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Today’s mortgage borrowers are similar in most respects to those we see using social media and shopping online.  The customers we want to appeal to and interact with are the same customers who are making purchases and decisions elsewhere in the modern market. This means we can learn more about them by studying what they expect from these other experiences.

What do they expect? How do they respond if they are unhappy? How can the mortgage industry meet their needs and expectations?

What is shaping modern customer expectations?

To answer this question, let's look at what consumers say they expect out of the other vendors they patronize.

Social media has become a ubiquitous tool for the modern shopper. Customers are likely to research businesses in advance. They check reviews to see what other consumers say and may even test a new relationship by interacting with a business just to see how responsive the staff is. They expect to find information about and written by the companies they may do business with online.

Online shopping is one of the best places to go to learn about customer expectations. Amazon, Apple and eBay have been shaping what customers expect when making purchases online. What customers want is to be able to find exactly what they’re looking for — easily and quickly — and not to pay too much.

Mortgage borrowers are likely to compare their mortgage experience with their online banking experience. Modern financial institutions are giving consumers access to all of their information in one place, right in front of them. They have their accounts at their fingertips and the ability to make changes rapidly.

What do today’s borrowers want?

If we take the lessons we can learn from other online experiences and apply them to our own customers, we get a good picture of what today's borrowers want.

Personalization

Most online vendors are highly adept at personalization. They know what to recommend to customers based on what they have looked at or purchased in the past. They can tailor their customers’ experiences (including payment, delivery options, etc.) to fit their preferences.

Immediate Customer Service

Many websites today come equipped with chat functionality. Customers can type in any question and receive a response back within minutes. This has resulting in customers becoming quite used to having immediate access to customer service. Consequently, waiting for an email response now feels too tedious in a world of instantaneous communication.

Low Stress

Humans are driven to whatever will be the least work and involve the least stress. The fewer buttons they have to click, the fewer things they have to type, the fewer other places they have to go, and the less legwork they have to do, the better. In most cases, this means that everything is done in one place. It also means that the consumer has to do less to get satisfaction.

Speed

One of the things modern customers seek most consistently is speed. They don’t want to wait for people to get back to them. Customers want to do their part of the process and have the rest handled automatically. They seek to finish their purchase quickly. Modern customers are much more likely to move on if they experience a hang-up or delay.

What happens if it all goes wrong?

So what happens if customers are displeased? Well, nothing good. With more options than ever to choose from in every market, customers are more liable than ever to walk away from a business and never return. Why would they waste their time with you if they have already had one bad or underwhelming experience? There are plenty of other places to go.

To make matters worse, people spread the word — for better or worse. If a customer really likes a business, they are likely to tell others — either with online reviews or word-of-mouth. The same will happen if they have a bad experience.

Giving mortgage borrowers the experience they expect.

Given all of this, what can we say about delivering the kinds of experiences our customers want?

Have Good Technology

One of the best ways to make customers happy today is by utilizing modern, up-to-date, easy-to-use technology. Make sure your website is smooth and intuitive. And make sure that your systems are speedy, accurate, low-stress, easy-to-understand, and that as much as possible the customer can do everything in one place.

Prioritize Customer Service

Tech alone won’t make happy customers. They will need to have access to real people whenever the need arises. It's important that human contact can be delivered quickly and easily.  Many mortgage customers still prefer to come into a physical location to speak to a mortgage professional. So, it should also be easy to get to a loan officer in a clean, modern, and easy to find office. Maintaining top-notch customer service is crucial — it isn’t going away.

Keep Making Improvements

Keep looking for ways to make your customers’ lives easier. This is all about them, after all. You need them, and the happier they are, the better for your business. Remember that the easier you make things for them, the more likely they will be to return to you, and to send other people your way as well.

Mortgage Cadence to provide Minnesota-based credit union with a comprehensive platform to enable increased growth

DENVER; Oct. 9, 2018 – TopLine Federal Credit Union (TopLine) selected Mortgage Cadence, an Accenture (NYSE: ACN) company, to modernize its mortgage operations using Mortgage Cadence’s full product suite.

TopLine has replaced all legacy systems with Mortgage Cadence’s Loan Fulfillment Center, Borrower Center, Document Center, Imaging Center, and Collaboration Center, paving the way for increased lending profitability and a better borrower experience.

Collaboration Center — Mortgage Cadence’s newest offering — is a secure, private network that connects the people, data and systems involved in the loan origination process. It includes automatic document comparison and secure real-time messaging that provides easy access to title agents and other third parties. By eliminating tedious, labor-intensive tasks to simplify the mortgage process, Collaboration Center helps to increase efficiency through a streamlined workflow.

