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Tech Advances Go on Despite Decreased Spending

 

Tech Advances Go on Despite Decreased Spending

Recent mortgage technology innovations

January 18, 2008

By COCO SALAZAR

photo of Coco Salazar
Despite a significant drop in technology spending projected for the mortgage industry, innovations, alliances and other activity continue. While most of the recent advancements are not groundbreaking, they generally reflect enhanced features for existing mortgage technology and increased interaction between vendors.

A 2007 survey on 330 mortgage lenders that was released Monday indicated that information technology spending this year will be much lower than previously anticipated, according to an announcement by the survey’s publisher, MORTECH LLC.

“Technology vendors will not escape the decimation of the lending market,” MORTECH owner Jeff Lebowitz said in the written statement. “Prior to the spread of the credit crisis, we anticipated that mortgage lenders would cut technology spending by 2 [percent to] 2.5 percent. With the demise and distress of major mortgage technology spenders, the decline in 2008 could be 10 percent or more from 2007 spending.

The forecast is a sharp contrast from the fact that mortgage technology spending has increased about 8 percent over the past three to five years — a growth rate one-third higher than spending on IT across all other U.S. industries, the announcement indicated.

“We have never seen the industry technology budgets being at such risk,” Lebowitz said, noting the annual survey is on its 20th year. “Most mortgage technology suppliers are pretty small — under $50 million in revenues. Mortgage technology providers will have to be pretty resourceful to weather this storm.”

Calyx Software announced it has added 12 mortgage service providers to the Calyx Network. The new providers include CCR, Credit Plus USA, Information Searching Co., RCR Credit, Land America Tax and Flood Services, Closing Docs, ProClose Platinum – Web Interface, PeirsonPatterson LLP, Hazard Insurance, Safeco Insurance, ComplianceEase, Equity Express Biweekly Servicing, ClosingPoint, and United Title Co.

SearchMyLoan.com announced its search and pricing engine now features CIC Mortgage Credit’s database of credit reports and related information. The integration makes it easier for mortgage bankers and brokers to find loan products that most effectively match up with borrowers’ needs.

InsideValuation recently launched a technology portal that reduces turnaround for valuation reports on commercial properties to roughly five days from 14 days, a press release said. The latest .NET technology automates non-critical points in the valuation process, reduces delivery time and includes a scoring model with demographic and economic information that assists in the quantification of collateral risk. The technology enables quicker turnaround by enabling appraisers to receive timely valuation requests and upload reports to InsideValuation’s Web site for customer retrieval.

A strategic alliance between Guardian Mortgage Documents and RoboDocs creates the first loan document solution for both the residential and commercial mortgage origination markets. Guardian, which provides residential document preparation, noted the addition of RoboDocs service of preparing commercial loan closing documents comes at a time when many residential originators are looking to expand their business to the commercial market and vice versa.

QuestSoft said its Compliance EAGLE, through an automated Plug-In, has been fully integrated with Dynatek’s MORvision loan origination system to “significantly” reduce potential risk exposure by providing immediate testing of loan files and correcting any noncompliance to federal, state and local laws. The Plug-In combines compliance services traditionally performed by multiple vendors, giving lenders one tool that can comprehensively handle all compliance needs.

Harland Financial Solutions has created a module for its Interlinq Loan Servicing system that automates the release of loan servicing. The Service Release Module supports the sale of loans by batch to each purchasing company. The tool helps reduce errors by allowing servicers to import loan information from text files and Microsoft applications, and, once the sale is processed, automatically creating and exporting general ledger entries to the accounting system. The tool can also create goodbye letters and follow-up ticklers.

Iron Mountain Inc. announced the launch of its Digital Record Center for Images, a hosted data repository powered by IBM Software that provides secure storage and quick access to scanned images, PDFs and other digital files. While Iron said it has long helped clients manage their physical records and convert them to digital files, the new digital-file-accessing service enables a more complete solution for managing the lifecycle of information.

Pinnacle Financial Corp. enhanced its eDiscovery capabilities and message archiving by using the NearPoint live content archiving solution to manage email accounts throughout its operations, NearPoint creator Mimosa Systems announced. Factors leading the residential and commercial mortgage lender to select NearPoint included reliable email archiving and retrieval, ability to increase efficiency of e-mail processes, and ease of installment and use.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York will be implementing Rockall Technologies’ STOC to manage the eligible securities and mortgage assets collateralizing advances to its member banks. Rockall, which noted its system was recently implemented at Wachovia and FHLB Boston, said the STOC provides an automated, proactive approach to the management and valuation of liquid and loan book collateral. Enhanced collateral tracking to help members maximize lending capacity was the reason cited for FHLBNY’s choice behind STOC.

GetSmart.com announced it received the 2007 Outstanding Achievement in Web Site Development Award for Financial Services due to its re-designed Web site. The LendingTree LLC unit claims to have 200 lenders in its network competing for prospective borrowers.

Scoring Solutions touted it recently provided an assessment for a large mortgage company’s risk modeling methodology, as well as its subprime credit and prepayment models to measure their performance with special focus on recent loan vintages and specific segments.

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