I hate to date myself, but I remember the days when you could easily find a phone number on a website. And when you called, an actual human answered. In many situations, we are now encouraged or forced to communicate only online, or if we do find a number, we hear the dreaded words “you’ve reached our automated service line, please hold for various highly specific options, none of which are what you are probably looking for, and prepare to be disconnected without warning…” As much as I embrace and promote technology in both my personal and professional life, I do occasionally find myself hitting zero repeatedly, stating the word “agent” loudly at my phone, or looking for human help on GetHuman.com.
So with the “Digital Mortgage” firmly entering our landscape and taking aim at the human element of mortgage loan origination – I talked to a handful of great industry professionals about how they are approaching this topic, and what is the “best thing” they’d recommend, that you can do too.
Embrace the change. Glenn Rodriguez of Guaranteed Rate likes digital mortgage technology, and uses it for 1003 and transferring documents – and says this “allows me to spend more time consulting with borrowers. There are different strategies for consolidating debt, managing monthly payments, and acquiring additional properties that should be discussed …and I think most people like to know that a person is looking out for them.”
Find the balance. Joel Gray of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage says MLOs need to find the right balance of technology and human touch to secure the next sale. “Technology is a hot topic, but only an experienced LO can help put a customer at ease with their knowledge of the industry.”
Manage your costs. Karla Lunde of Guild Mortgage doesn’t believe the role of an MLO will entirely go away, but acknowledges that technology will help lower the skyrocketing cost per loan – so her advice is to “find the ways technology can automate as much as possible, and free up time for the MLO activities that can only be done by a human being – like answering questions and calming concerns.”
Keep your connection. Andrew Berman, Managing Partner of FlatIron Wealth says – “The initial sit or interview can never be replaced…there’s an art in reading the client’s cues, and knowing what to say to make the borrower feel better about their decision. However, we should use technology to make the process smoother, faster and cheaper…manage risk…and potentially put more borrowers in more homes.”
Get personal. Karen Deis, founder of LoanOfficerTraining.com said simply that only a human being can “feel emotions” – and it’s true. People still have a right brain, computers do not. Technology can definitely help automate many processes, personalize communications, provide timely updates, and make a transaction more convenient – and the smart MLOs and lenders are embracing this change – but only a human can read facial expressions, empathize, surprise, smile, surpass expectations, and delight a customer.
Bottom line – the best thing you can do for your business right now is examine your current process and embrace the technologies that can make you more efficient. You’ll free up the time to amplify all the things that only YOU as a human being can do. As Emo Philips said, “A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.”
Sue Woodard is the President & CEO of Vantage Production, LLC. She can be reached at: swoodard@VantageProduction.com