Access to smartphones is redefining consumer expectations and getting a mortgage is a “wildly different” experience for homebuyers when compared to other online transactions.
And not in a good way, according to Fannie Mae CEO Timothy Mayopoulous. “With Amazon shopping one click away and streaming Netflix on your smartphone, looking for a mortgage is a wildly different digital experience,” he said in an interview this morning after reporting another profitable quarter.
However, the experience is improving as more lenders turn to tech to attract potential homeowners. “The desire to win borrowers should drive that progress,” he added.
So while the industry as a whole is rowing in the same direction, efforts to streamline the appraisal process, Mayopoulous said, is a step in the right direction for Fannie Mae, which earlier this year refined its appraisal policies, which reduced overall appraiser responsibilities.
“We are not interested in eliminating appraisals, but we should be exploring options electronically,” he said. “Appraisers should be at their desks,” not in the field with a measuring tape, making phone calls to track down homeowners, he added.
Mayopoulos said homeowners can get frustrated in some larger housing markets where appraiser turnaround times can run six to eight weeks. This experience should and can be streamlined for Fannie Mae approved lenders, he said, in order to help bridge the aforementioned digital gap between homeowner expectations and getting a mortgage.
Further, Mayopoulos mentioned that the mortgage origination industry was dealing with higher appraisal volumes.
“I have not gone out and counted how many appraisers there are, but the average age is well into their 50s,” he said. The new pilot program encourages bringing on apprentices who can help tackle the field work.
By speeding up the appraisal process, Fannie Mae believes it can significantly improve efficiencies in the lending experience for homebuyers and maybe reduce some of the fixed costs.
“It’s a different ecosystem, we need to reduce costs for lenders, as well,” he said.
Appraisals are just the latest area Fannie Mae is focused on as it makes a strategic move to be more more agile and customer focused.