Joe Ludlow of Advantage Systems: Real World Applications for Real-Time Data, A Branch Manager’s Perspective

When it comes to the loan application process, lenders have been riding the real-time data wave for quite a while. With the ability to quickly verify borrower income and employment, paired with up-to-the-minute updates on appraisal, flood and title services, time-to-close is a fraction of what it used to be.

The challenge for many lenders today is actually one of “data overload” as they work to convert “available” data into “actionable” data. Some are finding success, however, and modern lenders like MortgageRight are effectively leveraging real-time data within their day-to-day operations to gain loan-level detail across their entire branch network, supporting loan production as well as recruiting and branch network expansion initiatives.

MBA NewsLink interviewed MortgageRight Director of Strategic Growth and Branch Manager Mike Russo and Advantage Systems Vice President Joe Ludlow.

Read more at: Mortgage Bankers Association

September 25, 2023

Joe Ludlow of Advantage Systems: For Lenders, Data Visualization Holds The Key To Maximizing The Value of Real-Time Data

Lenders have, for a while now, embraced the use of real-time data in the loan application and origination process. Notably, through verification of income and employment when evaluating borrowers or real-time updates to appraisal, flood and title services, time-to-close has been streamlined significantly. Lenders are increasingly making use of real-time, loan-level data within operations to monitor production more accurately within their branch networks.

Having systems in place with real-time data capabilities is just the first step, however. The challenge that many lenders are struggling with now is one of “data overload.” Like the proverbial example of “drinking from a firehose,” the sheer amount of data available is making it difficult for staff to parse, evaluate and execute when faced with continuously updating, real-time data sets.

Read more on: Progress in Lending Association

June 29, 2023

Branch Out to Profitability: How AMB 7 Sierra’s Branch Reporting Feature Can Help Lenders Stay Ahead in a Changing Market

AMB | The Role of Enhanced Branch Reporting

As we navigate the current economic climate, it's more important than ever for mortgage lenders to streamline their operations and maximize profitability. One way to achieve this is by utilizing the Branch Reporting feature on our AMB 7 Sierra software. This powerful tool provides lenders with detailed insights into loan volumes, margins, profits, and expenses for each branch within their network.

But why is this level of reporting so crucial? In a market with margin compression and increased competition, lenders need to evaluate the true profitability of each branch to make informed decisions about staffing, expenses, and compensation. With the ability to drill down to income and commission basis points on any group of loans, lenders can identify areas where they can cut costs and improve efficiency.

At Advantage Systems, Inc (ASI), we understand that the mortgage industry is rapidly evolving.

That's why we've developed AMB 7 Sierra to be cloud friendly and more easily accessed by remote users. The modern dashboard and customizable reports provide unparalleled access to your data. The result? A streamlined and more profitable organization.

Here are some of the key benefits of the Branch Reporting feature on AMB 7 Sierra:

  • Faster reporting: Automated reporting capabilities provide lenders with real-time insights into loan volumes, margins, profits, and expenses for each branch within their network. This allows for more informed decision-making and improved efficiency.
  • Enhanced visibility: With the ability to drill down to income and expenses on any group of loans, lenders gain greater insight into their organization's profitability. This can positively impact employee retention and recruitment efforts.
  • Revamped Data Control: Each branch has a unique view of the data, with access controlled for each user. Executives have access to all branch data. All users can customize their dashboards.
  • Improved profitability: With greater insight into loan volumes, margins, and profits, lenders can identify areas where they can cut costs and improve efficiency. This can lead to greater consistency and profitability across branch networks.

As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, it's crucial for lenders to take a proactive approach to streamlining their operations and maximizing profitability. By utilizing the Branch Reporting feature on AMB 7 Sierra, lenders can gain real-time insights into their organization's profitability, reduce human error and delays, and improve efficiency.

Thank you for choosing Advantage Systems, Inc (ASI) as your trusted partner in the mortgage industry. We look forward to continuing to support your success.

