Posts

Tackling Industry Innovation

The PROGRESS in Lending Innovations Award Winners gathered to talk about the future of mortgage lending. Over 100 mortgage executives came together to attend PROGRESS in Lending Association’s Eighth Annual Innovations Awards Event. We named the top innovations of the past twelve months. After that event, we wondered what would happen if we brought together executives from the winning companies to talk about mortgage technology innovation. Where do they see the state of industry innovation right now? And what innovation is it going to take to get our industry really going strong? To get these and other questions answered, we got the winning group together. In the end, here’s what they said:

Q: Some say innovation has to be sweeping change. Others say innovation can be incremental change. How would you define innovation?

Featured Sponsors:

 

MICHAEL KOLBRENER: At PromonTech we are very careful with the word “innovation”. While we strive to be innovative, whether or not we succeed isn’t our call, but our clients’ and the market’s. At the end of the day, innovation is in the eyes of the user. And innovation can manifest itself differently; it can be a “big bang” like Apple’s iPhone, or it can occur more gradually and quietly like Internet availability. Fannie Mae and FormFree are great examples in our industry of how significant technology opportunities require time in order to be realized. Day 1 Certainty is destined to be a game-changer, but adoption may take time. Just like it took time for the amazing tools in FNMA Desktop Underwriter to be appreciated. As technologists, it’s our job to celebrate the important technology opportunities and help our user communities keep working on adoption.

JOHN PAASONEN: Innovation, especially in our industry, takes many forms. Innovation pushes forward a process, changes a mentality, or reforms the way something is thought about or done. We’re seeing all forms of this in mortgage, whether it is Day 1 Certainty, upfront underwriting, or shared-equity financing. The best kind of commercial innovation sweeps people along with the change in the present, not 10 years from now, bringing actionable ideas to market quickly, iterating those ideas, and ultimately delivering meaningful impact to the experience, P&L or relationships in a business.

Featured Sponsors:

PHIL RASORI: Traditionally, I would say that innovation in our industry has been more of a gradual, step-by-step approach with new products, services and enhancements being launched as vendors identified demand and areas for improvement.  However, the introduction digital mortgage movement, which has been rapidly building over the past few years has been sweeping, with an array of fintechs and new ideas being spawned to build a better overall lending process. The trick now is going to be the rate of borrower and marketplace adoption of these new technologies.  Think about this: even adoption of now comfortable mainstays such as online shopping with Amazon or online trading with Schwab didn’t happen overnight. Adoption took time, and it will in the mortgage space, too.

GARTH GRAHAM: At STRATMOR, we see the innovation as a combination of People, Process and Technology, a variation on the classic 3Ps of People, Process and Product. You can have innovation that applies to any of the three, but it’s best is when it’s applied to all three together.  In fact, that was a key message in my presentation at the most recent MBA Technology Conference — that changing across people, process and technology is what drives big changes.

SANJEEV MALANEY: I would describe innovation as significant positive change resulting from fresh thinking that creates value for its user. It’s a result. It’s an outcome. It’s something one works toward. There are no qualifiers for how groundbreaking or world-shattering that something needs to be, only that it needs to be better than it was before. Innovation is evolutionary, not revolutionary — like Einstein’s theory of relativity.

KELCEY T. BROWN: At WebMax, we believe that innovation means identifying a problem and coming up with a unique solution. Whether it be sweeping or incremental, that unique solution changes things for the better. Innovation, especially in mortgage technology, has been defined by streamlining processes, reducing operating and origination costs, and delivering a better borrowing experience.

Featured Sponsors:

ADAM BATAYEH: For us, it’s all about progress. Almost any amount of progress will do no matter how incremental the change is. If you create something that is cool and trendy but doesn’t necessarily push things forward in a way that betters people/process/industry, that “innovation” was more novelty than anything and will likely find itself extinct.

So in terms of impact, the amount of impact/progress isn’t as important because of all that happens downstream that we may not see immediately. You could make an incremental change that has monumental implications years later. In our space, it’s sort of like the butterfly effect.

