Today's mortgage industry is struggling to find a process to manage technology. More than seven in 10 lenders view technology as an operational requirement funded as needed, not as a strategic, defining force for their business, according to Jeff Lebowitz, co-author of the Mortech study of technology in mortgage banking.

For these lenders, the goal is to do enough to stay in the game, but not necessarily to lead it. But ironically, as competitive pressure mounts to automate underwriting, work flow, and point of sale tools, as well as incorporate web-based marketing and other emerging technologies, the tactical player finds that the game has changed.

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