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ICE Mortgage Technology on digital mortgage tech

In today’s HousingWire Daily episode, HousingWire Digital Media Manager Alcynna Lloyd interviews Geoff Green, the Global Head of Mortgage and Lending at Salesforce, and Chris Backe, the Partner Solutions Director at ICE Mortgage Technology. During the episode, Green and Backe discuss how companies can improve the mortgage borrower experience in today’s digital economy.

Additionally, they share some insights on ICE’s new tech innovation, Encompass Connector for Salesforce, and how financial institutions can effectively leverage it for consumer relationship management. 

Here is a small preview of the interview, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity:

Alcynna Lloyd: I’d like to focus on the unique technology challenges that financial institutions face when delivering a digital mortgage experience. What are some of these challenges? And how does the partnership between Salesforce and ICE Mortgage Technology help financial institutions overcome some of these issues? 

Chris Backe: You know, I think that the mortgage business has sort of multiple complexities to it, when it comes to technology. Obviously, the loan manufacturing process is complex in and of itself. But there’s also complexities from a lender standpoint and how they manage multiple relationships. It’s not just the borrower, there could be co-borrowers, there could be family members, there could also be other constituents involved in the transaction that include, you know, a realtor and other sort of partners that a lender works with to pull this loan together. And so from a technology standpoint, it creates some complexities for the lender, and they need multiple things to talk to each other. So, you know, when we looked at that, we looked at Salesforce being a leader in the consumer management space in the relationship management space, and it was a natural fit from our perspective, and certainly our lender customers agree. Many of our customers are shared both on the Salesforce side as well as the ICE Mortgage Technology side.

HousingWire Daily examines the most compelling articles reported across HW Media. Each afternoon, we provide our listeners with a deeper look into the stories coming across our newsrooms that are helping Move Markets Forward. Hosted by the HW team and produced by Alcynna Lloyd.

Below is the transcription of the interview. These transcriptions, powered by Speechpad, have been lightly edited and may contain small errors from reproduction

Alcynna Lloyd: Hello, HousingWire listeners, I’m joined with Geoff Green, the global head of mortgage and lending at Salesforce, and Chris Backe, the partner solutions director at ICE Mortgage Technology. In this episode of HousingWire Daily, we’ll be talking about how companies can improve the mortgage borrower experience in today’s digital economy. It’s so nice to have you both as guests. Thanks for joining us on HousingWire Daily.

Chris Backe: Thank you.

Geoff Green: Thanks for having me. Thanks for having us.

Alcynna Lloyd: Of course. So today, before we dive in today’s conversation, can you let our audience know more about both of you? Geoff, you work closely with fintech and process optimization at Salesforce, and Chris you bring over 20 years of sales and marketing experience to ICE Mortgage Technology. How did you both get to where you are today, and what has the journey been like in the housing finance sector?

Geoff Green: Well, I’ll start. So, again, thank you very much for having me here today, and it’s always a pleasure to be on with Chris from ICE Mortgage Technology. We’ve been doing a lot of work together on the Connector, which we’re excited to talk about. But yeah, I’ve been in this business a long time. I actually am celebrating five years in Salesforce, I actually think, this week. And I’ve been running point on mortgage and lending for the company for the last three or four fiscal years. And I truly enjoy the opportunity to work with customers, bank and non bank, on where customer experience fits into the end-to-end mortgage and loan lifecycle. So it’s been a real pleasure to work with so many customers, and, you know, the interesting thing about COVID is on the road less would probably even more customer touch with so many back-to-back meetings and the ability to be so many different places at once. So, happy to be here with you today, and happy to talk about how we’re innovating together.

Alcynna Lloyd: And, Chris, what about you?

Chris Backe: Yeah, I got my start, I think, in the mortgage business at ICE Mortgage Technology. Back then it was Ellie Mae. And back in 2011, I left and was at Salesforce for a short time. So I think I’m in a unique position where I’ve seen both sides of this coin, from a loan manufacturing standpoint but also from a customer-facing and customer support position. So, you know, I came back to Ellie Mae, and then it became ICE Mortgage Technology, and the mortgage business has a way of taking hold of you and not letting go, so I’m super happy to be working with Geoff and kind of be working with the Salesforce guys again on this project.

