ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Alaska is a good place for pioneers, in this case, one of the first credit unions to deploy an automated lending solution from a company owned by a bank.
Since last November, $3 billion Alaska USA Federal Credit Union has been using a Web-based mortgage loan origination system (LOS) from GHR Systems, a Metavante Lending Solution.
Kimberly Baker, senior vice president of Alaska USA Mortgage Co./Alaska USA Real Estate Lending, says her credit union is the third-largest lender in Alaska and is deploying the Metavante solution in two phases to accommodate its growing business in Alaska and Washington state.
Alaska USA has 51 retail and traditional branches (34 in Alaska and 17 in Washington) and Baker's CUSO has 11 co-located and standalone offices in the two states. Along with a call center and online operation, the organization generated $650 million in mortgage and real estate loans last year, a number that's expected to grow.
Baker says that's why the in-house solution is being replaced by the LOS from Metavante, a company known for e-commerce solutions that also includes check processing, EFT and bill pay.
"In our Washington operations, especially, we're recruiting more experienced originators from other establishments, and they're demanding technology that makes their jobs easier. We also wanted a system that's easy to get new people up and running on, and this is very intuitive," Baker says.
She says the credit union is taking a two-step approach.
"The first phase, including point of sale, lead and contact management, disclosure and application functions, began in November. Phase two is scheduled for the third quarter of this year, Baker says.
"Phase two is to support full processing functions, where the originator hands off the loan to be quickly qualified and verified and closed," she says.
There's no shortage of Web-based loan origination and processing products on the market, but GHR System's head man was quick to point out differentiators.
"We do some things a little bit different than the typical LOS," says Cy Brinn, president of GHR Systems, a Metavante Lending Solution. "We provide automated loan product eligibility and pricing decisions in our applications, and we also provide the capability to automate the ordering of processing and closing services.
"We've also recently come out with extended capabilities to automate movement of work from one user to the next, as well as the automated fulfillment of ancillary services, such as when appraisals should be ordered. It's designed so that when a data set comes back, the software interrogates that data and then determines what should be done next."
GHR Systems Inc. became a Metavante subsidiary about two years ago. Brinn says the market still knows his operation as GHR Systems and that only a couple of his approximately 60 clients are credit unions.
He says he expects that number to grow now that Metavante Corp. is being spun off from its parent company, Marshall & Illsley Corp., a diversified financial services firm that includes the largest Wisconsin- based bank.
"Because of competitive issues between banks and credit unions, Metavante really didn't pursue the credit union space. It was kind of a built-in market limitation," Brinn says. "But that's going away now that Metavante is being spun off, and we'll be pursuing credit union and thrift business much more aggressively," he says. Metavante, as a stand-alone publicly traded company, will have approximately 5,500 employees, the company says, and generated revenue of $1.5 billion with a net income of $160 million in 2006. Along with its mortgage solutions, Metavante will be targeting a new consumer loan origination system (CLOS) at the community financial institution market.
That platform integrates a variety of loan types--including the mortgage platform--with home equity, auto, secured and unsecured products. It's a Web-based, standalone solution that also accesses relationship data from a lender's core system as well as interfaces with credit bureaus, document, appraisal and insurance providers and geo-coding specialists. Brinn says it's geared to lenders ranging from startups to those originating up to 1,000 consumer loans a month. "Lenders using manual or semi-automated systems and systems that are not Web-based, will benefit from this system and gain additional efficiencies by being able to compute credit insurance calculations, automate decisioning and produce documents," he says.
Baker at Alaska FCU says her organization is not currently planning to expand to the CLOS "since we already have a piece of a direct solution in place."
"We've broken down our project line to meet our most immediate need, which right now is to provide our mortgage loan originators with a user-friendly tool that will allow them to streamline their processes," she says.
"That's the most member-facing piece we do, so that's phase one." --firstname.lastname@example.org