We recently sat down with James Owens, Chief Technology Officer at Xactus, a verification innovator for the mortgage industry, to discuss the next generation of its proprietary verifications tech platform, Xactus360. Over his nearly 30-year career, James has used technology to solve complex business problems, applying innovation to provide businesses with strategic differentiation and building high performing technology teams. For Xactus, he is responsible for all technology operations, strategy, engineering, and innovation.
QUESTION: What inspired the next generation of Xactus360?
JAMES OWENS: Fundamentally, we were inspired to bring innovation to a marketplace that hasn’t really innovated in some time. Xactus has a deep bench of expertise. We have a lot of internal talent that we capitalized on and held strategy sessions with to discuss what worked, and what didn’t over the past 30 years.
We were also inspired to free ourselves from older, limited beliefs and technologies and really challenge the status quo – to look closely at long-held procedures and processes that may no longer have merit, especially around manual practices.
We wanted to apply new technologies and drive a level of innovation that is necessary to advance the modern mortgage. Having our own proprietary platform allows us to control our own pace of innovation, which we think is incredibly important. We can expose new products and features through APIs, easily scale to support customers of any size, and are able to prioritize features that are of highest utility to the industry. With Xactus360, we’re able to deliver an exceptional user experience.
The platform really does revolve around lenders and their needs.
QUESTION: What issues does it help solve in the industry?
JAMES OWENS: Ultimately, Xactus360’s features are revolutionizing the way loans are processed – by improving workflows, reducing costs and creating greater efficiencies.
One standout feature that everyone seems to be raving about is that a user can utilize a single sign on to order all forms of credit pulls – including pre-qualification and pre-approval reports.
Xactus360 reduces the need for excessive clicks. For example, lenders have 1-click access to sample files for training, testing and readiness purposes and automatically credits these files nightly.
The platform also shortens turn times for supplements by providing detailed, creditor-specific requirements that may be needed to complete their request. This streamlines supplement and rescore processes and ensures lenders can properly communicate to their borrowers the needed information up front, increasing consumer satisfaction with the loan process and reducing unnecessary costs.
In addition, the platform’s API accessibility customizes workflows which helps improve automation. In fact, our APIs bring a whole new dimension to the user experience. They enhance connectivity – systems and applications can effortlessly communicate and share data. They also provide a foundation for our developers to adapt and drive continuous innovation within the mortgage ecosystem. And our APIs have dramatically improved the borrower experience. They are becoming a standard practice that is at the heart of the modern mortgage.
QUESTION: What are some other features of Xactus360?
JAMES OWENS: Lenders can customize outputs to minimize change for their team. Account-level customization ensures an accurate, consistent report.
They can even easily compare a credit report to a previous version further streamlining their workflows.
Lenders can also set advanced user access controls. They can create groups of users within an account to assign view and access permissions. Xactus360 allows many “admin junior” functions, which takes the burden off senior team members. It also permits restrictions for rush requests, the frequency of report reordering, where a report may be ordered from, and more.
QUESTION: How do you see it evolving to help change the industry?
JAMES OWENS: We are looking at expanding the role of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)in Xactus360. The clip at which AI in these large language models, like Chat GPT, are already disrupting industries is simply amazing. And it’s interesting because everybody’s talking about the chat aspect of GPT. However, some of the most interesting aspects are around the ability to categorize data that matches certain patterns, and then actually having a confidence level assigned to the output. And our team has been at the forefront working with this technology since the onset.
What is particularly powerful about that is this idea of gaining actionable insights. Data is one of an organization’s most valuable resources – but you have to put it to work. When you can actually put that data through a model, and it tells you with a certain degree of confidence, what your next best actions should be, that is going to significantly impact businesses. Increasingly, AI is being used to gain predictive insights into operational performance and lending challenges, especially in the area of fraud prevention.
These are some of the things you will see become deeply ingrained into our platform. We are committed to utilizing similar types of technology and have already rolled out our first internal chatbot. By incorporating an unbiased approach with AI and embedding it right into a lender’s workflow, technology, or process, objective decisions can be reached more easily and confidently. We are also implementing numerous ways to use this type of technology to help our customers self-service questions about the Xactus360 platform.
And while APIs have been widely embraced across the industry, the use of bots has been more limited to date; however, we expect that to change quickly. A bot is an autonomous program that can interact with computer systems and users to streamline and automate aspects of loan processing. Bots are generally used for repetitive job functions where human decision-making is not needed. For example, when a bot receives a creditor name, it can identify that the creditor only accepts a trade-line update request by fax. It will then automatically fax out the request without human intervention.
Xactus360 will continue to evolve as we regularly integrate new and highly differentiated Xactus products and services. For example, we recently added Flood ReportsX to the platform. Deciding who pays for flood insurance and who doesn’t requires specialized knowledge and expertise. Our solution is unique in that we have an in-house, domestic staff with an average of 20+ years’ experience so lenders can feel confident that our Flood ReportsX are federally compliant. Not only that, lenders will not be charged for a flood zone determination if a loan doesn’t close – no close, no pay.
Finally, we will continue to keep a pulse on the latest technology trends both inside and outside the mortgage industry to ensure we apply appropriate advancements and upgrades to Xactus360 as they emerge going forward.
James Owens serves as the Chief Technology Officer for Xactus. Over his nearly 30-year career, James has used technology to solve complex business problems, applying innovation to provide businesses with strategic differentiation and building high performing technology teams. For Xactus, James is responsible for all technology operations, strategy, engineering, and innovation.
Prior to joining Xactus, James was the Chief Technology Officer and then Chief Architect for OneMain Financial, the leading consumer finance company in the United States. James was responsible for technology strategy alignment to the long-term business strategy, enterprise architecture and led the engineering team that launched the BrightWay de novo credit card business. Before OneMain, James held a number of senior executive consulting, sales and product roles at Black Knight Financial Services and the first ten years of his career included engineering, technology leadership and transformation consulting roles.
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