Blog Archives | Blend


North Easton Savings Bank: A community bank on the leading edge of innovation

See how Blend’s Home Equity solutions made it possible for a community bank to modernize the customer experience while retaining customer-first values.

North Easton Savings Bank has been providing quality, home-grown banking solutions to the Southeastern Massachusetts community for over 150 years. An integral piece of the local economy in the towns they serve, the North Easton team knows that community banks are the heart and soul of their corner of the world.

“The bank believes that their employees are stewards of the organizations - and that, like employees from generations past, it's their job to focus on the future and work to create better banking for the next generation.”
Dan Horgan
First Vice President, Residential Lending

With a mission to create the new standard of community banking, NESB has been searching for a technology partner to innovate a premium, modern home equity solution that the North Easton team can implement — all while allowing them to continue focusing on customer and community relationships.

Banking in 2023 and beyond: easier, better, faster

Horgan’s team works together to analyze how people use their platforms and services, and they find solutions to make it easier for customers to bank with North Easton.  “Our goal is to make it convenient to bank with us while also offering full-feature accounts found at larger institutions. We require our digital banking platforms to operate at the same speed as today’s leading non-bank retail platforms.”

Big banks may have initially set the bar with regard to digital and mobile offerings in the evolving financial services landscape. But Horgan believes, through partnerships with fintechs like Blend, that community banks are poised to meet — or even surpass — the big banks by offering a robust range of bespoke, innovative financial services in addition to the community care and involvement that has always been North Easton’s hallmark. And that’s where Blend’s Instant Home Equity solution comes in.

Speed with soul

Given the current market landscape, the North Easton team decided to invest in a redesign of the home equity user experience and product offering. There is approximately $11T in untapped home equity across the nation. And as Horgan pointed out, if a customer has a 3-4% mortgage rate, it’s more advantageous for clients to keep the mortgage and utilize a home equity product. In this manner, customers are able to get the best of both worlds: Keeping their great mortgage rate while utilizing home equity to fund current credit needs.

Unfortunately, a historically manual process with too many roadblocks along the way has made most home equity solutions, even digital ones, too long and complicated.

“In the immediacy, the market needs an easy-to-acquire HELOC product. It’s the consumers’ equity, it’s their money — it shouldn’t be hard to access.”
Dan Horgan
First Vice President, Residential Lending

The North Easton team was looking to reduce their reliance on manual steps, improve answer and approval time, and provide an overall better customer experience. With an intuitive UI/UX, and a mobile solution where 85% of activity takes place on the app, the North Easton team saw an opportunity to use Blend’s Instant Home Equity solution to say yes to more people, more quickly, and on their own terms.

Horgan believes that while a product’s speed can make all the difference for modern consumers, it’s “speed with soul” that sets community banks apart from their national competitors.

A solid platform and partnership for success

Horgan and the North Easton team have been able to find modern digital success with Blend. “With quick answers and quick approvals, Blend’s Instant Home Equity will make it possible for us to provide a faster solution and a better customer experience. In terms of speed and efficiency, it will be like going from a dirt road to a four-lane highway.”

There is a common industry perception that smaller community banks need to be bigger and have more resources in order to adopt the innovative, competitive technology that larger banks can afford. Or that they have to rewrite, rip out, or recreate legacy tech stacks.

But by finding the right technology partner, banks like North Easton are changing that. Speaking to Blend’s Instant Home Equity and the potential to leverage the Blend platform for other banking products, Horgan said,

“We’re really bringing it with this new home equity solution. It's a modern platform that delivers a modern, mobile-first experience. It's built to go forward, not to carry all that legacy nonsense. We're not just refitting it or moving around some information blocks. This is entirely new, and that's really important to us.”
Dan Horgan
First Vice President, Residential Lending

Being able to compete with national banks or even newer, non-banks is critical for the North Easton team. But at the end of the day, Horgan believes that community banks exist to invest their time and resources locally, so that customers can improve their quality of living, working, and raising a family. Accessing Blend’s technology will allow North Easton Savings Bank to have a big bank platform, rooted in community bank values — now, and for future generations to come.

Paving the way for long-term growth

How Blend is driving more efficient growth and value creation for our customers.

