2013 Top Tech-Savvy Lenders and Servicers<br> List Revealed
No matter how sophisticated or advanced the technology, the mortgage industry’s automation tools are useless without an active and engaged user base. The 11th Annual Top Tech-Savvy Lenders and Servicers list commends mortgage companies that use technology to improve processes, provide exceptional customer service and increase business.
Mortgage Technology published the first Top Tech-Savvy list in 2003 and for the first eight years, the lenders named to the list were selected by MT’s editorial staff. Beginning in 2011, lenders and their technology vendors were asked to submit nominations to be considered for the list. The applications are reviewed and judged by the editorial staff, who selects the companies named to the annual list.
More changes came to the 10th annual edition of the list in 2012. Eligibility was expanded to include servicers and new perks were added for the companies that make the list: special recognition at the Mortgage Technology Awards Ceremony and the opportunity to vote for the finalists and winner of the Lenders’ Choice MT Award, which commends the vendor that offers the best customer service, value proposition and overall user experience.
This year’s Top Tech-Savvy Lenders and Servicers will vote for the 2013 Lenders’ Choice Award, and the list also debuts its new home, in the pages of National Mortgage News.
The Top Tech-Savvy Lenders and Servicers are mortgage companies small and large and range from regional mortgage bankers to national depositories. Still, they share a common thread in that they’re all committed to achieving technological excellence.
Benchmark Mortgage maintains an IT infrastructure that includes a private cloud for its loan origination system, a VoIP phone system and paperless underwriting. The Plano, Texas-based retail lender and servicer is also developing a big data analysis project to streamline the use of loan-level data.
BofI Federal Bank
BofI Federal Bank is a San Diego, Calif.-based branchless bank with 14 online brands, including BankofInternet.com. As part of its customer relationship management strategy, the bank uses a two-way flow of servicing and origination data to maximize loan performance tracking and refinance marketing opportunities.
Brentwood, Tenn.-based Churchill Mortgage uses an online training portal to help managers recruit and train local talent across its branch network. The retail lender uses online chat to connect with borrowers and recently deployed business intelligence software to improve its pipeline dashboard and reporting capabilities.
Moving its critical systems to the cloud has helped Envoy Mortgage improve technology ROI, decrease system downtime and provide an easier path for future expansion. The Houston-based retail lender and servicer also deployed a Web-based ticketing system to improve customer support communications.
First Choice Bank
The mortgage subsidiary of First Choice Bank, called First Choice Loan Services, uses its paperless processing to manage remote personnel and multiple fulfillment centers. To ensure quality control, the Morganville, N.J.-based lender generates real-time reports throughout the origination process.
First Guaranty Mortgage
First Guaranty Mortgage Corp. enhanced its wholesale channel with tools to track and generate reports on its third-party originators and allow TPOs to bulk upload loan file data. The Tysons Corner, Va.-based mortgage bank also transitioned to a new data center.
First Internet Bank
The online-only First Internet Bank posts online video biographies of its loan officers to help it build stronger customer relationships without face-to-face contact. The Indianapolis-based depository is also improving its website to provide easier access to borrower tools.
Freedom Mortgage specializes in originating VA-backed loans and uses proprietary origination workflow and electronic document management systems. The technology has been developed with an eye toward maintaining seamless integrations with third-party applications and helping the Mount Laurel, N.J.-based mortgage bank and servicer grow its origination volume and scale its business.
Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group
To expand its branch network from 13 to 33 locations over the course of three years, Ann Arbor, Mich.-based mortgage broker Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group deployed new origination workflows, branch automation technology and real-time status alerts that give borrowers and their real estate agents real-time status updates on their loans.
Online-only lender goodmortgage.com recently completed a server and desktop virtualization initiative that improves data security and integrity and enhances employees’ access to systems by providing remote access to desktops with a computer or tablet. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company also uses robust data mining tools to improve quality control, customer service and compliance.
GSF Mortgage Corp. recently implemented a data privacy management platform and it also has deployed enhanced email security tools and digital file upload portals. The Brookfield, Wis.-based retail and wholesale lender and servicer generates leads by advertising on rate table websites and is deploying a mortgage industry-specific CRM system.
Chicago-based Guaranteed Rate boasts that its online mortgage application lets borrowers submit personal information, obtain credit reports, shop for loan products and receive automated underwriting results in 15 minutes or less. The nondepository mortgage lender and servicer also uses business intelligence technology to manage its pipeline of loans between branches.
Hamilton Group Funding
By eliminating its disparate systems and using an end-to-end LOS, Hamilton Group Funding improved its ability to scale its business, while also reducing errors and other data integrity issues. By implementing custom screens and dashboards in its LOS, the Pace, Fla.-based retail lender has reduced loan production and staff training time lines.
Horizon Bank recently implemented a Web-based LOS and deployed specialized software to integrate it to both its core banking system and a bank-wide document imaging platform. In addition to enabling paperless mortgage processing, the imaging technology allows for document collaboration across all of the departments in the Michigan City, Ind.-based depository’s operation.
