Rahul Merchant, Fannie Mae's chief information officer, told attendees at the 11th Annual SourceMedia Mortgage Technology Conference in Orlando, Fla., that a variety of market factors will prompt lenders to look closer at certain types of technology. "Today there are lower earnings and capital scarcity, but there's also a need to operate in real time with better analytics, make productivity improvements, prevent security threats, and improve infrastructure," he said. So what impact will this have on information technology budgets? "In 2008, IT budgets are likely to grow slightly, but slower than in recent years," Mr. Merchant answered. "The Corporate Executive Board's CIO survey estimates that IT budgets will grow by 3.5% (1.5% above inflation). Further, Gartner projects a 3% increase over 2006." He predicted that lenders will be looking hard at technology to improve credit risk management, improve decisions through more precise and timely business information, implement early warning reports and credit loss metrics, make productivity/infrastructure improvements, and look toward architectural simplification. "Lenders still have to look to enable business growth," Mr. Merchant concluded. "So, they'll allocate a greater share of IT budget to business growth investments and innovation."

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