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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   February 2017

Mortgages Impact People's Lives

Using technology to improve the borrower experience helps elevate the industry

Over the years, mortgages have been viewed primarily as transactions, and the industry as one that generally lacked a sense of deeper meaning beyond the purpose of “getting a house” for a borrower. As we move further into 2017, the mortgage industry has an opportunity to change this perception while making this the year of automation.

Mortgages should have a greater meaning in borrowers’ minds than just sitting at a table to sign a huge stack of papers, cutting a check, and getting the key to a house. It’s up to us as mortgage professionals to make that change happen. Through our efforts, innovations and business practices, we can change the way people think about the mortgage industry.


People outside the mortgage business probably don’t fully grasp the industry’s higher level of meaning. It’s easy to look at doctors, nurses, teachers and coaches and see the value they contribute to the world. They help people and make a positive impact on peoples’ lives. These are truly feel-good professions, despite the long hours and hard work required.

The mortgage business should be categorized right along with those professions at the top of the list for “impactful careers,” but people are just not conditioned to think that way. This is an industry that you should feel proud to be a part of, a field you would want people to recognize your involvement with. Every loan you close is a dream you’ve made come true for a borrower. We are real-life dream-makers.

Those middle-aged parents that can more affordably provide groceries for their four kids because they refinanced to a lower monthly payment: That’s because of you. The newlyweds that feel the genuine rush of excitement after buying their first house together: You helped make that happen.

The list goes on and on. People have very personal and emotional attachments to the idea of homeownership, so mortgage professionals must be committed to making the lending process as easy, meaningful, and relationship-driven as possible, if they want to change the way mortgages are percevied.

Despite the mortgage industry appearing to be a commodity-driven business, client service will always be the true driver of success for any company. Client service in the wholesale market, for example, doesn’t equate to delivering a box of donuts and a rate sheet to prospective clients. That’s an old-school, outdated way of thinking and doing business.

All mortgage professionals must work harder, together, to strengthen the perceptions and messaging of the industry and put a spotlight on the good it does.

Today, the most successful lenders and mortgage companies emphasize long-term relationships over single transactions, treating it as a service business built on communication and transparency. By reprioritizing the focus of the industry on the positives of making dreams come true for borrowers, we can revolutionize the meaning of mortgages.

Technology is king

More and more borrowers are interested in simplicity. They want to move at their own pace and use mobile devices and other tools at their fingertips. Regardless of the rates, products or services mortgage originators offer, if they can’t provide those elements to borrowers on their preferred devices, those originators won’t maximize their business opportunities.

With consumer convenience in mind, two major trends will shape the mortgage industry in the coming year: the doc-less mortgage and the more widespread use of completely borrower-driven mortgage applications.

The doc-less mortgage is the dream of every borrower who risked carpel tunnel syndrome from signing page after page of application and closing documents at the beginning and end of the mortgage process. In addition, many mortgage companies are moving to completely automate elements of loan processing that had previously required hard-copy submissions, such as bank statements, tax returns and pay stubs. This is a movement every originator should rally around because it is often a pain point for borrowers.

To appeal to the more tech-savvy “do it yourself” consumers, some lenders are developing mobile application portals that originators can use to give borrowers more control over their mortgage process. These apps do more than generate a pre-approval letter. They actually allow users to navigate the entire mortgage process and apply for a loan.

Technology teams at mortgage companies also are working hard to build ways for borrowers to realize the vision of closing a loan in less than 10 days — from the comfort of their living rooms. These new capabilities will continue to reshape the way people view the mortgage experience.

Rebranding the business

Much of the blame for the misperception of the mortgage business can be traced back to professionals in the industry who haven’t done a good enough job to demonstrate the intrinsic value they deliver on a daily basis. All mortgage professionals must work harder, together, to strengthen the perceptions and messaging of the industry and put a spotlight on the good it does.

Although individual companies use public relations efforts to position themselves properly in the public eye, the mortgage industry as a whole could benefit from a collective and concerted effort to brand the business in a positive light.

The mortgage industry has lacked an overarching commitment to telling its positive story, so consumers have relied on mainstream messaging to shape their opinions. Movies, books and internet headlines have all exposed the general public to negative perceptions of the mortgage industry and the professionals working in it.

If lenders and mortgage companies are going to succeed in getting society to buy into the reality that originators are actually dream-makers, we have to do more collectively to demonstrate how “doing good” is at the heart of our business practices every single day, and that starts with focusing on the needs of today’s borrowers.


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