We live in a time when consumers are demanding a digital experience in every aspect of their lives – including the home finance experience. Today's borrowers are more tech-savvy than ever. You order groceries online for home delivery. You can be in consecutive online meetings all day. They tour and buy houses without ever stepping in. With that in mind, once a consumer begins their search for a mortgage, expectations for a quick and easy digital experience remain. A recent survey of consumers and mortgage brokers found that 50% of borrowers chose their lender based on the availability of an online application or portal. 47% indicated the importance of being able to electronically upload documents as a key factor in their decision.
Enter the digital point of sale companies offering fast, easy and accessible platforms to guide borrowers through the mortgage manufacturing process. Here, borrowers have direct access to lenders, fill out an online application, upload documents and receive pre-approval in a user-friendly system. Until recently, borrowers faced a sudden switch from an online experience to outdated offline processes after pre-approval. This created a disjointed (often frustrating) experience for borrowers, lenders, and any third party involved in the process. As a result, lenders are now looking for ways to extend the digital journey beyond application and deliver the experience that today's digital native consumers not only expect but also demand. After all, most home buyers think it should take a month or less to get a mortgage.
By partnering with these POS providers, lenders have started to bridge that void and digitize more of the mortgage experience that takes the borrower from application to close. By integrating billing services into these POS systems, the experience can flow seamlessly from pre-approval into fully digitized steps such as appraisal payment and planning, final planning and title approval.
Why haven't all lenders taken the plunge to bring an integrated digital-first experience to their borrowers? Historically, lenders have been burdened with manual processes and legacy technology – or “tech debt”. As a result, lenders must first determine whether it makes sense for their organization to buy, build, or improve existing processes. Unless a lender has plans to build everything in-house, which is expensive and tedious, finding the right POS partner is critical to building and maintaining the customer relationship seamlessly.
However, it is important for lenders to also check out the larger offers with potential POS partners. What options do they offer to enhance the digital experience for the borrower? Have they burned the tools into their platform to fully guide the borrower from application to close? Do they include the back office processing service requirements needed to streamline loan production? It is critical for a lender's POS system to constantly innovate and incorporate opportunities to lead the borrower to the final table with well-designed consumer touchpoints.
The role of the POS is to act as a unique online portal for the lending journey. These consumer experience integrations built into this process keep borrowers on their toes. Lenders who have successfully operationalized their digital journey are actively involved throughout the manufacturing process.
Lenders must encourage their partners to provide product and technology integrations that will help enable a smooth transaction with the consumer. If the affiliate cannot offer these deals, it is not a value-added partner and it is time for the lender to look around. When a lender does not provide a seamless experience for borrowers, you can be sure that there will be someone to do it.