Many mortgage lenders assume that the key to success is attracting an abundance of new applicants. While this aim is important, achieving it in the current mortgage market is increasingly difficult due to low volumes and record-high interest rates.[i]
So, what can mortgage lenders do in the meantime to supercharge their revenues? During this downtime, many lenders can benefit from focusing on workflow optimization. By optimizing their workflows, mortgage lenders can enhance efficiencies, cut costs, and provide their borrowers with superior customer service.
Below, we’ll explain what workflow optimization is and how it applies to the mortgage industry. We’ll also highlight some transformative workflow optimization tools we offer here at Certified Credit.
What is Workflow Optimization?
Workflow optimization is the process of analyzing and improving workflows within a business. Some tactics include:
- Automating tedious tasks
- Eliminating repetitive steps
- Standardizing key processes
- Cutting unnecessary costs
- Reducing the potential for human error
- Rearranging the order of various processes
These types of changes can set you up to enjoy increased efficiencies, higher revenues, and a better bottom line.
How Can You Optimize Your Mortgage Lending Workflows?
Here are the major steps involved in workflow optimization:
- Take stock of your current processes and systems – Before you can upgrade your workflows, you need to understand how they function as they are right now. Thus, it’s important to clearly map out your key business processes in detail.
- Partner with a workflow optimization expert – The step above is made easier when you work with a dedicated workflow optimization expert, like Certified Credit. We begin our workflow optimization analysis by digging deep into our client’s current workflows and loan origination systems (LOS). Thanks to our many decades of experience in the mortgage industry, we know which questions to ask and what to look for. We also allow our software development team to sit in on calls with our clients so they can tailor their tech solutions accordingly.
- Pinpoint areas for improvement – While no two lenders are the same, nearly all mortgage lenders can enhance their workflow efficiencies in one way or another. A fresh pair of eyes can come in handy when workflow issues aren’t immediately apparent.Once we’ve dug into a specific lender’s current processes, we can identify their unique inefficiencies and uncover any areas that may be suppressing their revenues. For example, a lender may be ordering credit reports from all three credit bureaus when their credit thresholds don’t require it. Or they may be missing out on valuable opportunities for repeat business with their past and current clients.
- Employ effective solutions – Lastly, we can select the ideal solutions to address any workflow challenges or revenue-reducing inefficiencies you’re facing. Many of our solutions employ automation, which can reduce errors, promote consistency, improve compliance, and streamline your mortgage lending business’ manual workload.
As you can see, workflow optimization isn’t just about adopting one-size-fits-all solutions. Instead, it involves careful evaluation, detailed analysis, and strategic solution selection.
An Example of Workflow Optimization in the Mortgage Industry
Let’s consider a real-world workflow optimization example. One common workflow issue we see with our clients has to do with their verification of income and employment (VOE).
Many lenders order VOE early on in their sales pipeline—often at the same time as they order their initial credit report for a new applicant. While completing both tasks simultaneously may seem more convenient, it’s not very cost-effective. That’s because the average pull-through rate for mortgage applications is only around 20-30%. This may seem high, but that means over 70-80% of mortgage applications don’t end up closing.
Incurring VOE expenses for applicants who don’t close can drag down your profits unnecessarily. In turn, moving VOE to a later stage within your mortgage manufacturing process is a simple and effortless way to save money. This is just one example of how workflow optimization can cut costs and enhance efficiencies.
What Are Some Solutions That Can Enhance Workflow Efficiencies?
While workflow optimization is always valuable, it’s especially important in the current mortgage market.
Due to dwindling volumes and increasing interest rates, many mortgage lenders are feeling the financial pinch. In light of these challenging market conditions, it’s more important than ever for lenders to uncover cost-saving opportunities.
Here are a few tools that can help mortgage lenders do just that:
- Flex ID Smart Select Shield – When ordering a credit report, it’s all too easy to fat-finger an applicant’s Social Security number or home address. Sometimes, applicants may even misrepresent their information for fraudulent purposes.Flex ID Smart Select Shield can prevent you from inputting inaccurate information by verifying critical identity elements in real-time. It also enables you to set specific conditions before ordering credit reports, ensuring you don’t waste money on applicants who don’t meet your criteria.
