« CHOICES continued from page 91
From online payments to the transmission of legal documents, to online
delivery of client-sensitive data and
confidential materials, technology is
the backbone of running a successful
regional or national brand.
The challenge for businesses, including for mortgage brokers and originators
who must approve, sign and process
various transactions from desktop
computers or mobile devices, rests with
finding an affordable and secure means
of running IT.
Businesses typically have two options:
Use an in-house system or opt for a
managed-services provider. Each choice
is markedly different in cost, time, quality and consistency. It is one of the most
critical decisions a lender, broker or loan
originator can make.
With the first option, mortgage brokers
and bankers must recruit, interview,
hire, train and assemble an in-house
IT department. This involves buying
hardware, servers and backup equipment, as well as hiring round-the-clock
personnel necessary to protect and
strengthen a company’s presence
online. This option is, to put it mildly,
extremely expensive. Imagine, for
example, the scope and cost of that
undertaking, particularly for a national
financial institution with branches across
the nation. In hours alone, the cost to
build such an organization is staggering.
There is risk with this approach, as
well. While a business is putting the IT
department together usually over the
course of several months, a company
is vulnerable to data loss, theft,
breaches and also possibly risks violating rules and regulations. To loan originators, mortgage brokers and staff, the
message should be simple: Building
an internal IT department with salaried
employees, who draw health insurance
and other benefits, is neither practical
Conservatively, the average annual
cost per worker is about $100,000.
That must be multiplied by a factor of
50 to 200 for a national company with
offices throughout the United States.
The numbers are prohibitively costly,
even for organizations with substantial
budgets. Businesses of any size have
other economic pressures, conflicting
demands from executives, shareholders,
marketing representatives and clients
Mortgage bankers and brokers as well
as their affiliates need two things: a group
of experienced executives to run a business and finance deals, complemented
by IT experts who understand and fulfill
their duties without interruption.
A better way
The second option is to retain an
experienced and credible, managed
IT provider. This choice has several
advantages. There aren’t the overheads
and time associated with building an
in-house operation. A business can
outsource its entire IT function or only
parts of it, and ask vendors to set up the
entire system for them.
Outside providers have hosted websites for years but now offer a variety
of services. They can be contracted to
provide the hardware, often charging
a flat rate for equipment and warranty
services. This takes the pressure off of
companies from regularly updating the
equipment. These providers also are
adept at providing the latest technologies in the least amount of space, so
the office isn’t taken over by IT equipment. With cloud computing, a team
of experts hosts the software and
applications, enabling managers to
focus on their businesses. Managed IT
providers often tailor their services to fit
the specific size and needs of a business.
Taking the option of managed IT
operations often is the easiest and fastest way to enhance productivity and
reduce costs without compromising
quality. Mortgage companies can use
the savings to invest in their existing
employees, who are the most valuable
resource for any company. The economic
recovery depends on these workers.
They are the center of the residential
and commercial mortgage industry.
Mortgage brokers and bankers are
busy people with crucial obligations
to uphold. Successful loan originators
typically have an incredible mastery of
detail. They must understand all the
nuances — market by market and
city by city, sometimes even street by
street — to determine pricing, long-term
valuation and economic variables. This
mastery is fundamental to under writing
and loan closing.
Loan originators must review and
collate voluminous amounts of physical
material, such as purchase agreements,
lending terms, leasing obligations, insur-
ance provisions, commission fees, and
tenant and owner responsibilities.
Because all of these have a digital
corollary, is it possible to do the job of
a mortgage broker or originator, and
also run an in-house IT department?
The latter comes with the day-to-day
activities of maintaining a website and
ensuring that the most commonly used
systems, such as e-mail, work properly.
IT professionals are also busy. They
are responsible for managing all of this
digital information, including hosting
the website; guaranteeing that the sys-
tems work always; and having disaster-
recovery mechanisms, encryption and
firewalls, and 24-hour, seven-days-a-week
oversight; among many other jobs.
Working in the mortgage industry or
other real estate business involves two
domains, the physical and the virtual.
The virtual domain acts as the online
destination for current and prospective
clients, media, analysts and individual
accounts. It also provides users with a secure means to review specific financial info-mation. To do all this without interruption or
delay is the job of the IT expert.
This is a choice bet ween the in-house
model, which typically can be expensive and difficult to maintain, and the
flexibility of using a managed-services
provider. For more entrepreneurial
entities and large companies that
preserve the spirit of a startup, the
option of having a managed-services
provider can be affordable, adaptable
• • •
Making the right IT choice can lead to
renewed success for loan originators,
mortgage brokers and other indus-
try experts. After choosing a credible IT
services provider, mortgage professionals
can concentrate on today’s priorities:
To conduct business, finalize transac-
tions, win new customers and market
Technology is crucial in this equation.
It is vital to ensure all parties communicate with one another, in a managed
way, of course. •
Michael Hosey is the founder and president of My Instant Guru ( myinstantguru.com), a leading provider of managed information-technology services, cloud-computing solutions, voice over Internet protocol, technical consulting, hosting and other customized
forms of technology. Reach Hosey at (877) 430-GURU.
92 Scotsman Guide Residential Edition | scotsmanguide.com | February 2014
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