Blend reported our Q2 earnings today, and I’m proud of our results and grateful to our customers for continuing to push us every day. We continue to grow across our product lines, and are delivering more innovation than ever before in this difficult macro environment. It’s because of you that we were able to beat our expectations on not just revenue, but also our earnings.

It’s often said that companies who double down on their core mission during tough times emerge stronger on the other side. I see this in many of you, who are not just surviving through the downturn, but building for future growth by enhancing your offerings and delivering exceptional customer experiences.

This is true for us, too. We’ve always been an ambitious company. There are so many problems to solve in financial services, and I’ve long believed that Blend can and will play a fundamental role in solving these.

But I’ve also heard from you that you want to see our continued progress towards profitability to ensure that we can be your partner for a decade to come. And so, like many of you are doing, we examined where we can be more efficient. Following that, today we announced an additional cost reduction that accelerates our path to profitability. This is important in an uncertain macroeconomic environment. Between our healthy balance sheet of $270m+ and significantly lower operating expense, you can now be assured that we’ll be around for as long as you need us.

I want to be clear about what we’re not stopping. We are not reducing our investment in customer support –– in fact, we’re increasing our investment here. We heard from many of you that responsiveness in support is critical, and we’re listening. We’re also keeping all of our major customer-facing efforts around professional services, customer success, and integrations largely intact, because we know how important those are to your velocity of transformation.

We’re also not slowing down our pace of innovation. We continue to add new features like soft credit pulls to help with trigger leads and condition management to automate more of the fulfillment process. And Blend Builder allows us to deliver new functionality an order of magnitude faster and cheaper than before, and so we believe we’ll increase our pace of product growth (as a side note, for our mortgage customers, stay tuned for an upcoming announcement of mortgage and builder!).

Looking ahead, I feel strongly that the changes we’ve made today position you and Blend for more efficient growth and value creation. As we announced in today’s Q2 earnings results, we expect these reductions to accelerate our path to profitability as we now have a clear line of sight to reaching positive operating income sooner in 2024. We remain well capitalized, well-positioned to navigate macro headwinds, and we’re growing market share as we deliver superior value to our customers.

I’m confident in our road ahead and in our ability to serve you for decades to come. Thank you for your continued partnership.


Forward-looking statements and Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This blog post contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements generally relate to future events or Blend’s future financial or operating performance. In some cases, you can identify forward looking statements because they contain words such as “may,“ “might,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “could,” “would,” “intend,” “target,” “project,” “contemplate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these words or other similar terms or expressions that concern Blend’s expectations, strategy, priorities, plans or intentions. Forward-looking statements in this blog post include, but are not limited to, statements regarding Blend’s financial condition and operating performance, including its outlook, market size and growth opportunities, capital expenditures, plans for future operations, competitive positions, technological capabilities, strategic relationships, Blend’s opportunity to increase market share and penetration in its existing customers, projections for a sharp decrease in mortgage loan origination volumes, other macroeconomic and industry conditions, Blend’s ability to create long-term value for our customers, and Blend’s expectations for revenue growth. If any of the risks or uncertainties related to the forward-looking statements develop or if any of the assumptions related to the forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from those projected, expressed, or implied by our forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this blog post are also subject to other risks and uncertainties, including those more fully described in Blend’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022 and its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2023 and June 30, 2023. All forward-looking statements in this blog post are based on information available to Blend and assumptions and beliefs as of the date hereof, and Blend disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

In addition to financial information presented in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), this blog post includes certain non-GAAP financial measures. These non-GAAP measures are presented for supplemental informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for financial information presented in accordance with GAAP. There are material limitations associated with the use of non-GAAP financial measures since they exclude significant expenses and income that are required by GAAP to be recorded in Blend’s financial statements. Management encourages investors and others to review Blend’s financial information in its entirety and not rely on a single financial measure.

Why platform technology is the path forward for banking

Moving away from monolithic systems to stay competitive and compliant.

As those in the industry know, many of the core banking systems still in use today were originally developed decades ago in the ‘80s and ‘90s. They were created to be systems of record, essentially acting as digital ledgers. And at the time, that’s all banks needed.

In the time since, banks’ and customers’ needs have changed drastically. Customers don’t want to be dependent on branches for basic transactions like depositing checks and applying for loans.

They want the convenience they’ve become accustomed to in the other areas of their lives.

