“Big data” is a hot topic these days, especially in the financial industry. We know plenty about big data. At Freddie Mac, we have 40+ years of historical data — drawn from millions of mortgage records. But big data alone doesn’t deliver innovation. It’s what you do with it that matters.

We’re proud to say that we’ve moved beyond merely analyzing big data and are now employing it to drive efficiencies in the mortgage lending process. Using advanced analytics to analyze trends and patterns detected in our data, we’ve built applications designed to help lenders underwrite mortgages more quickly and cost-effectively. If lenders can simplify their processes, they are better positioned to reduce costs for borrowers.

One example of how we’ve used big data to drive innovation is our automated collateral evaluation (ACE) offering, which lenders can use to determine whether they can underwrite a Freddie Mac-eligible mortgage without a property appraisal. ACE boils smart lending down to a science. It leverages algorithms that use our extensive historical and public records data, MLS, repeat sales and prior appraisals to assess the condition and marketability risks tied to a home. This allows Loan Product Advisor to assess whether the value provided by the lender is acceptable.

At its core, ACE relies on terabytes of data to help our lenders simplify the mortgage lending process, while ultimately facilitating Freddie Mac’s management of collateral valuation risk. All this data gives us the confidence to provide immediate relief from representations and warranties related to the property’s value, condition and marketability for those loans that qualify for ACE.

Thanks to ACE, borrowers may be able to save as much as $500, and closing times may be reduced by as many as seven to 10 days, in cases where Freddie Mac's innovative new capability determines an appraisal isn't needed on a loan eligible for sale to us.

"ACE is just one example of how we are reimagining the mortgage process to help create a better experience for consumers and lenders," said David Lowman, executive vice president of Freddie Mac's single-family business.

We introduced ACE last summer as an enhancement through Loan Product Advisor, our automated underwriting system and the foundational tool of Loan Advisor Suite. Loan Advisor Suite is a set of integrated applications that enables lenders to originate and deliver high quality mortgages to Freddie Mac. Loan Advisor Suite assesses more than 300,000 unique single-family loan files and more than 700,000 appraisals monthly.

The value of ACE caught the attention of the industry this year. It’s the reason HousingWire named us one of the top 100 most innovative technology companies in the U.S. housing industry. This is the second consecutive year HousingWire has recognized Freddie Mac in its HW Tech100. Last year, we made the list for Loan Advisor Suite.

Freddie Mac customers have also given ACE the thumbs-up. Melinda Wilner, executive vice president and chief operating officer of United Shore Wholesale Mortgage, characterized it as “…a great enhancement to mortgage lending.”

Angele Belk, loan consultant at Caliber Home Loans, told us that ACE “…takes the guesswork out of the equation, so that the customer knows that they can refinance with less out of pocket expense.”

Through Loan Advisor Suite, lenders can also access our Business Intelligence ACE dashboards. They offer valuable management oversight options, providing lenders with analytical insights that help lenders optimize a loan’s eligibility for ACE. Detailed ACE performance reports break down the number and percentage of loans that are considered, assessed and determined eligible for ACE – and reasons, by category, when they’re not.

ACE and its Business Intelligence dashboards are just a couple of the ways our team of experts is using big data to simplify complex processes and deliver value to our customers. It illustrates our commitment to deliver value to our customers and, in the process, build a better housing system for borrowers nationwide. And that’s a big deal.