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

Why build a “Client for Life”?

Let’s face it. Relationships Matter.

Excelling in a Highly Competitive Market

In an increasingly competitive market, lenders are seeking a meaningful way to differentiate themselves and be top of mind with their clients. While mortgage industry clients still expect compelling rates and fast cycle times, the most engaged clients tend to be those whose overall borrower experience is memorable. As industry volatility remains, now is a perfect opportunity to get the jump on the competition.

Changing the Sales Funnel Paradigm

The dilemma in many lender shops revolves around an intense focus on the transaction versus the overall borrower experience. The sales funnel often becomes the heart of the effort – generating leads and turning them into applications and ultimately funding. Some lenders are leveraging a CRM and other tools to extend their engagement with homeowners post-close, although, this is more the exception than the norm.

Actionable Customer Centricity

While it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide differentiated lending services, an industry defining customer-centric service approach can be the deciding factor in market distinction. Customer service is a worthy objective and it is rapidly becoming typical, expected and transactional. However, it is time to look beyond product and customer service. We believe there is much more that a lender can offer – a mortgage experience that is genuinely meaningful to your borrowers and engenders a long-term appreciation of your company. It is time to focus on relationships versus transactions, which ultimately leads to increased revenue, brand loyal customers and distinguished ancillary services partners.

How to Change the Mindset

Imagine, instead of only focusing on service through the day of closing, you can reward clients with a better experience at both closing and post-close. What if you could engage your clients – for life – by providing them with information, tools and resources that will help them exponentially love where they live? By engaging them throughout the entire borrower lifecycle you will convert more business in the sales funnel and, more importantly, easily win repeat business and referrals?

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

Does Your Tech Stack Support Speed to Market?

In today’s world of exponential industry change and transaction velocity, it is imperative that your technology stack supports rapid implementation of digital functionality crucial to your success. As industry participants across the board seek the capabilities needed to differentiate their offering and ensure speed to market, applications should be cloud-based, flexible, and nimble, so engagement is not delayed by convoluted requirements definition, complex technology alignment, and tiresome implementation delays.

What is your strategy?

The pandemic influence in this area has been unprecedented as companies have scrambled to support remote workforces and improve the online experience for their customers.  This scenario turned many early adopters into innovative experts when it comes to technology infrastructure.  Whether you are a novice or a pro, understanding the significance of investing in the digital experience, to engage both your employees and expand your customer base, is vital.  A strategic approach to your data ecosystem helps ensure your technology infrastructure is designed to embrace solutions and applications, creating the right environment to spontaneously, yet purposely, expand your overall technical offering in time to meet and beat industry market demands. 

Positioning to embrace today’s modern innovation not only necessitates your understanding of how to effectively interconnect data and applications into your core systems but working with vendors that offer a like-minded approach to technology. Most companies offer an average of 88 applications per customer, representing what is fast becoming a highly active digital universe.  HomeBinder deploys its revolutionary offering on a robust platform that does not interfere with your technical prowess.  Our functionality supports your clients’ access to applications and platforms by building the connectivity through HomeBinder’s infrastructure and our authorized partner program.  

HomeBinder understands the importance of ease of implementation and speed to market.

As you evolve your technology offering, we are doing the same. Our expertise allows us to offer lightweight flexible implementation that does not tie up your valuable resources and in the end offers a valuable user-friendly platform to your client base. We are a sophisticated industry implementation partner, with numerous integrations to a highly varied group of industry partners.  Using a flexible cloud-based platform, HomeBinder opens access to homeowner service providers on a centralized platform that automates home management.  Your clients gain access to relevant data that is securely provided to the homeowner. For example, our platform leverages AVM data, designed to help the homeowner identify property enhancement opportunities, inclusive of “what if” decisioning capabilities. 

How does your organization succeed?

Offering innovation branded to your organization, the HomeBinder platform allows your loan officers or servicing account managers access to a unique digital experience that engages clients in an area that is previously untouched in our industry, home management.  Access to the HomeBinder platform is a distinctive offering whereby your client receives a personal binder, exclusively from you as an authorized provider, and at a cost as low as $7 per loan. The binder is highly customized to your borrower and the property, delivering the 24/7 tech-savvy, yet personalized, home management platform that 68 percent of borrowers request.  HomeBinder helps you meet the expectations of today’s homeowner, while helping your organization deliver a Client for Life and a Property for Life experience that builds referrals and retention.  This creates relevance for your organization as the balance of the industry continues to juggle pandemic volatility, a low interest rate environment, and younger demographic demands, amidst rapidly evolving technical innovation. – – It is time to step ahead of your competition by making a meaningful addition to your technology stack.

