TLI-RWalzak

Consumer Evaluations Could Help Servicers

Recently the CFPB issued a proposed directive to servicers requiring the development of a rating system that would indicate to consumers how efficiently and effectively the servicer addresses complaints. They had suggested a five-star rating system which could be published and available to anyone interested. The response from servicers was quick and extremely negative. This idea to them was an anathema. However, before the issue came to a head, the current administration declared that any new regulations were to be withdrawn.

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However, one must wonder why mortgage servicers were so vehemently opposed to this idea. Was it because they have failed to address complaints appropriately in the past? Did they believe that this requirement would force them to expose negligent or unsatisfactory actions? Were they concerned that by allowing this information to be given out they would somehow diminish the value of their organization? Or is it because they still don’t recognize borrowers as their customer, believing instead that their sole purpose is to serve investors rather than consumers?

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The idea of a consumer rating system is not new. J.D. Powers is well known for its rating programs and awards given to companies who score well on these programs. The fact that a company has received such as award is frequently a central part of their marketing campaigns.   Quicken Loans continuously brags about the number and frequency of their J.D. Powers awards as does Delta Airlines and winners from other industries. What is so abhorrent about such a system for servicers?

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One reason has been the lack of a standardized approach to evaluating responses to consumer complaints and/or inquiries. Unfortunately, developing a taxonomy that would grade responses cannot be developed until there is some standard acceptance of what should happen and in what time frame. After all, the Chinese say “Any road will take you there if you don’t know where you are going.” Right now, there appears to a consistent lack of understanding and/or agreement of what constitutes ‘doing it right”.   Once that is determined, levels of performance can be developed. For example, if it is agreed that satisfactory performance is responding to the consumer within the required timeframe with an answer to a question posed or information provided, then actions that are better and worse can be described and a positive or negative assigned.

Another statement that keeps popping up is the fact that consumers are not going to like what the servicer did or the answer to their question. Since this is bound to happen, the servicer will appear to provide unsatisfactory service when in fact they were just complying to the required servicing standards. Of course, every company expects this to happen. Delta hasn’t flown every airplane on time and without incident and there are ways to deal with one off issues when analyzing the results.

Recognizing that the benefits far outweigh the negatives must happen before any of this can get started. Having data on which consumer activities are beneficial and positive would allow servicers to determine how to duplicate this same approach on those that appear to be a problem. Living in a world where management is blind to the positives and negatives of their organization is ridiculous when an industry devised and properly managed consumer evaluation program can win loyal customers and maybe even impress investors as well as regulators.

About The Author

Rebecca Walzak
rjbWalzak Consulting, Inc. was founded and is led by Rebecca Walzak, a leader in operational risk management programs in all areas of the consumer lending industry. In addition to consulting experience in mortgage banking, student lending and other types of consumer lending, she has hands on practical experience in these organizations as well as having held numerous positions from top to bottom of the consumer lending industry over the past 25 years.
TLI-TGarritano

eClosings Are Picking Up Steam

Talk of the Digital Mortgage is everywhere. This is the big push for lenders looking to increase efficiency and cut cost. And vendors are stepping in to help lenders achieve this goal. For example, Visionet Systems, has released an enhanced web services integration layer for CD2UCD, a solution that converts Closing Disclosure (CD) images to Uniform Closing Dataset XML.  Visionet will be exhibiting its  solutions at the National Technology in Mortgage Banking Conference & Expo 2017, an event held by the Mortgage Bankers Association at the Hyatt Regency, Chicago from March 26 to 29.

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CD2UCD addresses situations where the data required to produce the UCD is not available, such as CDs modified at the closing table and loans acquired through correspondent or bulk channels.  The enhanced interface allows lenders, closing agents, document preparation providers and Loan Origination System (LOS) vendors to easily pass a CD document and the required GSE data fields to the CD2UCD service and receive back a fully GSE-compliant UCD.  CD2UCD also fulfills single and bulk requests via secure web portal and file transfer mechanisms.

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“We’ll be discussing our latest enhancements to the CD2UCD platform at MBA Tech 17, and highlighting the important industry problem it addresses,” said Norman Gottschalk, CTO at Visionet. “CD2UCD is the result of two years of investment, collaboration and learning, and we continue to invest in its development.  We look forward to sharing our expertise and experience with our present and future clients and colleagues, and we encourage partnerships and integrations with all industry participants.”