Inlanta Mortgage optimized its website for mobile users, including using location-based features that provide users with contact information and driving directions to the branch that’s closest to them. The Brookfield, Wis.-based mortgage banker also built a digital marketing library to provide loan officers with customized promotional materials.
The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency’s wholesale lending and mortgage servicing operations are enhanced with automated due diligence tools that perform post-closing and prepurchase loan reviews. The Boston-based state agency also developed a proprietary business intelligence system that captures data from all its systems to generate reports and perform analytics reviews.
Danvers, Mass.-based retail lender Mortgage Network develops its own proprietary technology, including a product and pricing engine, electronic document management system and a Web-based LOS that includes a module for borrowers to initiate loan applications. All of the systems are integrated to streamline the origination process.
Plaza Home Mortgage
Plaza Home Mortgage is a correspondent and wholesale lender based in San Diego, Calif. It uses technology integrated into its LOS to conduct automated compliance reviews and reduce the time it takes to meet various regulatory reporting requirements. The company also relies on paperless processing and video conferencing technologies to enhance collaboration with remote employees.
Online-only originator Quicken Loans bolstered its growing servicing portfolio with a proprietary analytics system that integrates into its servicing system of record. The Detroit-based company uses this system to predict loans in danger of delinquency and generate automated decisions to determine the best possible loss mitigation option.
Residential Credit Solutions
Fort Worth, Texas-based specialty servicer Residential Credit Solutions improved its loan onboarding processes with automated workflows that collect, compare and route mortgage file data and documents. The standardized processes it uses ensures regulatory compliance and assists with case management, borrower information requests and complaint resolution tasks.
Residential Finance Corp. provides its loan officers with social media training to help them develop their presence online, and borrower leads are handled with an automated management system. The Columbus, Ohio-based correspondent and retail lender and servicer also uses a custom online portal that lets borrowers upload documents and send two-way alerts with loan officers.
RMC Vanguard Mortgage
RMC Vanguard Mortgage is a correspondent and retail mortgage originator based in Houston that has been using Web-generated borrower leads for 15 years. It recently deployed a new LOS to better track compliance. Integrating its lead management tools and call center routing systems has helped achieve quick initial contact with borrowers and better management of its loan pipeline.
Sierra Pacific Mortgage
The integration that Sierra Pacific Mortgage built to connect its website and appraisal management technology was enhanced with tools that let borrowers order appraisals directly and receive real-time status updates. The Folsom, Calif.-based lender has correspondent, retail and wholesale origination channels and also recently began servicing loans.
By upgrading its virtual server and data storage infrastructure, Starkey Mortgage has reduced the number of physical servers and storage arrays that it uses and lets staff use thin-client computers. The Plano, Texas-based retail lender further reduced its energy expenses with high efficiency, row-based server cooling units and a low-voltage system that’s reduced lighting energy costs by 75%.
Stearns Lending developed a Web-based platform to provide job-specific training and testing tools to staff across its branch and fulfillment operations locations. The Santa Ana, Calif.-based lender and servicer also added automated rate lock and document preparation technologies to its TPO portal to help its brokers be more productive.
Supreme Lending launched a new intranet that includes position-specific home pages and tools and messaging capabilities that help its employees more easily communicate about HR requests and other tasks throughout the Dallas-based lender and servicer’s branch network. It’s also implemented technology to monitor loan officer licensing requirements and other branch management tasks.
By consolidating its disparate technologies and adopting an integrated LOS and servicing system of record, Union Bank captures data and documents once and routes the information across its lending operation. With this new infrastructure, the San Francisco-based depository plans to expand its portfolio of loan products and geographic footprint.
United Fidelity Funding
In response to the evolving underwriting demands in the mortgage industry, United Fidelity Funding Corp. implemented an end-to-end LOS to improve how its manages third-party borrower verifications and data. The Kansas City, Mo.-based retail and wholesale lender and servicer also employs paperless processing and an appraisal management system for its in-house appraisal desk.
United Wholesale Mortgage
United Wholesale Mortgage developed a proprietary “Account Success Report” that tracks and analyzes the loan quality, efficiency and production of its broker partners. Account executives at the Troy, Mich.-based wholesale lender provide mortgage brokers with monthly reports that give originators metrics to help them be more effective.
Wingspan Portfolio Advisors
While many lenders are expanding their businesses with new servicing operations, Carrollton, Texas-based specialty servicer Wingspan Portfolio Advisors recently began offering mortgage origination fulfillment services. It employs paperless processing and its new origination technologies integrate with Wingspan’s central data repository that’s used across its various business lines.
Wyndham Capital Mortgage
Charlotte, N.C.-based Wyndham Capital Mortgage develops custom business rules and workflows to enforce compliance protocols, keep data secure and provide borrowers with loan status updates. The online-only lender maintains an integration between its LOS and its phone system, CRM and marketing platform, website and data warehouse.