Jerry Hoerauf sees a lot of clouds in the mortgage skies, but that's not to say the business climate isn't clearing.

"The era of companies having large IT infrastructures and using that as a way to gain competitive advantage is behind us," says the evp of business development for First American, which offers analytics and other data resources for lending clients, with settlement services representing 90 percent of all commercial and residential mortgage transactions. "And with mortgage processing, you have lenders that now need to maintain their own infrastructure. What we envision is those lenders plugging into a cloud rather than having to do that processing in house."

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