Mortgage Loan Origination & Processing Software Solutions | Mortgage VCO

Category Archives: News & Press



White Paper Released to Aid Mortgage Bankers in Cloud Adoption Strategy


June 6th, 2012 | Posted by Paul McQuade in News & Press

17-Page white paper outlines 10 things mortgage professionals should know before implementing a comprehensive cloud strategy with a focus on desktop virtualization and enabling a virtual or mobile workforce.

LAGUNA HILLS, CA (PRWEB) June 6, 2012 Acris Technology, the software development company behind Mortgage VCO, a full suite of cloud-based software applications, business and IT support resources for mortgage bankers and lenders, has released a new white paper featuring key benefits of implementing a comprehensive cloud strategy, leveraging best practices in desktop virtualization, paperless document management, and collaborative loan origination and processing. The 17-page white paper, titled "Is it Time to Put Your Mortgage Business in the Cloud? 10 Things You Need to Know Now", was written to help mortgage banking professionals balance the efficiencies and ROI benefits associated with the cloud, while avoiding the potential pitfalls inherent in any migration process.

Mortgage banking companies are actually very well suited for a cloud IT infrastructure, said Acris Technology President Richard Johnston. This white paper was developed to help mortgage bankers better understand the benefits of the cloud that are specific to their unique business requirements, from the unique perspective of someone that has been through the entire migration process in mortgage banking from A to Z.

The white paper is unique as it includes a running commentary by Martin Williams, the Founder/CEO of Millennia Mortgage, a mortgage banking company in Southern California that produced over $10 Billion in loans, leveraging the competitive advantages delivered by their cloud-based infrastructure. Williams is now the CEO of Acris Technology and is dedicated to making cloud IT technology and software available to any mortgage banking-related company through their suite of products and services known as Mortgage VCO.

VCO stands for Virtual Corporate Office, and our goal when we launched the Mortgage VCO suite was to make cloud technologies and comprehensive IT virtualization as affordable and painless to implement as possible, said Acris Technology CEO Martin Williams. We wrote this white paper to describe how the cloud significantly impacts each area of a mortgage banking operation and how it can introduce major increases in efficiency and productivity. Our message is that this is not pie in the sky technology. It's all available right now.

Here are a few of the areas the white paper explores:

  • The differences between SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS
  • Types of virtualization
  • How the cloud enables a virtual workforce
  • Cloud-enabled collaboration and paperless workflow
  • Savings in the cloud
  • Security, compliance and regulation in the cloud

The white paper can be downloaded at http://www.mortgagevco.com/10-things-whitepaper-offer

 

Life in the Cloud


January 26th, 2012 | Posted by Paul McQuade in Cloud Mortgage Technology, News & Press

Cloud Based Mortgage BusinessThis article originally appeared in the January issue of Tomorrow’s Mortgage Executive, written by Martin Williams, CEO Acris Technology-Mortgage VCO

Many people in the mortgage industry today are hearing and reading about cloud technology without having a clear understanding of what it is and what it means for their business. All they know is that ‘the cloud is where they need to be.

Those of us with some experience on this topic understand that the only thing new about cloud computing is the term itself. The Internet, in fact, is itself a ‘cloud’. So is the local power company. And yet, cloud computing does describe a very real thing happening – albeit slowly – in today’s mortgage industry. We have the potential now for anyone in any organization to be able to access all the tools and data they need, at any time, from anywhere, on nearly any device, without the concerns of owning, updating, maintaining and supporting expensive software applications. This is, in essence, what happens when you move your business into the cloud. I know, because I’ve seen it firsthand.

A Corporate Culture Built on Technology Development
When I started my own mortgage company back in 1995, Millennia Mortgage, I knew technology would play a major role. The predominant business model at the time was staffed independent loan agents in a regional office, sourcing business on their own. Our focus was on cash-out financing via 1st and 2nd TD loans. These types of loans were highly valued by the customer, easy to explain, and could be processed with relative ease. By deploying a marketing campaign consisting largely of direct mail and radio ads, we recommissioned our sales agents under a call center structure, fielding incoming phone calls from across the country, qualifying borrowers over the phone, and processing by mail and fax. We had effectively adopted the model of ‘loans-by-phone’ across state lines.

