Tech buying: Part one

by Craig Anderson29 Nov 2017
On the plane ride home from MBA’s Annual Convention & Expo in Denver, CO, I was lucky enough to sit next to a fellow conference attendee. We chatted about all the new vendors that were in attendance and what we believed each one brought to the mortgage table.  There were close to 200 vendors exhibiting this year and I am sure another 50 vendors were present, but not exhibiting.  With so many new mortgage technology vendors in the space vying for the attention of lending executives, how does one truly vet all these companies and determine which one is the right fit?  It is all too easy to become mesmerized by the new shiny object that hits the marketplace.  Yeah, it may be shiny, but is it right for you?  Sure, a new shiny Mercedes may attract me to the dealership, but do I really need all that horsepower and will I even use those crazy bells and whistles?

Of course, this is where my airplane acquaintance and I put on our sales hats and opined that not all lenders are created equal.  So many different factors go into the thought process of buying new technology.  There are the lender’s immediate needs to consider, but also new wants and future desires.  Are they looking to compete with Rocket Mortgage®? Open up a new mortgage channel? Or just look to technology to facilitate current processes?  No matter the reason, most lenders today are in the market for new and fresh technology.  I’ve seen several articles that discuss the “top reasons and/or questions to ask” when buying new technology.  These are all great, but most of the time these are written by a vendor that will make their own product stand out. 

If you’re wondering when really is the best time to re-evaluate your current technology needs, it’s during a down market.  According to the MBA, 2018 should see some slowing down of mortgage originations, so this is the perfect year to start looking for technology that will help align with your business goals.  Over the next couple of months, I am going to talk about the best way to look for, compare and purchase mortgage technology.  And, since all lenders are not created equal and may be looking for differently purposed products, we will break down the technologies into four categories: 

1. Point of Sale (Front-end consumer portals)
2. Loan Originator Tools/CRMs
3. Loan Origination Systems
4. E-Closing platforms 

Within these four categories, I’ll discuss how to determine if one of these is right for you, how to think about its alignment with your goals, and how to know if it will be affordable and cost effective for your business.  Anything can be fixed with enough time and money.  Unfortunately, those two things are very difficult to line up together in today’s market.
 

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