Commissions Calculation module in order to automate its commissions process, to provide loan officers with more timely and accurate commissions statements.

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“Alterra Home Loans is going through a period of explosive growth and we made the decision to implement AMB in order to eliminate manual processes,” said Yvonne Yacono, chief business officer at Alterra Home Loans.

“We understand lenders’ needs, and have developed our software to eliminate time-consuming processes and help achieve growth,” said Brian Lynch, president of Advantage Systems. “We constantly seek to enhance our software’s features in order to help lenders attain tomorrow’s goals today.”

AMB is a robust accounting system that was specifically designed for mortgage bankers. The solution brings real-time accounting data to users, both accounting and non-accounting staff, in a practical, useable format. Key features include the ability to view loan level data that displays profitability by loan, loan type, loan officer and branch.

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Using Technology As A Recruiting Tool

Redlands, California-based Mountain West Financial, a full-service, privately held mortgage banker, has used its AMB (Accounting for Mortgage Bankers) solution as a recruiting tool to attract talented branch managers.

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Mountain West Financial selected AMB as its accounting system to streamline its accounting needs. The mortgage lender was able to produce detailed reports via the system in less time and was able to reduce manual entries.

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Mountain West Financial has been able to use AMB as a recruiting tool for valued branch managers and accounting staff, who express a preference for using AMB. The lender was also able to use AMB’s loan level detail to track impound amounts for its reconciliation processes.

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“AMB has helped us in our efforts to attract the most talented staff,” said Stacy Mohr, vice president of capital markets at Mountain West Financial. “We heavily tout our use of the most advanced mortgage technology when recruiting, and Advantage Systems’ software has been instrumental in hiring the best qualified branch managers and accounting staff.”

“Our system solves a wide variety of mortgage lenders’ specific needs,” said Brian Lynch, president of Advantage Systems. “Not only does it enable lenders to eliminate manual processes when reconciling accounts, but it serves as a valuable resource for branch managers who want access to data about the performance of individual loans or loan officers.”

AMB is an accounting system that was specifically designed for mortgage bankers. The solution brings real-time accounting data to users, both accounting and non-accounting staff, in a practical, useable format. Key features include the ability to view loan level data that displays profitability by loan, loan type, loan officer and branch.

Integration Enables Loan Level Data Transfer

Advantage Systems, a provider of accounting and financial management tools for the mortgage industry, and LendingQB, a provider of loan origination technology solutions, have competed an integration that enables mortgage lenders to seamlessly transfer loan-level accounting data from the LendingQB LOS to the AMB (Accounting for Mortgage Bankers) platform.

“Most of the integrations we have done involve an LOS system pushing data to us. The integration between Advantage Systems and LendingQB allows us to reach in and get the information we need,” said Brian Lynch, president of Advantage Systems. “This tool allows us to minimize implementation costs to our clients and gives them the flexibility to make changes when needed.”

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LendingQB’s open architecture API (application protocol interface) allowed Advantage Systems to quickly build a first-phase integration. “We specifically built our API to provide a simple but secure method for outside companies to access virtually any field in a loan file,” noted LendingQB president Binh Dang. “Our API is ideal because all lenders perform their accounting and reporting in a slightly different way. It has built-in flexibility and extensibility to allow AMB and the lender to customize the data they want to access.”

A benefit of the integration is that it encourages lenders to perform accounting functions on a more frequent basis. This reduces the work level at month-end and improves completeness of data. “Lenders have to staff for peaks, not valleys,” said Lynch. When transactions and reconciliations are recorded on a daily basis, there is much less to do at month end and peak periods of activity are kept to a minimum.

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“This approach eliminates the veritable avalanche of data at month’s end that needs to be reconciled,” Lynch noted. “The books are closed more quickly, and because reconciliations are done more often, there is a higher degree of confidence in those financials. We believe the integration with LendingQB allows lenders to perform better accounting with less staff.”

LendingQB noted that the integration with AMB is an extension of their ‘Lean Lending’ solution strategy, which promotes operational efficiency through the implementation of best practices and partnering with best of breed industry providers. “We want to provide lenders with technology solutions that do more than just exchange data with any third party company,” said Dang. “Advantage Systems is an innovator and respected provider of accounting solutions for mortgage lenders. We are proud to be the first LOS to partner with them to create a solution that helps our clients work smarter.”

