Residential Magazine

Light the Way

With the right tech partner, data can illuminate many facets of a loan scenario

By Richard Sawicky

This is the age of big data. Like other industries, the mortgage business is awash in numbers due to the continued rise of technology. Harnessing this data can be powerful. That’s especially true for mortgage originators who can use the data to ascertain big-picture trends while also digging deep into financial information on a loan-by-loan basis.

The challenge is to find trusted sources to make sense of all of this data. Doing so will allow originators and mortgage companies to make the best-informed decisions, leading to a more efficient lending process and happier borrowers.

If you want data, it is out there. If you’re curious about how mortgage applications are trending, the Mortgage Bankers Association tracks that weekly. If you want to know about home prices, you can find that in any number of places, including the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s house-price index.

As technology continues to improve and infiltrate the mortgage industry, increasingly more data is being collected and is becoming easily accessible for both mortgage originators and their clients. The question is, how do mortgage companies and originators use all that data to not only better serve their clients but also to drive their business?

Informed decisions

Of course, mortgage originators are interested in more than data trends, such as home prices or interest rates. Their work requires a plethora of data on each loan they consider, including property statistics and their borrowers’ personal financial information.

Managing all of this data (as well as where these data points intersect and overlap) can be difficult, but it is critical for originating high-quality loans while also providing quality service to clients. In particular, accurate and reliable property data can be a powerful tool for mortgage companies to move forward with loan originations swiftly and confidently.

The benefits of quality data tools are myriad, from improved efficiency to better analytics for long-term business planning. With access to accurate property information, originators and their companies can pre-populate forms quickly and easily. This kind of data also means easier oversight, as information provided in loan documents can be more readily verified.

Current financial information about clients will help originators understand their borrowers’ full financial pictures, and it will enable originators to communicate possible loan scenarios and better manage expectations. Quality data also leads to improved decisionmaking, not only in terms of how quickly decisions can be made, but also in terms of the information backing up any mortgage professional’s loan-scenario analysis. In addition to the critical role data can play in the loan-origination process itself, data also can help to improve and drive overall business by creating targeted marketing for specific loan products or by providing loan-data analytics that estimate risk and more.

Simply put, mortgage professionals know that the more data they have, the more informed their decisions will be. Property information that includes everything from previous sales, mortgages, interest rates, liens and taxes, to community and neighborhood information on crime and school systems, provide the necessary data for mortgage professionals to make informed decisions. Much of this data is available as public records, but accessing this data with the accuracy and speed needed in today’s mortgage industry is where things get a little tricky.

As technology continues to become a larger part of the mortgage industry, data and data-driven tools are critical parts of any originator’s toolkit.

Behind the numbers

There are many data sources available today and some are more accessible than others. Accessing and assessing these data sources can be overwhelming for mortgage professionals, which can lead to discrepancies and errors.

Trying to do it all yourself is fairly impractical, especially given there are many companies already established in the marketplace that are aggregating and analyzing this data. But how do you find the one that not only provides quality information, but also is the right fit for your business and your needs?

There are several things to consider when looking for a data provider. First and fore-most, do they provide the information you need? After you’ve established that, consider other questions.

  • What’s your source’s source? You should know where your data provider gets their data, whether they use a single source or multiple sources, and how reliable those sources are. 
  • What areas does the data cover? If you only work in one area of the country, a data provider with limited scope may work for you, but a provider that has both local- and national-level information may provide the best data with the best scope.
  • How often is the data updated? Find out if it is delivered in real time. Financial information needs to be both long-sighted and up to date. Out-of-date information can be harmful to the loan process.
  • What is their data security like? Compliance is critical.
  • How will you integrate this data within your own systems? You should determine whether the provider offers integration help or a stand-alone service that you have to access separately. You’ll also want to know if it will work with existing websites or apps.
  • Do you want the data provider to be able to help with lead generation or other marketing tools? If so, these companies can help with targeted marketing to your specific needs and products.

Using an outside data provider may sound intimidating, but it allows mortgage professionals to use reliable and current property and mortgage data in their daily business without having to maintain an entire department focused solely on data and data management. Instead, they can keep their focus where it needs to be — on the clients.

• • •

As technology continues to become a larger part of the mortgage industry, data and data-driven tools are critical parts of any originator’s toolkit. Understanding mortgage and housing trends, however, is just the tip of the data iceberg. Property, mortgage, foreclosure and tax data also are critical pieces to the loan process. With accurate data, mortgage professionals can provide the excellent customer service and superior lending experience that today’s competitive market demands.

With the proper data tools, lenders and originators can deliver a more efficient loan process, with information quickly verified and documents pre-populated with accurate and up-to-date data. These streamlined services will lead to quicker closing times and more satisfied borrowers. From lead generation to efficient loan processing, data can help any mortgage professional fuel their business for the future.


  • Richard Sawicky

    Richard Sawicky is chief data officer for Attom Data Solutions. In his 13 years at the company, Sawicky has designed the foundational architecture of the Attom Data Warehouse, led all aspects of data development and production, and presently fosters strategic partnerships with Microsoft to engineer the next generation of data platforms for Attom’s customers. Prior to Attom, Sawicky spent more than 10 years developing enterprise data products for numerous Fortune 500 companies, including Weyerhaeuser and Fluor Corp. He also spent several years in the mortgage industry building loan-origination systems and performing custom platform integrations for mortgage-industry customers.

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