Lending a Hand: ASI’s Quarterly Newsletter – June 2023

A Letter from the President

Dear ASI Community,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the first quarterly newsletter of 2023. This year has already been challenging, as anyone in the mortgage industry knows. Here at ASI, we are comforted by the knowledge that we have successfully navigated hard times before through the mortgage industry's many ups and downs over the past 30 years we have been in business. We remain committed to you, as we are all in this together.

At Advantage Systems Inc (ASI), we are committed to keeping you informed about the latest trends and developments in the industry. We have been hard at work developing new features for our products and enhancing the security of our software to better serve your needs. I recently dove into some challenges that I see in the mortgage industry, which were shared in a publication by the Mortgage Bankers Association. One main point I made was the importance of modern, flexible solutions in order to remain competitive within an evolving market and I am proud to say that ASI is at the forefront of this shift.

In this issue, you'll find informative articles about the latest developments in the mortgage industry including updates on our product offerings, tips on how to maximize the benefits of our solutions, and a spotlight on one of our valued clients, UMortgage.

We are committed to helping you find opportunities to survive and thrive. We appreciate your continued trust in ASI as we all position ourselves for the future.

Best regards,

Brian D. Lynch
President, Advantage Systems Inc.


Test Your Mortgage IQ: Can You Answer These Tricky Trivia Questions?

We hope you enjoyed our trivia section and had some fun testing your knowledge of the mortgage banking industry! If you think you know the answers to the questions we've posed, we encourage you to respond to the newsletter with the answers!

Good luck!


UMortgage: Building Stronger Communities One Loan at a Time

At ASI, we are proud to work with a diverse group of clients across the mortgage banking industry. Today, we would like to shine a spotlight on one of our esteemed clients, UMortgage. UMortgage is a leading mortgage banking company, committed to providing exceptional service and customized mortgage solutions to their clients. With over 20 years of experience, UMortgage has helped thousands of individuals and families achieve their dream of homeownership.

UMortgage's Chief Financial Officer, Gil Arbitsman, commends AMB Sierra, highlighting its role in offering a profound understanding of their business performance, thus enabling better-informed decision making. "We pride ourselves on being a technology-first mortgage company and AMB is an integral part of our software suite,” added Arbitsman. “These tools allow us to analyze and interpret substantial data sets and deliver superior outcomes.”

The Sierra Branch Reporting feature offers flexibility to UMortgage's nationwide branch managers, affording them the ability to run their own reports for improved data control and enabling a swifter response to their business needs.

"The finance function is no longer just a back-office operation for us,” said Christian Kasa, UMortgage’s Accounting Team Leader. “With AMB Sierra, our finance team has become a strategic partner to the business, providing valuable insights and analysis that fuel our growth in a challenging market.”

We are very proud to partner with UMortgage and excited to witness the company’s continued growth and commitment to creating life-changing opportunities through homeownership. Thank you for choosing ASI as your trusted software provider.


Market Insights from Redfin, the U.S. Treasury, and the Federal Reserve

In the face of rising mortgage rates and potential economic uncertainties, insights from Redfin Corporation's CEO, Glenn Kelman, U.S. Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, and Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell, provide a comprehensive understanding of the current real estate market and the broader economic landscape.

Glenn Kelman on the Housing Market and Interest Rates:

Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, highlights the significant role of interest rates in the housing market. He states, "We don't need the housing market to get better. When it does, and at some point it will as the Fed steps back from these rate increases, we have tremendous leverage. As we get more revenues, we'll hold our costs steady, and we'll have a more efficient real estate operation. So, it should fall to the bottom line. But it's rate, rate, rate." This statement emphasizes the importance of interest rates in shaping the housing market and Redfin's strategic approach to navigating these complexities.

Janet Yellen's Perspective on the U.S. Economy:

According to Yellen, the United States will likely have enough reserves to prevent a potential debt default until June 5. This situation provides some breathing room for negotiations between the White House and congressional Republicans, who appeared to be closing in on a compromise agreement to raise the debt ceiling for two years.

