APR 22, 2013 2:32pm ET

Cloud Computing Makes Data More Valuable

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Mortgage data is more valuable when delivered through the cloud because several people can use the data at the same time.

That sounds like nonsense, I know, but think about cloud-based computing from this perspective: Data has almost no value unless it can be accessed.

In the past, call centers would close and borrowers had no way to get information about their accounts, or questions answered until the next business day. The data they needed could not be accessed—and was of little value to them until the call center opened and employees were available to field questions and answer them.

In contrast, the value of data is greatest, when it can be accessed in a secure manner, at anytime, anywhere, without limitation, by an unlimited number of people—simultaneously. And that’s what cloud computing, distilled of marketing hype and reduced to its bare essentials, provides to users.

If an employee for a mortgage servicer needs the information, he can access it. But so can a borrower or a member of the bank’s risks management team who wants to ensure regulations are followed to the letter. And they can drill down in the same information, print reports, statements, or read other documents.

It puts identical information in the hands of borrowers, and bank employees that need it to process, or service a loan. They use the data for different purposes—but they all have access to it.

The cloud is a mechanism through which loan originators and mortgage brokers can stay current on rates and loan programs. Borrowers can gain access to their accounts, make payments, ask questions, and gather information they need.

Spouses can go online to their lender and read the same information or review different information—one from the cozy confines of her home, the other from his smart phone while waiting for a flight home.

If deployed properly, mortgage brokers, for instance, can review rate and product information and disseminate it to clients. Or borrowers can read information from their mortgage servicer that affects them.

Cloud computing has the capability to ensure that the information employees need to satisfy clients is delivered on time, in the form that is most useful to them.  It delivers this benefit, though some of a lender’s employees may be on the road, some are in a branch office 1,000 miles away, and others are in a mortgage-servicing center in another state.

They can view the data and use it to complete their work, answer a borrower’s or a colleague’s question, or respond to their bosses’ request, concurrently, without delay. And they can do so, with confidence that the information is accurate and current.

At the same time, borrowers have access to the information in their loan files in case they have questions about the origination process, servicing, or something else.

Perhaps, not surprisingly, the needs of large lenders, the early adopters of cloud computing, are changing. They expect cloud-based systems to deliver more flexibility, a customizable experience, and a higher level of performance than in the past.

As these platforms become more flexible, the result will be leveraging cloud-based computing to build deeper, broader, and more loyal relationships with borrowers, mortgage brokers, and others through improved access to data.

That’s the cloud advantage.

Matt Strickberger is the managing partner of OnPoint PR and Consulting LLC, a public relations firm that represents lenders, servicers, technology companies and others. He was editor of Mortgage Technology magazine from 1997-2000. If you have comments or suggestions for future columns, email him at mstrickberger@onpoint-pr.com.

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