“We selected Mortgage Cadence as our comprehensive mortgage solutions partner knowing they are committed to innovation and are dedicated to providing superior service to help us get the most out of our technology,” said Tom Smith, president and CEO of TopLine Federal Credit Union. “We are excited to launch our new highly automated digital platform to provide our members an entirely paperless and seamless experience – from application through closing.”

Paul Wetzel, executive vice president and managing director of product management at Mortgage Cadence, said, “We’re thrilled to have TopLine as an early adopter of Collaboration Center, our newest offering that helps to improve productivity and minimizes time to close, two of the critical lending KPIs that drive profitability. We look forward to an enduring, collaborative relationship that benefits the credit union and its members through the most innovative services and best possible loan experience.”

About Mortgage Cadence
Since 1999, Mortgage Cadence has been providing the best people, process, and technology for enterprise and mid-market lenders who desire to deliver an exceptional borrower experience. From point-of-sale through post-closing, Mortgage Cadence offers reliable software and dedicated people, supporting lenders every step of the way.

About TopLine Federal Credit Union
TopLine Federal Credit Union is Minnesota’s 13th largest credit union with assets of more than $450 million. Established in 1935, the not-for-profit cooperative offers a complete line of financial services, including mortgage, investment advisory and insurance agency services from its five Twin Cities metropolitan area branch locations —as well as by phone, mobile app and online. To learn more, visit http://www.TopLinecu.com.

As an innate feature of Mortgage Cadence’s LOS, Borrower Center creates a fully integrated digital experience for borrowers

Featured in HousingWire's Mortgage Tech Product Showcase

Recognizing that high-performance lending depends on the interplay of people, process, and technology, Mortgage Cadence solves for inefficiencies in the origination process. They knew the creation of an experience that made it easier for borrowers to shop, compare, and apply for a mortgage, while simultaneously creating a lending experience that increased efficiencies through automated workflows, would provide the industry with the most innovative lending solution on the market.

As part of their comprehensive approach to revolutionizing the mortgage process, Mortgage Cadence developed Borrower Center, an intuitive online origination platform, to meet these needs.

Rather than a standalone portal, Borrower Center is a native element of Mortgage Cadence’s Loan Origination Systems, Enterprise Lending Center and Loan Fulfillment Center. As an innate feature of the LOS, Borrower Center creates a fully integrated and comprehensive digital experience that automates vendor services, runs AUS, initiates loan estimates, and generates pre-approvals.

Read more here.

Denver, CO; Jan. 24, 2017 − Citizens Community Federal Bank (CCFBank) announced its selection of Mortgage Cadence, an Accenture Company (NYSE: ACN), to streamline its loan origination processes, as well as drive borrower engagement. CCFBank will utilize the Loan Fulfillment Center, a robust loan origination system that offers end-to-end loan processing functionality, including compliance-related functionality and many third-party service providers.

CCFBank is a federally chartered national bank that provides deposit and loan products to communities in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. After recently achieving the largest mortgage closing volumes in CCFBank's history, it was looking to capitalize on this growth with a new loan origination platform that enabled increased digital engagement with its customers.

The Loan Fulfillment Center’s accompanying product suite also solidified the bank’s decision to use Mortgage Cadence’s software and services. The Borrower Center, Document Center, and Imaging Center product add-ons, in addition to an available integration with DocuSign, differentiated Mortgage Cadence from the competition as a truly comprehensive product suite.

Nizar Hashlamon, EVP of Sales and Client Relations at Mortgage Cadence, said: “Mortgage Cadence is proud to be selected by CCFBank. With the Borrower Center for Loan Fulfillment Center, its customers will experience a swift and straightforward loan origination process, and the efficiencies don’t end there. Because Borrower Center for Loan Fulfillment Center is fully embedded, the single system of record helps the residential mortgage process continue seamlessly. As a valued community bank recognized for their leadership in the industry, we look forward to fostering another long-term relationship with CCFBank and are excited to contribute to the accelerated growth of the organization.”

About Mortgage Cadence
Mortgage Cadence, a wholly owned subsidiary of Accenture, has been working with lenders since 1999, offering mortgage technology solutions designed for point-of-sale through post-closing. In a time when efficiency, speed and the customer experience are paramount to the success of lenders, Mortgage Cadence offers reliable software and dedicated people, supporting lenders every step of the way. Visit www.mortgagecadence.com for more information.

About CCFBank
CCFBank®, Citizens Community Federal, N.A. is a federally chartered national bank based in Altoona, Wisconsin. With over $550 million in assets, the bank is a full‐service financial institution providing deposit and loan products to our customers from multiple branch locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan.

