We are in a time when consumer preferences, value drivers and demands are radically shifting. Digital benchmarks have set the tone in every customer experience – and the mortgage industry is no different.
Considering the increased buying power of millennials and Gen Z, it stands to reason that these digital-native generations are setting the bar. They’re constantly seeking an ever more seamless experience in every aspect of their lives – including their mortgage. To keep up with their target customers, real estate lenders need to partner with organizations with a commitment to innovation.
“Innovation is about creating a new value proposition to deliver on-demand, omni-channel experiences. It’s about continuously creating new business models to attract new customer segments and developing new revenue channels. It’s about leveraging emerging technologies to realize efficiencies,” says Rajan Kanwar, Vice President of EXOS Labs, the innovation team at ServiceLink. “Being truly innovative relies on rapid development, rapid testing and rapid learning – the disruption of your own standard operating procedures, processes and mind-sets. And, throughout the process, you can never lose sight of how your innovations will impact the consumers, the competitive arena and the regulatory bodies involved.”
EXOS Labs was created as ServiceLink’s research and development unit, working to continually stay a step ahead of technological advances that equip lenders with the most relevant digitization options. Kanwar and his team closely track technology trends in mortgage and non-mortgage industries to uncover possibilities and improve the user experience. “We identify innovation opportunities, research them, rapidly develop a prototype for market feedback, and then move it into engineering for commercialization,” says Kanwar.
Kanwar comes from a background in facilitating global organizations think outside of the box. His executive and leadership experience encompasses conceiving and deploying innovation strategies and roadmaps, incubating and scaling innovation centers of excellence, and delivering proof-of-concepts and proof-of-values with new value propositions harnessing nascent technologies. At EXOS, Kanwar aims to help real estate lenders improve their own origination processes and deliver a superior mortgage experience to their customers.
EXOS Labs largely focuses on digitizing the mortgage experience – an area that became even more important as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the world. “The lenders that were able to quickly pivot had strategic partnerships with scalable, innovative settlement service providers,” says Marc Bator, Principal Product Manager of EXOS Close. “Through our comprehensive suite of closing solutions, we were able to help lenders and their borrowers keep closing even in challenging environments and allow them to utilize the latest options permitted by their local regulations.”
Because of ServiceLink’s commitment to innovation, focusing on delivering an end-to-end digital mortgage experience, it was poised to rapidly put virtual closings into practice. According to Bator, “EXOS’ tech stack left us uniquely prepared for the urgent need for virtual closings. Because of this preparation, we have the capacity to easily transition our clients’ pipelines from traditional to virtual closings – including remote online notarization – without missing a beat.”
“Recent global events accentuated that every organization is at a different point of maturity on the innovation curve,” says Kanwar. “At EXOS, we’re leading the way to partner with organizations at every level on that curve to provide solutions.”
How best to introduce innovation into your business? Kanwar suggests having:
- a commitment to disruption at the executive and grassroots level
- an understanding of why innovation is necessary
- an aspirational target, with a clear understanding of where you are and how to bridge the gap
- an innovation strategy that includes the right resources, processes and framework
“It's important for lenders to partner with organizations that will help them stay ahead of their competition,” says Kanwar. “The ideal partner will have the ability to challenge the industry’s status quo and apply new technologies and processes to help lenders meet their goals and today’s consumers’ demands.”