LUKE WIMER: Innovation is the achievement of a consistently better outcome for time invested in an activity. I think creative problem solving needs to be encouraged, so we need to think of it as incremental change, and then allow for sweeping change to be the aggregation of persistent innovation. In our industry context, we might refer to the ability to electronically sign a mortgage as an innovation and the ability to digitally process a mortgage end-to-end as the sweeping change we are all driving toward.  Innovation is also often the result of fostering a culture of continuous improvement. In our company, we set long-term aspirations, then we ask everyone to set improvement or innovation goals for the next quarter or half year. We don’t specify how to improve; we don’t want people to be constrained. Then we measure results, talk about what happened, and set goals for the next round, rewarding examination and striving rather than hitting the target itself. The pace of creativity is increasing as people get comfortable taking risks.

NEIL FRASER: Innovation, in most cases brings incremental change. Over time many incremental changes bring about what can appear to be sudden sweeping change. As the mortgage industry moves towards the sweeping change being called the Digital Mortgage, many innovations have been, and continue to be tried and tested. This is the necessary process for moving an entire industry towards a significantly different model.

At Paradatec, we are continuing to innovate in an effort to support the industry’s long term move towards a more efficient and accurate process for originating, servicing, and auditing mortgage loans.

More specifically, we define innovation in our particular niche as “the application of artificial intelligence to the problem of document recognition”. This could mean the creation of a new, more automated, document classification solution for a servicing world where scanned images of documents, that were originally paper, are still key, or it could mean the creation of new recognition capabilities for e-signed documents that never were paper. Regardless of the application, we at Paradatec are committed to an ever-expanding document recognition stack that covers origination, servicing and auditing mortgage loans.

Q: How would you define the state of innovation in the mortgage industry? Is it thriving or in a state of decay?

MICHAEL KOLBRENER: The mortgage industry is in an unprecedented phase of technology adoption. There is no doubt that Rocket Mortgage deserves lots of credit for truly introducing the “Internet” to the mortgage industry. Rocket has shown all lenders that technology is an integral part of the future of mortgage originations. Additionally, we are seeing lots of new technology companies competing in the mortgage space (including PromonTech!) We’re just beginning to realize the many opportunities to improve efficiencies.

JOHN PAASONEN: Twenty four months ago, my answer may have been different. But today, it is a thrill and a privilege to participate in the transformation occuring in the mortgage industry. For nearly a decade — in the wake of the financial crisis, the passage of Dodd-Frank, the creation of the CFPB, and major regulation like TRID — investment dollars were poured into compliance, not advancement. I’m incredibly encouraged by the increasing openness to the work of many innovators, from both inside and outside the industry, to incite progress. Innovation is alive and needs to be spurred forward.

PHIL RASORI: Post the mortgage crash and subsequent introduction of a myriad of new rules and changing regulations with Dodd-Frank and enforcement by the CFPB became a huge concern and instantly drew everyone’s attention to compliance adherence, which arguably distracted from technology innovation. Now more than ever, the mortgage industry is on a fast-track to achieve far-reaching changes via new technology, which is being fueled by anticipated demand for borrower automation and lenders’ positioning themselves to remain competitive, thus driving innovation across the board. We’re not only thriving right now, but some say we’re drinking from a firehouse. Again, adoption will be key to these innovations becoming reality.

SANJEEV MALANEY: The industry is ready for innovation and we’re starting to see major transformation impacting the end-to-end mortgage process. New companies are flush with venture capital. Lenders are funding innovation centers using their own capital investments. People from outside the industry with diverse sets of skills and experience are being hired to drive this transformation. We’re going to see more innovation in the next twelve months than we’ve seen in years.

KELCEY T. BROWN: Innovation in the mortgage industry is thriving thanks to the continuous flow of new ideas and products, and growing interest in technology from lenders. We’re seeing point-of-sale products become more intuitive and borrower-friendly, and financial data retrievers’ rules engines making loan processing faster and more efficient. Lenders’ interest in digital mortgages continues to grow as today’s home buyers lean more and more toward a digital borrowing experience. That said, a great deal of the industry still needs to transition to digital mortgages. Growing interest, paired with a sizable unaddressed market, makes a perfect storm for thriving innovation.

As much blame is put on regulation for technical stagnation, we like to thank it. It put our backs against the wall and forced companies to make major changes that they couldn’t handle or weren’t willing to take on. It led to that consolidation, and most importantly, it led to massive amounts of investment in what we like to call “foundation over feature” and that has helped increase transparency, accountability, and more. It’s what laid the groundwork for all the innovation you are seeing today.

ADAM BATAYEH: Innovation is thriving, thriving, thriving. If this were 2013, the answer would have been massive decay. The thing is, that decay was necessary and led to all of the innovation we are seeing today.

