Posturing for Progress

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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take 5 Technically Speaking Mortgage Computer's chief Gordon Belnap offers perspective on the true role of technology in the lending space. M // What emerging trends in mortgage lending technology are on the horizon for the industry? Belnap // Technology has rapidly moved business forward at a quicker pace in the past decade than previous years. The excitement for tablets in loan origination coupled with the use of smartphones and other means for borrowers to apply for loans are ideas picking up steam in the mortgage industry. There is constant talk of a "paperless" society and going "green." Electronic signatures are becoming more common. Companies are considering more storage options by moving their data to the cloud-based systems. M // The economic collapse in 2008 affected every industry, especially the housing sector. How has Mortgage Computer's role evolved since the crisis? Belnap // It was apparent years prior to the problems in the economy that there were troubling signs on the horizon. The days of loose lending made it easier for many borrowers to obtain financing whom otherwise would not qualify. Mortgage Computer (MC) has not been affected by the economic downturn since the majority of our customers are more community portfolio lenders with a staff, which is not the aggressive commission-minded loan originators. 6 | The M Report "The downturn in the economy exposed all the faults and greed of companies trying to maximize profits by ignoring standards and loan quality." M // What is Mortgage Computer doing to address the wide array of policy issues, especially in the realm of compliance, which your company and its clients face in day-to-day business? Belnap // Mortgage Computer software was designed by a staff having years of firsthand mortgage lending experience with strong emphasis on quality loans and strict compliance prior to closing the loan and compliance after the closing. Within the software design are various stages to review the debt ratios, verify income, fraud tracking, checklist of items to review on each document, and a stacking order for how documents will be filed in the loan folder. The original software design of 38 years ago included an excellent collection program, a bankruptcy package, and a foreclosure package. These features were seldom used in past years but currently have been a priority issue. Many, if not most, software providers were not prepared for this turn. Mortgage Computer has since day one offered a total software package. MC was prepared for GEM, GPM, ARM, negative amortizing, commercial, credit lines, construction, and other features many just did not consider. Quality control and quality loans have been a strong feature of the software, and this helped our customers prevent many of the current problems of the day. M // On a national level, what housing market trends, both positive and negative, are you observing in the current real estate climate? Belnap // Over the years, technology was the key word, but technology does not replace a trained and competent staff. Technology is a tool, not the solution. Companies turned to credit scores and other means of technology to determine loan quality, and corners were cut by loan originators in the greed for more commission. Income and employment were verified, debt was ignored, and appraisals were the amount you needed, not the actual property value. The downturn in the economy exposed all the faults and greed of companies trying to maximize profits by ignoring standards and loan quality. The tide has turned and companies are returning to making decisions based on the facts and not on technology. The pendulum swung far to the left and now with the emphasis to make quality loans and clean up past mistakes, the pendulum is swinging too far to the right. This will result in a negative effect on the economy in the short run. M // What communication and leadership methods are you utilizing to help your team and your clients remain forwardthinking while operating in an unpredictable marketplace? Belnap // Since its inception, Mortgage Computer has placed emphasis upon a software product that totally integrates all functions of mortgage lending and in providing not only how to use the software, but also how to originate and service quality loans. Workshops have always been conducted, but most recently our company manuals are all online. Audio and visual sessions covering all the features of the software and how to utilize the software for maximum benefit are readily accessible by customers and staff. The home page of the software features helpful guides and announcements that are of interest to those in the mortgage lending arena.

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