HomeBinder is a proven integration and implementation partner, building a robust network of homeowner services on a sophisticated centralized platform.  Our partners build, inspect, manage, buy, sell, finance and insure homes – services that can easily and effectively become a part of your prospect and borrower offering.  HomeBinder leverages this collaboration and education, enabling your organization to deliver homeowners a branded, valuable support system that extends throughout the homeownership lifecycle, not solely the life of the loan.  

To find out more about how to readily expand your technology and service offering with a best of breed digital partner, 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

Don’t Risk Losing Your Quality Loan Officers

As the summer months hit, along with midyear bonuses, it is not uncommon for loan officers to consider a move to the competition.  Even if they are not actively looking, recruiters are looking for them.  Mortgage executives that participated in the Mortgage Collaborative’s recently released biannual survey, The Pulse of the Mortgage Industry, listed staff retention at the top of the list of most critical issues for mortgage lenders.  As you can imagine, if staff retention is that urgent, then your competition is looking to hire as well. It becomes extremely important that your overall business strategy include a perspective that proactively supports the needs and expectations of your loan officers.  This is not a consideration to be put off until yearend, when it may actually be too late to keep your winning team intact. 

Consider Origination Volume

Do not let any lull in your application volume or business planning compel qualified loan officers to look elsewhere for employment. The mortgage industry has been running on overdrive, hitting a 15-year high in 2020 with $4.3 trillion in mortgage originations.  The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts a 14 percent drop in this year’s total origination volume, bringing us down around $3.28 trillion.  Although refinance activity is expected to drop, purchase volume is projected to break a new record at $1.67 trillion!  With purchase originations on the rise, your team of loan officers becomes even more valuable as their ability to cultivate and retain relationships is what will lead many of these purchase borrowers to your institution.  

What Do Winning Loan Officers Value?

Whether focused on relationships, referrals, and/or technology, winning loan officers leverage success tactics that draw from these areas because this is how they excel for the long term. With half of the year behind us, many mortgage operations are busy tweaking processes and systems to accommodate forthcoming third and fourth quarter production.  However, the CRM, which is certainly a mainstay in this effort, is rarely developed or evolved with the loan officer as a primary consideration.  This can create misalignment in ensuring consistency in utilization and more importantly lead to a gap in relationship and referral data. Loan officers are persistent and astute so will find ways to tap the CRM, but even with automated emails and communication, many rely on individually sent emails, text messaging and phone calls, which although more personalized, are not nearly as traceable. So how can management ensure alignment and transparency in terms of relationships, referrals and technology?

Envision an innovative technology platform that can be branded to your valued loan officers, and simultaneously offer a meaningful approach that fosters relationships and expands referral business…. without spending additional time in pursuit of this effort.  Complimentary to CRM platforms, which market a database by producing a myriad of semi-generic automated communications, is HomeBinder.  Delivering a unique centralized home management platform, HomeBinder provides property-specific communication, actionable maintenance, and document storage that is readily accessible through a private-label, mobile-friendly portal.

How Does this Promote Loan Officer Retention? 

HomeBinder uses sophisticated automation to systematize and assimilate valued relationships with the professionals that regularly interact with homebuyers.  This methodology builds an ever-expanding referral network that supports the homeowner throughout the life of the property, creating a genuine “Client for Life”.  Gifted to the homeowner by the loan officer, for as little as $7 per loan, the branded loan officer forever remains top of mind. No more ongoing communication, follow-ups or tickler systems, the homeowner is regularly reminded of the relationship with their valued loan officer as they are prompted to complete maintenance, presented with educational information, or access key household documents, all through the HomeBinder platform.   

This is a genuine business differentiator that allows loan officers to focus on developing new relationships and supporting applicants through closing, while existing homebuyers flourish into repeat business and inherently produce more referrals.  To find out more about the HomeBinder revolutionary approach to 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