Q&A with Josh Friend of InSellerate
By MBA Insights Staff
January 24, 2018
Josh Friend is founder and CEO of InSellerate, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based mortgage customer relationship management provider that helps mortgage companies maximize their sales leads and convert them into closed customers (www.InSellerate.com).
Friend helps companies optimize lead opportunities by communicating with prospects when they are actively engaged in the buying process. Over the past decade he has founded and developed companies that have consistently delivered 30-40% higher conversation rates than the national average. He has created lead management technology systems that both guide the mortgage originator to borrowers and keep the originator engaged in the loan process. Josh is passionate about helping the average loan officer, processor, and manager to do their jobs more efficiently through technology tools and pre-built processes.
MBA INSIGHTS: How is digital lending changing the borrower and loan officer experience?
JOSH FRIEND, INSELLERATE: The digital mortgage has suddenly changed borrower expectations. Lenders must take note or their business growth will inevitably be impacted.
Thanks to digital lending, borrowers are experiencing a far simpler mortgage process. They are now able to get clear requirements and loan terms upfront, which makes the mortgage process much easier to understand and predictable. A digital mortgage also requires less paperwork gathering for borrowers. The days of borrowers having to fax, scan or mail a bunch of documents to the lender are over. Now it's all about lenders using the data to expedite the transaction. For the loan officer, it enables them to be much more efficient and handle more business while providing better service in less time.
INSIGHTS: How can lenders use data to their advantage?
FRIEND: There are so many ways lenders can use data. They can use it to identify prospective customers, such as targeting people by specific credit grades, or to proactively contact previous customers who might be in the market for a new loan. Data can also play a huge role in the loan transaction itself. For example, lenders can use data to more quickly make sure that all of the required customer and property information is verified and in order, such as title information and the borrower's income and employment information.
INSIGHTS: What can the loan officer do to enhance his/her role in digital lending?
FRIEND: First and foremost, originators need to really learn and understand their company's technology tools in order to leverage them to their advantage and to help their customers. For example, they can create automated marketing campaigns, which help them stay in front of their borrowers and create customers for life by being there when the consumer needs a loan. It also gives their borrowers an easier way to apply for a loan, or for a real estate agent to refer a borrower to get pre-approved for a loan, all without any additional work required on the loan officer's part. Those loan officers who embrace digital lending are bound to see their business grow, and with no more work than they're doing now.
INSIGHTS: How do digital lending systems help lenders meet their business goals more effectively?
FRIEND: Digital lending systems allow lenders to be more efficient in their efforts. Digital lending is all about efficiencies and doing more with less and in less time. That means they should be more profitable.
INSIGHTS: What about pipeline management? How can digital lending enhance teamwork in the pipeline?
FRIEND: Digital lending helps the various teams involved in the mortgage transaction--processing, underwriting, closing--to better collaborate and move the process forward. A complete digital lending system creates alerts to tell the next person involved in the process that the previous step has been completed and that the next step is theirs. It also sets deadlines on when the next step needs to be completed and alerts management if it isn't done, and why. It also flags any exceptions or errors in the application that need to be addressed before it moves on to the next step. Those exceptions also help in dealing with future loan applications, alerting the team to look out for them and recommending a solution.
INSIGHTS: What are the biggest misconceptions about digital lending systems?
FRIEND: The two biggest misunderstandings are that there is one system that handles everything, and that lenders can handle borrower interaction the same way they always have. In order to deploy a digital lending platform, you need all of the individual parts--a point-of-sale solution, CRM, pricing and eligibility, loan origination software, a documentation system--and a way to tie it all together. Some lenders think digital lending is just about taking a better online application, but that's just one small part of the transaction.
INSIGHTS: What are the biggest mistakes you see lenders making in their origination processes?
FRIEND: One of the biggest mistakes I see is not having a proper customer relationship management system that oversees the entire transaction. When originating a loan there are many people involved, which requires a lot of coordination and cooperation, and they must do their tasks quickly. Trying to manage the transaction without a proper CRM system that can incorporate all the team members is a big mistake.
INSIGHTS: Since refinances are down, lenders are focusing more on purchase business. What are some of the best practices you see from lenders who are generating purchase business more effectively than their competitors?
FRIEND: Providing value is the way to earn purchase business. Some lenders are not willing to work with a borrower who does not already have a home they want to buy now or who is not yet working with a real estate agent. This is where they miss out. Lenders can provide tremendous value to consumers before they even shop for a home by preapproving their loan so the consumer knows how much home they can afford and has the confidence that they have the money to close. That gives them a big advantage over other homebuyers in a very competitive marketplace. Lenders can also help customers search for a home and to select a real estate agent.
INSIGHTS: With Millennials expected to dominate the housing market over the next decade, what can lenders do now to ensure they have the tools and the technology to serve them?
FRIEND: Lenders must make sure their vendors have the latest technology. It is really important to make sure you are investing in something that can support you in five or 10 years and can grow with you. There are a lot of technology vendors who have been supplying systems to the mortgage industry for the past 10 or 20 years. Unfortunately, most of their platforms will not be able to keep up with the demands of the future market where more integrations and faster responses are needed. You don't want to be driving around in a new car that still has an 8-track player in it.
(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA Insights welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to Mike Sorohan, editor, at email@example.com; or Michael Tucker, editorial manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.)