Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Are Your Systems Interoperable and Open? (E Mortgage)

Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Are Your Systems Interoperable and Open? (E Mortgage)

Article excerpt

THE MORTGAGE INDUSTRY 15 BECOMING increasingly dependent on technology. As a result, the survival of most companies is dependent on their technology solutions working effectively. Some of the crucial elements of using technology effectively include interoperability and the use of open standards.

The rapid growth of personal computers (PCs) and computer systems was driven primarily by interoperability, which allowed a large number of vendors to create products that could work together. This meant that you were not locked into buying products from one vendor. In addition, vendors could buy components from a variety of suppliers. Competition drove prices down and made technology affordable for the masses. So today the majority of U.S. households have a PC and an Internet connection. None of this would have been possible if there had not been a strong commitment to creating and following industry standards.

In the mortgage industry, we have been much slower in adopting standards, and as a result our pace of innovation has not been as quick as in the computer industry. One of the reasons why we have not adopted standards so readily is that the mortgage industry is very complex and has a large variety of players that have different requirements. Another factor is that many industry vendors have continued to use proprietary file formats that have their roots in the DOS world.

With the advent of the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO), we now have a truly open standard based on extensible markup language (XML). Even though MIS MO has limitations and will probably evolve over time, it is one of the most significant developments in our industry. Over time, if the majority of vendors adopt MISMO, it will accelerate the pace of innovation and adoption of technology. Another standard that is prevalent in today's market is Fannie Mae's Desktop Underwriter[R] (DU) file format. Many vendors have chosen to make their systems compatible with both MISMO and DU.

Going forward, we will most likely see an increasing amount of connectivity between the various systems used by a company and the systems used by the company's partners and vendors. In today's world you must able to interact with consumers in a variety of ways--online, over the phone and face-to-face.

Consumers don't really care what system you use. They expect you to know all the information they have sent to you, regardless of what channel they use. So if they complete an application online and then call the next day, they expect the person answering the phone to have access to the information they submitted. …

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