#TMCReunited Recap

Michael Kuentz Trinity Oaks Mortgage, Casey Hughes-Wade SLK Global Solutions, Kris (Miller) Willoughby Cypress Mortgage Capital

As the sun began to rise over the waves crashing upon the cove in picturesque Terranea, California, what was a morning kayak adventure, gracefully transformed into a meditation session. It was clear that being able to pivot to and from action to stillness is crucial to survival in both business and personal life.

Depth PR (Leslie Colley, Kerri Milam), Arvest Bank (Matt Kendall), Simple Nexus (Ben Miller), ActiveComply (Melissa Thomas), Social Coach (Joe Wilson)

Our time at #TMCReunited2021 was filled with remarkable moments like this that remind us to set our intentions to show up authentically for each day. The beautiful venue not only provided the break from busy office life and the distraction-filled day-to-day when working from home, but it fostered an environment for mindfulness and thoughtful engagement with industry leaders. After more than a year of remote living and working, the shared excitement could be felt across each session as we reunited in person.

“If Covid has taught me anything… It’s helped to teach me self-awareness. What’s my WHY: making connections that are impactful and helping others. I’ve recognized a new appreciation post covid; the connection, gift of travel, and being in the present.”

Meg Bennett

Sales Boomerang (Alex Kutsishin, Reem Thanir), Mortgage Coach (Joe Puthur), LBA ware (Chris Gassel)

The week was filled with insightful conversation, connection to friends and colleagues new and old, and educational exchange among The Mortgage Collaborative’s network members/participants. While taking deep dives into the ever-changing mortgage industry, we were reminded how our industry continues to evolve. 

We learned how a lender’s tech stack will continue to play an important role moving into 2022. As we think of how lenders can stay competitive in the evolving market, we tend to think of how our business can be complementary to the tech stack. With more and more new ancillary services and tools available, the lender plays the role of the master architect, curating the best and brightest amongst the multitude of services and tools available for homeowners.

HomeBinder’s solution is an option that is sophisticated and innovative. It creates an engaging and personalized experience, one that is expected by today’s homeowners, while establishing the best scenario for differentiating a lender from their competitors. Given our Encompass integration and fast implementation process, HomeBinder becomes a plug-and-play solution. We felt proud to stand out as a complementary platform to any savvy lender’s tech stack.

US Mortgage Steven & Scott Milner / Jack & Pete

As we continue to look towards the future, creating a client for life experience continues to be the direction that most lenders and servicers are striving to achieve. 

Many TMC members have solutions in place, or are looking to implement the technology necessary to help improve the borrower experience and build clients for life, however finding the time and resources in this fast-changing environment can be a challenge. While it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide differentiated lending services, a customer-centric service approach can make a strong impact and is oftentimes the deciding factor in market distinction. Changing the mindset to focus on relationships versus transactions ultimately leads to increased retention, referrals, brand loyalty, and revenue. 

We believe in providing tools and resources that educate and empower homeowners. We think about the entire homeownership journey, and the support today’s homeowners need after the loan has closed that can create opportunities for lasting, impactful relationships between borrowers and their lenders.  

Collaboration and innovation were two words that aligned for us, creating an overarching theme of our time spent together that week. Meg offered three main takeaways from our time at TMCReunited:

  1. Listen, really lean into the conversation, ask great questions
  2. Be in the present, focus on what you can control
  3. Authenticity is key

We really enjoyed our time at #TMCReunited where we focused on building stronger relationships, meeting with industry thought leaders, and taking deeper dives into the mortgage industry. TMC’s unique culture is priceless we’re extremely excited to be a part of the team!

Turning Pandemic Satisfaction into a Long-term Win

Sounding a bit like an oxymoron, mortgage servicers actually improved customer service scores under COVID-19, according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study,SM.  Last year’s survey exemplified gaps in customer service, with both call center activities and online access highlighted as challenges for mortgage servicers. This year’s study again called out latent digital capabilities but focused more on shifting experiences between bank and non-bank servicers. The primary takeaway stemming from this year’s data is that the pandemic has definitely given mortgage servicers a boost in satisfaction sentiments as customers seeking relief have relied on their servicer to navigate forbearance and foreclosure avoidance.

