Did you know that mortgage applicants say an exceptional borrower experience is nearly as important to them as receiving the best rate? Unfortunately, only 42% to 67% of borrowers are satisfied with their borrower experience, according to a McKinsey & Company survey done on 1,200 residential mortgage customers.
Providing an exceptional borrower experience is crucial if you want to succeed as a mortgage lender in today’s market. Luckily, you can optimize this aspect of your business in a few easy steps.
Keep reading to discover five steps to improve your borrower experience. This article is the second part of our three-part series on taking control of your mortgage lending success.
Want even more insights? Download our Take Control of Your Mortgage Success Guide today.
Table of Contents
#1 Digitize Your Lending Process
Today’s mortgage applicants have become accustomed to a fast-paced, digitized world. These borrowers likely order food to their doorsteps, utilize ride-share services, and enjoy access to thousands of movies on demand. As such, they expect their mortgage lending experience to be just as modernized and efficient.
If you want to cultivate a positive borrower experience, you need to employ digitization in all the right places. For example, you can:
- Host meetings via phone call or video, when requested
- Allow for online mortgage applications
- Employ e-signatures
Another tech-savvy tool that can help you satisfy borrowers is Cascade Prequal. This automated solution makes it easy to offer online prequalification to inquiring applicants. Better yet, it can provide instant responses by comparing applicants’ submission data to your pre-set credit criteria. You can customize your settings to order soft pull credit reports from one, two, or all three credit bureaus. You can also integrate Cascade Prequal with your existing loan origination system (LOS) and customer-facing website.
#2 Bolster Your Borrower Education
Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions many borrowers will ever make. As a result, aspiring homeowners often feel anxious about the process if they don’t have a strong foundation of financial education. For this reason, surveyed mortgage applicants rate reassurance as one of the leading factors that contribute to a satisfactory borrower experience.
One of the best ways to provide reassurance is to offer helpful home-buying education at every stage of your lending process. Here are some tips for bringing your borrowers up to speed:
- Share educational content online – Many people won’t reach out to a mortgage lender until they do some preliminary research on their own. You can attract these borrowers’ attention by sharing educational content in the form of blog articles, TikTok reels, YouTube videos, infographics, and podcast episodes.
- Break down the basics – While there’s a time and place to dive into more detailed topics, most aspiring homeowners need a refresher on the basics. For instance, you can explain what factors go into mortgage eligibility, how credit scores work, and what the down payment requirements are for various loan programs.
- Focus on first-time homebuyers – Some applicants may require a little more support than others. For example, first-time homebuyers often have more questions about the home-buying process. To help address their concerns, we’ve put together this First-Time Homebuyer Guide. You can share this guide with your borrowers, along with your own educational materials.
- Provide timely checklists – After getting a grasp of the home-buying basics, your applicants may have questions about what they need to do at each point of the lending process. You can answer these questions quickly and effectively by creating checklists for every stage of their home-buying journey.
- Run the numbers – Once an applicant has reached out to you, you can offer them more personalized education. For example, you can calculate whether renting or buying is more cost-effective in their neighborhood. You can also provide an analysis of their chosen property’s projected appreciation and highlight the opportunity cost of postponing homeownership. Arming your applicants with these data-driven insights can make them feel more confident about taking out a mortgage at this time.
- Customize your credit education – Some applicants may apply for prequalification with you, only to learn that they’re creditworthiness isn’t where it needs to be just yet. You can coach these applicants into stronger creditworthiness using our credit score improvement tools. These tools can identify the best steps applicants can take to increase their credit scores quickly and qualify with you sooner.
- Warn about the quiet period – After getting approved for a mortgage and waiting for their loan to close, many borrowers may be tempted to charge new furniture on their credit cards, buy a new car to go with their new home, or become complacent with their existing debt payments. Unfortunately, these credit activity changes can put their mortgage eligibility in jeopardy upon closing. You can circumvent unexpected loan fallout by educating borrowers on how they should behave throughout the quiet period.