Banks have tried hard to append and amend what they can to meet modern-day needs. But the foundation wasn’t built to hold the weight of all these new technologies. As a result, cracks formed and many are facing an uphill battle to stay current.

Patches for different problems help in the short term, but in the long term what happens is banks essentially create a V2 of the monolithic systems they’re trying to move away from. In order to avoid this, there needs to be a fundamental change in their approach to tech.

The best way forward we’ve found, and the path we’re betting on, is platform technology.

The paths forward

Even though we see platform tech as the best path forward, it’s not the only way. There are two other paths that are somewhat common:

  • Internal builds
  • Out-of-the-box solutions

An internal build is custom-built software that the company develops and maintains in-house. This option is attractive because it gives the builder complete control over the build, allowing them to make tools to their exact specifications.

On the other hand, since everything is built in-house, the process is usually very long and expensive. It’s common for these types of builds to take in excess of a year. The company is also solely responsible for any upkeep costs. There’s also the possibility that the tech used to develop these custom systems will be outdated and you’ll be back to square one in a handful of years needing to repeat the process.

Out-of-the-box solutions, on the other hand,  are prebuilt tools from outside vendors. These are often also referred to as point solutions and are generally purchased for a specific use — income verification, online credit card applications, etc.

The primary benefit with out-of-the-box solutions is that they’re much quicker to implement, which is huge. In cases where speed is the top priority, out-of-the-box solutions are great. However, if there’s a desire to create more bespoke solutions, or experiences, it might not be the best option as you’ll have less direct control.

Each of these first two solutions certainly has its merits. And in some cases may be the right approach. What we like about taking a platform approach is that it includes most of the benefits of the first two approaches, while avoiding many of the challenges.

Illustration displaying the APIs and Integrations available through platform

Why we chose platform

If you’re not familiar with platform tech it essentially works like Legos. Through a partner, you get access to different pieces you’re able to put together in the way you see fit to create the experience you want.

There are a few core attributes we think make platform technology best positioned to help alleviate current issues banks face when moving away from monolithic legacy tech and position them well to be successful for years to come:

  • Modular design
  • Continuous improvement
  • Circular data sharing

Modular design

Having prebuilt pieces reduces the amount of time needed to build new products. Many platform tools also utilize low-code visual builders, which also speeds up production times. Further, the blocks are reusable, so teams aren’t saddled with duplicate work when developing new tools in the future.

Even more exciting is the ability to update modules across multiple applications with one single update. For example, let’s say a regulation changes and now you need to update your identity verification workflow to be in compliance. You can edit that module and when you publish the changes it will automatically update that module in every application currently using it.

Continuous improvement

One of the biggest challenges of monolithic architecture is updates. That’s because all of the parts are heavily dependent on one another. So, changing one part can derail the whole. That’s not the case with platform technologies.

The idea of being cohesive and decoupled essentially means all the parts connect together, but aren’t dependent on one another. So, if a part of an application becomes obsolete or outdated in any way, you can easily update that one part without impacting the application as a whole.

Circular data sharing

Another very key aspect of platform technology is its ability to send and receive information. Applications built on the platform can share information, making it possible to do things like prefill applications, or prequalify people for additional products. This is very useful to increase cross-sell opportunities and can even help with things like loan utilization.

For example, let’s say you run a personal loan application. With platform tech you could do a soft credit pull in the background to find additional credit accounts the customer could consolidate and use the personal loan for. It’s one less step for the customer to take and arms bankers with a more compelling case to get them to use the funds right away.

A foundation for the future

The needs of banks and customers are continually changing. To keep up with those changes it’s imperative that banks invest in technology that allows them to build a solid technology foundation to serve current and future needs.

How to deliver a human touch in a digital-first world

Empathy is the key to modern financial experiences with today’s distrustful consumers.

The failures of Silicon Valley Bank, First Republic Bank, Silvergate Bank, and Signature Bank have raised concerns over the industry’s short-term and long-term health as well as the impact this volatility may have on the economy. Banks are also concerned about how they are perceived by the public. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently said that she would not be surprised to see more bank consolidation. There has certainly been reason for concern among board members and senior management in regard to the future direction of both the industry as a whole and likely their specific institution.

