The state of mortgage technology has changed drastically over the past 10 years. The development of the fax machine, personal computer, spread sheet and loan origination programs, and the Internet have all had a huge impact on the marketplace. But customers still want that human contact at the other end of the line when making the single most important investment of their lives--the purchase of a home.
Monument Mortgage, a FiNet.com Company, is bringing several new tools and programs to the industry in order to enhance the performance of the mortgage professional. The San Ramon, Calif.-based company plans to bring its technological advancements to the nation's broker community, forge strategic partnerships with the industry's top service providers, and promote education to further increase broker knowledge.
Monument, along with Fannie Mae, was awarded the 1998 Computerworld Smithsonian Award in the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate category. The companies were recognized for Fannie Mae's HomePath.com and FiNet's iQualify technology, which were integrated to provide consumers with online access to home buyer information, multiple lenders, and loan approvals from Monument Mortgage.
In the coming months, Monument plans to roll out three new technologies for its customer base, a new and improved Web site (www.monument.com), a newly-formed strategic alliance with Calyx Software, and enhancements to the iQualify technology behind Finet.com.
"The Monument Mortgage Web site has been in existence approximately 20 months," notes President and CEO Rick Cossano. "It allows the broker to research programs and check rates online, in real-time, and lets the broker order docs, submit actual loan applications, and electronically lock-in loans."
Should a user come across any problems while navigating the Monument Web site, a unique help menu connects the user to a live broker liaison. "Users can communicate verbally with the liaison and be guided through any problems encountered," adds Mr. Cossano. "In addition, a separate pop-up chat window is also available, allowing them to chat live with our support staff."
Monument's recently-formed strategic alliance with Calyx Software will not only expand the company's present user base, but also embed its technology into an already widely used loan origination software package, POINT. Monument's pricing, products, and automated underwriting will be instantly accessible to POINT users nationwide. Approximately 22,000 out of the 36,000 mortgage brokerages nationwide are registered Calyx POINT users.
"In the past, in order to access a lender's site, users had to exit their loan origination software, boot up a Web browser, and access a lender," explains Mr. Cossano. "Now, with just a point and a click, users can access our site without ever leaving the POINT screen."
Lastly, iQualify translates an automated underwriting decision into consumer-friendly verbiage. Monument hopes to deploy the iQualify technology to the Mortgage Broker as an instructional business-to-consumer tool.
"We are working on several strategic alliances with companies such as LION, Inc. and Ellie Mae to embed the iQualify technology into pre-existing sites," says Executive Vice President of Business-to-Business Operations Robert Snow. "By working with these sites, users can log on, apply online, and receive an automated underwriting approval 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When brokers log on the next day, they will see that they have several approved loans in their E-mail."
Continuing the trend of education, Monument, through its partnership with the National Association of Mortgage Brokers Educational Foundation, will be the primary sponsor of a new NAMBEF course covering the topic of predatory lending. "When the class is launched at the end of the year, we'll take it on the road to NAMB's state affiliates as a tool for brokers looking to fulfill both educational and certification requirements," states Vice President of National Accounts and Marketing Jeff Jaye (and California Association of Mortgage Broker's 2000 Broker of the Year). AWe feel this course will be prevalent not just now, but in the years to come because as HR 4213 [the Consumer Mortgage Protection Act of 2000] moves through Congress, it needs a companion bill in the Senate, and that will take approximately 2 years.
"By teaching the broker about predatory lending, we are actually helping consumers as well because the broker will be performing nothing but fair and honest business practices," adds Mr. Jaye. AOur education to the brokers will be passed on to the consumer."
On the NAMB state affiliate level, Monument's dedication to the industry runs deeper than NAMBEF courses. The company is a member of every professional mortgage association where they have a state presence. But Monument pushes its dedication even further.
"Our company's District Managers across the U.S. are required to serve on either the Membership, Legislative, or Education Committee of their respective NAMB state affiliate," says Mr. Jaye. "This clause is written into each District Manager's contract when they sign on to work here. We also sponsor NAMB affiliate dinner meetings each month and provide speakers for these meetings. We are proud of the fact that Monument's sponsorship dollars drive NAMB affiliates."
Monument Mortgage is truly dedicated to empowering the Mortgage Broker. Through its products and services, Mortgage Brokers will find an efficient and professional method of fulfilling their customers' dreams of homeownership.