2014 Tech All-Stars.

Author:Hewitt, Janet Reilley

Technology has become essential in the mortgage finance business today. It's an absolute lifeline for complying with the crushing burden of new rules affecting every inch of the business--from originations to servicing to the secondary market. But that's not all. It has kept small lenders and new entrants in the game. Without the tools that come from prepackaged access to big data and seamless built-in integrations, little guys don't have the budgets to play alongside the big boys. So, no longer is technology a nice-to-have. Today it's a must-have, any way you look at it. That's why our 2014 class of Tech All-Stars are so worthy of the kudos Mortgage Banking is bestowing on them. They are the ones who--along with their teams--are keeping the wheels turning in this critical sector of the economy. Ask mortgage industry chief executives if they could keep the lights on and run their business without technology, and you would probably get a laugh--and then a look that says: "Are you crazy?"

More than ever before, in the 12 years that Mortgage Banking has been handing out these awards, technology is the superhero that's keeping the industry from melting down.

We probably could have picked any one of the 30 people who were officially nominated for recognition this year. But we had to narrow it down to the nine exceptionally worthy candidates who are this year's honorees. All of them are doing things that don't just benefit a single company--and its customers--but instead help the broader industry in ways that are invaluable.

So who are these folks? Are they technologists? Well, not in the classic sense, according to some of them.

We asked all nine if they considered themselves technologists and only four said an unequivocal "yes." Two said "not really," and three more said "kind of, sort of and then added their...

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