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Why Lenders Need Technology to Remain Competitive

home equityIt’s almost impossible to start any trend article on mortgage lending without recognizing a recent statistic that has far-reaching implications for the mortgage industry. $8,957. That’s the cost to originate a loan in the first quarter of 2018, according to a study by the MBA. That figure rose almost $500 from the fourth quarter of 2017.

What else happened in Q1? Mortgage bankers lost money for the first time since Q1 of 2014.

Now consider the top trends this year that have to do with advanced technologies that financial services firms need to stay competitive with digital-first challengers in the market. So, what is the first and most important trend for mortgage lenders? According to The Financial Brand, financial institutions worldwide are making “massive investments in digital transformation” to try to make up for outdated legacy banking infrastructure that can’t keep up with the expectations of digitally savvy customers.

While You Were Pivoting

Digital-only entities are taking the market by storm and scooping up the customers and the profits even as the global banking attempts to pivot to becoming more tech-savvy. The fact that mortgage origination costs keep hitting new peaks is a sign that the mortgage industry as a whole is even further behind its other financial services counterparts.

That’s why an aggressive and thoughtful focus on digital transformation for mortgage lenders is more important now than ever before. Digital lenders like Quicken and a growing field of disruptive startups are already focused on fast processes and online experiences. A recent whitepaper from financial analyst firm Celent concluded that a fully end-to-end digital mortgage is possible within the next five years. So making sure that lending institutions get started on the right foot with the right plan is critical.

A Proven Plan

What does it take to get there? It is a relief to know there are proven ways to start and maintain a digital transformation journey.

Celent suggests that taking a phased approach to technology implementation can provide fast initial benefits, lower project risk and spread out costs. First on the firm’s technology to-do list is digital document capture. But just any digital document capture solution isn’t likely to provide the benefits truly needed to move the needle on lowering costs and showing quick return on investment.

Lenders who want to make the most impactful first step in their transformation should look for a solution that combines OCR and intelligent capture technology and offers the following capabilities:

  • Automatically sorts (classifies) all incoming documents, regardless of type and format
  • Captures specific data without defining templates, zones, anchors or specific keywords
  • Reconciles captured data against your LOS to ensure consistency, accuracy, and completeness
  • Easily and quickly integrates with your LOS or other line of business systems, or may be leveraged as a standalone solution

These capabilities eliminate paper-based processes, reduce human touch-points, and eliminate the need to manually classify documents and hand-key data from even the most complex, diverse document types. With over 500 pages in the typical mortgage file, it’s easy to see how lenders have accomplished major cost reductions in areas like paper, file storage and printing costs.

Information accuracy and transparency are also improved, reducing the risk of critical loan defects and compliance issues. And reduced cycle times allow lenders to process more loans and make better profits, while increasing the satisfaction of the borrower, who invariably wants to close her loan as quickly as possible.

Clearing the Obstacles

Document capture is just the first key technology identified by Celent, so lenders shouldn’t stop there if they want to push for end-to-end mortgage lending. According to a 2017 survey, the top five barriers to digital transformation for financial institutions are teams that lack the right skillset, integration problems between new and existing technology and data, a lack flexibility and speed in processes, outdated technology and a lack of collaboration between IT and business units.

With the right plan and the right solution, these obstacles are easier to remove than you might think.

About Author: Steve Comer

Steve Comer is the director of the financial services sales team at Hyland, a content services solutions provider that helps to better manage content, processes, and cases. Comer has spent the past 12 years working with financial services customers to develop strategic plans to improve their operational efficiencies using OnBase by Hyland, an enterprise-class solution for capture, workflow, business process management and case management capabilities.
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