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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   October 2017

A Brave New Mortgage World

Embracing technology can help enhance the borrower experience

We live in a world being remade at an ever-faster pace by technology. By simplifying and connecting every aspect of our lives, technology has made it possible for us to work wherever and whenever we desire.

Perhaps nobody can benefit from that evolution more than mortgage originators. A flood of new technology platforms, service-innovation tools, mobile apps and even integrations with chatbots and voice-activated devices like Amazon’s Alexa, are changing the face and personality of the mortgage process.

Technology can improve the borrower experience, increase transparency, simplify the mortgage process, offer digital oversight to compliance and ultimately save everyone money. We’re already seeing it transform the process and power faster, simpler lending interactions.

Consumer driven

A new age of tech-savvy consumers, powered by the rapidly growing millennial homebuying market and their tech-comfortable parents, are making new demands on how borrowers apply for loans and go through the mortgage process.

Many borrowers today want self-service applications backed up by mortgage professionals they can contact at a moment’s notice when they hit a snag. Originators are realizing that technology can improve the borrower experience without usurping their role. In fact, it can actually make their lives easier.

By offering borrowers a more active role in the mortgage process, all parties in the transaction can work in tandem, easing the minds of nervous borrowers while taking the pressure off originators to proactively share updates.

Today’s technology can simplify and expedite applying for a mortgage, and provide borrowers with a complete overview of the process and all information they must submit. It also provides ongoing access to loan status and threaded discussions, and provides transparency to third parties, such as attorneys or accountants. Perhaps best of all, this information is accessible on the borrower’s schedule from whatever device they feel most comfortable using.

Even mainstream consumer technologies are finding a place in the mortgage world.

Borrowers want a straightforward decisionmaking process. Lenders and originators want speed and an automated process that provides a deep understanding of their borrowers’ underlying risks and collateral, so they can price the loan appropriately. And, of course, mortgage companies want efficiency and automated compliance. To accomplish these goals, the industry is turning to key technology-enabled capabilities.

Embrace the future

With all the new financial technology available for homebuyers, it might be natural to wonder if these advances will replace mortgage originators. The simple answer is no, because the role of the originator to guide borrowers through the process is invaluable.

In fact, by embracing these technologies, originators begin to transform themselves and their institutions from something that often was a barrier to homeownership into the new role of trusted adviser.  This advisory role also moves outward as the originator becomes an even more critical source to Realtors and other related parties in the homebuying process.

Loan originators are at the epicenter of dictating which technologies will be adopted, but first they need to embrace the future that technology provides. As new apps and websites move into the industry, originators must prove their worth to borrowers. With technology handling mundane tasks, originators can spend more time educating borrowers about the intricacies of the mortgage process and coaching them through the steps.

Although originators may work with the latest and greatest technology, it won’t replace them anytime soon. People want to be guided through this important transaction by professionals they can trust. Technology simply provides a better, faster, more modern platform to get the processing done.

Automated solutions that order reports, verify assets and income, and reduce manual processes empower originators to complete loan applications in less time with greater accuracy. But the human touch that truly encompasses best service is something technology can never replace.

Apply yourself

Borrowers want an easy application process. To meet this demand, mortgage originators are turning to key technology-enabled capabilities, such as prequalification and pre-approval tools. These web portals and mobile apps conveniently capture a potential borrower’s basic data to begin the application process, while giving them an estimate of their mortgage qualification.

This technology, paired with direct data aggregation — which enables originators to obtain client data such as credit, income, assets and property information from verified third parties — significantly reduces the borrower’s effort in assembling documentation, while also improving the quality, timeliness and reliability of the data. The latest technology platforms also allow originators to conduct business from anywhere, on any device, with ease and efficiency.

Technology also has improved information flow during the entire loan process. Video and nonvideo chat, threaded discussions, co-browsing and an emerging class of augmented reality applications, are facilitating and enhancing communication between all parties, as well as effectively monitoring the loan at every stage of the process.

Originators who use these technologies along with their customer relationship management (CRM) software can more effectively manage client relationships and monitor their customers’ loan requirements and progress. At the same time, borrowers are empowered with a one-stop location to track the loan through its life cycle.

This transparency allows all parties to know exactly where a transaction is in the process, and have predictability and visibility into loan status and closing dates.  After closing, these technologies become a convenient and familiar way to continue enhancing customer and third-party satisfaction.

Even mainstream consumer technologies are finding a place in the mortgage world. Amazon’s intelligent personal digital assistant, Alexa, is being used by some originators to improve customer service by offering instant and continual access to information about their current pipeline. Alexa can stream-line day-to-day business operations with voice-activated capabilities that provide pipeline status, integrated communications, scheduling and much more.

You must comply

With technology driving the entire loan process, it becomes imperative that it properly addresses compliance. Much of the business-to-business software on the market today is designed to make the lives of mortgage professionals easier, yet many are reluctant to adopt the technology because of compliance concerns. The truth is that compliance and technology are perfect partners.

Instead of fearing that technology endangers compliance, originators should embrace the reality that technology can actually help lenders abide by regulations and stay compliant without adversely affecting the loan process or the borrower’s experience.

Today’s technology can continually review loans to ensure they are compliant with the latest investor and insurer guidelines, as well as state and federal regulations. This can enable loans to be more easily priced and delivered in the secondary market and help avoid fines due to noncompliance.

• • •

By effectively and thoughtfully embracing technology, originators can maximize their value to today’s borrowers and referral partners. In addition, these technologies accelerate the mortgage process, identify problems earlier and increase certainty of closing. Processing and closing a mortgage using these capabilities leads to a faster, simpler and more transparent process.

The integration of technology into the mortgage industry is here to stay, simply because it makes the whole process better, more profitable and more enjoyable for the borrower. The technology currently being used vastly simplifies the entire mortgage process, allows for better educated and more savvy borrowers, ensures compliance and ultimately results in a better experience for everyone involved. Originators who do it right will use technology to enhance service, not replace it.


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