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TECHNOLOGY and the CHANGING FACE of MORTGAGE LENDING The downturn in the mortgage lending market around a decade ago resulted in financial regulators imposing strict requirements on borrowing. New technology has been crucial to ensuring operations run smoothly, however as Joshua Hebert, Senior VP and CIO of Highlands Residential Mortgage explains, rather than being a hindrance, this has turned out to be a win-win for the industry

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T

he downturn in the mortgage

was like buying a car,” he says.

lending market around a

“You sit in front of someone and

decade ago resulted in

fill out reams of paper, but now a

financial regulators imposing strict

consumer completes an online

requirements on borrowing. New

application, and provides all of

technology has been crucial to

the necessary information to us.”

ensuring operations run smoothly,

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On a broader scale, it enables

however as Joshua Hebert, Senior VP

the organization to operate with

and CIO of Highlands Residential

more flexibility in a fluctuating

Mortgage explains, rather than being

market. “There is a constant

a hindrance, this has turned out to be

disruption where volume goes up

a win-win for the industry.

and down” Hebert explains. “It’s

Highlands Residential Mortgage,

cyclical to some degree due to

founded in 2010, has seen explosive

the timing throughout the year

growth in the last five years. To help

when people buy their homes, but

manage this the organization reached

you have to utilize technology to

out to Joshua Hebert, who has over 15

make it very flexible, especially in

years’ experience in mortgage banking.

cost. The old days of buying a

The financial crisis of the late nough-

solution outright and trying to use

ties brought with it increased regulation,

it over the next three to five years

but Herbert explains that this has in fact

is not as prevalent anymore. Now

lent itself well to technology. “Now we’ve

it’s like leasing technology, you’re

got to put all these requirements in

paying either per unit or per seat

place, what better solution is there than

and a lot of times those contracts

technology to do that?” he explains. “It

are written in a way that’s very

created a level playing field amongst all

flexible, so if your company grows

the companies in this industry, because

the technology and the cost grow

now everyone has to operate in the

with it, if the company downsizes,

same way.”

the cost comes down.”

It has also transformed the experience for customers. “For many years it

As a result, Highlands has switched from CAPEX (the


capital expenditure model) to OPEX (the

“where they ultimately manage,

operating expense model), where they

service and support all of those

pay-per-site and employee rather than

types of technology for me so

paying upfront costs.

I no longer have to, from a

To support this change Highlands partnered with Computex, an IT solutions provider

strategic standpoint.” “From network to voice to

headquartered in Houston, Texas. Hebert

cybersecurity to technology

explains that Computex took Highlands’

support, all of it has been

infrastructure and support needs, which were

enhanced” he says. “We had

mainly centred around a traditional IT

support from 9-5 before, now

structure, including the voice, network and

we have it 24-7. We did it in

subdirectory, and helped transform it into a

such a way that I didn’t have to

managed service provider (MSP) model,

hire a whole bunch of people to 05

“The amount of effort, time, communication and collaboration we go through on every single loan makes us different” — Josh Herbert, Senior VP and CIO of Highlands Residential Mortgage

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maintain it because ultimately, we’re using a managed services provider to do it. We’re able to build the model out to its predictive cost, whereas in the past, when we would do a proforma to see if a particular branch location was going to be profitable based on how we do business, they would always come up with an arbitrary number and it was very difficult to determine the total cost of technology for that location.” Computex use the most up-to-date technology, allowing Herbert and his 06

team to focus on the more strategic aspects of the business. “Things that are very industry-specific like the consumer experience and fraud, areas that are ultimately going to drive the business forward, that can bring in additional volume for the organization.” In terms of fraudulent activities, new regulations have weeded a lot of these out, however issues like phishing and fake pay stubs still occur because of how easy it is to create bogus payslips. “But there are a lot of solutions that can analyze these and make a phone call to the employer to validate whether that pay stub is truly accurate and that person really does work at that organization,” Herbert explains.


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While interest rates may be high,

differentiator. “We are very nimble so

making property buying less afford-

consumers are coming at us with all

able, and the market as a whole has

kinds of different scenarios. It could

slowed down as far as mortgage

be their credit or the timing in which

applications go, Highlands has had a

they need to get their loan done. We

record year of growth. Hebert

are able to support someone closing

explains that what sets them apart

a loan in as little as 10 days if that’s

from their competition is their cus-

what is needed, when most of the

tomer service. “The amount of effort,

larger organizations take between

time, communication and collabora-

25 and 60 days.”

tion we go through on every single loan makes us different,” he says. He also cites their agility as a key

In addition, Highlands was named as one of the 50 best companies to work for in 2015 and 2016. Hebert puts this

hardware. software. brainware. Computex Technology Solutions is an award-winning solutions provider with over 30 years of experience helping clients evolve their business through technology. At our core, we are architects and engineers that specialize in delivering data centers, enterprise networking, cybersecurity, cloud and managed services & emerging technologies with offices in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota & Texas.

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“We are able to support someone closing a loan in as little as 10 days if that’s what is needed, when most of the larger organizations take between 25 and 60 days” — Josh Herbert, Senior VP and CIO of Highlands Residential Mortgage

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HIGHLANDS RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE

“The old days of buying a solution outright and trying to use it over the next three to five years is not as prevalent anymore” — Josh Herbert, Senior VP and CIO of Highlands Residential Mortgage 10

down to being a small, independent

and challenge each other. We’re all

organization. “We’re not bank-owned,

about supporting our employees.”

we’re a family-oriented laidback

Since Hebert joined Highlands in

company, so from a cultural stand-

2016, he cites his biggest achievement

point we’re not constantly breathing

as revamping the organization’s IT

down your neck. We don’t just talk

operations. “Overhauling the infra-

about leadership, we live it. We are

structure was very much about our

very much about hiring qualified,

internal employees, and we needed to

quality employees who can get the job

build that foundation. Now we have

done with little to no micromanaging

that in place we can go out and put

in a heavily regulated environment

these strategic technologies in, that

where you have to know your stuff, but

will ultimately bring in additional sales

at the same time we like to have fun

and loans.”


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12001 N. Central Expressway, Suite 750, Dallas, Texas, 75243 USA T +001 469-402-1200 www.highlandsmortgage.com

Profile for Business Chief USA

Highlands Residential Mortgage - Brochure 2018  

Highlands Residential Mortgage - Brochure 2018  

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