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NEW YORK – Keeping up with the Joneses, and 250 million of their closest friends and neighbors, along with making sure you comply with the letter of the law in servicing these folks, can be a daunting task. But it has to be done, if credit unions want to be able to secure mortgages for their members. As a result, many, such as United Nations FCU, have turned to automated solutions to help. UNFCU recently deployed the HMDA RELIEF and Instant Geocoder system from QuestSoft of Laguna Hills, Calif., to allow its compliance and mortgage officers to more easily ensure they were following the rules, as well as to help them manage lending and address data more quickly and efficiently. HMDA RELIEF is a standalone program designed to help compliance officers ensure their credit unions are following the regulations of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and Community Reinvestment Act. The Instant Geocoder server-based software, meanwhile, integrates with it to provide updated demographic information from the U.S. Census. That was a key selling point to UNFCU “We installed the software to automate, as much as possible, our being able to obtain census tract data,” says Brian Handler, manager of mortgage processing and underwriting at $1.8 billion UNFCU. “One of the key reasons for our decision: the software is compatible with the loan-origination system we use from FICS (Financial Industry Computer Systems.) I was very impressed with a demonstration I saw at a FICS user conference, which underscored the ease of use, how quickly the software worked and its ability to find remote addresses,” Handler says. QuestSoft’s programs are integrated with loan-origination systems from dozens of vendors “and the software installs like a video game . three minutes and it’s running,” says Leonard Ryan, the company’s president. Handler agreed with that assessment. “The installation was completed by our IT department and was quick and easy,” says the UNFCU mortgage processing and underwriting manager. “The technician at QuestSoft was available to answer any questions that came up, and an online training class was given. The processing staff had very few questions. They were able to get up to speed right away.” Once they’re up to speed, staying up to date becomes crucial as well. Ryan says HMDA RELIEF is updated with both user interface and regulatory changes as soon as they are available. Instant Geocoder is updated quarterly, meanwhile, with about 32 million street segments and 250,000 added or changed addresses involved each time. About 300 of QuestSoft’s 1,050 clients are credit unions, Ryan says, and he has at the ready numbers to provide for the question of return on investment. Most credit unions invest $650 to $2,000 depending on their volume and geographic area served, with the average being about $1,000, he says. “We save about 90% of the time it takes to do an HMDA report versus the government Web site,” the QuestSoft president says. “The break-even for a single-state credit union is about 334 loans per year.” Handler says 59,000-member UNFCU originates more than 2,000 residential mortgage loans a year and that its new compliance and census-tract software have “already provided us with a significant cost savings. They enable our staff to increase efficiencies and speed member service, both invaluable features.” He adds: “The value is in the time saved by each processor. The census tract information is now at their fingertips, and the fact that it is compatible with FICS Loan Producer is great. “Additionally, we will save at least 10 hours of time as a result of automating the submission and checking HMDA results before they are provided to regulators.” QuestSoft’s president says users of his company’s solutions also gain the benefits of, well, more users. “Credit unions gain the ability to allow anyone in the institution to do data collection and correction, since the program has help screens for every aspect of HMDA submission,” Ryan says. “The members, meanwhile, can benefit from the identification of a low/moderate income census tract and thus may experience a lower rate or relaxed underwriting guidelines,” he adds. Besides operational and member benefits, there are possible market opportunities created by the QuestSoft solutions, the company president contends. “The system also can determine whether or not a loan is being originated in a low- to moderate-level income census tract,” Ryan says. “Using addresses identified by Instant Geocoder, lenders can negotiate premium pricing from institutions that are in need of mortgage loans qualifying for CRA within their institution’s assessment areas.” [email protected]

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