Magazine article American Banker

Norwest Mortgage Tests IBM Tool for Internet Self-Service

Magazine article American Banker

Norwest Mortgage Tests IBM Tool for Internet Self-Service

Article excerpt

Side by side with its customer Norwest Mortgage Inc., International Business Machines Corp. introduced a powerful Internet system development tool called WebSphere Studio.

Norwest Corp.'s home loan subsidiary, an enthusiast of the Java programming language that underlies WebSphere, seized the opportunity as a "beta test" site to put its brokers and correspondent banks into self- service mode.

WebSphere Studio and the new version of a related system, WebSphere Application Server, will not be widely available until October. They were unveiled, along with Norwest's advance work, at the Comdex Enterprise exposition last week in San Francisco.

With WebSphere, which IBM describes as crucial to its "e-business" Internet strategy, Norwest customers can communicate loan details and get help on-line, freeing Norwest personnel to perform higher-level tasks than dealing with faxes and keyboarding data.

"The exciting part is that loan packages-which used to come in by Federal Express or fax-go directly into our system and don't have to be keyed in," said Norwest Mortgage systems architect David Rae.

Norwest Mortgage, which is based in Des Moines, has been developing software in Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java language for almost two years, said Mr. Rae.

"This is our first extranet-type application that goes outside the company," he added.

"We have about 5,000 brokers plus correspondent bankers, and we think this will make them more loyal" with round-the-clock access for submitting loan information, locking in terms, printing documents, and checking loan status.

Norwest has about six months with WebSphere under its belt. …

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