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Visionet’s solutions help lenders, servicers and investors stay compliant with the ever-changing regulatory environment, while staying as efficient and cost-effective as possible.  CD2UCD represents a prime example of how the application of technology can significantly boost back office productivity. Instead of spending countless hours compiling and entering the information required to produce each UCD, our solution is simple and scalable, and drastically reduces the time and resources mortgage firms spend on investor delivery.  Visionet is proud to be the first to bring such a game-changing product to market.

About The Author

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.
Curt-Tegeler

Redefining Online Mortgage Experiences

The mortgage industry continues to be faced with constantly changing rules and regulations, rate fluctuations, CFPB enforcements, election fall out and rapidly changing borrower expectations. More specifically, today’s borrowers expect a simple yet dynamic online lending experience. This put intense pressure on the over 7,000 mortgage lenders and millions of real estate agents trying to meet these new demands.

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Due to these changing demands and expectations from borrowers, there is a significant need for lenders to redefine what on online mortgage and real estate experience should be. Seventy-seven million millennials make up about one-fourth of the US population. Millennials in the US wield about $1.3 trillion in annual buying power, 85% of them are using smartphones as their daily technology device, and 49% are seeking to buy their first home. Millennials are becoming a significant force in the mortgage industry.

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Millennials demand mobile responsive lending sites and web applications that have a responsive layout from their potential lender. This digital revolution has led to about 90% of consumers beginning their search for home mortgages using digital technology and online lending tools. The online application process has proven to create a better consumer experience through automation, convenience, and efficiency.

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Borrowers are looking for simplified versions of everything: text rather than calling, or shopping online rather than going to the store. The mortgage industry is no exception to this habit.

With online lending, the industry is making a digital transformation by taking the borrower into a world of digitized processing at all stages of the loan lifecycle. At the end of the day one thing that is consistent is that more and more borrowers are looking for the digital mortgage experience. With innovation and digitization, borrowers look to complete the 1003 application digitally in less than 10 minutes with greater speed and accuracy.

This type of Innovation doesn’t only improve the consumer experience, it also has major bottom-line benefits to Mortgage companies. The digital experience increases the amount of money flowing into mortgage companies.

Today’s digital experience must provide borrowers with a compliant, aesthetically appealing, and user-friendly web solution that includes key program integrations. With the right solution borrowers immediately gain access to a network of Realtors and Mortgage professionals that can offer a swift online purchasing process. The key aspects that make this experience possible are:

>> Integrations with mortgage critical third-party programs and well documented application program interface (API), which allows for a variety of software components to interact effortlessly. This enviably simplifies and accelerates the borrower process and user experience.

>> A digital graphical prequalification application and 1003 application that streamlines mortgage processes including both the point of sale stage and loan origination.

>> A content management system that accomplishes compliance from the corporate level down. The system is controlled from one centralized location to eliminate reputational risk and any violations of compliance standards.

>> Lead generation and referral partner relationship building tools with the ability to provide affinity websites for mortgage partners such as accountants, charitable organizations, large employer, Realtor sites, and more. These websites have mortgage sponsored banner ads and/or applications in place.

>> State-of-the-art technology that considerably reduces the application abandonment rate by catering to the borrowers needs and overall experience.

>> A customer portal, which allows the loan officers to keep all parties, associated with the loan process up to date with the status of the application. Parties included on this are the borrower, title company, co-borrower, and realtor.

Over 75,000 individuals in the mortgage industry are benefiting from this innovative technology solution that delivers a user-friendly, compliant, secure, effective solution that enhances the digital mortgage experience.

WebMax’s digital experience expedites the borrowing process, helps maintain compliance, delivers dynamic online lending tools, and provides a highly innovative borrower experience. If you are attending the MBA Technology Conference in Chicago contact us to schedule a time to meet at 856-702-6400 or visit our website at www.webmaxco.com.

About The Author

Curt Tegeler
Curt Tegeler is responsible for providing direction for action to all employees and business initiatives. Tegeler’s main responsibilities include communicating and implementing the company’s vision and mission; leading, guiding, directing, and evaluating the work of executive leaders; formulating and implementing the strategic plan; forming, staffing, guiding, leading and managing WebMax; evaluating organizational success; and represents WebMax in civic and professional activities.
Brandon Perry

Personalized Borrower Communications

As a lender, visualize a mortgage market where you can spend less time launching marketing campaigns and more time actually engaged with your prospective borrower. Through their interactions with your website, email campaigns and mailings, potential borrowers are telling you what they are looking for and when they need it, but are you paying attention?

