Lisa Springer of STRATMOR Group: Relieving Workforce Burnout Through Technology
Lisa Springer is a senior partner and CEO of STRATMOR Group, Greenwood Village, Colo., a data-driven mortgage advisory firm. She provides direction and leadership to achieve the firm’s strategic goals. This includes oversight of all corporate initiatives, sales and marketing strategies, client experience, advisory services, knowledge sharing programs and STRATMOR’s technology and data strategies. She has more than 30 years of experience in mortgage professional services and technology arenas. Contact Lisa at Lisa.Springer@stratmorgroup.com.
MBA NEWSLINK: In your view, what impact did the 2020 refinance wave have on the collective U.S. mortgage workforce?
LISA SPRINGER, STRATMOR Group: The refinance tsunami of 2020 still isn’t over, and it has left our industry worn out. Faced with seemingly infinite demand, lenders met higher levels of production largely through overtime. This boom burnout is primarily evidenced by elongated turn-times and dramatically lower borrower satisfaction.
NEWSLINK: Aside from overtime, how are lenders increasing capacity?
SPRINGER: Many hired temporary staff or shifted employees from other departments. Adjusted workflow processes, outsourcing and greater use of technology also helped origination firms.
NEWSLINK: How can lenders avoid employee burnout?
SPRINGER: Give employees the support they need. Work-from-home processing seemed initially promising, however, problems with overwhelming volume eventually buried the early excitement. Lenders need to create better training programs that empower new hires to get up to speed quickly. They should, however, for the long-term, focus on deploying best-of-breed integrations and automation tools, and adopting industry available digital solutions for a more scalable ecosystem.
Reducing or eliminating mundane tasks, automating service requests to third-party vendors and employing eClosing technologies are just a few examples of employing effective automation. But adoption both internally and externally is the key to success for technology to make a positive impact on the bottom line.
NEWSLINK: How are lenders spending money on technology?
SPRINGER: Last year, smaller shops spent around $5-6 million, while large independent mortgage bankers spent $30-$40 million. At some of the largest banks, spending on technology tools reached $200 million, according to data from the PGR: MBA and STRATMOR Peer Group Roundtables program. Still, lenders’ technology costs represented less than 10 percent of total company costs for most lenders.
NEWSLINK: Why aren’t all lenders implementing technology that address these issues?
SPRINGER: One big barrier is loan officer adoption. It is difficult to get LOs to change their processes and behaviors. If the LO won’t use it, the lender won’t realize optimal benefit from their technology investment.
NEWSLINK: What should lenders focus on in developing their technology strategy?
SPRINGER: A well-rounded leadership team with a clear technology vision and roadmap that is dedicated to supporting the technology strategy is essential. Also, purposefully designing an easier customer and employee experience is paramount to adoption. Analyze and measure the business outcomes and benefits, then create the right level of transparency to ensure company-wide visibility and alignment. Finally, again, lenders need to push adoption — both externally and internally–to achieve return on investment targets.
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