Making Big Data Matter to You: A Mini-Series for the Lending Industry

Posted By Laird Nossuli on Jan 14, 2014
Big data is the buzz these days—from the banking industry to the fast-food industry, and everything in-between.  Technology has made it possible for us to easily track millions upon millions of transactions, demographic details, environmental occurrences, or whatever data points are at the heart of the issue or problem that we're trying to understand.  Customer behavior patterns.  Fastest emergency service vehicle routes. Political tendencies.  Earthquakes.  Whether for business or personal matters, people are using data to improve the quality of their decisions (as in, are they good ones?) and their efficiencies (how much time, energy, effort and of course money did that good decision cost)?

Beyond tracking the data, however, technology is helping us use it.  I use big data every time I read a review on hotels, or fly on an airplane, or, yes, every time I search the web. And so do you.

This trend has finally hit the banking and lending industries.  Perhaps it has been there longer than I may realize, but I've been working for iEmergent for over 10 years, providing forecasts and market intelligence to banks, lenders and brokers -- and the executives, branch managers and marketing analysts in each of them.  You'd be surprised at the words of resistance we've had to "big data" over those years: 

"I don't need market intelligence!  I've been a loan officer here for over 15 years and my gut knows my market." 

"Data? Hmph.  Do you have leads?" 

And even recently -- from a retail lending executive at one of the country's largest banks after demonstrating how to use our market segments to improve CRA lending efforts: "Why would I give my people that type of information?  It's too risky." 

As if not knowing was better.
 Mortgage loan forecasts tell you about your market
So why the change of heart?  Is it the fact that originators' phones aren't ringing off their hooks?  Is it because technology is making data more accessible? Is it due to an 'everybody else is doing it' mentality? I could spend an entire blog listing all of the reasons that I think the times appear to be a-changin'  -- but it doesn't really matter. What matters is that the mortgage industry is warming up to the idea of quantitative analysis:

A regional wholesale manager looking at our county-level forecast map, excitedly said: "We can actually start making decisions based on real information!"

A top executive at a national retail lender: "This data is gold."

What I wanted to do in this blog is set the stage for a little blog "mini-series" about big data and how to make it matter to you, in the mortgage and banking industries. By making it matter to you, I mean this:  how do you use market intelligence to make effective and efficient decisions every day?

In each blog of this series, I am going to touch on a different but essential principle of making market intelligence (aka Big Data) matter. You'll quickly see that all data isn't created equal when it comes to capturing the lending opportunity that's out there:
  • Part 1: Why Looking Backwards Doesn't Help You Tomorrow
  • Part 2: Every Market Isn't Created Equal: Market-Level Detail Matters
  • Part 3: Moving Beyond Spreadsheets: When Numbers Don't Speak to You
  • Part 4: Top 10 Uses for Market Intelligence (the Mortgage MarketSmart way)

This mini-series will show you how Mortgage MarketSmart takes big data and makes it matter to you and your decisions. In each blog, we will drill down into a different market to show tangible, specific examples of how and why forward-looking, market-level data can and should matter to you.  

We all know that "big data" is here to stay.  Our abilities to collect it, understand it and share it are improving at an incredible pace, so why not use it?  This blog series should get you started on just a few easy ways to do that.

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." 
 - Aldous Huxley, Author of Brave New World.


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