HousingWire recently spoke with Adam Carmel, Founder and CEO of Polly, about the benefit of vendor options in a historically gridlocked mortgage tech ecosystem.
HousingWire: Like most industries, the mortgage industry has historically had key, dominant players that lenders must work with in order to remain operational. Have you seen that pattern shift over the past year, or do you see that shifting in the future?
Adam Carmel: I certainly think there's been a sort of rally call over the last year or so; there is growing demand for mortgage technology that works for the lender and not against them. As an industry, we have come to expect that there are ebbs and flows within our space and these dominant software players have positioned themselves, almost unfairly, as the constant amid that cyclical chaos. But that "constant" has also been static, and I think that is where this recent pattern shift comes into play.
Specifically, when it comes to a core component in the mortgage tech stack like the PPE. These software companies have been in the position to extract maximum pricing power over the last two decades.
That said, my concern lies first and foremost with the lender. Whether it's a strategic merger or being bought and sold from private equity, it's the lender, the user, that is inevitably forced into an uncomfortable position. It will typically take years to fully consolidate systems even if they are already integrated. Then you must consider aligning on roadmaps and resources, costs, etc. It's unfortunate that lenders will likely, over time, see this scenario play out as an increased price tag on an outdated, lackluster PPE.
Now is the time for lenders to decide: Do I want to remain in a closed ecosystem of antiquated technology, or do I investigate the new, most modern provider that is finally doing things differently?
At Polly, we believe there are fundamental flaws in legacy pricing engines and the way things have historically been done. It's technology gridlock. So, I would say yes, that there has absolutely been a shift. We see it in the market response and rapid growth that Polly has experienced to date, having successfully and seamlessly onboarded many of the nation's top mortgage lenders.
The consensus is that lenders want (and deserve) access to the most technically advanced and state‑of‑the‑art software solutions. Polly has the most modern and sophisticated, cutting‑edge pricing engine available today and we are well positioned to continue driving demonstrable value and ROI across the industry as a trusted, proven and reliable technology partner.
HW: How has this technology gridlock hurt lenders?
AC: It's incredibly limiting, especially in the mortgage industry where there is a constant cadence of updates and changing guidelines from various regulators, GSEs or investors.
In every other aspect of our day‑to‑day lives, we are conditioned to receive near instant gratification and the mortgage industry should be no different. Our industry moves fast. Lenders that leverage incumbent and antiquated technologies are simply unable to move with the speed, agility, and flexibility that is required in a highly competitive market — a market where every minute and every basis point of margin counts.
Even independent of architecture, consider response rate and the overall pace of innovation. The standstill that accompanies legacy systems will only continue to frustrate and burden the lender. Just a few of Polly's competitive differentiators are rooted in our speed, agility, and ability to execute. There is a huge advantage to being able to serve lender needs and wants at the pace that they expect it, so there is an unlock that occurs when a lender decides to work with Polly.
HW: You have said before that "the industry not only craves new and more advanced technologies, but they crave a way of doing things differently." In which aspects of the origination process are you seeing the biggest pull for change?
AC: Absolutely. It is a central objective that Polly enables the originator or loan officer to access and confidently quote highly accurate pricing throughout the mortgage loan lifecycle.
When you factor in the use of Polly's modern cloud technologies and a high‑performance infrastructure, then pair that with our open architecture and API strategy, we are able to quickly and seamlessly integrate with best‑of‑breed technology providers. We meet our customer partners at their point of need, using whatever origination system they choose, and deliver the tools they require to drive success.
As far as the pricing engine, loan officers have historically been left to navigate an experience that is subpar and insufficient. We want to help. Operationally, Polly's solution is stacked with patent‑pending tools that maximize productivity and efficiencies and allow for swift strategic updates at a moment's notice — with zero downtime. We enable our users to identify and truly understand where they sit competitively with rates or to quickly apply new guidelines without vendor involvement. That's the tip of the iceberg; the LO experience is just unmatched with Polly.
HW: How else does Polly differ from some of the bigger players, and why is it important to you to make that distinction?
AC: I have personally experienced the fundamental gaps that exist in legacy solutions and Polly is committed to doing things differently. The PPE is a primary component in any mortgage technology stack, but one size does not fit all.
Polly is the only PPE available today that delivers near‑infinite flexibility, configurability, and scalability. Whether your mortgage operation is a community bank, credit union, top 25 IMB, or mortgage broker, our platform was purpose‑built to accommodate the user and truly evolve with their unique business strategies.
In addition to our architecture and rapid pace of innovation, Polly also places incredible value on building a customer‑centric partnership with our clients. We recognize the importance of transparency and open communication, and that starts at the very beginning. That's why our team will conduct a tailored ROI analysis for every lender at the start of any discussion to demonstrate exactly how our solutions can reduce costs, maximize margins, and increase revenue per loan. What happens next? We have worked diligently to eliminate the myriad of challenges that have historically accompanied a large software migration. In fact, it is standard practice for Polly to shoulder 90% of implementation and configuration. Lenders are only asked to complete testing in their environment to ensure that all custom workflows and processes align to their specific business needs.
This executive conversation was originally published by HousingWire