Congressional demands for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to improve transparency, data accuracy, and legacy technology platforms have been backed by additional resources allocated to the effort.
But information technology units within the FHA, along with similar initiatives at the GSEs, are proceeding with a cautious strategy focusing on a holistic view of IT governance, explained a panel of executives speaking at the Mortgage Bankers Association's technology conference in Hollywood, Fla.
Geoffrey Green, chair of the FHA's 'Transformation Initiative,' explained that even with an influx of resources to upgrade technology, a clear and decisive plan is necessary -- one that's "not too aggressive in a time of high volume."
Joseph Rossi, senior vice president of operations and technology at Freddie Mac, echoed that sentiment, explaining that two areas of focus for his company are managing scalability of its technology platform and addressing data quality.
It's the same challenge for Fannie Mae, said Pascal Boillat, senior vice president and chief information officer for the GSE. Boillat noted that with the GSEs' Uniform Mortgage Data Program (UMDP) initiative, Fannie and Freddie will have the ability to continuously monitor books of business and improve loan quality, which has the potential to result in fewer buybacks of improperly underwritten loans.
Another panelist, Linglong He, chief information officer of Quicken Loans said that in the short term, lending operations with large IT infrastructures like hers have had to allocate resources to prepare for the UMDP. But she added that in the long term, it's a good initiative for the mortgage industry and that "we have to make it happen."