Josh Friend: Engagement is Critical During Challenging Times

Josh Friend began his career as a loan officer and soon moved on to open six mortgage call centers. Over the past 21 years, he has grown to manage and train thousands of loan officers, processors and marketing managers. With a keen eye for developing best-in-class sales processes, he leveraged automation software to build a better loan cycle. Combining the best from both a CRM and lead management system, he now enables lenders to achieve higher revenue goals with Insellerate.

Josh Friend

Amid COVID-19 and these rapidly changing market conditions in the mortgage industry, communication and engagement with your current borrowers and prospective borrowers are vital.  The need to educate and inform is more critical now than ever before.  Your current borrowers have questions about “forbearance vs. forgiveness”. What does it mean, and how does it impact their loan?  I just became unemployed, so what if I have challenges with making my payment? And the list goes on.

Your prospective borrowers also have many questions.  Should I get pre-qualified now so that when it is safe to purchase, I can obtain the home of my dreams?  Should I lock in my rates now?  When will I be able to close? Can I use the equity in my home?  And of a host of other questions follows suit.  As a lender, now is the time to educate and inform, to stay in front of your customers and potential borrowers by being a source of information and insights to help them through these difficult times.

But to do so in these current conditions presents many challenges.  Most companies have moved to a remote workforce.  As a result, there are limitations with their current lead management and CRM platform, and employees are busy handling urgent matters. They don’t have time to create the messaging content that needs to go out.

The good news is that there are solutions that provide communication and engagement to address these conditions.  So, what do these solutions need to provide?

Today’s most advanced CRM & Engagement platforms need to deliver multi-channel engagement through text, social media, email, ringless voicemail, and direct mail all from within one unified platform.  Also, the solution must easily integrate into a lender’s current technology stack and efficiently work with future technology.  It is this powerful combination that will allow lenders to transform borrower engagement while effectively communicating with their audiences.

While better borrower engagement starts with the right technology, many lenders fail due to a lack of time, resources, expertise, or strategy to leverage the technology entirely.  What should I send? When should I send it? Lenders are challenged with even understanding how often should they call someone or text them or Facebook post them or send direct mail them? What’s the strategy look like?

That’s why having a technology platform that includes pre-built engagement pathways is critical.  These pre-built pathways not only allow lenders to get up and running more quickly with this much needed technology, but it also delivers the necessary workflows and expertise to enable lenders to provide multi-channel communication to improve borrower engagement instantly.  This multi-channel communication is critical during these daunting in the mortgage industry.

Pre-built workflows and multi-channel communication allow lenders to meet potential borrowers when and where they are searching for information.  Many borrowers have more time on their hands now to search for information, which is why lenders need to get out in front of this with effective engagement strategies.

Another obstacle for lenders is having the time and resources to create compliant mortgage content to load onto the technology platform and incorporate it into the workflows.  Without this content, the most dynamic technology & workflows will not improve engagement.

For the latest CRM & Engagement platform to transform borrower engagement, it must include pre-designed marketing content that is created by mortgage experts. 

The amount of data collected in the most advanced CRM & Engagement platforms on these transactions is immense. It’s understanding what type of context strategies seem to work the best for each specific situation. These systems can track things from a lead to an application to disclosures sent to docs to funds. They can understand what contact strategies move a deal along.

Then it’s taking the time to break down the data and strategies– to make it frictionless for the lenders.  The strategy and content must be built into the platform if it’s a new lead, whether it be a purchased new lead or refinance new lead. Those are two different types of leads. So, if there’s a referral new lead, it’s a different type of lead, then if it’s a lead that you bought or a lead that you created on your Facebook app.

Then it’s overseeing the journeys of what type of lead it is. Once that lead starts to interact with the lender, then they understand, okay well from that new lead, you could get ahold of them on the first call, the first attempt. If not, how quickly do you try to get a hold in the second time, or third time, or how long do you continue to email them or text them or Facebook post them?

If you text someone every single day, you’re annoying. If you call someone every single day, it becomes intrusive. If you email someone every single day, you get blocked. But if I email you one day, call you in the next, text the following day, show Facebook post the fourth, you get the strategies. And all of a sudden, three days later, you make a phone call again, I’m not annoying. I haven’t bombarded the potential borrower with phone calls, but I stayed in front of them.

Lenders that embrace today’s most advanced CRM and Engagement platforms realize that they don’t have to do all the work. What they have to do is agree on content, make sure it passes their compliance. The right provider will set everything up for them. Lenders can make changes; they can modify the content, adjust messaging themselves, and fine-tune over time. But it’s built up front, so they don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. 

During this pandemic, finding solutions that can be implemented quickly and provide effective communication and engagement for your borrowers when they need it most will help create borrowers for life.  This will allow lenders to address current market conditions, take a leadership role by providing vital information when and where a borrower needs it while staying top of mind.

Ultimately the lenders that are transparent during these challenges and provide value to their borrowers by consistently and effectively engaging with them will create loyal customers for life.  The way to do that is through the use of today’s most advanced CRM and Engagement platforms by leveraging multi-channel communication.

Lenders need to realize that the average borrower will get 7-11 loans over the course of their lifetime.  These current market conditions will pass.  The lenders that best handle the current crisis by properly engaging with their borrower will be significantly stronger when we get through this pandemic.

(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA NewsLink welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to Mike Sorohan, editor, at; or Michael Tucker, editorial manager, at