We first looked toward employing customer management and origination tools. Of course, there were plenty of mortgage software offerings and loan origination software systems to choose from, but none of them focused on the contact management or customer relationship management (mortgage CRM software) component of the sale. At the time, even generic stand-alone CRM tools were in short supply in the industry. There was ACT!, which many of our competitors were using, but we knew its limitations first hand, especially when it came to integration with loan origination software.

That’s when we began taking steps to develop our own loan origination software, which later would become our VCO Lend product. Initially, however, it began as a mortgage contact management application. Millennia was soon doing a large amount of volume with an average application pull-through ratio above 20 percent, and we needed a system that could manage all those contacts. Equipped with a college education in computer science, I started programming. I actually created our contact management software myself in Microsoft Access, as well as creating many of its design elements. (After a year and a half of this, however, I started hiring contractors – they were simply better than I!)

While we were developing our contact management solution, we began encountering another problem with the loan origination software we were using at the time. After we ran a borrower’s credit, there was no way to integrate the results into the loan origination software – someone actually had to type in all those credit card balances. By 1997 we had had enough, so we built a software module that allowed our staff to order credit and have the results integrated with our loan origination software. Streamlining this single task measurably improved our workflow, and helped define a company culture of innovation. Throughout our history, we embraced technology as a means to refine workflows, increase turn-times, create transparency, enhance customer relations, manage costs and ultimately yield a much better bottom-line.

Our next step was developing marketing campaign management and lead distribution tools. Pretty soon we had assembled an in-house software development team and were building custom loan origination software straight from the ground up. Around the same time, Millennia Mortgage moved to mortgage banking, so we began building tools within the loan origination software that would enable us to effectively manage all aspects of banking. Gradually we added business intelligence, workflow management, and business rules that governed security and data integration. A further step was integrating our system with third-party vendors, which created additional efficiency and time savings.

Piece by piece, we were creating from scratch all the major components of the mortgage production chain. At every step along this development path, we knocked down one inefficient task after another, shaving precious time off the mortgage production process while creating company-wide transparency

Enter the Cloud
By 2003, Millennia had grown from a mere startup to a robust company employing over 125 employees producing 400 loans a month. It was around this time where we began our migration to a virtual, paperless office engaging Citrix, the leader in desktop virtualization. Citrix allows businesses to virtualize both the server structure and the user experience. By centralizing our hardware and software in a securely protected co-location facility, we broke free of the physical constraints of traditional IT infrastructures and office space. Empowered with our proprietary electronic document management system, our staff could now login remotely from home or a laptop, have the identical user experience they’d expect while sitting at their office desk, but also have a client’s complete paperless loan file callable from directly within the loan origination software. We had enabled any employee with an Internet connection and a web browser to perform their job from any point on the globe. By all accounts, Millennia was operating in ‘the cloud’, so to speak.

This was right before the Orange County, California mortgage industry began experiencing explosive growth. The recession of 2001-2002 had set everyone back a bit, but by 2004 things in the mortgage business really started heating up. The competition for quality operations staff was extremely intense; the best were demanding up to $20,000 signing bonuses. By moving Millennia to a paperless, virtual environment, we didn’t have to rely solely on the Orange County labor market. Our operations were now cloud-based and no longer tethered to a geographic location, which meant we could hire anywhere. Aided by cost-of-living differences, we could bring on high-quality personnel living in places like Minnesota at a fraction of the price.

