While life in the drama, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” may have been wonderful for the Baileys back in the day, jump ahead many decades and Uncle Billy and Mr. Potter are the least of George’s worries at the Building and Loan. George’s biggest concern would likely be keeping up with the Joneses, in today’s competitive mortgage marketplace. Today’s mortgage consumers have ever-evolving customer experience expectations that are expensive to deliver, and survival will take a lot more than some divine intervention from Clarence Odbody.
Mortgage consumers, their real estate professionals, and their loan originators have a common goal: a smooth and efficient process that results in a timely closing. This process creates a good experience for all parties involved. Most regional banks and successful non-depository mortgage lenders have mastered the art of personal customer service, but today, everyone involved expects a high level of communication and technology throughout the process. An emphasis on service and technology is critical to attracting new customers and even more important to retaining a customer base as well as talented loan originators.
Bringing that necessary technology to the market requires that lenders streamline and improve internal processes and offer self-service technology and multi-device functionality to consumers. These efforts require resources as well as a dedicated and experienced staff to execute. There are some lenders that are not keeping up. Not for lack of want or need, but simply because the current marketplace and the return might not warrant the investment.
After investing heavily in the staff, processes, and systems to meet the regulatory challenges posed by guidelines like TRID, many banks and non-depository lenders find themselves needing technology to enhance the customer experience and maintain market share in what has been an increasingly competitive mortgage market place. While there are the behemoths rocketing the online consumer experience into the future, there are also a few other players delivering big gains in technology and process enhancements to the customer experience. It is proof of the “technology” concept.
So what do you do when investment seems impractical but necessary?
A consumer relationship is a hard-earned, expensive proposition for any lender, be it a bank or non-depository lender as consumers are increasingly being enticed by the shiny concept of “technology.” In addition, finding and retaining the most productive sales staff is equally as challenging and expensive – you cannot let quality employees go.
Okay, are you ready for a financially viable option?
It’s simple – outsource your technology, processing, underwriting and closing functions.
The revelation of outsourcing might bring a gasp of disbelief, rather than a ringing of a bell, but this is not a new proposition. The question remains – can you trust anyone else to maintain your expected service levels while adding technology and remaining compliant?
Two banks that are ranked the highest in customer satisfaction in New England by JD Powers and Associates for 2017 did just that. They outsourced their technology needs and they outsourced their processing, underwriting, closing and secondary market functions. They did this while improving market share and their compliance posture, all while maintaining their award-winning customer service levels. These banks gained immediate market advantages and did it without making a capital investment in mortgage-related technologies.
So, it is possible to keep up with the Joneses in this race for mortgage technology that could be likened to putting a man on the moon, all while maintaining the personal service levels that have built your brand. It’s just a matter of finding the right partner.
About The Author
Kurt Noyce is President of Embrace Home Loans. Founded in 1983, Embrace Home Loans is a direct lender for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, approved by FHA and VA, and an issuer for Ginnie Mae. Embrace Home Loans has remained a prominent leader in the industry, having helped hundreds of thousands of individuals and their families purchase new homes, and lower their monthly payments since its inception. Operating 40+ offices across 46 states, Embrace has been recognized seven times as one of the Best Medium-sized Companies to Work for in America by Fortune, four times as one of the Fastest Growing Companies in America by Inc., and recognized as the Most Community Involved Company in Rhode Island by Providence Business News.