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8 Innovations for Mortgage Tech (A Wish List)

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently dressed down the mortgage industry for failing to innovate. Here are 10 tech ideas from the National Mortgage News team that could improve efficiency, margins and the industry's image among growing demographics. Some might sound farfetched, but so do most great inventions at first. Dream big.

Field Services Drones Adobe Stock Field Services Drones

Picture foreclosure notices served by unmanned aerial vehicles that can also monitor zombie properties until they are sold to prevent, or at least quickly report, burglaries and broken windows.

Blight-Fighting Robots Adobe Stock Blight-Fighting Robots

Servicers, municipalities and neighborhood groups could deploy robots to pull weeds, mow grass, remove newspapers from porches and maintain paint. Think of them as the Swiss Army knife of home maintenance.

A Device to Read Regulators' Minds Adobe Stock A Device to Read Regulators' Minds

OK, telepathy is a stretch, but who wouldn't pay good money for tech that allowed them to know where, exactly, the boundaries are on loan officer compensation or marketing services agreements? Perhaps there is an opportunity to determine what regulators are likely thinking with predictive analytics.

Like 'Find My Friends,' But for Business Partners Adobe Stock Like 'Find My Friends,' But for Business Partners

Apple's iOS 9 app allows people in your contacts list who are also in your vicinity to find you. Think about this: a borrower tours a property and is interested in making an offer. The real estate agent enables the app so she can be found, and while the borrower applies for the mortgage, an appraiser and inspector get involved.

'Products You Might Like' Adobe Stock 'Products You Might Like'

Regulations largely stifle the breadth of analytics that can be applied to financial services customers in the way, say, Facebook uses them, though the expanded Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data collection could change that. Imagine a world in which analytics can help identify opportunities with existing borrowers. For instance, a bank servicer could see that a borrower several recent purchases at Home Depot and could use that information to offer a Home Equity Line of Credit.

'Dash' Button for Doc Deliveries Adobe Stock 'Dash' Button for Doc Deliveries

Amazon's Dash button is a real-life version of an instant-delivery button made famous in Staples commercials. One of its drawbacks is that it's not exactly instantaneous. Nonetheless, until the industry relies completely on e-closings, what if paper closing documents could be delivered wherever, whenever, with the simple push of a lender-branded button?

Babel Fish for Borrower Education Adobe Stock Babel Fish for Borrower Education

One goal of the CFPB is to educate borrowers about the homebuying process. There is a mountain of information to get through, and communication styles and comprehension levels can make this more difficult. It's unlikely the yellow leech-like creatures of Douglas Adams' imagination would play well in real life, but imagine how useful a real-time electronic version could be.

'Sign' Loan Docs with Fingerprints Adobe Stock 'Sign' Loan Docs with Fingerprints

Some big banks' apps now allow customers to sign into their accounts with a fingerprint or face scan, but the mortgage industry lags behind. As the mortgage industry moves closer to a fully-electronic mortgage, this is one change they can and should incorporate immediately.