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18 | TH E M R EP O RT COVER STORY Looking ahead, Shelley Leonard, Black Knight's Chief Product Strategy Officer, forecasts a renewed focus over the next five years on leveraging innovative technologies to improve the experi - ence for the borrower and advance the mortgage industry as a whole. "Examples of these include con- tinually innovating new ways to apply data and analytics through- out the mortgage lifecycle," Leonard said. Overall, these advancements can improve profitability and efficiency for the lender or servicer, while also buoying customer satisfaction. With greater technology comes a greater ability to acquire data. With pools of high-fidelity data available, the industry can acceler - ate and expand the use of alterna- tive and innovative forms of credit risk transfer, particularly those utilizing reinsurers, according to David Gansberg, President and CEO of Arch Mortgage Insurance. "While the mortgage industry has made tremendous technologi- cal advances over the years, there are still massive opportunities to adopt emerging technologies to further benefit the entire lending ecosystem—from lenders to bor - rowers to mortgage insurers and GSEs," Gansberg said. Easing the Consumer Experience W hile financial technology is accelerating rapidly and providing new opportunities for lenders, it can also create confu- sion among customers, according to Eric Egenhoefer, President & CEO of Waterstone Mortgage. Companies that understand how to leverage technology effectively to increase efficiency and reduce friction will come out ahead and increase their market share. "Today's consumers are increas - ingly more informed about the mortgage process, so lenders need to be up to speed with current customer service trends, from providing a mobile application to enhancing communication with clients," Egenhoefer said. To best prepare for 2018, it is important to keep focusing on providing a better customer experi - ence and understanding where to place technology bets to support it. "Borrowers are demanding a better customer experience," said Scott Slifer, Chairman and CEO, Sutherland Mortgage Services, Inc. "Lenders must find a way to stand out and win new purchase business." In fact, borrower expecta - tions could be the biggest element to shift in 2018, says Joe Dombrowski, Director of Product Management at Fiserv. While compliance has grown and access to capital has changed, those changes have largely been incre - mental over several years. "Among the biggest mar- ket challenges in 2018, housing professionals will have to address building new lending products to reflect changing borrower needs," said Dombrowski. "We see hints of this already with work being done on improved reverse-mort - gage products and introduction of new equity products." Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource, said that improvements for 2018 include educating buyers. He believes first- time homebuyers' biggest problem isn't that they don't qualify to buy a home, it's that they think they don't qualify. "Since these consumers aren't actively seeking homeowner - ship, mortgage professionals need to seek them out in ways they haven't in the past," said Chrane. "More than ever, there's no one- size-fits-all mortgage, and buyers will want to work with lenders who can help them evaluate mul - tiple options." Millennial homebuyers will be a key group to target in the upcoming year. As a demographic cohort, millennials are far more educated about consumer choices than prior generations, seeking more education about loan prod - ucts and the loan process. According to Dombrowski, lenders should be examining the means they use to educate first-time borrowers, as well as boomers who may be looking at their next loan. "Saturday-morning first-time homebuyer seminars may have worked 15 years ago, but a more digital approach is needed today," said Dombrowski. However, while evolving technology can provide plenty of opportunities in 2018, there are also potential perils. Cybersecurity D ata breaches and cyberattacks were a big challenge in 2017, and some industry experts claim it was the biggest challenge of the year—and one that will continue in 2018. "Housing professionals are 'one- stop shopping' for cyberthieves, as we all have multiple pieces of confidential information on each party to the transaction," said Bill Burding, EVP, General Counsel, Orange Coast Title Company. "The types and means of fraud have morphed literally from day to day, so it is a full-time effort to keep up with this challenge." Going into 2018, it is important to regularly review and update cyber policies and ensure that the highest standards are maintained to protect consumers. Paul Wetzel, EVP of Product Management at Mortgage Cadence, said cybercrime is a growing threat for the mort- gage industry. The quantity and complexity of hacking efforts are on the rise, leaving borrowers' personal and financial informa- tion, not to mention company reputations, at risk. "In order to confront this risk head-on, housing professionals must invest in an alternative solu - tion to email, the most common point of entry for hackers," Wetzel said. "A private network that "While the mortgage industry has made tremendous technological advances over the years, there are still massive opportunities to adopt emerging technologies to further benefit the entire lending ecosystem—from lenders to borrowers to mortgage insurers and GSEs." —David Gansberg, President and CEO, Arch Mortgage Insurance SHIFTING MARKETS CERTAIN CYBER- ATTACKS ON THE RISE

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