LUKE WIMER: Mortgage is a bit late to the innovation party compared to payments or online banking, so we are still more focused on automation and efficiency and just starting to affect true change to the consumer experience.  But we should not underestimate the potential for change and innovation. The industry has been gearing up over the years with steps toward digitization, creative partnerships, driving new standards, and these will allow a fast pace of change once the scale is tipped. I am thinking of how one of Hemingway’s characters went bankrupt: “Gradually, then suddenly.”

NEIL FRASER: Innovation in the mortgage industry is definitely thriving today. For the last twelve years, we at Paradatec have focused on building our mortgage technology through advanced OCR using artificial intelligence and an ability to learn over time and provide increasingly more significant innovations.

In the last twelve years, we have not only increased our ability to innovate, but have further greatly accelerated this ability to innovate from our partnerships and integrations with others in the industry. This is a trend we expect to continue for years to come.

GARTH GRAHAM: I think that innovation is truly accelerating, but too often people define innovation as simply technology. They think the next software product, the next shiny object will transform their business. At STRATMOR, we often see companies with good people and good process being able to overcome substandard technology, but rarely do we see a company with great technology that can overcome poor people or process. This does not mean tech is not important, in fact I believe that we don’t spend enough on technology — but if you don’t have the people and process lined up to implement change, then the technology alone will not drive the results you seek.

Q: Lastly, if there was one innovation that you would say the mortgage industry desperately needs to happen over the next twelve months, what would it be?

MICHAEL KOLBRENER: All of us, in lending, need to evangelize the potential of technology and encourage our user audiences to understand the role it can play in the future of originations. Over the next 12 months, we need to keep pushing data providers to make applicant data more readily available, particularly around income verification (and tax supporting docs). At PromonTech that’s where we believe that next big breakthroughs will come.

JOHN PAASONEN: We’re just beginning to see the early signs of moving beyond “digital paper.” Over the last 10 years, the mortgage industry has largely taken a paper-bound process and digitized it. A loan application acted much like its paper counterpart, just with the ability to type answers, for example. In the next 12 months, regulators, lenders, investors and innovators need to continue to push forward with initiatives to all-together remove the tremendous burden on borrowers, loan officers, processors, appraisers and others created by our legacy of paper-driven process. The winners will be those who realize first that data availability and fidelity is too rich, and computing power too strong, to be ignored.

SANJEEV MALANEY: While we have witnessed significant innovation over the past year, there remains a series of key friction points that must be addressed for the mortgage process to truly be reinvented.

Perhaps the most critical enabler in our space (not unlike other verticals) is the use of data, and by extension, how to extract insights from that data to make faster and better decisions, which is where Capsilon is focusing its innovation efforts. It is worth noting, however, that while “big data analytics” has suddenly become a go-to catchphrase for many in our industry, our own experience in the space suggests that the challenges associated with implementing and realizing value from big data are more subtle.

For the past 14 years, we’ve been helping clients collect, validate and leverage the data to drive automation and improve productivity in the mortgage process. Those who succeed will master the harvesting and delivery of relevant data at the right time so every user (borrowers, LOs, underwriters, processors, closers) in the loan process are provided the information and tools they need when, where, and how they need it to remove friction in the loan process.

KELCEY T. BROWN: Faster adoption of digital mortgages. The faster lenders adopt digital mortgages, the better off their business will be, from their balance sheet to borrower satisfaction. It is evident that through technology, lenders can close loans faster, with more efficiency, for a better cost. At the same time, that boosted efficiency means borrowers get in their homes faster and are more satisfied with their mortgage experience. Real estate agent satisfaction grows as their listings get filled and closed faster as well, which can boost referrals. Imagine that your company waited to adopt email, how would that have worked out?

ADAM BATAYEH: To use our internal phrase again: foundation over feature. It seems that everyone is racing to be first with the next big thing and it’s very tempting to follow trends. At the same time, it can confuse lenders and can make it harder on them to make a decision. We can create all the new features we want, but if they’re hard to integrate and implement, we’ll find ourselves pigeonholed.

An example I can give is Windows vs. Mac OS and their respective web-browsers. The Operating System was the “foundation” and the web-browsers were built as “features”. Buy the OS, get the browser for free. The browser would work flawlessly with its respective OS.

