Laurel Caliendo, president and CEO of Connecticut-based Village Mortgage, is a force of nature. What began as a fledgling mortgage brokerage business run from Caliendo's home in the early 1990s, Village Mortgage is now a thriving mortgage bank and premier lender in New England — 20 branches strong — that recently extended its reach with wholesale operations in Nevada and Florida.
Village’s bustling Avon, Connecticut, headquarters — complete with mounted TV screens streaming real-time operational stats 24/7 to inspire teams — buzzes with collaborative camaraderie in a setting that blends years of mortgage experience with millennial enthusiasm.
“We look for ways to attract young innovators to Village Mortgage,” Caliendo says. “Our industry—the mortgage industry—really needs that infusion of fresh ideas and talent.
“Millennials are the future of this business,” she continues, “and technology is what they've known all their lives. So, to attract and keep young talent, we have to give them the appropriate resources and technology—keeping the technology current keeps them engaged and excited.”
A strong proponent of technology adoption, Caliendo is always looking at the road ahead to innovations that will help Village improve efficiencies and allow her to better manage risk and make more money.
The challenge: growing the business to maximum profitability
“In one of my early meetings with Michele [McGovern, Alight’s CEO], she asked me what keeps me awake at night,” Caliendo says, “well, when growing a business—any business, as any CEO will tell you—profitability, liquidity and cash flow are always top of mind.”
To facilitate cost cutting and preserve cash while growing the top line, Caliendo and the team need to quickly find answers to questions like:
- How will volume changes affect margins?
- How much are branches discounting?
- What is the impact of changes on cash flow 30, 60 or 90 days out?
- What happens to P&L and cash flow if volumes drop and market bids for MSRs are trading lower?
- What effect will changes have on servicing and warehouse credit?
The finance team was running scenarios in Excel, but the process was time consuming. And Village needed a technology solution that would allow Laurel to keep her finger on the financial pulse of the enterprise from anywhere at any time.
The solution: visibility into future financials with Alight Mortgage Lending
With Alight Mortgage Lending, Caliendo and senior executives are integrating operational and financial data and running financial scenarios in real time to streamline decision making. User permissions allow branch managers and other team leaders to access data relevant to their pieces of the business so they can keep financials updated. Analysis is visualized through Alight Enterprise dashboards.
“Alight is now providing us all our financial data,” Caliendo says, “I can view financials—including cash flow—and run my own volume scenarios from anywhere, at any time.”
Now, each branch manager provides monthly volume numbers that are incorporated into Alight forecasts to help management gain visibility into expected profits for every branch, each month. “Alight helped us identify what was driving branch profitability down and what we needed to do to improve our overall margins,” Justin Girolimon, Village CFO, said.
The team is now able to forecast at branch and company level, looking at different business channels like retail or wholesale, and analyze expected volume—and then run scenarios upwards or downwards to see how changes could affect bottom line. “With Alight, we can lock down a pro-forma P&L out for a year, make constant revisions and run scenarios quickly,” Girolimon concludes.
The future: tackling leakage
But the biggest change is on the horizon—soon, capital markets data will be integrated via Alight to provide pull through rates and volume at each branch, helping the team pinpoint fallout costs and more closely monitor, identify and correct leakage.
And Alight-streamed data from Village’s capital markets provider will help the team set tiered pricing.
“Being able to run my business like an investment portfolio — managing assets and cash through real-time scenario analysis and being able to more closely predict financial outcomes — is a game changer,” Caliendo says. And she would know.