In an in-depth October 16 interview with Inman News, Williston Financial Group Executive Chairman Patrick Stone reflects on the founding principles that still distinguish WFG as it marks its 10th anniversary, and the 2020 product releases and industry initiatives that can improve loan transactions in 2021 and beyond.
Stone says the idea behind WFG, which he began to formulate in 2009, was forged in the early 1980s, when interest rates were high. At that time, real estate business “basically shut down, and then we lost the S&Ls as a financing vehicle for the real estate business … that was, in a lot of ways, more challenging and traumatic than the Great Recession.”
For that reason, he determined that his company “would be a part of the clients’ process, as opposed to an indifferent third party institution.”
Now, looking past the pandemic of 2020, he sees reasons for optimism in technological innovation. WFG will continue to invest in technology “that makes the process more efficient, takes time and cost out, and helps people know what’s going on.” One area of focus is e-closings, which FannieMae and the CFPB studied in 2015 with WFG’s participation.
What was shown, he says, “is that if you use e-closing, if you have a common data vault, if you quit rekeying all the data, you can get a transaction down into the low 20-day range.”