Google Chrome came out of nowhere as it’s “foundation vs. feature” priority was the reverse. Knowing the future was in the Cloud, they built an agnostic browser, which resulted in Windows and Mac users collaborating in a new way. As Microsoft and Apple built browsers that were feature-focused and complimented their foundational Operating Systems, Google was busy playing the agnostic game and with Chrome has quickly emerged as the leader.

LUKE WIMER: There are so many different needs. I would like to see clarity on where federal regulators are headed. I would like to see some of this mortgage application automation technology make its way further into the loan origination process. We appreciate the need for increased security and rigor in vendor management, and are pushing for increased acceptance of SaaS and the tools many of us are making available to offer plug-in solutions. I believe it will be a collection of innovation and providers, which will be needed to really transform. It is a resilient sector that rolls with the punches, and is complex enough that no single innovation will win or solve the problems of every player. Therefore I am glad there are many of us working on improvement from different angles.

NEIL FRASER: Accurate data which reflects the terms, borrower, lender, and property information from Mortgage loans’ source documents will continue to be a critically important requirement. As a result, there will continue to be a need to audit the accuracy of the data as it relates to the legally definitive required source documents. As loans and their servicing rights are passed from investor to investor and servicer to servicer, a more efficient process for efficiently and accurately onboarding these loans as these transactions occur is desperately needed. At Paradatec, we are continuing to innovate and this need is one of major focus for us in the coming year.

GARTH GRAHAM: So, there certainly has been a significant amount of technology innovation at the point of sale — dynamic applications are more commonplace.  I think it’s what occurs BEFORE the application that is critical for the next year.  The reason is that we are pivoting to a heavy purchase market — only 25 percent refinance — down from roughly 50 percent refinance (or more) for the past 20 years.  This is a MAJOR difference and will really stress originators who are not equipped to handle purchase opportunities.  At STRATMOR we have a methodology of creating a digital roadmap for lenders, and we often find that they are not adequately valuing the tools that are required prior to application. We refer this to Lead Engagement — the ability to interact with purchase consumers across multiple touch points and for longer periods of time.   We also feel that price competition will become more acute going forward.  Thus, we think innovation needs to tackle the functions that typically are considered CRM functionality — managing customer interactions over long periods of time — as well as presentation to clearly show what customers are going to pay for their mortgages.

Also, we think that there is going to be a lot of industry consolidation, both for mortgage origination companies and for the technology vendors that support the lenders it.  At STRATMOR we are active in M&A and have never been busier with lenders looking for strategic alternatives, and with buyers who are well positioned for the future, and are actively looking to acquire other entities to gain market share during this difficult period.  Vendors are finding a similar climate, and some smaller vendors are seeking capital partners. New capital is entering the market to acquire additional technology capabilities.

PHIL RASORI: I hate to use what many feel is an over-used term these days, but acceptance of the “digital mortgage” and what it encompasses will be key to much of what is to follow. We are seeing that successfully be streamlined right now at the point-of-sale for borrowers. Digitization of the secondary market is also picking up speed, which is what we at MCT have been focused on. Technology integrations are essential for lenders to keep systems operating in real-time, while automation is streamlining processes. Digital whole loan trading is revolutionizing the loan sale process. Embracing the digital mortgage at every step in the process is helping lenders to increase efficiency and profits.

Borrower Satisfaction & Digital Lending

According to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, a total of 43% of mortgage customers indicate applying digitally in 2017, up from just 28% in 2016. However, satisfaction among customers applying online/via website has declined by 18 points year over year.

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
According to that same study, trust is overwhelmingly the difference. Overall satisfaction among mortgage customers with high levels of trust in their loan representatives is 358 points higher than among those with low levels of trust. The top three elements driving that perception of trust are:

>>Representatives always calling back when promised

>>Continuity in working with a single representative throughout the process

>>Representatives proactively providing status updates

Rocket Mortgage is America’s largest mortgage lender based on Rocket Mortgage data in comparison to public data records. Rocket Mortgage is a fast, powerful and completely online way to get a mortgage for refinancing or buying a home, which was developed by Quicken Loans.

Featured Sponsors:

 
Quicken is a household name. They had trust. They also had resources to be able to provide the transparency. This kind of loan volume doesn’t get closed because of just an amazing digital app. They had continuity and could afford to have a single representative working throughout the process. Someone was there to call back when promised. Etc. Etc. Etc.

