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What Was Learned at the CMBA’s 2020 Mortgage Innovators Conference

The California Mortgage Bankers Association (CMBA) once again hosted their Mortgage Innovators Conference. The event brings mortgage professionals from all over the country together.

It offers engaging, informative sessions from highly intelligent, experienced individuals who have proven themselves in the competitive industry. It enables sponsors like MetaSource to highlight some of their most advanced, problem-solving solutions. It drives new conversations around innovation within the industry. And, above all else, it provides professionals with the resources and networking capabilities they need to learn and grow.

While this year’s conference looked a bit different from last year’s, as it went 100% virtual due to COVID-19, it still offered a plethora of knowledge. With that being said, let’s dive into what was learned while attending.

The Importance of Communication

One of the most talked about topics during the Mortgage Innovators Conference was communication. Over the years, and especially since the pandemic hit, the mortgage industry has taken on a more digital approach when it comes to communication. While this has become a standard, many customers are still regularly left unsatisfied due to the lack of personalization that comes with virtual processes.

The ideal digital experience is a personal one, and the only way to achieve it is by balancing technology with human experiences. Lenders must create transparency within their digital solutions so that borrowers feel a sense of humanity in their interactions. Borrowers want to feel empowered, informed, and connected to their lender counterparts. Lenders can offer this desired experience by leveraging advanced technologies with collaborative environments that encourage transparency and continuous communication. Face-to-face interactions may be a thing of the past, but creating an optimal customer experience doesn’t have to be.

Paper’s Place in the Mortgage Process

Another topic mentioned during the Mortgage Innovators Conference was one highly talked about throughout the entire business world: paper. The question of where paper stands in the mortgage process came up within the first session, and for good reason.

After all, when companies began adopting the remote workforce model during the nation-wide shutdown, the mortgage industry really only had one choice: to go digital. The biggest strain lied with the mailroom. How were mortgage professionals supposed to send and receive confidential documents when they couldn’t access their onsite mailrooms? The solution for many companies was the digital mailroom. By digitizing the entire process, lenders, servicers, and originators were able to manage their mail from home.

However, some mortgage documents still need wet signatures and, therefore, need to be processed in physical form. During the conference, there was talk of this still being the case in years to come. So, while you can automate the majority of your paper-based processes, some might still maintain physical form in the future.

Today’s Biggest Tech Trends

As you might expect, today’s biggest tech trends were widely talked about over the course of the CMBA’s two-day event. Several attendees partook in a text discussion revolving around this exact topic. Some of the technologies mentioned include robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI).

Recently, many companies in the industry have adopted RPA solutions to reduce costs and save time. RPA solutions can complete repetitive tasks such as data retrieval and information verification much more accurately and efficiently than human workers.

As for artificial intelligence, the mortgage industry can use machine learning to solve issues quickly and to their specifications. The technology can accelerate the entire mortgage process in this way. According to the National Mortgage Professional, “applications of AI have the potential to reduce the typical closing time from 52 days to fewer than 20, making the process easier for borrowers and lenders.”

In addition to these positive tech trends in the mortgage industry, a negative one was mentioned during the conference. It was said that many lenders are looking to numerous vendors to create their ideal solution. They’re looking for a quick fix, but often find that adopting multiple software systems from varying vendors does not usually result in a fix at all. Often, the solutions don’t integrate properly, and additional issues arise.

Lenders should, instead, look for one, holistic vendor that can provide them with a single, all-in-one solution with the core system being the loan origination system (LOS). This was a beneficial lesson taught at the Mortgage Innovators Conference.

Why Data is the Answer

The conference also provided several insights into data and why it’s so essential to building a borrower-friendly future. Speakers shed light on the fact that lenders can use data to increase engagement and grow relationships with borrowers.

By acquiring and analyzing data, lenders can get a better idea of what it is borrowers want and what it is they don’t want. It can, therefore, provide greater purchase certainty by helping lenders understand their customers better. The more you know about a borrower, the happier you can make them. And the happier you can make them, the more likely you are to keep them as a customer. This is why data is the answer.

The Impact of COVID-19

Last but certainly not least, attendees learned more about the immense impact that COVID-19 has had on the industry. Unlike most of the articles, news briefings, and conversations recently, the conference focused on the positive effects that the pandemic has had on mortgage companies. While we don’t want to take the pandemic lightly by any means, it was a nice breath of fresh air to focus on the good rather than the bad.

One of the positive points made was that the mortgage industry has stepped up in terms of digital transformation. Speakers talked of the recent industry-wide mindset shift. Companies realized how many parts of the mortgage process can be automated and started taking advantage of the opportunities.

In the past, the industry was labor based by choice. The technology has been available for quite some time. Companies just didn’t have enough reason to leave their old ways of manual processing behind. COVID-19 pushed them into the realm of digital processing. And, in turn, companies are saving large sums in labor costs. The sudden shift to a remote workplace proved the mortgage industry’s ability to innovate, and it’s likely that further innovation is in the near future.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, a lot was learned from the CMBA’s 2020 Mortgage Innovators Conference. It reiterated the importance of communication and brought real-life examples to the forefront of attendees’ minds. It touched on where the industry stands with paper-based document processing, covered some of the biggest tech trends, and explained why data plays such a critical role in the borrower experience. Finally, it opened up a conversation around the positive impacts the pandemic has had on mortgage companies.

Now, it’s only appropriate to end on the same note that the conference ended on—one of great mindfulness. Paul Gigliotti, Chief Operating Officer at Pinnacle Home Loans, left the audience with the fact that collaboration, innovation, and growth all have something very important in common: their continuous, cyclical nature.

In his closing statement, Gigliotti said, “We have to remember that technology is the tool that drives innovation.” And it can be said that it is also the tool that fosters collaboration and facilitates growth. It, too, is continuous in nature and maintains some circularity.

After the conference, it became clearer than ever that technology plays a major role in keeping collaboration, innovation, and growth alive—even as the industry, and the world, undergo some of the most unforeseen circumstances. And here, at MetaSource, we strive to continue supplying our partners with the technology they need to collaborate, innovate, and grow in any business environment.

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