How Digitization Enhances a Personal Touch

Building the ideal mortgage experience requires a thoughtful balance of technology and personal interaction.

 

Technology brings practical benefits to the mortgage process — among them, increasing efficiency and scalability, decreasing errors and accelerating the process for borrowers. Moreover, engaging consumers in a way that is familiar to them – through technology – can make the loan origination process less stressful and more delightful. However, there remain specific points in the process at which borrowers prefer the option for human interaction, and real estate lenders must ensure their tech stack leaves space for a human touch.

 

Ellie Mae’s 2019 Borrower Insights Survey reports that communication between borrower and lender increased 20 percent among borrowers who had taken out loans in the year preceding the 2019 study, compared with those who had taken out a loan in the three to five years preceding it. This could be due to the younger and first-time borrowers who have entered the market, who want to have their questions answered, and seek confidence that their loan process is on track. They still expect technology to be part of their mortgage experience, though, as 50 percent said they chose lenders based on whether they offered an online application or portal, and 47 percent said that document uploading capabilities were also crucial to their choice. Additionally, technology can increase transparency – building the confidence that borrowers seek.

 

A Winning Formula

The challenge for lenders is to get the mix of digitization and human touch just right, making the most of both technology and people to maximize efficiency, quality control, and customer service.

 

Matthew Woodhouse, managing director, Valuations, at ServiceLink, explains, “It’s important to identify the critical human touchpoints in your process and then determine how to enhance them. Building the EXOS technology platform from the ground up allowed us to make strategic decisions about which parts of the process should be fully automated and which would benefit from continued human touch. We always rely on insights from subject-matter experts — those with hands-on involvement in the processes — to make sure we’re getting the balance right. For example, we built our appraiser module with appraisers not just in mind, but alongside us in the room.”

 

In some places, full automation not only makes sense but is expected, Woodhouse adds. Consumers feel a sense of comfort and familiarity using technology and having a secure portal to submit their documents, and they like scheduling appraisals and closings at their convenience. Many back-end processes benefit from full automation as well. Here too, choices must be carefully considered.

 

Technology Enhances the Personal Experience

In addition to adding efficiency, speed and savings to the mortgage process, technology can help lenders know their customers, prospects and markets better, which can lead to more meaningful engagements and stronger brand loyalty.

 

“Technology enables us to analyze hundreds of thousands of transactions quickly, which helps us adapt products to the changing market and provides lenders with insights to help them better serve their customers,” says Woodhouse. “For example, by analyzing borrower behaviors in a particular geographic market, we can help lenders see that their process is being slowed not because of internal issues but because, when scheduling an appraisal, borrowers in their market tend to skip over three appointments before locking one in. We communicate this to lenders through their dashboards; they can then advise their loan officers to take proactive steps such as alerting the borrower of a scheduling request and making sure they understand that cleaning their house isn’t necessary for the appraisal.”

 

Lenders that are taking advantage of the opportunities to strengthen their customer relationships through technology understand that personal service and digital experiences deliver best when they work together. “Technology can certainly add efficiencies, accuracy and speed to the mortgage process,” Woodhouse concludes, “but personal service will always be essential to outstanding customer experience.”

 

The bottom line: lenders and their service providers must invest in understanding the needs and preferences of today’s consumers and using that insight to continue advancing the digital mortgage experience. Lenders who get it right will inevitably gain share and increase revenue.

 

Visit exostechnology.com to learn more about mortgage technology built to enhance service and profitability.