To survive and to be able to enhance borrower customer satisfaction, brokers, loan officers, and lenders now require an intelligent loan manufacturing solution from a provider that truly understands mortgage banking and its constantly shifting mortgage process. The right digital mortgage platform helps you drastically reduce the chaos in your daily lending processes while improving communication to help you close more loans faster. This allows you to deliver an enhanced borrower experience giving you more time to do what you do best exceeding your borrowers expectations.

Featured Sponsors:

 
In 2017, Lodasoft realized that the “Digital” solution wasn’t just in providing a rocket-like experience and incorporated intelligent loan manufacturing as away to give the mid-size lender and broker the best shot at competing with the top-25. We’ve leveled the playing field for our clients by allowing for system-driven and automated transparency and accountability that lenders of any size can afford to ensure that someone is there to call back when promised.

Lodasoft’s digital mortgage platform drastically reduces lending costs, chaos and cycle times to help you build a significantly more efficient mortgage business while providing a truly memorable borrower experience.

About The Author

Adam Batayeh

Adam Batayeh is President of Lodasoft, the mortgage industry’s leading solution to help lenders eliminate complexity and automate the manual workflow involved in the everyday loan process. With more than a decade of experience in the mortgage industry, Batayeh has held executive sales, marketing, product and strategic partnership positions with key mortgage technology providers. He is responsible for overseeing the daily operations, growth of organization, strategic partnerships and long-term strategic vision of Lodasoft. You can contact Adam at abatayeh@lodasoft.com or to find out more about Lodasoft visit website www.lodasoft.com

Digital Advances

There is always talk about the digital mortgage. It’s in high demand. Industry data shows that 67 percent of all closed loans by Millennial borrowers were conventional, the highest percentage in two years. Conventional loans continued to be the most popular loan product, although women were slightly more likely to take advantage of FHA loans. So, what does that mean? It means that more lenders need to embrace the digital mortgage to reach this new group of borrowers. How do lenders do that? Adam Batayeh, President of Lodasoft, talked to our editor about how he sees the digital mortgage technology landscape.

Q: How would you describe the state of mortgage origination today?

ADAM BATAYEH: I think we’re in an amazing place in terms of the evolution of the mortgage industry. The mortgage industry had been hit with a significant amount of negative press following the mortgage meltdown. What many people haven’t fully realized is all of the positive changes that have been made in the mortgage space since.

The crash may have pushed the industry into a sort of regulatory confinement period putting everyone behind the proverbial 8-ball, but great progress has been made over the last 10 years. While it may have even stagnated tech innovation, as lenders were busy with TRID, I believe that these 10 years have washed away the pretenders and the best of the best are now advancing the industry, which only leads to what’s best for the consumer.

Featured Sponsors:

 

You look at the top originators list for example and it is no longer comprised of solely big-box banks with a 50-state brick and mortar footprint. According to Bloomberg, non-banks accounted for more than 70 percent of FHA loans just last year.

You’ve got true innovation that is taking place that has allowed for mortgage companies to come out of obscurity to a predominant role driving the industry forward. The retail space is truly diversified and you have a wholesale market in the midst of a major comeback.

Q: Interesting, can you expand on how technology is actually making its impact?

ADAM BATAYEH: For me, the best part of the innovation that is taking place is that lenders and brokers of all sizes can take advantage of the best technologies available. The strength and ubiquity of APIs is game-changing in and of itself.

Look at Fannie and Freddie for example. They’ve recently come out with products that incorporate features allowing for the automation of income and asset verification. However, those aren’t proprietary solutions. Really what they’re doing is integrating to the same technologies available to all of us.

Featured Sponsors:

These pieces of technology have sort of become commodities that everyone can implement and benefit from. The best originators are using them to enhance speed, efficiency, transparency, etc. Everything that we’ve been trying to do for so long is finally coming to fruition and we really can attribute it to the rapid growth of new and innovative technology.

These new innovations are allowing for a level playing field. We feel this is contributing to the healthiest level of competition we’ve seen. Not to mention, cloud-computing and SaaS-based products are allowing all of us to be everywhere at all times without the need for as much costly brick and mortar and IT expense.

Also, I just want to say that you hear a lot about the “Digital Mortgage” and at first-glance it sounds like the easy button, but it’s not. If you look at DU and LP for example, they both assist in underwriting efforts. They are tools to help us make decisions, but they did not eliminate the Underwriter by any stretch.

