In meetings with customers and prospects, I like to ask: What do you want from your LOS system?

These days, typical responses tend to be automated compliance, greater productivity, measurable ROI and maybe the ability to "turn on" new channels, like correspondent. But for some time, I've had this nagging suspicion that there’s one more wish-list item that they’d like to add, but are too polite to say. And that is: "I’d like my next LOS to be my last."

Understandable, really, when you think of how much is at stake. If you’re a mortgage banker, you’re picking an enterprise system to run your entire business. If you’re a regional or community banker, you’re still moving a core business—and one with significant 'relationship' and reputational risks—to a new platform.

So you’re being asked to make a very complex business decision, sign a hefty contract and commit your enterprise to learning a new system. And then you must justify your decision with key stakeholders: directors, LOs and, increasingly, regulators. All of which is why the typical LOS selection process now runs three -to-nine months, and often involves a consultant.

Don't get me wrong: savvy entrepreneurs and client-focused bankers understand the value of technology and are continually evaluating new systems. They are making strategic decisions about the future of their businesses. But they are probably not having much fun doing it.

This afternoon, the tables will be turned as execs from leading LOS providers, including yours truly, faceoff at 'The Great Debate Part Two: LOS Vendors Continue the Discussion' at Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) National Technology in Mortgage Banking Conference & Expo.

Jordan Brown, Chief Executive Officer of MarketWise Advisors will host the political-style debate. My fellow panelists will be Craig Bechtle, Chief Operating Officer of MortgageFlex Systems; Narayan Bharadwaj, General Manager & Business Head of Wipro Gallagher Solutions, Inc.; and Andrew J. Turner, General Manager Lending Solutions of FIS.

Some of the topics that we’ll cover:

  • How should lenders evaluate LOS providers?
  • How do we measure—and prove—ROI?
  • What steps are we taking to protect our clients’ data from cyber intruders?
  • How much R&D are we allocating to new product introductions and how much capital are we investing in infrastructure?
  • How hard is it, really, to implement our solutions?
  • Is the LOS universe shrinking and why?
  • How are individual companies approaching mobile?
  • Is there a “game-changer” for LOSs?

If this year’s event is anything like last year’s, it should be informative, lively, standing-room-only and fun. And when was the last time you heard LOS and fun used in the same sentence?