MReport July 2020

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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M R EP O RT | 5 MTECH to update its brand information across third-party search experi- ences and saw incredible results. Within 29 months, the mortgage company drove more than 25,600 clicks to its loan officer listings, experienced a year-over-year growth rate of 246%, and boosted both its review volume and star- rating. With Answers, CCMC will provide the same class of search experience and provide accurate brand information to customers directly on its own website. 400,000 Loans Submitted Through Digital Platform ELLIE MAE'S ENCOMPASS CONSUMER CONNECT HAS SEEN 1.5M LOANS SINCE THE START OF 2020. E llie Mae, the leading cloud-based loan origina- tion platform provider for the mortgage industry, today announced that Encompass Con- sumer Connect has seen signifi- cant adoption as lenders turn to more virtual technology solutions to increase consumer engagement. Homebuyers submitted over 400,000 loans via Consumer Connect in a single month in 2020, more than 300% growth over the same time period the year prior. As of May 31, more than 1.5 million loans have been started in 2020 using Consumer Connect. In addition to providing a seamless digital experience for homebuyers, Consumer Connect provides a scalable, intuitive ex- perience for consumers, that also helps lenders close loans faster. Many lenders are seeing efficien- cies including reductions in turn times from application to an un- derwritten loan, that is shaving days off the process, all while delivering higher conversion rates from applications started to those that are ultimately submitted to the lender. These success metrics are even more impactful to a lender's bottom line, given that Consumer Connect is included with Encompass® at no addi- tional cost. "We recognize that in these unprecedented times, lenders are experiencing increased loan volumes while contending with the need to support this de- mand virtually, both in terms of engaging consumers, as well as their own workforces," said Joe Tyrrell, COO, Ellie Mae. "With Encompass Consumer Connect, we provide every Encompass lender the ability to easily engage consumers and convert their interest into an application, through a modern, intuitive, and completely personalized experi- ence. We have also added the capability to seamlessly and instantly connect those consumers with anyone within the lender's organization, even those working from home, automatically, through our complete Ellie Mae Consumer Engagement solution. These incredible loan volumes through Consumer Connect, which are increasing each month, validate the impact that a lender can have when combining high-tech with instant high-touch, to ultimately drive more business and get bor- rowers into homes faster." "In 2018, after implementing our George Mason Mortgage Intuitive Lending App, powered by Encompass Consumer Connect, our online applications jumped up by 11.5% to almost 50 percent of all new loan applications," said Andria Lightfoot, COO, George Mason Mortgage. "Today, with the increased demand for a digital experience amidst an unprec- edented global pandemic, our online application traffic accounts for nearly 70% of applications year to date. For a retail lender not in the direct lending space, these numbers are attributable to the sleek, simple user interface, easy customizations, and the secure platform provided by Consumer Connect. By activating the seam- less integrations for verification services embedded within the borrower online experience, we have remained agile and scal- able in response to the industry refinance surge." Homebuying is Going Virtual 30% OF BUYERS SAID THEY'D PURCHASE A HOME WITHOUT PHYSICALLY TOURING IT. A study by LendingTree found 53% of homebuyers are more likely to buy a home over the next year due to the outbreak of COVID-19. This is especially true for first- time buyers (73%) and millennials (66%). For all buyers planning to purchase a home over the next month, their top motivations were taking advantage of record- low mortgage rates (67%) and being able to save a large down payment due to reduced spend- ing (32%). Another motivator was falling home prices (30%). The report adds that among this group of prospective home- buyers, 44% plan to buy a less ex- pensive home, and the remaining 21% want a more expensive home. LendingTree added that another 33% of responders said that al- though they haven't yet partici- pated in a virtual tour, they plan to do so. Also, three in 10 buyers said they'd buy a home without physically touring it in person. Forty-four percent of homebuy- ers are worried about qualify- ing for a mortgage because of COVID-19. First-time buyers (58%) and millennials (52%) were the most concerned about qualifying. Lenders in recent weeks have become less flexible on lending standards and are raising credit limits. JPMorgan Chase raised its credit score minimum to 700 and began requiring applicants to have enough savings for a 20% down payment. Wells Fargo is also shying away from riskier loans for borrowers who are unable to provide down payments of 20% and increased its FICO-score requirement to 680. Redfin reveals that while nearly half of all Americans purchased homes last year with down payments of less 20%, tightened lending standards could provide roadblocks to homeownership. The Mortgage Credit Availability Index fell 16% in March to its lowest level in five years, with Redfin saying banks are growing wary of borrowers requesting delayed payments in forbearance programs. "Thousands of Americans who were priced out of the housing market due to the affordability crisis of the past decade might finally see homeownership as within reach, especially given his- torically-low mortgage rates. But unfortunately, they are now faced with another roadblock and may not be able to get a loan," Redfin Senior Economist Sheharyar Bokhari said. "Home equity is the primary way for Americans to build wealth. It's important that policymakers address this tighten- ing of credit, as it has raised the barrier to homeownership." "Today, more than ever, the mortgage industry is embracing automation as a necessity." — Ben Cowen, President, Wyndham Capital Mortgage

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