Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Is Your Chair-Based Lifestyle Affecting Your Memory?

Working in the Software Development industry, it’s common to see developers reclining in their "souped-up” office chairs writing code that ultimately shapes the direction of our technology. Even our other departments are seen spending numerous hours sitting at their desks taking phone calls and typing up emails. However, with more research coming out about the negative impacts of living a “chair-based lifestyle”, it is time to consider making changes within the workplace. The impacts of sitting all day go deeper than the well-known physical damages that result from reduced metabolic rates. New research has shown that in addition to reduced energy levels, being sedentary for extended periods of time also reduces overall mental activity and memory. As a result, more companies are taking the first steps towards creating wellness programs for their employees.

I understand that there will always be some individuals that prefer sitting at their desk all day, and that is a choice they can make. However, others feel the negative impacts of sitting and, I believe this creates the potential for depression and unhappiness. I often hold “walk and talk” meetings with individuals from my team while walking outside whether with a destination in mind or just as a means of getting out of the office. In addition, as part of Mortgage Cadence’s new wellness program, we are currently testing out a treadmill desk that will allow employees to make phone calls via a headset while utilizing the desk to set their laptops on. If this proves to be successful, more will be phased in. My hope is that those who test the treadmills out will experience increased focus and a feeling of improved productivity, which will ultimately lead to a happier and healthier work environment. What do you think of these new treadmill desk, and what other changes do you think would help get people up and moving while at work?

Friday, July 20, 2012

What I'm Listening To Now

The Temper Trap - Trembling Hands
I was already planning on sharing the below song, but with the recent Aurora, Colorado shooting, it seems all the more relevant. My most heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted by the shooting. There is something to be gained in all of this darkness. When someone calls out for help, listen. Do what it takes to get them the help they need.

Currently touring the US. Check them out!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Good News on Homes: Negative Equity Declining

The below was sent to me by Donald M. Miller with W.J. Bradley Mortgage Capital, LLC regarding the housing marketing. These new stats are definitely a positive sign of hopefully things to come.

According to a new report by Core logic, 11.4 million (or 23.7%) of all U.S. mortgaged residential properties are in “Negative Equity” (when a borrower owes more on their mortgage than their property is worth). 
These figures are down from 25.2% in Q4, 2011. The Negative Equity share is at its lowest in nearly three years. 

Here are some details from the report. This is good news, slight as it may be, but good news! 
  • Negative Equity declined to $691 billion in Q1, 2012, down from $742 billion in Q4, 2011. 
  • More than 700,000 households returned to positive equity in Q1, 2012. 
  • 2.3 million borrowers had less than 5% equity, i.e. near Negative Equity in the Q1, 2012. 
  • Negative Equity and near Negative Equity mortgages accounted for 28.5% of all residential properties in Q1, 2012. This is down from 30.1% in Q4, 2011. 
  • Nevada had the highest Negative Equity percentage with 61% of all mortgaged properties underwater.

Decline in home values or an increase in mortgage debt is the cause of increase in Negative Equity. Negative Equity improved, in large part, due to improvements in home price levels. Additionally, sell through of existing inventory is fast and furious as we enter mid-summer. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Conclusion: The LOS vs ELS Debate

Over the past few months, I have addressed the long-standing debate between the LOS vs ELS. Is there a difference? Does a true ELS really exist? Does the LOS still have a place? The answer to all of these questions is yes. The LOS of today is not trying to be an ELS. It is a standard pre-configuration of the Enterprise Lending Solution and is generally geared for small to mid-size regional banks and credit unions looking to get up-and-running quickly with little configuration or customization. The ELS, on the other hand, is highly customizable and is designed for larger lenders with internal IT staff and development resources looking to create customized platforms that mirror their internal processes while leveraging extremely advanced technology. Both platforms are meant to increase throughput, decrease costs, and mitigate risk while maintaining compliance. 

Bigger is not always better.
Start off with technology that fits your current needs.
As we enter the halfway point of the year, it is more important for lenders to recognize their pain points and what is holding them back from success in this “Borrower’s Market”. By recognizing whether you have the internal resources to manage and customize an ELS or whether you want your vendor to take 100% of this on so you can focus on your business, you can begin to decide what is right for you – a loan origination solution or an enterprise lending solution. The line gets blurrier as the customization goes up, but it is crucial to know that you can choose to implement an LOS's best lending pre-configuration with plans to move up to an ELS. Getting live on a system is crucial in order to establish a foundation on which to build upon. In addition, setting expectations upfront with your new vendor and having a well-defined process led by an Internal Project Manager can help reduce the risk of over-customization that can hold back go-live. By knowing what is crucial to your business can help establish a strong system, leading to happier customers and the beginning of a long and prosperous partnership. 

So are you ready to make the switch? How long will you let the inefficiencies of antiquated systems play a detrimental role in your business? It’s amazing to me how many prospects come up to me complaining about how incredibly unhappy they are with the performance of their current platforms. I’ve been listening to what lenders have been saying in an effort to meet those needs unlike any other vendor in the mortgage technology space. It’s no secret that Mortgage Cadence’s ELS is second-to-none in the industry, and now, with our recent acquisition, we will now be able to offer more options to the credit unions and regional banks looking for an LOS. 

The process of switching to the LOS or ELS of today is easier than you may think, and it’s worth it to get rid of a system that is handcuffing you with inefficiencies. Why do you think so many lenders are willing to sacrifice performance and stay in an unhappy partnership with their current vendor? What’s holding people back?