Hosted Services Help Lenders Compete

Fidelity upgrades IT to provide automation and efficiency that mortgage lenders need



Fidelity National Financial Inc., which sells software and hosted services to mortgage and financial-services companies, is building a Web-based system at a cost of tens of millions of dollars to replace its legacy system. The project is designed to give Fidelity National's clients more flexibility in a competitive industry.

As banks and mortgage lenders consolidate, they need more automation and efficiency to thrive, says Joe Nackashi, Fidelity's chief technology officer. Companies typically just surround legacy systems with new applications. "But that's not a model we feel is sustainable as the industry consolidates," Nackashi says. Fidelity needs the flexibility of modern IT to meet the changing demands of customers, which include Bank of America, Washington Mutual, and Wells Fargo.

Most of Fidelity's clients use its hosted Mortgage Servicing Platform software, including collections, customer-service, and loan-default apps. That frees clients to develop new products. "They want to look at us as a utility, quite frankly," he says, but some license the applications and run them themselves. Hosted-service customers pay a monthly fee based on the size of their loan portfolios. Fidelity National handles the processing for more than 24 million home mortgages, with a balance of $3 trillion.

It already has installed three new IBM eServer z990 servers to replace mainframes running Cobol-based software, and, in early tests, the new systems process significantly more loans per minute. The setup is being assembled using IBM's WebSphere Internet infrastructure software, DB2 database, and IBM Rational Java-based development tools. A prototype of the first collections application developed for the system is due in May and is slated for production early next year.

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