CICCAR Saves Time And Increases Efficiency With FICS®' Commercial Servicer® Software
FICS Customer since 2005
In 2005, the consortium sought to update its proprietary servicing system. The consortium required a flexible, user-friendly, robust software solution that could handle the increased, multi-state portfolio servicing needs as well as a software provider that could provide technical assistance and support.
Raleigh, North Carolina- based Community Investment Corporation of the Carolinas (CICCAR) is an affordable housing loan consortium formed by the North Carolina Bankers Association whose sole purpose is to provide long term, permanent financing for the development of low-moderate income multifamily and elderly housing. In 2005, as a result of the growth it experienced, the consortium sought to update its proprietary servicing system. The consortium required a flexible, user-friendly, robust software solution that could handle the increased, multi-state portfolio servicing needs as well as a software provider that could provide technical assistance and support.
In 2005, CICCAR’s executive vice president Cindy Wiggins-Tiede sent RFP’s to three different companies and polled members of San Francisco based- Association of Reinvestment Consortia for Housing (ARCH) in search of a solution that would meet their needs.
“When we were founded in 1990, we had a loan servicing system that was written and designed specifically to meet our needs,” said Wiggins-Tiede. “However, it was a very manual system that required our staff to spend two to three days closing the end of each month. We knew we needed to go to the next level and implement a program that would allow us to continue to grow without placing undue burden on our staff.”
After evaluating their options, CICCAR selected Dallas-based Financial Industry Computer Systems Inc.’s (FICS®) commercial real estate loan servicing software, Commercial Servicer®. This decision was based on the referrals received from several members of ARCH who used FICS software and spoke very highly of the company’s service and technology. The system was also selected because of its flexibility, the ability to consolidate, track data and generate reports, and the technical assistance offered by FICS’ customer service team, all enabling more efficient day-to-day portfolio management.
“We chose this system because of a number of referrals from colleagues,” said Wiggins-Tiede. “We saw that with FICS we could consolidate a lot of information into one place to keep it, track it, analyze it and share it. The automated system allowed us the opportunity to continue growing our servicing portfolio.”
In January of 2006, FICS began transferring CICCAR’s original system data over to the Commercial Servicer software and by March 2006, the system was fully operational.
“The conversion process was very easy,” said Wiggins-Tiede. “The FICS staff is remarkable and their trainers are great. They’re all very helpful and professional.”
After the new system was up and running, CICCAR immediately claimed a number of benefits from Commercial Servicer’s efficient consolidation of documents and automated creation of reports. The most important being that month-end tasks now take two-to-three hours, instead of several days.
The software enables CICCAR to store and consolidate loan data and track vital information, which previously required the implementation of a number of different systems. They also gained the ability to track UCC filings, property insurance, and financials while creating reports and documents all within one system.
“We process payments for around 130 loans and distribute them proportionately to the consortium’s 115 members,” said Wiggins-Tiede. “Previously this required as much as 3,000 sheets of paper being printed each month. Commercial Servicer has helped us cut paper usage by 90 percent, savings us thousands of dollars over the year in printing costs in addition to the time we save.”
Aside from the increased efficiencies due to the FICS system, CICCAR has been continually impressed by the service, support and accessibility the company provides their organization.
“The level of training, service, support and product knowledge provided by the FICS staff has been extraordinary,” said Wiggins-Tiede. “Even though FICS is a large company, we’ve never had a problem when contacting customer support and that is very unusual this day in age. We knew we could count on them based on the reputation they earned with our peers.”
And CICCAR continues to find new benefits to using Commercial Servicer, even after three years of successful use. With the introduction and proposal of several new government programs designed to assist servicers and stimulate commercial real estate, CICCAR is confident that they have a system that will enable them to keep up with changes to the industry, no matter what form they take.
“FICS has helped us make our business more efficient,” Wiggins-Tiede said. “We’ve eliminated duplicate databases for insurance and UCC reports, we’ve cut times and paper usage dramatically and we’re prepared for stimulus programs that may still come.”
About Community Investment Corporation of the Carolinas (CICCAR)
Raleigh-based CICCAR is an affordable housing loan consortium whose sole purpose is to provide long term, permanent financing for the development of low-moderate income multifamily and elderly housing. Financing is available through the consortium for affordable housing developments throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. CICCAR’s 115 member institutions provide the capital by utilizing a voluntary loan pool participation process. Membership is available to financial institutions in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.
For additional information about CICCAR visit, www.ncbankers.org/content=CICCAR.
Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Financial Industry Computer Systems, Inc. (FICS), specializes in providing flexible, comprehensive residential and commercial technology solutions to the mortgage industry. FICS' systems are designed for Microsoft® Windows® with the most recent solutions using .NET framework that include a rich Windows® Presentation Foundation user interface and multi-tiered shareable services. The company also provides innovative document management and web-based capabilities into its full suite of products. Additional information about FICS is available via the company's website at www.FICS.com.