Advantage Systems Announces Commissions Calculation Module Enhancement

Advantage Systems, a provider of accounting and financial management tools for the mortgage industry, announces two updates to its Commissions Calculations Module. The new “Draw Recovery” feature saves lenders time by automating the application of payroll draws against the loan officers’ commissions and providing a recap on how this was done. Additionally, Advantage Systems has provided the capability to distribute split commissions more effectively among teams of loan officers.

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These new features are designed to leverage the benefits of automation into a way to help lenders strengthen relationships with experienced loan officers. The capability to define “Draws” and the application of those draws has existed for some time but relied heavily on manual processes. The new capability automates the application of the draw, making the process easier and the result timelier. Not only is time saved, but so is the relationship with the loan officer. Being able to present the loan officer with a recap of what draws were earned and what commissions were applied against those earnings demonstrates the lender’s commitment to that loan officer.

The need to pay loan officers an hourly wage has created the need to manage those payments against the commissions earned. Many lenders have struggled enough with the calculation of those commissions. Applying draws earned against those commission only made the task that much more difficult. Advantage Systems’ commission module eliminates the difficulty and allows users to calculate commissions quickly and easily and the related application of draws.

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The new teams feature of the update to the Commissions Calculations module enables lenders to define teams of loan officers. Commission splits are calculated based on pre-defined relationships between loan officers, even if each loan officer on the team has a different compensation arrangement with the lender. This feature results in easily split commissions, accurately calculated, which saves lenders time and ensures fair commissions among loan officers.

“The updates to our Commissions Calculations Module are focused on providing an extra layer of transparency to loan officers,” said Brian Lynch, president of Advantage Systems. “Maintaining positive relationships with talented loan officers is a high priority to many lenders, and having the flexibility to deal with draw balances more effectively and calculating accurate commissions for teams of loan officers enables lenders to strengthen those relationships, while saving valuable time by avoiding complex manual calculations.”

Compliance Hurdles Can Be An Opportunity

Compliance can be a burden, but it can also be an opportunity to progress. For example, Advantage Systems, a provider of accounting and financial management software for the mortgage industry since 1986, has upgraded  the Advanced Reporting Module within its Accounting for Mortgage Bankers (AMB) product to comply with version three of the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System call report, which states that submitted XML files that do not adhere to new requirements regarding the order of items presented within financial schedules will be rejected.

The Advanced Reporting Moduleenables lenders to comply with the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008, which mandates all state mortgage licensees have to submit a mortgage call report on its financial condition and loan activity to NMLS on a quarterly basis. Using the updated module, these reports are submitted faster and more accurately so lenders can focus on other areas of their businesses, such as growth and enhancing profitability. The module also comes with prebuilt templates for the various schedules comprising the “Financial Component” of the NMLS call report.

“Our upgrade reduces the time and headache factor associated with keeping up with changing regulatory requirements,” said Brian Lynch, president and founder of Advantage Systems. “The Advanced Reporting Module enables lenders to significantly reduce the time it takes to complete the NMLS call report.”

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Good Technology Is Rewarded

Technology vendors some times feel abused, but the work they do is amazing. Further, the good vendors are being rewarded for their efforts. For example, Advantage Systems, a provider of accounting and financial management tools for the mortgage industry, announced that sales of its Commission Calculation Module within its Accounting for Mortgage Bankers (AMB) accounting solution increased 20 percent since last year.

The company attributes this growth to increased demand for better loan officer reporting and compliance required by stricter compensation regulations.

The Commission Calculation Module enables lenders to automate the calculation of commissions and bonuses in both retail and wholesale environments and utilizes the loan-level accounting capability of AMB software to minimize user input and increase accuracy. This eliminates the time and cost associated with manually calculating commissions. The technology enables users to set up commission calculations by loan officer and loan type as well as calculate bonuses monthly, quarterly or annually.

Lenders can also choose to implement Advantage Systems’ web-based Loan Officer Reporting Module, which gives loan officers the ability to access their commission reports using an Internet connection.

