Over the years, businesses had to adapt to the innovative waves of technological and digital advancements to stay relevant and eager. Adapting to these changes can be difficult at times, but it has become a necessity to welcome these changes with wide arms. The mortgage is one of the sectors that wasn’t wholly based on the technological aspect. However, in recent times the views of industry experts have entirely shifted towards implementing technology to have a competitive edge over the cutthroat market. Jason Bressler, the Chief Technology Officer at United Wholesale Mortgage, is one of the early adopters of technology and completely embraces this shift and has helped micro-enterprises adapt and grow through their technology for over two decades.
Jason has worked in every imaginable IT role in an organization from the bottom-up over the course of his career. This experience gives him the depth and breadth necessary to lead and grow a large IT organization inside the mortgage space to be an industry leader.
Jason has had to overcome many obstacles in his career, from starting out young and having to learn to ropes of both the financial industry and teaching himself the technology necessary to power it, to coming into organizations where he was responsible for overhauling and scaling entire IT teams to large-scale enterprise IT organizations. He’s proud of having failed a million times because he’s always made a point to learn from each failure and never repeat it.
Under Jason’s leadership, UWM has set the tone for the entire mortgage industry by reacting to clients quickly, efficiently, and with scale.
In an interview conducted between CIO LOOK and Jason Bressler, we tried to gain insights into his career and his passionate approach towards helping upcoming businesses.
Below are the highlights of the interview.
Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.
United Wholesale Mortgage is a wholesale mortgage lender, which means we work exclusively with independent mortgage brokers to offer borrowers mortgages that are fast, easy and affordable. We are committed to growing the independent mortgage broker channel by offering elite speed and service to their borrower clients and believe that the measure of technology being effective is the time it takes to close a loan. UWM leads the industry by closing loans in 18 days as opposed to the industry average, is between 45-60 days..
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the Technology Focused niche through your expertise in the market?
I’m proud to be part of a team that makes a positive impact on our clients and their borrowers every single day by developing propriety software that addresses their needs while helping them grow their business. I believe very strongly in a “build vs. buy” mentality, in part because I believe the only way to truly scale, innovate and deliver a superior product is to grow it, build it and enhance it as much as possible through user feedback. That’s just not possible to do successfully unless it’s yours so that you have the control and flexibility to adapt and make immediate enhancements to it. We’ll deploy to a wide-ranging product suite for both internal team members and our broker community 5 or 6 times a day. Some of the coolest innovations we’ve launched in the past 12 months include:
- UWM InTouch, a mobile app that provides the ability for Independent Mortgage Brokers to navigate everything from Underwriting until the loan is Cleared to Close from anywhere they have their phone. Including document upload, e-sign capabilities, push notifications, and more.
- Blink+, an enhancement to the online mortgage application launched in 2016, which includes the ability to automatically pull credit, e-sign docs, and co-browse screens with borrowers. Blink+ is a Point of Sale (POS), Loan Origination System (LOS), and Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) all-in-one package that UWM makes available as one of its many partnership initiatives to Independent Mortgage Brokers.
- Investment into machine learning and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to further advance our operational excellence while driving down costs
- Investment in our technology platform and on-site teams resulting in additional operational efficiencies focused on reducing costs, reducing closing times, and increasing loan processing speed
- Investments in the cloud, as well as technologies that increase Underwriting efficiencies, such as Automated Document Recognition and Optical Character Recognition, have strengthened our technology advantage while driving greater efficiency and reducing both fixed and variable costs
- In 2Q21, we launched a proprietary document management software platform that enables end-to-end document management, making our process more efficient. We expect estimated annual costs savings of approximately $8M.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
We measure the success of our technologies by the time it takes to close a loan. UWM leads the industry by offering the shortest closing times available while also offering our clients elite service.
What, according to you, could be the next big change in the application development industry? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?
A big change coming in the application development industry-specific to the mortgage industry is likely how the capabilities of artificial intelligence are incorporated into what we do. We are continuing to invest in this technology to ensure we have the ability to include it in things we do not need human intervention for in loan processing and eventually allowing us to speed up the loan processing time.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for UWM?
I envision myself growing our technology team beyond our current 1,300 team members so we can continue to innovate for tomorrow faster, expand our current technology offering even more, and thinking about new ways to help our broker clients with new technology we haven’t even considered yet. At this point, it’s about innovation. How can my team not only innovate internally, and not just how can we create better and cooler products for the broker community, but how can we reshape the entire FinTech space? I want to be a leader in that, today and in the future.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the application development sector?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to take risks—Gamble on yourself. There are so many opportunities to get into the IT field, but it takes courage and confidence to go after it. Know you’re not going to be an expert, but also know that if you ask questions and have a tremendous work ethic, it’ll come. And it’ll come much faster than you think it will.