It Pays to Invest in Your BI


As mortgage technology advances, lenders are presented with an overwhelming amount of data. Because of this, it is paramount, now more than ever, for lenders to make sense of that data by investing in business intelligence (BI).

Selecting the right tools can be difficult, especially early in the BI journey. It’s tempting to come up with a quick solution to save money at the start, but inevitably, this may result in a large, mostly unused, repository of spreadsheets without good data governance and multiple people pulling reports about the same topic in different ways. When a lender is considering their BI approach and solution, there are some common challenges that should be considered.

Consistent, Repeatable and Adaptable Reporting

Most lenders agree reporting is essential to uncover information needed to make decisions. Typically, an analyst or LOS administrator will be tasked to create a few reports to address a set of business cases or processes. Once leadership experiences the thrill of seeing their organization from a 10,000-foot view, however, they want to see more varied and more frequent reports.

For example, leadership might want to see historical trends and to forecast what will happen in over the next six months. Requests for reports are prone to become more frequent, typically increasing from monthly, to weekly and even to daily. At some point the bar for reporting is raised from “interesting” to “actionable.”

Lenders need to be able to scale their business intelligence with the action that the data demands by providing more visibility into additional analytics. These more granular insights can be good for the business but supporting these additional report requests and distribution can become an incredible resource burden.

Staffing Risk

It is not unusual for the person who begins pulling these management reports to become the lender’s full-time BI resource. However, this individual may, or may not, have the skillset or experience required to do the job effectively in a rapidly evolving and complex data environment.

A tangled web of spreadsheets and macros managed with a copy-paste-refresh approach is not well-suited for the near real time need of data-based decision making. This kind of undertaking requires someone who can develop a process for creating reports in a consistent, automatable, and customizable fashion, and who has advanced knowledge interpreting requirements from teams using key performance indicators (KPIs) to manage a business.

Even in instances where lenders have someone with the knowledge and skills to lead BI reporting on staff, capacity can be a challenge. Building out BI reporting for a mortgage lender is an immense undertaking. A one-person BI resource can quickly explode into a BI team replete with data scientists and software engineers. A good BI team requires this level of expertise to manage and maintain the company’s data store and produce scalable reporting from it. The population of BI experts that have experience working with mortgage lenders is very small, so lenders will need to be willing to invest in the right resources or pay the price in missed opportunities.

Other common challenges

Lenders often face other common challenges when developing their own BI solution including:

  • Creating and maintaining data governance processes and data warehouses
  • Consistent calculations across reporting
  • The risk of technical debt created if a key employee leaves. There may not be a good understanding of how things were created and how issues can be resolved
  • Not knowing the right metrics to evaluate – how do you know you are managing the right things?
  • Difficulty creating user permissions that prevent employees from seeing each other’s data
  • Difficulty providing staff with secure, remote access
  • Managing data-refresh protocols with real-time systems connections to LOS, POS, CRM and other lender-critical data platforms 

A better way

In today’s market, investments in business intelligence may be imperative for lenders to remain competitive. It can also be costly to build and maintain in-house BI systems and many lenders go in search of a solution created for them, by people like them, that will surface the right data at the right time.

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