Even though the vast majority of its services are as an outsource solution, Bensalem, Pa.-based ISGN also provides contract employees to help meet transitory needs in the mortgage industry, including IT staff.
It can on a contract basis provide information technology people to customers who have purchased a technology solution from the company but want to add on a customized module.
Its staff needs to meet the same licensing and training requirements that the in-house staff at the companies which hire ISGN needs to meet, one of its top executives noted.
Scott Slifer, who is president, sales and marketing at the firm, said the staffing, recruiting and training part of ISGN’s business remains “extremely important, to the point where we actually own a staffing and recruiting company.” It is critical that it has qualified people consistently in its pipeline to be able to deploy to client engagements.
Typically, ISGN offers an end-to-end outsourcing solution, but Slifer noted that the private mortgage insurance companies have for the most part gotten out of the contract underwriting business. Now, there is a renewed need for that particular component of the process and ISGN is offering such services.
Slifer, who during his career worked at Freddie Mac, noted that one of the byproducts of the growth of automated underwriting systems such as Loan Prospector and Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter turned the function of the human underwriter to one of a document and data verifier.
The aftermath of the housing crisis has brought the true art of underwriting back. But those who came into the business after LP and DU became the standard lack the expertise to be able to be functional in this current market.
But underwriters who have experience in the pre-automated underwriting world are a scarce commodity right now. ISGN is trying to find experienced processors and closers and cross-train them in an internal program on the ability to underwrite. The course, internally known as iMBA, is “a mini-mortgage banking school that we put many of new hires through depending upon the function they will be providing to the client,” Slifer said, who added that he holds the certified mortgage bankers designation from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
“Before there was so much conformity to the market. Now everyone has so many different overlays as well as tighter credit parameters, where each individual client ends up being a specific training exercise which we go through,” he said.
Typically, ISGN works with the client in a “train the trainer scenario.” It covers individual company product and guideline training. Slifer added ISGN also looks to have its people go through the customer’s new hires on-boarding process so they can get a sense of that firm’s culture.
“We want to make sure that all of our employees are very much in sync and really act as a direct extension of all of clients,” he noted.
ISGN also is an appraisal management company, and it looks to work with and train Realtors to assist in the valuation process.
It is a global company, with two offshore locations. It works to increase the competency of its offshore teams to make sure they provide quality work.
Clients are encouraged to visit the offshore offices and actively participate in the training process. Slifer said one recent engagement with a top 10 had ISGN bringing the offshore team to the lender’s location for two weeks of training directly with the client.
Back in October, ISGN secured $30 million in new funding from its investors, New Enterprise Associates, IndoUS Venture Partners and CFCL Overseas Ltd., a KK Birla company.
Besides Slifer, the company added several new members to its leadership team late last year, including Shailendara Gupta, chief financial officer; John Fults, head of the mortgage processing group; John Axt, senior vice president title operations and delivery; and Raghavan Tiru, chief information officer.
“During the past year ISGN has launched new products to support the mortgage industry around issues concerning the quality of loans and has conducted audits for lenders and servicers related to compliance and internal quality guidelines,” said Niraj Patel, group president of ISGN. “Today, with our new leadership in place, we are generating more growth opportunities and providing the next generation of technology for the mortgage industry.”