DENVER, CO; January 10, 2017 – Mortgage Cadence, an Accenture Company (NYSE: ACN), signed Alaska USA Federal Credit Union (Alaska USA) to its Enterprise Lending Center mortgage origination product suite. This partnership strengthens Alaska USA’s commitment to providing its members with the best origination experience possible, backed by Mortgage Cadence’s comprehensive product suite.

With a regulatory environment that continues to challenge the industry, Alaska USA sought to acquire a rules-based loan origination system to drive compliance, efficiency, and accuracy. “Finding a loan origination provider that could meet the needs of both our members and our staff was paramount to our search,” said Debbie Ingle, Executive Director, Mortgage and Real Estate Lending for Alaska USA. “We were fortunate to find a true partnership with Mortgage Cadence. Its vision for next-generation, borrower-facing tools like responsive design and document upload solidified our confidence in its long-term position in the industry.”

Mortgage Cadence was able to meet Alaska USA’s needs by combining its flagship multi-channel, rules-driven loan origination solution, Enterprise Lending Center, with its entire complementary product suite, including:

Alaska USA selected Mortgage Cadence based on extensive discussions around the implementation methodology, the Mortgage Cadence Cloud, current and future vision for the digital borrower experience, and infrastructure as a whole. “Our technology is certainly integral to our clients’ success, but without the best team leading the charge and working hand-in-hand with our clients, none of it would be possible,” said Trevor Gauthier, President and Chief Operating Officer for Mortgage Cadence. “We pride ourselves in providing the best team in the industry dedicated to partnering with our clients to meet their changing needs in automation, borrower experience, and compliance. Our dedication to Alaska USA’s needs during its search, and now as we head into implementation, is no exception.”

About Mortgage Cadence
Mortgage Cadence, a wholly owned subsidiary of Accenture, has been working with lenders since 1999, offering mortgage technology solutions designed for point-of-sale through post-closing. In a time when efficiency, speed and the customer experience are paramount to the success of lenders, Mortgage Cadence offers reliable software and experienced people, supporting lenders every step of the way. Visit www.mortgagecadence.com for more information.

About Alaska USA Federal Credit Union
Alaska USA Federal Credit Union is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative with $6.8 billion in assets and more than 600,000 members worldwide. The credit union operates 85 branches in Alaska, Arizona, California, and Washington State. Alaska USA offers a 24/7 Member Service Center, access to more than 55,000 surcharge free ATMs worldwide, as well as online and mobile solutions. Learn more at alaskausa.org.

By: Jim Rosen, "Pixelation Nation: E-Closing in the Mortgage Industry," for Progress in Lending

Digital photography was invented 43 years ago. Today, we have grown so accustomed to taking photos with digital cameras – including our cell phones – that we no longer think twice about this technology. Sure, most of us grew up taking rolls of film to the store to be developed, but would you really trade the immediacy we have today for film? For most of us, the answer is “no way.”

The all-digital mortgage is similar to digital photography. It has gone from being a novel concept – something for lenders to strive for – to being something we hear about all the time. The need for all-digital-everything in mortgages has been driven by a number of considerations, including consumer demand for more timely and efficient interactions, complex compliance requirements, and a need to expedite lending activities. Non-bank lenders add to this mix with non-traditional lending practices and different risk profiles, creating a hyper-competitive lending environment.

In light of all of these factors, tack-on solutions or limited technology that only supports digital disclosures is just no longer going to cut it. As we adapt to the needs of today’s borrowers, we believe that embracing the all-digital mortgage experience is the best option for lenders to ensure that they have a lending platform that will support their future activities. Just as camera film has become all but obsolete, so too will be paper-based mortgage processes. Here’s how you can ensure you are at the forefront of this part of our digital revolution.

As mentioned, digital disclosures have long been an accepted first step in the digital revolution. Electronic signatures on early and upfront disclosures carried low risk and were simply implemented, and the options and flavors of eSign are numerous. However, lenders are realizing – and consumers are demanding – that you can’t just offer digital disclosures and then revert to paper for closing to realize the benefits of the digital mortgage.

There are two reasons for this. First, because of increased regulations that require compliance checks and procedural validations, lenders today automatically face higher costs per loan. And while increased costs can be mitigated with procedure redesign and staff training, lenders can only retrain so much without having to rely on technology to go further. Second, many of today’s mortgage borrowers seek automated, efficient financial solutions that they can control at the time and place of their choosing. While digitizing disclosures is a great start, today’s borrowers demand more and will go where they can find that all-digital experience.

