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Make Realtors Your Greatest Allies

Everyone in the business knows that real estate professionals and lenders need to work together to capture, retain, and grow their repeat customer base. Because there are approximately 2 million actively licensed real estate professionals in today’s digital-centric borrower market, they often have a more extensive network of valuable connections needing loan services. 


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No question, referral partners are essential to your ongoing success.  Although you work hard to build relationships with the Realtors in your area, so does your competition. Sometimes, no matter how good you are, it’s hard to stand out.


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Now, imagine walking into your Realtors’ offices and making an immediate impression by showing them an easy-to-use app you have co-branded to include their contact info and custom links. When your Realtors see the features and how the app can connect them to their buyers—and with you—they’ll be hooked. If they have a prospect in the office, you’ll probably get an introduction; which, no doubt, will be the first of many referrals to come.


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Lenders tell us that using this type of app tripledtheir Realtor referrals. By giving your real estate partners a free tool that places them front and center, you add a compelling incentive to working together. They’ll be impressed how easy the app is to co-brand with their photo, their logo, their home search and buyer reviews. The reasons to work with you as a preferred lender don’t end there. SimpleNexus automatically keeps Realtors and borrowers informed through push notifications when loans hit important milestones. The notifications not only ease anxiety but also save time the loan officer would normally have to spend sending emails or returning calls regarding loan status. The end result is a shorter time to close and a transparent process for the Realtor and their buyers.

What Realtor wouldn’t want to work with a loan officer that can bring these types of benefits to the partnership? SimpleNexus makes collaboration between originators and real estate partners easy and efficient. This streamlined collaboration becomes key to delivering on the digital mortgage experience.This type collaboration results in:

CAPTURING MORE BUSINESS.

With easy-to-share features, a loan officer can quickly get the app into the hands of new Realtor partners by simply texting or emailing them a download link. Realtors can in turn share the co-branded app with new  borrowers in a matter of seconds. Your ability to capture more business increases with each new share of the app. Loan officers receive notifications when each potential customer downloads the app allowing you to make contact early to lend your support.

BUILDING A PERSONAL BRAND.

Because the platform is white-labeled, your Realtors can co-brand the app with you. They can also add their own custom links, customer reviews, and property search features for a seamless mortgage process.

GAINING PROSPECT AND CUSTOMER INSIGHT.

With your shared app, Realtors have the extra insight they need to better understand their customers with visibility into loan status, calculation history, number of shares, and home search history. Your real estate partners say informed and you remain ready to lend your assistance and begin the financing process.

IMPROVING THE BUYER EXPERIENCE.

The platforms’ features work together to improve the borrower experience, which means better reviews and more referrals for you and your Realtor partners.

Originators, borrowers, and real estate partners all get real-time loan visibility, proactive communication capabilities, and transparent transactions all while knowing everything is CFPB compliant and AICPA secure.

About The Author

Digital Lending In Action

There are conformists; companies content to follow the norm. Then, there is Alterra Home Loans. This Las Vegas-based mortgage company has been charting its own path since opening its doors, first as a wholesale lender in 2007, then moving to retail in 2009.


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“Our company is based on serving minorities and diverse markets; with an emphasis on new home buyers,” explained Miguel Narvaez, EVP, Chief Production Officer for Alterra Home Loans. “Today, about 92 percent of our business is purchase, with 82 percent of those loans going to diverse communities. About 60 percent of those customers are first-time home buyers, so, our operations are very specialized to their needs. That’s the first way we differentiate ourselves.”

The second is through technology.

“We are fanatics of technology, obsessed with speed, and making sure we get  the information we need quickly. We were one of the first companies to use our LOS, Lending QB,” he said.  “We created our data analytics platform, Alterra Dashboard, a few years back. It now tracks each area of the company, automatically issuing reports every three minutes. At any given moment, we know where we stand, in terms of profitability, customer service and sales.”


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But, company leaders also believe that the value of technology extends beyond the back office. To that end, this digital leader is not afraid to stay on the bleeding edge—not only bringing on new technology, but, oftentimes, developing their own to drives sales, build relationships and differentiate in a very real way.  

Here are three of the most recent examples of this digital lender in action.  

A Vision, a Mobile App and a Lesson Learned 

As the mobile device entered ubiquity, Alterra leaders started thinking about the possibilities.  


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“About two and a half years ago, we started looking for a mobile app that would facilitate communication, transparency and improve the relationship between Realtors and our loan officers,” Narvaez said. “Remember, at the time, about 95 percent of the industry did not have any type of mobile mortgage application, so, we were considering something  that was very new.”

