MReport July 2018

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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Page 25 of 67

24 | TH E M R EP O RT FEATURE T raditionally, putting together a mortgage has been an intricate, mostly manual process, with lots (and lots) of paper. But with ad - vancing technology, much of that is changing. As the industry becomes increasingly digitized, there are op- portunities for not only improving existing processes but mining the wealth of data that comes along with it as well. Technological advancements done the right way mean saving the originator and the client's time. With this extra time, mortgage professionals can focus on clients and provide all of the things machines can't. When dealing with financial information, however, it is especially critical for innovation to be paired with implementation, placing customer security as the highest priority. Today, the confluence of sev - eral technologies, including digital documentation, robotic process automation, and data mining, is advancing the mortgage industry and helping mortgage profession - als focus more on customers and customer service, and less on time- consuming and repetitive tasks. The Rise of the Digital Docket B efore the housing bubble burst, the average mortgage application ran about 100 pages, a stark difference from today's 500-page-plus application file, according to the MBA. From tax returns to bank statements and everything in between, borrowers and originators alike have been drowning in seas of paper. The move to digital documentation has helped to make gathering this information easier and more effi- cient for all parties, yet it remains cumbersome. Although these mountains of pages still exist, today's move to digital processes means the pages might not appear in any physical file folders after all. Most lenders are now able to accept applications and files digi - tally, and e-signatures are a widely used tool. So, rather than gather- ing paper documents and trans- porting them by hand or sending them in manually, borrowers can quickly email documents, submit via a photo portal, or allow com- panies to access their information directly online. These advances have helped streamline the mort- gage process for many borrowers and lenders, but there is still room for improvement. The day of the truly digital mortgage has yet to dawn, but the industry continues to move closer through increasing use of recognition and workflow technologies, which continue to show marked improvement. Digital documentation has also helped mortgage lenders and servicers, as well as others involved in the process, to streamline their information-gathering and verification processes. This has paved the way for further advancement in terms of lever- aging complimentary technologies for automation and data mining. Proper use of encryption and other secure protocols also assists in improving sensitive data protection as compared with legacy, paper-based processes. Mortgage origination is not the only area of the overall process that will benefit, however. Loan servicers can be aided by docu- ment automation as well. As new loans are brought in for servic- ing, an automated program can make sure to account for all the documents required for every loan and double-check for system data accuracy. As the MBA has concluded, there could be hun- dreds and hundreds of documents associated with each loan, which results in a cumbersome, time- consuming onboarding process— and the number of documents just increases for seasoned loans. As these documents are automati- cally brought into the system, the process can also include automatic indexing, which means that files will be ready and retrievable for customer service. Automatic Response, Human Service W ith so much of a mort- gage's processing and documentation now digitized, there is a plethora of information taken in by mortgage companies, creating the opportunity for fur- ther technological advances to not only become more efficient but better in quality. For this reason, many companies are considering such new technology as robotic process automation (RPA). Simply put, RPA is software that runs software. For those in the mort - gage industry, these automated processes can be programmed to complete workflow steps and perform quality checks and other helpful tasks. RPA bots accomplish this by accessing a platform and gathering informa - tion through many of the same application interfaces used by the operations and sales teams. With the latest advances, bots have become highly intelligent and can be programmed for tasks such as opening, reading, and composing a response to an email message. For mortgage professionals, this kind of tech - nology could be implemented in a variety of ways to help stream- line processes and speed up re- sponse times, while minimizing human error. For example, an automated process could receive a loan application, read the file and attached documents, and either acknowledge receipt or notify the applicant if documents are missing, or if the wrong documents have been sent. Cleaning Up the Paper Trail New technological advancements have made headway in streamlining the mortgage process, but the human touch to customer service remains critical. By Brent Rasmussen

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