Nov./Dec. 2021 Edition

Automating In 2022

As we all know, 2021 was a challenging year, but it will soon be behind us. Now, we have to look forward to 2022. The mortgage market will have to overcome new challenges next year and thrive in an increasingly digital world where borrowers want instant gratification. Noor Punjwani, President and CEO at Awesome Technologies, Inc. (ATI), talked to our editors about how he sees the mortgage market evolving next year.

Q: What are your thoughts about the mortgage market in 2022? As we see a slowdown in refinance activity and inventory issues for the purchase market, how will companies handle it?

NOOR PUNJWANI: The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) announced that purchase mortgage originations are expected to grow 9% to a new record of $1.73 trillion in 2022. After an anticipated 14% decline in 2021, MBA expects refinance originations will slow further next year, decreasing by 62% to $860 billion from $2.26 trillion in 2021.

MBA’s 2022 outlook was presented at its 2021 Annual Convention & Expo by Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Research and Industry Technology; Joel Kan, Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting; and Marina Walsh, CMB, Vice President of Industry Analysis.  

MBA forecasts mortgage originations to total $2.59 trillion in 2022 – a 33% decline from this year. In 2023, mortgage originations are expected to decrease to $2.53 trillion. Purchase originations are forecasted to reach new successive records in 2022 and 2023, while higher mortgage rates and fewer eligible homeowners will lead to further declines in refinance volume.     

These conditions will cause increased competition, declining margins, and an even greater need to streamline operations. Leveraging lending automation will play a critical role; however, with human resource challenges, specifically on the technology side, lenders will need to lean on a strategic partnership to assist with handling their technology and automation needs.

Q: What can companies do in these changing market conditions to respond appropriately? 

NOOR PUNJWANI: It starts with evaluating their lending processes, tech stack, and current in-house resources to handle these key areas. This will allow lenders to identify friction points, areas that could be streamlined, while determining what type of resources are necessary to respond effectively. Can your current staff handle these technology demands and hire quickly enough individuals with domain expertise, or is it more prudent to outsource some of these responsibilities?

Today’s mortgage market demands more from lenders and their staff than ever before. The complexity of the ever-changing lending environment poses an overwhelming burden on lenders of all sizes. New rules and regulations, heightened pressure to reduce loan production costs, lack of resources, continually changing technology demands; and an avalanche of lending data are pushing lenders to the limit. There is intense urgency to increase profitability and capacity while mitigating these challenges, which are significant factors forcing lenders to rethink their lending operations. 

The environment for today’s lender is exceedingly complex. The challenge for lenders is their internal staff’s ability to effectively manage all technology, integrations, compliance, data, software development, ongoing technical support, operations, and so much more.  

To survive, lenders require a highly skilled partner that genuinely understands mortgage banking and its ever-increasing complexities. The right partner simplifies these complexities by handling multiple aspects of the lending operation, from IT and security to data intelligence, integrations, lending automation, and process workflow. In whatever key areas the lender needs help, by working as an extension of their team. The right provider will not only reduce the lender’s operations burden by bringing the best of breed services and solutions with superior mortgage domain expertise but help elevate their lending operations.  

As a lender, they should be focused on generating and maintaining a profitable business in this market, rather than continually worrying about the enormous and ever-changing operational and technology landscape. Their burden is too significant, and the risk is too high to rely solely on their internal staff to deliver lending excellence.

Q: Where can lenders turn for assistance?

NOOR PUNJWANI: For more than ten years, Awesome Technologies (ATI’s) highly respected staff has provided lenders like you with mortgage technology expertise. We have created custom software and services to improve the lending process, streamline operations, lower origination costs, enhance borrower retention while helping you create customers for life. Our unparalleled solutions combine years of mortgage experience, in-depth data insights with state-of-the-art technology to optimize your lending operations.  

Others dabble in mortgage, operating in many other industries (automotive, manufacturing, health care, insurance, hospitality). At ATI, we don’t just speak mortgage; it’s in our DNA. We exclusively work in financial services to best serve our lending clients and their borrowers. Our highly responsive team is available to advise you on a variety of today’s most pressing technology, operations, data, and compliance issues, far surpassing what a typical consulting company can deliver. ATI values the importance of a strong relationship and is passionate about providing you with highly competent mortgage technology and operations experts to provide timely and accurate responses to all of your lending concerns.

How can lenders use data, especially in this age of technology, to make better, faster, and more informed decisions? 

It starts with easily accessing data to provide a forecast, track and analyze information for actionable insights in real-time. In this rapidly changing and, in many ways, unpredictable lending environment, being able to make better and faster business decisions is critical for lending sustainability. The challenge has been the complexity, inability to easily access information, not typically available in mobile applications (which is a significant stumbling block with the remote workforce during COVID), cost, and limited analytics. 

That is why ATI’s BULLSEYE METRICS Solution has such a profound impact on the industry.

BULLSEYE METRIC is a Business Intelligence (BI) tool that helps teams and critical decision-makers easily extract and view data in real-time. Business users can easily blend all their critical data in one spot and create individual reports/dashboards with drag-and-drop ease to see their information from multiple perspectives.

BULLSEYE METRICS does more than just dashboards. SMS Notifications so users can text keywords to follow up on Loan Status; to assess current Loans in Pipeline; and to communicate directly with all parties involved.

