Leaders in Lending: Joe at Blue Hills Bank

How has the retail lending industry changed over the last two decades?

Borrowers, sellers, and the real estate community want quicker and more conclusive decisions upfront. With Agility [BHB’s branded version of Blend], we are able to shave off a few days from processing, underwriting, and closing times. The application is easy to navigate on your phone, laptop, or tablet. It takes an average of 10-15 minutes to complete, which includes uploading your income documents and downloading asset verifications directly from your bank. Having these documents up front allows us to generate a commitment letter with few or no conditions.

Blue Hills Bank
A loan officer shows the homepage of Blue Hills Bank’s branded version of Blend, Agility, on her iPhone.

How does Blend impact life for loan officers at Blue Hills?

Blend allows the LOs flexibility in terms of where and when they can take applications and manage their loans in process. One of the main things that determine whether an LO is successful is their ability to multitask. They need to be able to manage their pipeline and get their loans closed as quickly as possible. If they are spending time gathering documents and processing loans, it can take away time from what they do best: selling themselves and networking to grow their business. For instance, with Agility, the LO can be at a networking event and still follow the progress of their loans, receiving notification of a completed new-loan application or newly uploaded documents. At the same time, the operations team receives the same notifications, relieving the LO of the task of forwarding the document. Also important is that the borrower can monitor what is required and what conditions remain to get the loan cleared to close, minimizing the number of emails and phone calls to follow up.

Which features resonated most with your LOs during the rollout?

The number one feature that resonated with the LOs in particular was the co-pilot feature. In real time, the LO can log into Agility and see what the borrowers can see, assisting them with any questions or issues they may be having. I would also say being able to download bank statements is a big plus for the team. What is impressive is that you receive the most recent 60 days of account information, and Agility is sophisticated enough to know when a large deposit has to be sourced, requesting the information from the borrower right then and there.

Blue Hills Bank
Lamberti (center) chats with his team at headquarters in Norwood, Massachusetts.

What do your borrowers think about using Agility?

We have had many great reviews from LOs and borrowers on the ease of using Agility. From a borrower’s standpoint, we have heard comments such as “I cannot believe how quick we closed,” “the loan application was easy to complete,” and “uploading my paperwork was simple.” With this being a heavy purchase market, the feedback we are getting from the Realtors has all been positive. The proof is in the continued growth we see in the pipelines.

How has Agility given your team a competitive advantage?

The main features that help make us successful are the reduction in processing time; more concise approvals since documents are collected at the time of application; and the ease of completing the application.

As vice president of a sales team, how have you been able to attract and retain high-performing LOs with the help of Agility?

The mortgage industry is a customer-based industry. Agility is a system that increases the LO’s capacity to close loans. In my opinion, Agility is similar to having a loan officer assistant by your side 24/7. Being able to manage your pipeline from anywhere is something not many competitors have. The LOs that work at Blue Hills Bank are all self-sourcing their business. Agility allows them to serve more customers without sacrificing service.