Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Portellus: Grabs Argent Technologist

Irvine, Calif.-based Portellus Inc. has added Michael Goldsby to its team as Chief Technology Officer. Goldsby comes to Portellus with more than 20 years of experience in high visibility positions ranging from chief architect and scientist to enterprise consultant, most recently working for some of the nation's largest subprime lenders.

In his role as CTO, Goldsby is responsible for guiding the company’s long term technology vision for its multiple business units on vertical and horizontal levels. Mr. Goldsby will oversee Portellus’ application engineering and development teams for the company’s suite of business automation solutions in both the United States and overseas.

SourceMedia's Paul Muolo has been talking a lot lately about how large subprime lenders are being bought up by Wall Street firms. We saw similar activity back in the late 90s when subprime lenders, flush with profit after the B&C boom, were sold off to eager buyers--mostly banks back then, as I recall.

If Wall Street is the buyer this time, it makes sense that companies like Portellus would be eager to build subprime lending technology to offer these deep-pocketed new owners. We'll stand by to see what Goldsby can help Portellus build.

Trend: Net Branch requires technology

In a recent issue of Broker magazine, editor Brad Finkelstein pointed out that Net Branch, or whatever you want to call it today, is still hot in the mortgage business. He says this is true because many brokers are getting "tired of the back-office drudgery of running a business."

While managing a net branch can offer higher rewards for doing what a broker does every day, those rewards are almost always tied to the overall success of the branch -- and that means running the business. While many of the back-office processes (payroll, insurance, licensing and compliance, facilities management, etc.) are often managed by the home office, the success of the net branch manager will come down to how profitable the branch becomes.

To make that easy for both parties, the best net branch operators are turning to technology providers who can integrate certain business management tools directly into the mortgage loan origination tools the brokers use to fulfill their primary function.

Vuecentric, Austin, Texas, is one such company. The company has built lead management, marketing, electronic partner networking and loan officer management tools into its MortgageDashboard software, making it easier for net branch managers to get their jobs done without leaving the software.

Because trust between the branch manager and the home office is so important for a successful partnership, the software serves an additional purpose. By creating an auditable trail of work within the branch, new technologies can make it easier for brokers to succeed in the net branch--or find out why they're not doing as well as they should be.