Adjusting to the challenges of doing business today has been a first time experience for the vast majority of mortgage professionals. But at the end of the day, lenders have been great about putting the safety of their employees and customers above business-as-usual.
This has meant adapting to a remote-based, distributed work environment. With little to no experience in that area, mortgage lenders are having to rethink all of their conventional processes and innovate on the fly.
At Floify, we have a unique perspective on managing a distributed team. Our own employees have been splitting time between the Floify office and the friendly confines of their home offices for a year-and-a-half.
Many of the same systems and processes that enable our team to function effectively can be applied to the struggles that mortgage teams are experiencing as they encounter this work arrangement for the first time.
From communicating strategy proposals for potential borrowers to getting closing disclosures signed, here are some of the best systems out there to help lenders transform their business into a highly effective and efficient distributed operation.
Slack: One of the most popular (and for good reason) internal communication and collaboration tools in the world, Slack is an excellent system for employees to quickly fire off questions, exchange files, or jump on a quick video call. Teams can take advantage of the system’s free plan for an unlimited period of time.
As an added benefit, we developed an integration between Floify and Slack that creates a new Slack channel for every loan flow in Floify and turns it into an event and conversation log, showing when documents are uploaded, or milestones are checked off and by whom. Team members can offer their comments within the channel and create an excellent record of loan file activity.
Google G-Suite: For loan originators who track data with spreadsheets, create slide-based presentations for partners, or utilize cloud storage for long-term document retention, Google’s G-Suite collection of applications is tough to beat.
The cloud-based platform offers real-time collaboration, allowing multiple individuals to work simultaneously on the same document. Other services such as Google Calendar offer transparency and easy meeting scheduling to keep everyone in the office in-the-loop on the day’s activities.
If your company powers its business email with Google, you’ve already got access to these applications.
Zoom: By now you’ve probably heard of Zoom, as it has become a huge part of many everyday lives, allowing people to hold video-based meetups with their friends, families, and coworkers.
But Zoom was designed to be a business-enabling software, used for everything from hosting webinars to screen-sharing presentations.
And this is exactly the area where this potent system can be of huge value for a loan originator. Being able to hold video meetings with prospective borrowers or past clients who want to review a loan strategy, or organizing a virtual “lunch-and-learn” for real estate partners to keep them informed or help them navigate the uncertainties in the purchase market can help keep business feeling as close to normal as is possible, and maintain the high-touch approach that borrowers and partners appreciate.
Zoom also offers a solid free plan with no trial period, the biggest drawback being that group meetings have a 40-minute restriction.
Digital Point-of-Sale: There was a time, not long ago, when the web-based mortgage point-of-sale wasn’t considered an absolute “must-have” mortgage system. The current environment has put that argument to rest.
Loan originators have to provide borrowers with the digital capabilities necessary to manage their transactions. This means having a digital loan application, a secure web portal for uploading supporting documentation, and an easy way to monitor the status of their loan as it moves through the origination process.
The digital point-of-sale puts all of these functions under one roof, amplifying organization and efficiency.
If you’re not already employing a digital point-of-sale system, you can test drive Floify for free.
DocuSign: Authorizations and disclosures were already one of the more cumbersome portions of the origination process. Particularly in the case of disclosure, these are large, time-sensitive documents and under current conditions are being made even trickier for originators.
Borrowers can’t just come into the office to review and sign their disclosures right now, and to expect them to print off the entire package at home is a huge ask.
The solution is an intuitive eSignature system such as DocuSign that allows borrowers to review the documents digitally and guides them through the electronic signing process. We are fans of DocuSign in particular because of their strong reputation and ease of integration with many modern point-of-sale systems, like Floify. In fact, Floify’s Disclosure Desk solution leverages the DocuSign platform to provide the integrated eSignature capability it requires.
Developing Remote Work Guidelines
The final piece that makes all of this work is developing the guidelines and processes within your operation that each employee will need to be responsible for upholding.
These are what seem like simple functions like making sure your calendar is up-to-date, following through on the day’s tasks, and our favorite: overcommunicating.
Get some face time with employees every day, have them record their daily activities so everyone knows what people are working on.
Putting these types of systems and guidelines into place is critical to maintaining a healthy and efficient distributed mortgage operation.