Not finding exactly what he wanted, Narvaez hired a team of contract developers and built the Pronto mobile application themselves.  

After two years, the application was ready to be launched—so, everyone thought.

“When you build an application, you want to make sure that it is adopted, because adoption is priceless,” Narvaez said.” But, when we launched Pronto, we realized that we had a lot of issues on the back side of the platform, so, the product wasn’t being used.”

Instead of going back to the drawing board, Narvaez decided to take another look at what was out in the market. He zeroed in on SimpleNexus, which had grown substantially as a company and as a proven platform in the time Alterra was developing and launching its own mobile platform. 

Navarez liked what he saw, including the ability to custom brand the application. 

“We decided not to try to keep building what was now already out there and proven to work,” Narvaez said. “So, SimpleNexus became the new Pronto, which we launched in July of 2018.”

Alterra loan officers can customize and share the application with their Realtors, who then  share it with their customers; streamlining communications and giving everyone transparency into what’s going on with the transaction. 

That was innovation one. 

A Faster Way to Create High-quality Marketing Materials

The second recent innovation came from looking at pain points; areas where Realtors had problems that need to be solved.

“We knew our loan officers and Realtors were frustrated by long the lead times they needed to create quality, customized marketing materials,” Narvaez said. “We came across a company that offered a commercial platform that let people go online and create their own fliers. I met with our marketing manager and said, ‘We need to create a tool like that for our salespeople that’s specific to the mortgage side’.”  

He contracted with a development and design team that was familiar with the mortgage industry and, in six months, launched AXIS. This proprietary marketing platform enables   Realtors to create their own, high-quality fliers and send these to print—and do it all, literally, in minutes. 

“Remember, everything we do is to empower and create better relationships with our Realtors. We do that by solving their problems and helping them be more successful,”Narvaez said.  

A Streamlined Path to Conversions

Alterra is taking that mantra to the next level with the rollout of A3C, short for ‘Alterra’s three  Cs,’ which are capture, convertand close.  What A3C doesis enable the company’s realtor partners to increase their conversion ratio, solving an age-old problem that has plagued the industry for decades.

“A Realtor might get 5,000 visits on a web site. Of those, he or she might capture 200-250 leads, and of those leads, that Realtor might convert two or three of those into closing transactions,” Narvaez explained. “The problem is, real estate agents can’t physically follow up with each of those leads. They’d rather be showing houses and getting contracts.”

With A3C, Alterra created a system that connects to the Realtor site, automatically creates a profile for every visitor, and immediately moves those prospects into a retargeting campaign. So, the next time that visitor logs on to the Internet, he or she is going to start seeing banners for that Realtor, which are tied to a landing page. 

“The minute the prospect clicks on the banner and hits the landing page, that contact information automatically goes into a CRM that triggers SMS text messaging, and connects the prospect with a live attendant,” Narvaez said. “A3C is unique in that it includes multiple different technologies: one for capturing and generating profiles, a technology for SMS campaigns, a technology for the CRM side to capture, store and create campaigns, and technology for the landing pages to redirect all traffic. So, basically, A3C grabs all of these amazing technologies, and adapts them into one system that helps the industry convert more leads.”

According to Narvaez, there are a lot of existing solutions that support the incubation of web site hits and leads, but someone still has to pick up the phone and physically follow up with thousands of leads, which isn’t realistic. 

“Multimillion-dollar companies use this level of technology to sell cars or furniture, but nothing like this existed in the mortgage industry until A3C,”Narvaez said. 

It’s the biggest initiative Alterra has taken on to date, and the biggest innovation Narvaez’ team has put out in the market. 

Next Steps: Adoption, Analysis and a Focus on Results

At the time of this writing, SimpleNexus (aka Pronto), AXIS and A3C have only been rolled out companywide for a little more than a month. 

Narvaez’ focus right now is adoption, adoption, adoption—the key to maximizing results from Alterra’s technology investment. 

“We’re running monthly contests where our top Pronto users win prizes and trips to  Riviera Maya, Mexico, to drive adoption. The real benefit is, in addition to posting the names of our top five users, we also post their results, so, other loan officers can see how the use of the app correlates to an increase in production,” Narvaez said. “The message we want to get across is this: use more Pronto—our branded SimpleNexus platform—get more prospects, engage more Realtors and get better results.”

Today, just one month after deployment,  75 percent of the company’s 300 loan officers are Pronto/SimpleNexus  users. Sixty-nine percent of those loan officers have activated referral partners, who now use co-branded versions of the application, with the top loan officers activating more than 50 referral partners each. Most significantly, 40 percent of those loan officers have new loans generated by borrowers with whom they’ve shared the app, with the top eight loan officer users taking in 20 or more loan applications each. 

