The Who, What and Why of API Integration for the Mortgage Industry
We have too many acronyms in our language today, 2-3 characters representations of highly complex terms have become the norm.
CRM, API, POS, LOS, HR, EHM, ABM, ERP, SDK – are more commonplace than what they stand for.
I thought I would dissect one of them in this blog – the all-important API.
Per Wikipedia API is an application programming interface (API) and was originally understood to be an application-specific computing interface exposed by a particular software program or operating system to allow third parties to extend the functionality of that software application beyond its capabilities.
Boiling this down to laymen terms an API is the interface between two software applications. It is the way 2 software applications can share information with each other and extend the functionality of each application beyond its original capabilities.
A common example is the mortgage industry is a CRM sharing data with a LOS. A CRM is storing information about the Borrower and the LOS is storing information about the same borrower. An API Integration between the CRM and the LOS will keep both systems aligned in the data they are storing about the borrower.
Typically, each software system will define the what and how of their API integration, which is the dictionary of what data they support and instructions on how to access it. When two software services choose to integrate with each other, they will share the API documentation to facilitate their development teams getting the API integration underway.
When working with API’s you learn that there are more acronyms to learn. There are SOAP API’s, REST API’s, XML API’s. There are terms such as Web Services and SDK’s and HTTP or HTTPS. Think of all of these things as different languages used in an API Integration. These are obviously important to the development teams but to us lay persons we can look at them different techniques to accomplish a goal of getting two software’s working together.
Now that we have reviewed the acronyms used in API integrations, let’s look at why is this important for a mortgage lender. Today’s mortgage companies have learned to deploy a number of different software systems to run and manage their businesses. It is not uncommon for a mortgage lender to have a Point of Sale (POS), a Loan Origination System (LOS), Cloud based Phone system, CRM, Pricing Engine, Email Platform, etc… It can become a hornet’s nest of different technologies – each of these systems an integral part of the mortgage lenders business. The challenge of keeping all these systems in sync and working together can be a daunting task.
This is where an API integration can come in to smooth out the edges. Allowing software systems to exchange data, can drive significant benefits for a mortgage company. Keeping data synchronized, drives increased data integrity, which will in turn provide the correct insights to the consumer of the data – whether that be a Loan Officer, Branch Manager or Corporate manager.
When speaking with a borrower, it is vitally important to have good and accurate information flowing to provide best in class customer service. Using our earlier example of an API integration between a CRM and a LOS, when a Loan Officer is meeting with a customer and collecting information needed in the loan origination – he/she should not have to enter the same data into both systems. If data is entered into the CRM or the LOS, the appropriate data should be passed between the 2 systems automatically instantaneously. This creates processes of efficiency and reduces errors, which in turn create a happier borrower.
API Integration is a feature that all mortgage companies should investigate when deciding on the purchase or licensing of a new software system.
API – 3 little letters that can mean so many things. Acronyms are just part of or language today, so make sure you look for those letters on your next software purchase.