Alcynna Lloyd: So you both have extensive experience in this space, which makes you perfect for today’s conversation, which will center on improving the mortgage borrower experience. To start off today’s interview, I’d like to focus on the unique technology challenges that financial institutions face when delivering a digital mortgage experience. What are some of these challenges, and how does the partnership between Salesforce and ICE Mortgage Technology help financial institutions overcome some of these issues?

Geoff Green: Chris, you want to go first, my friend?

Chris Backe: Sure, I’ll go first. You know, I think that the mortgage business has sort of multiple complexities to it when it comes to technology. Obviously, the loan manufacturing process is complex in and of itself. But there’s also complexities from a lender standpoint and how they manage multiple relationships. It’s not just the borrower, there could be co-borrower, there could be family members. There could also be other constituents involved in the transaction that include, you know, a realtor and other sort of partners that a lender works with to pull this loan together. And so from a technology standpoint, it creates some complexities for the lender, and they need multiple things to talk to each other. So we looked at that, we looked at Salesforce being a leader in the consumer management space and the relationship management space, and it was a natural fit and from our perspective, and certainly, our lender customers agree. Many of our customers are shared, both on the Salesforce side as well as the ICE Mortgage Technology side.

Geoff Green: Yeah, let me add to what Chris said because I really agree with what he was saying. I think, at the end of the day, lenders need to get end to end as fast as they can for their borrowers and for their customers. And at the end of the day, they just can’t be swiveling around six or seven different core pieces of mortgage technology to get to your end to end. Those days are over. And it’s very costly, and pull-through suffers, and the cost-per-loan metric is not good with that. For us, being sort of the the place where borrower experience and loan officer experience comes together, that platform, we bidirectionally sync every which way on the most important pieces, but at the end of the day, you’re not getting end to end unless you get through your LOS.

And that’s why this is such a good match because so many loans go through the ICE Mortgage Technology loan origination system, Encompass. And we’re proud for us to be able to create that that symmetry and that bidirectional sync between what I like to call the record of record of customer experience and the record of record of lawmaking. And when you put those two together, you’re just helping your install base, our joint install base, help their customers, and allow them to do more with their customers. And that’s why it’s an interesting piece. We heard that from the industry, from both sides, from our side and from the ICE Mortgage Technology side, and we came to the table together and figured out how to innovate and get it done jointly for our customers. We’re proud of that co-innovation that we’ve done together and that we’ve brought to the market.

Alcynna Lloyd: Well, see, this brings me to my next question. Chris, the traditional mortgage experience has long been criticized for its complexities. How does the connection between these two platforms help address these pain points? Geoff briefly touched on it, but I want to dive a little deeper on it.

Chris Backe: Yeah, sure. I mean, you know, the mortgage industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world, frankly, and for good reason, right? A mortgage is the biggest transaction that most of us will go through in our lifetime. And it’s important that it’s secure, and that it is legal, and that it is beneficial for all parties. But, again, it’s complex because of those regulations. So there is that reality, but then there’s this need for consumers to be able to interact with their mortgage transaction, both with loan officer in person but also online through digital means.

As we know, the digital mortgage has evolved to the point where consumers expect to be active participants in their mortgage transaction and have visibility into what’s going on at all times. And so, being able to translate this complex transaction into a more simpler form and present it to the consumer is vastly important, but also to not only make the consumer a bigger participant but also allow the other folks that are participating in that transaction on the same platform, so the loan officer or real estate agent, and have everybody on the same page. And that’s why the connection between the Salesforce platform and the Encompass platform is so important. These two systems cannot operate in an island. They have to be able to share information seamlessly

Geoff Green: Yeah, and just building on that, one of the things, I think, we’ve done really well here is to make sure that there isn’t a size or a footprint of a particular institution or customer of ours that this won’t work for. We’re able to help smaller lenders or localized lenders scale the same way that we can help, you know, top 20 volume lenders scale as well, too. At the end of the day, people want to know that there can be bidirectional sync and an easy button between Salesforce and their Encompass instance. And when they say there’s a Salesforce shop they wanna turn to the ICE Mortgage Technologies team and say, “Can we make this, you know, rock solid because we’re a customer of yours?” and vice versa.

