Human Mortgage in a Digital World
July 2018 by Andy Voyles, SVP Branch Development
In recent years a lot of energy and resources have been poured into online resources and the "digital mortgage" experience. Amazon recently announced their eventual stake in online mortgage lending as well. One can certainly argue that getting a mortgage online can be quicker, offer less hassle, and be combined with lower rates and financial incentives.
But those advantages can come with a downside. Some online lenders have been associated with scams - they use low rates as an enticement to compete for the application and have no incentive to follow through properly. Overshadowed by the fine print and overwhelming application process, the details can easily get lost. Oh, and customer service? Questionable at best. Serving you from a centralized location (and sometimes from an international office), you may communicate with a different representative every time you have a question.
Like other lenders, Bank of England Mortgage has invested in online tools to make the customer experience easier and more convenient. But this technology never takes the place of experienced loan originators. Instead, the technical features compliment and aide the process. Our loan originators strive to know each customer, helping them overcome obstacles and reduce stress and confusion. We call our approach "Human Mortgage."
Homebuyers Want Human Interaction
In 2016, we conducted research to measure the importance of human interaction in the mortgage process. Here's what we found:
• Both first-time and experienced homebuyers see the loan originator as the most important element of an ideal mortgage experience.
• When faced with multiple options, homebuyers want to talk with a real person at the beginning of the mortgage process, especially at the initial inquiry.
• First-time homebuyers want a knowledgeable loan originator who can help them complete the application, assist with pre-qualification, and solve problems and find the best options.
• Artificial intelligence can't perform what an experienced loan originator can offer.
• Even though they have been through all of this before, experienced homebuyers still want a loan originator who can manage the entire process and work seamlessly with the rest of the client's team - realtor, title company, home inspector, insurance company, appraiser, etc. - to ensure an on-time closing.
Even tech-savvy consumers want human help. According to an industry survey, 53% of millennials want live mortgage advice at the start of the loan process, even before going online to research. Additionally, 57% said they often seek advice face to face. And 64% said they would want in-person interaction for the duration of the process.
To my fellow mortgage competitors – don't underestimate the human experience. At the end of the day, people genuinely make the difference. Technology should influence the process as a value-add, not as a replacement.