Building the next generation of tech: Three ways to digitize home lending

Building the next generation of tech: Three ways to digitize home lending
Purchasing a home is one of the biggest investments most people will make in their entire lives, but the  complexity of securing a mortgage can be a grueling and fractured process for first-time homeowners. At each stage of the buying process, there are multiple siloed transactions, from appraisals, inspections and settlements to mortgage payments and homeowners’ insurance. The home lending industry has a massive opportunity to digitalize to create efficiencies and to deliver a simpler end-to-end user experience hat would benefit both borrowers and servicers.  

Digital transformation may sound complex and disruptive, but transformation can begin with small,  meaningful steps. It is important to accept that digitalization is inevitable – customers are already hooked and there is no going back. The good news is that, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, the home lending industry can get started by translating proven technology patterns, solutions and learnings from other industries that have successfully transformed customer experience and achieved tremendous efficiencies. There are some standout misconceptions about digital transformation, which is why it is important to focus on the ones that are most important. 

Digitalization Can Start Small 

“Digital transformation” often feels big and overwhelming. Before embarking on a mission to digitally  overhaul the way an organization operates, it is important to go back to the basics. Clearly identify the  goals you want to achieve and go after them in small steps. The most common goals revolve around  improving customer experience, being more efficient through automation, and being nimbler to adapt to changes. There are two things companies should keep in mind: (a) start small and (b) don’t let perfect become the enemy of good. Many teams often get overwhelmed or burned out from trying to digitally transform their businesses all at once or from the top down, versus starting small and incrementally improving their operations first. 

The first step to all of this is taking time to reflect on what works and what doesn’t. Little changes in  processes that already work can make a big difference. For example, a one-minute reduction in call time may seem small, but it becomes meaningful when you handle more than 600,000 calls each month. Mr. Cooper continually analyzes call patterns and extracts insights from its customer interactions in order to  create efficiencies and improve customer satisfaction by providing faster resolutions. When somebody applies for a home loan, there are several handoffs and requests for information between the borrower and various internal departments. Information and context can get lost leading to delays and customer anxiety or dissatisfaction. Before trying to automate an entire process, consider investing in a basic foundational workflow technology that allows tasks to be assigned and tracked, in real time, in one  system. An online portal, like Mr. Cooper’s Digital Loan Tracker, that allows customers to upload  documents, interact with their assigned loan officer, and track their loan status at all times is another  example of incremental digitalization of a complex multistep process.  

No Need to Reinvent the Wheel – Put Your Customer First 

Digitalization in the home lending industry does not always require companies to entirely invent new  technology solutions. There are many lessons the industry can learn from other companies that have  successfully digitalized their processes. Instead of working harder, work smarter to use and automate  ideas that have been proven to work and are delivering positive results in other industries. 

For example, once the pandemic hit in early 2020, the retail industry was forced to adjust to lockdowns by making a bigger shift to e-commerce in order to sell online. Schools and colleges shifted to online  classes. By pivoting to meet the obvious needs of their customers, several industries have accelerated  their inevitable shift towards digital channels.  

The mortgage industry can make a similar shift, starting with taking a step back and evaluating what the  process is like for homeowners to take out or refinance a loan. Currently, the mortgage industry is  inundated with paperwork and limited options to efficiently digitalize and process lending and servicing  documents. By using new machine learning technology, Mr. Cooper has been able to process loan  documents quicker and more accurately, helping close loans faster and provide a better customer  experience. Combined with the adoption of eSigning technology, it is possible to further digitalize the  mortgage process and avoid having to go through all the manual paperwork home buyers have had to contend with during closing. Customers are more open than ever to engaging through channels such as  interactive chat. Mr. Cooper is investing in omni-channel technology to enable a consistent customer  experience across any channel – web, mobile, phone, chat, etc. 

Right Processes Drive the Best Results  

Digital transformation has taken every other industry by storm, and it’s time for the mortgage industry to  catch up. It immensely improves the customer experience, streamlines inefficient ways of operating and  makes it easier for servicers to make the home lending process more accessible. However, it’s important  

to remember that automating a bad process only streamlines the bad results faster. Before thinking about  automation adoption, it’s worthwhile to take a deeper look at the process itself and invest in re engineering the process before re-engineering the technology around it. Plus, finding win-win  opportunities can lead to even more success. For example, data extraction is crucial in saving time and  unlocking business value as it both reduces team members’ time spent reading through dense  documents and promotes customers’ seamless interactions with the organization. The best investment a company can make is in automation technology, but only after first ensuring that there is a clear call to action to reconfigure a broken or bad process.  

