Building long-term partnerships with a digital lending platform | Blend

Building long-term partnerships with a digital lending platform

Over the years, as Blend has partnered with banks, credit unions, and independent mortgage companies to streamline their loan application process, we’ve noticed an important trait that successful lenders all have in common.

Successful lenders thrive on building and nurturing long-term customer relationships. They consider each person who walks into a branch or stops by online as a soon-to-be-realized “customer for life.” They provide individualized customer service from the get-go.

Here at Blend, where I serve as Head of Product, we focus on our mission in exactly the same way.

When you choose Blend’s end-to-end Digital Lending Platform, you’re not only buying technology — you’re entering into a long-term partnership with us. We are committed to fully supporting your needs as your organization matures, grows, and pushes the boundaries of what it means to serve consumers along every step of their lifelong financial journey.

Our goal is the opposite of providing a single point solution that is limited in scope. We offer a powerful and flexible platform that gives you the digital agility to deliver the products your customers need in any market condition.

Why having an adaptable platform is so important

You don’t have to look much further than the ongoing pressure on mortgage lenders amid the coronavirus pandemic to understand why having a platform, as opposed to a single point solution, is so important.

If you’re like most lenders, you came into 2020 expecting a widely forecast decline in both purchase and refinance applications after a very strong 2019. And then, early in the year, everything changed.

Mortgage lenders were caught off guard by a surge in refinance applications after the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to rock-bottom levels in March. As unemployment continued to soar in April and May, millions of Americans requested mortgage forbearance under the government’s CARES Act, putting additional pressure on lenders.

Amid the social distancing guidelines, the old ways of applying for a mortgage quickly fell out of favor. Consumers wanted to be able to apply for — and close — on a loan safely, securely, and remotely.

To help our customers respond to these changing circumstances, our Product and Engineering teams leaped into action, building a three-pronged plan that could only be realized through the adaptability of a Digital Lending Platform.

We quickened the pace of development to help our customers manage the surge in refinancings. We accelerated Blend Close so consumers can complete a mortgage application seamlessly and remotely. And we helped our customers determine the best way technology can help them manage the big jump in requests for mortgage forbearance.

All of this was possible because of Blend’s intelligent platform, which drives more closed loans and reduces costs to help mortgage lenders thrive in any market condition. Our suite of integrated lender tools is designed to superpower loan officers and their teams, delivering an end-to-end digital mortgage based on verified data that simplifies painful and inefficient parts of the process.

Our partners have noticed the difference.

“Because of our partnership with Blend, we’ve been able to better manage a truly remarkable time in home lending,” says Randy Hopper, Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending at Navy Federal Credit Union.

A Digital Lending Platform is a game changer for your loan teams

But even without the challenges of such an extraordinary time, a Digital Lending Platform offers myriad benefits for your loan teams, as well as to your customers. A DLP streamlines the process of getting a mortgage, enabling banks to close more loans at lower cost, while creating deeper customer relationships. It reduces paperwork and manual processes, giving LOs more time to provide trusted financial guidance, and it cuts days from the loan application cycle.

“In the first year, our Blend loans closed an average of six days faster than non-Blend loans, said Steve Shoemaker, Director of Residential Mortgage Production at Synovus.

A platform provides a seamless consumer experience from application to close. Consumers can use their smartphone or computer to complete an online application. This includes connecting to financial accounts, uploading documents, providing e-signatures, and more.

A digitized platform gives consumers the ability to apply for a mortgage in the same way they are accustomed to shopping for other goods and services. Digital capabilities are more important than ever before.

It also has built-in capabilities to give consumers the flexibility to reach out for personal assistance from a member of the loan team during the application process.

In an essential way, our Digital Lending Platform can be understood as Blend’s raison d’etre. Blend CEO Nima Ghamsari recently explained this.

“So when I started Blend with my co-founders, we focused on building a product that would help facilitate simplicity and transparency through data and digitization. A platform approach was key. It would allow us to serve the process end-to-end, guiding both customer and lender through a typically complex process, including eligibility, data collection and verification, and third-party integrations. Wanting to provide long-term agility, we intentionally built a platform that would be able to adapt over time as the needs of the market changed at an accelerated pace.”

A Digital Lending Platform is an investment in a long-term partnership

An end-to-end Digital Lending Platform helps lenders maximize workforce productivity, cut loan cycle times, boost volume, and deliver exceptional customer service — no matter where your teams or customers may be.

Our platform has proven its value during this extraordinary time of the pandemic, and it’s proven its worth during calmer times as well.

If the unprecedented events of 2020 have taught us anything so far, it’s that no one can safely predict the future. Strategic, long-term planning will always be essential for any business, but so will adaptability and resilience in the face of rapidly changing market conditions.

The lenders we’ve supported during the time of the pandemic, are the same lenders we’ve partnered with for many years. We’ve developed a real relationship with them, and they know we stand ready at any time to help them thrive in any market environment.

“When customers and our employees talk about Blend, they talk about how the experience has been transformed,” said Melissa Garcia, head of mortgage sales at BMO Harris Bank. “In a world without Blend, getting a mortgage is an overwhelming, cumbersome experience. Blend truly has simplified the process.”

“We appreciate everything you have done and continue to do in support of our business,” added Hopper of Navy Fed. “Expectations are changing, and we have to deliver an elevated experience.”

Choosing a platform, instead of a single point solution, is an investment in a long-term relationship. This partnership is built on the foundation of a trusted, two-way conversation that drives digital dexterity, problem-solving and continual innovation.

We welcome your partnership. We are confident that, by working together, we can overcome any hurdles, and grow and succeed for many years to come.

Want to learn more about Blend’s Digital Lending Platform? Read more on our content hub.