As automation continues to make a sizable impact on the real estate industry, finding the smartest ways to utilize it can help lenders sharpen their competitive edge. HousingWire recently spoke with Erin Wilson, Senior Vice President of Client Services at DataVerify, about how automating customizable workflows can help lenders save time, enabling them to focus more on building relationships with borrowers.
HousingWire: From loan origination to closing, where are some key opportunity areas that could offer lenders a competitive advantage?
Erin Wilson: Something that lenders are almost always focused on is how to do more with less—how to automate as much of the process as possible. One of the best ways to address this concern is to have a relationship with a provider that will review their customers’ specific workflows. Many lenders are not aware of all the areas in which they can automate their processes and better configure their tools to fit their specific needs. There are thousands of lenders and each one can have unique ways of originating a loan, different investors whose guidelines they have to follow, or different target markets that present unique challenges. A good collaborator creates knowledgeable relationships with their customers—really gets to know and understand how the client does business. This allows the provider to optimize the products or platform for the specific customer’s needs. A more tailored solution that incorporates automation usually leads to more efficiency and faster turn times—which is what borrowers are really looking for in a lender.
HW: What about today’s market makes having customizable workflows so vital to a lender’s success?
EW: This is a really tight market right now. Rates are increasing, lenders are struggling to find borrowers and inventory is not plentiful. Once the lender has interest from a borrower, it’s vital that they have a good idea as to who the borrower is quickly. Customizable workflows can help quickly evaluate the borrower so the lender doesn’t waste time working with a borrower who does not have the capacity or spend extra time on a borrower who should be fast tracked through the process due to less risk. Basically, the idea is quick and accurate—the most robust and accurate set of data needed for the borrower’s specific situation in the shortest time frame.
HW: In what ways do lenders benefit from vendors who have good customer service?
EW: It can be difficult from a lender’s standpoint to identify areas of their workflow that can be improved— often because they have been doing something one way for so long they don’t realize there are ways to improve the process. That’s where a good relationship with a knowledgeable provider comes in. Lenders need easy-to-use and easy-to-learn solutions, but they also need vendors that can suggest improvements to the configuration of those solutions. For instance, at DataVerify, our account management and risk teams work together to review our clients’ processes creating a strong collaboration with our clients. We often observe and suggest improvements that the lender may not be aware of.
We work with our clients to pinpoint ways that we can better tailor our solution to improve their process. Sometimes this looks like simplifying a few steps, routing the input data in various ways to fit different loan types, adding specific watchlists or conditions, creating standards to improve quality control, etc. But often lenders don’t know that the solution is capable of all these configurations so they need their vendor to be able to study their process and come up with the best option. And on top of that, the solutions need to be able to be implemented quickly and easily so that lenders avoid exposing themselves to unnecessary risk or losing valuable time.
HW: What are some advantages that your team brings to lenders as well as DataVerify overall?
EW: One of the main things that my team does really well is working with our risk team on account reviews. This is something we do on our end and then bring to our customers so they don’t have to initiate this process. We are proactively thinking ahead for our clients. Our Risk team is a group of dedicated risk experts who are constantly studying the marketplace patterns, looking for ways that lenders may be exposed to risk, as well as alerting us to fraud schemes and trends. My team then reviews our clients’ processes with the risk team and works together to suggest various ways clients could improve their workflow, implement better rules for consistency, suggest turning off or on conditions based on needs and compliance concerns, and other various configurations. We do this on a regular basis and at no additional cost.
It’s so valuable to lenders to have a relationship with a company like DataVerify who is able to not only help them with efficiency, consistency, and risk mitigation but often doing it before the lender really even has a chance to evaluate these concerns on their own. We want the best for our clients so we work really hard to provide them with a best in class solution that is truly made to work in the best possible way for them right now and as they grow and develop. Their needs will not always be the same ones that they have right now. We are here to help them grow and our solutions are able to adjust to them rather than requiring they adjust to us.