Best of Breed Apps Is The Strategy, And Middleware Is The Key

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Kathy Bonaventura likes to pick and choose her mortgage platforms-but she also wants the disparate software to talk to one another.

"Our members are aware of what's going on in the mortgage marketplace," explained the senior vice president of lending at the 307,000-member VyStar Credit Union. "So we need software with a high level of sophistication" from origination to servicing, she continued.

Bonaventura's quest is aligned with the $2.6-billion credit union's commitment to best-of-breed-a commitment strengthened by its core system conversion last year, as first reported in the April 21 issue of The Credit Union Journal.

Bonaventura said members are becoming comfortable with a range of mortgage products after researching tax implications and "what-if" scenarios, for example.

Complexities Involved

Vystar's 15-year old mortgage program currently closes about 200 loans every month, representing about $24 million in loans. The portfolio comprises 8,900 loans.

Going best-of-breed is complex, noted Bonaventura. Disparate systems often are built on incongruent architectures, blocking the flow of data from one system to another. Business intelligence may be hampered and employees frequently spend extra time reentering data.

Vystar's answer to the mortgage technology spaghetti was the same as many a credit union's: Integrate with middleware, a standard, vendor-independent protocol.

The CU has used the Total Enterprise Data Integration (TEDI) tool for more than a year to integrate. The integration tool allows Vystar to import loan origination data into its core processing system for servicing.

TEDI is offered by Jacksonville, Fla.-based Decade Systems Corp., providing business connectivity solutions. TEDI is the interface between Vystar's front-end origination system, Dynatek, Inc.'s MORvision out of Livonia, Mich., and the CU's servicing package, Plano, Texas-based Aurum Technology's MISER system.

"TEDI is a great time saver," Bonaventura said. "We don't have to rekey the closing information for MISER."

Reentering data into the servicing system used to take one Vystar employee about 30 minutes per loan, she added. "In the larger scheme of things, we've gained tremendous time savings."

Greater Cost Efficiencies

The integrated system also provides better service, Bonaventura said. "Improved connectivity has translated to greater efficiency. We're much more cost-effective and timely."

Vystar hasn't fully seen what TEDI can do. "We are looking at other opportunities for integration," Bonaventura added. For example, appraiser, flood certification and tax vendor data could be automatically populated on a member's application.

And as the CU prepares to accept mortgage applications online next year via APPRO Systems, Inc.'s loan automation software, Bonaventura looks to TEDI for integration.

The TEDI server passes data from and to a variety of sources, including XML and Java Database Connectivity. The TEDI engine selects an appropriate integration object to interact with more than 50 of the mortgage industry's most popular platforms.

Other Decade Systems users include $680 -million University of Wisconsin Credit Union and $700-million Pawtucket Credit Union in Rhode Island.

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