The action of the central bank will also be critical to build back some of the confidence that was lost during the last few months as we wrestle with economic uncertainty. Despite the well-publicized failures, poor management of interest rate risk and cryptocurrency bets paint the entire industry with the same brush. In a world where large and small banks can coexist, the first step is to improve the customer experience and enlisting the right tools to target a portion of the approximate 75% of domestic dollars that, according to the FDIC, remains within the largest 15 banks in the U.S. A slight shift in deposits away from the largest institutions can occur while barely making a dent in the strength of these banks while providing much needed fuel to grow regional and community banks and credit unions.

So, what does it take to thrive with these new expectations of an empathetic customer experience?

The good news: the majority of regional and community banks and credit unions will end up thriving, if they learn to adapt and focus on what they do well and recognize the key traits to success.  The key is to recognize and value the need for partner solutions and the role of embedded finance and the impact they will have on their institution. For some institutions, the idea of embracing a complete, digital-first strategy is met with hesitation. However, the reality is that there are many options that a bank can choose to create a modern and empathetic financial experience while pursuing a digital-first approach.

Trust is low and empathy is rising

IDC recently conducted a consumer survey around the impact that environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) has on the U.S. and Canadian banking clients. One telling statistic was revealed when respondents were asked a question about bank profits versus the banks helping them achieve financial success.

Of surveyed consumers, 68.7% believe that their bank was more interested in profits than helping them during their financial journey.¹

This is where institutions must do better in providing financial education and improving the process of matching products with customers’ needs, and not necessarily to maximize bank profit. In the same survey,

One out of six customers use the bank’s reputation, philanthropy and support of important causes as a factor in choosing their institution.²

This sentiment is particularly important with small business owners, a growing and important segment for all retail banks, as it is for consumers choosing personal financial products as well.

Providing empathy has often been associated with just the human touch, and while that is a key measure, the human touch is difficult to provide in our digital-first world. Empathy has to be delivered at scale in order to truly provide a level of experience that a customer remembers – one that elicits a feeling that the customer is special and the institution cares about them. Providing this service will pay off in increased lifetime value and improved CSAT scores, yet more importantly, this kind of empathetic service will provide the necessary ingredients for financial institutions of all sizes to be competitive.

Delivering an empathetic financial experience

For institutions that choose to develop an empathetic approach internally, it could prove to be unsustainable long-term. Another option includes pursuing a strategy in which they become best-in-class providers in a specific aspect of banking, such as lending, risk management, compliance, or customer experience. To specialize in a best-of-class approach, the institution might want to partner with vendors who provide white-label offerings as a way to expand or refine new services while providing customers with a highly personalized and seamless experience. One such use case would be for a bank to partner with a brokerage service to offer self-managed investment options for customers who want to build their portfolios. In this scenario,  individuals would become customers of the brokerage firm that in turn will handle all the compliance aspects while the customer can remain in the bank’s branded solutions set, creating a single point for engagement through the institution’s digital offerings. In another use case, some larger-sized institutions could provide their own operations and infrastructure as a service to help smaller-sized institutions expand without the need of investing in their infrastructure. And finally, institutions may choose to be an orchestrator in the industry ecosystem by providing advisory, compliance, and governance solutions. As one can see, there are options.

Integrating platform solutions and hybrid engagement

Those institutions that thrive are also going to fully embrace the value that a modern platform solution can provide. They will seek solutions that are cloud native and can leverage the ever growing shared and published APIs to legacy platforms that allow for integration without replacing core (for now) technologies. In our digital-first world, these modern platforms can handle the scale, speed, and complexity necessary to help banks compete. The cloud also serves as the foundation for generative AI and large language models, which inevitably will find their way into employee experiences first, but eventually into customer experiences as well. While we have some time to fully grasp the impact of generative AI, staying in front of vendor solutions and compliance mandates will level the playing field even further, allowing for institutions to provide the same solutions regardless of asset size.

Finally, having a digital-first approach is not just a preference among most institutions – it’s increasingly required as workloads continue to shift from manual to digital. This shift is necessary for institutions to create new ways to engage with customers that were not possible a few years ago. This does not mean that the branch is going away as retail and small business customers will continue to rely on it for the foreseeable future. Rather, further integration of digital technologies into the branch is going to be necessary to create the hyper-personalized experiences customers want. Smaller banks that invest in online and mobile solutions to better compete with the largest institutions will have an opportunity to regain market share.