Q: Speaking of “Digital Mortgage”, what’s your take on its status?

ADAM BATAYEH: It’s here and it’s here for everyone. Many vendors have been helping lenders deliver electronically signed eMortgages for what, 10 years now? The Digital Mortgage is really an extension of that effort.

The focus thus far has been on borrower experience and rightfully so. However, to truly deliver on the digital mortgage experience, lenders must not only provide a slick and engaging online point-of-sale tool, but they also must automate the backend mortgage process and communication touch points that impede a truly seamless mortgage experience.

Featured Sponsors:

The good news is again, it’s here. There are solutions at every price point and if you do your due diligence and stay current, you can compete with the largest lenders with the biggest bankrolls. Whether you’re retail or wholesale, broker or banker, Community Bank or Credit Union — you can find a solution that will fit (especially if you keep a pulse at tradeshows and with industry sites and publications like this one).

Q: How would you say retailers and wholesalers differ in their need for digital solutions?

ADAM BATAYEH: That’s a great question because it would seem that an originator is an originator right?

One of the big differences is in adoption. If you look at some of the larger consumer-direct players, they have a bit of an advantage as they have more of a captive team. They are more centralized and can distribute and train fairly quickly.

Retail Community Banks and Credit Unions are similar as they are a little more centralized even though they may be branch focused. They are typically cross-selling other internal products and so flexibility and configurability is very key to them. Integration is also high on the list for many reasons especially for servicers.

Wholesale and Distributed Retail shops have some things in common and they’ve got a different set of considerations. For one, a branch model might be providing tools, maybe an LOS, but those branches may be on their own in terms of say lead, contact management, or even borrower experience.

Same goes with Wholesale Brokers as the lender may provide portals that offer pipeline management but may fall short in more front-end activity. Some high-producing teams like to do things their way, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Flexibility is needed at a different level here.

The best advice I can give is, try to partner with tech vendors at different levels. For example, consider a solution that comes 75 percent configured and offer your branch or broker some control in taking part of their own configuration. We’re all typically willing to integrate at various levels and have resources to help get your staff trained quickly.

Q: What are you currently solving for that Lenders haven’t addressed yet?

ADAM BATAYEH: For us, it’s really the difference in what we have chosen to focus on. We’re based right outside of Detroit and we all know stories of how Ford implemented the assembly line to drastically reduce costs and increase production. Well, there’s a lot to be said for how far manufacturing has come and it really lies within automating processes.

A great borrower experience is one thing, but if that experience transitions to a back-end process that is not transparent or communicative, that borrower experience may fall short in the end.

We’re incorporating workflow in a way that allows for centralized, automated processes, so that mortgage companies of all sizes can truly compete and enjoy similar reduction in costs and increased production to that of the largest lenders.

Q: What has had the biggest impact on how you develop solutions?

ADAM BATAYEH: Definitely the unique diversity of our team and our client feedback loop.

On the operations side, our team has closed thousands of loans over the span of 20 years. When we talk to mortgage people, they know we’re one of them. They feel it in the questions we ask and the thought around the downstream impact of implementing a certain capability.

On the tech side, our guys have been developing solutions specifically in mortgage either for lenders or vendors for most of their careers. They have also been cloud-computing since, well, before the word cloud-computing was a thing.

We don’t allow ourselves to just go out and create but at the same time our clients understand that they can’t just dictate their needs to us as everyone is different. So, when we add a feature, we look at it from all sides and then look to provide flexibility so that it may be configured for the various types of lending institutions we cater to.

Q: What is the most critical challenge mortgage business are addressing?

ADAM BATAYEH: I don’t want to just give you the “everyone is different” answer so I’ll try my best not to give you a non-answer. If I must choose one challenge, I’ll say, “putting out fires”.

It boggles my mind that we are an industry that still says “it’s the end of the month, don’t talk to me”. If you go to the doctor on the 30th, do they tell you to come back next week? No, you have an appointment and they are just as busy on the 12th as they are the 30th.

The tendency in our industry seems to be to stop the bleeding. If a borrower needs something, we surely don’t want them going anywhere else so we stop the presses and give it to them.

I don’t care how big or small you are, you have fires that tend to creep up and you can identify them. If you can identify them, you can plan for them. If you can plan for them, you can get ahead of them.