That brings us to eClosing. The digital camera revolution took nearly fifteen years after its invention before consumers had a viable product they could buy. Similarly, the industry “standard” over the past decade for eClosing required lenders and platforms to dig deep. Their options included:

In the cold calculus of cost/benefit, lenders often could not make the conversion-to-payoff based on the large investment required. Costs to implement and maintain could not justify the potential or perceived benefits in consumer efficiency and/or backend reductions in cost, time, or processes. Faced with these tack-on approaches, many lenders waited for better options to come along.

Fortunately, just as digital cameras now are ubiquitous, all-encompassing digital mortgage solutions have proliferated, as well. Digital experts in the financial services industry have begun banding together to create fully-integrated solutions for lenders of all sizes. Lenders can now adopt the complex underlying technology for eNotes without the heavy investment in research, development, or infrastructure. With the availability of these solutions, consumers will begin demanding all-digital mortgages exclusively. Paper-based mortgage processes, while already on the way out, will hopefully become completely obsolete.

That brings us to the key question for lenders: Where are you on your digital mortgage journey? The movers and shakers in the industry are already providing borrowers with an all-digital mortgage origination experience. Taking the next step today can help meet borrower demand tomorrow.

By: Dan Green, "Seeds of Digital Change in the Real Estate Market," for Progress in Lending

Remember the days when stacks of paper, numerous phone calls, and “snail mail” made up the heart of the mortgage process? Yes, we are referring to those days in the not-so-distant past before the technology revolution made the all-digital mortgage a possibility. As we’ve seen, this technology revolution took the mortgage industry by storm, drastically improving day-to-day operations and increasing efficiency. A similar technological future awaits the home seeking process. As this future reveals itself, it is in our best interest as lenders to remain up to date with these changes to foster collaboration with real estate agents. Advanced planning and networking now will lead to a natural pipeline of referrals, allowing our future origination business to grow in unprecedented ways.

The initial stages of searching for a home have become almost exclusively digital, activating yet another technological revolution. Logically, the initial home buying effort begins with a simple online search to gauge market availability and pricing while also honing in on certain types of homes or neighborhoods. According to a recent report, about 90% of prospective home buyers use some type of online search in their home buying process. As millennials continue to make up more and more of the first time home buying population, the use of internet throughout the process will only increase.

As a result of this increase, home buying technology must continue to improve as well. Outside of current online listings and search functionality, there is limited digital capability to make an offer on – and ultimately purchase – a home online. Fortunately, seeds of change are already being planted through a few digital real estate companies that offer the capability to search, list, sell, and buy properties completely online. Similar to the all-digital mortgage where lenders and borrowers are notified of status updates through loan origination software, so too will home buyers and sellers make and receive offers and updates simultaneously. At first glance, it may seem like these digital changes eliminate the need for real estate agents altogether. Quite the contrary. Traditionally, the agent has handled the networking, contracts, and negotiation that are involved in the home buying process. Although many of these components will likely be handled digitally in the future, it is in the best interest of lenders, and borrowers, to continue partnering with real estate agents for a couple of reasons.

Networking Requires People. First, very few, if any, prospective home buyers want to buy a house sight unseen, so the agent becomes an important local resource in setting up showings. In addition to traditional showings, agents may also have the networking connections to point interested buyers in the direction of properties that would otherwise not be considered. Next, community appeal is a vital factor. Conversations with real estate agents can shed light on the unique local flair of an area, and help match the desires of the borrower with a fitting community. Realtors® may also use their local connections to recommend good inspectors, contractors, and other key individuals involved in the purchase of a home.

Digital Savviness Isn’t for Everyone. Additionally, depending on how comfortable the buyer/seller are with the online tools, the agent may be called upon to use their knowledge and expertise to perform the online negotiations and contractual components on their client’s behalf. Ultimately, this makes the process easier for both buyers and sellers, as well as ensures compliance from a legal standpoint. Thus, just as the role of the loan officer progressed with the all-digital mortgage, so too will the role of the real estate agent transform according to shifting digital demands. The future belongs to agents who are willing to adapt to these demands and take on more of a specialized, hybrid role within the industry.

What does all of this mean for lenders? Having a strong network of real estate agents will always be a sure way to increase origination business. Despite changes in the home buying process, agents will still spend more time with the home buyer than any other party. If you have the trust of the real estate agent, you’re more likely to win the trust (and business) of the home buyer.

As the real estate market begins to perfect and streamline this new process of buying a home, the logical next step is to integrate the mortgage process with the digital purchase of the home. Think of the visibility and brand awareness that would come along with having your institution’s loan products displayed alongside a listing of the buyers’ dream home. Whether this be in the form of a partnership or direct integration with the real estate websites, there’s no doubt it would be advantageous to all parties involved. No matter what changes are thrown our way within the housing industry, there’s no doubt proper preparation and innovation are key to remaining ahead of the digital curve.