MBA Tech All-Star: Nancy Alley--All about the ‘e'
By Lesley Hall
March 28, 2017
Nancy Alley, vice president of strategic planning for Provo, Utah-based Simplifile, has been a tireless advocate for all things "e" throughout her career.
Alley's been involved with e-closings since 1999, when she founded a startup software company called SignOnline Inc. to promote electronic records and signatures. That was the same year the federal Uniform Electronic Transactions Act was passed, and nearly a year before the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, known as eSIGN, became law.
Alley has also worked with ISGN, Xerox Mortgage Services, Wave Systems Corporation and GE Capital. In addition to her professional roles, she has pushed for the advancement of the e-mortgage through her participation with MISMO, the Mortgage Bankers Association's Residential Technology Forum and the government-sponsored enterprises.
Alley has helped propel forward the widespread use of e-records, e-signatures, e-delivery and e-records retention. She's been instrumental in MISMO's development of its data standards to support these initiatives and was able to help persuade the GSEs to accept electronic copies of recorded security instruments as long as the security was originally e-recorded, representing a major shift in GSE policy and eliminating a longstanding barrier to widespread e-recording adoption.
A former co-chair of MISMO's eMortgage Workgroup and member of MISMO's Strategic Planning Committee, and current member of MISMO's board of directors, Alley's knowledge and expertise have contributed to solving real mortgage business problems and regulatory challenges through industry standardization.
"Nancy Alley has worked tirelessly to support the digitalization of the mortgage finance industry for many years," says Jan Davis, MBA director of industry standards and MISMO vice president. "At the forefront of industry efforts to move the industry from paper-based to electronic processes, one process at a time, Nancy has been all in from the beginning."
In her work for MISMO, Davis says, "Nancy was a key proponent who dispelled the notion that adoption of electronic mortgages is an all-or-nothing proposal--that is, digitalization can happen one process, one success, at a time. This very simple concept has been important to making digitalization of mortgage processes infinitely more attainable for industry participants significantly expanding adoption."
Davis adds, "Nancy's contributions to MISMO have gone far beyond the e-mortgage arena. Nancy is a strong advocate for the adoption of industry standards, taking every opportunity to talk about the business value of standards any chance she gets. In her role on the MISMO board and through participation on the MISMO Strategic Planning Committee, Nancy has been a trusted adviser helping to shape the direction of key strategic initiatives..and transition to the new membership structures in 2017."
Alley also serves as Simplifile's representative on Freddie Mac's Vendor Advisory Board, and sits on Freddie Mac's and Fannie Mae's joint Uniform Closing Dataset Advisory Board.
In her current role at Simplifile, a provider of real estate document collaboration and recording technologies for lenders, settlement agents and counties, Alley works on electronic solutions to solve the expensive, time-consuming post-closing documentation issues that have long plagued lenders. She played a significant role in delivering to market Simplifile's Post Closing service, which gives lenders insight into their settlement partners' processes and helps ensure that the final recorded loan documents make their way back to the loan file.
Alley has never lost sight of the impact technology can have on the mortgage industry. She said the mortgage industry's perseverance in pushing for the use of technology is remarkable.
"Innovation in this industry can be challenging, as there are so many stakeholders and disparate systems," Alley said. "Even the most obvious opportunities must be thoroughly vetted--sometimes for years--before they become reality. I have been lucky to work with many peers in the industry who simply keep moving the ball forward every day and haven't let the slow pace of adoption deter their passion."
She adds, "I am always frustrated when I see the industry missing opportunities for improvement. Change must create value throughout the loan origination supply chain, and demonstrating that takes patience. That said, I am encouraged by some key changes over the past year or so. The [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] eClosing pilot had great participation, and the GSEs are moving toward MISMO V3 on the eNote, as well as having eliminated the trailing paper on mortgages that are e-recorded. All of these items are creating positive momentum."
Alley is a repeat Tech All-Star, having been named one of Mortgage Banking magazine's 2012 Tech All-Stars. Since that first award five years ago, she says, and despite the turmoil in the industry since the financial crisis, "I believe the industry has taken major steps in building technology to build a more compliant and transparent workflow. Leverage of industry data standards, like MISMO, in combination with the GSEs Uniform Mortgage Data Program, are creating the infrastructure to share data more efficiently and transparently. While it is unfortunate that it took regulation to spur some of this change, the resulting innovation has been excellent."
Two of Alley's high school jobs were in the mortgage industry--one as a mortgage processor and the other working in post-closing. She says she isn't surprised that she followed those early experiences to a long-term career in the mortgage industry.
"I also love a challenge, so solving problems through technology has always been a natural fit for me," Alley said. "Mortgage technology is a way of using innovation to improve the industry I know."
But if she hadn't taken that first job in financial services and been attracted to the technology, she says she probably would have been a serial house remodeler. "I already have seven house remodels under my belt, and given that even that passion is still in real estate and about improving the end product, my DNA seems to be wired a certain way," she says.
Alley lives in New Mexico, where life outside of mortgage technology consists of cycling, house renovating, hiking, reading, cooking, gardening--plus juggling a husband, two kids and "more animals than any sane human being would confess to owning."