At the same time, our evolving technology platform allowed us to parse out our loan workflow with such refinement that we were able to contract out more and more work. While our competitors muddled with conventional linear workflows that were labor intensive and high cost, we were able to automatically assign tasks commensurate with pay grade, thereby maximizing the utility of highly compensated staff. For instance, business rules and queuing logic within our loan origination software system ensured processing assistants received the bulk of the heavy lifting, while processors and underwriters could focus on work more in line with their level of expertise. Underwriters and assistants were hired on a contract basis, and paid on a per task basis, to engage at times of peak production, effectively responding to production backlogs and keeping turn-times inside of 24 hours. Our self-assigning queuing technology would email contractors, enticing them with variable bonus incentives that were tracked, reported upon and tallied for payroll accounting.

In a 24/7 environment, contractors could work on their own time and didn’t have to quit their day jobs – they could work at night from home. By staffing with full time employees to meet production lows, and engaging contractors to manage the surges, we achieved a high level of staff-production utility. Everything – all the data, documents and software – stayed on our system. The underwriters couldn’t download anything or print anything. They didn’t need to. When the underwriters’ analysis came back in the morning, everything was stipped out, and the checklists and findings were handled by our processors and assistants. Everything happened electronically.

Meanwhile, each Millennia ops staff member had his or her own pipeline management screen within the loan origination software system. At a glance they could quickly see what needed to be done and done first, whether it was requesting a demand, ordering an appraisal, opening up title and escrow, signing off on a satisfied condition, or anything else. At the same time, our assistants, configured into three levels, would track down the multitude of conditions on a file, including making borrower contact for outstanding key documents, a benefit the sales agents truly appreciated. Our development of task and file queuing, empowered with paperless, allowed us to move away from the linear structure of file management so multiple people were able to work on the same file at the same time. This created even greater staff efficiencies, because there was less waiting around for something else to happen before someone could get to work on the file.

In 2004 we embarked on the last key component on the underwriting side: an automated underwriting and pricing engine. Fortunately, one of our investors, GMAC, granted us a large sum of money to invest in this technology. We interviewed all the prevalent vendors at the time, but rather than lease their technology, we opted to purchase the code and further engage them to build our first generation AUS just the way we wanted it, completely integrated with our proprietary loan origination software.

With exceptional ease, we could take a borrower profile and come back with all the different loan programs that the customer qualified for, stacked, conditionally approved and priced side by side. Once a loan product was selected, it was downloaded into the loan origination software along with the loan terms, end price, and a conditional loan approval. Callbacks to the AUS were facilitated at the click of a button, enabling underwriters to routinely validate approvals and pricing in the midst of guideline and pricing changes. Approval certs were produced and loaded directly into the paperless loan file, while automated AU integrations for certification were maintained with key industry investors.

What were the results of implementing a virtual ‘cloud’? These innovations, over the course of an 18-month development and implementation period, ultimately shortened the loan life cycle by 40 percent, reduced the costs of operations staff by 35 percent, doubled loan volume, and improved profitability as a function of basis points by 33 percent. Loan agents were thrilled with turn-times and accountability, customers were happy, underwriters were satisfied with controls, processors were funding over 100 loans per month, managers could lead, and everyone was making more money.

By 2005, 60 percent of Millennia’s operations staff were working remotely from home, plus 20 percent of our sales force. We had grown to doing business in nearly every state and had a fully-integrated advanced call center telephony solution. We were one of the first companies to develop electronic loan delivery to secondary market investors. And from all the evidence we could gather, Millennia Mortgage had become the first end-to-end paperless mortgage banking operation in the industry. While we didn’t call it that at the time, without our ‘cloud’ technology, none of this would have been possible.

By the time Millennia shuttered its lending operations in 2007 – an event tied directly to market forces – the company’s staff of 250 people were producing upwards of 800 retail loans a month. Regardless of Millennia’s fate, I knew, as did many of my colleagues, that we had something special with our technology. Acris Paperless Solutions started out in 2005 as simply an electronic document management company, and in 2011 we changed the name to Acris Technology, incorporated all of Millennia’s technology, and launched Mortgage VCO, a comprehensive and affordable suite of cloud-based, mortgage office management products available to lenders nationwide. It includes the mortgage loan origination software system we built from scratch, VCO Lend, as well as a desktop virtualization solution including MS Windows ®, MS Office ®, an integrated IP Telephony solution, paperless document management software and electronic signatures.

