Forward-thinking companies, creative developers and the ubiquitous smartphone have put consumers squarely in the driver’s seat when it comes to product and service delivery standards. As technology permeates virtually every aspect of our daily lives, consumer expectations for speed, control and transparency continue to rise.
We see this in the mortgage industry as homebuyers express their desire for a faster process: Three-quarters of recent homebuyers who participated in Fannie Mae’s 2018 National Housing Survey said they think it should take a month or less to get a mortgage, from application to close. Given the industry average is about 46 days, there is plenty of room for improvement.
Fortunately, technology is fueling new efficiencies, as innovative fintech companies help lenders create digital experiences with the potential to not only delight customers but also streamline operations to reduce costs and cycle time. National Housing Survey respondents said they prefer having digital options at certain points in the mortgage process — when they complete their application, for example — while those under the age of 45, and those with income exceeding $100,000, expressed a strong interest in a fully digital mortgage process. Seventy-two percent of total respondents said they prefer online application.
This is the point where most lenders have begun their automation process: at application. But while they have adopted point-of-sale (POS) platforms that can easily be built upon, many are stopping short of reaping the full benefits of automation. In particular, there is an opportunity to automate the appraisal and closing processes by adding consumer-facing scheduling technology, which can save lenders days in their cycle time, says Mikhail Cook, senior vice president at EXOS Technologies.
“Offering consumers a mobile app that allows them to schedule their appraisal and closing with ease changes the paradigm of how these processes take place,” Cook explains. “Historically, appraisers and closing agents have had to play phone tag or send multiple emails to schedule appointments; it can take several days to connect. But these apps open the channel of communication between parties, enabling the borrower to select from available agents, dates and times, and immediately schedule the appointment. They feel more confident having this transparency into the process, and appraisers and closing agents can allocate their time more efficiently.”
Self-Service Inspections: The Next Frontier
As home equity lenders continue striving to drive down costs, speed processes and improve the customer experience, fintech companies keep pushing into new territory. EXOS has identified self-inspection capabilities as the next logical upgrade.
“We thought, What if a lender could say to borrowers, ‘If you download this app and perform the tasks that we will walk you through, you can dramatically reduce the amount of time it will take to fund approve and close your home equity loan or line of credit’? Then we created that app, which leverages AI, because we think consumers — particularly millennials — will jump on this opportunity,” Cook says.
Cook asserts that the key to developing successful originations technologies — self-service tools that consumers will readily adopt — is to align them intuitively with consumers’ daily activity patterns. “People use apps and take photos with their smartphones every day,” he says. “Armed with an app that explains exactly what shots they need to take and what information they need to provide, they will be as confident managing the inspection part of the process as they are submitting their loan application and scheduling their appraisal and closing.”
“The more involved consumers are throughout the process, the more transparent it all becomes to them. That improves their borrowing experience and helps cement the relationship between consumer and lender. And as we all know, the lender that builds strong relationships, becoming a true financial partner to customers, will win the day.”
Learn more about how EXOS supports lenders and servicers striving to provide an exceptional consumer experience through every step of the mortgage journey at exostechnology.com.