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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   October 2019

Robots Won’t Be Taking Your Job

Mortgage originators need to embrace automation, not fear it

Robots Won’t Be Taking Your Job

If the website WillRobotsTakeMyJob.com is any indication, people are scared that the rise in automation will cause the human workforce to suffer. Mortgage originators have a 98% chance of seeing their jobs disappear with the rise of artificial intelligence, according to the website. Don’t believe the hype. Automation may be changing the mortgage industry, but robots aren’t going to take your job. Let’s be clear, however, that if you don’t use automation, you’re going to see your volume start to decline.

Since you can buy pretty much any-thing online, from a new car to dog food, it’s no surprise that digital mortgage applications have gained so much traction. Fifty-one percent of borrowers uploaded their bank statements online, 48% uploaded some portion of their application online and 43% completed their entire application online, according to a survey released in August 2018 by mortgage application software company Ellie Mae. 

Borrowers who utilized digital tools during the loan process were far more likely to report an excellent loan experience. Clients who used an online loan portal were 18% more likely to return to their mortgage originator for another loan. Clearly, it’s hard to overestimate the benefits offered by digital loan applications.

Borrowers love them because they provide a simple entry point with easy-to-understand interfaces. Many digital portals also offer a guided loan-application process, prompting the applicant one step at a time. This minimizes the chance that the user will be overwhelmed by being presented with the entire application at once.

Automating tasks

The mortgage landscape isn’t just going digital on the front end. The processing of loans also has seen a massive amount of automation, much to the chagrin of nervous members of the job force.

A rise in technology-driven, back-end processing, however, shouldn’t make you consider leaving the mortgage industry. Instead, all processing automation does is minimize the amount of data collection needed per loan file. Technology-based solutions can now take over repetitive tasks like following up with clients and tracking document collection.

Underwriting can be made much more efficient if the underwriter isn’t spending their time searching for missing documents or dealing with misnamed files. All these tasks slow down the loan-application process, which means fewer closed loans for you. If you’re not using processing automations, you’re not closing as many loans.

Marketing also has seen a rise in automation. With new financial-technology software platforms, mortgage originators can now automate their digital communications. Marketing strategies, such as drip e-mail campaigns or text updates, can be scheduled and automatically sent, all with little hands-on effort from you.

Additionally, the content creation of this messaging can be taken off your to-do list. Marketing companies customize e-mail templates for common mortgage originator messages, such as a loan-status update or a “thank you for your business” note. 

Professional relationships still require living, breathing humans, working together to reach common goals.

Building relationships

The amount of work that automation can accomplish in the mortgage industry is growing, but there are still certain aspects of being a mortgage originator that a computer just can’t replace. As rumors swirl about automation and artificial intelligence stealing mortgage-industry jobs, it’s important to remember that borrowers still want (and need) a human on the other end of their mortgage experience.

You may get leads from online sources, but lead qualification still requires a human element. Automation may remind you to follow up with a lead, or even send automated e-mails or texts for you. The act of speaking to a potential borrower on the phone or sitting down to discuss a borrower’s mortgage options is only possible through you.

Realtors send their buyers to their most trusted mortgage professional, not to a computer that receives the digital loan applications. Professional relationships still require living, breathing humans, working together to reach common goals.

With the rise of the digital mortgage, one might expect the need for human interaction to dwindle. Instead, the types of interactions are simply shifting. Even if borrowers are applying for mortgages online, they will still have questions. More often than not, these borrowers will not feel confident in answers that come from a computer.

How often would you prefer to ask Google or a chatbot a question, instead of a real person? Chances are, most of us would rather speak to a human. This is especially true when it comes to questions about a mortgage. Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions that most people will ever make, and having a knowledgeable mortgage professional available to answer any queries will put them at ease.

Automation means that you will have more time for situations just like this. Thanks to technology, your customer service can be even more incredible.

Eliminating stress

Technologically powered mortgages give a wider range of borrowers the chance to buy a home. The traditional loan-application process can be daunting. Automated digital mortgage applications, however, offer a more customized user experience.

There’s a level of stress eliminated from the loan process when borrowers can upload everything digitally — not to mention that an online portal is open when borrowers need it and when they’re available. Borrowers no longer need to face the pressures of traditional banking hours or their mortgage originator calling them at work to remind them to upload a tax return. 

With the help of automation and technology, you can reach borrowers who previously may have been daunted by the traditional loan-application process. This will boost your volume and help a new era of homebuyers along the way.

Less data collection means that you will have more time for the “human” part of your job. Without the necessary tasks of follow-up calls, loan-status updates and document gathering, you can fill your day with more productive tasks, such as building relationships with real estate agents or calling on new leads. Automating the low-priority tasks means that the important ones get more space on the calendar.

This will inherently make your job more relationship based. Instead of staring at a stack of papers all day, you’ll be able to focus your time and energy on the people behind those applications.

Reducing mistakes

The rise of automation means fewer mistakes and increased speed and efficiency. And these aren’t baseless promises. According to the Institute for Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence, for every 100 steps in a process, humans will make about 10 mistakes.

Since many of the steps of the loan process are easily replicated and delegated to automation, mistakes and inefficiencies will decrease. This will keep you from making simple but frustrating mistakes. It could even save you from facing compliance issues down the road.

No more beating around the bush: automation is good for you. If you’re not using automation, you’ll fall behind the pack. Your technology-loving competition will have much more time than you to offer exceptional service — the kind of service borrowers have grown to expect — and they will earn all of the clients you previously relied upon.

So, yes, automation will in fact eliminate the jobs of some mortgage originators, but only because they have not embraced it.

The mortgage originator’s job will become even more relationship based. With automation, you’ll have the tools and technologies to keep you efficient and accurate. Plus, when you’re not having to deal with data-collection and lower-priority tasks, you’ll have the ability to actually connect with clients and professional partners.

Progressing forward

You’ve probably felt the touch of automation for years, and that isn’t showing signs of slowing down. If utilized properly, however, automation has the chance to actually make the job market better and stronger.

Despite the doomsday predictions that automation will eliminate the jobs of mortgage originators, one can’t forget the specific human elements of the job that a computer can’t replace — at least not yet. Automations aren’t going to take your job, but if you don’t progress with them, you won’t be able to keep up with the competition. You’ll be competing with loan originators who have made automation a part of their businesses, and are spending more time on the valuable relationships that are increasing their production.

• • •

The good news is that if you do embrace automation, you should watch out, because your volume is going to skyrocket. With automation, you’ll spend more time doing the things that make you great: the face-to-face interactions, the meetings of value and the relationships. And just like that, the mortgage originator’s job is here to stay. 


 


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