Tammy Richards: Extending Efficiency, Spurring Inspirations

Tammy Richards | Chief Executive Officer | LendArch
Tammy Richards | Chief Executive Officer | LendArch

Identifying and validating a customer’s requirements, and reflecting their interest, is the primary factor that leads to the prosperity of the business. In today’s competitive market, where a business leader’s competence reveals the true potential of the venture, a leader should incorporate the knowledge of not only the wants and needs of customers but also should work to improve the services that will meet the demands of the public that will arise in the future in order to lead success.

Recognizing such key strategies to enable business advancement is Tammy Richards, CEO of LendArch. As Chief Executive Officer, Tammy brings over 35 years of experience. She has been an executive and has led Nationally at Bank of America and Caliber Home Loans and most recently served as Chief Operating Officer for Loan Depot. She is passionate about and is an expert in the industry’s ongoing tech transformation.

In an interview with CIOLook, Tammy comprehensively describes her journey transcending into a successful businesswoman.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Tammy, enlighten our readers about your professional tenure so far in the industry and shed some light on your novelties that are enabling advancements in the residential lending industry.

Four decades in this industry have just passed like a dream. I have enjoyed the evolution of the industry, regulations, technologies, and people. I have witnessed and been a part of this massive transformation and change. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great leaders and have seen many changes in the process through this tenure. I have had the privilege to serve as a leader for lenders such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Caliber Home Loans, and Loan Depot.

Many industries, such as auto lending, unsecured loans, and credit card approvals, all have technology that has progressed and surpassed the mortgage industry. There is a huge opportunity in the industry to make homeownership more accessible to all, less expensive, and a much less difficult process.

I have taken this on as my personal goal, as well as my corporate charter, to modernize the way lending happens today. There is a mammoth untapped potential in utilizing the technology that is currently available to improve the customer experience. LendArch is currently achieving this goal by building a digital fulfillment service with innovations like Microservices, AI, and Distributed Ledger Technology.

Tell us more about yourself, highlighting the exceptional skillset that makes you one of the most impressive leaders who are enabling advancements in the mortgage and lending industry.

My journey has been highlighted by the mentors and leaders that have taught me along the way. I have, in turn, felt it a great privilege to mentor and assist others in achieving their goals. Throughout my career, I have enjoyed gaining new skills. Always working to reinvent yourself or continue to improve your skillset to assist in improving the industry. When I started in the industry, there were no cell phones, no fax machines, and the computers were held in huge server rooms. Now we have so many amazing advancements; it is time to decrease the cost of completing a loan by utilizing current technology.

Looking at the recent developments in fiscal and lending markets, share your valuable opinion on how these fundamentals are transforming the operations of the companies in the sector.

The writing on the wall is quite clear with the Outlook for Housing Market Potential from First American.

Just like many of the industry participants, I have seen many economic events, and with each cycle comes volatility and change. With technology, we can decrease the swings in the capacity that come with each cycle. There is no other industry like the mortgage industry; it is technical, challenging, and rewarding. There is no perfect formula for the ebb and flow of capacity or a plan to mirror the interest rate roller coaster. Currently, layoffs are happening throughout the industry. Automation can decrease the capacity of whiplash.

Today’s mortgage lending environment is embracing evolving technologies, controlling costs in a variable format rather than a fixed format. The models in which technology products and services are being offered provide a lot of flexibility and agility for lenders to reduce their costs. There must be a model change along with technology in order to realize the ultimate improvement.

Lenders should not pay for any technology unless it reduces cost, increases customer satisfaction, and/or improves quality and compliance. Using technology in order to have the digital capability alone is not enough and will result in the opposite result, increased costs.

Enlighten us about your company and its products and services that optimize the lending process for your clients.

LendArch is on a mission to optimize the mortgage experience from start to finish. We will reduce the cost to fulfill through finding efficiencies and end-to-end digitization of the mortgage process. We will increase quality by obtaining data as close to the source of truth as possible.

We will realize the mission by utilizing technologies that are available and inventing new technologies to improve the mortgage experience for all. AI, RPA, ICR, microservices, and blockchain are just a few of the tools we utilize to provide a customized process for lenders.

How is your company leveraging technological advancements to enhance its operations in the lending and mortgage process?

LendArch products are a suite of perfectly placed microservices placed in the gaps of capital investments to a transformation roadmap. This apt alignment of automation and standardization lies between the current Loan Origination system and the lender’s appetite for change.

LendArch products are built on microservices architecture and have been adopted by multiple lenders and have an extremely low cost to high efficiency. LendArch’s condo automation tool is a classic example of how a lender’s loan originator, as well as an underwriter, could reduce multiple steps with a single click.

As an experienced leader in the niche, how are you overcoming the challenges and ensuring a seamless residential lending experience for your clients?

With time and this economic cycle, the mortgage industry has had a great lesson to learn from history and data. Now is an opportune moment when the flight has landed, and you can repair it. We all know that a flight in motion or in the air can never be upgraded, updated, or repaired.

Lenders will find this downtown as the best time to optimize their current operations and modernize the text stack. Contrary to popular misconceptions, to do optimization and modernization it does not cost and does not require significant capital investments. The only thing that it requires is a change mindset and a transformative appetite.

We have to visualize and that respect the evolving borrower behavior changes and align to their one-click expectations and the seamless experience they expect during the biggest financial commitment of their lifetimes.

What would be your advice to the budding aspirants who are willing to venture into the lending and mortgage industry in the near future and provide fulfillment services in the niche?

My suggestion to the next generation of mortgage professionals is to embrace change. Identify great mentors in your career and learn from their experience. Continue to acquire tools to make you the best candidate for the position. In slow times, take the time to acquire another tool for your tool belt. Learn something new every day. Take your seat at the table and raise your hand to volunteer for new opportunities.

Learn how to use the new technologies and find ways for your company to save money. This will make you relevant through this economic change.

Where do you see yourself in the long run, and how are you working towards achieving your future goals in this niche?

The charter and mission of LendArch are to increase home ownership, reduce any bias and make homeownership more accessible to all.

To achieve this goal, we are creating a very strong bench of industry leaders who share the same vision and passion. Earlier this year, we hired industry veteran Karthik Kumar as our Chief Operating Officer and are excited to showcase his experience, wisdom, and excitement in LendArch’s mission. Together we will pave the way for the goals of our company to be fulfilled.

The suite of products and technology that we have in flight cannot be simply laid down as revolutionary. This would fall under the definition of disruptive innovation as defined by Professor Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School. Stand by for updates as we work together to transform the home lending experience!