In the corresponding press release, J.D. Power commented that improved satisfaction gains were predominantly motivated by at-risk borrowers in forbearance.  Their director of consumer lending intelligence, Jim Houston, added, “However, as we look at post-pandemic customer behaviors and responses of low-risk customers, we see that lift in satisfaction may be short-lived. In fact, despite the attention on relief programs, nearly one-fifth of current mortgage customers have had no interaction with their servicer during the past year. Mortgage servicers will really need to up their customer engagement games as the marketplace stabilizes.”  So where does this leave mortgage servicers going forward? 

Solidifying ongoing borrower satisfaction can start with a look at current customer perspectives. The basis for J.D. Power’s annual survey evaluates customer satisfaction in terms of customer interaction, communications, billing and payment processing, escrow account administration, and new customer orientation.  Pulling responses from over 8,000 borrowers that either refinanced or originated a new loan within the past 12 months, this year’s study highlighted the following findings:

  • Non-bank servicers saw a considerable gain in overall satisfaction.  With scores that increased by 17 points, non-bank servicers are gaining on their bank-affiliated competitors who only saw a four-point rise in overall satisfaction. 
  • Borrowers in forbearance gave the highest scores for satisfaction.  A trend that is not likely to continue, at-risk customer satisfaction increased 15 points, with low-risk borrower satisfaction declining by one point. 
  • Satisfaction scores for bank-affiliated servicers were inflated by non-mortgage services.  Customers with bank products had overall mortgage servicing satisfaction scores that were 55 points higher than mortgage-only customers.
  • Cumbersome digital experiences and lagging self-service capabilities drop scores. Barely more than a third of borrowers surveyed found the information they needed within two webpages. Visiting more than two pages dropped overall satisfaction scores by 55 points! 

As servicers continue to address the impact of COVID-19 relief provisions, maintaining borrower satisfaction and engagement could prove to be a challenge. Surveyed borrowers that felt compelled to leave their current servicer cited several top reasons for a departure, including access to improved customer service and enhanced self-serve capabilities.  This supports the need for servicers to expand digital functionality and self-serve access to processes and products, subsequently ensuring satisfaction through innovative engagement and education.

Taking the lead in providing engagement and education in a digital self-serve format, HomeBinder delivers a unique borrower experience that extends beyond a basic servicing relationship. Providing a centralized home management platform, HomeBinder collaborates with the lender or servicer to offer a distinctive branded binder that can be given to the homeowner at the time of closing, servicing transfer, forbearance exit, or even upon approval of a loss mitigation plan. The advantage to the servicer is that engagement is ongoing throughout the life of the property, requiring little to no intervention from your staff. The benefits to the homeowner are extensive, including a digital maintenance plan with regular reminders, educational information on how to manage and care for their home, electronic storage of all related household documents, and so much more.  Each time the homeowner accesses the HomeBinder platform, they are reminded of their valued relationship with their lender/servicer.  HomeBinder is a genuine business differentiator, delivering a personalized “gift” that will improve borrower satisfaction, increase engagement, foster repeat business, and inherently generate referrals.

To find out how your organization can leverage pandemic customer satisfaction and create a “Client for Life” experience, visit www.homebinder.com, contact us directly at 800.377.6915, or Book a Demo today! 

HomeBinder ● Expected by Homeowners ● Driven by Lenders

How to Infiltrate and Retain the Millennial Market

The volume of millennials entering the homeownership market continues to grow.  With lower interest rates and increasing capacity to look at homes and apply for loans online, the industry has finally captured this demographics’ attention.  The question is now twofold…. How do you gain more of the millennial market share and more importantly, how do you hold onto this new generation of customers?

Millennials are unquestionably entering the world of homeownership later in life

To a lesser degree than any other demographic, they are likewise entering marriage and starting households at an older age. The Pew Research Center’s study from last year highlighted that only three out of every ten millennials between the ages of 23 and 38 lived with a spouse and child; the study’s definition of a family unit. The marriage rates for millennials averaged 44 percent, nearly 10 percent less than any other demographic for this age group, including Gen Xers. And although millennials are still of child-bearing age, the study noted that only 55 percent of millennial women have had children, compared to 62 percent of Gen Xers and 64 percent of Boomers of similar age.

