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Margin compression could serve as accelerant toward digital closings

How 2020 Woman of Influence Camelia Martin is helping lenders maximize digitization efforts

As a leader in the adoption, implementation and use of digital mortgages Camelia Martin’s breadth of experience has never been more relevant to the industry. A 2020 Woman of Influence, Martin joined Snapdocs earlier this year as Head of Industry and Regulatory Affairs. 

“Many lenders were not able to pivot as quickly as they would have liked – but they haven’t thrown in the towel yet,” said Martin. “In 2021, the potential for margin compression could serve as yet another accelerant towards digital mortgage closings as lenders seek to improve capital efficiency and offer a more competitive experience to borrowers.”

We reached out to Martin to discuss her latest digital mortgage closing initiatives and what she sees for the next generation of leaders in housing.

HousingWire: The future of the digital mortgage has been a topic of interest, particularly since the emergence of COVID. What advances are you seeing being made and how has adoption changed over the past year?

Martin: COVID catalyzed digital mortgage closings by creating a renewed sense of urgency. As a result, the industry saw significant enablement of digital mortgage closings from a counterparty, policy, and legislative standpoint. From an implementation standpoint, however, lenders were still left to deal with significant challenges when it came to identifying the optimal approach towards implementing digital mortgage closings within their organizations, or fully operationalizing those implementations. 

There are a few reasons for this: 1) ambiguity or lack of transparency into factors that determine how digital a particular closing can be (compounded by the number of variables that influence these factors); 2) a general underestimation of the change management associated with these implementations; and 3) unprecedented loan volumes further constrained lenders’ ability to deploy the resources needed to fully operationalize these implementations within their organizations. Because of this, many lenders were not able to pivot as quickly as they would have liked – but they haven’t thrown in the towel yet. In 2021, the potential for margin compression could serve as yet another accelerant towards digital mortgage closings as lenders seek to improve capital efficiency and offer a more competitive experience to borrowers. 

HW: Can you tell us a bit about your new role as Head of Industry & Regulatory Affairs at Snapdocs and any projects that you’re excited about working on in 2021?

CM: I’m incredibly excited to have joined the Snapdocs team. Throughout my career, I’ve worked on digital mortgage closing initiatives ranging from education, policy, standards, operations, and technology. In this role, I can combine all of these facets and work even more closely with our lenders and the industry to advance digital mortgage closings.

I’m also a huge believer in the approach the company took in designing a closing solution that truly recognizes and fully accommodates the role each participant plays in the closing transaction, including the lender, borrower, settlement agent, and notary. This approach ensures all participants see value in digital mortgage closings, and it’s that value that will ultimately drive adoption.

One area I’m focused on in particular this year is to help further transparency and uniformity in digital mortgage closing policies, enabling lenders to maximize their digitization efforts. 

HW: When you think about the future of housing, what skills do you think are most important for the next generation of leaders to develop?

CM: The concept of mentorship is incredibly important in any industry, but I think it’s particularly critical to housing finance. There’s a lot of complexity and so many different aspects to learn that it can be incredibly overwhelming. I credit a great deal of my professional development to a couple of mentors that shared their knowledge with me, provided coaching, championed my growth, or simply offered to serve as a sounding board from time to time when I needed it. I was fortunate that these relationships occurred organically, as I wasn’t necessarily cognizant of the need to seek out mentors earlier in my career. I think both today’s leaders and the next generation of leaders stand to benefit from prioritizing the development of these relationships, and organizations should take more deliberate steps to encourage mentorship programs. 

The Women of Influence program recognizes the outstanding efforts of women in driving the U.S. housing economy forward. Nominations for 2021 Women of Influence close this Friday, April 23

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