Jerome Powell's View on Interest Rates:

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has stated that it is still unclear if U.S. interest rates will need to rise further. Central bank officials are balancing uncertainty about the impact of past hikes in borrowing costs and recent bank credit tightening with the fact that inflation is proving hard to control. Powell noted that the risks of doing too much or doing too little are becoming more balanced.

Despite these challenges, Redfin, the U.S. Treasury, and the Federal Reserve are demonstrating strategic foresight and adaptability. As we navigate the complexities of the current real estate market and broader economic landscape, their insights provide anyone tied to the mortgage industry valuable guidance.


Unlock the Power of AMB 7 Sierra

At the heart of our mortgage loan software, AMB 7 Sierra, lies the capability to unlock the full potential of your data. With a focus on cloud friendly technology and KPI dashboards, users can easily select which KPIs will be active for them and drill down from a given KPI to the data supporting that KPI. AMB 7 Sierra’s script-based report layouts are fully customizable and offer different user classes, so you can tailor it to fit your unique business needs.

Here are some tips and tricks to get the most out of AMB 7 Sierra:

Cloud friendly: AMB 7 Sierra is fully browser-based and cloud friendly, making it the ideal solution for remote workers.

KPI dashboards tailored for mortgage bankers: The AMB 7 Sierra dashboard provides unparalleled access to your data. With Sierra’s KPI dashboards, users can select which KPIs will be active for them and drill down from a given chart to the data supporting that KPI.

Extensive drill-down capabilities: The extensive capability to drill down, up, and through the data gives managers at all levels a great view of their operation.

Customizable reports: AMB 7 Sierra is fully customizable with script-based layouts, so you can tailor it to fit your unique business needs.

Different user classes: AMB 7 Sierra offers different user classes, making it easy to manage user access and security. Accounting Users, Executive Users, and Branch Managers only see the data they should.

Access to Real Time Data: Whether you're a manager looking for the big picture, or an analyst who needs to drill down to the nitty-gritty, AMB 7 Sierra has the tools you need to unlock the full potential of your data.

Try it today and see the difference it can make in your business.


ApprovalSoft: Streamline Your Approval Process and Take Control of Your World

Welcome to ApprovalSoft®, our comprehensive, user-defined approach to managing any type of approval event. Whether it's vendor invoices, journal entries, cash receipts, or even engineering changes, ApprovalSoft allows you to control your payables in one place.

  • ApprovalSoft is directly connected to AMB, providing easy access to lists of vendors, loans, accounts, and other details. 
  • One of the major benefits of the ApprovalSoft system is its ability to read inbound emails, rendering the email itself as well as any attached images supporting a given approvable. This function eliminates the need for scanning paper documents and provides 100% accurate data, giving you the freedom to work from anywhere.
  • Our system offers an inbound email feature that launches a payable based on a template for that vendor. The correct vendor and default GL are automatically selected based on the sender's email address, reducing the need for manual data entry.
  • ApprovalSoft provides an approval process and audit trail for journal entries. 
  • Images of supporting documentation are managed automatically, eliminating the need to store documentation elsewhere.
  • Users can allocate any transaction to loans, just as with AMB. For large payables, users may import loan-level detail from a file. 
  • ApprovalSoft users only see the items for which they are authorized, following any prerequisites. Executives see items in their queue based on the type of item, completed prerequisites, and dollar amount thresholds.
  • ApprovalSoft offers a fully customizable approval process with established approval rules, ensuring that the right people have access to the right information. 

ApprovalSoft® lets you define who can approve what and allow managers to establish rules to determine who has the authority to approve each step. This ensures that your approval process is efficient and accurate.

When it comes to posting your approved data, ApprovalSoft® fully integrates with AMB and becomes your workflow! 

With ApprovalSoft®, you can rest easy knowing that you have a fully integrated system that streamlines your approval process and makes your workflow more efficient. Designed to work seamlessly with Accounting for Mortgage Bankers (AMB), ApprovalSoft® is the solution you've been waiting for.


