Head calls for greater audience engagement
Mortgage professionals must embrace automation if they wish to attract a bigger, younger customer base and grow their business, according to the CEO of MonitorBase, Louis Zitting (pictured).
The head of the mortgage marketing platform, which specializes in data analytics and predictive modeling, said the industry had been slow to embrace new technology, with an “ageing” population of loan officers reluctant to move with the times.
Speaking to MPA, he said: “Many of those (LOs) have adopted the new technologies, but a lot of them are comfortable where they are.”
He stressed that while experienced loan originators had tried and tested systems in place, these should go hand-in-hand with the adoption of newer technology as it was the only way to engage with a younger and much larger client base.
He said: “It’s really about how to have a personal interaction with a bigger audience. There are so many ways to communicate that we’ve got to go over different channels of what the younger homeowners want to do to engage.
“You’ve got to adapt to new ways to communicate that meet the needs of consumers in order to grow your business - you just can’t keep a personal conversation with thousands of people without some sort of technology and automation.”
MonitorBase’s technology analyzes behavioral data to determine when consumers are most likely to want to purchase or refinance a home. The information can prove invaluable for lenders’ pipelines as the company claims it can help to generate hundreds of new transactions.
Zitting said: “With predictive modeling, we’re looking at specific attributes that will tell us when somebody does X-Y-Z financially, then it’s really likely that a mortgage transaction will follow within the following months.”
He went on: “We identify the customers that are most likely to be in the market in the next few months, based on hundreds of attributes that we follow. You can really see when there’s changing activity that would lead to a mortgage.”
He said predictive tools can prove useful even when a potential customer’s credit score is low, or when they’ve had credit turned down, as MonitorBase can identify the point in a consumer’s financial life cycle when they might be in the market for a mortgage.
Asked if he could predict future trends, Zitting said credit migration will become a focus of attention in the coming months as people return to their jobs following the COVID pandemic.
He said: “People that had credit issues who don’t meet their credit minimum - at least for an FHA loan - and were turned down for credit, we will monitor those consumers periodically, pre-screening them until we see that they meet the minimum requirements of the lender.”
MonitorBase will then notify the consumer on the lender’s behalf, letting them know their credit pre-qualified. “As those problems get solved, they get back to where they catch up on bills and can then qualify for an FHA loan - the credit migration alert. There’s going to be quite a bit of that going on, just recovering from the pandemic,” he revealed.
The other trend Zitting has spotted relates to an uptick in cash out refinances which, in contrast to rate term refinances, are much less rate sensitive. “We think that will kind of prolong the refinance opportunities for quite some time,” he said.
Zitting started in the industry by building websites for companies in the subprime market before obtaining his mortgage license and launching MonitorBase in March 2007.
With his tech background, he gravitated towards “the data side of things and identifying who’s in the market”. From there, he ended up building a consumer direct branch and team.
“That was more interesting to me than continuing to originate,” he added.
The company started not long before the 2008 financial crash, which was caused by the subprime mortgage scandal. In reference to that episode, he said: “We’re not going anywhere near back to the bad sort of loans that people created, so that’s a good thing. I don’t think it made sense to have 100% stated income, stated credit, stated everything kind of loans.”
The Utah-based firm now employs 19 people, including nephew Robert, who was recently named by MPA as a Rising Star of the Year in the mortgage industry.
Zitting described him as “super sharp”, saying: “He started with us right out of high school, helping out when we were at a very early startup stage. And then he went to school for Business Administration and amazed me.
“He now runs our entire operations - he’s our CFO. He’s been here longer than any other employee,” he enthused.