When Matt Hansen developed the mobile mortgage app that would become the catalyst for SimpleNexus, he wasn’t thinking about starting a company. He was trying to help solve a problem for his brother-in-law, a mortgage loan originator, who was tired of constantly having to recalculate customer loan payments by hand.One question, “Do you think you could build me an app for that?” was all it took for Matt to get motivated.
He created the mobile app on a Saturday, and, within weeks, other originators were clamoring to get a version for themselves. As Matt added features, customers followed, fueled exclusively by user referrals. It soon became obvious that what he created was much more than a passion project for evenings and weekends. It was something that filled a real market void.
So, in 2014, joined by a handful of colleagues in the software industry, Matt turned SimpleNexus into his full-time business—and has never looked back. Today, SimpleNexus is a 100-person organization, signed with 15 of the top 25 lenders, over 180 mortgage company customers, and more than 18,000 users nationwide. More importantly, it’s a company that’s making a difference.The company’s CSO Joe Wilson shared his vision for lending and SimpleNexus with our editors. Here’s what he said:
Q: How would you describe the current state of mortgage technology in the industry? Is innovation thriving or has it stagnated?
JOE WILSON:New mortgage technology is definitely thriving. Innovations have transformed the industry in only a few short years and enabled lenders to close loans faster, increase efficiency, and deliver a smoother borrower experience. It is clearly an exciting time of change as more and more lenders embrace the benefits of digital mortgage tools and make the move to strategically adopt them. With that said, there still remain friction points in the move to a fully digital mortgage that new technology needs to address.
Q: What are some of those major friction points that remain?
JOE WILSON:The trend in new mortgage technology has been a heavy focus on improving the borrower experience. While borrower touchpoints are definitely a necessary target for innovation, technology solutions should not ignore or overcomplicate the experience of the other parties involved in the loan transaction. Before adopting and trying to implement new technology, lenders need to consider how it affects the processes of their loan officers and underwriters. At SimpleNexus, we built our solution around uniting loan officers, borrowers, and Realtors into a single platform.
Q: You playfully refer to uniting all three stakeholders in the loan transaction as the Holy Grail of digital mortgage technology. Can you elaborate more?
JOE WILSON:Despite all the advancement various mortgage technologies have brought to the industry, more and more lenders are realizing that some solutions are limited by their siloed nature. What this means is that not all of the technologies function or integrate very well with their existing tech stack. More and more lenders are seeking out technology offerings that work seamlessly together to improve the experience of all parties in the loan transaction. This search for solutions that work together to unite all the loan transaction stakeholders without making things harder for one party can feel elusive. SimpleNexus provides this offering and its always exciting to see new lenders embrace a full digital mortgage strategy that addresses loan officer efficiency, borrower satisfaction, and working better with referral partners. We have clients tell us that our platform is changing the way they do business for the better.
Q:SimpleNexus really stands out in regards to your focus on integration partnerships. Can you share with us your approach and some of the benefits it makes possible for your clients?
JOE WILSON: An open platform is vital to our approach to delivering the most complete digital mortgage platform solution in the industry. We seek out integration partnerships with other technology providers that see the value of cooperating in order to deliver more benefit to clients. We’ve delivered on that single platform promise because of how well we integrate with other technology solutions. This results in the convenience of a single sign-on experience for the loan officer, borrower, and Realtor. Gone are the frustrations of app overload that required you to remember multiple usernames and passwords. Our integrated single platform also allows us to create unique configurations for the lender. Our white label offering enables them to customize the platform to promote their brand and deliver a customized experience for its users.
Q: Can you elaborate more on some of your specific partner integrations?
JOE WILSON:Last year our company completed 60+ new integration partnerships, bringing additional functionality and efficiency to users on the SimpleNexus platform. We recently announced an offcicial integration partnership with Ellie Mae. This partnership provides our 200+ clients and 20,000+ loan officers fast and secure data transfer between Ellie Mae’s Encompass Lending Platform and our Mobile Originator tools. The direct system-to-system integration with Ellie Mae enables loan officers on the SimpleNexus platform to access their entire loan pipeline, order credit, run pricing, view appraisals, send pre-approval letters, and sign disclosures from their mobile device — all while syncing in real-time with Encompass. We’ve recently added VOA functionality to our platform through partnerships with FormFree and Finicity. We’ve launched integrations with MobilityRE and HomeScout to enable home search capabilities for borrowers. We also have a partnership in place with Mortgage Coach, bringing their loan comparison tools into the SimpleNexus experience. As a company, we are always looking for additional ways to reduce costs and drive efficiency in operations for our lending clients while delivering convenience and transparency to the borrowers and real estate professionals using our platform. We actively seek feedback from our current clients. We make it a priority to listen to what they want out of our platform and go to work on making those requests a reality. Listening to our customers has made our product better and our company successful. Quality integrations are a major part of the solution we offer to the industry. We love working with like-minded partners who see the importance of delivering added value to our clients.
