As the mortgage industry starts to shift online, mortgage lenders say they will need to adapt to survive. That is to say, there will always be a place for loan officers in mortgage finance.
But this doesn't mean lenders are doomed.
Lenders’ main demographic, millennials, are used to finding all their resources online, spending an average of 35 hours per week on digital media, nearly twice as much as non millennials, a report from Cultural Outreach Solutions.
Approximately 94% of millennials are active users of online banking, 72% are active users of mobile banking and 92% are active users of social media, Accenture's report on the “Digital Disruption in Banking" stated.
Kelly Adkisson, a managing director at Accenture Credit Services, explained that they are seeing a clear change in customer demographics and needs, and lenders must adapt.
"Millennials are expecting different services and capabilities from lenders,” she said. Accenture’s research suggests the emergence of a new high value customer segment – “Generation D”. Generation D spans age groups and encompasses people who are deeply digital, integrating online and social media into the fabric of their lives.
“Although we are seeing a strong uptick in customers wanting more digital interaction, we don’t think that trend replaces the need for the loan officer,” she said.
Rather, she explained that the role of the loan officer needs to evolve with technology.
“The loan officer has traditionally played, and continues to play, a significant role in guiding customers through the mortgage process,” Adkisson said.
Now that first-time buyers are entering back into the market, they require a greater degree of information and hand holding through the process, she added.
Loan officers can use technology to deliver a more positive customer experience – proactively providing loan status to customers through their preferred channel, allowing customers to submit documents via online and mobile channels, introducing e-signature options and connecting with borrowers via video chat.
While the mortgage market has been a bit slow to offer those types of tools, she explained that borrowers are looking for banks to provide more capability via online and mobile channels throughout the mortgage process.