I recently returned from the National Mortgage News Digital Conference in San Francisco. There was a great turnout for the event and a number of discussions regarding what a digital mortgage is and where the industry headed.
“In a live survey conducted during the conference by NMN and Mortgage Cadence, the majority of respondents defined a digital mortgage as a fully end-to-end electronic process, which includes the borrower experience, internal processes, and electronic closings.”
In addition to defining what a digital mortgage is they went on to state, “almost 14% defined a digital mortgage as having an electronic borrower experience and digital internal processes, and about 10.4% claimed a digital mortgage constituted an online experience for the borrower.”
Most of those surveyed claimed, “they have some, but not all, features available. About 34.4% are still determining the best approach for their specific organization.”
What I found most telling was “participants cited a number of reasons for not yet reaching their digital mortgage goals, with about 44.1% blaming current internal technology limitations.”
Since Quicken Loans launched that now famous Super Bowl AD for Rocket Mortgage, there has been a great deal of talk, energy, and resources focused on the front end tools and customer experience as it relates to a digital mortgage.
But what many in the industry are missing is that to truly deliver on the digital mortgage experience, companies must automate the entire mortgage process— not just the front end user interface.
Where companies can gain the greatest ROI when investing in digital is to automate the many manual tasks throughout the mortgage process.
The origination process between originator, processor, borrower, realtor, title agent and all other parties to the transaction is very interactive to say the least. In our highly regulated lending environment, complexity has created additional processes and more room for error. Loan quality takes a hit as more manual checklists have been created, and more data must be validated.
For the vast majority of mortgage lenders, email is the main communication method while the CRM and LOS systems are the central lead and loan repositories. This means leads, preapprovals, loans, business contacts and documents all must be dispositioned in systems that must focus on quality.
The process becomes chaotic with documents in different places, tasks being completed by different people at different times with no real way to manage, track, and communicate properly. This lengthens turn-times by creating bottlenecks at various stages in the loan process.
Communication then becomes reactive rather than proactive. When this happens, even the greatest digital point-of-sale tool will not deliver the digital mortgage experience that today’s borrower is looking for.
The issues are exacerbated with a refi-boom or when purchase season comes along and sometimes we’re forced to throw more people and manual processes at the problem.
So what’s the answer?
To truly deliver on the digital mortgage experience, lenders must not only provide a slick and engaging online point-of-sale tool, but they also must automate the backend mortgage process and communication touch points that impede a truly seamless mortgage experience for the borrower.
That begins with automating manual tasks and communication between parties with a solution that offers mortgage lenders the ability to truly enhance the areas of transparency and accountability that are often overlooked. We must consider automation not only around fulfillment staff and borrowers, but realtors, title agents, financial planners, and all other interested parties involved in a transaction. Keeping all parties in the loop is one thing, but automating that communication in a way that continues well after funding, which will lead to a much higher rate of repeat business.
The Digital Strategy should include ways for system-driven processes to unfold, as we know more about the transaction. This way, team members don’t need to think about what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and by whom it needs to be done. Leveraging web and mobile ready solutions is key, however anticipation may be even more important.
The more we know up-front, the more we can automate further down the line. With this type of automation, each individual involved in the transaction feels as though a truly personalized service is being provided.
For lenders that want to truly deliver on the digital mortgage experience they must realize the importance of automating the entire mortgage process. Lenders that put forth the energy and resources to automate the entire lending process will be able to overcome the “internal technology limitations” that are holding them back from delivering a truly memorable digital mortgage experience. An experience that delivers enhanced communication throughout the lending process reduces the cost to originate loans and increases lender profitability.