Situs Takes Stake in Loan Processing Software Developer

Houston-based SITUS Co. has invested in software-developer Conjunction Consulting’s CLOSER, a software package for commercial loan origination, securitization and enterprise reporting for commercial real estate lenders. Situs, in business since 1985, has been working with CJS for two years. The key advantage of this package, according to Conjunction CEO Brett Williams, is that it lets commercial lenders move away from internal systems into a scalable off-the-shelf product. “We got tired of seeing shortcomings in the market with other applications, so we created our own product,” he told CPN. “We brought out CLOSER at the beginning of the year.” The software was also a market opportunity for SITUS. Says Steve Powel, a principal & COO at the real estate services and consulting solutions provider, “Advances in technology over the last few years have allowed applications in general to become much more efficient, affordable, and exportable,” he advised. Beyond that, “the CRE industry historically used internal tools, whether they were MS Office applications or internally developed programs, mostly because of the lack of availability and flexibility of third party applications.”But recent technological advances along with a rapid movement towards reducing internal IT support staff, has now opened the market for products like CLOSER. “And CLOSER, built in the Microsoft .NET 2.0 framework, will allow us to provide the highest level of scalability, portability and flexibility,” he noted. The plan is for SITUS’ 350 employees in offices in United States, Europe and Asia to start using this system for underwriting and due diligence operations. Situs also will be assisting Conjunction in developing worldwide database solutions for the commercial real estate debt and equity markets. CLOSER is being adopted by a number of financial institutions, including Principal Financial and Greystone Ltd.