Alltel hopes to create a valuable resource for participants throughout the real estate industry with its summer launch of Mortgage PhD, a mortgage industry listing service and data access portal.
"We're going to provide content and information to people who can find ways to use that information to improve what they do," said Bob Hunter, senior vice president, business partners, and lead on the Mortgage PhD project.
A wide range of information providers will be invited to participate in the service, with Alltel looking for most of its revenue through transaction fees on searches made through Mortgage PhD. "If you have value that you think you can bring to companies in the mortgage industry, sign up as a content provider and we'll profile who you are, what you do and what your services cost," said Hunter. "Then, people who sign onto Mortgage PhD can avail themselves of that if they wish."
Data vendors can benefit from unanticipated uses of their information. "If you have a parcel database that may be something created for tax service preparation, it may also be applicable to someone creating a mortgage," said Hunter. "Our job will be that of a facilitator, an aggregator and a concentrator rather than an application provider."
Mortgage PhD will be marketed to lenders, investors, service providers, originators, or any other concerned parties. "If you're an attorney, and you get a foreclosure file referred to you by a servicer, maybe one of the first things you want to know is whether the person has ever filed for bankruptcy," said Hunter. "The attorney has a way today to find that information, but it's slow, it's not automated, it's cumbersome and it's probably more expensive."
Using Mortgage PhD, the attorney could sign on, find out the status of the individual through one of the databases available via the service, and then react accordingly.
By offering a standardized search interface, Mortgage PhD users will be able to form a single query that draws upon the resources of multiple databases. Consider someone seeking information about 10 parcels. Mortgage PhD would allow that person to simultaneously search multiple property databases to estimate value, determine whether insurance is in force, and find out whether any of the owners are in bankruptcy, along with many other potential applications. "Mortgage PhD will take you to different databases and collectively bring back the best information we have to satisfy those things that you want to know," said Hunter. "That's not something you could go to any other site to do--you'd have to go to five different sites to try getting that information."
Alltel has invited Countrywide Home Loans, Homeside Lending, First Nationwide Mortgage, Wells Fargo and Chase Mortgage, representing five of the top 10 lenders, to act as charter members and participate in a steering committee. "It's a mix of Alltel customers and non-customers," said Hunter.