So I particularly respect the amount of work that the ICE Mortgage Technology team has done, particularly the tech folks, the hard work that they’ve done to make sure that the loan making record of record, that system, with all that it must do, as Chris was saying, from a regulatory perspective, and all that that system of record is held to, to find a way for that to bidirectionally sync with financial services cloud on the Salesforce side to keep that trajectory of great customer experience just going, and going, and going. We’re very, very thankful for all the hard work and the manner in which people have rolled up their sleeves to try and get that right for our joint install base and for our prospective new customers as well, too.

Alcynna Lloyd: Geoff, you mentioned helping companies no matter what their size is, big or small, so let’s focus on some of the tech you’ve developed. ICE Mortgage Technologies built the Encompass Connector for Salesforce. How does this technology stand out from alternatives available in the market today?

Geoff Green: Yeah, I think it’s a great question. I mean, Salesforce is not a loan origination system. We do, you know, wonderful things on the front end of the process, with ISV solutions on the POS side when it comes to bidirectional sync. We can sync up, again, to Salesforce, our financial services cloud product, you can use our residential loan app, 1003 URLA compliant, out of the box in financial services cloud. But as I mentioned before, for those, you know, my camera’s on, and, see, I have no hair, you know folks that have been around the block and lost all their hair in this business, the definition of getting end to end is getting to the LOS and getting that getting in sync back with your console so that that loan officer experience is just as crisp as the borrower experience is.

And so I think that’s the key. That you can’t say you’re getting end to end unless you’ve touched to an LOS and back. And I think the ICE Mortgage Technology team has said, “Look, we want to put our LOS in context of great bleeding-edge best-in-class customer experience that we know institutions, bank and non bank, are using.” So I think that’s really where the pop is. And it doesn’t really…you don’t have to be, you know, a mammoth shot to be able to take advantage of the Connector, to take advantage of financial services cloud, and take advantage of Encompass. So I really think that the manner in which we’ve created that easy button connectivity between our companies and what we offer to the marketplace is a real leap forward on what it means to get end to end from a digital perspective.

Chris Backe: Yeah, and I went back to what Geoff said. I mean, you know, Salesforce and ICE Mortgage Technology have a lot of mutual customers. And any lender who is using both Salesforce and Encompass has a natural desire to have the two systems talk to each other. And the most pervasive means to do that in the past has been to hire a systems integrator and create some sort of custom integration between the two systems. And, you know, both platforms frankly have APIs that would allow for that. The challenge there is that both Salesforce and ICE Mortgage Technology are very innovative companies, and we do major releases multiple times a year on both sides. And that creates challenges for any integration, and the maintenance of that integration becomes quite complex and expensive.

The other challenge is that as a lender’s business evolves, so, too, does their need for the integration and the types of fields that might be integrated or the flow of data. And a custom integration just doesn’t support that evolution over time. So it’s really the reason why we got together as two companies, and ultimately ICE Mortgage Technology built this connector as a managed platform that has point-and-click administration, so it’s easy for an administrator and a lender to evolve the integration as the business evolves.

Geoff Green: Both our companies are super impressed with the SI community, the systems integrator community, who said, as Chris said, “Okay, you’re filling whitespace with something that is defined between your two companies and as a repeatable piece of technology that allows a better, more repeatable way of being end to end for all your join install base. Okay, we can get on [inaudible] and be helpful when it comes to the SI work that might be necessary to take that piece of technology and help finish that off.” But like Chris said, it isn’t a custom job each time. And we’ve just been incredibly impressed with the SI communities rallied around our co-innovation here and how they’re at the ready to assist customers with taking that piece and finishing off. Again, not a custom job, but the job that’s necessary to instantiate the end-to-end solution.

Alcynna Lloyd: Well, let’s keep talking about this product and its innovation. For my next question, I’d like to focus on use cases. How are you seeing financial institutions leveraging the Encompass Connector for Salesforce?