¹IDC Financial Insights North American Consumer Banking Channel Preference Survey, January 2023 n=2750

²IDC Financial Insights North American Consumer Banking Channel Preference Survey, January 2023 n=2750

Banking on Composable: Episode 2

Join Cassandra Stumer and Celent Senior Analyst Craig Focardi as they discuss how composable technology can help banks keep a competitive edge, offer better customer experiences, and diversify their offerings.

Last month we announced the debut of our new series, Banking on Composable. We’re back again with episode two, (you can watch episode 1 here) where Blend’s Cassandra Stumer sat down with Craig Focardi, senior analyst at Celent. Cassandra and Craig talked about how banks can use composable technology to keep a competitive edge, offer better customer experiences, and diversify their offerings to include more consumer banking services in addition to any existing mortgage products. And if you’d like to see what composable technology and the Indy 500 have in common, watch here or check out the transcript below.

Cassandra Stumer: Craig, thank you so much for joining us today. Welcome to Banking on Composable.

Craig Focardi: Thanks, Cassandra. It’s great to be here. And it’s great to be on Banking on Composable because it’s a real hot topic in the retail banking and lending industries today.

Cassandra Stumer: If you could just give us a little bit more color on your background and how you got into financial services, we’d love to hear it.

Craig Focardi: In terms of how I got here, I actually started my career literally one block up the street at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. What they do is they provide financing to the savings and loan industry and now to other types of banks as well. And so I worked in economic research there. And then I worked in the mortgage insurance industry, just a couple blocks south of here, in finance, strategic planning, marketing and product development. Then I spent some time across town at Wells Fargo Home Equity, before becoming CMO (chief marketing officer) for a couple of technology vendors — which is sort of how I became an industry tech analyst and I’ve been doing that for about 20 years now.

Cassandra Stumer: Oh, great. So you are a San Francisco local then. You’ve been here a long time.

Craig Focardi: Yes.

Cassandra Stumer: So you’ve been in the banking industry and in tech for decades. And right now, we know that banks, credit unions, and financial institutions are all facing similar challenges like retaining customers and building deeper customer relationships. In your view, what can banks do at the moment to stand out from the crowd? And especially in this moment where everyone’s clamoring for deposit growth?

Craig Focardi: Great question. Everyone knows that customer engagement is the number one thing that retail banks and retail lenders need to do. But you need to do it better than the competition in order to differentiate yourself and serve the client. And so you also want to have personalization. In lending, there are a number of systems that come into play, there’s data in the loan servicing system, third party data. And so the customer experience is certainly about how you automate that customer engagement, but also how you bring that customer information into that process. And that’s where composability comes in. It creates the flexibility that organizations need in order to customize and personalize that customer engagement and help lenders differentiate themselves from others.

Cassandra Stumer: Everyone’s talking about differentiating. Everyone wants the best and most personalized customer experience. And what’s holding everyone back from not doing it today? What’s holding them back from offering something like an Apple account opening experience?

Craig Focardi: A couple of things are holding organizations back, and part of it is legacy technology that they have. But a lot of financial institution back offices are pretty complex. There’s a lot of legacy technology there. There’s a lot of technical debt that needs to be maintained. They know what they want to do. But doing it can be very expensive and very time consuming. What composability does is make it easier and faster — and oftentimes less expensive — to retool and rebuild those customer experiences.

Cassandra Stumer: So it’s the hard-coded legacy experiences that are making it difficult, right?

Craig Focardi: Yes. As opposed to the hard-coded client server systems or mainframe based solutions. Composability is really built on loosely coupled componentized solutions, right? And so if you think about that, oftentimes people use the analogy of Legos as building blocks. And that’s a good analogy. But one that I like a little bit more is a racing car.

The Indianapolis 500 was just last month and I watched a little bit of it and then when we were talking about this topic, I thought of an IndyCar making a pit stop, right? And a pitstop has to happen in seven seconds. They’ve got to take four wheels off, change tires, put them back on, and fill up the tank with gas. And they actually have re-engineered that process and applied both hardware and software technology in order to make that happen. It takes a second to jack up the car. It literally takes two seconds for four people to take off the lug nuts and the tires. They fill up the gas tank, two more seconds to put the tires back on, another second to put it down. Seven seconds and they go.

