02 Jan Elizabeth Morales: Marketing & Communication Director, Applied Business Software
Elizabeth is the Marketing and Communications Director for Applied Business Software. She has a proven record in senior operational roles and is known as an inspirational, forward-thinking approach leader and a data-driven marketer. She has created full scale marketing platforms, handles media, public relations and brand management for ABS; she is a strategic planner and a female leader in a male dominated industry. Prior to coming to ABS Elizabeth managed an Educational Program for the State of California that became a national model through the United States Department of Education. As a Vice President for VanKirk Media, a Closed Captioning and Subtitling Company, she managed the most complex scheduling for subtitling and closed captioning films that have gone around the world. The most notable film she ever worked on was a Documentary that was nominated for an Oscar: ENRON: The Smartest Guys in the Room. A former Business Adjunct Faculty, Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature and a Masters in Business Administration.
Originate Report: How long have you been working at ABS?
Elizabeth Morales: Four fun years.
OR: What is it that excites you about the Mortgage Industry?
EM: The fact that it is so unpredictable and constantly changing. I also really like what Private Lending offers the community, the industry, and the average Joe that Conventional Lending doesn’t.
OR:What advice do you have for those who are looking to purchase a software system?
EM: I guess the biggest one is to find out what your competitors and peers use in your area. If 80 percent use product X and are happy with it, that should be your first call. When you do call, ask a lot of questions. If the answer is always ‘yes’ to everything, make sure you see each of those things on a granular level in action; basically take your time doing your homework. When calling references, make sure you ask these same things. It can be time consuming, but spending time (and money) on a non-stable product is much worse. Also search for online reviews and make sure there are plenty of them from private lenders.
OR: What changes has ABS had to make due to the fast, growing technologies today?
EM: Do you mean this year, or over the past 40?! In the technology world if you rest on your laurels for six months you will become obsolete. As an example, just this past year, we added a Cloud/SaaS version, rolled out online payments, HMDA, text alerts, online loan application, over the phone payments, a fourth mortgage pool methodology, and about 50 other things. We always stay one step ahead – that’s our thing.
OR: What tools are essential to making ABS/ TMO succeed?
EM: That’s an easy one – having all the right people in place in every department. There are no weak links here. We attract and keep the best and the brightest. It’s a great place to sell and support a phenomenal product, and since the product works so well, it’s easy to sell and support.
OR: What are some of the biggest challenges that ABS/ TMO faces?
EM: The ever changing technology and regulatory en- vironment. On the regulation side, our system is already compliant with HMDA, even though most lenders aren’t even aware of this Federal mandate. Just like RESPA, we jumped on this before anyone else, and our customers love this about our company. On the technology side, we always try to be ahead of the curve by implementing the next big thing.
OR: What do you enjoy most about working for ABS?
EM: The constant learning, the diversity of markets we thrive in, and the awesome things we discover that our customers do with our software on a regular basis. We have a ton of happy customers spread across 20 countries, so it makes it a lot of fun.
OR: What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
EM: I have learned a few things from mentors in all my jobs, but as far as Public Figures are concerned, I enjoy Sir Ken Robinson, Tony Robbins and Elon Musk. Anyone that comes in disrupting business, changing paradigms, and questioning the status quo, I like.
OR: What CRM Software do you use and why?
EM: Top Secret. Kidding. We looked for something that would meet our needs for the Sales Department, since our reps make a high volume of calls everyday. Most CRM platforms are geared towards ‘appointments’ versus tele-sales, so we use a system designed for that – Ours.
OR: What drew you to Marketing?
EM: Bringing all the pieces of the Market- ing Puzzle for a common goal is very appeal- ing to me. By pieces I mean, PPC, SEO, PR, Email, Advertising, Tradeshows, Videos, Social Media, Blogs, and everything in between. Marketing technology certainly keeps me on my toes, especially on Mondays. That’s because the programmers will come in then and say “We just added this cool feature over the weekend – tell people about it!”
OR: Have you had to learn any lessons the hard way?
EM: Who hasn’t? One of the hardest lessons of the last few months has been finding out our customers don’t know everything our software does. For example: we sent out a reminder email about our software providing 24/7 Online Access for Lenders, Borrowers and Pool Partners and we received replies from long time customers saying this was a great new feature. New feature? We created that when the Spice Girls were the “it” group, Titanic was released in theaters and Microsoft was releasing Windows 98. Fun fact and for ice cream the next time I see you: Do you know who else (Hint: big bank) did online access the same year ABS did it? Drum roll… If you said Citibank you were right, and I will buy you ice cream when I see you next. So lesson learned: Just because you did it, it does not mean people know about it; even if you poured your heart into it.
OR: What is one piece of advice you have learned and carried with you throughout your life?
EM: My mother always said to my sister and me: “Know where you are going, always walk with your head up high, and never give up if it’s worth it”.