“We don’t expect 100 percent adoption; we respect that some people in the company aren’t tech savvy or won’t use it—and that’s fine,” Narvaez. “We are more focused on making sure that the people who adopt it know how to use Pronto to its full potential.”

Narvaez is following a similar technique to drive adoption with AXIS and A3C, starting with training, making sure loan officers understand the value proposition; and sharing success stories as these happen.  

“We have a top producer who has built her entire business using Pronto (SimpleNexus). She has not only generated excitement among her Realtors, but she has already been able to grow her pipeline,” Narvaez said. “As we go through the next six months, we will continue to measure our metrics, and compare the use of Pronto, AXIS and A3C with the production and profitability of our loan officers and branches. Then, we’ll continue to compare those results year over year.”

The Mindset of a Digital Lender

By anyone’s standards, Alterra Home Loans is a pioneer in digital lending, using  technology to help build relationships, streamline communications and, ultimately, help loan officers and Realtors convert more prospects into sales. Narvaez believes that Alterra’s creative use of technology is key to survival in a changing mortgage industry.“As rates increase and refis disappear, you have to look at how you’re going to engage with Realtors, and how you’re going to differentiate as a lender,” he said. “You cannot just walk up and say, ‘I’m a lender, I have experience, I will close on time.’ You have to bring the technology that will offer transparency, close the communication gaps and give those Realtors—and their customers—an amazing experience. We believe that the innovators; the ones that use technology to solve problems, to build relationships and to offer something more, will be the lenders that continue to grow and profit in the future.”

About The Author

One Major Impediment To Digital Mortgages-Solved

As I travel across the country attending numerous industry events, meeting with a host of strategic partners, and talking to hundreds of lenders, everyone wants to discuss digital mortgages.  In those discussions, it is clear that to truly deliver on the digital mortgage promise of providing a simple, yet powerful borrower experience while streamlining the mortgage process and reducing costs, collaboration is key.

Quality partnerships are critical to providing the type of collaboration that is needed. No one provider can deliver everything required for today’s digital mortgage.  These partnerships can deliver real-time access to data with direct integrations; allowing providers to pass pertinent data to the loan transaction more quickly and seamlessly to both loan officers and borrowers during each step of the loan life cycle.

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With this channel-less strategy, productivity increases and has the potential to reduce costs for the lender.  These strategic partnerships also put a dynamic blend of powerful resources, like pulling credit or running pricing scenarios, into the palm of the hands of loan officers when and where they need this information for the borrower.  Efficiency increases as lenders nurture borrowers and better facilitate all phases of the digital lending process.

In addition, the right strategic partnerships and digital mortgage platform can deliver valuable simplicity. The days of app overload are over. Loan officers can now have a single, branded platform to manage the loan lifecycle.

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While most would agree that the benefits of collaboration through strategic partnerships is the way to improve the digital mortgage experience, one major impediment to this still exists in the traditional partnership model.

Historically, service providers spend a great deal of time discussing the benefits of partnering, potential mutual clients, and how the partnership will provide incredible value to the industry.  Then the discussion turns to who is going to pay for the time and resources to create the integration, test it, and maintain it going forward? The partners inherently decide to create a revenue- sharing integration model.

That’s where the impediment lies.  The traditional revenue-sharing integration model increases the cost to lenders and in turn the borrower.  Therefore, the goal in delivering a digital mortgage is providing a simple yet powerful borrower experience while streamlining the mortgage process and reducing costs through collaboration just increased the price to originate.

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At SimpleNexus, we take a different approach.   We are committed to working with our strategic partners to better deliver on digital mortgage expectations without demanding a revenue sharing integration model; reducing the cost to lenders and their borrowers.  This type of collaboration is making a profound difference in the mortgage industry, which is why 15 of the top 30 lenders partner with SimpleNexus.

We are the mobile-first digital mortgage solution that makes everyone’s life easier.  Lenders can make everything more convenient for their borrowers. Applying for a loan can be done from anywhere. Instead of sending their W2s, bank statements, or tax returns to your office, borrowers can securely send documents using their phone. If they have a question or need to call, they can easily access your contact info from a branded app. If only the rest of life could be this easy.

Who wouldn’t want to work with a lender who makes mortgages easier? Mortgage lenders who use SimpleNexus close loans up to 20 percent faster—which means borrowers get into their homes faster. With one straightforward system for borrowers to use, you can make everything easier, faster, and more cost-effective.  A powerful way to deliver on the digital mortgage promise.

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