Last spring, the housing industry was forced to pivot its traditionally in-person processes and harness available technology resources amid the spread of COVID-19. Now, the industry will need to take a step back to figure out which fintech solutions can provide long-term solutions, according to Andy Crisenbery, Black Knight Senior Vice President of eLending Solutions and 2019 HousingWire Tech Trendsetter.
“Technology needs to support the business, not define how the business operates,” Crisenbery said. “We need to work to provide better integrations, tune the technologies to support the business and make sure that considerations for digital mortgages are included in the mid- and long-term technology roadmaps.”
HousingWire reached out to Crisenbery to discuss how COVID-19 has driven technology resources into the housing industry and what’s to come as we enter 2021. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
HousingWire: How has COVID-19 impacted technology strategies for mortgage lenders?
Andy Crisenbery: COVID-19 has had a profound effect on almost all business lines in the real estate and lending markets. Not only from the standpoint of the wellbeing of everyone affected, but it has quickly established a more remote working environment. Real estate and lending have traditionally been social businesses, from the time a property is listed for sale, through the selling/purchasing process and, in most cases, the mortgage banking and lending activities as well. All participants in the real estate transaction have had to re-learn how to do business due to COVID-19, and technology has played a big part of this transformation. We have all been working quickly to further advance digital mortgages and related technologies for years, and COVID-19 drove those technologies into each part of the mortgage lending process with urgency and with measurable commitment.
HW: Where are you finding opportunity to meet client needs and grow relationships?
AC: At Black Knight, we had innovative closing technologies for both the lenders and title agents for quite some time. Many of our clients were really caught by surprise with the challenges of operating remotely and transacting using electronic technologies. We had, and continue to have, a huge focus on streamlining efforts required to deploy electronic technology and helping our clients optimize those tools in their business environment. A great example is remote online notarization. This is a great technology solution that really helps with the challenges of COVID-19, but unless your business is prepared to deploy, use and support RON, you won’t be very successful in using it. Across the company, Black Knight quickly formed the additional support required to make these solutions effective. When you are able to help your clients, and partner with them in not only surviving the market environment but helping them grow using new technologies – it’s a winning relationship all around.
HW: Where would you advise clients focus their technology resources as we prepare for 2021?
AC: As COVID-19 drove the use of collaborative technologies and digital processes into the mortgage lending market quickly, I believe the remainder of this year and the beginning of 2021 will require our resources to step back and really take a look at how they can use those tools to help their business most effectively. Technology needs to support the business, not define how the business operates. COVID-19 forced us to use these tools as a quick fix, and now the industry has recognized that many of these technologies will support the new normal business model. We need to work to provide better integrations, tune the technologies to support the business and make sure that considerations for digital mortgages are included in the mid- and long-term technology roadmaps.
HW: As an executive, how do you keep your learning curve steep and prepare for an increasingly digital future?
AC: I’ve been fortunate to be involved in many of the industry-based standards forums such as MISMO and ALTA. Exposure to these forums, combined with working with clients across the lending market, has been extremely helpful in exposure to new operational or technical challenges, as well as strategies to address them. I believe one of the biggest tests is to address those challenges in a way that is consumable to all of the mortgage lending participants and systems involved. Adoption of digital mortgage and closing tools for many of today’s problems will be supported by well thought-out and integrated solutions.
Andy Crisenberry was included in HousingWire’s list of 2019 Tech Trendsetters. Nominations for the 2020 Tech Trendsetters program are open through September 25th, get full program details here.