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Jim Dunkerley is the founder and president of FirstFunding,
a privately held, non-depository company offering warehouse financing and related services to non-delegated and
delegated correspondent lenders, community banks and
credit unions. Reach him at email@example.com.
Is Your Information Managing You?
Verifying, analyzing and harnessing mortgage data requires planning
By Jim Dunkerley
The number of technology platforms and the amount of data utilized in the mortgage industry has become staggering over the past few years. Consider all of the data systems used by mortgage professionals on a regular
basis: loan origination software, consumer relationship
management platforms, automatic underwriting systems, electronic application apps, online third-party
vendor portals, closing-document and disclosure
These are just a few of the primary systems utilized
in a typical mortgage lending process. The list goes on
and on. Although there are many systems, all of them
are driven by and made useful through one common
The power of the data you collect and manage, both
inside your own systems and from business partners
and vendors, comes from how it can be utilized to
help you manage and grow your business. Can your
company harness this power? Can you, the mortgage
originator, manage your technology and data to grow
Collecting and validating
Many companies are great at collecting information, but
may not be good at exporting and managing that data.
Technology upgrades to address market changes and
regulatory compliance burdens have become increasingly common, and run the gamut from mobile apps
to entirely new systems. All of these are designed to
collect and use data, but that data still must be sourced
from multiple original locations at different times.
Loan originators and processors get data from the
borrower, as well as the borrower’s employer, bank and
credit companies, etc. The title vendor gets information
from the processor and/or a wholesale lender. The loan
underwriter gets data from the loan officer and processors. Again, the list goes on and on. Unfortunately,
the default focus for most mortgage professionals
today is expediency for the task at hand.
Many companies haven’t put much thought into the
information they are gathering. They have no plan for
validating the data they collect and communicating
it throughout their systems that need access to that
information. What these companies need is a streamlined technology process that will collect, validate,
communicate and report data while also allowing for
Do you have such a process in place in your company?
Ask yourself the following questions to get an idea:
n Is your data exportable?
n Has your data been validated?
n Do you capture data from image documents or just
retain the images?
n Is your exported data accurate and verifiable?
n Is your data secure and accessible — to you, your
vendors and your trading partners?
n Do you analyze your data and look for trends?
Data verification can save you and your team significant time because, as the old saying goes, “Garbage
in, garbage out.” To avoid adding more garbage to the
system, when you capture data, you should analyze it
and use it to identify errors and train for accuracy.
When you utilize your data to build efficiency and
accuracy within your business you will begin to create a culture where data is entered once and verified
often. Verifying data elements for accuracy and correcting where necessary takes less time and is less
risky than re-entering the same data multiple times.
Make it a regular part of your vendor-management
plan to ask your business partners what data they can
export or make available to you. Then assign staff to
analyze the data collected. Something as simple as
validating data against supporting document images
can produce amazing efficiency benefits.
You also should devote some time to determining
how you could mine your own data. Can you look back
at data from all loans from the past 10 years to find
opportunities or valuable lessons that will help you in
the future? All of the data you collect has the potential to show you where you have strengths and weak-nesses in your business.
It does little good to gather data that never gets
analyzed or used to improve your business, so data that
is not readily exportable from your system really limits
its usefulness. Routing or uploading pdf images is not
the same as exporting data derived or supported by
those pdf images.
A pdf image of an e-mail evidencing communication with your borrower, for example, will contain a
date, but for that date to be included in your system,
it must be entered into your system as data somehow.
If you don’t then validate this rekeyed data as complete and accurate, exporting it can create more work
for the receiver or for your staff, who then must correct the data and retransmit. Inaccurate, incomplete
data diminishes value for all subsequent internal and
Creating a data plan
Although data accuracy and security is critical, it
should not be where your data-use strategy stops.
Mortgage companies can benefit from leveraging
technology and data to help their risk management
plans and improve future operations. Originators can
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