While at the sparsely attended Western Secondary conference, I had an unexpected takeaway. Based on the lack of foot traffic on the exposition floor, one might come to the conclusion that things other than vendor services were on the minds of attendees. No doubt the mortgage executive has a lot to fret about these days. There are significant looming issues, inside and outside our industry, which can easily preoccupy any executive. A failure to remain abreast of leading trends is risky and irresponsible, which is why strategic initiatives must be at play at all times. And today, no strategic plan is complete without a technology component. Looking back 10 years, most executives will tell you that they underestimated the importance of technological innovation both as an industry shaper and a differentiator from the competition.
A company should have a perpetual strategic technology plan in motion that is an integral part of an organization's overall strategic agenda. A plan that aims to improve efficiencies to drive down costs, while also capitalizing on innovative ways to drive business and top-line revenue, will ensure a company remains nimble in a rapidly-evolving industry.
I gleaned more industry insight, not from speaking to people on the expo floor, but from my casual conversations in the hotel lobby. I was amazed at the multitude of systems that companies are using to simply take a loan from cradle-to-grave. One professional described a collection of systems they were using within his company. One to manage loan prospecting, another for processing, then a handoff to an underwriting system, and yet another for funding, servicing and fulfillment. At many junctions, the rekeying of data created redundancies and inaccuracies. In a perfect world, a loan application progresses effortlessly, always on a forward path, yet we know that many loans suffer setbacks and need to be reworked. These setbacks can cause logistical challenges and data integrity issues, especially within a daisy-chain system whereby loans are pushed back down the chain. The inherent inefficiencies of a daisy-chained structure add time and costs to production, creating havoc for ops, sales, secondary and quite possibly QC if data integrity issues culminate into audit issues.
In conclusion, the ultimate strategic goal for any mortgage banker should be the adoption of a comprehensive loan origination and processing system that seamlessly ties and manages the core nodes of the loan life cycle: marketing, prospecting, origination, processing, underwriting, funding, interim servicing, and fulfillment. A system that can accommodate departmental staff, providing easy access to information and tools, yet have a sophisticated permissions-based rules engine, will ensure efficient throughput, positive user experience, and high data integrity. Ancillary functions like pricing, compliance testing, final loan docs, decisioning, etc. can be incorporated seamlessly into the workflow via integrated links with various service providers.