The genesis of this month's National Mortgage News cover story, Can Fintech Fix Mortgage Servicing?, started with a question I jokingly posed to the NMN team: Why does servicing technology suck so much?
That's probably an overly harsh and broad generalization. But the fact remains that on the origination side of the industry, forward-thinking lenders are implementing new automation and fully paperless underwriting. They're envisioning a future where customer relationship management systems integrate with augmented realty to show home shoppers their mortgage options on a property in real time. Meanwhile, servicers would be happy if their customer-facing websites looked like something designed this decade.
Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. Unfortunately, it's taken years of widespread regulatory upheaval for mortgage servicing to find it necessary to start thinking about technology innovation. But make no mistake; this dilemma doesn't rest solely in the hands of servicers or their technology vendors. There's plenty of blame to go around.
After all, what good is it for vendors to develop new products if servicers are unwilling or unable to dedicate the resources to incorporating those technologies into their operations? At the same time, mortgage tech vendors would be wise to embrace the philosophy of the late Steve Jobs when he said, "A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."
Perhaps the solution to this predicament is for mortgage companies to stop viewing servicing as a cost center and instead, treat it like a pipeline for profit. Seek out new ways to leverage the monthly interaction they have when borrowers go to make their loan payments and cultivate relationships.
The harsh reality is that the housing crisis forever changed the business of servicing. The new normal is here. It's time for the industry to wake up and do something about it.