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May 23, 2005

Mortgage technology and beyond: A closer look at IcalcJohn D. SvirskyIclac, consumer technology, loan reports, customer service, Internet When Rob Desilets, Co-Owner of Icalc, along with his wife, E-mailed and asked me to review a product that runs various reports for the consumer, I was not interested. That was Icalc Version 1.something, but now the company has released Version 2.0 and the program has much merit. It provides extremely detailed information and is also Internet savvy. Icalc provides everything from performing simple loan calculations to advanced comparisons, amortization schedules, reports, and analyses. The Icalc program may be added directly to your Web site, so consumers can tool around and ask "what if" scenario questions at their leisure and have reports E-mailed directly to them--a great way to distinguish your company from the many other mortgage providers out there. There is very little in the way of new methods in the mortgage industry, we are just learning to do it faster as the Internet's presence increasingly grows. I often stress that as we become more automated, we will also have to provide increased personal service. The Internet and technology should not only be used as the portal to gain and retain clientele, but to also provide as much personal service as possible. One way to do that is to answer the voluminous questions posed by clients using numbers and charts rather than emotions. Once they can see the actual savings of paying points upfront versus a no-point deal, clients can determine which scenario works best for them. What would the payment have to be to pay off the loan in 23.4 years versus 30 years? How much would I save by doing that? Icalc answers these questions clearly and easily. Invariably, I expect to receive E-mails from readers asking what the big deal is. They'll tell me that they have developed their own Excel Spreadsheet, which does just what this program does, so why spend $200 for a product they already have? That is true, but for all of those who have not yet mastered creating Excel Spreadsheets, or those who don't work with the loan comparison programs that come with loan origination software, Icalc is a welcome addition. Besides, for most of us, our time is better spent selling mortgages, not being computer programmers. Icalc is not perfect. I found it slow to load--I'm not the most patient of people--but short of that, it did produce just what it said it would. It enables you to provide better customer service by providing knowledge. As we know, the more we teach and share about our industry and the mortgage process, the better off our customers are and the more likely they'll return. The program allows you to answer questions regarding payment, equity, refinancing, points, etc. Icalc provides a side by side comparison of an unlimited number of loans of any type, including comparing 80?-10-10 and 80-15-5 loan programs. (I must admit, the previous program I used did not permit me to make these comparisons). Icalc easily generates extra payment, refinance, or payoff reports. You can automatically E-mail Internet-ready custom reports and good faith estimates from your PC in seconds. Visitors to your Web site may generate their own custom reports, which can be E-mailed to them as attachments complete with your contact information (the customer does not have to install any software to read the generated reports). Once the program is loaded, it is very easy to use. Simply create a new profile, enter the person's contact information, the cost of the new home, an estimate of the down payment, taxes, insurance, and other pertinent data. From that information, Icalc can generate a compare board report illustrating monthly payments, cash required for closing, cost of item at each year in term (useful if borrower will only be there for a short period of time), how much annual equity is built up in the term, and the payment comparison at the end of each year in the term. Icalc does this for an unlimited number of loan programs. You are able to show the borrower the effects of MI versus piggyback, or fixed-rate versus variable-rate. You can E-mail the report directly to the realtor and the client instantly, along with numbers and charts that will make you look like a genius. You don't have to mention who Rob and his wife are; you were just smart enough to buy their product. Without going too much into detail, Icalc generates the following reports: amortization tables (fixed, ARM, and balloon); compare board reports (mentioned above) including multi-part loan comparison reports for piggy back 80-10-10 or 80-15-5 type loans; refinance reports; accelerated payment reports; points reports that provide the client with an explanation of what points are and how long it takes to determine if paying points are beneficial; payoff reports (you tell it when you want to have the loan paid off and it will tell you how much of an additional payment you need to make); and extra payment comparison reports. Icalc is a unique program that many will find useful. Others will ask why they should bother because they believe it's too much trouble to educate their clients, and the less known, the better. I recommend that you visit their Web site at, and download a five-day free trial version and see if it works for you. Remember, knowledge is power and true power comes from helping others to help themselves. Summary information Product: Icalcan Internet-ready loan analysis software program enabling professionals to perform simple to advanced loan calculations and loan comparisons System Requirements: PC using Pentium processor, 13 MB of hard disk space, 32 MB RAM, Windows 95, 98, or NT How to Contact: By phone at (877) 464-2252 or on the Internet at (order and download directly for free five-day trial) Price: $199 per license Recommendation: Download the software and try it. See if you'd like this valuable feature on your Web site. Your realtors and clients could benefit if you provided them with clear and concise reports. Some brokers will love it and others won't. Let me know what you think. John D. Svirsky is a former Director and Technology Chairperson of the NYAMB, a volunteer firefighter, gardener, avid cigar enthusiast, and has been in business for himself for 18 years. John may be reached at (914) 424-3388 or [email protected].
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