|November 16, 1998|
Original article appeared on Real Times at: http://realtimes.com/rtnews/rtipages/19981116_arcsystems.htm
The need to offer ever better, ever faster, ever cheaper service on the Web means to some people that doing business on the Web - especially with complicated financial services transactions - will soon drive out all but the few players in every category that have the fattest war chests. Others say the Web promise of a level playing field can be kept for the small nimble player.
Though the initial cost of putting up a website is negligible, Dennis Creps and other marketing trainers are starting to emphasize that the price of doing business on the Web is going up. As mortgage websites move beyond the earlier interactive phase toward greater transactional sophistication and ever faster turnaround time, it takes careful budgeting to make sure these websites can remain profitable on a per-loan basis while still offering the consumer a compelling deal.
A company stepping forward to help them do just that is ARC Systems of Austin, Texas. ARC, founded in 1984, released a product in June of this year that offers Web consumers lightening-fast service without bankrupting the mortgage websites that deploy it. That product is ARC's LT2k Internet-based automated underwriting system, which takes just 30 seconds to give the Web consumer a credit decision. Using that feature, a mortgage website can present consumers a rapid online decision one way or another on a home improvement or debt consolidation loan, without making them wait for email or other later notification. None of the company's competitors can match that feat right now, says ARC president and CEO Ed Jones.
LT2k is priced on a transaction basis: $15 per denied application, $35 per approved application. It costs $5,000 for an underwriting matrix to be programmed into the system.
Most mortgage websites today offer borrowers the ability to submit a full or partial application, said Jones, but few let borrowers get an answer at the time of inquiry, a generally acknowledged requirement for success with marketing on the Web, where consumers are used to buying books, airline tickets and other products with the click of a mouse.
LT2k uses a pop-up box to give borrowers a conditional credit decision right before their eyes. For any loan that involves debt consolidation questions, a significant LT2k feature is a module that calculates repayment options to automatically recommend the best combination of debts to be paid while optimizing the loan amount and the amount available for cash out.
Volume is no problem with LT2k, says Jones; the ARC system can make 5000 decision per hour matched against the lenders? criteria, "not only against a single lender, but multiple lenders and multiple products." LT2k accommodates fluctuating daily interest rates as well as both wholesale and retail originations.
Five new mortgage websites are being launched every day, said Jones, and ARC expects to offer them a level of functionality they can?t achieve on their own: "For the small lender what we can do is level the playing field. We quite frankly hope to be the engine under the hood for a variety of Internet operations."
Written by Scott Kersnar
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