Merging mortgage innovation and the gig economy

Movement CIO: Loan officers need mobile technology

How should a mortgage company think about developing technology?

This debate ranks among the most important facing our industry. After decades of inertia, we are now flooded on a daily basis with products and features that promise to lower costs, improve the user experience or speed up the process. The arms race has reached such proportions that many of us are developing or buying technology before even knowing why or how we’ll use it to make a meaningful impact.

The sprint to be simply perceived as an innovator is just as fierce as the technology race itself.

Meanwhile, the weighty issues facing our industry — inequitable access to homeownership, ambiguous lending standards, rising costs — remain an opportunity unmet.

At Movement, we’re committed to meeting these challenges by following two core beliefs:

  1. We should tap into the smartest, most creative and most disruptive talent available.
  2. We have real problems, real data and real use cases that innovators crave.

Our goal is to tap into the Gig Economy by sourcing solutions and ideas from the vast global supply network of start-ups, incubators, fintechs, and open source collaborators who are willing to compete to build rapid solution prototypes without all the bureaucracy and inertia of traditional commercial, contractual constructs.

Rather than limit innovation to our own small team or resort to off-the-shelf solutions, it is our intention to leverage smart, creative, disruptive technologists to help Movement think, test and deploy disruptive digital products to the market. We can accomplish this by giving them unique access to our proprietary use cases and partnering with them to develop new tools that will eventually be available to the entire marketplace.  

Movement’s maiden voyage in this approach began this spring with a crowdsource competition to design and develop a digital operating system to improve the productivity of a loan officer.

Our research showed loan officers need mobile technology that will help them stay organized, proactive in scheduling and communication, and connected to other apps through one clean, efficient user interface on all their devices — phone, tablet and computer. In addition, we want our LOs to extend this platform to borrowers and real estate agents who need to stay connected to the loan process.

We then issued a challenge to 10 targeted digital design and software development companies: Review the requirements of this platform and within eight weeks return a technical prototype for how this new operating system would look, function and be architecturally engineered. The companies included in the challenge ranged from Fortune 100 global IT firms to start-up fintechs. All parties were given the same requirements, and a $25,000 reward was established for the winner.

Next week, the competitors will come to the Movement Mortgage headquarters and present their concepts, ideas and designs. The winner will earn the opportunity to sign a contract to co-develop the solution into a full-blown commercial product, to be used by Movement Mortgage and the broader industry.

This digital crowd source is a small first step in what will be a consistent approach for Movement — the utilization of smart, young, creative, independent digital minds in the public sphere who want to work on meaningful problems and projects. These young minds exist in our own companies, large multinational IT firms, cutting edge Silicon Valley fintechs, start-ups, and individual digital knowledge workers that move from project to project as a way of life.

My goal is to see this become a way of life, not just for Movement, but our entire industry. The opportunity before us is much larger than our own PR or convenience. By leveraging the Gig Economy, we can develop solutions that will make homeownership more accessible, equitable and achievable for all Americans.


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