Chris Backe: I’ll go first on this one. I’m sure Jeff will have some stuff as well. But the most common use case that we’re seeing is this notion that loan officers and customer-facing folks at a lender want to be able to interact with the consumer at the very front end, essentially lead management use case, but then be able to take that from a lead to a loan in a very seamless fashion, and then return status updates back to the borrower just as easy as they got the lead into the LOS. And so that’s the most…one of the most common use cases that we see.

Fast follow is the need for lenders to provide timely one-to-one marketing to their consumers based on transaction data from the loan. And so think as mortgage rates fluctuate, I know mortgage rates have gone down again recently, it inspires lenders to want to be able to make their borrower customers aware of those changes. And so sending out relevant marketing to the right consumers that tells them, “Hey, you can make X…save X amount of dollars if you refi today versus some other time,” is highly valuable to lenders to be able to do.

Geoff Green: Yeah, and, Chris, you nailed that. The only thing I’d add is, like, Salesforce Encompass integration is on a lot of our customers’ roadmap, their internal technology roadmap, when we meet with CIOs, and EVPs, and heads of production. And so, when they hear about this, they immediately either accelerate that, or they’re ready to execute against it. And then, like Chris said, it’s how do I return those findings in context, in a seamless way that started from that top of the funnel all the way through? And then how do I also take that data and make it contextual around outbound marketing campaigns or omni-experience campaigns, with relevant data that, again, just speeds up the way that you get it from the record of record on the loan making side into the ground zero from where customer experience lives inside the lender shop? So just a great taking the time to gather our things on the same platform now that we’ve gotten a hardened connectivity between us two.

Alcynna Lloyd: So we’ve talked about why the Encompass Connector will be great for companies and why the product itself is so innovative. But for my last question, I really want to focus on if you have any advice to offer to companies who want to improve their digital [inaudible [00:17:10.633] experience. Is the Encompass Connector a way they can do this, or what else can they do?

Geoff Green: You know, I’ll go first. I think, you know, you read about this a lot, and you sort of know. And for those of us that were around in ’08 and then life after ’08 and how things were different, and then even, like, right for the cusp of COVID, what it meant to really hold on to customers and to really give an end-to-end experience that made them want to stay with you and have a broader financial services journey. Now life after COVID, where so much has taken place with respect to refi and net new origination, and, like, the sort of what’s next piece of this. It’s just got to be digital, it’s got to wow the customer. There can’t be black-hole handoffs. It can’t be super expensive. It’s going to be difficult to hold on to loan officers if they’re swiveling between six or seven systems.

The loan officer cohorts route demands best-in-class technology, and gosh darnit, you know, that the borrowers expect that. And you got to be able to deliver on that, and you got to be able to deliver on in-context, outbound marketing campaigns, and as Chris said, you got to able to deliver on the same seamless, top-of-the-funnel lead management, all the way end to end and pulling that through all the way end to end. So what’s next now is really being able to deliver on the promise of being able to help lenders get end to end so that they can really delight their customers with great end-o-end borrower experiences. Chris?

Chris Backe: Yeah, I agree, Geoff. I mean, from a technology perspective, consumers are demanding faster transactions, they want more visibility in the transaction. They want to be able to communicate with their lender through whatever channel they choose to communicate through. And so, lenders are well served to position themselves to be able to do that for their borrowers. The ones that win are the ones that are going to be able to do that the best. So, whether that borrower wants to go in through a portal, or they want to, you know, start their loan through Twitter, or they want to meet with their LO face to face, they should be able to do that, and technology should be able to support the lenders that wanna meet their customers in those different ways.

Well, I appreciate the conversation that we had with both of you today, you guys provided us with a lot of insightful information. I’m sure listeners are really interested in our products that you discussed. I want to say thank you for joining us on HousingWire Daily.

Chris Backe: Thank you.

Geoff Green: Thank you very much.

HousingWire Daily

Hosted by the journalists behind the headlines, HousingWire Daily examines the most compelling mortgage, real estate, and fintech articles reported from the HousingWire newsroom.

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