Dawar Alimi is co-founder and chief executive officer at Lender Price, headquartered in Pasadena, Calif. In this edition of
National Mortgage Professional Magazine, we visit with Alimi to discuss his work in the mortgage technology field.
How did you first get into the mortgage industry? Was this your original career choice?
After college, I was introduced to the mortgage industry by some friends and was intrigued by all the technical challenges and opportunities it held. I have been in the mortgage industry for 18 years now, and have held various roles from originations to servicing. I founded a wholesale lending company, an escrow company and a mortgage software company all prior to founding Lender Price. I guess you can say that I stumbled into a career in this industry and am very fortunate to have been in it for this long.
What was the inspiration for the creation of Lender Price?
Legacy technology has dominated the mortgage industry for a very long time and we saw an opportunity to build a solution with newer software frameworks. A good part of why legacy systems dominated the space is because the industry was busy surviving the mortgage and economic collapse of 2008.
While technology was advancing through things such as new open source frameworks, mobile solutions and cloud computing, the mortgage industry was overcoming the 2008 mortgage crisis. I believe in 2008 is when Amazon Web Services made their debut with Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). That paved the way for software engineers to build enterprise-grade applications without the cost of standing up expensive hardware infrastructure. Mobile phones and modern Web browsers are much more powerful and have changed the dynamics of how we communicate. Timing, the opportunity to create new and better solutions all were inspirations for creating Lender Price.
Since you started the company, what do you see as the greatest accomplishments and challenges that you faced over this time?
Dawar Alimi: It's a great accomplishment knowing that we built a platform that is used by many of the largest banks and non-bank lenders. It’s very gratifying knowing that thousands of users and billions of dollars of loans are flowing through our application that we worked so hard to develop.
A challenge we had was dealing with legacy systems from an integration perspective. Having several of these large banks and non-bank lenders on our platform now, we have become very good at large implementation and integration projects.
What makes Lender Price stand out from its competition?
Dawar Alimi: Our technology, our people and our relentless determination to make lending easier, less costly and more compliant makes us stand out from the competition. We decided to build our pricing engine after evaluating legacy pricing engines and speaking to banks and lenders about what they would like in a modern PPE platform.
Today, we have the most advanced pricing engine with flexibility that legacy PPE’s don’t have. We complimented our PPE with our configurable digital lending platform that’s unlike any POS in the space. Our technology definitely stands out when compared to our competitors.
Your Web site says: "At Lender Price, we believe in disrupting the mortgage lending industry by equipping the lending community with innovative technologies that enhance user experience and streamlines the mortgage loan process." Why do you feel that the industry needs to be disrupted with innovative technologies?
Dawar Alimi: The mortgage industry is complex and closing loans comes with several challenges with costs that have increased ever since Dodd-Frank. Through innovative digital solutions, lending can become more efficient and less costly. Our pricing engine makes managing loan programs easier. You see that today with how innovative new technologies are paving the way of how loans are originated.
How does your technology handle the complexities in non-QM loans?
Dawar Alimi: We just released our new pricing and underwriting engine called “Flex,” which is designed for non-agency/non-QM loans. We named it “Flex” due to the flexibility to configure just about any loan program, loan level pricing adjustments, eligibility and underwriting rules. With our platform, it takes a fraction of the time to add new loan programs. We remove the complexity of how pricing is managed for non-QM loans through an easy user interface where new non-QM loan programs can be added on the fly.
What are some of the new features in your recently updated version of Digital Lending Platform?
Dawar Alimi: The new digital lending platform has several new features in addition to an integrated pricing engine as part of a cost-effective bundle package. Some of the new features include:
►Expanded drag and drop user interface builder;
►Multiple themes so your digital application is branded for you;
►Advanced text messaging;
►Out of the box, it comes already integrated with our Enterprise PPE or Flex PPE as a bundled product;
►Custom e-mail notifications;
►Advanced document tracking;
►Soft or hard pull credit reporting; and
►Custom closing cost templates.
How do you view the overall state of today’s mortgage technology industry? Where do you see the industry heading in the next 12 months.
Dawar Alimi: The mortgage industry is evolving and embracing new technologies more than ever, so I see the mortgage technology industry greatly improving in the next 12 months. Lenders are looking at ways to equip their loan originators with solutions, such as digital lending and pricing engine solutions, to manage their pipelines efficiently. Using a modern pricing engine to help originators structure loans coupled with a digital lending platform to digitally verify income, assets and employment are all ways to make originators more efficient.
Lately, there have been jitters over the potential for a recession. Do you see a recession on the horizon?
Dawar Alimi: I think one of the key indicators to watch is housing prices. While housing demand is high and prices are high, we can feel comfortable that things will be okay, When demand decreases, we can expect a slowdown on the horizon. If we do go through another recession, I don’t expect it to be as bad as the last one.
What is your opinion of the rise of fintech and iBuyer competition for traditional brick-and-mortar lenders?
Dawar Alimi: While fintech will provide efficiencies, the comfort in having a loan officer handling your loan is very important to most borrowers and won’t go away. iBuyer’s like using technology, but still want to speak to someone who will guide them through one of the biggest investments in their lives.
Looking back on your career, what do you see as your peak accomplishment?
Dawar Alimi: My peak accomplishment has been doing what I enjoy most, which is building software with a talented team at Lender Price. It’s a great feeling building a software platform used by many of the top banks and non-bank lenders. Our pricing engine is critical to how lenders function on a day-to-day basis.
How do you spend your leisure hours?
Dawar Alimi: I have two young boys who are eight and 10, so my leisure time is spent with them. If I’m not working over the weekend, I’m usually taking them to baseball, soccer or whatever activities they have that day. Outside of family, I love trying out new software frameworks and various software design patterns. Ever since grad school, I’ve had a fascination with machine learning algorithms. I joined F45, a training program originally from Australia, and have been really into HIIT training–and I really enjoy working out.
Phil Hall is managing editor of
National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at [email protected].
This article originally appeared in the December 2019 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.