Cenlar’s Lori Pinto, CMB: Delivering the Best Homeowner Experience

Lori J Pinto, CMB, is Senior Vice President of Business Development with Cenlar FSB, Ewing, N.J.

Lori Pinto, CBM

The U.S. economy and housing market has been anything but predictable the last few years.

The only constant in the mortgage marketplace has been a lot of change – and that change is happening fast. As a result, there’s been an ever-increasing demand that those of us who service home mortgages need to pivot quickly to adapt and, as always, remain committed to putting the homeowner first. Mortgage servicing is not about just collecting payments – it’s about building relationships with homeowners throughout the life cycle of the loan.

Caring for Homeowners: Delivering an Easy, Personalized Experience

One way to start off on the right foot with homeowners is with thoughtful onboarding. At Cenlar, for example, we begin with a Welcome Program. It features a series of communications with a warm introduction to our services and aims to proactively address homeowners’ needs during the first three months of their journey.

This on-boarding occurs whether it’s a new loan or when we become the servicer during a transfer of servicing. In the first 90 days it’s like triage. Homeowners need to feel like they have landed in the right place – they know how to get in touch with you, and that as a servicer, we’ve got this handled.

Education Is Key

If you think about the role of a mortgage servicer, our role is to make it easy for the homeowner – easy to learn about their mortgage product, easy to get what they need when they need it and easy to resolve any issues.

We also have to continue to educate homeowners about their loans. The more educated homeowners are, the better. Homeowners need to be aware of and understand the basics of their loan – how to make a payment and the processes involved with escrow analysis, for example. At Cenlar, we have created an escrow email that is sent to homeowners and links to a video explaining escrow analysis.

Data Always Matters

The homeowner experience is not a single moment in time. It’s the full experience, over the lifetime of the relationship with the homeowner – whether that’s onboarding, escrow, payments or year-end initiatives. It’s important to be aware of those moments and do everything to ensure communications are as personalized and proactive as possible.

That’s why using data and analytics that trigger important events that have occurred or are happening in the homeowner’s experience can help to deliver better service. A homeowner now has the expectation that you know something has changed, you know them, you remember what they told you and you can use that information to better serve them, customizing their experience as much as possible.

An Extension of Your Brand

In a private label offering, a servicer is an extension of the brand that is outsourcing the portfolio. Being a subservicer, this entails homeowner-focused solutions to heighten the experience when they interact with our contact center. This can include a dedicated call center that speaks to homeowners using the bank, credit union or other financial institution name. So, you’re giving homeowners a personalized interaction with promotion of the same “valued feeling” that they would receive if they were speaking to their own financial institution.

Leveraging Technology

Today, we are living in a digital landscape and homeowners value convenience in their everyday lives. Homeowners who need answers to simple questions want the self-service tools to do so without having to call, whether that’s through the IVR, the web, a mobile app or bots.

It’s important to make the self-service channels so easy to use that homeowners prefer them over calling. In fact, we average almost 150,000 bot interactions per month, with 85% no longer needing to speak with a live representative.

And, for those homeowners who want to speak to a representative, you have to be there for them, providing them with quality, caring service. It’s about meeting the needs of homeowners and communicating with them based on their preferences. Making those experiences positive and handling the homeowners’ questions in a single contact are important regardless of the method of how they reached you.

We will always get questions from homeowners about aspects of the servicing of their mortgage products and we play a critical role in optimizing the handling of those situations. A servicer doesn’t just manage homeowners’ accounts, they are ‘listeners’ to the homeowners’ needs and concerns, gathering information and providing it to our clients who are committed to delivering the best possible products and services to provide the optimal solution again and again for their homeowners.

(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 mtucker@mba.org or Editorial Manager Anneliese Mahoney at amahoney@mba.org.)