CRM Is Not Marketing Automation

As I meet with lenders from across the country I am amazed at the level of confusion and misunderstanding there is as it relates to marketing automation. A great deal of this confusion can be contributed to the noise being created by vendors claiming to be CRM and marketing automation all in one fell swoop.

While marketing automation solutions store a lot of the same information as a CRM, such as your prospects contact information ( name, phone number, address, email, company name, title, etc.) that’s about all they truly share in common.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

One way to help clarify the difference between the two solutions is to understand the primary purpose of each solution. CRM’s are basically an electronic Rolodex for your prospects, leads, current and past customers. These powerful solutions help manage your sales activities, provide notifications and alerts as to when follow up is needed, store details and history of your sales activity, connect company details, titles and parties to the transaction and provide an overall history of all the contacts and discussions that you have had with that company and its individual employees. While CRM’s provide an important sales function they really only store information and provide prompts that require you to take action.

Marketing automation on the other hand does not require you to constantly respond to prompts, ergo the word automation. Marketing automation follows the buyers journey through the sales process and automatically delivers personalized and relevant content for each stage of the buying process. This can include specific marketing pieces to spark an interest during the lead generation phase, it can also deliver powerful marketing content to the borrower while their loan is in process and it can be an extremely dynamic tool to build loyalty with current borrowers for repeat business and referrals.

Marketing managers are empowered to drive “set it and forget it” programs across the enterprise, while maintaining regulatory compliance and brand consistency. C-level executives are presented with sophisticated and easy to use tools for more effective oversight and marketing management. Loan officers are freed up to originate and close more loans.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

Marketing automation can unleash a marketing solution that brings your creative genius to life, one that provides the power to quickly and consistently execute your marketing objectives while compliantly meeting the ever changing demands of the mortgage industry. Energize your marketing with mortgage specific marketing automation that is both easy for you to use and extremely powerful.

As you can see both of these solutions are critical to the success of your organization but both also have very distinct roles. Just because you have a CRM doesn’t mean that you have true marketing automation. If you are committed to driving long term growth while maximizing tools that can help automate those tasks, isn’t it time for you to get serious about marketing automation?

About The Author

[author_bio]

Hot Marketing Trends For 2016

Understanding the following hot marketing trends and planning for them can help you succeed in 2016.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

One hot trend is virtual reality.

“As virtual reality becomes scaled and highly adopted, it will seamlessly integrate digital imagery with the real world—significantly impacting how you can engage customers,” states Microsoft in the following infographic.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

Wearable tech is also trending. “As the value of data exchanged between devices rises, more brands are rolling out products to tap its protential, enabling you to targt people based on their daily habits,” suggests Microsoft.

To find out more about strategic marketing trends for 2016, check this out:

151215-2016-marketing-trends-infographic

Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire

The complexity of the ever-changing regulatory environment is posing an overwhelming burden on lenders of all size, especially small to mid-size lenders. Significant factors are forcing lenders to rethink their lending operations such as the flood of new rules and regulations, heightened pressure to reduce loan production costs, lack of effective controls, Interest rate risk, implementation failures, and intense urgency to increase profitability while mitigating risk. Lenders without confidence that their operations are properly supported must find a solution that lets them focus on doing what they do best-closing loans.

Loan Origination System technology plays a key role in helping lenders manage their challenges. It’s not uncommon for lenders to be presented with demonstrations showing systems that appear to be everything they need; however, during implementation, reality sets in with different results. Some LOS vendors have the ability to do everything they want, but many vendors are not transparent about the cost and effort required to implement or support new systems.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

All is seemingly wonderful while the lender is being courted. Vendors will show all their sexy features and functionality, the extensive amount of bells and whistles they have to offer – but lenders often forget to ask the right questions. How much administration will the system require? Will the vendor agree upon contractual obligations for all of the lender’s go live requirements? Do they offer a pilot program in which one branch can test the system before transitioning the entire organization? Do they offer a lender lab in which users can go through the entire process of entering a loan?