- Rapid Rescore – The faster you can approve applicants, the sooner you can close their loans. Rapid Rescore is a workflow optimization solution that can help you expedite the loan approval process.This tool recalculates applicants’ credit scores, factoring in any recent changes that haven’t yet reached their standard credit reports. If Rapid Rescore boosts a borrower’s credit score by enough points, you may be able to offer them better terms and secure their business on the spot.
- Cascade Alerts – You can save time and money by automating your borrower retention and lead generation efforts with Cascade Alerts. This advanced workflow optimization tool lets you know when your past and present customers are in the market for a refinance or new mortgage.After monitoring your borrowers’ credit reports continuously for mortgage-related credit inquiries, Cascade Alerts can notify you of them within 24 hours. To enhance your workflows even further, Cascade Alerts lets you customize your lead qualifications so you only receive alerts about borrowers who meet your lending criteria.As you receive Cascade Alerts’ daily lead lists, you can reach out to past customers and encourage them to keep coming back to you for all of their lending needs. Best of all, there’s no firm offer of credit required.
- Cascade VOE™ – Cascade VOE streamlines the VOE process through automation. It reaches out to your preferred list of vendors on your behalf using a multi-level, automated cascade and rules-based engine.Once Cascade VOE returns a hit for a specific borrower, you’ll be notified via text/SMS, email, or LOS notification right away. As a result, you can simply set it and forget it. As you focus on other areas of your business, Cascade VOE will work its verification magic behind the scenes.In addition to streamlining your workload, Cascade VOE also enhances the consistency of your VOE process by running through the same vendor flow every time. Our Cascade VOE users report higher hit rates and lower VOE costs.
- Cascade Prequal – Cascade Prequal is an automated prequalification solution that uses affordable soft pull credit reports. You can customize your credit report selection to suit your credit thresholds, whether you want to reference one, two, or all three bureaus.Cascade Prequal can be integrated within your website with ease, allowing interested applicants to find out if they meet your criteria without the use of costly hard pull credit reports. Applicants who prequalify with you can be expedited through your sales pipeline. Meanwhile, applicants who are on the cusp of your criteria can be cultivated into creditworthy borrowers with the help of our credit score improvement tools.
- Cascade UDM – Cascade Undisclosed Debt Monitoring (UDM) is a tool that monitors your borrowers’ credit reports throughout the quiet period, which is the time between your initial credit pull and closing. Any new debt borrowers incur during this time could impact their creditworthiness, leading to potential fallouts and expensive repurchase demands.Cascade UDM can provide you with early payoff protection by alerting you of these changes. It sends out daily UDM reports by mail or through your CRM. In turn, you won’t be at risk of wasting additional time on derailed loans.
Tools like these can streamline your lending pipeline, save you money, and supercharge your revenues, ensuring you remain competitive, even in such uncertain times.
Certified Credit: Your Trusted Workflow Optimization Partner
Improving your workflow efficiencies is quick and easy when you have the right tools. You simply need to determine which solutions are right for your business.
Since workflow optimization can be complex, it helps to have an experienced partner on your side. At Certified Credit, we’re passionate about helping our clients upgrade their workflows to produce the best outcomes for their businesses and borrowers. That’s why we’re always developing new mortgage lending solutions. In addition to the products and services we’ve mentioned above, we also offer:
- Affordable credit reports
- Property and valuation tools
- Fraud and risk support
- Underwriting compliance support
- Settlement services
If you’re ready to work with a true partner who is always in your corner, schedule a credit consultation with the Certified Credit team today. You can also check out our latest Talk Data to Me podcast episode to learn more about workflow optimization.
[i] Forbes. Mortgage Rates Hit 15-Year High At 6.7% As Some Economists Raise Forecast.
[ii] HousingWire. A deep dive into the mortgage application pull-through rate.