During the New Year, many people reflect on the past 12 months and set intentions for those that lie ahead. While you likely have New Year resolutions for your personal life, it’s equally important to create some for your mortgage lending business.
Revamping your origination process for 2024 can set you up to enjoy lower costs, shorter origination times, and more lucrative profits. So, how can you determine the right workflow optimizations for your mortgage lending business?
Every mortgage lender’s goals are slightly different, but most are eager to cut costs, streamline workflows, and satisfy their borrowers. Below, we’ll provide four tips to achieve these popular New Year’s resolutions quickly and affordably.
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Tip #1: Embrace Automation
In 2023, an increasing number of mortgage lenders leveraged automation to improve their lending workflows. 73% of these lenders said their main reason for doing so was to enhance operational efficiency. As we move into 2024, automation is quickly becoming a necessity for mortgage lenders who want to maintain their competitive edge.
At Certified Credit, we’ve seen just how game-changing automation can be for mortgage lending workflows. As a result, we’ve created a line of automated solutions, which streamlines several crucial steps within the loan origination process. This line currently includes the following products:
- Cascade Alerts – Acquiring new borrowers costs more than retaining existing ones. For this reason, you should do everything in your power to improve your borrower retention rate. Cascade Alerts can help you optimize your borrower retention by monitoring your current and past clients’ credit reports. It searches for signs that they’re in the market for a new mortgage, whether that’s a purchase loan, refinance, or home equity line of credit. Once you receive an alert about a potential lead, you can reach out to them and try to win over their repeat business.
- Cascade Prequal – Offering online prequalification is a simple way to funnel more prospective borrowers into your lending pipeline. After all, many aspiring homeowners want to shop around for the best mortgage without harming their credit scores. Cascade Prequal enables you to provide instant online prequalification with ease—you simply need to set your eligibility criteria and let Cascade Prequal take care of the rest. All prequalification submission data will automatically integrate with your LOS.
- Cascade Verification of Income and Employment (VOE) – In 2024, you can’t afford to waste time manually verifying applicants’ income and employment information. Luckily, with Cascade VOE, you don’t have to. Using an advanced rules-based engine, this solution automatically cycles through your preferred third-party VOE vendors until the verification is complete. If you position low-cost vendors strategically within your cascade, it can save you a lot of money. If Cascade VOE doesn’t yield a hit for a certain applicant, the Certified Credit team will conduct the manual VOE for you. As with Cascade Prequal, Cascade VOE’s data will automatically get uploaded to your POS/LOS system.
- Cascade Undisclosed Debt Monitoring (UDM) – After devoting your time and resources to originating a new loan, you want it to have a seamless closing. Unfortunately, some applicants may incur debt after their initial mortgage approval, putting their eligibility at risk. If you’re not privy to these changes, your business may end up eating the costs of their loan’s fallout or repurchase. Fortunately, Cascade UDM can eliminate any blindspots by monitoring your current applicants’ credit reports from the initial credit pull through closing. You can customize what tradeline data you want to be alerted about. As a bonus, Cascade UDM can take the place of a Refresh Credit Report, saving you some extra money.
- Automated Supplements – In addition to our Cascade line, we offer an automated solution that streamlines credit supplements, called Automated Supplements. This tool enables you to request credit supplements from your borrowers without the hassle of scheduling time-consuming conference calls. Instead, you can simply send your borrowers a secure link that they can use to provide their financial information for tradeline updates at their convenience. This one-touch process can reduce supplement ordering times by over 50% and improve your borrower experience.
Tip #2 Find Creative Ways to Cut Credit Reporting Costs
From FICO’s 2022 price increase to the recent equalization of Soft Pull and Hard Pull credit reports, credit reports are costlier than ever before. These price hikes may be out of your control, but there are still several savvy strategies you can employ to keep your credit reporting costs to a minimum.
One strategy is to filter out applicants who don’t meet your credit score criteria using one or two bureau credit reports, as opposed to tri-merges. You can enact this strategy with ease with the help of our Smart Select Credit Report. Here’s how this cost-cutting solution works:
- You set your eligibility criteria (credit score, zip code, default status, etc.)