It’s what I was referring to around the assembly line. You can use automation for the sake of automation. Or, you can use it create as repeatable a process as possible.

INDUSTRY PREDICTIONS

Adam Batayeh thinks:

4.) Origination numbers will continue to spread as the playing field levels. Wholesale, Retail, Consumer-direct, etc. will all experience slight shifts in portfolio focus.

2.) The “Amazon Effect” will have more of a positive impact on housing supply as millennial and first-time homebuyer awareness shines even brighter.

3.) A greater focus in 2018 from a Digital Mortgage perspective will be on further automating backend processes. This will trend well into funding and servicing.

INSIDER PROFILE

Adam Batayeh is President of Lodasoft, the mortgage industry’s leading solution to help lenders eliminate complexity and automate the manual workflow involved in the everyday loan process. With more than a decade of experience in the mortgage industry, Batayeh has held executive sales, marketing, product and strategic partnership positions with key mortgage technology providers. He is responsible for overseeing the daily operations, growth of organization, strategic partnerships and long-term strategic vision of Lodasoft. You can contact Adam at abatayeh@lodasoft.com or to find out more about Lodasoft visit website www.lodasoft.com

Borrower Satisfaction Is Critical

The mortgage industry’s promise of technology creating a faster and easier mortgage origination process does not appear to be fully recognized, as mortgage customers are reporting slower purchase processes. That’s according to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study,SM  which finds that overall satisfaction with mortgage originators has declined this year, due in part to a perception of a slower process, despite a significant increase in the number of customers applying online.

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
“We’re at a critical inflection point in the mortgage industry where new technology and the growing use of digital mortgage application channels has made it possible for the origination process to move more quickly; however, the customer is still the final judge of speed and quality,” said Craig Martin, Director of the Mortgage Practice at J.D. Power. “A critical element of satisfaction is setting expectations, and this tends to be a weakness of technology, which is demonstrated by substantially lower satisfaction among customers who do not work with a human to complete their application.”

Following are some key findings of the study:

>>Overall satisfaction declines as purchase process slows: Overall satisfaction with primary mortgage originators is down 8 points (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2017. This is driven in part by reports of longer times from initial application to closing. On average, the purchasing process took 36 days this year, an increase of almost a week from 2016.

Featured Sponsors:

 
>>Digital use surges but not digital satisfaction: For the first time in the study’s history, both refinance and purchase customers cite online/website as the most frequent method of submitting a mortgage application. A total of 43% of mortgage customers indicate applying digitally in 2017, up from just 28% in 2016. Satisfaction among customers applying online/via website has declined by 18 points year over year and trails satisfaction with in-person applications by 10 points this year.

The Lodasoft Digital Mortgage Platform provides loan officers with complete loan visibility, accountability, and transparency in one easy to use digital mortgage solution. In addition, the solution acts as a 24-hour virtual assistant providing one point of access for system driven communication, gathering of documents, automated lead generation, in-process status updates and post-closing follow-up.

Featured Sponsors:

 
Our intelligent digital loan manufacturing workflow helps lenders automatically identify and complete rudimentary tasks throughout the enterprises lending lifecycle, streamlining the origination process to assist is closing loans faster. Our digital mortgage platform offers mortgage lenders the ability to further simplify their origination and closing process while keeping borrowers, realtors, and all other interested parties involved every step of the way.

The Lodasoft difference is in focusing on the loan, manufacturing it in as little time, with as little errors as possible, while communicating every step of the way. When implementing Lodasoft, lenders can take a traditional pipeline-driven model (file by file) and move to a prioritized task-driven model while automating communication simultaneously.

By focusing on the loan, lenders are able to identify all of the mini-bottlenecks from lead to prequalification to in-process, closing, post-closing and beyond. The borrower will see the benefits of more transparency and faster processing. As a result of simultaneously automating communication along the way, all interested parties have a new sense of involvement creating much deeper relationships further driving greater borrower satisfaction.

About The Author

Adam Batayeh

Adam Batayeh is President of Lodasoft, the mortgage industry’s leading solution to help lenders eliminate complexity and automate the manual workflow involved in the everyday loan process. With more than a decade of experience in the mortgage industry, Batayeh has held executive sales, marketing, product and strategic partnership positions with key mortgage technology providers. He is responsible for overseeing the daily operations, growth of organization, strategic partnerships and long-term strategic vision of Lodasoft. You can contact Adam at abatayeh@lodasoft.com or to find out more about Lodasoft visit website www.lodasoft.com

Delivering On The Digital Mortgage Experience

I recently returned from the National Mortgage News Digital Conference in San Francisco. There was a great turnout for the event and a number of discussions regarding what a digital mortgage is and where the industry headed.

