Jane Mason has a passion for process. Streamlining processes to be more exact.
Mason has been a technology and digital automation leader in the mortgage industry for more than a decade. As the founder and CEO of Clarifire, she led the development of award-winning software that automates workflows for financial services organizations, enabling them to work more efficiently, cost-effectively, and to gain competitive advantage.
Mason is addressing one of the biggest pain-points for mortgage bankers and financial institutions – automating processes and workflow. Mason started St. Petersburg, FL-based Clarifire in 2001 after running a large law firm and striving to streamline the processes there. She showed the technology to Bank of America, and even though the product was not complete, the two partnered.
She saw a need within the mortgage, financial and healthcare industries for this product and thus began her journey to show businesses they could handle more volume, have rapid access to data, automate workflow and drive the industry to be more interconnected.
As she advocates for mortgage banking to embrace the changes and the power of technology, she also admits that some are slow to accept new methods. However, even those married to legacy systems see the benefit of having alternative ways of accessing their own data via a centralized connection layer that is Clarifire. The end-to-end workflow allows all constituencies to access the right data at the right time.
Clarifire allows not only the back-end workers, but also the customers, to have access to data. Mason said Clarifire continues work on more ways to bring in the customer. One of those ways is allowing for the creation of customer profiles.
As an example, Mason noted how a customer with a lending institution might have multiple loans – home, car, personal, etc. Each time the customer interacts with that lender, they have to repeat information and be directed to a specific department. Within the Clarifire app, the customer profile would encompasses all of their loans and activity. That means all requests and problems can be handled in one place. Information is no longer siloed. Customers can also have access to their own basic information and receive notifications.
Having both mortgage companies and customers on board is a “huge win for the industry,” Mason said. But she noted that adoption of technology is not the only shift in the mortgage space.
Mason said there is a growing awareness about diversity and inclusiveness within the industry. She’s also keenly aware that it all starts with kindness and exploring things together, regardless of gender or any other factors.
Mason has faced rooms full of those types of clients that initially don’t want to hear from her (because of her gender) – until she opens her mouth and starts talking about stats and showing them how her product adds value.
Within Clarifire, Mason leads by example. The team is inclusive and offers opportunities to all types of people.
“Clarifire is a place that all those things don’t matter. We are a team and work as a team. We involve the whole company in decisions and we are proud of the things we are doing.” she said. “Our culture demands it.”
It’s important to Mason to belong to several professional women’s organizations. She also mentors young girls and gives talk about small business. Her basic message is that women – or anyone – should never be afraid to “do and try.”
Mason recently received a Women With Vision award by 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching and Mortgage Women Magazine. The award is given to women leaders in the mortgage industry who have inspired other female entrepreneurs through their success and by sharing their vision for leadership.
Mason has won several awards over the years including CEO of the Year from the Tampa Bay Business Journal and Tampa Bay Technology Forums, HousingWire’s inaugural HW Tech Trendsetters list, and 2019 Mortgage Banking’s Most Powerful Women.
She said the accolades are a great acknowledgement, but Mason continues to look towards the future. As Clarifire gains market share and a more diverse customer base she’s hoping that large entities (like Fannie Mae and HUD) will pay attention and “open doors for us.”
She predicts that in five years, adoption of these technologies and processes will be more widespread and the norm. She also noted that current and continued willingness by non-banks to use this type of technology makes them much more competitive and “could put large conservative banks that don’t pay attention at risk.”
Mason is attempting to help demonstrate the benefits of automation and minimize the risk in the space – all while showing that a passion for streamlining processes is a recipe for success.