O.S.U. Federal Credit Union Turns To FICS® Software For Mortgage Technology Needs For 23 Years
FICS® Customer since 1985
Founded in 1954, Corvallis, Oregon-based O.S.U. Federal Credit Union (OSU Federal) is one of the most respected credit unions in the country, with more than $530 million in assets and more than 57,000 members in Benton, Lincoln, Linn, Marion and Polk County. The credit union is a recipient of the national Community Credit Union of the Year award given by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).
The credit union has been successfully servicing and originating loans for more than 23 years. As they worked to develop an efficient mortgage lending and servicing department, the credit union realized the need to implement a mortgage loan origination and servicing solution, which they selected from Dallas-based Financial Industry Computer Systems, Inc. (FICS). Through the years, FICS has helped to efficiently support and automate their growing portfolio. As the credit union’s needs changed and the industry evolved, they continued to turn to FICS for their mortgage technology needs. The established relationship with the evolving mortgage technology vendor has enabled the credit union to continually meet its members’ needs and remain successful in ever-changing markets.
The credit union originally chose to implement FICS’ residential mortgage loan servicing software, Mortgage Servicer® and its loan origination software, Loan Producer®, because of the system’s efficiencies, ease of use and system functionality that automated labor-intensive tasks involved with the originating and servicing of mortgage loans. The ability to seamlessly transfer loans from the origination system to the servicing system was functionality the credit union required. FICS was one of the only vendors at the time that provided this functionality. The credit union was also impressed with the responsiveness of the FICS staff.
Through the years, FICS’ loan origination and servicing software solutions have evolved to align with advanced technological developments. As the use of Windows became more prevalent, FICS rewrote its former DOS-based software solutions to accommodate the quickly evolving technology environment that the mortgage industry was eager to implement.
“Since we have been working with FICS, we have enjoyed a very user-friendly, efficient solution for both residential origination and servicing,” said Lyndora Taylor, Director of Real Estate Services at OSU Federal. “The ability to support a growing portfolio, add functionality without staff intervention, as well as the interface that allows for seamless transfer of information between the origination and servicing modules, has helped our mortgage department grow and adjust to an ever-changing environment. Also, the support we receive from the FICS staff, combined with the research and work FICS does to ensure the programs in the system reflect the most recent regulatory requirements, really sets the company apart from other technology vendors.”
FICS not only maintained Loan Producer’s technological competitiveness, it also enhanced functionality to keep up with the heavily regulated, mortgage industry. Widely adopted MISMO® interfaces, such as the MISMO Credit Request, Flood Zone Determination Interface and the Mortgage Insurance Interface are some of the features that assist OSU Federal in their operations.
OSU Federal has benefited from Loan Producer’s interface with Freddie Mac, including the newest System2System Freddie Mac interface. “The Freddie Mac Loan Product Advisor® interface saves us a tremendous amount of time,” said Taylor. “While staying in the FICS system, we can pull the members’ credit data and import that information back into the loan application, which makes it convenient for the staff and minimizes errors by eliminating the need to duplicate information.”
Additionally, the numerous built-in calculators along with the detailed loan plans and closing cost plans features of the system all provide the credit union with the efficiencies required to originate their wide variety of loan offerings.
“The built in calculators work well when quoting basic payment information and producing amortization schedules for our members,” said Taylor. “The calculators provide information on a simplified level to be able to communicate principal and interest payment information to our members and is a great tool for on the spot payment quoting when working with members.”
“The loan plans & closing costs plans minimize errors for closing costs input as well as minimize key strokes for a more efficient process,” continued Taylor. “These programs equate to a time and cost savings as they eliminate the need to look up the fees since they are already included in the closing costs plans.”
The credit union also began using the My Work List feature. “The My Work List feature works well for our loan officers and processors,” said Taylor. “It enables them to track their specific pipelines, as well as pull up information on the files they are working to better manage their time, the process and their individual portfolios.”
Mortgage Servicer seamlessly interfaces with Loan Producer, enabling the credit union to transfer data between the servicing and origination systems.
During the past 23 years, the credit union relied on the functionality of the Mortgage Servicer system to service loans on behalf of Freddie Mac, Credit Union portfolio loans, construction, adjustable rate and balloon loans.
“Because the system is flexible enough to handle different types of mortgage loans, we utilize Mortgage Servicer as our servicing system for all of our mortgage loan types, including the loans we service on behalf of Freddie Mac and in our construction lending department,” said Taylor. “Mortgage Servicer has given us the ability to service unique products such as balloon loans, and Adjustable Rate Mortgage loans.”
FICS has continually worked to enhance the functionality of Mortgage Servicer. One of the functionalities of the system that is popular among users is the comprehensive escrow administration automation that enables users to easily automate aggregate escrow analysis while conforming to applicable RESPA guidelines. Other escrow areas the servicing system automates include escrow calculations, escrow premium updates and disbursements.
