More and more borrowers are looking for a fast, effective mortgage process that involves less paper. We recently spoke to Amanda Hill, Head of Mortgage Solutions at Reggora, about actionable steps lenders can take to overcome barriers to automation.
HousingWire: How do the sentiments of today’s average borrower heighten the need for lenders to be more competitive?
Amanda Hill: Once average borrowers realized they can work remotely to achieve a different or more rewarding work experience AND their physical presence at the office was no longer mandatory, the search for the next home (probably with more space for a home office!) or expansion of the current nest began.
In April 2021, Forbes noted that “remote work is here to stay” and where people choose to live will continue to change. The need for a mortgage from a lender who delivers an amazing experience to facilitate this is essential, but borrowers know what they want! The pandemic and ensuing demand for spacious houses and refinances put the pains of the mortgage process into focus. Borrowers quickly made it clear that they expected a faster process with less paper. Lenders need to be prepared to move (pardon the pun!) with these changes to stay competitive.
Millennials and Gen Z borrowers who use their cell phones and tablets for almost everything expect an effective, fast process to obtain their loans. They are rapidly becoming a key segment for lenders to consider. Emphasize “speed” if you want to be competitive in this environment. However, it’s not only younger borrowers who want a more efficient approach… Borrowers at all stages of homeownership are looking for user-friendly, online experiences with full visibility into the process. Modern technology is key for lenders who want to stay competitive in this regard.
HW: What are some actionable steps lenders can take to gain that competitive edge?
AH: Embracing technology and automation to give borrowers a simple, user-friendly and effective experience provides any lender with a significant advantage in today’s competitive arena. Online portals for each step in the process – applications, uploading documents and e-signing, and meaningful status updates – are crucial.
At the same time, don’t overlook your “behind the scenes” operational use of technology. Many lenders have great presence in terms of online applications and document upload capabilities, but operational solutions have not been embraced as widely as POS functionality. Using automated solutions to make the process as efficient as possible will ensure that your operations team is focusing on high impact tasks versus being bogged down by outdated spreadsheets. In addition, modern tools can help eliminate manual errors and spot potential issues to reduce unnecessary costs.
HW: Looking back at how remote work has impacted the industry, what are some key takeaways for lenders, and how does this play into what can set them apart?
AH: I think many of us in our industry collectively held our breath when offices were required to close at the beginning of the pandemic and remote work was the only avenue to continue “business as usual”. How would this work, not only for borrowers but our employees? While it is not without its challenges, there have been many upsides to lending employees working remotely.
While borrowers adapted to the pandemic and set new expectations for a modern experience, mortgage lenders and their employees experienced a new paradigm as well. Two of the obvious benefits are access to a much larger talent pool for employers (with fewer limitations on physical location) and greater flexibility for the employees.
In that same vein, mortgage employees who were previously reluctant to embrace modern technology at the office now understand and value its benefits and often enjoy the remote work experience. They are now open and willing to try new software so it’s a fantastic time for lenders to improve their tech stack. Lenders now have a great opportunity to gain a competitive edge with technology, which drives more business through effective borrower experiences and reduced turn times.
HW: How does Reggora empower lenders to embrace digital transformation?
AH: Reggora specifically addresses the needs for appraisals with the most modern, effective tools available. We’re driving innovation in an area that historically has been one of the most manual, time-consuming aspects to manage for most lenders.
Our platform is designed for speed (a la shorter turn times) and quality. Capabilities such as automated order allocation, comprehensive quality control, automated status notifications and streamlined payments all work together to free up time for both lenders and appraisers. With Reggora, lenders can offer their borrowers the modern experience they expect, such as simple appraisal scheduling, easy online payments and more visibility.
Implementing Reggora is easier than you might think. Our consultants help our lender customers set up the best processes to meet the unique needs of both the lender AND their appraisal vendors. And with our open API and integrations with major LOS and POS platforms, there’s no workflow we can’t support. Our goal is always to deliver a clean and seamless rollout that helps lenders achieve results FAST.