“I think data is the future.” (Maksim Stavinksy, Co-Founder and COO Roc Capital)
The fast-growing Roc Capital Holdings has funded more than $1.3 billion in loans since being launched and is fulfilling its mission of automating the entire life cycle of a loan with some help from ATTOM’s Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) platform.
As a financial services lender targeting small and medium loans – defined as loans under $25 million, the New York-based Roc Capital leadership team has worked together for over two decades both on Wall Street and in more entrepreneurial settings. Their experience ranges from running quantitative strategies inside bulge bracket banks and independently as a hedge fund, to building out the teams, technology, processes and safeguards with institutional-level quality.
“The original attraction of the secured real estate lending strategy when we started the business some 5 or 6 years ago was the ability to get relatively high yielding assets that we understood secured by a first lien mortgage or deed of trust and a personal guarantee of the individual(s) behind the project, in what was effectively a zero interest rate environment” said Roc COO, Maksim Stavinsky.
But on the other hand, he added that the market itself was very fragmented and consisted of a lot of relatively small players who were balance sheet constrained.
Roc Capital began to fund and service loans and built technology, processes and people to be able to do so relatively cheaply and efficiently while providing good customer service to the underlying borrowers and the lending partners who may have brought the deal to Roc. Roc’s edge while running quantitative strategies was converting qualitative data into quantitative signals, and this core competency became particularly useful in its current business. Automating tasks that warrant automation while being laser focused on keeping underwriting standards high and ultimately keeping the underwriting decisions a human decision aided by technology became Roc Capital’s vision.
Roc Capital had been leveraging ATTOM’s property data for some time, but when the newly launched Data-as-Service platform became available, it was a natural move to implement DaaS to improve the integrity and access the data directly. Roc Capital views DaaS as a valued delivery mechanism fueling Roc’s lending engines with recorder, assignment, foreclosure and tax data from ATTOM.
Property data from ATTOM helps fuel many aspects of Roc Capital’s business including risk management and monitoring, loan origination, geographic targeting and preliminary title pulls to get a better understanding of loans as soon as they’re submitted. Another plus is that unlike other delivery solutions Roc Capital has used, DaaS provides them with daily live updates of the data. “These almost real time updates allow us to gain access to relevant information much faster, which improves the efficacy of our data science initiatives,” Stavinsky noted adding, “In general, we want data as soon as possible.”
Roc Capital already sees how their conversion from flat files to DaaS streamlines their business by providing a constant stream of regularly updated data without the manual work required by flat file ingestion and data management. “The greatest benefit is definitely the real time data feed,” according to Stavinsky.
While reconciling and integrating the DaaS platform with the firm’s currently existing database, coupled with replicating the data structures they’ve built over time to suit their needs takes a bit of work, Roc Capital sees the long-term benefit.
Roc Capital considers itself “data hungry” and explained that the firm’s leadership had been dealing with data for 20 years prior to entering the real estate space. Stavinsky said they had been converting qualitative data into quantitative signals. “So many of those skills are quite relevant for us today.”
The firm is also leveraging machine learning and applied analytics in all their data science ventures, using ML algorithms to assist with loan origination, property assessment, risk management, valuation and more.
When it comes to working with ATTOM, Stavinsky said, “We have enjoyed our relationship with ATTOM and receive prompt attention to any questions or requests that we have. I think data is the future and ATTOM recognizes that.”
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