Highlighting Brian Lynch, President of ASI

Brian Lynch has over 40 years of experience in the software industry, including more than 35 years in the mortgage banking sector. He is the founder and current President of Advantage Systems Inc. (ASI), which was formed in 1986 to distribute an accounting software called CONTRACK designed for the real estate development industry. Brian has also been a key force behind the development of AMB (Accounting for Mortgage Bankers) software, which has become the industry standard for accounting software for banks and mortgage companies, and has been instrumental in helping mortgage banks streamline their accounting processes.

Brian's vision and leadership have been integral to the success of ASI, which has evolved from a regional software distributor to a national player in the mortgage industry. Under his guidance, the company has developed a reputation for developing innovative solutions that help mortgage banks improve their business operations, while also providing unparalleled levels of customer service and support.

In his spare time, Brian is an avid cyclist and enjoys spending time with his family at their lake house.

Advantage Systems Provides Branch Reporting Capabilities to UMortgage

IRVINE, Calif., June 6, 2023Advantage Systems, a provider of accounting and financial management tools for the mortgage industry, announced today that Philadelphia-based, UMortgage, has licensed the recently enhanced AMB Sierra platform’s branch reporting feature across its nationwide branch network.

As a purpose-driven mortgage company committed to powering loan originators with long-term, sustainable success, UMortgage has selected AMB Sierra to enhance the company’s modern toolkit as a value-add that the lender provides to its branch managers. The modern reporting tool helps support branch network growth by providing branch managers with loan-level detail within their sales pipelines, as well as the ability to view their income at any time – without the need for custom programming or additional, third-party reporting products.

“We pride ourselves on being a technology-first mortgage company and AMB is an integral part of our software suite as it offers a profound understanding of our business performance, thus enabling better-informed decision making,” said Gil Arbitsman, Chief Financial Officer, UMortgage. “The Sierra Branch Reporting feature offers flexibility to UMortgage’s nationwide branch managers, affording them the ability to run their own reports for improved data control and enabling a swifter response to their business needs.”

Branch reporting is part of the recently enhanced AMB Sierra’s Expense Management Branch income feature that provides mortgage lenders with greater levels of transparency to calculate individual branch liability balances more quickly and accurately. This tool helps branch managers readily monitor and manage balances calculated on their behalf while also accelerating the speed of reporting. By generating meaningful operational efficiencies and improved reporting capabilities, the branch reporting tool further promotes consistency across the branch network from a corporate accounting standpoint.

“Too often, branch managers are forced to operate on accounting or ERP systems that are simply not built with modern reporting tools,” said Brian Lynch, president of Advantage Systems. “UMortgage is committed to accelerating the time-to-close by providing its branch managers with the latest web-based tools to enable their loan officers to work effectively from any location. With AMB Sierra’s branch reporting capabilities, UMortgage’s branch managers have the level of visibility and control that they need to manage their loan pipelines more effectively.”

About UMortgage
UMortgage is a mortgage platform built to help loan originators scale their businesses and create life-changing opportunities through homeownership. With LOs licensed nationwide, UMortgage is providing opportunities to create strong communities through financial literacy, support, and homeownership advocacy.

About Advantage Systems
Founded in 1986, Irvine, Calif.-based Advantage Systems is a provider of accounting and contract management tools for the mortgage and real estate industries. Advantage Systems’ Accounting for Mortgage Bankers (AMB) was developed in response to the need the company saw for a general ledger accounting product that could eliminate the spread sheets and manage the loan level detail required by the mortgage banking industry. In so doing, AMB gives its users the tool they need to be confident about the data being reported to management and others. For more information, visit www.mortgageaccounting.com.

Media Contact:

Augusta Bauknight

William Mills Agency

678-781-7214

augusta@williammills.com

Joe Ludlow of Advantage Systems: In a Tighter Market, Lenders Need Real-Time Data Across the Enterprise

AMB | Mortgage Orb

“Despite embracing modernization when it comes to borrower experience and loan processing in the origination phase, many mortgage lenders still find themselves reliant on an outdated batch processing approach when it comes to back office operations and management of their branch network. This is especially pervasive within lenders’ accounting departments and is often based on the fallacy that batch processing provides a greater level of control over accounting data. The reality is that operating with a “batch mentality” only creates an illusion of control due to its primitive constraints – something that is exacerbated in a tighter lending market like we see today.”