And so if you’re late doing that, the competition gets ahead of you. Same thing for lenders. If a new product comes out, they don’t need to roll it out in seven seconds, but it might take them seven months today, right? But if you can shorten that with composability, down to let’s say, seven weeks or less, you’re going to stay ahead of the competition and win the race.

Cassandra Stumer: So it’s not just the front end that we’re changing. It’s like using that analogy for some of these back end processes that need to change and get more efficient as well — and composable can help with that.

So we’re talking a lot about composability in general, and how it can solve the challenge of speed. Like in the IndyCar analogy, which I love. But what are the other benefits of composability that you see? You know, where does it come in with solving these other challenges that banks and credit unions are facing today?

Craig Focardi: In two or three different areas. I know Blend has been focused on mortgage lending, but is more broadly in consumer finance these days. And so composability is useful for financial institutions that are themselves diversifying more, you know, into home equity lending, or auto lending or consumer finance. Oftentimes, you can reuse some of your solutions, such as a digital point of sale solution in different areas of the business. You don’t necessarily want a solution that’s built on a different underlying code base. You can reuse parts of it, more easily integrate it, and customize it for home equity lending, versus mortgage lending. And so that’s a big, big part right there. And that’s both front end customer engagement, as well as integrating two back end loan origination solutions.

Cassandra Stumer: If you have decided, for example, you’re a bank, like we need to get into home equity now. What should they be looking for in a composable platform?

Craig Focardi: Yeah, that’s a great question. Because, you know, in the old days, with hard coding or utilizing other programming languages that were not composable, a lot of it was custom code, and was very expensive to update and change. A composable platform can be thought of as a low-code or no-code solution. And so you’re taking together building blocks of functionality and you’re integrating them. There might be a platform with a very modern graphical user interface for the programmer. In the same way that the retail consumer has their customer experience, the programmer has a better experience there. And they’ll use a local platform to put together the different building blocks of call outs to a credit poll, importing customer data, building the workflow, maybe integrating a document to that and and just doing sort of drag and drop as they build it and test it. And so that’s really critical in a composable solution in order to create and maintain those solutions over time.

Cassandra Stumer: Right, right. And of course you’ve been a champion of better technology in banking for decades. But as you mentioned, banks are sometimes slow to adapt. Do you think now is the time we’re going to see some of these technological shifts? We’re starting to get into composable architecture. Do we foresee that happening in the next five to ten years now? If you make an investment, for example, in some composable technology, and you’re seeing revenue come in? Is that going to shift faster?

Craig Focardi: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, Celent Research, when we go out and survey financial institutions, it shows that cloud computing is one of the top IT spending areas to invest in, and composability is part of that shift from on-premises to the cloud. So that’s a big part of it. And I think we’re really at an inflection point in the industry now, in a number of ways. So I think the next three to five years and beyond are going to be a lot different from the last three or five.

I mean, the first big issue is the fintechs that have come into the industry over the last few years have impacted traditional lenders by showing them what’s possible and have forced them to raise the bar. And now with higher interest rates and lower volume, everybody’s competing for fewer loans in the market. And so how are you going to keep up and capture your share? Well, by building those solutions better, faster, and cheaper, and building the customer engagement is what’s going to get you there.

And then I think the last thing to think about are these big tech firms, you know, Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, you know, we’ve seen them come into the payments area, and some of them are getting into the lending area as well. Right now it’s more in the credit card and personal loan area. But they’re moving up market as well. They’re looking at auto financing, mortgage, and home equity. And so lenders can be as good and better as those organizations to defend their turf. And I mean that geographically as well. Those big tech firms are nationwide. And so you don’t see them coming because they’re not in your local market. But you can build those solutions that can compete head-to-head with them.

Cassandra Stumer: So thank you so much for being here and chatting with me today, Craig, I really appreciate it. This was an awesome conversation. We do a little fun thing here. We just like to ask our guests, “what do you do on a busy day, where you are constantly transforming the way that financial services are for the future? What do you do to compose yourself? We call it Compose Yourself. What do you do to relax after a long day?

