Sandeepa Sasimohan is AVP, Product Management at ServiceLink. In the below interview, she discusses how modernization can reshape the home equity industry.
Q: With the demand for home equity loans on the rise in the past year, how can innovation set apart lenders in this competitive environment?
A: Product innovation is key in this new market whether lenders are trying to gain or retain customers, the customer demographic is changing with the mobile-first generation that expects technology to be available in all key areas of real estate to provide that clarity and customer experience that they're looking for. Innovations in the home equity origination process can help them deliver the experience today’s consumers expect. Our home equity innovations are focused on giving borrowers transparency into closing timelines as early as possible and giving them control over key steps in their loan process, like scheduling the closing appointment.
Q: When is the right time for lenders to look to modernize their processes?
A: It's always a good time to modernize and look at innovation that can provide automation as well as process enhancement. Especially now is a great time for lenders to apply the same innovation or automation we have historically seen in refi markets to the home equity market to provide the same customer journey that this new tech centric customer is looking for.
We all know that today’s market is challenging. Modernization can help lenders increase efficiency in key aspects of the origination process – ultimately, leading to larger margins. For example, ServiceLink offers a holistic home equity offering, inclusive of title, valuation and flood solution. Working with a provider who is a one-stop shop can help lenders reduce their overhead. ServiceLink also offers instant title report for home equity, a capability that we originally developed for refinance and are now applying to the home equity space. Delivering the title report instantly helps get borrowers locked in with their lender.
Q: What's the impact of instant title in the home equity space?
A: I think for lenders who are looking to retain and gain new customers in this market, instant title is going to be a great first step for providing that borrower confidence and a customer journey that will give them full visibility into the process. With an instant title report, lenders can provide borrowers with a closing timeline at the very beginning of the home equity lending process, helping to ease the uncertainty often associated with a major financial decision like a home equity loan. It also reduces the overall origination cycle time, helping lenders meet their turn time goals.
Q: Where does ServiceLink fit into the equation of modernizing home equity?
A: We have full-time experienced and dedicated home equity operations and customer service teams, which has allowed us to focus on this essential market. ServiceLink provides great solutions for a better borrower journey throughout every step of the home equity journey. We offer streamlined title processes, instant closing scheduling, virtual closing options, flood solutions and many other enhancements. Our solutions aim to deliver a faster, more cost-efficient borrower experience; simplify processes for both the lender and borrower; reduce application-to-closing timeframes and allow the lender to match their risk guidelines with the appropriate products. These touchpoints enable lenders to create a seamless digital journey that complements their other strategies.
Q: What can we expect to see in the home equity lending market space in 2023?
A: I think we have seen great investment in the real estate market and I expect that to continue to grow in 2023. I think in 2023 the market for home equity will continue to grow in the early part of 2023, and we’ll see homeowners continue to take advantage of that.