This piece originally appeared in the April 2022 edition of MReport magazine, online now.
Roxana Davidoff is the Founder and CEO of Big Purple Dot, a provider of an ecosystem of mortgage marketing technologies that includes CRM (Customer Relationship Management) lead management, lead recapture, predictive analysis and video production, and texting. Since founding the company in 2011, Roxana has overseen its growth into the first complete and collaborative lead management solution for lending institutions and real estate firms.
MReport recently had a chance to speak with Davidoff about managing Big Purple Dot and making the most of relationships with prospective borrowers and business partners.
How did Big Purple Dot come into existence?
Davidoff: We founded the company in 2011 based on our belief that all parties involved in a transaction—borrowers, originators, and Realtors—should be able to communicate and collaborate using a single platform. While there have been attempts to build similar platforms in the past, they were never built to consider the varying needs of different parties, nor did they provide a truly seamless communication experience. In short, we saw a need and filled it.
Since then, Big Purple Dot has expanded to include customized text, multimedia, and video messaging to help originators and real estate agents engage and create stronger, more personalized connections with consumers. The entire goal remains the same—enabling greater collaboration between all parties to ensure every loan is closed as efficiently and conveniently as possible.
What has impacted mortgage marketing over the past 18 months or so?
Davidoff: There were two major impacts that are closely tied to each other. This first was the incredible amount of refinancing activity that was driven by low rates and rising home prices. It was like turning on a firehose and watching lenders just trying to catch as much water as possible. The other significant impact, obviously, has been the pandemic. The transition to doing business remotely accelerated the use of digital technology to reach borrowers, which continues to this day.
What lenders have been most successful using technology and automation?
Davidoff: Look at the companies that are leading our industry, specifically non-bank fintech lenders, and you will find your answer. loanDepot, for example, has been highly successful because the company invested in its own technology, and was able to evolve much faster than its competitors. There are really no successful lenders today that are not using marketing technology and automation to attract borrowers and build relationships with referral partners.
Has the slowdown in refinances impacted the CRM business?
Davidoff: Absolutely. It is critical for CRM providers to be able to help lenders weather and thrive through changes in market cycles. It was easy for lenders to do well during the refi boom, regardless of what tools they were using. But when refinance activity began to level off, many lenders found their CRM platforms were not flexible enough to help them evolve to a more purchase-oriented market in which a transaction can take six months or longer.
A good lead management platform should also be able to identify the strongest leads and ensure an originator is reaching out to potential borrowers at just the right time, every time. The best CRM platforms are collaborative by nature, so that all parties involved in the loan process are able to stay on top of what is happening to ensure every loan closes on time.
What do you consider the best referral source for a loan originator?
Davidoff: When you look at a successful loan originator, you see somebody who has done well building relationships with real estate agents. As purchase loan volume increases, these relationships are going to be more important than ever.
Today’s homebuyers face enormous challenges finding the right property and getting their offers accepted because inventory is so low. This means originators and real estate agents must work closely together to put their clients in the best position to win deals. Originators who can make the mortgage process as simple and stress-free as possible for borrowers should have no trouble generating referrals from agents.
What do Realtors want from their loan officers?
Davidoff: First and foremost, they want to know that the lender can close their client’s loan. However, effective communication is a close second.
Agents do not have time to track down a loan officer to find out about the status of their client’s loan approval, which means loan officers should be constantly keeping agents in the loop and providing updates on the borrower’s financing. If they do not, agents are likely to think something is wrong.
At what point does a borrower make their decision to go with a particular lender?
Davidoff: Because home buyers need a preapproval to get sellers and agents to talk to them, typically, a prospective borrower has committed once they get that preapproval. But that does not mean a borrower will not change their mind. If their loan officer becomes difficult to reach, fails to stay in touch, or forgets that the borrower prefers to communicate by email or text message, a borrower could easily go somewhere else for their loan. That is why a good communication platform is so important—it keeps borrowers engaged in the process and makes sure the loan officer or lender has not overlooked anything.