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With so much talk about the digital mortgage experience, borrowers’ expectations regarding personalization and the type of brand experience that you are delivering have significantly changed. This is where personalization through data analytics and advanced marketing automation come into play.

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So let’s discuss how personalization helps you stand out in a highly competitive mortgage market and deliver on the type of brand experience borrowers are looking for. In a competitive mortgage market borrowers are getting bombarded with messages and offers.

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Personalization is about delivering relevant and timely content to the potential borrower at the exact stage of the buying journey that they are currently in. Lenders that can deliver personalized emails increase both transaction and revenue rates by more than 5X. They also experience higher open rates and click-through rates.

That’s where advanced mortgage specific marketing automation comes into play. Mortgage specific marketing automation helps manage the potential borrower data and the specific interaction that they have had to trigger relevant marketing content on their buying journey.

The right mortgage specific marketing automation combines print and digital marketing automation that allows lenders to progressively reach potential borrowers with personalized messages and effectively drive new business and retain current borrowers.  This automation also offers on-demand marketing with thousands of individual multi-media pieces to choose from.

So what are some of the ways that you can personalize your email and print marketing pieces for the greatest ROI? Here are 20 ways from Amy Saunders, who is a content creator at Infusionsoft:

20 Ways to Personalize Automated Emails

An automated email can be sent to hundreds or thousands of contacts, but it doesn’t have to feel that way. Use these tips for sending automated emails that read like personal correspondence between you and your customer.

Add a personal touch

>> Send occasional non-branded, plain-text emails from you, not the company

>> Write as if you’re talking to a single customer

>> Use a subject line you’d send to a friend

>> Include a headshot in your signature

>> Change “click unsubscribe” to “let me know if you don’t want to hear from me anymore”

>> Mix up marketing messages with funny videos, personal photos, and holiday greetings

Make magic with merge fields

>> Call contacts by name, i.e. “Hi, [First Name]!”

>> Name-drop other contacts, like the customer’s spouse or child

>> Show you know who’s who, i.e. “Knowing you’re the [Job Title], I thought you might be the best

>> Person to talk to at [Company Name]”

>> Reference the current day, i.e. “Have a great [Day of the Week]!”

>> Make old content new, i.e. “The [Month] [Year] Newsletter”

>> Talk up a contact’s town, i.e. “How’s the weather in [City] today?”

>> Reminisce about the first time you met by referencing an event or meeting place

Write at the right time

>> Respond quickly—but not too quickly—by putting an automatic reply on a delay timer

>> Win at phone tag by using an automated email to follow up on a missed call

>> Check in on a downloaded resource with a personal message

>> Wish every customer a happy birthday (or anniversary or holiday)

Send them what they want

>> Use segmentation for personalization by tagging customers based on their interests and behavior

>> Personalize the next offer with automation

>> Ask what they want through a web form”

If you want to gain the attention of today’s borrower, you must be able to deliver personalized, relevant and timely content to the potential borrower at each stage of the buying journey through mortgage specific marketing automation.

About The Author

Brandon Perry
Brandon Perry is President at The Turning Point. Brandon oversees all operational and administrative activities of TTP. Brandon brings over 16 years of experience in various financial services industries to TTP which enhances the Company’s ability to maintain it’s position as industry leader in providing customers with an advanced marketing solution.
TLI-Data

How To Use Artificial Intelligence

The use of artificial intelligence applications in business is growing, but AI and machine-learning aren’t yet an efficient use for every business task, according to an infographic.

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Published by LatentView, a marketing automation and digital analytics platform, the infographic details what criteria make a task a good candidate for AI, and goes on to explain how to use AI in your business.

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For example, in marketing, decisions about personalized offers to customers may work well with AI, but decisions about marketing strategy are best left to the humans (at this point, anyway), the infographic says.

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In customer service, AI can learn to improve responses based on historical chat data, but decisions that are based on empathy still require human intervention.

