When united Companies Financial Corp., a $1.2 billion-asset subprime lender, decided to upgrade its loan origination system, the need for a scalable, open architecture was undeniable. The company's existing DOS- based origination system clearly couldn't meet the growing needs of the organization, which includes two wholesale divisions serving other financial institutions, brokers and correspondent banks; a retail division with more than 200 branches; and a manufactured housing division. "We didn't have any choice but to move forward," says Craig Hamachek, svp and CIO of United Companies.

The Baton Rouge, LA-based lender chose Gallagher Financial Systems's Millennium product, a Windows NT mortgage origination system with intelligent workflow capabilities. "We needed an open architecture, and we were looking for something that used our database technology, (Microsoft) SQL Server," Hamachek says.

The Millennium system interfaces any back-end database, which is an important factor for banks, says GFS president and CEO Doug Gallagher. Even more, he says, Millennium's artificial intelligence (AI) engine enables the implementation of loan-level decisioning-a wave of the future. "A lender will not be able to rely on the traditional system of the past because to do that kind of analytic evaluation of a loan would take much too long," Gallagher adds.

United Companies Financial will eventually roll out Millennium to about 1,000 workstations, Gallagher says, including its retail branches. In that division, the ability to customize workflow and integrate risk management products are key benefits to the system, Hamachek says. "We feel like it gives us the best of all worlds in terms of flexibility," he adds.

A key contributor to Millennium's flexibility is its dynamic tool kit option which allows financial institutions to make their own modifications and adjustments to the system, Gallagher says. Changes can be integrated into the original application without vendor involvement.

Gallagher says the product, which faces stiff competition from the likes of CFI ProServices, Interlinq and Fiserv in the financial services industry, is best suited for larger institutions because they are more likely to have a greater number of disparate locations and business channels. Pricing is roughly $2,500 to $3,000 per seat.

-sausner tfn.com

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