To make its tech­nol­ogy more rel­e­vant to the mort­gage in­dus­try, Fan­nie is tak­ing a new ap­proach de­vel­op­ing tools to make lend­ing more ef­fi­cient.

National Mortgage News - - Contents - By Henry Carson Henry Ca­son is se­nior vice pres­i­dent and head of dig­i­tal prod­ucts at Fan­nie Mae.

“If you build it, they will come” was an as­sump­tion that worked out well in the movie “Field of Dreams,” but it’s not an as­sump­tion we make here at Fan­nie Mae when de­liv­er­ing tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion in the mort­gage fi­nance in­dus­try. At Fan­nie Mae, we want to be sure that if we build a prod­uct, cus­tomers will ac­tu­ally use it.

So, we are ask­ing our cus­tomers to help us in­no­vate.

A large part of my job as head of Fan­nie Mae’s Dig­i­tal Prod­ucts team is nur­tur­ing an in­ter­nal cul­ture that fos­ters in­no­va­tion through col­lab­o­ra­tion. In­creas­ingly, that cul­tural change is be­ing driven by close col­lab­o­ra­tion with our cus­tomers and part­ners, who are work­ing side by side with us as we de­velop new tech­nol­ogy, prod­ucts and pro­cesses.

This shift has led us to “co-cre­ate” tech­nol­ogy and pro­cesses that look to im­prove the mort­gage orig­i­na­tion and clos­ing pro­cesses so that loans can be un­der­writ­ten more quickly, less ex­pen­sively, and more safely.

Co-cre­ation — or the process of pair­ing the de­vel­oper of a prod­uct with an end user of the prod­uct as the prod­uct is de­signed — is noth­ing new for many in­dus­tries. But, it has taken on greater im­por­tance in hous­ing fi­nance. At Fan­nie, it has helped us tai­lor in­no­va­tion for the mort­gage in­dus­try’s needs as part of our se­ries of Day 1 Cer­tainty ini­tia­tives first in­tro­duced in Oc­to­ber 2016 and up­dated last fall.

Co-cre­ation has helped us re-en­gi­neer not just the un­der­writ­ing side of lend­ing; it has helped us with stream­lin­ing the sale of mas­ter ser­vic­ing rights with our Ser­vic­ing Mar­ket­place. And, this col­lab­o­ra­tive spirit helped us un­der­stand why in­tro­duc­ing ap­pli­ca­tion programming in­ter­faces, or APIs as they are bet­ter known, for our lender part­ners was so im­por­tant. As our part­ners in the in­dus­try take on and process hefty gigs of data, these APIs al­low them to bet­ter man­age data in­ter­nally and with us.

Our part­ner­ships with lenders mean that they can im­ple­ment tech­nol­ogy that is smart and more user-friendly at a time when the hous­ing fi­nance in­dus­try is man­ag­ing a shift from a mar­ket dom­i­nated by re­fi­nanc­ing to one dom­i­nated by pur­chase lend­ing.

Co-cre­ation is a change in think­ing for us at Fan­nie Mae. Pre­vi­ously, we would de­velop a tool for our lender cus­tomers and in­tro­duce it to the mar­ket, ex­pect­ing they would im­me­di­ately adopt it and see its ben­e­fits. In some cases, the re­sult was a prod­uct of lit­tle use to our cus­tomers — suited more to Fan­nie Mae’s needs than theirs. In to­day’s fast-evolv­ing fin­tech econ­omy, where par­tic­i­pants have to be quick to adopt and adapt to change, this old way of do­ing busi­ness just doesn’t work.

To­day, we em­ploy ag­ile soft­ware de­vel­op­ment prac­tices to col­lab­o­rate with our lender part­ners. But we at Fan­nie Mae can­not go about it our­selves. That’s where all of our cus­tomers in the mort­gage lend­ing com­mu­nity come in. The white­boards here at Fan­nie Mae are not just for us to have a col­lab­o­ra­tive work en­vi­ron­ment. They are here with all of our lender part­ners at top of mind so ev­ery­body can put their mark on them and dream up tech­nol­ogy for bet­ter cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence.

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