Additionally, today’s borrower demands lenders to have tools in place to support their consumer direct strategy such as an online applications that can be branded by the institution, individual branch or loan officer, automated decisioning and loan product eligibility and pricing, document and disclosure deliver and condition management to improve the lending experience.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

It’s crucial for an LOS to know that their business is about helping lenders successfully navigate today’s complex mortgage environment and take the time to fully understanding the lending operation, listen to concerns of the lender, and provide solutions integrated with industry leading best practices.

On top of having all the right tools, programs and support, lenders should not have to be burdened with managing heavy IT infrastructures and costly operational demands. The right solution will consistently delivers superior service that eases your burden by simplifying mortgage banking’s ever increasing complexities. It’s about driving productivity through a partnership that maximizes your resources and their mortgage banking experience.

Customers often select a vendor because it can ultimately meet their needs, but then the lender is let down because it takes too much time, money and work to actually do everything they need. How do you hold vendors accountable to make sure their solution does what you need, even after the honeymoon is over? The answer is in the due diligence-due diligence and then more due diligence. Six questions that every lender should pose during the due diligence process should include:

  • Can I test drive the system in a Lender Lab?
  • What does the implementation, pilot and training program consist of? Does it include setting up required work flow and vendor integrations?
  • What customer, training and ongoing configuration support is included and what are the costs?
  • What responsibility does the vendor have to reduce operating and maintenance costs?
  • Are the above clearly identified in the licensing agreement?
  • Does the vendor have a road map and do they collaborate with you to ensure it will meet your needs?

Lenders have to know exactly what they need and assure that those needs are addressed in their contracts. Don’t rush the process. Take the time to do multiple test drives and trial runs, ask the tough questions and check the references. Bottom line – Don’t jump out of the frying pan and into the fire when selecting your new LOS partner.

About The Author

[author_bio]

The Evolution Of Mortgage Data

Our mortgage industry is arguably the most data-rich industry, but unfortunately, we struggle with how to use this data effectively. For example, one mid-sized servicer revealed that its staff spends upwards of three full work days a month manually extracting basic data from its portfolio, which is a significant amount of time and resources for little reward. So why do today’s lenders and servicers struggle with harvesting the enormous amount of borrower and collateral data in their portfolios? One major contributor to this pain point is the fact that the mortgage industry’s technology platforms were designed by function rather than purpose.

The majority of mortgage technology platforms available in the market are built on legacy systems that skipped generations of functionality and, therefore, do not handle all the needs of today’s lenders and servicers, especially when it comes to data. Unlike many other industries, mortgage technology platforms have been updated and then pieced together again and again, versus just being replaced by entirely new technologies. As a result, these systems silo data, making it nearly impossible to communicate that data across different systems and serve stakeholders beyond primary business functions. The mortgage industry also faces the challenge of constantly changing regulatory requirements, which can slow technology innovation.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

Millennials can represent a huge opportunity for our industry – representing $1.3 trillion of potential mortgage originations over the next few years. Given the Millennial generation is the largest pool of potential homebuyers in history, the mortgage industry should take note from other industries and find a better way to convert this data into useful output to help improve profitability, efficiency, compliance and transparency. However, this does not necessarily require a complete technology replacement. Take for instance the airline industry – it is one of the few industries to still use dot matrix printers, but these printers work in tandem with advanced self-service technologies to efficiently accommodate an average of 100 thousand flights per day in the U.S. This is proof that legacy and new systems can coexist and still progress to the benefit of consumers.