Craig Focardi: Well, for starters,  I need to relax a little bit during the day to get through the long day. And I do that with short, brief power walks. I get up, stretch, walk around, take the dog out. So that gives my mind and my eyes a break from the screen and Zoom calls. So I think that’s a big thing. The other thing is, if you think about composability as enhancing what you’ve got, I’ve been on these walks listening to podcasts. Various podcasts on bank advancements, ChatGPT, and industry developments. So I’ll recharge my batteries and add things to my client engagement that way. So by the time I get to the end of the day, I’m still composed and stay that way.

Cassandra Stumer: You were doing a walk and learn, that’s a great one. Awesome, well thank you so much again for being here. We appreciate your time, and we hope to see you again soon.

Connect on Composable

Cassandra Stumer: Thank you again to Craig for a really great conversation. And now it’s time for our new segment, “Connect on Composable”, where we answer questions from the comments section. And we have one here today.

[question:] Are there any limitations to composable technology that banks should be aware of?

That’s a really great question. And Craig did touch on a few of these challenges just now, but a lot of it comes down to cost and interoperability. Financial institutions already have legacy systems in place, and of course they’re probably still paying for them. So bringing in any new technology adds cost. There is the consideration of implementation, organizational change management, and the challenge of getting all these systems to work together.

Another consideration is ensuring that every part of your tech stack meets your security and compliance standards. And luckily, that’s something that we’re going to tackle in our next video — so stay tuned. But that’s it for this episode of Banking on Composable. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel down below. If you’d like to see more content like this, drop us a like. It really helps us out. And for more information on composable origination, click the link in the description down below or visit us at See you next time.

Riding the mortgage waves with MarketWise Advisors, Part 3: Build better relationships

Find out how mortgage tech can help you cultivate valuable, lasting relationships in this last installment of our three-part series.

While increasing your operational leverage is the ultimate goal when you’re looking to close more loans and win more market share, it’s moot if you don’t have strong relationships with your borrowers and real estate agents.

In this third and last blog of the series, you’ll hear from Jordan Brown, CEO of MarketWise Advisors as we explore why you need to focus on loan officer, borrower, and real estate relationships for long-term success and how mortgage technology can support your loan teams in this endeavor.

Read on to learn how to foster more valuable relationships.

Collaborate on a centralized platform

The foundation of any relationship is communication. That’s especially true when your loan teams are working with agents on one of the biggest investments of a client’s life. And when you’re able to communicate throughout the mortgage process on one unified platform, all parties involved can stay efficient, establish trust, and be transparent.

“One central tool for the loan officer, borrower, and real estate agent to collaborate in minimizes opportunities for error and roadblocks,” Brown says. “For example, if a loan officer needs additional information from the borrower or real estate agent during the closing process, they can request it and/or share it through the platform. And since this is where all the (mortgage) action happens and where the loan is frequently updated, agents and borrowers will be able to see it with real-time notifications and take the necessary next steps.”

Deliver an end-to-end mortgage experience

Not only does a centralized platform enable efficient communication, it also ensures a consistent, transparent, and effective experience. Working in the same system from application to close can help cut time from the loan process and reduce overhead costs, allowing loan officers to help more people and, as a result, close more loans.

“Borrowers expect an easy mortgage process,” states Brown. “A true digital mortgage experience is seamless, intuitive, and efficient. To ensure that, lenders need to incorporate an origination solution that supports all parties from beginning to end.”

Personalize the process with high-tech, intuitive tech

How do you feel when your local coffee shop remembers your name? It’ll likely turn into your favorite place to grab a morning treat. That’s how borrowers should feel when they go to you for their mortgage. An intelligent mortgage tech stack will help you customize the experience for each borrower, showing care and catering to their individual needs and goals.

“Personalization involves the details,” Brown says. “Even auto-filling data that borrowers have already given you gives them the convenience they need and helps them feel valued. In addition, the right technology will help cut time from the loan lifecycle, and enable the loan officer to have higher value interactions with borrowers by delivering personalized support.”

Cultivate your relationships with mortgage tech

Implementing a mortgage tech stack that helps you build better relationships with customers and agents is key to staying ahead of the competition. Technology helps everyone stay informed, get tasks done, and supports valuable relationships across the mortgage transaction. With an origination solution like Blend, lenders can ensure they’re providing the right tools for their loan teams to create lifelong partnerships that can benefit them in the long run.

Next webinar: 10a.m. PT on February 2, 2023
Mortgage Power Up: Thrive in a Tough Market
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