Read more on Mortgage Orb.

March 13, 2023.

Joe Ludlow of Advantage Systems: Cost Savings Considerations for Lenders in 2023

AMB | Progress in Lending Associaton

“As lenders budget for 2023 and factor in cost savings, they are realizing the importance of having branch-level profit and loss (P&L) data, especially as they are managing reductions of both fixed and variable costs. To learn more, MortgageOrb recently interviewed Joe Ludlow, vice president for Advantage Systems, a provider of accounting and financial management tools for the mortgage industry.”

Read more on Progress in Lending Association

Authored by Michael Bates

January 17, 2023

Advantage Systems Announces Expense Management Branch Income Feature Within AMB Sierra; Accelerates Speed of Reporting for Mortgage Lenders

Advantage Systems Announces Expense Management Branch Income

IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 24, 2022 – In the current purchase market, where access to faster reporting is imperative to lenders’ branch profitability, Advantage Systems, a provider of accounting and financial management tools for the mortgage industry, announced today the availability of its new Expense Management Branch income feature as part of the recently enhanced AMB Sierra platform.

The term “expense management branch” refers to those in which the branch manager also originates loans, and due to the Dodd-Frank Act, cannot be compensated based on a term or condition of the loan. These regulations require that branch income must be based on loan volume, yet most accounting or ERP systems are incapable of managing the rates per branch, or the loan volume to provide this vital reporting to each branch.

The capability to manage the rate of income applied to a branch’s loan volume is an integral component of the AMB system. The recently enhanced AMB Sierra platform allows management to incorporate these values into an income statement that can be easily accessed by branch managers, regional managers, and C-level executives, as well as the accounting and financial management personnel within the firm. This new capability equips branch managers to view their income at any time, while also allowing management to bring best-of-breed reporting to those who need it while eliminating the need for custom programming and third-party reporting products.

AMB Sierra’s Expense Management Branch income feature provides mortgage lenders with greater levels of transparency to more quickly and accurately calculate individual branch liability balances, ensuring that branch managers have confidence in the balances calculated on their behalf. From a corporate accounting standpoint, this provides meaningful operational efficiencies and improved reporting capabilities, while ensuring consistency across the branch network.

“Mortgage lenders value efficiency and precision, and must invest thoughtfully in technology and resources that support their branch teams,” said Brian Lynch, president of Advantage Systems. “With AMB Sierra’s capability to provide financial reporting to expense management branches, mortgage lenders are able to satisfy existing branch managers and attract others.”

About Advantage Systems
Founded in 1986, Irvine, Calif.-based Advantage Systems is a provider of accounting and contract management tools for the mortgage and real estate industries. Advantage Systems’ Accounting for Mortgage Bankers (AMB) was developed in response to the need the company saw for a general ledger accounting product that could eliminate the spreadsheets and manage the loan level detail required by the mortgage banking industry. In so doing, AMB gives its users the tool they need to be confident about the data being reported to management and others. For more information, visit www.mortgageaccounting.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Augusta Bauknight
William Mills Agency
678-781-7214
augusta@williammills.com

Joe Ludlow of Advantage Systems: The Role of Enhanced Branch Reporting in a Purchase Market

AMB | The Role of Enhanced Branch Reporting

“The key to lowering existing operational costs to efficiently manage “the spend” lies in equipping lenders with access to faster reporting, including detailed insight into loan volumes or margins and profits, for each branch within their network. Automated reporting capabilities not only set up lenders to move loans more quickly and efficiently through the origination pipeline to closing, but as the lender closes more volume, it also elicits potential for greater savings through the evaluation of each invoice.”

Read more on MortgageOrb

September 14, 2022