Linn Cook is director of sales and marketing and senior
communications manager at LendingQB, a leading loan
origination software provider delivering customer solutions
that combine technology and good business practices.
LendingQB is a provider of 100 percent web-browser-based,
end-to-end loan origination software that offers residential
mortgage-banking organizations faster closing times and
reduced costs per loan. To learn more, visit lendingqb.com.
Reach Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org.
in Digital Lending
Customized user interfaces can maximize productivity
By Linn Cook
Each year, the mortgage industry comes ever closer to the fabled digital paperless mort- gage. The desire for a fully digital-mortgage process is driven by the recognition that
eliminating paper and reducing the time needed to
move the mortgage through the pipeline are the keys
to profitability and success.
The struggle has been that the technology advance-
Defining modular technology
ments consumers have become accustomed to, in-
cluding 24-hour mobile access and instant decisions,
have been slow to be adopted by the mortgage
industry. The primary driver of this delay is the legacy
infrastructure of the loan origination system (LOS)
many mortgage professionals are still using.
LOS vendors rely on a “jack of all trades” user-interface
(UI) approach that results in a complex, confusing
and error-prone workflow that is adequate for all but
advantageous to none. Instead, the LOS should be
reimagined as a modular framework that places each
type of user in a specific UI environment, allowing for
efficiency to be gained through focused interaction
with the LOS.
At its core, every LOS is a compromise. The technology
has to serve the needs of a wide variety of users. The
demands of a mortgage originator working with an
applicant are different from the needs of the compliance staff, which differ from the demands of the
secondary marketing staff. Traditionally, the LOS compensated for this by focusing primarily on the qualification of the loan — the underwriting and processing.
This results in a process that ensures a high-quality
loan product, but at the expense of usability by departments outside of underwriting and processing.
As the mortgage industry becomes more data-driven,
lenders can benefit from leveraging a more modular
approach to their LOS. Modularity refers to the development of role-specific modules of the LOS that provide
a specific user interface and workflow environment for
each type of user, such as originators, processors, underwriters, etc. In essence, instead of a one-size-fits-all
system, the LOS is customized to provide unique interfaces for a range of user groups.
All of these individual modules reside on top of a
centralized database with a core set of functions. This
ensures that all users maintain strict data integrity
and have access to a uniform set of tools. A mortgage
originator, for example, would have an originator-specific module built with only the fields and functions
that are needed for working with the borrower. This
would include loan applications, digital point-of-sale
tools, customer-relationship tools and data-verification services.
With this level of specificity and focus, originators
can increase productivity because they are only seeing and using the portions of the LOS that are most
relevant to them. When you extend this concept to
other mortgage professional roles, you can see how
modularity as a whole can create significant and lasting increases in productivity.
Employing digital modularity
The other significant benefit to a modular LOS is the
efficiencies it fosters when working in a completely
digital environment. Mortgage originators and the lenders they work with rely on the LOS as the epicenter
for automating, tracking, storing and processing loan
data at every step of the loan process.
The difference between a document-driven and a
data-driven loan environment is the ability to increase
productivity by utilizing “data-aware” automation to
eliminate manual processes. If the data shows that all
elements required under the Real Estate Settlement
Procedures Act (RESPA) are present on a loan application, for example, the LOS can automatically order a
Loan Estimate document. If the data shows that the
subject property is in a flood zone, the LOS can automatically order a flood report.
This type of data awareness can only exist in a purely
digital, data-driven environment. It allows mortgage
companies and other lenders to harness automation
to scale at a much lower cost.
Think about this: What if the originator, underwriter,
Benefiting from modularity
processor and others could all manage their parts in
tandem via different modules as a borrower’s data
drives the entire process? Using a focused UI, each user
would be able to identify and operate the functions
that are most relevant to their role, with an objective
to reduce errors and increase the speed of complet-
ing tasks. When coupled with data-aware automation,
mortgage professionals can originate more loans in
less time and at a reduced cost.
The mortgage process is highly fragmented and
requires the collaboration of many highly specialized
roles. A modular approach acknowledges this complexity and addresses it by fragmenting the LOS user
interface into specialized modules.
This design not only improves usability, but also
enhances the speed and accuracy of execution. Think
about the efficiencies gained when the mortgage originator, the underwriter and the processor can work
in a focused and streamlined environment. It’s like
giving glasses to someone who didn’t realize they were
nearsighted. The world becomes a much clearer place
to work in.
Compliance also is easier in a modular environment.
Compliance can be broken down into each module
and applied to the loan process incrementally. By the
time the loan reaches the compliance department, its
job is much easier because the loan will already have
been thoroughly vetted. The likelihood of loan buy-backs because of poor compliance become negligible,
to the point of being nonexistent.
n n n
Complete digital lending is on the cusp of becoming a
reality. Lenders, however, must leave behind the legacy
systems that fail to properly provide the technological environment necessary for digital lending to be
Technology must evolve to provide a true benefit
to mortgage professionals, and modularity is one step
on that evolutionary scale. Combined with data-aware
automation and compliance, mortgage companies and
lenders can eliminate manual processes, streamline
the user experience and have the confidence that their
loans are meeting the needs of investors. n
process is highly
and requires the
of many highly