MReport February 2018

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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TH E M R EP O RT | 17 COVER STORY that 30-year period than they would have paid on a VA loan. It's a real disservice. The lenders in the past have been complicit in that sense. They don't understand how to execute VA loans properly." Changing legislation is one way to address the issue, Jones says, and he even suggests that veteran status be added to HMDA data, so lenders know automatically when an ap - plicant is VA-eligible. Education for veterans themselves is also key, Jones says. "Through education and through making people understand the VA's actually looser guidelines—that it is actually easier for them to take out a VA loan—we can help make a dif- ference," Jones said. "It's all about educating." Jones' BBMC Mortgage partners with non-profit organizations to certify realtors, mortgage bankers and loan officers across the country on the VA loan process. "Then they can go to market and say that they're certified," Jones said. "That's making a dent. We're doing our little part in that regard. I think that in general people under - stand that that needle needs to move, that we need to be more diligent in how we care for our veterans." But education isn't just important for veteran buyers. Millennials crave it, too—and it could help bring more minority buyers to the table as well. "We noticed a lot with this younger gen- eration of homebuyers is this desire to really understand the transaction and talk to our loan consultants on the phone," Salditch said. "They spend more time on the phone with us than other groups of borrowers. I think they really want some level of unbiased guidance." According to Fercho, offering education— and showing minority buyers that they do, in fact, have access to the market—is crucial. "I think for minority homebuyers it still needs to be about education and ensuring that access," Fercho said. "More needs to be done around education to get them to the table." Technology plays a big role in offering that education and ensuring all types of buyers— regardless of status or income—have a clear, understandable path toward homeownership. Both web and mobile tools are crucial for this, according to Ebers. "One of the key ways to reach millennials is to offer easy-to-use online and mobile- friendly tools," Ebers said. "Providing access to helpful information and comparisons on loan products, payments, and rent vs. own trade-offs, etc. in a simple, user-friendly man - ner is going to be critical in reaching these borrowers. Digital mortgages will allow lend- ers to better educate borrowers." Digitizing to Expand Access e Lending and digital mortgage tools can do more than just educate, though. According to some experts, it could even widen access to credit for millions of pre - viously locked-out buyers. "I think you will see access to credit open up to many more borrowers because it will really make it easier to get a mortgage," Fercho said. "That digital technology really is the revolution that's coming in mortgage. Then products and everything will just follow, and everything will be about the bor - rower's choice and what meets their personal needs. The digitization of the whole process is what's the game-changer." Schmitt says digital tools could even make refinancing more attractive, because of the more efficient process and, subsequently, low - er costs for lenders to underwrite and approve a borrower. They could make the customer experience simpler as well, he says. "I think it'll take some of the frustration out of the customer experience," Schmitt said. "From a consumer standpoint, it'll simplify the documentation. There'll be digitally verified sources, and it'll be a much quicker experience. It will also probably be lower cost, which would have some impact on the cost to underwrite the loan." eNotes, in particular, are going to have a major impact, according to Fercho. "The eNote is in its very early stages," Fercho said. "Most states are adopting eNotary laws, and it should be no surprise to envi - sion a future where you're literally applying for and executing a mortgage from virtually anywhere. New buyers will be able to get that offer in on their dream home faster using those digital methods." The moral of the story? Fercho says it's to hop on board and never look back. "This very arduous, very complicated mortgage process is really getting a facelift, and it's being re-imagined through digital technology and access," Fercho said. "Lenders who continue to fight that digital movement by not continually analyzing their eLending offerings will get swallowed up by those big - ger lenders who've embraced this new age in mortgage lending." ALY J. YALE is a longtime writer and editor from Texas. Her resume boasts positions with The Dallas Morning News, NBC, PBS, and various other regional and national publications. She has also worked with both the Five Star Institute and REO Red Book, as well as various other mortgage industry clients on content strategy, blogging, marketing, and more. Experience: Prior real estate investing experience preferred.

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