2016 Tech All-Stars--winning ways.

Author:Hewitt, Janet Reilley
Position:COVER REPORT: TECHNOLOGY - Cover story

Meet this year's class of Tech All-Stars. They're innovative, committed and impressive.

You know mortgage technology has arrived when it's featured in a Super Bowl ad. But you really know it's for real when the technology in the ad makes lending so fast it's got the regulators nervous. [paragraph] It turns out the 8- minute mortgage enabled by Quicken Loans' Rocket Mortgage[sm] may be a little too quick for regulators who seem set on hanging onto an extended back-and-forth process that's heavily reliant on humans, like it's Linus' security blanket. [paragraph] At least that's how it seemed when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) tweeted a response at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, shortly after Quicken's Super Bowl ad aired. CFPB implied a process that quick could not possibly deliver a careful, deliberative experience for borrowers. [paragraph] The CFPB's tweet went like this: "When it comes to #mortgages, take your time, ask questions and #knowbeforeyouowe.go.usa.gov/cy2EJ." [paragraph] The bureau's thinking seemed to be that the Rocket Mortgage can't be both 8 minutes long--and safe and sound. CFPB seemed to be saying if it's fast, it's also got to be loose. But Quicken's team tweeted back that these loans are "fully underwritten, agency-conforming loans," so not to worry. [paragraph] So what's the bottom line here? I guess it's that in 2016, you've got mortgage technology finally making such inroads that it's way out ahead of regulators' comfort zones. [paragraph] And when you think about it, that could be a good thing--because regulators are notoriously stuck in the past. And hopefully it will turn out to be a good thing--as long as the industry can show its regulators that big data, seamless systems integration, MISMO[R], information security, workflow, e-signatures and data-verification tools are finally making real, positive inroads in the mortgage world.

And what's more, it's not something they need to fear because it's really not 2006 anymore. Just because it's really fast doesn't mean it's a no-doc subprime loan. Really, CFPB--it's true.

And that brings us to the main point of this article: honoring this year's Tech All-Star award winners. (Spoiler alert: It includes the team that brought you the Rocket Mortgage.)

Every year since 2002, Mortgage Banking has been honoring the people building the pioneering solutions that are transforming the industry's archaic, manual, paper-bound processes into fast, state-of-the-art, secure, smart, new mortgage lending and servicing processes.

They are the ones proving you can actually have both fast and safe in the mortgage business.

This month we honor the 2016 Tech All-Star award winners for their outstanding contributions. The list of winners includes:


    Chief executive officer, Compliance Systems Inc. (CSi)


    Chief executive officer, ClosingCorp


    Vice president of professional services, ReverseVision


    Senior vice president, business operations, eLynx


    Co-founder and senior vice president, TeleVoice


    Vice president of partner strategies and government affairs, Pavaso




    Head of digital solutions, CoreLogic

    Dennis Adama

    Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Compliance Systems Inc. (CSi)

    Dennis Adama is used to jumping over high hurdles, so it's no wonder he's been successful in mortgage technology. Adama was a five-time All-American high jumper and competed in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic trials in the high jump. He was the Big Ten champion in the high jump six times and qualified for the 1980 Olympic trials in the decathlon.

    He's also a graduate of Indiana University, where he earned both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees. He was elected to the Indiana University Sports Hall of Fame.

    But where he sets the bar high in mortgage technology is with advancements in the field of the documentation needed to do financial transactions. Rather than being a document vendor focused on the physical documents or forms to present the data, his company from the start was built around the data necessary to document the financial transaction.

    "This foresight to build a software foundation on the data would establish CSi's development model for the years ahead," Adama's nomination explains. And it put the company on the perfect path to accommodate today's toughest document and disclosure challenges--culminating in those introduced by the Truth in Lending Act (TILA)-Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule. Where others were having conniption fits about TRID dictating precise type sizes, areas for document shading, rounded corners, expanding and contracting sections and other such document minutiae, the CSi technology framework allowed it to more easily produce the required disclosures.

    CSi was able to complete its TRID solution a year ahead of the deadline. Even so, it was no piece of cake. Between the legal and technical review, CSi spent more than 7,000 hours developing its TRID solution with "numerous interactions with the CFPB" to share suggestions and request clarifications.

    Then, all the way back in October 2014, CSi representatives told CFPB Originations Program Manager Brian Webster that the company's CSi TRID solution was complete--a full year before the eventual Oct. 3, 2015, deadline for TRID. In the nomination we received for Adama, it was reported that Webster was "shocked, and relayed the suprising news to CFPB Director Richard Cordray." And then in conjunction with CSi's partner, eLynx, the company demonstrated the solution to the CFPB at the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA's) technology conference in the spring of 2015.

    Adama established his company in 1993. And it was back in 2002 that Adama "pushed the development of the first truly dynamic documents long before other providers saw a problem that required solving," according to his nomination.

    Now "dynamic documents" is a mortgage technology buzzword. And that's what people have noted about Adama. He's a visionary and an innovator. He identifies the need and creates the tools well before they become everyone else's buzzwords.

    CSi Vice President Chris Appie explains it well. He says, "Dennis seems to consistently see where the financial services industry needs to be three to five years into the future, and once this idea comes to him he is relentless in driving himself and his organization to meet that end." He adds, "He takes nothing for granted, and is almost singularly focused on achieving his goals ... whether athletic or in business."

    The formula Dennis Adama has followed has been to "leverage the best and most reliable platform-independent technology to address changing client needs and help increase profitability." Along the way, CSi continues to grow exponentially and has experienced 15 percent to 20 percent revenue growth per year for the last five years--a significant track record worthy of Tech All-Star recognition.

    Brian Benson

    Chief Executive Officer, ClosingCorp

    Brian Benson is a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy but he's been in the mortgage...

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