While mortgage lenders are seeing thin margins ahead, they are nevertheless spending 8% more on technology than they did last year, according to Mortech 2006, the 19th survey of lender behavior and business use of technology.The study shows that the mortgage industry's information technology spending continues to be one-third higher than spending on IT across all U.S. industries, with most tech spending being done by the large lenders. High on lenders' priority lists, according to Mortech founder and principal Jeff Lebowitz, are mobile computing and wireless; managing by modeling, particularly via automated valuation models, pricing systems, and risk management; building more functionality into customer-facing websites; and increased use of proprietary underwriting systems. The study suggests an increasing "digital divide" between lenders that apply technology to run their businesses more effectively and those that do not.

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