Ellie Mae: Consumers Want High Tech, High Touch

MBA NewsLink Staff

March 13, 2019

Ellie Mae, Pleasanton, Calif., released its 2019 Borrower Insights Survey, finding borrowers are looking to engage with their lenders online, but are demanding more communication throughout the loan origination process.

The survey said 50 percent of borrowers said they chose their lender based on whether they offered an online application or portal; 47 percent of respondents said access to an online portal for uploading documents was a factor in their decision. Likewise, the majority of borrowers who were not offered online or electronic options from their lenders would have preferred those options. Fifty-four percent would have preferred an eClosing portal, while 44 percent would have preferred to use an online application.

Among all borrowers, the top three reasons provided for liking the online application process were: quicker time to close (66%), a simpler application process (61%) and information more readily available (54%).

"As more Millennials enter the housing market, it will be imperative for lenders to prioritize the use of all available technologies, digital tools and communication channels to foster strong borrower relationships throughout each step of the loan lifecycle--from the moment they are interested, all the way through to closing," said Joe Tyrrell, executive vice president of technology and corporate strategy for Ellie Mae.

The survey said borrowers continue to show a strong desire for more options for interaction and communication with their lender, as frequent communication across multiple channels between lenders and borrowers has increased by 20 percent for those who took out loans within the last year, when compared to borrowers who obtained their loan in the last three to five years. Tyrrell said direct communication with a lender can be especially important to younger borrowers and those who are applying for a mortgage for the first time, as they can have their questions answered and feel reassured that the loan process is on track in real-time.

The survey also reported when borrowers fill out online applications, it is common for them to abandon the process or take multiple sessions to complete it. Nearly one-half that have used an online mortgage application finished in one sitting. About one quarter of those that have used an online mortgage application started the application online but did not finish it online.

"With borrowers using an average of more than five different methods of communication throughout the origination process, it is up to the lenders to offer a customized approach for each individual borrower to best suit their unique needs," Tyrrell said. "That means employing every channel and being able to pivot from one to another as the borrower needs shift."

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