Managing the policy pipeline
■ n The mortgage industry is heavily regulated.
■ n Tracking policies and procedures can be
■ n Policy-management systems allow policies to
be indexed and searched.
■ n Expiring policies can be updated or discarded.
■ n Small companies can access useful software
through subscription services.
Paul Dempsey is the director of marketing at 360factors. He
has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, branding,
product development, and interactive and e-commerce management within the financial services, software-as-a-service
and manufacturing space. Reach him at (512) 610-7101 or
Remove the Compliance Burden
New software tools make policy management far easier
even for small mortgage companies
By Paul Dempsey
Mortgage originators are unique in the financial sector of the economy. In many other industries, a few huge cor- porations dominate the market, with
smaller companies and independent professionals
filling in the gaps.
While there are some major players in the mortgage
industry, a large share of mortgages are originated by
smaller businesses as well as independent individuals.
Mortgages are a key piece of the economy because of
the secondary market. Ensuring that every mortgage is
in full compliance is of vital importance.
It is easy for a nationwide company with thousands of employees to spend millions on a policy-management system. Making a similar investment is
much more difficult for small businesses or individuals.
Governance, risk and compliance technology has
finally matured and there are now policy-management
systems available via a software-as-a-service model.
The software isn’t purchased by users. It is simply
subscribed to as a service.
Instead of making a major technology investment,
mortgage originators can subscribe to the cloud solution and pay a much smaller service cost every month.
That still leaves one question: What benefits does such
a system provide to the organization?
Inaccessible or inconvenient
Everyone in the financial industry understands the importance of compliance. Failing at compliance is unacceptable. It can result in heavy fines, loss of reputation
and business and, ultimately, reduced profits. Every
organization has policies in place to ensure compliance.
The problem is that these policies too often exist
only on paper. Policies are treated as if they are a mere
formality, and the policies are not reflected in the
actual work processes of the organization.
One major reason these policies are handled this
way is that they are inaccessible or inconvenient to
track. Another problem is that the policies are often
outdated. A policy may have been written years ago,
and may no longer be applicable or acceptable.
What policy-management systems do, in effect, is
give life to policies. They accomplish this by removing all the obstacles which impede adoption into the
company’s culture, and they also ensure that the policies reflect current business realities. These goals are
accomplished through tools, technologies, and methodologies built within governance, risk and compliance
Lifecycle of policies
Policy-management systems revolve around the life-
cycle of policies. They ensure that policies are always
relevant and updated. These systems begin with the
first step — formation of the policies. Every policy doc-
ument can be managed and shared within the system.
This means that all the relevant parties can collaborate on the same policy documents seamlessly and
create policies that are acceptable and beneficial to
all departments. That is just the start. Once a policy
has been adopted, the next step is to ensure that it is
shared with everyone.
Once a policy is available in the policy-management
system, the system administrators can choose who can
view it, who can edit it and who can share it. This
ensures that all policies are accessible by the people
who need them, but they cannot edit anything they
do not have permission to edit.
An important part of this step is accessibility and
convenience. The reality of policy management is that
if employees actually are going to use the policies,
they need to be able to access them conveniently.
Going through many different pages of documents to
find the relevant policy is not convenient.
Policy-management systems allow policies to be
indexed and searched. If anyone wants to know what
the policy is regarding a task, it takes just a few seconds
to look for the policy using keywords.
Every policy has a date of expiration — some lapse
in months, some in years and some in decades. When
policies are created, these dates can be set within the
system, and the system will alert you that a policy is
nearing its end date. Management can then analyze
the policy to check if it needs to be updated.
Policy-management systems have several advantages.
They ensure that policies are actually being read and
followed by employees. They also are a great way
to ensure policies do not cause risk or compliance
Regulatory changes, new standard-operating procedures and changing business realities can result in
policies being outdated, which exposes the business
to risk and liabilities. Small originators can ensure that
their employees are following all the policies for
mortgages. If any employee needs more detail, they
can simply reference the system in place and get an
answer in just a few clicks.
Cloud-based policy-management software also is
easy to test before making a commitment. Many
vendors offer free trials of the solution that give you
a month to test the system within your own organization. Even if there are no free trials, the low cost
and the pay-as-you-go model offered by multiple
vendors ensures that you can make a small payment
and test the system in-house before shifting to it
Level playing field
Mortgage originators need to strictly and efficiently
adhere to policies and compliance. A cloud-based
technology solution is an easy way to improve
Policy-management software is no longer complicated and expensive. The technology and the solutions have matured and are now very accessible, even
for individual users.
Until a decade or so ago, it was hard for smaller
organizations to compete with their bigger counterparts. The biggest organizations in the industry had
access to the best technology and all the advantages
The scenario has now changed. Regulatory and
compliance technology is now easily available and
allows smaller organizations to once again use agility
to their advantage. n