The overwhelming trend of the last few years in the mortgage industry has been a monster push to implement and integrate modern technologies that help streamline workflows, reduce paper-based processes, and create a more efficient environment for lenders and borrowers.
But with more lenders getting up-and-running with their mortgage tech, attention is turning towards the overall borrowing experience and how to boost satisfaction, not just how to speed it up.
A great borrowing experience is like a hummingbird feeder for mortgage lenders. People want to experience the same breath-of-fresh-air approach their peers raved about. Partners will refer more of their clients to the originator who is consistently generating positive feedback from their clients.
It’s both a business generator and a competitive differentiator.
To put forth your best process, we’ve put together five of the most important steps originators should make to take advantage of borrower’s current sentiments and craft a world-class lending experience:
1. Multi-Channel Communications
Ellie Mae’s recent 2019 Borrower Insights Survey provides a tremendous amount of great data points that reflect the changing attitudes of mortgage borrowers towards the use of, and preference for, technologies during the lending process.
One of the more interesting snippets involved lender-borrower communications, as Ellie Mae found that borrowers “continue to show a strong desire for more options for interaction and communication with their lender”.
Some borrowers (particularly younger generations) reported using, on average, six of the nine different channels of communication listed (email, phone, text, chat, etc).
Borrowers want to know they can get information when they need it, and via their preferred channel, which correlates with higher satisfaction ratings.
2. Accountability – Under Promise, Over Deliver
One of the fastest ways to lose the trust of your clients and referral partners, and cause them to seek out future alternatives for their business, is by failing to follow through when you say you will.
Whether that’s sending information when you said you would, calling when you said you would, or plain old doing something that you promised would get done (usually in a specific timeframe).
It comes down to setting appropriate expectations and knowing yourself and your capacity. One of the best expressions in business remains: “under promise, over deliver”.
This means setting expectations that are intentionally less aggressive and then delivering the expected services prior to the established deadline.
For your clients, this provides the opposite emotional response: one of thankfulness and appreciation because you’ve exceeded their expectations.
We have spoken MANY times about the practical benefits of modern mortgage technology to create a more efficient lending process for all parties involved.
But it’s not just about efficiency and getting the clear-to-close a week faster than previously.
To borrowers, having particular digital tools at their disposal is incredibly convenient and makes their experience smoother and more adaptable to their lifestyle.
Still not sold? Ellie Mae’s Borrower Insight report also showed us that digital mortgage offerings are more than just a “nice to have”.
50% of surveyed borrowers said that they chose their lender based on the presence of an online application or portal, and 47% said that being able to upload documents online was also an important determining factor in the decision-making process.
4. Remove Friction
We recently wrote on the subject of friction in mortgage origination, and how removing it from some of the most frustrating elements of the process can have some dramatic effects on the overall experience for borrowers – not to mention your bottom line.
Did you know that nearly 60% of abandoned mortgage applications are due to borrowers feeling it takes too long?
Or that one out of every five borrowers who abandon a loan application ends up choosing a DIFFERENT lender?
The 1003 loan application is a prime example of a daunting task for borrowers, when it’s not made as convenient as possible for them. For first-time borrowers, it’s particularly overwhelming to look at that document in it’s entirety.
That’s why forward-thinking mortgage professionals been shifting to more advanced methods of collecting these important data points.
Modern loan applications, like Floify’s interview-style 1003, smoothly guide the applicant through their questionnaire and eliminate needless and time-consuming elements that don’t apply to the prospect, considerably reducing the time to complete.
And that’s just to remove the friction during the loan application process.
A poor experience interacting with any of your systems or processes that results in borrower frustration can pour freezing cold water on the client’s enthusiasm for working with you, and possibly even kill your deal (or worse yet, hand it on a platter to your competition).
5. Double Down on Human Touch Points
Between the surveys and the anecdotes, if there’s one thing we’ve learned makes for a great borrowing experience, it’s combining all of the great things that technology can provide with the human-to-human interaction that people still really want in their business relationships.
In fact, one of the best attributes of mortgage technology is that when it’s doing its job, a loan originator has more time to spend on those human touch interactions. Making phone calls to clients, past and present, and putting the time and effort into developing those relationships becomes much easier to fit in normal business hours.
Just like the desire for enhanced communication, younger borrowers are particularly more likely to want to develop a strong relationship with their lender. They want to feel comfortable asking their questions, and trust that the answers they receive are borne out of their best interests.