A mortgage is often the biggest transaction in a consumer’s lifetime. According to research from McKinsey, it’s often the most frustrating and long-winded, too.
In fact, 42% to 67% of borrowers say they are happy with the mortgage application process, and banks fare worse than non-banks, lagging by up to 30%. Switching between systems and channels can cause confusion and stress for consumers — 89% of consumers are interested in one-stop shopping for the many services involved when buying a home.
At the same time, the job of the loan officer has become even more challenging. Lenders face high loan demand, difficult working conditions, and increasing pressure from competitors.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are a number of things that can be done to make the online mortgage application experience great for consumers and loan officers alike.
3 ways mortgage application software enables a superior lending process
An exceptional customer experience is almost as critical to customers as getting the best rate. In fact, first-time homebuyers said learning that a lender delivered an exceptional customer experience was the most important factor in their decision to choose a loan provider. Mortgage lenders can deliver this highly-valued experience online with a user-friendly platform, guiding consumers through key processes and providing real-time assistance when required.
And by focusing on the following key areas, lenders can better position themselves for success:
1. Use data to your advantage
Self-guided mortgage applications that boast a conversational interface and pre-filled data may lead to faster, more streamlined application processes. When Google Chrome added autofill functionality, they saw significant improvement where users completed forms up to 30% faster. What works for Google can also work for mortgage lenders.
And consumers are demonstrating an interest in bringing this simplicity to their homebuying journey: 85% of homeowners reported preferring pre-filled information on their home insurance application. When forms are easier to fill out, users can experience less friction, more applications may be completed, and conversion rates can increase.
2. Automate processes intelligently
Recent research has found that on average, half of all online mortgage applications are started but not completed. Automating mortgage process steps where these dropouts typically occur can decrease application abandonment, creating a smoother process and solid user experience.
Instant decisioning and pre-approval functionality can accelerate time to closing further. Increasingly, this seems to be a table stakes functionality: of the 80% of customers who got a pre-approval from a lender, more than 75% of customers get a loan from a lender who pre-approved them.
3. Increase LO efficiency with a single unified platform
Many lenders are bogged down with manual, paper-based loan approval procedures, but automated processes can help eliminate much of this. Automated emails and automatic document updates, for example, help reduce loan officers’ to-do lists, leaving them with more time to devote to borrowers. What’s more, with fewer follow-ups, loan officers can focus on more valuable work projects, while safe in the knowledge that their loans are moving forward.
In addition, moving the loan officer’s workflow to a single unified platform can speed up loan applications, expedite approvals, and reduce dependency on loan origination systems. The result? Loan officers can work far more efficiently.
Instead of relying on disparate tools and unsystematic digital folders to organize data and communications, loan officers can find all the information they need in one central location. Not only can they handle a higher volume of loans without adding resources, but they have more time for what matters — building valuable customer relationships and retaining business.
How Blend’s online mortgage application software can help improve conversions
Online mortgage application software like Blend’s can help financial services firms integrate each of the above components. Blend delivers a great experience for customers and lenders alike, while improving application abandonment rates and shortening loan cycle times.
Blend takes a holistic approach that can help transform the entire mortgage experience by bringing automation to every part of the process.
As borrowers begin the application process on any digital device, Blend’s single sign-on authentication and capability to pre-fill applications with existing banking information makes the experience feel seamless. Borrowers are guided through each step of the process, and qualified applicants are then provided with pre-approvals fueled by instant decisioning.
Robust loan officer tools speed up the loan cycle with data-driven workflows and task automation. Blend’s integrated marketplace allows borrowers, loan teams, settlement agents, and real estate agents to connect at the right time — on one platform.
From filling out the application conveniently online or from a mobile device, Blend delivers a true end-to-end digital mortgage experience that allows borrowers to complete all tasks from a single portal.
SWBC Mortgage was drawn to Blend’s consumer-centric approach. “Blend caught our attention because they were reimagining the whole process of getting a loan,” said President Susan Stewart. “It’s been about a decade since there’s been anything exciting to talk about in lending. We realized pretty quickly that this was it.”
Loan officers at Rural 1st are also enjoying the benefits that come from having all the information they need in one central location. “All documents and communication live in Blend,” said Tori Sommer, a consumer loan processor at the company. “And once I have everything on the platform, there is the added bonus of knowing that a customer is fully on board and committed.”