NOV 29, 2012 2:58pm ET

New Mortgagebot/Avista Exec Reaching Out to More Industry Users

NOV 29, 2012 2:58pm ET
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William Neville, who is overseeing Davis+Henderson’s Mortgagebot and Avista origination technologies going forward as the new president of D+H USA, is looking to start by helping his company grow market share among industry users.

“We’re very focused on organic growth,” said the former D+H board member, when asked about plans for the company’s U.S. mortgage-related business.

Neville added that, in the longer term, the company also plans to look at new technology product areas. “We’ll even look at acquisitions,” he said.

But in the near term, when it comes to housing finance, what the company has been working on is the next phase of integration between Avista and Mortgagebot.

He said customers using the Mortgagebot point-of-sale technology have shown interest in the loan origination system capabilities Avista can provide and vice versa.

“We’re going to finish that off. We have almost 1,200 community banks using Mortgagebot point of sale and over 10% are showing significant interest in the Avista LOS,” he said.

Integration between the two is already well underway and is largely transparent to users, Neville said.

“The only changes they see is not having to rekey,” he said, noting that both technologies operate well as standalone systems but their file sharing is being improved. There is “a lot of pent-up demand” for origination technology that can run in a web-hosted environment, he said.

When asked about pricing, he said there are both standalone and enterprise models available.

“There are a lot of [operational and pricing] efficiencies in having them both together.”

Mortgagebot will be the key product because its more than 1,100 customers represent a larger group, he said. The company has been consistently growing since the company acquired it. When the company acquired it, it had less than 1,000 customers, said Neville, who was D+H’s only U.S. director at the time.

When asked about Scott Happ, president of Mortgagebot, who is leaving to pursue other interests, Neville said he appreciates Happ’s help in easing the transition by serving in an advisory role until the end of the year.

The company has been pleased with both products’ record-setting subscription and transaction volumes in terms of processing applications, which has been largely fed by heavy refinance volumes, said Neville.

Banks have been doing a lot in this area and it “speaks to the health of that industry and the interest rate environment that we’ve been in,” he said.

Community banks in particular are customers that the company would like to court, and are a business sector Neville has had some experience with.

“I’m really excited to be back with the community banks,” he said, referring to his time as president of Bisys, a core technology provider for community banks. He noted that smaller financial institutions are a growth opportunity in the U.S. market that does not have an equivalent in Canada, where D+H is based and large financial institutions dominate the market.

Neville said company research shows there are 6,000 “addressable” banks and credit unions within the asset-size range D+H targets as customers.

“There is a lot of room to grow for a long time” in this market, he said. “It doesn’t appear the community bank industry is shrinking at all. It is healthy, a great market to be in.”

To address these customers, D+H has been “looking at everything that allows them to compete with the big guys,” Neville said, noting that this generally involves technology offerings that are not capital intensive.

Neville said the company seeks to serve not only more residential lenders, but also to provide automation that supports other related financial services.

For example, Mortgagebot has introduced POS technology for consumer loan origination, he said. D+H also has a commercial loan origination software package used both in Canada and the U.S. by larger financial institutions.

Neville, whose experience includes work with back-office software in Citi’s hedge fund administration unit, said there also might be some “acquisitions in certain areas that provide services to banks.”

This could include lending, compliance and deposit-related automation that could operate in a software-as-a-service or a cloud environment, without the need to install technology on servers, he said.