So while I’m no longer running my own mortgage company, I’m passionate about helping other lenders realize the full benefits of cloud technology – a virtual, automated, paperless mortgage office, without any of the development headaches we went through. You might imagine that when I talk to these lenders, one of most compelling things I can say is that I’ve lived in the cloud myself. And let me tell you, the view from up there is amazing.

Martin Williams is CEO of Laguna Hills, California-based Acris Technology, the company behind Mortgage VCO, a full suite of cloud-based software applications and business support resources for the mortgage industry.

For a PDF of this article go to http://www.progressinlending.com/TME0112/TME0112-43.pdf

 

Acris Launches VCO Airlift to Promote a Cloud-Based Future


October 11th, 2011 | Posted by Paul McQuade in Cloud Mortgage Technology, News & Press

Mortgage technology provider launches consulting service to demonstrate how mortgage companies can transition to a virtual office with little to no change to their existing software

Laguna Hills, CA (PRWEB) October 11, 2011

Acris Technology, the software development company behind Mortgage VCO, a full suite of cloud-based software applications and business support resources for mortgage bankers and lenders, has launched a new consulting service designed to help lenders and other financial service companies build an entirely cloud-based virtual corporate office. Named VCO Airlift, the new consulting program will identify the specific steps a lender needs to undertake to run a compliant, scalable, paperless, virtualized mortgage office without the expense and complexity of on-site servers, software, maintenance and upgrades, while taking into account the company's existing software and business needs. Airlift will also pinpoint the savings in dollars that lenders will realize by freeing themselves from on-site servers and legacy systems and migrating to a virtual environment.

Airlift specifically leverages lessons gained since Acris Technology has been managing and hosting virtualized platforms since its inception in 2005. Earlier this year, Acris Technology launched VCO Desk, a virtual office platform tailored specifically for the mortgage industry. Through a secure Citrix environment, VCO Desk enables racks of servers to be replaced by an array of hosted, load balanced virtual servers, allowing desktop users remote access to all of a company's applications and data while providing greater IT power, scalability and security. Developed and refined over the course of years, VCO Desk had been in use privately for years by Laguna Hills, California-based Millennia Mortgage to process over $10 billion in funded loans.

"Everyone is talking about cloud computing, yet it is not clearly understood by many small and mid-sized lenders in a way that makes it actionable," says Martin Williams, CEO of Acris Technology. "Because we have 'been there, done that' with our own virtual office platform, VCO Desk, it occurred to us that we can guide others who are weighing this transformation but aren't sure how to get there. We're calling it VCO Airlift because it is designed to 'lift' companies into a cloud-based environment, where so much more is possible."

While some additional expense and equipment may be required to build a totally cloud-based mortgage office - such as procuring sufficient high-speed Internet service and configuring dual monitors for staff, for example - virtualization allows lenders to save an enormous amount of money that is normally spent on IT staff and on-site, physical servers, which typically handle email, database, file storage and other functions. In comparison, a virtual corporate office uses secure, remote servers to handle all of a company's IT needs, while allowing staff to use emails, files, electronic documents, loan origination software and customer relationship management (CRM) tools just as they normally would. In addition, in most cases, lenders do not have to give up any of their current applications or software to place their business in the cloud.

Once a lender signs up for Airlift, Acris consultants will perform a thorough analysis of the lender's existing technology infrastructure and software applications and return with a clear set of steps indicating what the lender needs to create a virtual office, what challenges specific to the lender may exist, and the different options that are available. Participants in Airlift are under no obligation to buy Acris Technology products or services, but will benefit from a thorough report and access to online tools and resources for moving their business into the cloud.

"With mortgage rates at all-time lows, now is an opportune time for many lenders to be considering a cloud-based future," says Richard Johnston, president of Acris Technology. "Right away, they get greater data storage with automatic backups, better security and unlimited scalability to handle an increase in business - all with lower overhead. But they also get the ability to leverage mobile technology, add remote staff, and more easily manage today's tough compliance challenges through a single, common platform."

