September 14, 2004

S.A. Ibrahim, president and CEO of GreenPoint Mortgage (Novato, Calif.), isn't one to sit on his hands. "If an idea takes more than two meetings, I'm not interested," he says. "We make decisions very fast and just move on with things."

Speedy decisions have enabled GreenPoint to bring new products to market in record time. "It takes us about two to three weeks to launch a new product," says Ibrahim. Examples include an interest-only six-month LIBOR-based adjustable-rate mortgage, and a 12-month product based on the monthly treasury average (MTA) with an interest-only option -- both of which are designed to appeal to specific segments of borrowers.

There's a significant technology component to what the company does. According to one of his technology executives, GreenPoint is "a technology company that just happens to make mortgages," says Ibrahim.

GreenPoint specializes in the wholesale market. Currently, 80 percent of its mortgages come in electronically, through its E-Point system developed by Dorado (San Mateo, Calif.). The company chose to go with a solutions provider rather than in-house development. "Technology has such a short life cycle that you cannot build barriers with technology," says Ibrahim. "Our job is to create masterpieces -- not to have control over the paints and brushes."

Along with areas in IT development, GreenPoint also outsources customer service, escrow payments, loan operations, IT set-ups for new employees, and rate lock validation. On the last point, Ibrahim takes pride in the fact that GreenPoint was able to manage the risk involved with the loan commitments in its pipeline even during interest rate changes in the third quarter of 2003, resulting in steady earnings. Other mortgage lenders were not so fortunate, he noted.

Ibrahim spoke in New York at i-flex Solutions' (Mumbai) Executive Leadership Summit. The company provides quality assurance and testing for GreenPoint's enterprise systems, including customized offerings for regional markets.

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