Consolidation and competition are the two underlying themes mortgage executives are focused on for 2018.
Culture of service and support are key difference makers for companies trying to succeed in a challenging market, executives said. That approach spans from relationships with customers and referral partners all the way to an organization's employees, said Adam Thorpe, president and chief operating officer of Castle & Cooke.
"As we enter into a market where volume is harder to come by
and it's highly competitive, the companies that have focused on those intangibles like service and support will be able to set themselves apart and give themselves an advantage in recruiting and expansion opportunities," he said.
It's not just residential lenders that see the need for a service culture to be successful.
"It's always a good sign to see a lender that does repeat business with borrowers. It's a sign they're doing something right," added Larry Grantham, co-founder and senior portfolio manager of Calmwater Capital, a commercial real estate lender based in Los Angeles.
Integration of systems at the point of sale to verify the borrowers' assets, employment and income will help to streamline the process, while at the same time reduce lender's costs, said Altisource Portfolio Solutions Chief Revenue Officer John Vella.
Whether creating these systems in house or going to vendor that already has done all the work, at the end of the day "the ultimate goal is to get better, faster, cheaper," he said.
Here's a look at some of the top challenges and trends that mortgage executives from lenders, servicers and vendors are focused on for 2018.