TECHNOLOGY FIRMS MARKETING TO CONSUMERS typically search for a "killer app" to quickly ramp up sales. But mortgage lenders are most effective when they view automating as a long journey rather than searching for a single overriding solution.
Titan Lenders Corp., Denver, is a growing firm that's altered course several times since starting up in 2007. Such corporate nimbleness helped Titan grow by more than 70 percent last year, according to President and Chief Executive Officer Mary Kladde.
"We're a technology-enabled service provider," she explains. Over time, the firm's strategic emphasis has changed to cater to evolving market needs.
At the end of 2014, Titan announced it was getting out of the business of fulfilling the closing, funding and post-closing functions for retail lenders. A combination of regulatory issues and profitability concerns convinced Kladde it was time to shut that division.
Titan currently is dedicating resources to working with investors and servicers. Earlier this year, the company obtained optical character recognition (OCR) software from Top Image Systems Ltd., Plano, Texas, to evaluate loan packages being considered by investors.
Titan receives a productivity boost from OCR, because with the technology closing statements no longer must be manually compared with underwriting documents. Automation allows discrepancies to be spotted faster and at less cost than with manual reviews.
Working with existing loan files makes Titan aware the industry still deals with mountains of paper. Kladde notes that OCR isn't a perfect solution for pulling data from documents. But it can digitize at least two-thirds of a typical loan file, making it easier to ensure "loans were closed in the fashion they were approved," says Kladde.
She contends automation is crucial to success. "If you don't invest in technology, you won't stay relevant," Kladde asserts.
Revenue from MERS[R] audits more than doubled last year, according to a Titan company statement. Regular audits are required to reconcile loan data held by MERS with what's in servicers' files.
This practice stems from the 2011 consent order between MERS and the Federal Reserve regarding how the ownership of home loans is tracked as servicing is purchased and sold.
"Ensuring data is accurate is key to the future" for the entire industry, predicts Kladde. Having correct information is essential for companies working anywhere in the loan cycle.
Much of Titan's business is...