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Hurdles, Challenges in Digitizing Mortgage Processes

Michael Farris

Michael Farris is VP of Strategic Solutions for Origence. In his role, Farris leads the Strategic Solutions group, which focuses on large volume mortgage lenders. 

A seasoned industry veteran, he previously served as SVP at Digital Lending Solutions, and prior to that, he served as SVP of Digital Docs, Inc. for 10 years. His focus on integrity and process-driven sales solutions through the years have resulted in negotiated contracts with the top 100 lenders in diverse technology and service industries.

He recently spoke with MReport about loan processing, digital mortgages, and the challenges in updating older systems. 


Fannie Mae’s November Lender Sentiment Survey revealed that lenders want to see improvements in the front-end processing of loans. What can be done to improve the front-end processes of loans through technology?

One way of improving the process is by making sure the borrower is going through a true point-of-sale process, which would consist of, the shopping experience, online application, and the consumer portal not just one of those processes.

Also, the front end process can be improved drastically by the bi-directional exchange of data and documents from the POS (consumer portal) and LOS to ensure the borrower is uploading and performing the correct tasks to move the loan through the process. Without this ability the process breaks after the application process and goes down the same loan processing paths that it has for years.


What can the industry do to help further digitize the mortgage process?

Automation. Too many products still have manual processes. You cannot truly move to a digital mortgage without automating some of the functions involved in the process.  Such things as automated tasking, conditioning and decisioning, and third-party order outs can make the dreams of a digital mortgage come true.


What are some challenges standing in the way of advancing technology in the mortgage industry?

There are quite a few hurdles in adopting new technology. One being the cost of implementing new technology. Further, systems built on older architecture make it difficult for new systems to truly connect through open APIs. Finally, new technology can only take you so far, the processes implemented with those technologies must not be antiquated and hinder the new technology.


What are the challenges in updating legacy systems to newer technologies?

Older architected systems make it difficult to use Open APIs to complete true bi-directional exchange of data and documents. Also, legacy systems typically have older workflow processes in place, so not only is it difficult to upgrade the architecture, but it is very difficult to update the processes in place or give the lender the ability to update those workflows. So many lenders have to spend time on work arounds, as opposed to creating efficiencies in their technology processes, due to legacy systems.


What role has the influx of millennial and Gen Z buyers had on technological advancements in fintech?

With increasing numbers of Gen Z buyers entering the market, it forces the industry to adjust to the expectations and ways of the Gen Z buyer—online and fast. The true POS will help facilitate this, but without the back-end LOS and true bi-directional data flow, the process will start fast, but end slow. The ability for lenders to update workflows and processes in the system in a timely manner will be a must to increase business with the growing Gen Z market. Without the speed in the backend LOS, the entire loan process will not fit the expectations of the new buyers.

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.

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