ASQ member Rebecca Walzak knows the importance and value of quality in the financial services industry. Despite the amount of consumer lending occurring today, there is a very limited focus on quality in this industry. Instead, the industry focuses on meeting the heavy regulations that apply to financial services.
As the founder and chief executive officer of Walzak Risk Analysis, Walzak makes a living working with consumer lending organizations to facilitate positive return on investment, maintain and increase customer loyalty, and secure on-going viability by applying quality tools and processes. She adapts quality principles for the banking and financial services industry. Walzak learned about ASQ while taking courses for her Quality Management Certification at George Washington University and she’s found ASQ to be a valuable resource for ideas, know-how, and support.
“At the beginning of my involvement in quality practices in the mortgage lending environment, there was no guidance or references for me that focused on quality in the industry,” said Walzak. “I have found ASQ material, both books and magazines, to be beneficial because they provide concepts and ideas that I can transform into useful approaches and techniques for the ‘investor as customer’ aspect of quality in the financial services industry.”
Through ASQ, Walzak met people involved in the consumer side of financial services. They are a resource for developing and evaluating consumer feedback on lending processes. She purchased many quality books from ASQ and used numerous ideas from Quality Progress magazine.
Walzak faces the challenge of demonstrating the value of a strong quality management approach to the organizations with whom she works. But, by showing organizations the amount of money they’re losing because of process problems, she helps them focus on the quality tools and processes they need to implement in order to turn losses into opportunities.
“Quality is important in the mortgage lending business for various financial reasons. From the investor perspective, it is return on investment,” adds Walzak. “Anything that decreases the likelihood of repayment downgrades the value of the product; the price a lender gets for that product is decreased if the performance is questionable. From a consumer perspective, the issue is loyalty. Because consumer lending is one of the primary ways that financial institutions attract and retain customers, it is important that they experience a speedy and successful transaction.”
Walzak also looks at the mortgage lending business from the regulator perspective. Quality tools and processes can help an organization accomplish heavy regulation requirements. ”Failing to show control over process or the ability to maintain sufficient reserves or manage losses means that the organization can be closed down or be subject to numerous penalties, fines, and other punitive measures,” said Walzak. “Reputation risk is a significant concern for all financial service entities.”
Some of the quality analysis methods Walzak uses include Pareto diagrams, control limits and run charts. The efforts pursued by Walzak bring quality awareness and recognition to the financial services community.
For more information about quality in financial services, visit the Financial Services Six Sigma blog featuring Six Sigma Certified Master Black Belts, Sheila Shaffie and Shahbaz Shahbazi.