Imagine this, you invest in creating a state-of-the-art website to compete in today’s digital mortgage revolution. Your website conveys the most critical parts of your brand and maintains a consistent theme throughout every page. However, there’s a problem. When a borrower types “mortgage” or “mortgage application” into Google, thousands of results come up in the search. Because of this, you decide to employ search engine optimization tactics. Great, you are more visible on Google and traffic is being driven to your site. People are so impressed, they decide to fill out a pre-qualification application or even apply for a mortgage. Let’s say a couple begins to fill out the application, they enter in their names, their dates of birth, and all required information. The couple clicks and continues to the next page and then, something happens. They realize that they forgot to put the middle initial in one of their names. The couple tries to go back but is unable. Frustrated, the couple abandons the application. That right there is the scariest part of the digital mortgage process. You invest money in a beautifully designed site, spend time boosting your Google search results, and lead a client to apply for a loan all to have them abandon the application before it’s even completed. This is the reason that having a strong digital point-of-sale (POS) application is so critical in providing a digital mortgage experience to turns leads into loans.
There are five key components that separate a point-of-sale in today’s most advanced digital solution. The first major component is cleanliness. Your POS needs to be clean on every level. Let’s start at the software level. Any imperfection in the software will result in hiccups that make borrowers abandon the application. Borrowers need to breeze through a digital application with ease. There are too many other things they can get distracted by on the Internet. If you give your applicant one second of difficulty, or one second to contemplate whether they want to complete the application, you risk losing them. Competing for people’s attention isn’t easy, especially in the digital landscape. This is the reason it is so important to keep your users attention at all times.
Clear labeling, prompts and directions tell applicants how to properly input information and guide the borrower step by step. Your digital loan application must also be easy to complete by even the least tech-savvy borrower. It’s easy to get lost with so many different pages, tabs and lines of information to fill out. Your POS must not only guide borrowers through each step, but afford them the ability to go back and forth and jump around. Moreover, borrowers should navigate the application with ease through a dashboard or content map.
The digital mortgage experience entails much more than having a website where borrowers can enter their information. It envelops integrating with mission-critical third parties, verifies borrower information in real time and streamlines the loan origination process. The digital mortgage affords loan officers and borrowers alike the most valuable asset and that is time. By expediting the loan origination process, they avoid waiting for weeks on end to verify assets and other pertinent information. If your POS doesn’t integrate, then you don’t have a digital POS. A POS that doesn’t integrate is a data collector at best, that merely changes the application process from handwriting information to typing it. A POS that integrates transforms the application process into the digital mortgage, where data gets verified in real time and more loans get closed.
Integrations include, but are not limited to: pricing engines, loan origination systems, customer relationship management systems, credit bureaus, asset verifiers like FinLocker and Account Check for bank accounts, and location pre-populators such as Google Maps. Integrating with these third parties means that the POS does the work for the borrower and loan officer. Integrations with credit bureaus verify borrower information while he/she fills out the application; integrations with asset verifiers connect all of a borrower’s bank account information with the ease of logging into your bank account; integrations with pricing engines do the math and determine proper, compliant loan terms. The list goes on and on. The main point is when all of these tools come together, it creates a dynamic POS and powerful digital mortgage experience.
Along with integration comes the need for automation. Automation delivers some of the most useful impacts of technology. With automation, technology does the work for you. You don’t have to guide it, direct it or check up on it. Automation streamlines the loan origination process and strengthens your integrations. Automation tells your POS to communicate with Google Maps when a borrower types information into the “Address” field of the application. This allows the field to pre-populate addresses as the borrower types. With each character the borrower adds, Google Maps automatically adjusts and refines the pre-populated addresses. Automation alerts borrowers when they fail to properly input information or skip a step. Automation creates loan terms based on applicant information computed through algorithmic calculations, ensuring proper risk-reward balance and the production of compliant loans. Basically, automation ties together all your integrations. Automation should follow integration, wherever it is.
Automation also drives real-time capabilities. If your POS doesn’t verify data while the borrower completes the application, then it’s not fast enough. A borrower should be able to complete your digital application in seven minutes or less. Basically, once a borrower completes an “Address” field, the POS should recognize and verify that address in seconds. If the application requests a social security number at the first step of the application, it should be processed and back-checked within minutes by the end of the application. If your POS doesn’t boast real-time capabilities, you’re giving your potential borrowers more chances to abandon the application. Borrowers can get pre-qualified for a mortgage within ten minutes of filling out a form. Millennials dominate the home buying market right now, and they demand speed. The Internet, text messaging, social media, and all things digital deliver information so quickly and so readily that it shifted their expectations and perceptions of how things should operate. Applying for a mortgage is no different. The millennial borrower wants to know how big of a mortgage they can get at what rate, so they can launch a new tab and start searching for homes.
Let’s imagine your POS offers all the above: cleanliness, integration, automation, and real-time capabilities. With these components, chances are your borrowers are going to complete their application. But, what happens after the application is completed? The mortgage application began online; the rest of the process should operate online, too. Moreover, the post-application process should operate within the POS application. Mortgages entail the handling of people’s most sensitive information and processing one of the biggest transactions of their lives. Thus, processes and communication among a borrower and loan officer need to exist in a secure environment. Loan officers should not email a borrower to follow up on a completed application. Rather, POS’s should equip borrowers with a secure log-in to return to their application and even provide them a easy to use dashboard. There, they can return to the application to look over and edit any information, and also communicate to their loan officer and upload any pertinent documents. The optimal POS is so much more than just a 1003 application. It’s a borrower portal to handle all things mortgage, from getting pre-qualified to signing a closing contract. In order to deliver an advanced point-of-sale, it’s not just strictly about the technology. There has to be someone that actually understands the life-cycle of the loan process for overall improved loan experience.
If you invest in the right POS application, you’re bound to see a return on your investment. If you choose the right POS, it’s like hiring an employee. POS’s done right streamline workflows and automate processes. It does so much for mortgage companies and loan officers, it easily becomes your most valuable employee. Imagine that: An employee that never makes incorrect calculations, automatically maintains compliance, and gets things done in seconds that takes minutes, hours, days, or weeks for others. I think you’d pay up to match that employee’s salary. So, don’t think of investing in a digital POS as an added cost. Think of it as a cost reducer, compliance manager, and business streamliner. In the end, you are not only saving money on origination costs, but you are making more money through closing more loans.
About The Author
Kelcey T. Brown is Chief Strategy Officer & Executive Vice President at WebMax, LLC. Brown is responsible for developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining strategic initiatives. He acts as a key advisor to the company’s president on critical changes in the competitive landscape, internal employee development and the external business environment. Brown has worked for nine years in the Real Estate and Mortgage Technology Industry.