Automation & Technology
Innovation Award Winner: Gold Star Mortgage uses data and analytics to outpace the competition
Company overview: Gold Star Mortgage is an independent mortgage bank located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They have a retail and wholesale channel focused solely on first in residential mortgages, with a lean toward servicing the first-time home buyer market.
As the winner of our 2022 ICE Innovation Award for Data Driver - Best use of data to drive workflow, the team at Gold Star Mortgage has been outpacing the competition by putting data to work in ways that support continued growth. Using APIs, they’re able to access, process, and analyze data points in real-time to identify where they’re excelling, and where they need to improve.
Gold Star President and COO, AJ Franchi, attributes the 22 years of success his company has achieved to their ability to be adaptive, stay nimble, and perfect the art of making good decisions. He says that making good decisions requires:
- Being quick and responsive
- Striving for transparency and visibility into the business
- Basing decisions on data, rather than emotion
As Gold Star has shifted their focus to improving data and analytics, they’ve been concentrating on two key motivators. The first is the need to discover ways to lower the cost of origination and continue to be competitive. AJ points out that a company can’t maintain growth relying on gut instinct alone. It takes trustworthy data to keep everything aligned.
“That really provides a competitive advantage for us to be able to compete. And what's the point of being in the market if you're not going to be competitive?” -AJ Franchi, President and COO, Gold Star Mortgage
Gold Star’s second motivator for prioritizing data has been for peer benchmarking. They’ve used Insights™ by ICE Mortgage Technology™ to keep track of what’s going on outside their own walls, and to understand how they’re stacking up in comparison. They chose to use Insights because they found that the platform provides the most robust data around Gold Star’s peers in the market, and because it's ready to implement and use right out of the box. As soon as Insights was up and running, it quickly became a key tool for daily decision-making at Gold Star.
“It's very easy to get lost in your own world and to think you know how you're performing. You can always benchmark against yourself to measure your improvement, but you need to know where you stand compared to your peers as well, because it's a very competitive business." -AJ Franchi
Growing at scale
Along with leveraging data to understand the market at large, Gold Star has been very successful at using data and analytics to drive change within their organization. Innovative data analysis has helped them identify processes that are tedious or redundant, and automate those processes. Automation has enabled them to stabilize their staffing model and allowed them to stabilize their staffing model and use their current team to scale with market fluctuations
“You can prepare for ebbs and flows in the business if you're effectively managing your data. We saw a lot of companies just add, add, add bodies and now they're laying off. We really try to steer clear of that because it’s so culturally degrading. It's very difficult to control your culture if people are constantly going in and out and you have a revolving door of staff.
When you're just on this hiring treadmill like people were in the last two years, I'm sure they made a lot of money, but they also did a lot of long-term damage to their business that they're now going to have to rebuild from. If you have strong access to your data, you can insulate yourself from that. That’s really how you build a long-term business instead of the short-term cycles that a lot of companies get stuck in.” -AJ Franchi