Monday, May 19, 2008

Pricemyloan: Getting customers to speak up

One of the biggest challenges for vendors serving the mortgage lending industry is that it is very difficult to get executives to talk about how happy they are with a given solution. Personally, I think this is because lenders don't really know how happy they are until the solution is fully scoped out, developed, implemented, integrated and put into production. By that time, most of these guys are already working for someone else. One of the advantages of the new SOA-based tools the industry has migrated to is that new tools can be brought online much faster.

Obviously, I've only hit upon part of the reason more lenders don't shower their vendors with praise, because shorter implementation time lines alone have not created a flood of new testimonials. But Costa Mesa, Calif.-based PriceMyLoan is one company that has been fairly successful at getting their new customers to comment favorably about their offering.

Just two months after implementing the PriceMyLoan (PML) automated underwriting and loan pricing engine Prysma Lending Group, a wholesale mortgage lender based in Connecticut, credited the tool with increasing its efficiency and contributing to its overall growth.

"Our wholesale business has been growing, but we found that it's almost impossible to keep moving ahead and expanding without some type of automation," said Luiz Serva, founder and chief executive officer of Prysma Lending Group. "PriceMyLoan put a structure in place for pricing and loan submission. It has streamlined our entire process."

In the past, most of us who write about mortgage technology have described offerings like PriceMyLoan as Product & Pricing Engines (PPE), but the company says we've missed the mark.

"The rise in popularity of PPE systems have led to inaccurate descriptions of PML," the company said in its release.

"There are so many companies out there offering PPE technology," said Gigi Campbell, national sales director at PriceMyLoan. "It obscures the fact that pricing alone is next to useless when it doesn't accurately determine borrower eligibility. Lenders don't gain any operational advantages by displaying pricing on a screen. Originators need to know if their borrower qualifies for the pricing, and they have to be able to trust that the decision is accurate."

Well, that certainly makes sense. Of course, the whole idea behind the PPE was that it could search the database for a product that fit the specific borrower and was priced according to the risk involved in the specific deal. PriceMyLoan says it has 150 lender implementations that say it can get that job done.

Time will tell. Another benefit of the new software architecture is that switching costs are lower. That may be one of the reasons PML has grown so quickly. It's also a risk.

On another note, lower software switching costs are moving lenders closer to something they have always claimed was a goal but never really bought into. More on then in the next post.

No comments: