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This post originally appeared on Qualia

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Mortgage origination firms today need a polished, tech-driven process to win and retain customers. A well-thought strategy will expertly weave technology’s benefits with human expertise to deliver a seamless mortgage experience. 

 

At the Mortgage Innovators Conference, mortgage leaders discussed technology’s role in mortgage finance from origination all the way through closing. Qualia’s Ty Cieloha was joined by Josh Friend, CEO of Insellerate, and Dawn Svedberg, SVP of Customer Success at Cloudvirga, and Dave Zitting, Chief Lending Officer at Avenu Technologies, to discuss the integration of technology throughout the mortgage process. 

Top of funnel sales technology

Last year, origination and sales came relatively easy for many lenders. “There were more customers than [lenders] could handle and more leads than needed,” Friend said. “Now, margins will likely start compressing [as we exit the refinance boom] and being more efficient will be more important.” 

Friend said the initial connection with the customer is the most foundational element of attracting and retaining customers. Forming this connection is often as simple as responding to an initial online inquiry in a timely fashion. Friend cited a study which found that 56% of lenders never responded to simple online inquiries. The challenge is weaving a loan officer (LO) properly and strategically into the initial phase of the transaction so that lenders can connect and stay relevant to the borrower. 

The customer journey and “middle manufacturing”

Mortgage point-of-sale (POS) systems provide borrowers with portals to engage with LOs digitally throughout the transaction. Svedberg noted that these systems create great experiences for the borrower and are now table stakes for any lender regardless of size. Businesses must now consider how to go beyond POS technology to provide an “always on” customer experience that couples self-serve technology with the personalized assistance of an LO. 

 

Cieloha agreed that ease of technology coupled with the expertise of the LO offers consumers greater confidence during one of the biggest purchases of their lives. He added that “blending technology that automates back-office operations” will be key in freeing up LOs to do what they do best when it comes to customer experience. 

 

Svedberg echoed Cieloha’s thoughts and added that digitizing data to make systems more fluid will be key to not just saving time, but allowing LOs to make more personalized contact with individual borrowers. 

Closing experience technology

Qualia found that consumers value speed, ease, and security during the closing process. To achieve this, lenders can’t rely solely on their own systems and processes—they must also consider the technology and processes used by their transaction partners including real estate agents and settlement agents. 

 

Qualia is a system of engagement for the lender, borrower, settlement agent, and real estate agent,” Cieloha said. For a given loan, lenders work through dozens of points of collaboration with their title and real estate agent partners. Qualia, the system of record for title & escrow companies across the country, makes those touchpoints easier. Qualia brings the many points of interaction between lenders, title companies, and real estate agents into one common system. 

In order to deliver a seamless closing experience, lenders must discover technology solutions that not only work well with their own systems, but also with the core workflow systems of their transaction partners. 

How to select the right technology vendors

Mortgage lenders are inundated with new technology every day. “It’s hard not to feel a fear of missing out with shiny new toys, but it’s important to do a financial analysis of the actual ROI of the solution you’re buying,” Cieloha said. “Understanding the impact of the new technology on the business is my biggest piece of advice [for lenders].”

 

In addition to evaluating the business impact of new technology, Friend and Svedberg advised business leaders to properly vet technology vendors for their mortgage expertise. “You want [to work with] those who understand the intricacies of the business,” Svedberg said. Friend also urged lenders to look at the vendor’s roadmap to see if it solves deeper challenges. If the vendor only offers point solutions for small-scale pain points, they likely aren’t a strategic partner. 

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