According to Johnston, the direct and indirect benefits of moving a company's mortgage operations into the cloud include:

  • Elimination of all or nearly all on-site IT costs and staffing
  • Reduced IT complexity
  • Greater scalability of IT functions and data storage
  • Improved data security
  • Greater control over a company's workflow, files and customer relationships
  • Integration of all communications, including emails and phone calls, into the mortgage process
  • Removal of all geographical boundaries from a lender's hiring criteria

Attendees can learn more about VCO Airlift at Acris Technology's Mortgage VCO booth 1201 at the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Conference and Expo in Chicago. Acris Technology will also be demonstrating VCO Desk, which delivers a Windows desktop environment to any computer, laptop, iPad or tablet PC with a high-speed Internet connection and is able to host practically any third-party or proprietary software. VCO Desk is part of Acris Technology's Mortgage VCO suite of solutions, which includes cloud-delivered virtual desktops, sophisticated loan origination and processing software, paperless document storage, digital signature technology, IP telephony, and mortgage-specific consulting and IT services.
About Acris Technology

Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Laguna Hills, California, Acris Technology is a technology provider offering custom software development and a full range of IT services and infrastructure support. Its flagship product, Mortgage VCO, is a virtual corporate office solution that provides all the necessary software and tools to run a completely paperless, cloud-based mortgage office, enabling clients to realize increased productivity, shorter loan life cycle times and reduced expenses. The virtual suite includes loan origination and processing software, paperless electronic document management (EDM), digital e-signature tools, IP telephony, virtual desktops with Microsoft Office® and Outlook®, plus software customization and development services, IT, telephony and Citrix® virtual office consulting. For more information, visit http://www.mortgagevco.com.

###

 

Acris Technology Launches Mortgage VCO, the Mortgage Industry’s First Complete Virtual Office Solution


July 14th, 2011 | Posted by Paul McQuade in News & Press

Cloud-delivered software suite allows lenders to slash IT and office expenses and run an entirely paperless mortgage business - including loan processing, customer relationship management (CRM) and integrated telephone communications - in a secure, centrally-managed virtual environment

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) July 14, 2011

Acris Technology, formerly Acris Solutions, a software development company and provider of paperless technology for mortgage bankers and lenders, today unveiled Mortgage VCO, an end-to-end, cloud-based "virtual corporate office" suite of software applications, IT and consulting services that enable any mortgage lender to run a compliant, scalable, paperless mortgage business without the expense and complexity of on-site servers, software, maintenance and upgrades. The announcement was made at the 39th Annual Western Secondary Market Conference in San Francisco.

Developed and refined over a period of 12 years, Mortgage VCO had been in use privately for years by Laguna Hills, California-based Millenia Mortgage to process over $10 billion in funded loans and is now available to mortgage bankers, regional and community banks, credit unions, and other mortgage lenders. Mortgage VCO's suite of solutions includes cloud-delivered virtual desktops, sophisticated loan origination and processing software, paperless document storage, digital signature technology, IP telephony, and mortgage-specific consulting and IT services. As a virtual, cloud-based office solution, Mortgage VCO drastically reduces lenders' IT costs so they can focus on what matters: closing more loans in less time. It also removes all geographical boundaries from a lender's hiring criteria and integrates all communications among all parties - including emails and phone calls - into the mortgage production process, enabling ultimate transparency and accountability within a lender's operations. Lenders simply need a high-speed Internet connection to run Mortgage VCO.

“The enormity of the changes sweeping through the mortgage industry is having a fundamental effect on how lenders do business," said Richard Johnston, president of Acris Technology. "If there was ever a time to reinvent the mortgage office, this is it. For the first time, lenders can have one office solution that does everything they need it to do and more - including a completely integrated communications platform that provides total control over leads and call campaigns, and the ability to run an entirely paperless operation. Simply put, Mortgage VCO makes lenders' lives easier and more productive."