While the word “transformation” is often overcomplicated and can seem overwhelming, this era of digital transformation is really focused on improving organization success with the customer experience being  top of mind. If you keep your customer at the forefront when making investments in technology, you will  be able to adapt and grow to meet new challenges and transform within the ever-changing landscape of the mortgage industry. The process of digital transformation is not simple, and it will probably require several iterations, but it is a commitment companies will have to make in small but meaningful chunks to stay relevant in today’s world. 
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It’s Time to be All In at ALTA ONE

It’s Time to be All In at ALTA ONE
ALTA ONE provides the opportunity for title professionals to dive into trends and policies shaping the industry. It’s also the optimal event to reconnect with colleagues from across the country and prepare for upcoming opportunities and challenges. It’s time to be ALL In for your customers, your business, your team and your future.
Here’s a quick rundown of key presentations during the featured Omni Sessions this week at ALTA ONE, which is being held Oct. 12-15 in New Orleans.
Power of Perception
How can we adapt and thrive when the ground beneath us is shifting? Neuroscientist Dr. Beau Lotto has spent decades studying the way we see—and in this Oct. 13 opening Omni Session (sponsored by First American)—he will illuminate these principles of perception, helping you overcome biases, embrace uncertainty, transform your approach to creativity and unlock innovation. Lotto will use hard science to open your mind and help you see the world—and yourself—differently.

The founder and CEO of The Lab of Misfits, a neuro-design studio that seeks to “break down the walls of the traditional laboratory” and study humans in their natural habitats, Lotto also is a professor of neuroscience at the University of London and a visiting scholar at New York University. He is the author of “Why We See What We Do” and “Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently,” which explores the surprising science of creativity and unveils the unexpected relationship between perception, reality and innovation.
Technology Innovation and Hope
From a worldwide health pandemic to hurricanes and wildfires to unrelenting cyberattacks: Where you may see uncertainty, former White House CIO Theresa Payton sees a future of technology innovation and hope. Payton knows how to transform people and technology to meet shifting and often conflicting priorities. In this “little something extra” Omni Session on Oct. 13, she will discuss her unique perspective on accelerating and reimagining your technology while also keeping your employees, customers and data secure.

What you see on her hit CBS show, “Hunted,” is what she does in real life: follow the digital tracks of the criminal adversary. Payton will provide a sneak preview into the inner workings of cybercriminal syndicates that are behind some of the largest cybersecurity incidents, including ransomware. Through real life stories, she’ll share how criminals leverage the cloud, blockchain, cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, open-source intelligence, 5G, the internet of things and even deep fakes to conduct their tradecraft.
You will walk away from her Omni Session with a list of things you can implement immediately, a blueprint for guarding your work life and personal life against attack. Payton also will give her cybercrime predictions for 2022 and beyond and tell you how to prepare.
Diversity in Leadership
“You don’t have a diversity problem—you have a leadership problem.” During the Oct. 14 Omni Session (sponsored by the FNF Family of Companies), Ginny Clarke, a former director of executive recruiting at Google, will share her expertise in driving diverse leadership. Clarke will deliver a “no-holds-barred” discussion on the causes that lead to a lack of diversity in organizations and provide thoughtful, integrated solutions you can use to affect change. She will share the provocative view that leaders can be the ailment or the remedy for Corporate America’s “Diversity Problem.”

A published author, podcast host and entrepreneur, Clarke is the CEO of Ginny Clarke LLC, her own talent and leadership consulting business. Previously, she was a partner at Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm based in Chicago. She has been in corporate boardrooms assessing and advising leaders for nearly 25 years and has a deep understanding of how to fairly assess talent as well as build that capability in your organization.
Playing the Game
To kick off the closing Omni Session sponsored by AccuTitle, Immediate Past President Mary O’Donnell and ALTA CEO Diane Tomb will present the next round of ALTA Good Deeds Foundation grants.
Following that, ALTA President Bill Burding NTP will interview former football star Archie Manning.
The conversation will address football, but Manning will share his four principles: leadership, dependability, flexibility and “playing the game.” Manning will offer advice on how to apply the principles to community, business and day-to-day life—ultimately helping achieve success.

