In the world of mortgage quality control (QC), the process of communicating the QC department’s findings to the field, recording their feedback and working together to resolve adverse QC findings has been notably inefficient. In some companies, the QC department schedules regular weekly calls with the field, which may include branch managers, regional origination groups, servicing departments, or similar players. During these calls, which can last hours, the field often questions the adverse findings of QC, while QC defends its actions. Alternatively, QC departments may perform this process by exchanging emails and file attachments with the field. And sometimes, it’s a combination of both. Whatever the case, the systems that have evolved to document and track this process are sub-optimal. Usually invented by business users – outside their usual job descriptions, using whatever tools are at hand (Excel, Word, Access, etc.) – these systems are usually cumbersome, error-prone and not secure.
Cogent’s first attempt at improving this process was to use the same familiar tools but to integrate the exchanged data with the Cogent QC System. Thus, the System automated the gathering and generation of QC findings and exported them to Excel worksheets that were attached to outgoing emails. The field provided feedback to QC using specific cells in the Excel spreadsheets, which they then re-attached to emails that were returned to QC. Finally, QC imported the feedback from the Excel spreadsheets into the Cogent QC System, which tracked returned and outstanding feedback items and allowed reporting on returned feedback. This approach imposed some controls on the workflow, integrated feedback into the audit record, and facilitated reporting. However, there were still shortcomings: saving and attaching Excel spreadsheets to emails was neither secure nor error-free, the import process was inflexible, and there was no facility for multi-iteration feedback between QC and the field.
For the .NET platform, Cogent started from scratch. Instead of exchanging Excel attachments by email, CogentQC.NET users now send emails with system-generated links to a secure website, where feedback recipients log in and submit their responses directly online. The new Web application, running on Microsoft IIS, writes directly to the same Microsoft SQL Server database to which the main application writes, so that feedback is immediately available. Unlimited feedback iterations are possible, all of which are reportable, and both QC and the field are alerted when they have incoming feedback. Everything is now contained within the Cogent QC System, except for the emails exchanged between QC and the field. This new feature of CogentQC.NET has become one of Cogent’s most popular innovations.
Posted by Kaan Etem