Most debtors want a hybrid person expertise, not only a technical survey

As financial technology becomes increasingly important to more and more mortgage providers, the vast majority of consumers want methods of communication that require them to speak or meet with loan officers.

ICE Mortgage Technology's survey of borrowers and lenders found that three-quarters of loan officers contacted their customers once a week after applications were submitted. 72% of lenders said the contact resulted in happy customers and 77% of borrowers agreed.

Borrowers largely preferred a hybrid approach to communication that combined digital and traditional methods such as face-to-face interactions and phone calls. Of the 2,000 borrowers and tenants who participated in the survey, around three-quarters preferred a combination, with 26% of this group wanting an even split between the two types of contact, while 25% preferred traditional methods and 14% preferred a digital emphasis. Around 24% of respondents said they preferred purely traditional methods and 11% wanted a purely digital experience.

While mortgage technology took a huge leap forward as pandemic conditions required a digital means of doing business, an ideal user experience still requires a bespoke human touch.

"Many lenders viewed solutions like a point of sale or eClose as marketing tools, more than a means of improving the borrower experience," Joe Tyrrell, president of ICE Mortgage Technology, told NMN. "The speed of responsiveness and the ability to automatically keep consumers informed of the progress of their credit have become highly sought-after skills."

COVID-19 has permanently changed the way lenders do business, and the record credit volume of 2020 has shown that one has to break away from manual processes in order to be able to scale accordingly. Nine in ten lenders said tech will streamline the mortgage process and drive costs down in the future.

Adopting the latest technologies can certainly help, but they must also be compatible with each other and with legacy systems.

"We heard lenders talk about the difficulty of creating a cohesive customer experience when using multiple providers for an eClose experience," said Tyrrell. "Without a single vendor solution that covers all aspects of borrower engagement, this critical process remains fragmented as different technologies create different user experiences."

58% of consumers said that choosing an online application portal would have a positive impact on lender choice, while 64% think online options are easier than a face-to-face process. More than half of the online applicants stated that the simplified procedure and the reduced closing times are an advantage. Of the 91% of lenders who offered online options, 60% said they received more than half of their applications online, while 38% received more than 80% online.

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