- You select your preferred credit report ordering parameters from this list:
- 1 bureau -> 3 bureau
- 2 bureau -> 3 bureau
- 1 bureau -> 2 bureau -> 3 bureau
- Smart Select will automatically order credit reports according to your stated parameters. Applicants who don’t meet your credit thresholds during the first round of credit pulls will be filtered out automatically.
By eliminating unqualified borrowers using as few credit bureau reports as possible, Smart Select can save you a lot of money. Better yet, it can automate the credit report review process, enabling you to focus more attention on assisting the applicants who are most likely to close.
Tip #3: Take a Proactive Approach to Mortgage Fraud Prevention
Undetected mortgage fraud can waste your time and drain your resources. Unfortunately, around one in 134 mortgage applications contain some form of fraud. What’s more, five types of mortgage fraud saw year-over-year increases in 2023, including:
- Identity fraud – 12% increase
- Occupancy fraud – 11.8% increase
- Income fraud – 6.2% increase
- Transaction fraud – 1.9% increase
- Property fraud – 1.8% increase
By enacting fraud prevention measures early on in your loan origination process, you can save time and safeguard your bottom line.
At Certified Credit, we offer this comprehensive suite of best-in-class fraud and risk mitigation solutions:
- Flex ID Smart Select Shield – This verification tool can make sure that crucial ID data, including applicants’ names, addresses, birth dates, SSNs, and phone numbers, are valid, enabling you to detect fraud before it can impact your business.
- ADV-120 Fraud Report – This robust fraud report can verify all of your borrower’s information according to your customized risk tolerance levels. Better yet, it’s investor-approved.
- Wire Transfer Fraud Report – This fraud report verifies your borrowers’ bank account information and offers status reports on the settlement agent. It complies with secondary market and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) standards.
- Liens & Judgment Report – Unreported liens or judgments can increase an applicant’s risk of foreclosure or default. This report sheds light on these risk factors and provides a detailed picture of your applicants’ unreported credit activities.
- 4506-C Tax Transcripts – This report helps you catch tax fraud and income misrepresentations by verifying tax return information using a direct connection to the IRS database.
- MERS Reports – These reports can identify any liens registered with MERS under your borrowers’ and co-borrowers’ SSNs.
- SSA-89 Verification – Using a direct connection to the Social Security Administration, this verification solution can evaluate borrowers’ SSN information and combat identity theft.
- Mortgage Participation Report – This report allows you to conduct your LQI due diligence by comparing up to 20 names against government exclusion lists.
- Portfolio Review – This tool monitors the health of your portfolio by scanning your borrower database for signs of imminent early payoff and other risks. It doesn’t require a firm offer of credit.
- ID Risk Review – This add-on report can summarize any credit bureau alerts that exist within an applicant’s credit file, from fraud alerts to credit freezes.
Along with these tools, Cascade UDM can double as a fraud mitigation tool by alerting you of any new credit inquiries or late payments that suggest potential fraud.
Tip #4: Partner With a Loan Origination Optimization Expert
As you can see, there’s a wide array of tech tools that can elevate your mortgage origination process. So, how can you determine which ones will make the greatest impact on your business outcomes?
The best way is to work with a workflow optimization expert, like Certified Credit. Our team has nearly four decades of experience helping mortgage lenders revamp their workflows and maximize their profits.
After learning about your goals and unique lending workflows, we can highlight the solutions that will yield the most significant returns on investment.
Join Forces With Certified Credit to Thrive in 2024
In summary, refining your lending processes can provide a host of benefits, from lower origination costs to a better borrower experience. By enacting the right enhancements early on in 2024, you can optimize your outcomes for the rest of the year.
In addition to the solutions we highlighted above, we also offer the following products and services:
- Affordable credit reports
- Credit score improvement tools
- Property and valuation support
- Flood zone determinations
- Underwriting compliance
- Settlement services
Want to learn more about our offerings? Schedule a credit consultation with the Certified Credit team today.