The mortgage industry needs agnostic tools connecting valuable data from disparate, legacy systems to build transparency across the board. The idea is not to transfer data, but to connect and present it in a digestible format, giving institutions the ability to slice and dice the view of that data and better model “what if” scenarios. To be effective, this tool must not only be enterprise-wide, but also drill-down to cover specific functions within different business lines. Understanding performance and compliance data at the transactional level empowers users to make corrections in real-time versus after the fact. It is also critical that this tool can be accessible and consumable from all involved parties, including servicers, lenders, investors and regulators.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

Complete data transparency will enable lenders and servicers to identify performance indicators, operational risk and non-compliance quickly and ultimately make faster, better-informed decisions. Automating data analysis and reporting also has the ability to reduce at least one IT resource, which translates into approximately $100,000 in cost savings per year depending on the size of the institution.

Additionally, this level of insight will reduce the need for manual quality control (QC) processes. For example, traditionally, servicers manually manage QC for 10 percent of their servicing book on a quarterly or monthly basis to monitor compliance. The ability to view loan-level performance and transactional compliance data throughout the process on 100 percent of the servicing book mitigates risk compared to a 10 percent sample with quarterly reviews. This saves an additional $75,000 or more for a small servicer with just 10,000 loans in the portfolio, translating into a savings of $17.50 per loan out of a reported total of $220 per loan in servicing. Just imagine this can wipe out eight percent of the cost in the mortgage industry for servicing.

Our industry has made great strides in advancing data utilization. We have gone through the stages of operational data, canned reporting views and data dashboards. It is time to generate insight that to enable better management for our collective future. Insight is the last stop on the evolution of mortgage data.

About The Author

[author_bio]

What The Mortgage Industry Can Learn From The Automotive Industry

What do having a car and getting a mortgage have in common? Surprisingly, more than you would think.

Outside of both requiring some form of financial commitment over a long period of time, the automotive and financial industries have had to face the double-edged sword of technology. On one hand you have the efficiencies created by automating processes; those save companies money by trimming the amount of time necessary to complete a task. Then on the other side of the sword is the financial savings gained from eliminating salaries of the people who are no longer in the positions that were replaced by technology. Hence, the painful result of technology implementation.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

For so long in the mortgage industry, we have been saying that the adoption of technology has been slower than other industries. We have attributed it to several things from mistrusting technology to misunderstanding it to the proverbial wait-and-see mentality. I contend there are some lessons that we mortgage professionals can learn from the automotive industry regarding implementing technology.

United Auto Workers membership was at 1.5 million in 1979. In 2006, that number had dwindled to 540,000. The decline in membership from 1979 to 2006 was due to the increased use of technology by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) such as Ford, Chrysler, General Motors and their suppliers. The technology sword was at work slicing these large workforces down.

Now consider the fact that CIOs at the top 50 banks say their technology budgets are going to increase by 10 percent in 2016, according to a recent SourceMedia study. I am sure this is based on a financial institution’s desire to improve efficiencies and beef up security protocol as well as help meet regulatory requirements. Interestingly enough, I think part of that expenditure will also be made on efforts to attract millennial home buyers – the very group that has been immersed in technology practically from the womb but who have also been the “victims” of technology efficiencies that have minimized their job market. The mortgage industry will continue to increase budgets in adapting technology until all the tasks that can be automated are actually automated. The question now becomes: when will this happen and how many jobs will be affected?

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

From the current technology adoption trends in the mortgage industry, certain areas still need technology intervention, especially in the compliance arena. Compliance is not new to this industry. It has been a part of how business has been done for decades. However, since the Dodd Frank Act of 2010 and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), not to mention the additional oversight from other federal agencies, new mortgages should now have stricter compliant rules. Effectively using technology can easily solve the issues created by needing to be compliant. Similarly, there are other tasks that technology can also still improve, such as document management etc.

So, in regards to learning from the use of technology in the automotive industry, we can and must use it to create efficiencies while saving time and money. However, the one caveat that the housing industry has that the automotive industry did not is the need – that will never go away – for some home buyers to speak to a human, not a bot, during the life of a loan. As long as mortgages continue to be the largest expenditure some people will make in their lifetime (other than college for their children, but that is another topic for discussion), there will be a real need to talk to someone who is knowledgeable about the loan at some point. Whether it is checking to see if documents were received or if a payment was properly accounted for or an issue with an escrow account, dialog will need to happen. These are the issues that consumers want to have reassurance; a “live” person whose name they can write down and who can be held accountable for making a note of the borrower’s interaction.