As the New Orleans Saints’ No. 1 draft pick in 1971, Manning has been recognized as one of the top 50 players in the franchise’s history, inducted into multiple Halls of Fame and won awards for everything from coaching to humanitarianism and, yes, even Father of the Year. His permanent record features a laundry list of activities that better his community, including the Louisiana Special Olympics, the New Orleans Area Boy Scout Council, the United Way Speakers Bureau and the Salvation Army. He also is the chair of the board of the National Football Foundation.
Following the interview with Manning, ALTA’s 2021-2022 Board of Governors will be installed followed by incoming ALTA President Dan Wold.

PNC Bank breached COVID-19 payment deferral agreement: suit

PNC Bank breached COVID-19 payment deferral agreement: suit
PNC Bank allegedly breached Fannie Mae’s COVID-19 payment deferral agreement by continuing to charge homeowners who opted for the home retention option for past-due monthly principal and interest payments.

A national class action-seeking lawsuit filed in Maryland federal court claims that PNC double-charged borrowers for their past-due principal payments and thus improperly increased the amount of their mortgages.

Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that members of the class who paid the deferred amounts early were double-charged the amount of past-due interest that PNC agreed to defer.

Payment deferral, offered as a COVID-19 home retention option by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA, brings a borrower’s mortgage current and delays repayment of certain monthly principal and interest payments. Missed payments get deferred to the end of a loan term or earlier if the home is sold, the property is transferred, or the loan is refinanced or otherwise paid off.

By allegedly continuing to charge homeowners despite the agreement, the plaintiffs accuse PNC of violating the federal Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA), specifically Regulation Z, which requires a creditor or servicer of the mortgage loan to provide periodic mortgage statements that accurately disclose the amount of the outstanding principal balance.

Additionally, the lawsuit claims that PNC’s practices violated the Maryland Consumer Protection Act (MCPA). MCPA prohibits unfair and deceptive trade practices in the extension of consumer credit and/ or collection of consumer debts, such as making false or misleading representation.

Plaintiffs accuse the bank, headquartered in Pittsburgh, of “misrepresenting that its deferral agreements would only delay or defer the payment of the past-due amounts and that the payment deferral will not change any other term of the mortgage.“

Relief is sought in the form of damages and restitution of all alleged overcharges on a mortgage loan, statutory damages for violations of TILA, and an order requiring PNC to recalculate the outstanding principal balance on all affected mortgage loans and refund or credit affected consumers.

In response to the lawsuit, PNC Bank said that they “do not wish to offer a comment.”

Since the beginning of the year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has made it clear that mortgage servicers must give their consumers access to home retention options in order to prevent a tidal wave of foreclosures.

The bureau also said that it is closely monitoring how servicers engage with borrowers and how they process applications for loss mitigation.
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Giving Back ‘A Passion’

Giving Back ‘A Passion’
Giving back to their community is part of the company culture at Missouri-based Monarch Title Co.
Company president and CEO Chuck Bowman MTP, NTP serves on several non-profit boards. One organization Bowman and his wife, Pam, support is GPMade Foundation. The group provides financial support for research for children facing lymphoma and leukemia cancer, support for children with physical challenges and aid to children and youth experiencing economic and social challenges through mentoring and scholarships for education.
This year, the title company is donating $5 of every closing from its four offices in Missouri to GPMade Foundation. This will equal approximately $15,000 for the year, according to Bowman.
Four years ago, The Bowmans started a program called Bingo for Babies. Over the last four years, Monarch Title has raised close to $50,000 for the organization.
“It is mine and Pam’s passion and culture to give back to our community,” Bowman said. “For this we are very proud. Thanks for letting me share our story and the importance of helping those in need in our community.” 

Share Your #GoodDeeds

We know how involved you are in your local market even when there’s not a pandemic, so we know you are actively involved in helping those that might need it most. We would like to highlight all the great volunteerism that is happening across our industry and the creative ways you’ve modified processes to get deals closed. Share your stories and photos by emailing

Want to support the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation? The foundation supports the charitable efforts of title professionals as they work to build and strengthen their local communities Donate today!