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Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Chairman-Elect Rodrigo Lopez has warned industry professionals that a commitment to technology must be rooted in the C-suite.
Speaking yesterday at the trade group’s Annual Technology Conference, Lopez defined technology as “the infrastructure upon which we should invest to keep the industry moving forward, but also moving together.” Yet he expressed concern that keeping the corporate hierarchy separate from high-tech decision making would be a business error.
"A culture of technology must start with the CEO if it is to truly be incorporated throughout the company," said Lopez, who is also executive chairman of Omaha-based Northmarq Capital Finance. "CEOs should be intentional and deliberate in their strategic thinking by integrating technology with operations, risk management and customer service."
Lopez also praised mortgage professional for being ahead of the curve in their embrace of mobile technology.
"With consumers using hand-held devices for everyday life activities, the mortgage industry has been making incredible strides toward fully electronic mortgage transactions," he continued. "We now have online mortgages, e-closing capabilities, digital prequalification and personalized video disclosures. Each of these complies with regulatory standards. Technology has also improved settlement and title services."
However, he noted that many mortgage professionals were still a little too cautious in using social media as a customer service tool.
“This is understandable—in some ways, social media is still the great unknown,” he said. “But if the industry does not learn and take advantage of social media's usefulness, we could miss out on a great number of new customers.”
But Lopez observed there was an even greater concern to the industry regarding cybersecurity, which he stated was particularly vulnerable at the smaller companies.
“The mid-size to small lenders the most vulnerable as they work to update their systems," Lopez said. "Many do not have the expertise or breadth of resources to protect their data properly. Should security systems fail, this could lead to reputational and branding risks that many smaller lenders simply cannot afford. It could even put them out of business. That is why lenders often look to vendor partners for solving their cybersecurity needs."