A new technology alliance between Alltel Information Services Inc. and Affiliated Computer Services Inc. promises to rid mortgage bankers of the work they hate the most - handling mounds of paper.
Alltel's mortgage division, based in Jacksonville, Fla., and Dataplex, a Dallas-based unit of Affiliated Computer, have joined forces to develop a document imaging, retrieval, and storage software system for the mortgage industry.
Dubbed Image Director, the software is based on a preexisitng Alltel system called CPI Director. Bankers can use Image Director in-house, or Alltel can operate the software in a service bureau.
The system is designed to help relieve mortgage bankers of the paper- pushing associated with mortgage processing by turning documents into digitized images that can be stored and accessed via computer.
Consultants said that the system should reduce the hefty costs of document management. "By imaging the documents and shipping them away somewhere, you drastically reduce storage and retrieval costs," said Cy Brinn, director of real estate products at AFS & LSC, an Exton, Pa., consulting firm.
And the availability of an outsourcing option could prove a boon to mortgage bankers with small portfolios: "It would enable them to use imaging capabilities without making the huge investment in systems themselves," said Mr. Brinn.
Dataplex brings its experience with imaging technology to the deal, and Alltel brings its customer base and a familiarity with the outsourcing market.
Officials at the two firms said Image Director eventually could support electronic commerce.
"Instead of passing paper or data tapes around when mortgages are transferred, companies could do that on-line through us," says David Byerly, senior vice president of marketing and development at Dataplex.
Alltel processes 15 million loans worth about $1.3 trillion. Dataplex works with 15,000 mortgage customers through processing centers in Dallas and Los Angeles and through 40 remote locations.
Already, the firms have seen "significant" interest in the product, according to Paula Steger, senior vice president of marketing and product planning for the Alltel unit.
She said no bank has purchased the system yet, but the two companies hope to sign on a handful of major accounts before Image Director is formally presented at the Mortgage Bankers Association of America convention in New York later this month.