InsightsBuckle Up Home Equity Lenders: A Boom is Coming

ServiceLink and EXOS Title, Close and Inspect Help Lenders Expedite the Loan Shift

If there’s one certainty in this uncertain time of COVID-19, it’s that refinancing has exploded with borrowers taking advantage of historically low interest rates. However, recent data shows that home equity loans are sure to make a return in 2021.

According to Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest data, homeowner equity reached a record-high of $20.4 trillion in the third quarter of 2020.1 This growth in household equity has been driven by increasing home prices and low mortgage rates. As supply remains tight and home values remain high, homeowner equity is expected to build. It only stands to reason that home equity lending will follow this upward trend in 2021.2 The low-interest-rate environment is expected to continue, which tees up an ideal opportunity for homeowners to tap their home equity.

Are You Ready for the Home Equity Wave?

As home equity loans continue to take on steam, it is essential home equity lenders prepare to meet the demand. Addressing borrower needs is critical. In this high-demand environment, borrowers are exploring financial products from non-traditional players based on lower costs (70%), ease of use (68%) and faster service (54%).3 ServiceLink and EXOS Title and Close deliver the virtual, customer-friendly experience borrowers crave today.

“The COVID-19 pandemic created a lot of uncertainty for lenders in 2020, especially in home equity lending,” says Phillip King, Vice President, Principal Product Manager for EXOS Valuations, “Add in low interest rates, soaring loan origination volume and tightening of credit requirements, we saw many home equity lenders pull back on home equity products or even stop all together. With lenders now having a better understanding of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, higher home values and rates expected to hold or increase over the next year, we should see renewed interest from lenders in the home equity space.”

“With EXOS we have a digital solution that Lenders crave in their move to more automated solutions,” says Barry Coffin, Managing Director of Home Equity Title and Close for ServiceLink, “While EXOS has been around for five years, we never rest on the status quo and are constantly working to improve its features and functionalities. More and more lenders are seeing the advantages of it firsthand as they work with our EXOS Title, Close, and Valuation solutions.”

Products like ServiceLink’s EXOS Close support virtual closing options for both refinance and home equity loans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This allows borrowers to facilitate digital closings online for quick turn times. EXOS Close compliments TitleStat!®, ServiceLink’s home equity title solution, consisting of the Master Home Equity Loan Policy. Like the EXOS suite, TitleStat! streamlines, modernizes and digitizes processes. It features electronic order entry and product delivery and legal and vesting in as a little as 15 minutes.

EXOS Inspect is a mobile app that allows borrowers to conduct their own home inspections when a traditional appraisal is not required, such as in home equity lending. EXOS Inspect enhances home equity lenders’ risk management strategies by ensuring they have the most up-to-date information on the house. In fact, the application uses geo-fencing and time-stamping to assure the accuracy of the borrower-submitted inspection. It can be combined with other ServiceLink offerings including AVMs, Title, Flood and Desktop Appraisals.

“ServiceLink provides such a wide suite of services across the mortgage industry and has the experienced, trained staff to shift with the demands of the market,” says King, “When the industry shifts from refinance to purchase or refinance to home equity, ServiceLink is able to quickly adjust to meet that demand and close more loans, faster.”

ServiceLink is the nation’s premier provider of tech-enabled mortgage services. ServiceLink leads the way by delivering best-in-class technologies, a full product suite of services and proven experience, built on a foundation of quality, compliance and service excellence. For more information about ServiceLink, please visit https://www.svclnk.com/.

Citations: 1 Mortgage Bankers Association (February 26, 2021) Chart of the Week: 10-Year Treasury Yield & 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate 2 Mortgage Bankers Association (August 6, 2020) MBA Study Finds Home Equity Lending Growth Hindered by Alternative Products and COVID-19 3 Business Wire (October 29, 2019) World Retail Banking Report: Inventive Banking is Key to Maximizing Banks’ Strongholds on Delivering Exceptional Last-Mile Customer Experiences

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