Surviving the Lending Journey: A Lender’s Tale By Veronica Nguyen, BeSmartee
Veronica Nguyen is Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of BeSmartee, an original founder of modern digital mortgage platforms for banks, credit unions and non-bank lending institutions. She previously served as Co-Founder and Director of appraisal management software company Inhouse Inc. (now called Connexions) before co-founding BeSmartee in 2012. She was a 2020 HousingWire Woman of Influence Award winner and earned a 2021 Mortgage Star Award from Mortgage Women Magazine.
Once upon a time, in a bustling city, there stood a thriving business — a mortgage lender named Harrison & Co. Its reputation preceded it, with a legacy of successful deals and satisfied customers. Harrison & Co. had mastered the art of financial transactions, navigating the intricate world of mortgages.
But beneath the veneer of success, hidden inefficiencies lay dormant within the organization.
As long as the business was profitable, these weaknesses remained unnoticed, overshadowed by the steady flow of revenue. Payroll was met, expenses were covered and the flaws went unacknowledged.
Yet, the true mettle of Harrison & Co. would soon be put to the test.
The market had a habit of throwing unexpected challenges — events beyond anyone’s control — that shook the foundations of even the most established mortgage firms. For in the realm of mortgages, uncertainty was a constant companion.
And seeing his counterparts go out of business during this cycle times was not easy to sleep at night.
Harrison & Co. had weathered previous storms, adapting to changes in regulations and economic fluctuations. But the true measure of their strength lay in how they handled these unforeseen obstacles.
Would they crumble under pressure, succumbing to the weight of their hidden inefficiencies?
Or would they rise above adversity, emerging as a beacon of resilience and adaptability in the competitive world of mortgage lending?
The stage was set for Harrison & Co., the protagonist of this tale, to embark on a journey of self-discovery. Their fate hung in the balance, as the market prepared to challenge their every move.
As Harrison & Co. delved deeper into their operations, they realized that there were three core inefficiencies within their organization that they had the power to control: people, process and technology.
To their dismay, they discovered that their loan officers were still toiling away for hours on outdated systems, causing delays and hampering their ability to deliver the best customer services. This resulted in dissatisfied borrowers seeking alternatives with competitors who could provide better customer service, risking customer attrition.
Recognizing the importance of their loan officers’ productivity, Harrison & Co. embarked on a mission to provide them with the necessary tools and training to weather the ever-changing market cycles.
By embracing modern technology and implementing comprehensive training programs, they aimed to empower their loan officers to work more effectively and deliver exceptional service to borrowers.
Next, the mortgage lender turned their attention to the process itself. They recognized that today’s mortgage landscape demanded seamless collaboration between different departments.
Communication breakdowns and information silos were hindering their ability to deliver a streamlined experience.
Determined to bridge these gaps, Harrison & Co. set out to revamp their processes, ensuring that every team member had access to the information they needed, when they needed it. By fostering a culture of effective communication and collaboration, they aimed to create a cohesive and efficient workflow.
Lastly, Harrison & Co. scrutinized their technological infrastructure. They realized that technology should be more than just a burden or a means to an end—it should be a solution to their pain points.
They understood that the technology they selected today would shape their future efficiencies, automation capabilities, and ultimately the customer experience they offered.
With this in mind, they embarked on a thorough evaluation of their systems, seeking innovative solutions that could provide not only operational efficiencies but also an outstanding customer journey.
They were determined to leverage technology as a strategic asset that would propel them forward in the competitive mortgage landscape.
Armed with a newfound understanding of the three inefficiencies—people, process, and technology—Harrison & Co. embarked on a transformative journey.
They reimagined their training programs, empowering loan officers with the knowledge and tools to thrive. They revamped their processes, fostering collaboration and communication across departments. And they embraced cutting-edge technology, selecting solutions that would drive efficiencies and enhance the customer experience.
With these improvements underway, the fate of Harrison & Co. hung in the balance. The challenges of the mortgage market still loomed, but armed with newfound control over their inefficiencies, they were ready to face the unknown.
The story of Harrison & Co.’s resilience and innovation continued to unfold, as they navigated the ever-changing landscape of mortgage lending, driven by their unwavering commitment to excellence. The End.
Does the story mentioned above resonate with you?
Over the past year, we’ve witnessed lenders shutting down, merging with other firms, or implementing significant operational changes. However, when it comes to addressing these challenges, there are three crucial factors to consider:
First, People. Second, Process. Third, Technology.
People: In challenging times, tough decisions may need to be made, such as workforce reduction, as a necessary cost-cutting measure. However, it is crucial to explore alternative avenues for expense reduction before resorting to this step.
One option is to implement a remote work policy, enabling a portion or all of your workforce to work from home, which can reduce rental expenses. Additionally, considering a temporary freeze on pay raises for a specific duration can help manage costs effectively.
By meticulously evaluating these areas, informed decisions can be made to navigate the evolving landscape of the lending industry and overcome its challenges.
Process: In order to gauge the effectiveness of your current process, a comprehensive analysis is imperative. Identify any elements that contribute to delays and inefficiencies. By enhancing process efficiency, operational costs can be significantly reduced.
For instance, if manual data entry is a laborious and time-consuming task, explore technological solutions to streamline and minimize this burden.
Technology: The mortgage industry has often been criticized for lagging behind in technology advancements, and the multitude of technologies being utilized can overwhelm IT personnel when it comes to managing what truly brings a return on investment (ROI) for the organization.
A strategic approach to address this is by first assessing the effectiveness of processes and identifying the technologies that yield positive ROI. As an organization, it is crucial to prioritize technologies that enhance the borrower’s customer experience in the evolving digital landscape, enabling better assistance and service delivery.
Just like in movies or a good book, every journey has its ups and downs. I hope you enjoyed this story and its insights. As an executive of your company, what story do you want your employees and customers to remember? What personal and meaningful experience do you want to create for them?
(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 NewsLink Editor Michael Tucker at email@example.com or Editorial Manager Anneliese Mahoney at firstname.lastname@example.org.)