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Creating The Ultimate Experience

Across every industry, organizations are racing to differentiate when it comes to the customer experience – and this is especially true in mortgage lending. Truth be told, there is no golden ticket or a single tactic to improve the experience. It takes a balanced and thoughtful approach with careful consideration for what consumers really want.

Finding this approach is vital in today’s “Amazon” world. Every organization is competing to deliver the experience consumers expect, which is being shaped by Amazon, Netflix and the likes. While these companies may do well when it comes to a superior digital experience, they may not be ideal models for financial services organizations, including mortgage lenders. They lack the localization and personalization that consumers increasingly want.

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In fact, according to a recent Fannie Mae survey of both lenders and borrowers, as lenders continue to “digitize,” borrowers still expect a human touch. As part of the survey, participants were asked about the future role of person-to-person (P2P) communication (via phone or in-person channels). Nearly half of lenders said that P2P communication will be equally important as it is today, while nearly 40 percent expect it to be less important. In contrast, nearly all (90 percent) recent mortgage borrowers indicated that they would like to use P2P channels in the future when communicating with their lenders.

But organizations cannot focus solely on a local presence and forget about great technology and superior digital experiences either. There must be a balanced approach.

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At Gateway, we have heavily invested time and resources to find that right approach, achieving what we call the “Gateway Experience,” a service-intensive partnership between the homebuyer, real estate agent and the loan officer. Our goal is to earn customers’ business every day, for their entire life. This experience balances local mortgage professionals with superior technology and digital experiences, while also offering a wide array of products. This, along with being compliant and focusing on growing in the right areas, has allowed us to succeed and become one of the largest and fastest-growing privately held mortgage companies in the nation.

Keeping it Local

Creating a great experience starts with finding the right mortgage professionals – and the right professionals are local ones. Buying a home is a huge investment, and the process can be overwhelming. This is the largest, and most important, financial transaction that most people make in their lifetime. You’re also talking about people’s finances. It gets very personal, and borrowers want to work with a person they feel connected to and comfortable with.

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For us at Gateway, we look for individuals that have a strong commitment to their community and share our values: to strengthen families and communities through homeownership. This core purpose has become a passion. Our loan officers work with the people in their community in a trusted way. They’re able to help them determine how much they can afford, explain their loan options, tell them how best to prepare for their mortgage application and then walk them through the process.

Through this unique connection, borrowers can take comfort knowing their mortgage needs are handled by a local professional who offers best-in-class services. They are there, by their side, in their community, enriching the home buying experience.

Powerful Technology

Investing in the right team with local expertise is the first part of creating a great experience, but that team needs to be equipped with powerful technology. Having the right technology helps make the process easy. In an era that is heavily driven by digital experiences from the likes of Netflix, Facebook, Amazon and others, mortgage lenders must keep pace. Consumers expect to be able to easily upload documents or even apply for a loan with the click of a button.

By generation, 75 percent of millennials have used an online application process for all or part of their last mortgage, according to Ellie Mae’s 2018 Borrower Insights Survey. About 55 percent of Gen Xers also leveraged an online application for all or part of their most recent mortgage, as did 43 percent of baby boomers. Still, these consumers also expect to have the option to call a person or meet with someone if they have questions, and more often, to start the process.

Gateway places a significant emphasis on powerful technology to facilitate superior digital experiences. In fact, we recently launched LinkStep, our new web-based digital mortgage experience that dramatically simplifies the home buying process. LinkStep is designed to enhance the Gateway Experience, and we will continue to pursue new technologies to improve the overall customer experience.

Smart Solutions

Finally, the third part of a great experience is having the right products. A great team of local professionals and superior technology are only as good as the products and services they offer. It is critical that mortgage lenders have a dynamic offering to compete with larger financial institutions and alternative lenders. By offering smart solutions that meet nearly any mortgage need, along with great rates and technology that powers it all, mortgage lenders can ensure they have a product that fits nearly any borrower.

To achieve a superior experience – one that combines both the digital and human element – mortgage lenders must focus on finding the right talent in their communities while also equipping those local professionals with the right technology. They cannot focus merely on one or the other. Then, by adding smart solutions with great pricing, lenders can better meet consumers’ expectations and stay ahead of the competition.

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Creating The Ultimate Experience In Today’s Mortgage Environment

Across every industry, organizations are racing to differentiate when it comes to the customer experience – and this is especially true in mortgage lending. Truth be told, there is no golden ticket or a single tactic to improve the experience. It takes a balanced and thoughtful approach with careful consideration for what consumers really want.

