Opinion

Partnerships matter in today’s digital mortgage process

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We’re living in a time when consumers demand a digital experience in every aspect of their lives — including the home financing experience. Today’s borrowers are more tech-savvy than ever. They’re ordering groceries online for home delivery. They may be in back-to-back online meetings all day. They’re touring and buying homes without ever stepping foot inside. With this in mind, once a consumer initiates their search for a mortgage, their expectations of a fast and easy digital experience remain. In fact, a recent survey of both consumers and mortgage brokers found that 50% of borrowers chose their lender based on whether an online application or portal was available, with 47% noting the importance of being able to electronically upload documents as a key factor in their decision.

Enter the digital point-of-sale companies offering fast, easy and accessible platforms designed to guide borrowers through the mortgage manufacturing process. It is here where borrowers have direct access to lenders, can complete an online application, upload documents and receive pre-approval within one easy-to-use system. Until recently, after pre-approval borrowers faced an abrupt shift from an online experience to outdated offline processes. This created a disjointed (often frustrating) experience for borrowers, lenders and all third parties engaged in the process. As a result, lenders are now seeking ways to extend the digital journey beyond application and deliver the experience today’s digital native consumers not only expect, but demand. After all, most homebuyers think it should take one month or less to get a mortgage.

By partnering with these POS providers, lenders have started bridging the gap and digitizing more of the mortgage experience taking the borrower from application to close. With settlement service integrations into these POS systems, the experience can seamlessly flow from pre-approval into the fully digitized steps like appraisal payment and scheduling, closing scheduling and title clearance.

So, why haven’t all lenders taken the leap to create an integrated, digital-first experience for their borrowers? Historically lenders have been encumbered by manual processes and legacy technology — or “tech debt.” As a result, lenders must first determine if it makes sense for their organization to buy, build or enhance existing processes. So unless a lender is planning on building everything in-house, which is costly and lengthy, finding the right POS partner is critical in creating and maintaining the consumer relationship in a seamless way.

However, it is important for lenders to also vet the more extensive offerings available with potential POS partners. What capabilities do they offer to extend that digital experience for the borrower? Do they have the tools baked into their platform to fully take the borrower from application through to close? Do they incorporate the back-office settlement service needs required to streamline loan manufacturing? It is critical for a lender’s POS system to continually seek to innovate, integrating ways to lead the borrower to the closing table with well-designed consumer touchpoints.

The role of the POS is to act as a singular online portal for the home lending journey. These consumer experience-focused integrations built into this process is what keeps borrowers engaged. Lenders who have successfully operationalized their digital journey have active integrations throughout the entire manufacturing process.

Lenders must challenge their partners to provide product and technology integrations that help to create a frictionless transaction with the consumer top-of-mind. If the partner cannot provide these offerings, they’re not a value-added partner and it’s time for the lender to shop around. After all, if one lender is not providing a seamless experience for borrowers, rest assured there is someone else out there who will.

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