Far West Credit Services is a major provider of credit reports in Utah, Arizona and Nevada. Established in 1994, Far West has quickly grown to a size that rivals many mortgage credit reporting agencies with a far longer history in the industry.
The president of Far West Credit Services, Barton Taylor, is well known within credit reporting because of his past business as a supplier of credit report forms to credit reporting agencies, and through his current position as President of the National Credit Reporting Association (NCRA). Far West is keen to adopting technology that allows the company to attract new clients while keeping operation costs down.
When Taylor first entered the mortgage credit reporting business, the first system he used was a DOS-based, modem dial-up system that ran off an OS/2 server with dummy terminal access. Advanced for its time, Far West was impressed with the speed and usability of the system. Most important was the system's remote access that allowed their clients to pull their own credit reports. Taylor aggressively marketed his services and took full advantage of the remote capabilities of his system to quickly gain a considerable market share in his area.
"Our previous system was a really slick, cutting-edge system with nice interfaces to LOS systems. When I opened shop with the remote access feature I really kicked butt," Taylor beams. "I was lucky to get out of the business I was in previously and was really excited about credit reporting."
Taylor was happy with his credit reporting system and looked forward to future enhancements. However, as time went by, the upgrades that were made to his system left much to be desired. "It was still the same software only more complex and harder to use," Taylor remembers. "Every step they took forward to make the system more dynamic actually made ten steps backwards."
As a result of these system changes, Taylor found that his operations was becoming more and more inefficient and the quality of his service was suffering. Customers started to leave and eventually business deteriorated to the point that Taylor admits: "I didn't even like the business."
MeridianLink approached Far West Credit with Mortgage Credit Link as an alternative solution to their credit reporting software needs. Taylor understood the advantages of an ASP model of software deployment and was eager to try out a Web-based product. He had done some research on other credit reporting systems available at the time, but found out that nobody had developed a solution that he wanted.
"[Other software companies] had Internet-type systems, but they weren't complete," Taylor says. "On some systems, the workflow was too complicated. On others there were technical attributes, such as installing certificates, that didn't make sense to me."
Although MeridianLink was not a name Taylor was familiar with when he adopted the Mortgage Credit Link (MCL) system, Taylor got to know the company and the people at MeridianLink better. He ultimately followed his intuition. "I felt that MeridianLink was young, aggressive and hard working. I could sense that they had some integrity and morals. That's important to me."
Far West implemented MCL in October of 2000 and immediately Taylor was impressed with the robustness of the system and the simplicity in its design. Taylor is fond of quoting his favorite acronym: KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid. "I like to keep my life simple. The simplicity of editing reports, it was so easy and straightforward to update reports and RMCRs that I was really convinced we had a very powerful tool in our hands."