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Monday, October 22, 2018

Q/A with Greg Holmes of Credit Plus Inc.

By MBA Insights Staff
May 1, 2018

Topics:
Greg Holmes
Credit Plus Inc.
Technology

Greg Holmes is Managing Partner with Credit Plus Inc., Salisbury, Md., a third-party verifications company serving the mortgage industry. He oversees the company's branding, marketing, public relations, advertising and interactive strategies, while working to develop new products. He is a 2017 recipient of Mortgage Professional America's Hot 100. He can be reached at gholmes@creditplus.com.

MBA INSIGHTS: What do you see as some key emerging issues as the spring house-buying season kicks in?

GregHolmesGREG HOLMES, CREDIT PLUS INC.: Certainly, the lack of inventory is a huge issue in many markets across the country right now. For so long we were in a place where we had a lot of inventory but didn't have enough borrowers in a position to move. Some even had negative equity in homes. And, while we have slowly climbed out of that situation, we are now in an environment where there are more qualified borrowers and fewer available homes to be purchased--and that has led to rising home prices.

INSIGHTS: As a services provider, how would you rate the lending industry on technological efficiency?

HOLMES: I'd rate it very high. There are a lot of technology choices and avenues to choose from. The trick is being connected to a single community in order for these technological solutions to work easily with each other. It's almost a necessity these days. MISMO was created to develop electronic commerce standards for the mortgage industry--the goal being that data is provided in a consistent manner so it can be easily shared. It doesn't dictate the kind of software or technology to use though. And, while there has been some progress on this front, it has been fairly limited. We still have quite a way to go for total and seamless integrations throughout the industry.

INSIGHTS: Credit Plus provides more than 160 services. How do you make the case to a lender that it's better to go with an outside services provider?

HOLMES: From a compliance standpoint, it is required. From an operational standpoint, it is desired. When you work with one outside services provider, you have fewer vendors to vet, manage and maintain.

INSIGHTS: Are lenders looking for the ability to bundle third-party services?

HOLMES: Absolutely. It's all about reducing costs and creating greater efficiencies. Lenders are now required not only to work with reliable third-party vendors for borrower verifications, but they are also responsible for them--which means those vendors must be thoroughly vetted and closely monitored. However, lenders can avoid all this work when they take advantage of bundling services with one third-party service provider. By consolidating vendors to one, the time and effort that must go into vetting and managing outside support is instantly reduced. And as they say, time is money.

INSIGHTS: What are some functions that simply make sense to partner with a third-party provider?

HOLMES: Gaining a clear understanding of the total cost for a borrower's closing disclosure is one of them. When a lender quotes fees to consumers, they are only allowed a 10 percent variance. So, in cases where many additional supplements are required to get to closing, it can end up costing lenders considerably more than if they bundled services through a third-party vendor. When services are bundled, it creates an environment whereby the fee structure is flat, not variable, which creates consistency. This allows lenders to accurately quote fees and control costs.

Another function is customer support. When you consolidate and bundle services with one vendor, you receive dedicated, streamlined support. In addition, the vetting process is greatly simplified and reduced when you choose to work with a single service provider. It's a win-win.

INSIGHTS: How is security playing an increasing role in your operations?

HOLMES: Regularly adding new security protocols has significantly increased the costs involved in our day-to-day operations. Because we are continuously audited, we have been forced to put many more audit measures in place. And, there is an expense associated with that not only in terms of dollars, but also in terms of time. The more we are audited, the more time and resources are redirected away from production and concentrated, instead, on answering questions.

We go to great lengths to stay current with our security measures and have our technology certified by a third-party IT-security specialist. It's become a way of life--a very necessary part of what we do each day.

INSIGHTS: Credit Plus partners with a number of other providers on services. Is that a strategy you will continue to pursue?

HOLMES: Absolutely. And the reason for this is simple--if we don't, we will become irrelevant.

(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA Insights welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to Mike Sorohan, editor, at msorohan@mba.org; or Michael Tucker, editorial manager, at mtucker@mba.org.)

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