Q: Are there areas of the digital mortgage process that you still see an opportunity for technology to improve?
JOE WILSON:Absolutely. Mortgage technology has already drastically impacted how business is managed in the industry and it is definitely not finished. There are still areas in the process that technology can improve. SimpleNexus is focused on and addressing those opportunities within the industry that technology, in general, has not yet fully delivered on. One obvious area is disclosures. We’ve just launched a new disclosure solution that we are really excited about. And again, our goal while developing our disclosure solution was to improve the experience for everyone involved. We built our disclosure offering to integrate directly with the lender’s LOS, so when disclosure documents are generated in the system of record they seamlessly sync with our platform. Borrowers immediately receive notifications regarding their e-consent and disclosure documents that they can then immediately open, review, approve, and sign electronically from their smart device. Our new disclosure offering also delivers on-the-go execution for loan officers, enabling them to electronically sign their portion anytime, anywhere. For documents that still require a wet signature, borrowers can quickly use our doc scanner tool to securely upload these portions after they have been printed and signed. And most unique, is all of this integrates automatically with the lender LOS to provide disclosure tracking for compliance peace of mind. We deliver a true mobile disclosure experience without disrupting any of the backend processes of the loan officer or underwriter.
Q: What observations can you offer overall of how lenders are adopting new mortgage technology?
JOE WILSON:I think the strides technology has made in the past few years on the origination process overall has led most lenders to seek out solutions that will enable them to compete and thrive. It’s no longer a question of whether they should adopt technology but more a question of which is the right technology solution in order to deliver maximum efficiency and ROI. We are witnessing an industry-wide embrace of mortgage technology. We have seen this embrace first-hand at SimpleNexus. We added 80+ new enterprise clients just last year and our growth has increased 1,400% over the past three years.
Q:In terms of ROI, what kind of value can SimpleNexus deliver to a lender’s digital mortgage strategy?
JOE WILSON:It’s important to recognize that the loan officer is the main source of revenue for a lender. A lender’s investment in technology should address supporting the LOs role fully. I mentioned previously the danger of choosing a technology solution that delivers a slick borrower experience but complicates the processes of loan officers and underwriters. SimpleNexus increases the efficiency of LOs while delivering a smooth borrower experience. Our clients are successfully recruiting and retaining top-producing loan officers by touting the benefits of our platform’s Mobile Originator tools. SimpleNexus enables a loan officer to take action on a loan any time from anywhere, thus preserving their quality of life while increasing their productivity.
We love hearing real-world examples from our clients on how SimpleNexus is preserving a loan officer’s quality of life. We saw one example first-hand last month during our inaugural user group conference that we held at Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah. One of the LOs attending our conference got a request from a Realtor for a pre-qual letter. This loan officer was able to send the pre-qual letter in a matter of a minute or two from his phone while sitting at the lodge between his ski runs on the last day. The always on-call nature of the loan officers role no longer needs to interfere with the free time they spend with family or pursuing recreation on nights, weekends, or vacations.
We free the loan officer to get out of the office and build more relationships with referral partners, which in turn helps drive more business. SimpleNexus is a complete approach to implementing a digital mortgage that addresses all three stakeholders effectively. In regards to ROI, our platform reduces turn times, increases loan application submissions, and delivers more referral business.
With SimpleNexus, traditional mortgage companies can combine the efficiency of technology with the high touch benefits borrowers receive through working with a loan officer. This human touch aspect is a real differentiator for mortgage company searching for a strategy to compete with online lenders.
Joe Wilson is CSO at SimpleNexus. While it’s true that Joe Wilson has a marketing degree, his road to chief sales and marketing officer for SimpleNexus didn’t take a straight-forward path. As a newlywed, fresh out of college, Joe was focused on supporting his family. So, instead of going the ad agency route, Joe landed a job as a loan originator at a mortgage company. It was a place where his natural interpersonal skills shined.The longer Joe worked in the industry, the more intrigued he became with the technology that supported the mortgage process. After seeing the impact of the app firsthand, Joe became an evangelist for the SimpleNexus story. He joined the company in early 2017, to head the sales team, working tirelessly to spread the news about the impact it makes on its customers every day.