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Don’t Swim with the Sharks, Alone

Written by Ann Pennywitt, EVP Strategic Alliances


Over the last twenty years I have been blessed to scuba dive all over the world. During that time, I have met some amazing people, I have seen some stunning sites, and I have regularly bumped into mortgage industry veterans - like myself. Mortgage veterans who share my passion for mortgage lending software solutions.

As a veteran Scuba Instructor, I steadily receive questions like ‘what’s it like to swim with sharks’, ‘how many sharks have you seen’, ‘do you swim around them’, ‘do they bother you’, ‘are you scared’, ‘how do you handle the stress and nerves.’ The questions that one person will ask are endless, and I am always happy to oblige.


Coincidentally, the same kind of intensive questioning people ask me about scuba diving and swimming with the sharks, I get asked from mortgage lenders who are contemplating a new software acquisition. And rightfully so, as navigating the mortgage software world can often be like swimming with the sharks - you must have a sound strategy.


With RFP’s out of style, each software consideration contains three lines of questioning.


1. Questions that only pertain to a specific vendor

2. A set of questions that must be asked of all vendors

3. A set of questions that the lender must ask of themselves.


A small sample of the questions asked might include the following to help ultimately answer which one is best for your company:


· What are the gaps between the platform and vision and how will your team address them?

· What is the estimated ROI?

· What should I really ask of the references?

· How much time will it really take to implement?

· Did they say they ‘could’ do it – or have they done it?

· Will there be down time to train staff?

· What should I really budget?

· Am I being ‘sold’?

· What isn’t the vendor telling you?


The litany of questions required to secure a sound decision process – can easily prove to be an expensive lesson learned. When it comes to your staff, you may only get one shot at making the right decision.


To help you ask the right questions, and make sound decisions - BlackFin Group, can help you navigate the waters. Since no one knows your business needs and pain points better than you, we listen intently to what you want first. We learn more about what you need. In collaboration, we will help guide you through every step of the purchase, implementation, and training. Ensuring you firm secures a software platform achieves both the short and long-term goals.


Like sharks, each software vendor in mortgage banking, is professional, respectful, harmless, and brings significant value. However, as a lender, when you start shopping for software - it does not take long to potentially feel surrounded. Once the decision process gets clouded it can result in causing self-harm. As your Scuba Instructor, in the water of mortgage software, I can help guide you to a successful experience and investment. Together we will travel the world, see some amazing sites, and experience some wonderful people – and make the best investment.





Ann Pennywitt is EVP of Strategic Alliances at BlackFin Group. Ann is responsible for partnering with clients nationwide and developing effective relationships where BlackFin can help solve for both the business and technology challenges they encounter. Ann has over 25 years’ experience in helping design effective solutions that solve for complex challenges in our client’s business.


Connect with Ann on LinkedIn

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