Consumers may be demanding. But how much of the mortgage application process do consumers really want to control?
According to Diane Creasy, a marketing VP for Open Mortgage, consumers want to take charge in at least the first step of applying for a mortgage – pulling their credit.
Creasy recently developed and revamped all of Open Mortgage’s 145 loan officers’ webpages to include a credit report pull feature, effectively officially beginning the mortgage application process. Unlike other consumer credit checks that can be found online, a third-party credit report provider directly prepares a report for the consumer and the loan officer that would normally take three days to prepare offline, Creasy said.
That is valuable time lost for both an originator and a consumer, she said.
But what about the steps after that? How far should the consumer’s self-service go?
Big banks like Citibank are opening more branches that offer smart technologies like interactive media walls, enhanced-image ATMs, and online terminals, which are intended to put more power in the consumers’ hands. Companies like Easy Mortgage Apps LLC have developed smart applications that notify both lenders and borrowers of their loan status, loan commitment requirements and important milestone dates.
According to Scott Schang with Broadview Mortgage in Orange, California, no technology can ever replace the core process of lending someone hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“Nobody is saying, ‘boy, I wish I could receive more notifications about my loan status on my phone.’” Schang said.
This should be done by phone or email, flat-out, Schang said.
Clients want a real relationship with their loan officer and that takes trust, Schang added. It’s a good idea to offer technology that makes the origination process easier or keeps a client informed, but some of these tools are simply allow lenders to be lazy and won’t win them any additional business over the guy who doesn’t use them, he added.