Provident Funding

Mortgage Lender Gains Control Over Costs with Zultys

“When we looked at the big players in this, we were taken aback by the price. Zultys is a smaller company. They’re willing to work with us. Their whole solution just screams simplicity.”

Jason Lukitsch

Provident Funding Associates

Profile

  • CA-based Provident is the 2nd largest private U.S. mortgage company licensed in 47 states with 70 offices nationwide and 700 trained mortgage professionals (April 2014)
  • No.1 Wholesale Lender and No.1 servicer of “Freddie Mac’s Top 25 Servicers”
  • Company growth ignited an evaluation of existing disparate phone systems along with ways to scale the coast-to coast-network while curbing equipment, monthly and IT support costs
  • Improve communications and productivity of hundreds of nationwide employees
  • Implement open source technology applications designed to improve customer service

The Customer

Since 1992, Provident Funding has built a dynamic business model, leveraging the power of its people and technology to offer the industry’s best price, while building a cost advantage that is unmatched in the industry. Provident is the 2nd largest private mortgage company in the U.S. and the 8th largest direct lender. Their lending standards attract only the highest quality borrowers, and the loans they originate are of consistent investment quality, allowing them to sell to the nation’s largest banks and government sponsored entities.

The Challenge

As the lending industry was experiencing a boon, Provident Funding was also undergoing its own growth success. With company branch office locations coast-to-coast, Provident’s typical office had 10 or fewer employees, mostly underwriters, with little experience managing a network. This disparate network of systems with no on-site experts to maintain the network caused Provident to contract with third parties to maintain the systems, and a task as basic as adding a phone meant paying a fee.

The time had come to implement a new, centralized IP communications system that would offer several advantages over their current phone system network: simplify maintenance and administration of phone systems throughout the nationwide network, reduce number of equipment pieces in network, gain control over telecommunications usage and costs and support nonproprietary standards for developing its own software applications.

“When we looked at the big players in this, we were taken aback by the price,” said Jason Lukitsch of Provident Funding Associates. “We wanted to support this in-house, but it seemed we would need someone with specific expertise for the specific vendor.” Lukitsch wanted a VoIP system based on open standards for many reasons including costs, scalability and the ability to develop their own software applications.

The Solution

Provident chose to implement the Zultys MX250 IP PBX solution, at the company headquarters and to install the Zultys MX25 at branch locations. The MX250 incorporates the PBX, voice mail server, and voice and Internet gateways — important functionalities that used to be housed and connected in separate equipment.

For desktop phones, open standards support allows for any SIP-based phone to be compatible with the Zultys all-in-one system. Provident selected Zultys Zip 4×4 phones, however, because they felt these phones were less difficult to use, even with simple tasks such as call transferring. The handset also includes several features that the lending company needed, such as speakerphone, headset jack, encryption and a message waiting light.

Lukitsch added that the simplicity of the Zultys system has been a benefit to the IT staff as the system is easily mastered. Ease of installation translates into a relatively low cost of deployment meaning Provident can roll out and add new phones and services at a faster pace. This eliminates the exorbitant third party costs it had incurred with the prior phone system. Underwriters and other employees have also discovered some of the more transparent benefits of VoIP such as the ability to see their calls on their computers.

According to Likitsch, “Zultys is a smaller company. They’re willing to work with us. Their while solution just screams simplicity.”“They had always been very cautious about opening new branches,” Lukitsch said. “Now we can get locations up and running very affordably.”

Along with simplified network maintenance and administration, Provident has more control over their communications costs. The Zultys VoIP solution with 4-digit dialing has eliminated the internal cost of calling and that along should save the company between $200,000 and $300,000 a year. The company also anticipates saving as much as $500,000 annually by eliminating six of its nine PRIs (Primary Rate Interfaces), used for dedicated access lines.

The IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system capability is allowing borrowers to phone the lending company and verbally enter their account number to obtain a balance, which also improves efficiency and quality of service offered to customers.

The Impact

The Zultys MX250 solution contains everything Provident needs in a centralized IP PBX solution to meet the growing requirements of this highly successful mortgage lending company. Provident has realized a rapid ROI since placing its confidence in Zultys. Provident’s new nationwide network with the Zultys MX250 all in one IP PBX has helped to achieve:

  • Significantly reduced footprint for housing separate equipment including the phone system, voice mail server and gateways, etc.
  • Solved the logistical nightmare of how to administer disparate telephone systems across the country.
  • Connected branch office locations coast-to-coast into a single, seamless network to improve customer service and reduce monthly telecom and system maintenance fees
  • Migration to VoIP reduced dependence on costly analog lines.
  • Open source technology provides ease of future scalability and endless opportunities for custom software application development