MReport April 2018

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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16 | TH E M R EP O RT COVER STORY and accuracy throughout the pro- cess of acquiring a mortgage," said Justin Vedder, VP of Origination Solutions at Altisource Portfolio Solutions. Pulling in the Same Direction W hile speed and enhanced customer experience might be a big bonus for lenders, they still have the uphill task of implementing new technology. According to a recent survey of lenders on digital initiatives by Fannie Mae, when it comes to technology 34 percent of lend - ers said that updating their IT systems were a major challenge for them, followed by 32 percent saying that getting key players to follow requirements proved to be a stumbling block when im- plementing new technology that would enhance their efficiencies. Thirty percent of the lenders said that working with vendors and ensuring data quality are major challenges for them. These statistics and chal- lenges seem to turn the need for speed and efficiency on its head. Collaboration then is a key factor that can help lenders and technol- ogy companies work together to enhance customer experience and overcome these challenges. "Implementing technology that is built to do what a business needs today can become a giant anchor that weighs down the business when the landscape changes. Technology can only cater to changes in financial services when it's not locked into the way a business operates today and can only become a competitive advantage for dealing with change when it allows for data and rules to evolve and address those changes," said Jason Roth, CTO, ComplianceEase. According to Shelley Leonard, Chief Strategy Officer at Black Knight Inc., companies need to stay current with technologies that are changing the way con- sumers interact and partner with the technology provider who is a right fit for what they want. "Companies should consider partnering with technology pro- viders who have the experience and financial ability to invest in advancing technology. This col- laboration is key to keeping up with changes," she said. Brian Kneafsy, Head of Client Operations at Blend agrees. "Collaboration between lenders and fintech companies is cru- cial. Both sides need to invest resources and be fully committed to the mission of creating a better lending environment for lenders and borrowers," he said. The Need to Adapt The first step to adapting tech- nology is to embrace, rather than resist it. "Lenders need to leverage the change and the benefits that technology offers. It means chang- ing how you think about tech– turning it into a partner instead of an adversary. New technology can make a huge difference to manag- ing data and maintain compli- ance within the mortgage space," said Michael Kolbrener, CTO, PromonTech, the technology arm of Promontory Mortgage Path. Goldman points to an obvious problem that faces the industry today. How can technology help it to adapt to a changing regula - tory landscape? "It is essential for technology to fit the strategic vision of the company." he said. "The second most important factor is knowing you maintain a viable business model and how the business is structured to adapt for both your service providers and the technology. Technology needs to be a platform that you can move and change knowing tomorrow the regulators are going to look different, and they're going to have new forms out there." Being aware of the technology solutions out there is probably the first step to adapting to a chang - ing landscape. "Technology tends to be a confusing and almost intimidating space for business leaders, especially in a business that has been historically very slow moving. The first thing that I would tell lenders is to be very purposeful about becoming aware of the tech solutions that are be - coming available," said Stubbs. Leonard agrees, "Companies need to stay current on the technologies that are changing the way consumers interact. They need to be willing to look at their processes differently than they have in the past and be willing to invest in new ideas." Today, lenders can choose from a range of specialized products that perform a variety of tasks and even connect different services. "With the type of application programming interfaces (APIs) available today, a lender can connect systems to Google or Microsoft to manage logins and user authentication. As security technology changes, a company inherits the benefits of the work these larger companies do to adapt to those changes. The smaller the service, the easier it is to change when needed," said Roth. According to Vedder, it is cru - cial for lenders to pay close atten- tion to successful innovations in other industries as well. "Lenders should be aware of how other technologies may be adapted or applied to the mortgage sector and should anticipate market trends as well as take steps to- ward building competitive advan- tages," he said. "Lenders should gather customer feedback on the technology through surveys and active communication because it is essential to maintain focus on improving supporting technologies and the customer experience." Forming New Technologies U sing technology boils down to finding answers to the questions of how it can enhance data accuracy and consistency, enhance borrower experience, and reduce risks associated with the security of data. "Current technology solutions haven't solved the core problem of getting verified data from the consumer at the front end of the process," said Kneafsy. "The cost of originating a loan continues to rise due to paper-based, manual processes and increasing demands from regulators. Using intelligent data-driven services, lenders can reduce the time to fund a loan and lower costs in an efficient and compliant manner." "If you look at our business, even with all that convenience and experience tools, the average closing time is still more than 30 days in our industry," said Stubbs. "The next wave of disruption that we're thinking earnestly about is actually in removing full process steps so that we can push that back. One example would be "Our end goal is to build a technology ecosystem that empowers the loan officers to provide a personalized experience for our customers and keeps relationship and engagement at the center of that experience." —Rocky Stubbs, SVP and Director of Direct Consumer Lending, Flagstar Bank

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