Louis Amaya is the president of xplair Technology and chief operating officer of National Asset Direct (NAD). Prior to co-founding NAD, Amaya was the director of the Servicing Capital Group (SCG) at GMAC RFC. Amaya created the SCG and through its platform, managed the risk and disposition of GMAC RFC's multi-billion dollar non-performing mortgage portfolio. He has over 20 years of subprime mortgage banking experience in various roles, including portfolio management, capital markets, operations and origination. For this episode of In This Corner, he talks about how the recent financial crisis spurred financial institutions to find new ways of doing things.
How would you describe the mortgage industry's overall evolution in terms of technology over the past few years?
Historically, money flowed to the capital markets and the origination part of the business as that's where the money was made. Little money was allocated for improving risk management in servicing shops because servicing, oftentimes, was considered a cost of doing business. In the past few years, servicing has become increasingly important and is being noticed by investors as a key component of success when investing in real estate backed assets. Therefore, products developed by xplair such as iMS, our portfolio management software, increases transparency between investors and servicers and is being met in the market place with open arms.
Looking at the industry as a whole, what percentage is losing capital it doesn't have to lose because of ancient operating systems?
Large legacy servicers are not in a position to invest the money needed to effectively manage in this environment. Antiquated systems, fee structures and culture puts the larger players at a disadvantage in producing the most effective platforms and technology innovations. Smaller players who are nimble, creative and not bogged down by legacy have the upper hand in producing the right products. iMS was developed in this environment for this environment, by investors who focus on holding real estate backed asset for investment.
Has the financial crisis actually sparked some much needed innovation and streamlining?
Yes, in today’s economy, not only is it critical that investors know what their servicing and REO providers are doing, but it is how investors must manage their portfolios to be successful. To keep risks controlled and assure invested dollars are being managed, investors must assess their assets at a granular, interactive level. They want to touch each asset and expect their vendors to provide them the technology, workflow and methodologies to manage in this new environment. Understanding portfolio trends has seldom been as critical as it is now.
The industry is seeing a lot of condensing. Your platform links up investors, servicers and REO asset managers. What sort of benefits do one of these users see with these open lines of communications?
Transparency. There is no way for a service provider to hide performance, good or bad. Our iMS system allows the investor to drive strategy through data analysis and workflow. The user communicates directly with the individual managing the asset, and all communication happens in the system allowing accountability. This is real time portfolio management capability for the investor, and essentially everyone involved with the asset.