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Wells Fargo, Bank of America reveal true impact of digital mortgages

BofA expects 50% of applications to be digital by 2019

Both Wells Fargo and Bank of America rolled out digital mortgage applications this year, and the megabanks revealed Tuesday just how much the programs are already being utilized by mortgage applicants. Hint: A lot.

Representatives from Wells Fargo and Bank of America spoke Tuesday during a digital mortgage session at the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Brian Webster, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage senior vice president and strategic planning manager, told the crowd that Wells Fargo officially began using its digital mortgage application in January, and already more than a quarter of its mortgage applications are coming through the digital channel.

According to Webster, approximately 28% of the bank’s mortgage applications came through its digital application in September. And the bank only expects that to grow going forward.

As for Bank of America, John Schleck, senior vice president of centralized and online consumer lending at Bank of America, didn’t reveal just how many digital applications the bank is getting right now, but Schleck said that the bank expects 50% of its applications to be digital by next year.

Schleck said that the digital mortgage application has been very well received by its customers, some of whom are more able/willing to complete the entire thing online themselves.

“People are very comfortable doing what they’re comfortable with right up until they’re not,” Schleck said. “Some people do the whole thing.  Some people only answering a couple questions and that’s all they feel comfortable with.” At that point, BofA loan officers come into the process and help the borrower through the process.

Both Schleck and Webster said that loan officers will still pay a role in the loan process, regardless of how digital the process becomes. “It’s never going to be one-size-fits-all,” Webster said. “But the role of the loan officer is going to change. They’re going to become more of an advisor.”

Schleck also said that Bank of America will be integrating its artificial intelligence-driven virtual assistant Erica into the mortgage process more and more moving forward.

For Wells Fargo and Bank of America (as well as the panels other participants from Blend, MERS, and First American), the future is digital and they’re going to be ready for it.

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