Technology Talk: Q&A with SS&C’s Bob Wright, CMB, CCMS
MBA NewsLink interviewed Bob Wright, CMB, CCMS,about SS&C Technologies’ work-from-home experience and his experience with coronavirus.
Wright is Director of Business Development at SS&C Technologies, Windsor, Conn. SS&C’s Precision Loan Management software is currently being used by more than 100 commercial real estate finance clients, including insurance companies, mortgage bankers, agency lenders, CMBS primary servicers, private equity groups, specialty finance organizations and REITs to support their origination, pipeline, servicing, accounting, reporting and asset management activities.
MBA NEWSLINK: What have the past few months looked like from your vantage point as a service provider given the shutdowns across the country?
BOB WRIGHT, CMB, CCMS: SS&C has more than 22,000 employees across the globe. As a technology-focused organization with nearly all employees on laptops, we already had a mobile workforce. When the work-from-home mandate kicked in, we were able to mobilize and continue providing reliable and consistent service quickly.
Ironically, I was one of the first people within SS&C to contract the coronavirus in early March and was the reason we evacuated our Kansas City and Connecticut headquarters buildings before the government required shutdown. I’m fine now.
NEWSLINK: Your firm has large office footprints in multiple locations. How has the work-from-home experiment been across the organization or in your area?
WRIGHT: With employees in 140 offices worldwide, SS&C was already conducting most internal meetings through bridge lines and numerous online collaboration methods, so many of our staff had a seamless transition to working from home. For those exclusively working at onsite offices, we sent laptops to their homes as soon as the quarantine started. Subsequently, we didn’t experience any disruptions to our day-to-day servicing and support of our clients.
NEWSLINK: You’ve been a staple at MBA’s Commercial/Multifamily Servicing and Technology conference for years. How are you handling business development in an environment of social distancing and given the pandemic-driven postponement (to this fall) of this year’s CMST event and other industry conferences?
WRIGHT: First, let me say the CMST is my favorite MBA event for catching up with industry colleagues and friends, and I wish we could have gathered in New Orleans this year. SS&C was registered as a Platinum Sponsor and already had numerous meetings and software demos scheduled when the conference was canceled. Last year, there was a great business development environment and our team had 26 system demos in 48 hours.
The good news is we still have a tremendous amount of interest in our platform, and it’s becoming more efficient to conduct demos through Zoom. Other than a few dogs barking and babies crying, our demos have gone well. But I’m still looking forward to gathering again when it’s safe to do so.
NEWSLINK: How is SS&C staying relevant to its customer base and staying informed about market developments and industry landscape during the current crisis?
WRIGHT: SS&C quickly deployed a COVID-19 Resources Center dedicated to providing up-to-date information and insights on how the pandemic has affected various industries. From webinars on the TALF program to Business Continuity planning, the COVID-19 Resource Center has provided information to clients of both large and small firms. At SS&C, our customers’ needs are a primary focus. The Resource page was a way to quickly provide timely insights to address some of their needs during these challenging times.
We’ve also deployed several COVID-19 webinars and daily email briefings for our clients. And, of course, we’ve kept up with all of the webinars and daily briefings MBA has put out as well.
NEWSLINK: Forbearance has been the buzzword for the lending community so far in 2020. Can you talk about the challenges associated with the huge influx of requests as a firm focused on helping manage day-to-day tasks with technology?
WRIGHT: I started my career in 1995, booking RTC forbearances and modifications into the servicing system. Since our loan servicing was mostly a paper-based manual process with a continuous volume of loans, we had an entire department for this sole purpose. Fast forward 25 years and the COVID-19 forbearance volume is very high again, but, hopefully, with a shorter duration.
Technology has enabled improvements in the process in numerous ways, including secure document sharing through applications such as SS&C Intralinks, automated workflow processing through applications such as SS&C AWD’s low-code workflow tool and enhanced accounting automation within servicing software such as SS&C’s Precision LM flagship system.
With over 100 software options, we’ve been able to assist many of our clients with both the forbearance wave and the similar complexities of the PPP program. SS&C quickly deployed upfront digitization services for several clients, workflow automation for the processing of PPP applications and business-rule driven compliance monitoring and, ultimately, forgiveness approval. Many of these day-to-day challenges can become opportunities when you have the right technology partner.
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