MBA NewsLink Q&A with Ardley Technologies CEO Nathan Den Herder

MBA NewsLink interviewed Nathan Den Herder, founder and CEO of Ardley Technologies, a provider of mortgage technology solutions that help lenders and servicers mine their portfolios for new deal opportunities and improve retention rates.

Over the past year, Ardley’s Actionable Data Intelligence (ADI) platform has generated more than $1 billion in loan volume while enabling companies to automate up to 85% of their sales activities. Den Herder previously spent over 15 years with Fannie Mae, where he was the GSE’s lead architect of Collateral Underwriter (CU) and lead architect of Day 1 Certainty (D1C).

With mortgage rates likely to drop this year, there’s an upcoming opportunity for servicers to reconnect with borrowers for refinancing. The problem? Every other lender will be targeting them, too–plus, it’s well known that most borrowers do not turn to their original lender or servicer to refinance.

Navigating this challenge won’t be easy with many organizations still in cost-cutting mode. But there are new ways for companies to connect quickly and seamlessly with borrowers and begin converting their portfolios into business opportunities.

MBA NewsLink: What kind of challenges have mortgage companies traditionally faced when trying to retain borrowers during market swings?

Nathan Den Herder: Retaining borrowers during market fluctuations is no small feat. Brand loyalty is one challenge, as many borrowers are quick to jump ship in search of better rates or terms. This challenge is made more daunting by the difficulties lenders have gaining visibility and transparency into their portfolios. Most servicers are sitting on a tremendous amount of data in their legacy systems but can’t use it in any kind of scalable or efficient way. This makes it nearly impossible to identify opportunities for home equity refinancing or new purchase loans.

Another challenge is not having the appropriate staffing levels or productivity tools that make mortgage companies more effective at responding to market volatility. Especially when rates drop, mortgage companies must act swiftly and precisely to meet borrower needs. That’s hard to do if you’re understaffed or don’t have tools that take the work off your sales team’s plate by engaging borrowers based on each borrower’s unique needs.

NewsLink: How can technology help servicers generate more refinance business and build better relationships with borrowers?  

Den Herder: There’s no doubt technology can foster stronger connections between servicers and borrowers. If you’re a servicer that also originates loans, having the appropriate tech stack for your business can mean the difference between struggling or thriving when the market shifts. Look at all of the top servicers and originators today–technology has been the backbone of their success. These are organizations that bet on tech over the last 10 years and won.

By leveraging advanced technology that identifies hidden opportunities in their portfolios and automating the communications process, servicers can engage individual borrowers more quickly and provide solutions that resonate with their needs. Being proactive in this way not only enhances the borrower experience but also builds trust and loyalty.

All that said, it is vitally important that servicers invest wisely in technology and look beyond the old guard of providers. It is very difficult to make old tech stacks do modern things.

NewsLink: Discuss the role data analytics plays in accurately and efficiently identifying refinance opportunities within an organization’s portfolio.

Den Herder: Data analytics is mission-critical for mortgage companies that hope to succeed at scale. It’s why I founded Ardley, and it’s the cornerstone of our solutions. I saw a fundamental gap in the market and in the current tech landscape when it comes to mortgage companies being able to capitalize on refinance opportunities when they first appear. I knew servicers had an enormous amount of data in their portfolios, but they had no way to access it in a scalable and actionable way.

NewsLink: What role does personalized communication play in building borrower loyalty, and how can lenders make their outreach more effective?

Den Herder: When it comes to building loyal customers, personalized communication is everything. But it’s not just about slapping a first name at the top of an email. It’s about really digging into your data, understanding each borrower’s current situation, and presenting real, hyper-personalized loan offers that make sense for them.

That sounds like a lot of work, but the technology is there to help. In fact, it can even predict what borrowers might need before they know they need it.

We believe in personalization, so much so that we believe this approach will be table-stakes in the next 24 to 36 months, if not sooner. It’s about making every borrower feel special. When borrowers feel understood and valued, they’re more likely to stick around and even become advocates for their lender. For organizations to succeed when rates drop—or really, in any kind of market—they need to have a modern user experience and make hyper-personalized loan offers a cornerstone of their borrower outreach.

NewsLink: Given the fast-paced nature of refinancing during periods of lower rates, what can mortgage companies do to attract existing borrowers before they are swayed by competitors?

Den Herder: You see this in every market cycle–when rates drop, most lenders can’t seem to staff up quickly enough. And time and time again, we find that throwing more humans at the problem is not only more costly, but creates its own set of challenges when the cycle slows. Also, humans can only do so much, especially if the company doesn’t have technologies available that make them more efficient by taking work off their plate.

For mortgage companies, the key is to choose technology that allows you to scale on demand without having to hire more people. You should be able to issue conditional loan approvals for borrowers instantly, as they qualify, without human assistance. This means having technology capable of analyzing everything from loan-level data to live rate sheets, property listing data, and your own terms and fees to calculate a customer’s eligibility for any type of loan you offer.

By leveraging live rate sheets, for example, you can reduce the amount of time between capital market pricing updates and borrower pricing to just seconds. This alone can give you a huge head start over your competitors. But more importantly, you’re ensuring that your borrowers feel valued, which positions your company as the go-to lender for all their financing needs.  

(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policies 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 Editor Michael Tucker or Editorial Manager Anneliese Mahoney.)