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Tools of the Trade: Embracing the Digital Evolution

Editor's note: This article appears in the April 2021 MReport magazine, available here. 

Loan officers—who tend to reflect trends in the overall mortgage industry—are almost always looking for the same thing: an efficient way to do the same amount of business in less time. In turn, they are looking for ways to make more money and ways to do more business in the same amount of time, thus
making money more efficiently. Technology provides that efficiency, regardless of whether you’re an
originator or an executive, and it’s starting to play a major role in every step of the process, from origination to closing, and even post-closing and servicing.

COVID-19 forced the real estate industry to get digital, and in turn, gasoline was thrown on the same trend within mortgage lending. Still, there remains many slow and antiquated processes
within the mortgage industry, which unfortunately, is “just the way it’s been done” for decades. Everything boils down to customer experience and progressive technology platforms should only improve that experience and overall outcome. At this point, with some of the fintech apps available,
buyers can literally get qualified for a mortgage while they’re standing in front of the house they want to buy.

The customer is driving the need for mortgage companies to get with the times when it comes to implementing technology and improving efficiency, and in turn, so is the originator.

Established organizations have been a bit slow in many cases to right the ship but have been more focused on creating a stronger digital experience when it comes to marketing and increasing their online presence. That said, a gap remains in efficiencies on the “manufacturing” side by not having up-to-date digitization and technology.

That gap slows the process down and takes time away from growing the business and its overall reach. Companies that have already established themselves on a digital platform are ahead of the game when it comes to reinvesting in and growing their businesses via greater efficiencies. Thanks to the refinancing boom of 2020, many companies have plenty of capital to reinvestbut also plenty of questions about how to do it: 

  • Where do they reinvest? 
  • Do they buy it or develop tech from the ground up? 
  • How will they expand their capacities? 
  • How do they capitalize now? 

One of the most effective answers to those questions is to reinvest in people through increased hiring efforts. In turn, one of the most effective ways to do that is by finding producers to carry on that same hockey stick trajectory that they were just on during 2020. By building their hiring pipelines into a technology platform that uses CRM functionality, mortgage companies can track all of their outreach efforts into one collaborative space. 

Now is the perfect time for companies to reinvest that 2020 capital and bolster their technology profiles to create more efficient policies, processes, and practices that will expand that growth even further.  

Of course, no level of technological efficiency can be truly effective without the right people behind it. As a mortgage professional, people are trusting your expertise and your experience. Using the human element and providing great service, combined with the latest technology platforms, is the best way to truly transform any mortgage business. 

About Author: Kirk Waldfogel

Kirk Waldfogel is CEO of Model Match, where he sets the vision and drives the overall strategy for the company. Waldfogel’s former companies were winners of VentureNet99, selected to participate in the UCLA Anderson School of Management Entrepreneur Program, and earned a Most Innovative Product Award at CES in 2003. Past accolades include winning 2014 CTIA Startup Lab, selected as 2014 Telecom Council of Silicon Valley Most Innovative Product, and was named winner of the 2014 CES AppNation Garage.

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