To learn more about when AI can and should be used in business, check out the infographic:

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Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries
TLI-MHammond

Describe Your Product Better

In the mortgage space buzzwords flow like water. Someone coins a term that catches on, and everybody looks to copy it. You have to remember though, that when you describe your product you have to tell a story that is compelling.

In the article titled “How to Make 5 Boring Product Descriptions Sound Irresistible” written by Heather R. Morgan, she gives five examples of once boring features flipped into fun, compelling benefits to help get you started with your own sales copy. Here they are:

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“MOBILE FRIENDLY”

Almost every major piece of software available on the market today offers access from mobile devices. In order to twist this common feature into a benefit, try coming up with situations where your buyer may need to use your product remotely. Are they trying to stay productive on the road, or keep up with work while they’re working from another office? Focus on the different situations where mobile access is a help instead of the generic availability of mobile access.

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“VERSION CONTROL”

Version control, which helps manage changes to documents automatically, is another feature that’s too vague to be useful without additional context. Instead of touting your product’s ability to keep everyone on the same page, try presenting it as making sure your team isn’t working over each other, or ensuring that the client always receives the final version instead of accidentally sending a draft.

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“SCALABILITY”

Scalability is a useful feature, but it’s too vague without any context. Instead, think about the impact it might have on your buyer’s life. For example, if you’re a Director of Human Resources, you may need an applicant tracking system that works as well with 5 job openings as it does with 50, or even 500. You can tie it all together with a relatable sentence about the pain that can come with growth and you’ve got yourself a stellar benefit.

“USER PERMISSIONS”

Setting user permissions so only certain employees have access to certain documents is another generic feature most people have little interest in. By reframing this as a benefit, perhaps one related to preventing employees from seeing important planning or strategy documents, you give prospective customers a really strong reason to buy.

“AUTOMATIC BACKUP”

Everyone wants automatic backup, but it’s also one of those things you often don’t think about until it’s too late. By focusing on the pain of lost data, you can make this simple feature into a compelling benefit for a variety of personas.

Once you’re finished writing your value propositions, you can utilize them in any communication that’s important for generating leads and driving conversions. Just make sure that your value proposition is clear throughout the copy.

Some of these common descriptions may apply to you, some may not. The point is that you need to be creative when describing your product.

Michael Hammond
Michael Hammond is chief strategy officer at PROGRESS in Lending Association and is the founder and president of NexLevel Advisors. They provide solutions in business development, strategic selling, marketing, public relations and social media. He has close to two decades of leadership, management, marketing, sales and technical product experience. Michael held prior executive positions such as CEO, CMO, VP of Business Strategy, Director of Sales and Marketing and Director of Marketing for a number of leading companies. He is also only one of about 60 individuals to earn the Certified Mortgage Technologist (CMT) designation. Michael can be contacted via e-mail at mhammond@nexleveladvisors.com.
TLI-EditorsNote

Choose Smart Technology

Choosing smart technology makes a difference. For example, Nations Lending Corporation has selected Alight Mortgage Lending for continuous reforecasting. Alight Mortgage Lending is a cloud-based application built from the ground up for the mortgage industry.

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With Alight’s real-time, what-if scenario analysis, CEOs, firm owners and their teams can see the financial impact of every decision, before it’s made. Accessible from anywhere, any time and from any device, Alight provides executive teams with the information they need to make decisions in real time.

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“With Alight, we’ll be able to explore limitless numbers of strategies for addressing marketplace volatility, see results across our financials and record decisions made as a basis for future planning,” said David Critzer, CFO at Nations Lending. “With insight into how decisions could impact future operations and financial performance, we’ll be able to quickly and proactively change course when needed both in our retail branch operations and our consumer direct channel.”

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Alight Mortgage Lending connects to the general ledger, and pulls data from loan origination systems and capital market providers so that lenders are able to run unlimited numbers of scenarios and see the impact of decisions ripple throughout the enterprise all the way through to financials. With Alight, firms can react more quickly under changing market conditions to optimize resources.

“Nations Lending Corporation, both in its consumer-direct and retail channels, is focused on providing customers an individualized and stress-free loan process to put more Americans into homes,” said Jared Huff, Group Head of Alight Financial Services. “To that end, Alight Mortgage Lending will help Nations’ management team evaluate volume, product mix, staffing and expansion opportunities—all in real time—to ensure that adequate resources are on hand to handle demand in changing market conditions.”

About The Author

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.