There is no doubt that technology will help lenders be more productive and decrease the need for human resources. While this decrease may seem drastic initially, over time it will level off. Just like in the automotive industry, the need for efficiency will outweigh the need to maintain a huge job force. But we can rest assured that there will always be a need for human interactions in the mortgage process. Can you imagine the financial equivalent to an automated parking feature? No, neither can I.

About The Author

[author_bio]

Tech Firm Embraces Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has taken off. For example, Accenture Mortgage Cadence has transitioned all of its clients – more than 600 mortgage lenders across the United States – to the Accenture Mortgage Cadence Cloud, helping the lenders better manage loan-processing cycle times, increase system reliability and seamlessly leverage product upgrades.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

“Today’s digitally savvy borrowers expect the same kind of quick, efficient service from their mortgage lender that they get from online retailers and other services,” said Keith Moore, Software Cloud and SaaS Support Executive for Accenture Mortgage Cadence. “All clients using our Enterprise Lending Center and our Loan Fulfillment Center have moved to our enhanced cloud technology, which provides the environment needed to get borrowers to the closing table on time while keeping up with the fast-changing regulatory landscape.”

The Loan Fulfillment Center and Enterprise Lending Center are software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based loan origination systems from Accenture Mortgage Cadence. The transition to the enhanced cloud will provide Accenture Mortgage Cadence clients faster servers, more system storage, enhanced regulatory compliance and loan origination efficiency and scalability to support a growing client base.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

“When designed properly, cloud technologies are the perfect building blocks for mission-critical solutions such as our Mortgage Cadence platform,” said Trevor Gauthier, managing director of Accenture Mortgage Cadence. “We are proud to be an early adopter of SaaS mortgage technology, and today ours is one of the most-mature cloud-based technologies in the industry. Our software solutions provide maximum uptime to ensure that our clients are able to provide their borrowers with fast and reliable service.

About The Author

[author_bio]

Getting Your Message Across

We all know that how we talk influences how others react to us. If you’re harsh, you’ll get a harsh response. The same goes for your business interactions. So, be careful how you communicate with your employees and your customers. Here are nine tips from Jon Gordon on how to be a more effective communicator:

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

  1. Shout Praise, Whisper Criticism – This phrase comes from the original Olympic Dream Team and Detroit Pistons coaches Chuck Daily and Brendan Suhr. They won NBA Championships and an Olympic Gold medal with a lot of talent and great communication. They gained the trust of their players and built winning teams by praising in public and constructively criticizing in private. Shouting praise means you recognize someone in front of their peers and whispering criticism means you coach them to get better. Both build better people and teams.
  2. Smile More – When you share a real smile it not only produces more serotonin in your brain but in the brain of the recipient of your smile. Just by smiling at someone you are giving him or her a dose of serotonin, an anti-depressant. Never underestimate the power of a smile. As a positive communicator you have the power to make someone feel better just by smiling.
  3. Don’t Complain – When you complain you lose power, effectiveness and credibility as a communicator and leader. Most of all complaining is toxic and sabotages you and your team. Complaining is like vomiting. Afterwards you feel better but everyone around you feels sick. I know it’s a gross analogy but you’ll never forget it.
  4. Encourage – Truett Cathy said, “How do you know if a man or woman needs encouragement? If they are breathing.” We all need encouragement and positive communicators encourage and inspire others to do more and become more than they ever thought possible. Great communicators are great encouragers.
  5. Spread Positive Gossip – Instead of sharing negative gossip, be the kind of communicator who spreads positive news about people. Say things like: “Did you hear how awesome so and so is doing?” Never say a negative word about anyone. You should always spread the positive news.
  6. Sometimes You Have to Listen More and Talk Less – Positive communicators don’t just talk. They listen. They ask questions and really listen. Research shows that when people feel like they are seen and heard there is a moistening in the eyes and yet in 90% of our conversations there is no moistening in the eyes. Positive communicators make others feel important by listening to them and truly hearing what they have to say.
  7. Welcome Feedback – Positive communicators also listen to and welcome ideas and suggestions on how they can improve. They don’t fear criticism. They welcome it knowing it makes them better. They send a clear signal to their team, customers, coaches, etc. that they are always willing to learn, improve and grow.
  8. Celebrate Success – Instead of focusing on what went wrong each day, positive communicators focus on what went right. They celebrate their successes, even the small ones, knowing that small wins lead to big wins.
  9. Give High Fives, Handshakes, Pats on the Back, Fist Bumps and Hugs When Appropriate – Positive communication isn’t just verbal. It’s also physical. Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of physical contact between doctors and patients, teachers and students and professional athletes. For example in one study the best NBA teams were also the touchiest (high fives, pats on the back, hugs). In a world where physical touch has become taboo because of misuse and abuse we must remember that it is a way we humans communicate naturally and is very powerful and beneficial when done appropriately with good intention