Finding this approach is vital in today’s “Amazon” world. Every organization is competing to deliver the experience consumers expect, which is being shaped by Amazon, Netflix and the likes. While these companies may do well when it comes to a superior digital experience, they may not be ideal models for financial services organizations, including mortgage lenders. They lack the localization and personalization that consumers increasingly want.

Featured Sponsors:

 

 
In fact, according to a recent Fannie Mae survey of both lenders and borrowers, as lenders continue to “digitize,” borrowers still expect a human touch. As part of the survey, participants were asked about the future role of person-to-person (P2P) communication (via phone or in-person channels). Nearly half of lenders said that P2P communication will be equally important as it is today, while nearly 40 percent expect it to be less important. In contrast, nearly all (90 percent) recent mortgage borrowers indicated that they would like to use P2P channels in the future when communicating with their lenders.

But organizations cannot focus solely on a local presence and forget about great technology and superior digital experiences either. There must be a balanced approach.

Featured Sponsors:

 
At Gateway, we have heavily invested time and resources to find that right approach, achieving what we call the “Gateway Experience,” a service-intensive partnership between the homebuyer, real estate agent and the loan officer. Our goal is to earn customers’ business every day, for their entire life. This experience balances local mortgage professionals with superior technology and digital experiences, while also offering a wide array of products. This, along with being compliant and focusing on growing in the right areas, has allowed us to succeed and become one of the largest and fastest-growing privately held mortgage companies in the nation.

Keeping it Local

Creating a great experience starts with finding the right mortgage professionals – and the right professionals are local ones. Buying a home is a huge investment, and the process can be overwhelming. This is the largest, and most important, financial transaction that most people make in their lifetime. You’re also talking about people’s finances. It gets very personal, and borrowers want to work with a person they feel connected to and comfortable with.

Featured Sponsors:

 
For us at Gateway, we look for individuals that have a strong commitment to their community and share our values: to strengthen families and communities through homeownership. This core purpose has become a passion. Our loan officers work with the people in their community in a trusted way. They’re able to help them determine how much they can afford, explain their loan options, tell them how best to prepare for their mortgage application and then walk them through the process.

Through this unique connection, borrowers can take comfort knowing their mortgage needs are handled by a local professional who offers best-in-class services. They are there, by their side, in their community, enriching the home buying experience.

Powerful Technology

Investing in the right team with local expertise is the first part of creating a great experience, but that team needs to be equipped with powerful technology. Having the right technology helps make the process easy. In an era that is heavily driven by digital experiences from the likes of Netflix, Facebook, Amazon and others, mortgage lenders must keep pace. Consumers expect to be able to easily upload documents or even apply for a loan with the click of a button.

By generation, 75 percent of millennials have used an online application process for all or part of their last mortgage, according to Ellie Mae’s 2018 Borrower Insights Survey. About 55 percent of Gen Xers also leveraged an online application for all or part of their most recent mortgage, as did 43 percent of baby boomers. Still, these consumers also expect to have the option to call a person or meet with someone if they have questions, and more often, to start the process.

Gateway places a significant emphasis on powerful technology to facilitate superior digital experiences. In fact, we recently launched LinkStep, our new web-based digital mortgage experience that dramatically simplifies the home buying process. LinkStep is designed to enhance the Gateway Experience, and we will continue to pursue new technologies to improve the overall customer experience.

Smart Solutions

Finally, the third part of a great experience is having the right products. A great team of local professionals and superior technology are only as good as the products and services they offer. It is critical that mortgage lenders have a dynamic offering to compete with larger financial institutions and alternative lenders. By offering smart solutions that meet nearly any mortgage need, along with great rates and technology that powers it all, mortgage lenders can ensure they have a product that fits nearly any borrower.

To achieve a superior experience – one that combines both the digital and human element – mortgage lenders must focus on finding the right talent in their communities while also equipping those local professionals with the right technology. They cannot focus merely on one or the other. Then, by adding smart solutions with great pricing, lenders can better meet consumers’ expectations and stay ahead of the competition.

About The Author

Broaden Your Mind

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Too often mortgage executives think small. They isolate a singular problem and look to fix it instead of thinking bigger about how maybe a part of the process itself should be changed instead of just solving one little problem. Let me tell you a story:

Gateway Mortgage recently expanded their use of Axacore’s XDOC document management platform beyond loan origination into their human resources and loan servicing departments.