“Our Commission Calculation Module enables lenders to calculate commissions faster, reduce human error and comply with loan officer compensation regulations more effectively,” said Brian Lynch president of Advantage Systems.

Lender Boasts 30% ROI

*Lender Boasts 30% ROI*
**VITEK Mortgage Group Profiled**

***Who can afford to waste anything these days? Nobody. So when you make a technology investment it better pay off. In this case, Sacramento, Calif.-based VITEK Mortgage Group uses Advantage Systems’ Accounting for Mortgage Bankers (AMB) system to increase revenue by 30 percent and expand its business. Here’s how:

****As one of the fastest growing lenders in Sacramento, VITEK needed an accounting system that would enable the mortgage lender to manage increasing amounts of loan data, while enabling the company to keep its focus on growth. In 2010, VITEK chose Advantage Systems AMB system, an accounting system designed specifically to meet the needs of mortgage bankers. Since launching the AMB solution, VITEK grew revenues by 30 percent and increased the quality of its financial data as well as back office efficiencies. More capital and better financial reporting have led to a stronger balance sheet for VITEK, which enabled the company to add two warehouse finance lines.

****“AMB enabled us to deliver high quality financial reports faster, close the books five days sooner and grow rapidly while not having to add additional accounting staff,” said Scott Battenburg, chief financial officer of VITEK. “The image importing capability reduced the amount of time we spent thumbing through a filing cabinet to find the transaction in question. An out-of-the-box accounting system could not have provided the level of data insight we have experienced with AMB.”

****“Lenders must keep their focus on growing loan volumes to be competitive in today’s marketplace, which means back-office processes such as accounting need to be as efficient as possible or companies risk impeding that growth,” said Brian Lynch, president of Advantage Systems. “VITEK’s executive team has done and excellent job of growing their business and having the right accounting system helped.”

The Right Way For Lenders To Branch Out

*The Right Way For Lenders To Branch Out*
**By Tony Garritano**

***What will branches look like in the future? Will they even exist? The answer is Yes. Technology was supposed to replace the underwriter after the advent of DU and LP, but it didn’t happen. After that technology was going to replace the broker and LO, but that hasn’t happened either. In this case, technology exists today to create a 100% call center environment instead of a branch, but most only see this as a limited model. Here’s why:

****“We like the branch organization model because it fosters growth for the lender quickly,” said Brian D. Lynch, the founder and president of Irvine, Calif. -based Advantage Systems, a provider of accounting and contract management tools for the mortgage banking and real estate development industries. “Turning brokers into correspondents is tough. So, most lenders put the branch manager in charge, which requires some technology investment. An automated approach makes this possible, but when done well lenders can expand almost at will.”

****“It comes down to that face-to-face, trusted advisor model,” added Joey McDuffee, director and head of marketing of origination vendor Wipro Gallagher Solutions. “The biggest issue with a branch is the infrastructure. From a technology perspective, you need to embrace ways to push data into the field. We’ve done a lot of work in the mobile space. We think mobile technology is a good way to ensure data accuracy. Branches are really becoming a community center, so they are relevant, and technology can play a big role in helping the branch provide better customer service overall.”

****It also comes down to efficiency. One way to make the branch model the most efficient model out there is to go paperless. “We’ve been betting that the retail model is the winning model,” pointed out Sanjeev Malaney, co-founder and chief executive officer for Capsilon, a provider of cloud-based document sharing, imaging and collaboration solutions for businesses. “As a result, we have been focused on providing technology to enable branches to go paperless and still collaborate efficiently. Our lenders tell us that this is what they need to make their business succeed.”

****But what does the lender truly think? Are they fully invested in a more modern, technology-savvy branch model after all? “With our organization, the branch model allows us to focus more on the purchase world,” noted Kevin Stitt, founder and president of Tulsa, Okla.-based Gateway Mortgage Group LLC, a complete end-to-end mortgage banking firm that specializes in originations, servicing and correspondent lending. “The call center model works better for just refinances. The branch model also allows us to create branding and put our name on the side of a building to establish our company in a local neighborhood. We like it.”

****So, I guess branches are here to stay.