Residential Magazine

Data Reveals Changing Borrower Behavior

Originators need to be in tune with consumer preferences during the pandemic

By Mike Eshelman

For many, work from home became the new normal and will continue to be through the rest of this year. People learned they needed to set calendar reminders to brush their teeth and put on deodorant, Zoom meetings became the standard and everybody had more time to take care of personal tasks during the workday.

As part of a fast-paced industry, originators and other mortgage professionals transitioned well from working in the office to working from home during a time of historically low interest rates, which resulted in record-breaking origination volume. The work-environment changes weren’t limited to the mortgage industry — this was a change for everyone.

Data-as-a-service companies hold a unique view of consumer shopping behaviors, which savvy lenders access in order to make better prioritization decisions. These companies can tie the actual consumer behind each shopping event to client databases, enabling them to stitch together the consumer shopping journey.

These companies also can distinguish between the different loan types that consumers are researching. Consequently, mortgage originators can be informed as to which consumers are interested in a refinance, purchase loan, home equity loan or reverse mortgage.

Changing preferences

COVID-19 has adjusted the way that people in the mortgage industry do things. Can you remember the last time you shook someone’s hand or sat in a conference room with a group of people? Before the coronavirus outbreak, video conference calls were mainly for screen sharing by the presenter and everyone had their camera turned off.

Times have changed and so have consumer preferences. People still like conducting business face to face, but that face-to-face model has turned digital and video calls with borrowers are on the rise. Over the years, lenders have adopted digital mortgage technology while still using traditional means to connect with consumers. Omnichannel marketing technology enables lenders to communicate with consumers via phone, text, email and chat as a fairly seamless experience.

Video calls, however, lacked adoption from both sides — that is, until everyone was forced to start using video in some aspect of their life. Many people quickly became infinitely more comfortable with it and have begun to prefer video calls over more traditional means of communication.

As the COVID-19 work-from-home experience has gone on, it’s certain that the mortgage industry has been taught to have a new appreciation for relationships.

Setting priorities

Identifying these shifts in consumer preference and behavior can save originators significant time and resources in the COVID-19 landscape as they adapt to being even more thoughtful in their outreach. Behavioral data — such as time spent on mortgage websites, frequency of visits, and which webpages were visited — delivers these valuable insights.

Mortgage companies are able to collect this information from their own website tools, as well as unlock these insights from data-as-a-service companies that maintain privacy-friendly methods for consumers. Being able to tap into actionable behavioral data enables originators to more appropriately provide consumers with the information they are seeking, when they prefer to receive it, thus delivering an improved consumer experience and a higher level of engagement.

Having the agility to time and tailor interactions based on recent behaviors and intent leads to engagement at the right time, with a relevant message, while respecting privacy. Behavioral data can help mortgage companies with:

  • Prioritization. The right data will provide a broad view of the ideal consumer so you can engage with them at the ideal place and time. Having a rich understanding of the data that is available within (and outside of) your organization, and what data is missing, is critical.
  • Personalization. Leveraging behavioral data will improve client experience by informing marketers of the type of content and messaging to use in outreach.
  • Performance. Focusing on individual consumers rather than mass segmentation helps marketers send recommendations that drive purchases.

Identifying patterns

Now more than ever, mortgage originators have the ability to access new data. This will provide the insights they need to help them better acquire, retain and grow their client base.

When they’re able to determine patterns in behavior, they can then use those characteristics to create better borrower experiences. Actionable data about shopping journeys can help mortgage companies find and appropriately engage with consumers who are ready to buy.

As the COVID-19 work-from-home experience has gone on, it’s certain that the mortgage industry has been taught to have a new appreciation for relationships. Being separated from colleagues, friends, family and neighbors taught everyone new ways to stay in touch, such as Zoom happy hours and drive-by birthdays. (Can anyone hear the sound of honking cars without wondering who’s having a birthday?)

The data shows that consumer behaviors and preferences have changed. Being in tune with these changes will be important to the future of mortgage lending. ●


  • Mike Eshelman

    Mike Eshelman is a certified mortgage banker and is the head of consumer finance at Jornaya, a data-as-a-service platform that helps companies attract and retain clients using a proprietary network of more than 35,000 comparison-shopping and lead-generation sites. For more information, visit

You might also like...