“We utilize the escrow analysis feature for loans that we escrow for taxes, insurance and private mortgage insurance,” said Taylor. “This feature allows us to automate the escrow analysis as well as enables us to remain in compliance with applicable RESPA guidelines. Two years ago, we decided to outsource the mailing of our escrow analysis and our 1098/1099 reporting through an external vendor. We are able to dump this information to a vendor specific format and send to our external vendor to print and mail. This process saved the credit union staff days of processing and mailing these docs at year-end.”
The credit union also utilizes the FICS/Summit interface program, which provides the option for front-line financial service representatives to take mortgage payments with the batch up load. “Through the FICS interface program with Summit, we provide mortgage loan information on our member statements, including payment history, which has eliminated the need to produce separate yearly history statements for our member's mortgage loans,” said Taylor.
The credit union benefits from the reports that are available with the Mortgage Servicer system. “The standard reports work very well for daily, monthly and year-end reporting,” said Taylor. “We utilize the reports in the system as much as possible to garner the information we need for accounting purposes as well as member information. For more advanced reporting needs such as portfolio analysis, we use the connection to SAP® BusinessObjects™ Enterprise Professional Software Crystal Reports®. Having the ability to produce reports through Crystal Reports is exceptional and saves our department a tremendous amount of time.”
In 2002, OSU Federal decided to start servicing commercial real estate loans, and found themselves in need of a commercial real estate loan servicing system. The credit union’s evaluation of the commercial loan servicing systems available led them to select FICS’ software solution yet again. The credit union was pleased with the level of customer service they had been receiving during the previous 17 years, and was already familiar with FICS’ work ethic. They required a commercial servicing software system that interfaced with their core data processor, Summit Information Systems, and that consisted of functionality equivalent to the FICS systems they were accustomed to.
Commercial Servicer®, FICS’ commercial servicing software, efficiently automates servicing for OSU Federal’s amortized, billed interest, daily interest, construction and revolving credit loans. The credit union’s complex portfolio contains a variety of fixed and variable rates, and loans with deferred interest.
“Commercial Servicer gives us the tools necessary to successfully enter and compete in the commercial servicing arena,” said Taylor.
The numerous built-in reports provide OSU Federal with business intelligence about the credit union’s commercial servicing portfolio, giving the credit union the ability to better service its members.
As a result of OSU Federal’s long term relationship with FICS and their use of Loan Producer, Mortgage Servicer and Commercial Servicer software, the credit union has experienced a number of benefits, including increased efficiency, increased member service and reduced errors in loan documentation.
The credit union’s mortgage origination and servicing departments have experienced tremendous growth since their inception, which has been directly related to the ease of use of Loan Producer and Mortgage Servicer. The same holds true for their commercial servicing department and their use of Commercial Servicer.
“FICS’ origination and servicing solutions limit key strokes and room for error between the two residential systems,” said Taylor. “With FICS, we have increased efficiency in these departments by minimizing the steps necessary to complete the mortgage transaction for our members while also lessening the time it takes an employee to complete a process, which ultimately equates to better service to our members and more timely closings.”
“FICS has certainly made our mortgage operations more efficient and has helped us to grow into a more successful lending and servicing organization,” said Taylor. “The systems have freed the staff to focus on additional revenue generating activities and continue to provide us with a competitive advantage by continuing to meet the technology needs and challenges of the industry and our members. The integration between the residential systems especially, enables our staff to offer more efficient service to our members.”
According to OSU Federal, the easy-to-use products have made it almost effortless to train new staff. “Because Loan Producer, Mortgage Servicer and Commercial Servicer are Windows-based programs, it is easy for new staff to quickly learn and feel comfortable using the systems,” continued Taylor. “If you have a basic knowledge of Windows, you can typically maneuver through the systems, even without formal training.”
“The level of training, service, support and product knowledge provided by the FICS staff continues to be impressive,” said Taylor. “We have never had a problem when contacting customer support and that is very unusual in this day and age.”
“Investing in the re-write, 10 years ago, of all three of the FICS systems from DOS to Windows was essential for FICS to maintain its competitiveness as a viable mortgage software vendor as well as for our customers to continue to grow their mortgage portfolios.” said Susan Graham, president of FICS. “The FICS solutions were always ‘real-time’ for end users, but with the advent of the Internet and imaging technology, FICS further expanded its LoanWare suite of technology to include ‘real-time’ solutions to borrowers and investors, strengthening its foothold in the mortgage technology industry.”
“By adopting new technology advances and providing superior customer support, FICS has been able to keep long term customers from straying,” continued Graham. “Customer loyalty is something we are proud to have and we are committed to providing our customers with the tools they need to continually succeed.”
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.