“In a live survey conducted during the conference by NMN and Mortgage Cadence, the majority of respondents defined a digital mortgage as a fully end-to-end electronic process, which includes the borrower experience, internal processes, and electronic closings.”

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
In addition to defining what a digital mortgage is they went on to state, “almost 14% defined a digital mortgage as having an electronic borrower experience and digital internal processes, and about 10.4% claimed a digital mortgage constituted an online experience for the borrower.”

Most of those surveyed claimed, “they have some, but not all, features available. About 34.4% are still determining the best approach for their specific organization.”

Featured Sponsors:

 
What I found most telling was “participants cited a number of reasons for not yet reaching their digital mortgage goals, with about 44.1% blaming current internal technology limitations.”

Since Quicken Loans launched that now famous Super Bowl AD for Rocket Mortgage, there has been a great deal of talk, energy, and resources focused on the front end tools and customer experience as it relates to a digital mortgage.

But what many in the industry are missing is that to truly deliver on the digital mortgage experience, companies must automate the entire mortgage process— not just the front end user interface.

Featured Sponsors:

 
Where companies can gain the greatest ROI when investing in digital is to automate the many manual tasks throughout the mortgage process.

The origination process between originator, processor, borrower, realtor, title agent and all other parties to the transaction is very interactive to say the least. In our highly regulated lending environment, complexity has created additional processes and more room for error. Loan quality takes a hit as more manual checklists have been created, and more data must be validated.

For the vast majority of mortgage lenders, email is the main communication method while the CRM and LOS systems are the central lead and loan repositories. This means leads, preapprovals, loans, business contacts and documents all must be dispositioned in systems that must focus on quality.

The process becomes chaotic with documents in different places, tasks being completed by different people at different times with no real way to manage, track, and communicate properly. This lengthens turn-times by creating bottlenecks at various stages in the loan process.

Communication then becomes reactive rather than proactive. When this happens, even the greatest digital point-of-sale tool will not deliver the digital mortgage experience that today’s borrower is looking for.

The issues are exacerbated with a refi-boom or when purchase season comes along and sometimes we’re forced to throw more people and manual processes at the problem.

So what’s the answer?

To truly deliver on the digital mortgage experience, lenders must not only provide a slick and engaging online point-of-sale tool, but they also must automate the backend mortgage process and communication touch points that impede a truly seamless mortgage experience for the borrower.

That begins with automating manual tasks and communication between parties with a solution that offers mortgage lenders the ability to truly enhance the areas of transparency and accountability that are often overlooked. We must consider automation not only around fulfillment staff and borrowers, but realtors, title agents, financial planners, and all other interested parties involved in a transaction. Keeping all parties in the loop is one thing, but automating that communication in a way that continues well after funding, which will lead to a much higher rate of repeat business.

The Digital Strategy should include ways for system-driven processes to unfold, as we know more about the transaction. This way, team members don’t need to think about what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and by whom it needs to be done. Leveraging web and mobile ready solutions is key, however anticipation may be even more important.

The more we know up-front, the more we can automate further down the line. With this type of automation, each individual involved in the transaction feels as though a truly personalized service is being provided.

For lenders that want to truly deliver on the digital mortgage experience they must realize the importance of automating the entire mortgage process. Lenders that put forth the energy and resources to automate the entire lending process will be able to overcome the “internal technology limitations” that are holding them back from delivering a truly memorable digital mortgage experience. An experience that delivers enhanced communication throughout the lending process reduces the cost to originate loans and increases lender profitability.

About The Author

Adam Batayeh

Adam Batayeh is President of Lodasoft, the mortgage industry’s leading solution to help lenders eliminate complexity and automate the manual workflow involved in the everyday loan process. With more than a decade of experience in the mortgage industry, Batayeh has held executive sales, marketing, product and strategic partnership positions with key mortgage technology providers. He is responsible for overseeing the daily operations, growth of organization, strategic partnerships and long-term strategic vision of Lodasoft. You can contact Adam at abatayeh@lodasoft.com or to find out more about Lodasoft visit website www.lodasoft.com