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

Now get out there and use these communication skills to better your staff and your business.

About The Author

[author_bio]

Going Beyond Technology To Ensure TRID Compliance

DocMagic, Inc. a provider of fully-compliant loan document preparation, compliance, eSign and eDelivery solutions, today announced the development of an extensive set of new reps and warrants for its calculations, documents and data, which provides peace of mind to lenders when it comes to compliance with the TRID rule.

The greater risk of civil liability under the new TRID disclosure requirements means lenders and investors may face liability for incorrectly completing various sections on the TRID disclosures. With DocMagic’s TRID-ready systems and now the Premium Compliance Guarantee, DocMagic has implemented a solution that mitigates lender risk of non-compliance.  With the Premium Compliance Guarantee, the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure are guaranteed to be accurate and complete.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

Additionally, the Premium Compliance Guarantee ensures timely electronic delivery of initial disclosures, compliance with federal and state high cost/HPML laws and accurate document selection logic resulting in compliant loan packages.   The Guarantee also ensures that all other compliance and data validation audits will trigger at the appropriate times during the loan process, providing critical warning messages to help lenders stay in compliance with applicable laws.

The offering is backed by a $5 million dollar guarantee (up to $50,000 per loan) and DocMagic customers will enjoy a 36-month claim filing period.  Beginning February 15, 2016, all new DocMagic customers will automatically receive the new premium rep and warrant offering.   Existing DocMagic customers will be given the opportunity to protect their future loan files for an additional nominal fee.

“Now more than ever, our clients need assurance that they are operating in full compliance at all times,” said Dominic Iannitti, president and CEO of DocMagic, Inc. “That is why we invested in developing and integrating the Premium Compliance Guarantee into DocMagic’s suite of products, including the TRID-based SmartCLOSE™ collaborative closing portal, for every user on every transaction.”

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

Rich Horn, the former CFPB attorney who led the TRID rule making stated, “Long before the initial Aug. 1 TRID effective date, DocMagic’s industry-leading compliance, legal and technology teams proved that their systems were fully TRID compliant.  This enabled DocMagic to provide an insurance-backed guarantee on their products and services, including TRID disclosures prepared using SmartCLOSE™, which speaks volumes about the confidence they have in their solutions.”

“With the integration of the Premium Compliance Guarantee into DocMagic’s suite of services, significant lender risk is virtually eliminated,” asserted Melanie Feliciano, chief legal officer at DocMagic. “DocMagic has developed the most advanced and effective compliance solution in the industry – and we’ve backed it with a solid guarantee we are proud to offer our clients.”

About The Author

[author_bio]