MReport December 2021

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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20 | M R EP O RT FEATURE and resources. This not only helps make the lender more competitive but also benefits the consumer, too, by getting them to the closing table faster. Engage Third- Party Vendors to Help Streamline Investments A mid the pandemic, many lenders have had to adopt new technologies to facilitate processes that were typically con- ducted face-to-face. While it may sound counterintuitive, investing in new technologies can help lenders manage costs in the long run. Streamlining emergent tech- nologies alongside existing ones can help lenders future-proof their investments. By partnering with vendors that offer a full suite of solutions, lenders gain efficiencies in the long-term. When it comes to verifications, for example, lenders can partner with vendors that offer a full suite of solutions designed to address the needs of each milestone in the loan origi- nation process, from verification of assets to verification of income and employment. Increased competition and changing consumer demands are expediting the need for a faster and more seamless lending experi- ence. Tedious, paper-intensive, time-consuming loan origination processes are becoming more and more digital, and lenders that do not embrace digitization risk falling behind. Lenders can also benefit from leveraging loan origi- nation platforms to drive better process flow internally. Third- party technology providers can help streamline the entire digital lending process, from loan origi- nation to the closing table. Rather than using dated underwriting processes, integrating standardized solutions to create an easier and more efficient experience through- out the loan cycle can get the bor- rower to the closing table faster. Adopt a Consumer- First Mindset I t's clear that consumer demand is playing an increasingly important role in lenders' ability to stay competitive. With the potential of demand fluctuations, lenders that adopt a consumer- first mindset—considering the needs of the current borrower pool, as well as consumers with little or no credit history who may have been overlooked—will come out on top. Consumers are demanding a faster, more efficient mortgage loan approval process, but it's important to prioritize customer service to help lenders stay competitive too. As lenders adopt new technologies to help meet consumer demands, they should ensure their teams are fully trained to take advantage of such technologies. To fully embrace a consumer- first mindset—in the ever-changing market—lenders should broaden their approach when determining creditworthiness. As they look to stay competitive and manage costs, lenders can also benefit by adopting practices that empower them to be more inclusive in their lending. To really support financial inclusion, lenders would be wise to supplement tradi- tional credit data with expanded, third-party income and employ- ment data. By layering automated income and employment data with credit scores, lenders can get a more extensive view of the consumer's creditworthiness and potentially provide a better overall experience to consumers who have historically been excluded. Lenders need to be prepared to make fast, informed decisions that address the changing needs of the industry and the consumers they serve. Streamlining and reevaluat- ing processes for efficiencies to be gained is key to staying com- petitive—and technology plays a vital role. Through all of this, it's important to think about the con- sumer first, constantly working to meet shifting consumer demands while also helping to expand the borrower pool. ASHLEY WOOD is VP, Mortgage Verification Services at Equifax. To learn more about how technology solution providers like Equifax are essential for today's mortgage lending landscape, visit The Work Number's mortgage page for solutions to grow your business. Consumers are demanding a faster, more efficient mortgage loan approval process, but it's important to prioritize customer service to help lenders stay competitive too.

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