Despite this latent desire to form households, millennials now make up a growing percentage of the mortgage market.  Millennials are reflected as the largest borrower segment in Freddie Mac’s recent article, “Homebuying: A Generational Snapshot.”  Closed purchase volume alone, as recorded on the Encompass platform, has increased for the past three consecutive months for millennial applicants between the ages of 22 and 41.  The average age of millennial borrowers has remained relatively unchanged. When targeting this generation the note that the average age for millennial borrowers was reported as 32.9, with May and April both reflecting an average borrower age of 32.4 years old.

The Freddie Mac Homebuyer Generational Snapshot highlighted that although they are the most educated generation, millennials have a lower financial awareness as compared to other demographics.  In general, millennials have a fairly optimistic outlook on life.  One of the primary contributors to millennial behavior is that they were raised for the most part during an economic boom.  This has contributed to a lack of financial wherewithal as they tend to focus on the purchasing experience versus monetary value. 

As lenders seek to attract and retain this generation, it is important to understand millennial values, which include transparency, accountability, persistence, and personal responsibility. Here are the HomeBinder TOP 5 traits to leverage when engaging millennials:

  1. Embrace personal responsibility – Millennials want to be good homeowners but often lack the experience and tools needed to address homeownership maintenance and repairs.
  2. Want a digital experience – For millennials that are typically not inclined to manage or retain paper documents, there is no replacement for ease of digital access to key information and documents with HomeBinder.
  3. Stress about personal financial status – Gaining understanding, organization and a homeownership game plan helps create and build confidence in overall financial health.
  4. Place trust in businesses – Let HomeBinder help you give millennials another reason to trust your company for the long haul, building rapport and engagement.
  5. Demand a meaningful customer experience – Millennials will even pay to expand service… Give them more than they’re asking for with a personal HomeBinder for their new or just refinanced home.

What’s important? 

Lenders should anticipate the needs of their millennial borrowers, instill confidence, give them control, provide alternative approaches to doing business, and incorporate digital innovation. HomeBinder is an innovative business differentiator that is uniquely positioned to help lenders capture the attention of millennial borrowers, establish rapport, and create long-term relationship value. Millennial borrowers appreciate an orchestrated, thoughtful, and personalized experience.  HomeBinder delivers a digital homeownership platform that embodies what’s important to millennials, offering relevant homeowner data, actions, education, and document access through a partnership branded binder. HomeBinder is relevant today, actionable tomorrow, and adds value throughout the life of the property.  To find out more about the HomeBinder revolutionary approach to millennial homeowner engagement and the “Client for Life” opportunity, visit us at www.homebinder.com, contact us directly at 800.377.6915, or Book a Demo today! 

HomeBinder ● Expected by Homeowners ● Driven by Lenders

Competing on the Other Side of the Pandemic

Traditional technology platforms and marketing practices meant to ensure an engaging and rewarding borrower experience, including LOS, POS, and CRM platforms, are becoming increasingly necessary. All signs point to a purchase-heavy and volatile market, creating urgency to compete and create relevance for your business.

Consider the Following:

  • Market volatility, as refinance rate-locks have declined in the second quarter
  • Home inventory levels that are down 20% from 2020
  • The largest home buyer demographic, Millennials, need guidance in their homeownership journey
  • Margin compression, as direct-to-consumer lending is becoming more prevalent
  • Increased cost per lead conversion
  • Corporate investments in rental properties creating greater scarcity
  • Increasing challenges recruiting and retaining top performing loan originators

Given these factors, mortgage lenders are increasingly focused on:

  • Supporting and educating today’s borrowers throughout the homeownership journey
  • Differentiating their services beyond interest rates
  • Solutions that integrate with current tech stacks and automate post-close engagement and retention
  • Delivering sustainable value with top-performing realtors to increase referral percentage

Read the entire Client For Life e-book here or Book a Demo today!

