Over the past decade, mortgage originators have seen the average cost to originate a loan nearly double. As we all remember, the rush of post-crisis regulations required originators to quickly ramp up staffing, change processes and implement new technology to meet these regulatory demands. At least for now, the dust has settled on the regulatory front, and originators are now able to look more closely at other operational concerns and opportunities.
Today, originators are increasingly focused on identifying efficiencies that will enable them to decrease turn-times from application to close and to decrease the average cost to originate a loan without compromising service or compliance. When considering possible ways to accomplish these goals, originators are finding that advancements in technology show great promise – in particular, Robotic Process Automation, often referred to as Robotics.
Robotics technology leverages powerful decisioning, workflow and imaging functionality to enable more complex automation than previously available in the mortgage industry. Originators interested in taking advantage of Robotics technology will not have to look too far since some loan origination systems are already using this advanced automation. While many technology providers are offering a variety of pre-configured options to automate specific processes, originators can also tailor Robotics technology to address their specific preferences for managing back-office processes.
The nearly unlimited number of automation possibilities using Robotics technology may make it hard to select a starting point – but early adopters have already started by automating highly manual processes where significant efficiency gains are most needed. These early adopters have paved the way for the rest of the market to more easily implement and begin taking advantage of this new technology. Some key use cases are as follows:
While technology development played an important part in helping originators ramp up for the enactment of the TRID Disclosure rule, Robotics now makes it possible to take automation to the next level in the disclosure process. Robotics technology can automatically assess data that has been received to determine whether or not the originator has everything needed to systematically generate the disclosure package. If not, automatic notifications can be sent to the processor for intervention.
Automating Flood Zone Determination Evaluation
As soon as the originator understands the conditions for a loan and receives borrower payment, Robotics can enable the automatic ordering of a flood zone determination from a third-party vendor. When the determination is returned, the system reviews the information and based on predetermined rules, completes the evaluation task. For example, if the determination states that the subject property is not in a flood plain, then the evaluation task can be automatically checked off as completed and requiring no further action. If the determination states that the subject property is in a flood plain, the system rules can be programmed to alert the processor, and can further assists by automatically preparing the flood notification letter for the borrower.
Automating the Appraisal Process
Similar to flood zone determinations, Robotics can also automate the ordering of an appraisal as soon as the loan conditions have been set and the borrower payment is entered into the LOS. Once the appraisal results are returned to the LOS, Robotics can enable the automatic gathering of all third-party service data needed for the appraisal review process, such as automated appraisal reports and the Submission Summary Report (SSR) from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Once all information needed for the review is gathered, a member of the review team can be automatically alerted to begin the review process.
Benefits of Robotics in Origination
When originators employ Robotics technology to automate as many aspects of the origination process as possible, significant benefits can be expected. One of those benefits is risk reduction, especially when leveraging Robotics technology from within the LOS. Originators often operate in multiple systems, which is ineffective and inefficient.
By automating origination processes with Robotics, originators enable existing staff members to focus more on higher-level tasks and less on repetitive tasks. This has the potential to create a more engaging and rewarding work experience for employees. Originators can also scale their LOS to enable existing staff members to handle more loans. If existing staff members can manage more loans, the originator can lower its average cost to originate.
Further, Robotics technology eliminates human error in the processes it automates, improving overall accuracy within the origination process. The technology also eliminates bottlenecks and speeds up processes. Faster, more accurate origination processes can improve the customer experience, lead to more referrals, and ultimately increase revenue.
In the past, technology used to automate origination processes was not as robust as it is today, and required long implementation times. However, with Robotics technology, originators are finding a different experience. Since Robotics technology is already built into some LOS systems, there is no new system implementation required. Robotics functionality for common processes such as those previously mentioned is now easily accessed through the LOS. The same functionality is also easily redeployed to automate other processes.
Not so long ago, originators had a stronger reliance on vendors for any adjustments to process automation. Now, Robotics enables originators to have more direct control over process automation with an entirely configurable client workflow. Although advanced decisioning functionality may still require vendor consultation, originators are more empowered to manage their automation than ever before.
Transforming the Origination Process
To thrive in today’s mortgage market, originators must find ways to decrease their turn-times as well as lower the average cost to originate a loan without negatively impacting their ability to ensure compliance and deliver a high-quality customer experience. Robotics technology built into loan origination systems is equipping originators with the tools they need to tackle this challenge. Originators leveraging LOS systems that use Robotics technology are quickly transforming their origination processes, experiencing multiple benefits, and helping to ensure that they are better prepared to scale for any growth opportunities that lie ahead.
About The Author
Richard (“Rich”) Gagliano is President of the Black Knight Origination Technologies Division, where he is primarily responsible for the direction of LoanSphere Empower, Black Knight’s loan origination system for retail, wholesale and consumer-direct channels; Empower Now!; LoanSphere LendingSpace, Black Knight’s loan origination system for correspondent lending; Black Knight’s LoanSphere SalesEdge lead management solution; and LoanSphere Quality Insight, a quality control workflow solution that supports greater loan transparency and data integrity. Rich has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. For more information about robotics in origination, please contact Black Knight at 844.474.2537 or AskBlacKnight@bkfs.com.