Also, the CUP OF JOE – DAILY EMAIL REPORT is generated every morning. This includes individual specific data to capture action items needed to be completed each day; current Pipeline in Dollars & Apps; apps Created, Won & Lost; LEs Due; Locks Expiring; Loans Closing; and Goal Specific Metrics.

With Bullseye Metrics, Various Departments can create drillable dashboards such as Profitability Metrics; Executive Dashboards; Production Dashboards; Sales Dashboards; Processor’s Dashboard; and Underwriters Dashboard.

Executives can create Dashboards to capture metrics across all departments and drillable to show loan-level data. Various Departments can create drillable dashboards such as Production Dashboards; Funding Dashboard; Sales Dashboards; and Operational Dashboard.

Q: It is critical to hold on to your key employees, especially your top-performing loan officers, with heightened competition and lower origination volumes in the changing market conditions. How can lenders hold onto these key stakeholders?

NOOR PUNJWANI: Many lenders have multiple levels and ways that these individuals are compensated. Tracking and effectively compensating these individuals is critical. One of the quickest reasons loan officers will start looking for another opportunity is how their compensation was calculated, especially when mistakes are made, or specific closed deals are excluded from their compensation.

This is an area that technology can assist; a robust system that directly pulls data from all related systems to correctly calculate commission in a timely and effective manner will significantly reduce loan officers from looking for other opportunities.

Apart from the calculation, they must agree to the calculation. The same is only possible if the lender has a workflow in place that will only disburse the commission after approval of the Loan Officer or their Branch Manager or any other specific customized approval workflow process.

ATI’s E-Compensate will help lenders accurately do the calculations on the fly.

Q: Can you provide an example of loan automation that your clients are successful with?

NOOR PUNJWANI: In 2021 ATI developed a solution that involves a hybrid approach where we use native workflows carefully created by our SAS division, using ICE Technologies Encompass Forms, Plugins, Windows Services / Scheduled Consoles, and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) to create end-to-end Loan Automation that has streamlined our clients lending processes while provide and uplift in production.

Q: What are some common myths about mortgage automation, and why do lenders fail to implement automation initiatives successfully?

NOOR PUNJWANI: When you initiate automation, I tell the customers that you should start with the most straightforward process, the manual and redundant recurring tasks, which instantly saves you time and resources.

Once you have the small wins, three things will happen: First, you know that automation is possible, which will enable a higher likelihood of succeeding in more complex projects; second, you know the steps involved in automating a process applied to other processes and tasks; and third, you will see the savings that automation brings to the table, which will encourage you to embrace more valuable and complex projects.

The quickest path to realizing ROI on these automation initiatives happens when working with a strategic partner with extensive experience implementing these projects. They have the best practices and domain expertise to successfully roll out these projects quickly and efficiently. 

ATI is highly sought after for lending automation, data insights, integrations, managed services, and operational excellence in mortgage lending. ATI’s state-of-the-art technology integrates with all leading LOS providers to streamline operations and maximize capacity while reducing lending costs. 

Take your lending operation to a whole new level. Drive results, maximize the potential within your team and transform your lending operations with ATI.  

Q: What are the critical drivers for lenders to embrace their organizations’ digital transformation?

NOOR PUNJWANI: Lenders need to introduce operational efficiency; increase levels of customer satisfaction; reduce cost through digital investments; and fend off competitive threats from pro-digital businesses

Q: What are the biggest challenges for the companies who want to transform their organizations digitally? What do you think is the best way to tackle them?

NOOR PUNJWANI: The biggest challenges are employee pushback; lack of expertise; lack of overall digitization strategy; and lack of resources and/or domain expertise.

The best way to tackle these issues is to work with an experienced partner who can successfully lead the way. ATI was built to be a managed services company that can offer any lending client in-house services from organizational analysis and reconstruction, through technology implementation and product development, and finish with full or part-time comprehensive support of all products and services with no gaps or temporary transition issues. Our teams are all full-time ATI employees and can assist lenders with any needs simultaneously. This saves time, money, and the hassle of dealing with a company outsourcing some of its services. 

Q: What is one piece of advice you’d give to mortgage companies who want to transform their operations digitally?

NOOR PUNJWANI: Don’t try to go it alone. Work with a strategic partner that can come alongside you and provide critical resources, best practices, and implementation services to put you in a position to succeed. The partner needs to have in-depth mortgage domain expertise and experience accomplishing the loan automation and digital transformation you are looking for.


Noor Punjwani is President and CEO at Awesome Technologies, Inc. (ATI). He isa creative and inventive thinker, who craves a challenge and who is not afraid to work outside of his comfort zone. Noor is responsible for meeting all relevant statutory and mandatory requirements associated with operations and for working within the framework of the company’s core values, as well as promoting its ethos and mission statement. ATI is a software solutions provider that offers customized software and services that help make lending technology simpler, faster, and more secure. ATI simplifies, reinforces, redefines, and improves mortgage and lending processes to enhance capacity while streamlining operations.


Noor Punjwani thinks:

1.) As rates continue to fluctuate and volumes decline in 2022, lenders will turn to loan automation to streamline processes while reducing costs.

2.) Lenders will look for solutions that make data readily available in a quick and easy format to make better, faster and more informed decisions.

3.) Creating customers for life will continue to gain momentum as we focus on the importance of building relationship in the lending process.