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Tuesday
Mar132012

Imaging Files To Efficiency

Travels last week brought Cameron to Chicago and Corky rounded out a three week East Coast trip ending in Boston, New Haven, Connecticut and Kennebunk, Maine.  Below is a photo of the Bush compound in southern Maine.  The home is situated on Walker Point with a phenomenal view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Bush Compound - Kennebunkport, MaineMost mortgage companies image their files.  The thought goes if you image your files, paper waste and cost is reduced, underwriting redundancies decrease, efficiency is increased by saving administrative time printing, handing files from department to department and storing hard files.  Ultimately this is true, but what if your company’s use of imaged files is actually reducing your operational efficiency? 

The most common operations workflow trend we’re hearing is the following: 

  • The file is imaged at processing and moves to underwriting.
  • The underwriter prints the file and begins the review.
  • After the loan is approved, underwriting images the full approved file with updated conditions and underwriting notes.
  • After closing, the closing package and underwriting package are imaged together for investor delivery.

That’s three different scans and one wasted paper print out by not moving the file completely through the system electronically!

Mortgage companies using imaging technology inefficiently are costing the company more money and creating more bottlenecks than if they went old school and used only paper.  There are 100% paperless mortgage companies that see a huge increase in operational control and operational efficiency by reducing cost and hours per file.  Going 100% paperless can be a challenging task, but the rewards are huge.  Here where to start:

1)  Scanning a file into a PDF doesn’t constitute imaging your files for efficiency.    Find and invest in the right imaging software that indexes the documents and then use the software to its full capacity.  There are several software companies that allow the movement and addition/deletion of documents.  In addition, invest in a database management system that allows for imaged file movement and enable it!  

2)  Understand the underwriter’s resistance.  The number one comment we hear from mortgage bankers on why underwriting is allowed to print documents from an imaged file to underwrite, is “that’s what the underwriters want and we don’t want them to make mistakes”.  Ask your underwriters what it would take for them to be more comfortable underwriting off an imaged file.  Give them two or three or four monitors so they can spread out the documents across the screens or use one screen dedicated as an area to make file notes.  Change is always difficult to implement, but make sure you understand the resistance before developing a plan.

3)  Target your beta test employees to help tighten workflow and eliminate bugs/shortfalls.  Ensure your targeted employees are technology savvy and want to help the Company in the transition to 100% paperless.  Once the beta test is completed, incentivize employees who fully use the technology. 

4)  Create a sunset for the old workflow and stick to it.  Wavering on the imaging process by allowing employees to print file data only exacerbates the problem and shows the company isn’t committed to going 100% paperless. 

By going 100% paperless, a mortgage banker will see a reduction in paper waste and cost, decreased underwriting redundancies, higher workflow efficiency and ultimately a lower cost per file.

Cameron Watts, CMB
415.722.0369
cameron@cwattsmcs.com


C. M. "Corky" Watts, CMB
408.497.3135
corky@cwattsmcs.com

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