One CU's Experience In Automating The Mortgage Process

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At credit unions, mortgage programs are often clunky outsiders-the technologies won't talk to other systems and employees are stuck retyping documents, checking compliance and coordinating with third-party services.

That's changing at Consumers Credit Union as it migrates from a labor-intensive mortgage process requiring Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and Word documents that must be forced through the disparate core processing system, according to employees here.

The $120-million credit union kicked off its automated mortgage program in August with Harland Financial Solutions' new successor to the MortgageWare system, a web-based production platform called INTERLINQ E3.

"Mortgage integration with our host processor is now a reality," said Scott Sylvester, Consumers' vice president of technology.

Consumers is one of the first lenders to close loans on INTERLINQ E3, which is interfaced with the CU's core processing system, ULTRADATA, also provided by Harland. About 400 lenders are licensed to use E3, including about 90 credit unions, according to Harland.

Consumers CU is currently processing about 50 loans at an average of $150-million per loan, said Emily Young, real estate manager at the credit union.

INTERLINQ E3 provides Consumers' seven branches with one point of contact for all internal and external mortgage processes, Sylvester continued. "Our tellers can seamlessly process mortgage payments for our members and update our servicing platform," he said. "Our members have access to their mortgage accounts online for both payments, history, taxes and insurance information."

In addition, the platform offers business process management (BPM), allowing Young to manage the origination, processing, underwriting, closing, and tracking of Consumers' loans from one graphical interface.

"Users can map one system or service to another in a visual manner," said Joe Filoseta, vice president of Industry and Product Strategy at Harland.

When it built E3, Atlanta-based Harland decided to use Microsoft .NET technology and web services capabilities to ensure that business analysts - not just IT managers - would be able to use intuitive commands to complete complex data exchange, Filoseta said.

For example, Young can apply Consumers' customized business rules to any mortgage process via drag-and-drop on E3's browser screens.

Additionally, E3 comes loaded with third-party loan underwriting and real estate services, which may soon include lower prices for key title insurance products through vendors such as First American Corp., Filoseta said.

Consequently, Consumers Credit Union can build rules that automatically order outside services without leaving the E3 interface.

The E3 customizable documents database gives Young peace-of-mind that Consumers' 40 loan officers produce consistent, complete documents.

"I'm assured that my loan officers haven't forgotten any of the disclosures they need. And it's refreshing that I no longer have to enforce underwriting rules, because the system is doing that for me."

When loan-to-value ratios are unacceptable or member income is too low, for example, an E3 pop-up window alerts the loan officer. "E3 keeps the application compliant," said Filoseta.

Young had hoped to close about $5 million in mortgages this year, but gains in automated processing and origination have already pushed the CU past $14 million in mortgage loans for 2004, she said.

Loan volume at Consumers could grow to $50 million per year as the CU begins working with third-party originators, Young added.

"INTERLINQ will help us meet that goal by cutting down our processing and origination time," she said. "Our own loan originators can now serve twice as many members because application time has been cut from one hour down to 20 minutes per loan."

INTERLINQ can import new loan applications from third-party corporate websites and multi-lender Internet portals, increasing Consumers' ability to accept applications from a variety of sources.

CUJ Resources

For info on this story:

* Consumers CU at www.consumerscu.org

* Harland at www.harlandfinancialsolutions.com

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