Tavant’s Mohammad Rashid and Equifax Workforce Solutions’ Chad Whittenberg Discuss Technological Advances

MBA NewsLink interviewed Mohammad Rashid, Senior Vice President and Head of Fintech Innovation with Tavant, and Chad Whittenberg, Vice President of Strategy, Product and Marketing with Equifax Workforce Solutions, about how technological advances have completely changed how mortgage lenders conduct business.  

MBA NewsLink: Technological advances have completely changed how mortgage lenders conduct business – digital lending products – automated services – etc.  Lenders need to stay competitive, so they must take a comprehensive approach that uses relevant data throughout the lending process. This approach can result in improvements for the borrower and lender experience.  What do you believe are some ways the experience can be further improved/enhanced?

Mohammad Rashid

Mohammad Rashid: In the ever-evolving mortgage landscape, achieving an exceptional borrower experience and competitive edge requires tactful measures. Leveraging validated data sources to move beyond traditional documentation reliance is pivotal. Seamlessly integrating external data expedites the application process, transforming borrowers’ interactions with mortgage services.

AI and machine learning in underwriting is a technological leap that is redefining mortgage lending. These advanced technologies empower lenders to revolutionize the underwriting process. Fueled by vast digital data, algorithmic processing and rules engines enable unprecedented efficiency in decision-making. Manual investigations become relics of the past as AI-driven solutions facilitate lightning-fast loan processing.

This transformative approach’s allure extends beyond mere speed. For digital-native borrowers, data sharing is an opportunity, not a burden. Capitalizing on digitized verification becomes an indomitable advantage, especially as younger demographics dominate the market. Embracing this sophisticated methodology enables lenders to lead the charge into a future where unparalleled efficiency meets borrower empowerment.

Chad Whittenberg

Chad Whittenberg: With the current lending market continuing to change and evolve, the landscape has become challenging for both lenders and consumers. To remain competitive and enhance the borrower and their own experience, lenders should consider pairing automation tools with alternative data, such as instant verification of income and employment, throughout the lending lifecycle. This can give lenders a more complete view of borrowers’ financial profiles, resulting in more informed lending decisions. Although alternative data is widely available, some loan officers only use traditional credit scores at the early stages of underwriting and run the risk of excluding otherwise viable borrowers.

According to an internal Equifax® data study from 2022, there are over 77 million U.S. consumers that have a thin credit file or are considered credit invisible. Alternative data can help by expanding access to loans for borrowers with limited or no credit history and by allowing lenders to assess creditworthiness based on alternative indicators beyond a credit score. Automated analysis of alternative data points can lead to deeper insights, quicker loan processing and underwriting, and streamlined access to funds for borrowers.

MBA NewsLink: With the increasingly competitive market, lenders must find ways to not only gain but retain customers. Legacy technology is hindering the process.  What can today’s savvy lenders do to differentiate themselves in the market? What services are available that can help lenders help borrowers?

Mohammad Rashid: In the mortgage industry, savvy lenders must embrace a radical shift by investing in automation and cutting-edge AI to break free from legacy technology. This transformation unlocks unparalleled efficiency and customer-centricity, making AI-driven mortgage services a mandate for innovation.

Amidst the digital frontier, preserving the human touch in borrower interactions is vital. Timely, empathetic communication facilitated by cutting-edge tools fosters loyalty. By prioritizing efficiency, lenders bridge the gap between automation and personalized service, ensuring a seamless experience.

Collaborating with data-driven startups and credit bureaus empowers lenders with validated data to revolutionize decision-making, risk assessment and customer service. Leading the charge, lenders at the forefront of technology redefine the mortgage industry, delivering an elevated lending experience for all.

Chad Whittenberg: Traditionally, manual underwriting is a highly tedious process. During applications for loans and credit, borrowers are often tasked with providing additional documentation, such as W-2s, pay stubs, or even private login credentials. When lenders or applicants must manually track down paperwork or search for private payroll or banking passwords, it amplifies friction for both the consumer and lender through cumbersome, time-consuming processes.

Consumers do not want to use outdated or intrusive lending processes that are long and drawn out. Lenders that are attuned to today’s lending landscape understand that consumers are accustomed to receiving immediate assistance and a seamless experience. Additionally, consumers don’t just want access to money; they also seek out mortgage terms that fit within their specific lifestyle and budget.

Consumers who are not getting what they want quickly and easily are more likely to take their business elsewhere — this may be especially true for Gen Z consumers. Access to automated alternative data can assist lenders in gaining and retaining customers by providing a seamless experience that reduces this friction.

Lenders have the choice to access employer-provided income and employment data from The Work Number® directly from Equifax OR through our pre-built integrations with over 60 Loan Origination Systems. Gathering all of the necessary information about potential borrowers in your loan origination system is quick and efficient, allowing you to make informed decisions in a timely manner. By staying in your LOS, you can eliminate the need to swivel back and forth between systems, juggling multiple logins.