Todd Sheinin: For Loan Officers, Integrating Right Technology Key to Borrower Experience
Todd Sheinin is Chief Operating Officer for Homespire Mortgage, a national residential mortgage lender. Homespire has been included in Inc. 5000’s List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies and recognized as one of the “Best Mortgage Companies to Work for” by National Mortgage News. For more information, visit www.homespiremortgage.com.
Today’s loan officers and branch managers face many challenges–from cumbersome, time-consuming processes to difficulties connecting with borrowers, and lenders have made significant investments in technology to help. However, many are learning that a siloed technology approach or implementation of the wrong technology can cause more headaches than it solves.
In today’s market, simply having the latest technology in place is no longer enough. Those lenders that are seeing the most success are the ones that are doing the best job of leveraging it to connect with borrowers in meaningful ways.
Loan officers need to be able to quickly connect and effectively communicate with borrowers. In order to create these borrower connections and guide them towards a successful relationship, lenders and loan officers must leverage technology that enhances the key steps of the process and today, that often begins within the mobile channel.
Much of the world today is connected in some form or another through a screen, and mobile applications are quickly becoming an industry standard. Frankly, if you are not already investing in mobile capabilities, you are already playing catch-up with the competition. Today’s lenders are leveraging robust, responsively designed apps that are tightly integrated with their loan origination software, creating a seamless flow and allowing them to take full advantage of the current digital environment.
Both borrowers and loan officers are on the move and they want access to resources and information quickly, regardless of time or location. The most effective mobile apps are those that are also connected through a lender’s point-of-sale system, which really serves as the heart of any technology strategy. Being able to connect and upload documents on the go makes the entire mortgage process easier for the client, which allows loan officers to stay connected and respond quickly, building trust and enhancing those relationships.
Customer Management Systems (CRM)
Though almost ubiquitous in business these days, many lenders still struggle to realize the benefits of their customer management system. CRMs have a reputation for being notoriously cumbersome and can be challenging for loan officers to effectively utilize. Too often, lenders invest in a CRM but fail to effectively train staff on its use. Because these systems can be so complex, loan officers need to have both comprehensive training and continued, high-level support. In truth, if a lender is paying for service that their loan officers cannot easily optimize, they will also be much less likely to utilize it.
More sophisticated lenders have fully integrated their CRM with their mobile app, which is connected to their LOS, allowing powerful marketing and outreach capabilities. When automated, contacts can be entered and tagged, and then added to specific drip campaigns based on selected criteria (i.e., specific loan types, new homebuyers, etc.) where they can then be reached through both email and text over an ongoing or pre-determined period of time. For roughly 30 seconds of data entry, loan officers can create a ripple of multiple connection opportunities with potential borrowers, and ultimately lead to successful, long-term relationships both now and further down the road.
While not a technology “platform” per se, the major social media platforms do serve as powerful tools for loan officers trained to effectively leverage them. We know that borrowers are on social media, lenders just need to have the right, relevant content to attract and reach them. Directly providing loan officers with a steady stream of curated, original content they can post greatly improves the opportunities they have of connecting with borrowers and building new relationships. By supplementing this material with their own content, like pictures and personal posts, loan officers can collaborate with their lender’s marketing team to further boost their social media presence and enhance its effectiveness to attract borrowers.
Bottom line, technology will continue to play a major role in the evolution of the mortgage process for both borrowers and lenders alike. While lenders should be prepared to embrace new technology to stay ahead of competition and meet customer needs, they should do so with care and diligence. There is no shortage of technology options available and getting the right tools for specific needs–while not biting off too much at once–can be challenging. By focusing on the tools that make the most sense operationally and fully integrate into existing systems; that can reduce time and expenses; and make it easier, quicker and more convenient for loan officers and borrowers to connect and stay connected, lenders can better position themselves for the new reality that is the modern mortgage industry.
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