Headquartered in Longwood, Florida, RATA Associates, LLC has provided the financial services industry with cost-effective HMDA and CRA compliance software and geocoding service solutions for more than 34 years.
RATA Associates, LLC was founded in 1987 by John Woloshen, RATA's current CEO, with the primary goal of providing the financial services industry with a cost-effective PC based software and outsourcing geocoding service solution specifically designed to reduce the time, cost, and compliance burdens associated with regulatory compliance data collection and electronic reporting requirements.
Prior to 1990, only Thrift institutions had formal HMDA Loan Application Register (LAR) maintenance and annual data submission requirements to their supervisory agencies which were the 12 regional Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLB's).
RATA's first generation software applications were designed for Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) compliance to provide Thrift institutions with tools to convert loan application data housed on mainframe computers to a format compatible with RATA's desktop system, export address data to RATA forgeocoding, apply the geocoding result file(s) returned by RATA, prepare and edit check all of the-LAR data and electronically submit the data in the electronic format required for submission to the FHLB's. RATA's export features also allowed users to update their mainframe systems with corrected data and geocoding values in place.
To develop functionality that met both institution and FHLB needs, over a 3 year period prior to 1990, RATA's founder worked closely and interactively with FHLB's located in NY, Boston, Pittsburgh and the main office in Washington, DC to develop software that would allow Thrift Institutions of all sizes to economically collect, edit check geocode, and electronically submit their LAR data and three additional complex loan related reports. By early 1989, RATA had 3 Thrift Institutions using and beta testing the software. The software performed flawlessly at Northeast Savings in Ct, (Assets $7B), Home Unity Savings, Pa. (assets $700M) and Ambler Savings, Pa, (Assets $70M) and was about to be purchased on a sole-source contract basis by the FHLB's for use at all Thrift institutions nationwide (about 4500 total institutions at that time). Unfortunately, the S&L crisis of 1989 prevented that from happening. The FHLB's lost their regulatory powers and the federal Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) was created and became the new supervisory agency for all Thrift Institutions.
On January 1, 1990, however, HMDA was expanded to include nearly all financial institutions and Mortgage companies (About 14,000 institutions total at that time). In 1990, RATA quickly added the varied data formats for electronic submission to each of the 6 supervisory agencies now involved in the data collection process (OTS, FRB, FDIC, NCUA, OCC and HUD). (At the start, there were 4 different submission formats to deal with since the regulatory agencies did not coordinate their submission requirements at all. Each went their separate ways and none were set up to accept electronic submissions.
Sadly enough, the government could not even consider contracting to use RATA since there were no specifications available other than what RATA had developed with the FHLB's. RATA was in the position of possibly saving the government and reporting institutions many millions of dollars annually but with no way to get it into use. This was a very frustrating situation for RATA to say the least.
So, the entire financial industry was suddenly (with just one month's notice) faced with totally new difficult data collection/geocoding/submission problems with very strict regulatory requirements and potential financial penalties for failure to submit 100 percent accurate data on time each year. In addition to regulatory submissions, the annual data was published by government for the general public, with certain data elements omitted for confidentiality reasons. Institutions were also required to make their current year YTD data available to the public within 30 days of a request from anyone with interest in the data for any reason.
With regard to HMDA processing solutions, nearly all of the 50 or so Loan Origination System (LOS) vendors commonly used by financial institutions during that time period promised to deliver HMDA compliance solutions to their customers. Without exception, all that tried fell far short of the mark. In addition, well-intentioned but misguided, individuals at four different government agencies tried to come up with hastily contrived Data Entry Systems (DES's).
None of these worked well and all four used different data submission formats (some similar, but still different enough to cause confusion and serious technical problems.) Finally, one system emerged, the current FFIEC DES, but it has numerous shortcomings and is not and never was intended for use at larger institutions where it was assumed by Geary Cunningham and others at the FRB that HMDA Management Systems (HMS's) that were available from RATA and several new companies would be used.
After two years or so of LOS failures to deliver HMDA satisfactory processing mechanisms the industry finally embraced RATA's HMDA software and Compliance-grade service geocoding products. RATA essentially created a new software niche in the financial industry. RATA's customer base quickly grew to more than 700 institutions, and RATA was soon recognized as the financial industry's leading provider of both compliance software and outsourced geocoding services. The near perfect results all RATA customers consistently achieved each year also established RATA as experts in the subject of interpreting the regulations and implementing software solutions for often very complex regulatory compliance requirements.
The 90's brought more demanding reporting requirements for all HMDA reporting institutions. RATA kept abreast of these changes, updating its software annually to comply with the modified HMDA and/or CRA reporting requirements and fine-tuning the company's proprietary geocoding processes by incorporating many technological advances that became available.
In 1995 when formal CRA data collection, geocoding, and reporting requirements were enacted that affected nearly all banks and thrift institutions, RATA added full featured automated processing and electronic CRA reporting capabilities in time for the first required data submission in the year following. All RATA customers achieved 100 percent accurate and complete CRA data submissions the first year as they had been doing with HMDA submissions in all years prior and this will always be the case for RATA Comply Suite users.
The new millennium brought another new direction for RATA. During the period from 2004 through 2014, RATA invested about 7.5 Million dollars to migrate 15 years of HMDA and CRA compliance and software knowledge to Microsoft's .NET platform in conjunction with the latest SQL database technology. In addition to the core functionality that was formerly included with RATA's earlier DOS software, many new and important features have been incorporated into the Comply Suite of products, making RATA the technological leader in the compliance arena. Key new features added to the Comply Suite include Peer-2-Peer analysis, mapping capabilities, and two levels of Fair Lending compliance and analysis modules. The most recent new development is RATA's ZOOM geocoder, a way to visually geocode any address and see the results on an interactive map with census tract overlays.
With regard to Fair Lending analysis, the Comply 'Standard' Fair Lending component is very easy to use even by people with very limited knowledge of the underlying statistical methods used within the software. It produces scorecards highlighting potential risk areas and allows comparative file reviews. The optional Advanced Fair Lending component is designed for the advanced user. It includes regression and other advanced statistical analysis capabilities in addition to all of the features of the Standard Fair Lending program.
In the area of geocoding, RATA continues to build upon its strong foundation by continually enhancing its recognized industry-leading position as the premier provider of outsourced geocoding solutions. Using RATA's multi-source, multi-stage outsourcing for geocoding offers exceptional accuracy that simply can't be matched by any single data source in-house geocoding product and with turnaround times on files that are equal or better than those that can be achieved using in-house geocoding software. When you consider all costs involved and the quality of results, RATA's GeoPlus service is the best geocoding value available to the industry.
The RATA Comply Suite can easily be scaled to fit any financial institutions' HMDA and/or CRA compliance reporting and Fair Lending analysis needs economically regardless of institution's size or overall lending volumes. This is because RATA uses flexible 'lending volume' based, pricing for all of its products and services.