- Set borrowers up for future success – You can exceed borrowers’ expectations by sharing information upon closing that sets them up for success as new homeowners. Consider creating a home maintenance guide and pass on contact information for local cleaners, electricians, plumbers, gardeners, roofers, HVAC technicians, and general contractors.
As you can see, going above and beyond with your borrower education can improve your applicants’ overall experience considerably.
#3 Speed Up Your Time to Close
The next crucial factor in the borrower experience is speed. Homebuyers want to breeze through the lending process quickly and avoid any frustrating disruptions or delays. You can streamline your lending process by embracing cutting-edge tech tools.
As we mentioned earlier, Cascade Prequel can expedite your prequalification response times. In addition to Cascade Prequal, we also recommend adding the following solutions to your tech stack:
- Cascade VOE – Cascade VOE can automate your verification of income and employment (VOE) process, ensuring you no longer deal with the inevitable setbacks that are so common with manual VOE. To use this solution, simply customize your cascade of third-party verification vendors. After that, Cascade VOE will cycle through your cascade with each verification request and promptly notify you as soon as it returns a hit.
- Smart Select – Smart Select automatically compares your mortgage applicants’ credit data to your customized credit thresholds. If the first one or two credit bureau reports support an approval, a third report will be ordered automatically. If an approval is not supported by the first reports’ data, the process will pause there, saving you time and money.
- Cascade Undisclosed Debt Monitoring (UDM) – As we mentioned before, undisclosed debt has the potential to derail an applicant’s eligibility. Not only can this harm their borrower experience, but it can also force your business to eat the cost of loan fallout and secondary market repurchase demands. Cascade UDM is a continuous credit monitoring tool that can catch problematic changes to applicants’ creditworthiness throughout the quiet period. By enabling you to address issues with your applicants as soon as possible, it can prevent unexpected loan fallout from taking place.
#4 Be More Inclusive of Minority Borrowers
In the coming years, home-buying demographics are expected to shift in significant ways. Most notably, 70% of new homebuyers are projected to be of Hispanic descent by 2040.
To satisfy this growing swath of Hispanic home buyers, you’ll want to:
- Make sure you have some bilingual staff members on your team.
- Have Spanish-language lending materials ready to go.
- Take time to understand the historic hurdles that Hispanic homebuyers face.
You can also make a stellar first impression by hosting home-buying seminars in Hispanic communities and engaging with aspiring homeowners in person.
#5 Optimize Your Borrower Retention Rate
Happy borrowers will be more likely to return to you for future business, whether they want to purchase a new home, refinance an existing mortgage, or explore their financing opportunities with a home equity loan or HELOC.
You can delight these repeat borrowers for a second time by:
- Keeping all of your borrower data in one place – Repeat borrowers expect their lenders to store their financial information, as opposed to asking for the same data all over again. You can meet these expectations by ensuring that all of your borrower data populates into your existing LOS. At Certified Credit, we design our tech tools to easily integrate with leading LOSs, so you can maintain detailed borrower databases with ease.
- Reaching out when they’re in the market for a new mortgage product – Many lenders contact their past customers regularly in hopes of securing their business again down the line. While this method may work, a more precise way to win repeat business is to wait to reach out to past borrowers until they’re actively searching for a new mortgage product.
You can do so with ease with the help of Cascade Alerts. This tool monitors your past and present borrowers’ credit activity continuously and notifies you as soon as it identifies new mortgage-related inquiries. It sends these alerts daily so you can reach out to in-the-market leads before your competitors.
Take Control of Your Borrower Experience with Certified Credit
In summary, there are many effective ways to enhance your borrower experience. By implementing these five steps, you’ll be well on your way to receiving more referrals, boosting your retention rate, and improving your bottom line.
Want to kickstart the process today? Schedule a credit consultation with Certified Credit. From our automated Cascade solutions to our credit score improvement tools, we have everything you need to refine your borrower experience quickly and cost-effectively. Our other products and services include:
- Affordable tri-merge credit reports
- Flood zone determinations
- Fraud and risk support
- Settlement services
Unlock more ways to take control of your lending success by downloading our Take Control of Your Mortgage Lending Success guide today!