Wholesale lenders have relied largely on spreadsheets to gain non-QM business
OptifiNow, a provider of custom CRM (customer relationship management) technology for the mortgage lending industry, has partnered with non-QM lender NextUS Lending as the latter focuses on its growing wholesale platform.
The development is not unprecedented for OptifiNow, which has some half-dozen clients in the wholesale market. But the union points to the growing emergence of the non-QM segment while showcasing a dearth of CRM solutions to those in wholesale, a company spokesman explained to Mortgage Professional America.
“For wholesale lenders in general – non-QM or QM, it doesn’t matter – there are no dedicated mortgage CRM providers that can provide a wholesale-related CRM,” Linn Cook, vice president of sales of OptifiNow, said in a telephone interview. “When you look at the current market for CRM in the mortgage space, they’re all retail-related. So it’s difficult for wholesale lenders because they’re either having to kind of shoehorn a retail CRM into a wholesale setting, which does not work, or they’re going out and buying really expensive generic CRMs and spending tons of money customizing for the mortgage industry.”
The upshot: “Smaller wholesalers are left out in the cold,” Cook said. “They may not have the resources to modify or build out a custom sales force CRM for their wholesale operations or they’re just working off a spreadsheet, which is not only inefficient but especially in this market for non-QM wholesale.”
About half a dozen other clients in the wholesale space are using its platform, Cook added, with the biggest being Sprout Mortgage. Knowing their specific needs telegraphed the need for a dedicated CRM for wholesale clients, Cook suggested.
“It’s a very transactional type of relationship between wholesale lenders and brokers,” Cook explained. “It’s a quick transaction type of sales process, and that means there’s a lot of sales operational management that has to go on. You have to kind of monitor your AEs (account executives), they have to know the priority accounts they need to talk to, things like that. Those are hard to build into a sales force.”
Heightened focus on wholesaler lenders was made easier given OptifiNow’s tight integration approach with the Mortgage Loan Origination System (LOS) platform, Cook noted. OptifiNow features an automated account classification process that utilizes an LOS integration for data-based decisioning on critical factors – including loan submissions and user activity. The system synchronizes loan details and operational milestones to keep pipelines flowing and make sure bottlenecks and inefficiencies are quickly identified and addressed, company officials explained.
“One of the key things that we do that makes this all possible, so it’s nice and easy and really automated, is we do really tight integrations with LOS,” Cook said. “We use a lot of LOS data to build an automation into our CRS. That’s what we’ve done for all our wholesale lender clients.”
Cook described the limitations of retail-focused CRMs for use by wholesale lenders further in making the case for his company’s wholesale-focused offerings: “The key problem with retail-related CRMs is they organize all their data based on individuals, like individual contacts. Whereas in the wholesale world, everything has to be organized at a company level. That’s why it’s difficult for retail CRMs to reformulate themselves into a b2b wholesale CRM because it’s a fundamental differentiation in the way the database is structured.”
The proof appears to be in the pudding at Irvine, California-based NextUS Lending, to hear the company’s national sales manager, Brian Hewitt, tell it: “NextUs Lending was built to serve borrowers who may not fit the traditional, narrow credit box and we need to utilize the next generation of CRM tools to provide flexible solutions to this underserved market,” he said in a prepared statement. “That’s why we are excited to partner with OptifiNow and leverage their custom automation expertise to supercharge our sales and strengthen customer relationships.”
Cook echoed the sentiment: “In an increasingly competitive landscape that includes shrinking margins and volume, lenders need more than a database of companies and names. Particularly in the specialized non-QM market, lenders need a custom solution that gives them the ability to enable their account executives and brokers to thrive.”