MReport February 2020

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 17 of 67

16 | M R EP O RT COVER STORY make the homebuying process ac- cessible via digital channels, using technology to optimize paper- drive processes. "iBuyers are working toward a one-tap consumer experience, all the way from finding a home to financing it to eventually selling it," Ghamsari said. "This high standard is something the indus- try should celebrate and embrace, bringing the same simplicity to traditional transactions." Echoing those sentiments, Finicity CEO Steve Smith said for the industry to cater to those buyers, it must make the process as simple as it can be—or even making the process so simple the borrower can do it on their phone. Smith added, "removing friction from the buying and selling pro- cess should be a business mantra." "Consumers have clearly come to expect more from their experi- ences across all industries and interactions," Smith said. "So, this may mean doing more on mobile or digitizing processes." Rocky Stubbs, SVP Direct Lending, Flagstar Bank, said the industry needs to think carefully about the credibility challenges that technology brings. Muthu Srinivasan, Chief Technology Officer, Planet Home Lending, said consumers have been buying and selling houses for ages, but the advent of tech- nology can make the process better and seamless. "As a borrower trying to purchase or refinance my home, there are a number of items that I need to get through—apply for a loan, get my assets and liabilities verified, pay for the closing cost, insurance/title and so on. As a technologist, I think about where technology can come in to make sure the entire process is seamless and smooth for any borrower," Srinivasan said. To best keep up with its grow- ing customer base, the mortgage industry needs to better under- stand tech-savvy buyers, their buying habits, and purchasing channels, said Sudhir Nair, Chief Information and Technology Officer, loanDepot. Nair said, "companies that take the time to do so and can effectively capture this data as knowledge will be able to leverage it in order to better interact with iBuyer customers and reduce time to close on purchase transactions. The focus should be on optimiz- ing the user experience by finding better ways to gain knowledge about them." The Amazon Effect B uying Christmas gifts has never been easier thanks to Amazon. Am I Right? Forget having to deal with traffic, lines, and goodness forbid the mobs of people the day after Thanksgiving trying to save $100 on a 70-inch television. Statistics published in Forbes back in 2017 found consumers on Amazon spent $1.4 billion on Black Friday, nearly $2 billion on Cyber Monday, and $4.3 billion during the week of Thanksgiving. Purchases on Amazon accounted for 28.4% of all consumer sales during the week of Thanksgiving back in 2017. Amazon's immediate, convenient nature is changing how consum- ers shop. Ghamsari said the use of Amazon is widespread and has a major influence on how consumers interact with technology. "Providing customers with anything they need on a simple and seamless service creates a consumer that expects the same from every online shopping experience," he said. "This means all companies have to match that simple, intuitive experience to meet consumer expectations." Speculation has been rampant that Amazon is testing the waters of entering the housing industry since its partnership with Realogy was announced in July 2019. An Amazon spokesperson noted the retail giant is not getting into real estate. The partnership, according to the spokesperson, allows consumer to enjoy benefits of smart-home products. Amazon's role in the TurnKey program is to fulfill the Move-In Benefit, which includes home services and prod- ucts after they purchase a home through Realogy. Stubbs said Amazon hasn't been a player in the housing industry—yet. He noted that the backed AWS cloud services have empowered "massive transfor- mation" and helped create the Software as a Service space in cloud computing rather than local software sales. Srinivasan said Amazon, and the processes it uses, made consumers realize "anything is possible." "The home buying process has been around for ages, but how can a company like Amazon come in and show anything is possible to an industry that has the processes, the regulations and all that goes with it. How can we take technology and improve it?" Srinivasan asked. Srinivasan said he thinks of Amazon as not just a company, but as a lesson that anything is possible. "And I would like to use that and apply it to my industry and say, 'How can Planet Home Lending take technology and make the whole home buying process easy and simple for the borrower.' That's how I look at it," he said. Smith said one of the most important aspects Amazon has shown consumers is how simple the process can be and how much power they have. "One-click purchases for homes won't happen tomorrow, but the simplicity of having access to the data needed for a customer to make an offer on a home, submit a mortgage application and have it all routed correctly to their preferred lender, title company, etc. in a much simpler process than what it is today isn't that far away," Smith said. He added that the retail giant has already solved how to digitally transform retail, but their impact has been felt in how lend- ers in the mortgage industry can deliver similar experience when buying and selling a home. "If today's lenders don't move, and move fast, then someone like Amazon will come in the market and make it happen," Smith said. Digitizing Mortgage Lending F annie Mae's Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey from November found lenders want to see a focus on improving front- end consumer experiences. "Digitization is rapidly changing "iBuyers are working toward a one-tap consumer experience, all the way from finding a home to financing it to eventually selling it." —Nima Ghamsari, CEO, Blend

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of TheMReport - MReport February 2020