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With home purchases on the rise and competition for mortgage business heating up, lenders have to move quickly to close loans. To do so, they are increasingly taking advantage of technologies previously unavailable to or neglected by the industry.

Here are five strategies that could help lenders close loans as quickly as 10 to 15 days. The insights come from First California Mortgage Chief Information Officer Howard Sackson and Executive Vice President Joe McKone.
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Give applicants a self-serve option
Prospective borrowers who don’t need handholding (or prefer old-fashioned forms) can fill out online applications largely on their own these days. Applicants can also authorize the transmission of necessary documents through their online banking accounts. Information that a loan officer would spend two to four days gathering by phone calls and email can now be completed as fast as 15 to 25 minutes.
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Offer automated updates on loan status
This can cut down on inquiries from borrowers or referral partners and save loan officers hours, perhaps even a day's work, over time.
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Make data mobile (securely)
Loan officers who spend a lot of time on the road sometimes have to go back to the office to securely upload and download mortgage information. Lenders can instead give their salespeople access to mobile document-sharing technology that’s designed to be secure but not tied to a particular computer. This can save an LO up to a day of travel time.
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Use data-mapping technology
If a lender can electronically map data from documents, its staff can analyze or process information much more quickly. This can speed up, for example, the required delivery of a closing disclosure, or an underwriter's analysis of a bank statement, by minutes, hours, or even a day.
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Use GSE data-validation tools
A lender that validates income, assets and employment data with automated tools offered or approved by Fannie Mae may save itself not only liability for future loan buybacks but also two to four days of processing time. Freddie Mac has been testing similar tools and relief for income and assets, and both government-sponsored enterprises offer some help verifying collateral values. A Freddie purchase-loan appraisal alternative in the works could shave more than a week off processing times for some loans.