Creating Homeowner Satisfaction Amidst Mounting Regulatory Complexity

The mortgage industry has seen a flurry of new regulatory announcements, whereby simply keeping up with the myriad of deadlines will be a challenge.  Starting with forbearance extensions, the duration of forbearance based on start dates, as well as required actions, documentation, and new programs expanding eligibility…. wrapping up pandemic relief is no joke. 

Finish with interim guidance intended to bridge the gap between the end of eviction and foreclosure moratoria at the end of this month, and implementation of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Final Rule at the end of August.  All this equates to mortgage servicers once again facing unprecedented regulatory strain.

Foreclosure Moratoria & The Final Rule

During the last two weeks of June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the final extension of the eviction moratorium through July 31, 2021, with the White House following suit on the end of the foreclosure moratorium.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) are going to proactively support the CFPB new Rule that goes into effect on August 31st.  A key element of this Rule is the prohibition of foreclosure filings through yearend. Per FHFA, GSE servicers cannot initiate a foreclosure, move for foreclosure judgment, order of sale, or complete a foreclosure sale during the interim gap from July 31 to August 31, 2021.  Any loans that potentially violate the Final Rule are prohibited from delivery to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the gap timeframe, and these are just the federal changes to foreclosures.

Exiting Forbearance?

On the forbearance front, the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Veterans Affairs (VA) and Agriculture (USDA) have announced that homeowners impacted by COVID-19 can access forbearance programs through September 30, 2021. This covers Federal Housing Administration (FHA), VA and USDA Rural Development loans. Additionally, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have updated COVID-19 guidelines that state they will continue to purchase loans in forbearance through the end of this September. Although the number of borrowers in forbearance continues to slow, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported an estimated 1.9 million homeowners are still in forbearance and undoubtedly this includes a growing number of seriously delinquent loans.  

Expanding Relief Eligibility

As the industry grows closer to expiring pandemic relief, several of the agencies have also issued new loss mitigation criteria and programs.  FHFA just announced the expansion of GSE Flex Modification terms that will allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to offer interest rate reduction without loan-to-value restrictions for many distressed borrowers.  The FHA just introduced the COVID-19 Advance Loan Modification (ALM) program.  This is a new home retention option for borrowers that are exiting forbearance or are more than 90 days delinquent.  Although these programs are timely, and certainly needed in order to assist homeowners that continue to struggle as a result of COVID-19 hardship, all of these related guidelines must be incorporated into loss mitigation communication and operational processes, as well as corresponding technology and delivery platforms.  

Your Servicing Resources

As servicers work under the duress of this most recent maze of regulation, requirements, and guidance, it is crucial to maintain borrower satisfaction and confidence.  A task made exceedingly more difficult, as servicers strive to implement changes to timeframes and programs, as well as manage employees that are now split between working at home and the office.  Borrowers will also become more stressed as they are moved out of forbearance, fear that they face near-term foreclosure, and/or do not fully understand the options available to them at this time.  If your team is not fully prepared to assist these homeowners, if your resources are tied up addressing regulatory change, onboarding new originations, or otherwise utilized, your borrowers may become further unengaged and disgruntled.  With the CFPB still reporting a large percentage of complaints from delinquent borrowers, now is the time to leverage an easy to deliver, value-added service like HomeBinder.

“Clients for Life”

HomeBinder builds meaningful client relationships on your behalf, with little to no effort on your part.  We offer a sophisticated home management platform that provides your borrowers with the opportunity to centralize all aspects of homeownership, including storage and access to key documents such as mortgage, financial, title and insurance records.  HomeBinder utilizes the corresponding data, and leverages relationships with industry professionals, to create an interactive digital experience for the homeowner.  Driving homeowner education, timely activities, and projects, as well as active engagement with servicer-driven actions, HomeBinder helps empower your borrowers as successful homeowners.  This experience generates borrower satisfaction and retention, branded by you and delivered by you, throughout the life of the property.

Use your resources where they are most effective and let HomeBinder engage your borrowers, creating “Clients for Life”.  Connect with us today to find out more about this progressive approach to homeowner engagement and retention. Visit www.homebinder.com, contact us directly at 800.377.6915, or Book a Demo today!

HomeBinder Expected by Homeowners Driven by Lenders