The Online Mortgage Company Manual

By Kemeny, John | Mortgage Banking, June 1999 | Go to article overview

The Online Mortgage Company Manual


Kemeny, John, Mortgage Banking


Countless benefits come from putting the corporate policies and procedures manual online. In an industry where rules and guidelines are constantly changing, here's one way to save money.

Radical changes are taking place in today's workplace as a consequence of the digital revolution - changes that will fundamentally affect the way you and I transact business in the future. What was nothing more than a quixotic vision a few years ago is rapidly becoming a significant fact of everyday life. So prepare yourself, because ready or not, you could be working in a paperless office sooner than you think.

The mortgage banking industry has come a long way since the early 1970s when computers were still a rare commodity. In a Mortgage Banking article entitled "Servicing - Then and Now" (February 1994), Terry Malone, former CEO of Nebraska-based Platte Valley Mortgage, recounts his experiences working for a small regional mortgage company in those early days. Malone recalls a time when every loan record was kept on individual ledger cards and manually maintained. Taxes and hazard insurance disbursements, as well as collection records, were also kept on three-by-five cards and manually updated.

Can you imagine running a mortgage company today using only those primitive tools? Fortunately, automation arrived a few years later, making things considerably easier for us all.

With the advent of additional, more recent technologies, and with the proliferation of Internet, intranet and extranet Webs, more and more traditional work functions are now being performed online rather than on paper. Look at a simple example: Today it is virtually impossible to find an old-fashioned interoffice memo anywhere. People communicate via e-mail. Electronic memos don't have to be inserted into routing envelopes. They don't require a "return receipt requested" label to ensure messages are received, opened and tracked. And above all, they are delivered instantaneously. It makes you wonder how we managed to survive so long without them.

If your job requires you to fill out a form or two (and whose doesn't in this business?), don't go looking for them in the supply room. Very likely, your forms are now stored in your computer, and you can get them at the click of your mouse. You may print blank copies of your forms or complete them right on the screen. Afterwards, you may even sign them electronically, if you wish, using a mouse pen.

In mortgage banking, we are required to gather and safeguard a multitude of legal documents, some of them for the life of the loan. Certain papers may have to be retrieved from time to time as we discharge our servicing responsibilities toward borrowers, investors, examiners and regulators. Fortunately, recently developed document-imaging technology has made it possible for originators and servicers to capture, manage and preserve images in convenient electronic files. Billions of archival documents, contracts, correspondence and other vital papers are now being stored on compact discs rather than in bulky folders, shelves or cabinets. Thanks to imaged-based document management systems, file rooms are becoming a thing of the past.

In addition to saving space, paperless archives also enhance safekeeping. How do you protect 35,000 vital documents against fire hazards? One way is to place them in heavy, fireproof vaults. A better alternative, however, is to preserve them on compact discs stored inside a small safe deposit box. You would need no more than five compact discs to store those 35,000 documents, depending, of course, on their size and format.

Government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service are quickly transitioning from paper to computer. This year, millions of taxpayers filed their income tax returns electronically. They received their refund checks weeks ahead of those of us who filed using the traditional method. In some cases, no refund checks were issued at all - instead, a direct electronic deposit was made by the IRS into the taxpayer's bank account. …

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