Achieving a true digital mortgage means looking at the bigger picture. Join BeSmartee as we discuss what it means to be a true digital mortgage.
A true digital mortgage embodies the entire loan lifecycle. From marketing and lead generation to the mortgage application, and all the way to closing and beyond. Beginning with customer-facing technology is a good start — but a true digital mortgage goes beyond front-end digital solutions.
Digital mortgage solutions should be implemented in the front and back office to automate processes, cut costs, deliver a better customer experience and close loans faster. We’ll be exploring several essential elements needed to achieve a true digital mortgage.
1. Automate Repetitive Processes
Despite the technology available today, too many lenders are still relying on outdated infrastructures and manual processes. Instead of focusing on customer service and process improvement, mortgage lenders are spending valuable time and money on managing tasks and processes better left to technology.
Mortgage lenders can use robotic process automation (RPA) to complete basic, repetitive tasks. RPA implementation involves integration on the front-end without actually changing the existing infrastructure. This means that lenders can enjoy all the benefits that RPA has to offer without a massive tech overhaul or an extensive IT budget.
In a study performed by Sutherland, a digital transformation company, a 300-item checklist was automated and the company found that 20% of tasks could be performed by a robot instead of a human. By reducing total tasks by 20%, staff could shift their attention towards more complex loans or improving the borrower experience.
Here are a few of the key benefits of mortgage automation:
- Better customer experience
- Close loans faster
- Better loan quality
- Risk mitigation through higher quality and verified data
- Shorter implementation time because RPA can be built on top of existing systems
2. Smarter AI
Mortgage lenders can do more with technology than just automating repetitive tasks. With artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, lenders can make better decisions based on data, experience and interactions. This will allow mortgage lenders to pinpoint areas and opportunities for improvements and savings.
AI uses algorithms to analyze high volumes of data and perform cognitive tasks such as classifying, making intelligent predictions and giving recommendations based on these predictions.
According to the National Mortgage Professional, the application of AI technology can reduce the typical closing time from 52 days to fewer than 20. AI also helped Bank of America automate parts of the application process where borrowers only had to fill out 10 fields, down from 330. This helped push mortgage origination volume by 6% in the first three quarters of 2019.
Meanwhile, manual processes are still being used when it comes to decision-making processes in mortgage lending. Implementing AI technology will not only boost speed and accuracy but also improve transparency and reduce overall costs. Banks and credit unions can spend more time building strong relationships with their customers and on tasks that require more attention.
3. Improve the Day-to-Day Work Experience
We’ve discussed the importance of the digital mortgage customer experience, but your employees matter too. Leveraging digital technology can also help improve the day-to-day work experience of your staff.
Digital mortgage technology can be a vital tool by allowing your loan officers to automate tasks and receive notifications and alerts throughout the loan lifecycle. Another useful tool in the mortgage industry has been chatbots.
Chatbots in mortgage lending can simplify repetitive tasks with a shorter turnaround time. Chatbots can help your loan officers by:
- Automating customer interactions
- Reducing the amount of time spent on the submission of documents
- Assisting in the validation of documents
- Adding an additional layer of security while ensuring transparency
- Minimizing time and effort spent on decision-making and processing
- Ability to perform 24/7
Technology in digital lending will never replace the human element but rather be used as a tool to improve the day-to-day operations of your employees.
4. Use API Technologies to their Full Potential
Application programming interfaces (APIs) are the way that applications communicate back and forth without direct user intervention. APIs have been around for decades, but they have significantly increased in complexity and have become an essential tool in digital mortgage lending. Using API technology, lenders can integrate different software programs to create an infrastructure that supports automated communication between these systems.
Here are implementations of API technologies in digital mortgage lending:
- Lenders could use an appraisal file retrieval API that provides access to appraisal data which lenders could pull into their own systems to make informed underwriting decisions and reduce manual workflows.
- Open banking API could eliminate the need for borrowers to provide paper documents by requesting instant access to third parties to receive this data.
- Digital mortgage lenders can integrate their platform or LOS with credit agencies to instantly determine loan eligibility.
APIs are what enable lenders to give their borrowers real-time access to their loan data. By implementing mortgage software armed with APIs, lenders can increase operational efficiency while saving time and money.
5. Embrace Innovation
To be a true digital mortgage, lenders need to embrace and prioritize innovation. Mortgage lenders tend to stick with technology that works because these systems are compliant in their existing state. Not only that, but the cost of building new systems is high and takes time to learn and train employees. Legacy systems have worked for decades for some of these institutions and change can be intimidating — we get it. But these ancient systems and infrastructures are only holding you back.
Building new systems on top of old systems won’t hold up over time, meaning change is eventually inevitable. Your competition is entering the market with cutting-edge technology and sticking with what works right now isn’t going to save you over time.
Embracing innovation and new digital mortgage technology takes courage and commitment but we believe that lenders are more than ready for that innovation.
Achieving a true digital mortgage requires a new way of thinking for mortgage lenders who are still clinging to old infrastructures. Going digital requires a defined strategy for your journey and digital solutions that will help you reduce manual work on the back-end. Your systems need to be tightly integrated and communicate with each other seamlessly. Your workforce also needs to be prepared to handle new systems and technologies.
Lastly, mortgage lenders need to continuously be evaluating their technology. Mortgage technology is always evolving, and so should your digital strategy.