Technology-Driven Tools Ease Underwriting Burden, Boost Efficiency
The underwriting conundrum is a story that most lenders know too well. Weighed down by manual, stare-and-compare activities, today’s underwriters are neither able to maximize their skillset nor able to accomplish more than just a few loans a day. The result is underwriter burnout and substandard lending productivity.
In a recent article, I examined the challenges the industry is facing with regard to underwriting automation – or lack thereof. Underwriting automation remains a timely and relevant concern for many mortgage lenders, and Black Knight is committed to innovating and investing in solutions that offer reprieve to burned out underwriters and process efficiencies to lenders.
Rapid Change, Record Volumes and Market Uncertainty
Underwriting pain points aren’t necessarily new, but the circumstances of our modern mortgage lending environment have amplified them. The industry is transforming at a rate we’ve not yet seen, and borrowers increasingly expect speedy processing and digital experiences. Meanwhile, historically low rates continue to drop and boost purchase and refinance volumes. Margins are narrowing and regulatory requirements are ever-changing. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic and a new administration are adding a layer of uncertainty for the future, though low rates and refinance volumes are expected to continue this year.
With these conditions in mind, lenders are wise to take a step back and consider their current practices and technologies. Unsurprisingly, gaining underwriting efficiencies continues to land at the top of many lenders’ wish lists. Before we dive into solutions, let’s examine the reality of those closest to the matter: underwriters.
The Underwriter’s Burden
Underwriters are up against a lot – and as a former underwriter myself, I can attest to their burden. Bogged down with tedious, analog tasks, they have little time left to put their specialized skills to use, spurring job dissatisfaction and lost productivity.
Fundamentally, underwriters are the financial experts in the lending process. They take a deeper dive into the data than anyone else to determine borrower eligibility, completing complex analyses and minimizing risk. This is a critical responsibility, and understandably, the weight of it costs lenders a pretty penny. Underwriters are some of the highest-paid employees at lending firms, making underwriting the most expensive step in the process.
So why are these highly qualified, essential employees so often spending their time digging through disorganized data, tracking down missing documents and signatures, and performing line-by-line comparisons of tax returns and bank statements? In a world where just about everything is automated, from our robot vacuums to public transportation, isn’t there a better way?
For Black Knight, it’s a resounding “yes!”