Gateway implemented paperless workflows to help eliminate the regulatory and management risks inherent with paper. XDOC’s built in scalability and flexibility made it easy for Gateway to initiate paperless processes across more of their organization. Axacore worked with Gateway to create multiple projects that are integrated and configured independently of each other, which helped Gateway achieve their company-wide goal of expanding document controls past loan originations.

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“Our loan origination process was paperless, however, certain back office and servicing functions were still relying on paper, which created a lot of risk,” said Kevin Osuna, Senior Vice President of Mortgage Servicing at Gateway.

“Because XDOC is so flexible and scalable, we were able to easily deploy paperless workflows independent of what we had in place, yet on the same platform very simply,” added Osuna. “We have relied on Axacore’s expertise in all things document management for several initiatives in the past few years and they always deliver.”

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“All too frequently we see lenders go paperless for their loan originations, then forget about the back office and post origination functions. In today’s highly regulated environment, the risks do not stop after a loan funds,” Said Aleks Szymanski, CEO Scrypt, Inc. “Gateway’s ability to recognize these risks, and their willingness to tackle them head on by expanding their use of XDOC made them a pleasure to work with.”

Why am I sharing this story with you? Because it’s an example of the benefits that can be achieved by branching out and thinking bigger. Going paperless in one part of your business is great, but going completely paperless is even better. It’s time for the lending industry to think holistically instead of just looking for quick fixes to a tiny problems.

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On The Move: Great Minds Are In Demand

*Great Minds Are In Demand*
**New Hires Exude Industry Knowledge**

***Where is the market going? Have we hit bottom? Who knows. Everyone has an opinion. What can be said with certainty is that if you’re looking to build your executive team, now is not the time to hire the new guy with no mortgage experience. In a volatile market, experience matters. Recent hires at Interthinx and Gateway prove this point. Here’s the news:

****First, Shareé McKenzie Taylor, most recently director of public policy for the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), has joined Interthinx as director of industry relations. Taylor will be stationed in Washington, D.C., as part of industry expert Ann Fulmer’s team and will focus on expanding relationships with leaders in the real estate finance industry, lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and various federal agencies.

****“Risk management and regulatory compliance are critical to restoring confidence and achieving a successful housing recovery,” noted Ann Fulmer, vice president of industry relations for Interthinx. “Taylor brings a unique blend of skills and experience that will help us monitor and report on regulatory changes and industry trends affecting our clients. I had the pleasure of working with her while she was with the MBA, and I know she’ll bring valuable insights to bear during these challenging times.”

****“I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with many companies seeking to help the mortgage industry recover from the downturn,” said Taylor. “Based on its excellent reputation, I’m excited about the opportunity to join Interthinx. I’m particularly looking forward to increasing the firm’s profile in Washington by working with key policymakers on issues critical to the industry.”

****Prior to her position with the MBA, Taylor was with Wexler & Walker PPA, where she worked primarily on matters related to financial services, foreign affairs, trade, and energy. Taylor started her legal career at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP as a corporate attorney. Born in Jamaica and raised in Canada, Taylor attended the University of Toronto, where she earned her B.A. with honors in both economics and political science before continuing on to earn a J.D. from Boston College Law School.

****Second, Gateway Mortgage Group LLC, a privately held mortgage company offering originations, servicing and correspondent lending, has hired Robert Rothrock to lead its marketing and corporate development department. Rothrock brings more than 20 years of experience to the role and focuses on expanding Gateway’s retail footprint as well as supporting its correspondent and servicing lines of business.

****Prior to joining Gateway, Rothrock was senior vice president of marketing, public relations and talent acquisition for Dallas, Texas-based NexBank where he oversaw all marketing, advertising, public relations, sales and recruitment activities. During that time, he drove the bank’s overall revenue and profitability higher while also helping to grow annual mortgage loan volume to $1 billion in a three year period. Previously, Rothrock held leadership positions with Countrywide Bank and Bank of America.

****In addition to recently launching correspondent, servicing and subservicing divisions, Gateway has added three new retail offices in St. Louis and Omaha, Neb. and continues to pursue the establishment of branches in other strategic locations.

****“As we focus on increasing market share through expanding our retail footprint, it is vital to further develop and enhance the resources that assist our new and existing retail locations,” said Kevin Stitt, president of Gateway Mortgage Group. “The addition of Rob to our team not only enhances that support by providing our branches with local marketing guidance and support, it also provides a strategic and integrated approach to Gateway’s growth plans across all of our channels.”