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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   November 2014

Clear the Clutter With Online Tools

Use automation technology to put your customers first

The business of originating mortgages has been much more difficult since the mortgage crisis and recession occurred. Tighter credit standards have made the approval process harder and costlier. The need for thorough documentation has fattened loan files and slowed processing and underwriting to a crawl.

At the same time, borrower expectations for good service have gone up, and the burden of regulatory compliance seems to increase year by year. Costs are rising and profits are falling. Many organizations are watching their bottom lines shrink, and for these companies, the situation is only going to get worse unless they make fundamental changes that put their customers first.

Clear the Clutter with online tools; Use automation technology to put your customers first

A daunting challenge

Let’s face it: Securing a mortgage can be a confusing process for many homebuyers, even those who have gone through the process before. Borrowers see it as a daunting and unfriendly chore, with reams of paperwork that they often don’t really understand. This should change.

Providing online tools for your customers is a major step toward that change. A blend of self-service and loan-officer-assisted service, collaboration capabilities, mobile access, and up-to-date communications can all contribute to higher levels of customer intimacy and satisfaction.

Imagine the following scenario: One of your mortgage loan officers, Angie Agent, has met a new prospect, Helen Homebuyer, at a recent open house. Helen wants to apply for a loan, but doesn’t have the time to gather up all of her documents, drive across town to Angie’s office and sit at a desk in the middle of a work day to fill out the necessary forms.

Without automation, Angie may not be able to convince Helen to apply, at least not without a major time investment. With automated technology solutions, however, Helen can gain a better customer experience and remove the barriers she imagines will prevent her from getting the loan.

The benefits of automation

To continue with the previous example, let’s take a look at how automation can help Angie Agent provide the personalized customer service that her client desires:

  • From her laptop, Angie sends Helen an e-mail or text inviting her to download a mobile app to her smartphone or tablet. Helen clicks on a link, downloads the app and starts it up.
  • An easy-to-follow dialog guides Helen through the loan-application process. Instead of presenting long forms, the app asks Helen to simply photograph and upload a few personal documents — her driver’s license, Social Security card and W-2 form, among others — documents that she’d need to provide in the traditional process, as well.
  • Imaging software captures these documents, recognizes them, stores them securely in a newly created electronic loan file and extracts needed information from them to prefill the loan application. Occasionally, the software asks Helen to double check some entries and supply a few additional pieces of data not found in her documents.
  • The software orders third-party information services like employment verification, address verification and tax transcripts. With this data, the software can complete the first stage of mortgage origination — the preparation, completion and verification of the application file — all behind the scenes.
  • Within a few hours, a complete and clean application is ready for underwriting and submitted into the loan-origination system.

•  •  •

With the latest tools, automating manual business processes — and replacing the old way of doing things — can streamline decision-making, lower costs, improve loan quality and compliance, and maybe most importantly, increase borrower satisfaction. In a market environment where every edge counts, improving your customer satisfaction may prove to be the difference between sinking or swimming. 


 
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