The Mortgage VCO suite begins with the VCO Desk platform, which delivers a Windows desktop environment to any computer, laptop, thin client, iPad or tablet PC with a high-speed Internet connection. VCO Desk also includes the Microsoft Office® suite and MS Exchange® Server. Any third-party or proprietary software can also be hosted and delivered through VCO Desk's secure Citrix® environment. Each of the five separate components described below can be added individually or together as part of the integrated suite:

  • VCO Lend - Loan origination and processing software that lets lenders enjoy increased productivity from their sales and processing teams, get real-time visibility into their operations and staff, reduce errors and ensure complete, compliant loan files. Designed for a compliance-driven marketplace, VCO Lend features highly-advanced task parsing and file queuing technology, custom rules-based workflow management, real-time performance reporting, incentive-based compensation, lead tracking and distribution, and comprehensive secondary marketing tools. VCO Lend allows multiple people to collaborate on the same file at the same time, improving turn times from application to funding. VCO Lend is packed with features yet can be fully customizable to a lender's unique business needs.
  • VCO File - An easy-to-use paperless document management and hosted storage solution that integrates seamlessly with VCO Lend and other loan origination systems, VCO File saves time, money, and eliminates the need for on-site servers and file cabinets, enabling instantly-searchable digital file sharing anywhere, anytime.
  • VCO Sign - A digital electronic signature tool that uses public key encryption to ensure security, turbo-charging a lender’s pre-disclosure and document signing processes.
  • VCO Link - Provides seamless integration links with a variety of title, escrow, flood, credit, appraisal management, compliance and other settlement service providers - plus the ability to integrate with most pricing or automated underwriting engines.
  • VCO Voice - Based on IP-PBX technology, VCO Voice integrates call center phone service capabilities into the mortgage production process, with features such as a CRM-driven dialer that provides click-to-dial capabilities directly from a borrower's file and the ability to have a borrower's loan file appear on the loan officer’s screen when the borrower calls. Integrated call reporting ensures company-wide accountability and performance monitoring.

Mortgage VCO also provides a full range of integrated IT, technology and managed services, infrastructure support, customer training, and software customization, all tailored specifically to mortgage lenders. Mortgage VCO was originally developed by Millennia Mortgage, which has been processing loans in a paper-free environment since 2003. Acris Technology was founded to market the continually-developing proprietary software technology to the industry.

"It's important to understand that while Mortgage VCO is new to the market commercially, it is a tried and proven platform that benefited from full-time developers and mortgage banking professionals, working side-by-side for many years - with innovation and process improvement as two of our primary core values," said Martin Williams, CEO of Acris Technology. "We believe it's the ultimate complete office solution for mortgage lenders that want to minimize overhead costs and IT complexity, increase efficiency and improve business processes."

For more on the Mortgage VCO story, visit http://www.mortgagevco.com/our-story.

About Acris Technology
Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Laguna Hills, California, Acris Technology is a technology provider offering custom software development and a full range of IT services and infrastructure support. Its flagship product, Mortgage VCO, is a virtual corporate office solution that provides all the necessary software and tools to run a completely paperless, cloud-based mortgage office, enabling clients to realize increased productivity, shorter loan life cycle times and reduced expenses. The virtual suite includes loan origination and processing software, paperless electronic document management (EDM), digital e-signature tools, IP telephony, virtual desktops with Microsoft Office® and Outlook®, plus software customization and development services, IT, telephony and Citrix® virtual office consulting. For more information, visit http://www.mortgagevco.com.

 

Welcome!

The Mortgage VCO blog covers mortgage industry information, loan origination and processing trends and best practices, process improvement, cloud desktop virtualization and more. Keep up with the latest news and info by subscribing below.

FREE White Paper


Is it Time to Put Your Mortgage Business in the Cloud?

10

Important things


You need to know!

Download our FREE White Paper
Download our FREE White Paper