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More efficiency = Higher Profits!  That should be every mortgage lender’s mantra for 2014.  This wasn’t as much of an issue in years gone by, because profit could be adjusted to accommodate cost.  In today’s world your profit is constricted, you have more cost and the only way out of that is through workplace efficiency.  Ask anyone from the industries who have had to re-make their workflow and profit and you will hear this repeated again and again!

I decided to earn my Black Belt in the Lean Six Sigma program for one purpose; taking the techniques that have worked so well with every other business that uses them, and applying it to the industry that I love so much; mortgage banking.  As we get through this initial onslaught of regulations, I will begin writing about techniques to help you.  My first target is the biggest, and that is your technology progression.  As long as you are moving forward you are heading in the right direction, however, you can only duct tape things together for so long.  If it is not efficient, get rid of it and use something that helps you grow, not causes your workflow to slow down.

Our increased regulatory scrutiny will require continual upgrades to technology and using its power to protect your assets.  This checklist will help with a roadmap to where you need to be, versus where you may be now.

_____ Has anyone looked at the entire workflow in high level detail and the technology involved with it?

_____ Where are the stoppages, wasted time, redundancy or inefficiencies in your present data flow?

_____ Where do the loan originators begin to interface with your technology systems and is it early enough in the process to properly assess compliance?

_____ Is the marketing function completed automated and locked down so that no one can adjust it, except those who understand the regulation?

_____ Is the marketing content, date, venue, who the information was sent to and the amount of use, documented electronically?  Think that sounds crazy?  Ask any of my lenders who have gone through the CFPB exam and they will share that nightmare with you.

_____ Is your compliance management system over Fair Lending real time?  If you are only using software that looks at closed loan data, then folks you are completely missing the boat that the CFPB is sailing on.  And missing that boat cost a lot of money!

_____ What technology starts the loan (i.e. CRM, website, other social media, leads)?

_____ Does it seamlessly integrate with your LOS, Compliance Software and Pricing Engine?  This does not include data uploads or data dumping spreadsheets.  This means you do little because the information flows without interruption.

_____ Does your LOS send the information you need to your Pricing Engine?

_____ Does your Pricing engine send back information to your LOS so that you are achieving higher data integrity and a circular flow of information?

_____ Does the data in your LOS = the data in your Pricing Engine?

_____ How can you retrieve this information at your fingertips at any time, but especially during an exam?

_____ How does your system communicate information to the end investor?

Immediate goals should be getting your technology organized, talking together and dumping all of those spreadsheets! It is time to evolve to where technology is now and to the techniques that are currently available.  Just because we get all comfy with our spreadsheets, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t get rid of them for more efficiency!  After all, if we didn’t evolve some of us would still be using pagers or brick phones instead of iPhones and iPads.

Tammy Butler, Master CMB

Author Tammy Butler, Master CMB

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