Jennifer Henry: How Cloud-Based Solutions are Powering the Digital Mortgage Transformation
Jennifer Henry is Vice President of Strategy and Marketing with Equifax Mortgage & Housing Services. She is responsible for pricing, product management, product marketing, campaign management and mergers and acquisitions. Henry brings more than 20 years of experience to her position at Equifax, including operations, technology, marketing, sales, product management, mortgage loan quality and loan origination services. Prior to her position at Equifax, she held leadership roles with First American Mortgage Solutions and Fannie Mae.
The ever-changing market environment combined with rapidly evolving borrower demands are shifting the way lenders do business. The paper-intensive, time-consuming processes of the past have been shifting to digital processes in recent years – especially in response to the pandemic. Borrowers and lenders alike have benefited from a more intuitive way to streamline processes and adequately and quickly pivot to meet changing market demands.
More recently, this digital transformation has evolved to include more cloud-based solutions. Cloud computing allows the mortgage ecosystem to no longer be as segmented but rather, exist in a more holistic environment of insights and solutions that deliver a seamless digital experience.
Mortgage professionals are already leveraging cloud technology to make smarter, more informed decisions. Some benefits of cloud-based solutions include:
Security that’s “built in” rather than “bolted on”
The mortgage process requires more personal information about borrowers than even banks typically store about their customers. With all of that data, there are significant security risks for lenders. However, keeping up with the latest vulnerabilities and continually updating hardware and software to protect against evolving threats is proving both challenging and extremely time consuming. As we have seen before, when an organization experiences a data breach, there are often accompanying legal implications, large fines, and negative effects on brand equity that directly impacts the bottom line.
With the cloud, data security is inherently built into the system rather than through an added solution. Utilizing a cloud-based solution helps guarantee the most up-to-date security technology is in place. Security can also be monitored real-time, which helps organizations have better visibility and control to prevent cyber threats.
Cloud-based security solutions also guard against misuse. Ensuring that data is being used in the right ways, places, and times with the right use cases and intent is just as important, if not more important.
Data Silos are Eliminated
Utilizing cloud-based solutions also helps remove data silos (the technical barriers between data sets). Years ago, before the cloud came into play, organizations would have to pull data from multiple sources to get a complete picture of a borrower. By bringing these data sources into a cloud-based environment, data can become a seamless, globally distributed data fabric, enabling mortgage professionals to combine data in new ways and unlock novel insights, resulting in smarter decisions and the ability to help borrowers make wiser financial decisions. From an operational standpoint, removing data silos eliminates the risk that comes from replication and inconsistencies that result from rekeying or reconfiguring data sets.
Stability and Reliability
In today’s fast-paced lending environment, any amount of unproductive downtime can result in lost revenue and brand reputation. While disasters, be it natural or human-made, that negatively impact organizations are often unpreventable, cloud-based solutions are a critical component of business resiliency and continuity as they are far superior in protecting against downtime and data loss.
In an industry that is characterized by “booms” and downturns, cloud solutions provide lenders with the flexibility to quickly scale up or scale down operations to meet market demands, typically with little to no disruption or down time. This enables resources to more easily be redirected to focus on revenue-generating activities and tasks. In addition, withscalable cloud computing, organizations can reduce disaster recovery costs by eliminating the need for physical, off-site data centers.
If the past year has taught us anything, it is the value of adaptability. Cloud-based solutions will continue to evolve the ongoing digital transformation in the industry, giving mortgage professionals the flexibility they need to innovate quickly, at a lower cost, while still being able to respond to changing market conditions, regulations and security needs. This adaptability, in turn, helps ensure continued success for all of those involved in the mortgage industry.
(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA NewsLink welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to Mike Sorohan, editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Michael Tucker, editorial manager, at email@example.com.)