Advances in technology have impacted the mortgage industry in ways the average consumer never sees. In the background, there are procedures that have changed significantly in the past thirty years.  A mortgage broker or banker from the 1980s and early 1990s would hardly recognize the loan origination process of today.  What was once a sixty or ninety day process, now happens within a week.

These efficiencies are due in large part to the availability and affordability of sophisticated software systems which replace the arduous processes of the past with push-button functionality.  From customer histories to regulation compliance and everything in between, today’s mortgage software solutions have kept up with the public’s, and corporate America’s, demands for accuracy and speed.

Financial institutions, such as banks, non-bank entities and mortgage brokerages, depend on reliable tools which help them manage their customer interactions such as Unify CRM – mortgage crm. The days of manila folders and rolodexes have long since passed and have been replaced by CRM software.  Also known as Customer Relationship Management software, CRM software programs are the repository of all data and dealings with potential and present customers.

Everyone in the organization from CEOs to brokers to agents have access to the customer and prospect history for every entry into the software.  So in addition to centralizing the details of individual loans and product lines in the aggregate, CRM software can help streamline and standardize customer contact throughout the organization.

Another critical function of CRM software is its ability to analyze the billions of bytes of data that are stored for each type of customer, prospect, and product line.  This enables originators to increase efficiency and lower overall costs while it may also pinpoint future profit opportunities.

Competitively speaking, there are pressures to be first to market with innovative product lines.  Internally, there is also pressure to attract and keep the best and brightest employees and agents.  Tools such as customer relationship management software facilitate both.

There are two principle technological challenges that impact the choice of customer relationship management software in the mortgage industry:  the internal challenge and the external challenge.

External Challenges

It is no secret that we have become a society that demands instantaneous answers and solutions.  Instant gratification is no longer just demanded of customized coffee orders.  People expect, and demand, to have their needs addressed in every facet of their lives.  This includes the purchase of real estate and the mortgage process.

For most of recent history, mortgage origination happened at a local bank or other financial institution.  In the 1980s, mortgage origination became a very profitable arm of real estate brokerages.  The commissions for originating loans became a significant portion of an agency’s revenue.

Because of the relatively local, decentralized nature of the transaction, mortgage loans took months to matriculate through a financial institution.  Today’s consumers don’t wait months for anything.

Millenials and GenXers are becoming a more significant share of the home buying populace.  Growing up with technology, their expectations for a sizeable transaction such as a mortgage are influenced by how easily it is to buy a mattress online or check the scores of a baseball game.  They want to control and have access to every phase of the home buying and financing process and they expect that access to be readily available on their devices at any time of the day or night.  These generations are truly hands-on in all their financial dealings — even if the hands are directing the process through keystrokes on mobile device.

To respond to this consumer expectation for a high level of technology that is digital in nature, secure, trustworthy access to the status of a mortgage application is paramount.  This access serves two purposes for the consumer.  First, it satisfies a transparency requirement.  Second, the interaction can be completely digital meaning few, if any, phone calls to the originator for status updates.

Even before the mortgage application process begins for these consumers, they have used technology to thoroughly check out the potential vendors with whom they might be dealing.  If a mortgage provider does not perform flawlessly or has shortcomings of any kind, consumers are not all hesitant to report their negative experiences on sites such as Yelp or on a company’s Google My Business listing.  These reviews inform potential mortgagees before they have had any interaction with a mortgage company.

The challenge for technology is to ensure a five-star consumer experience every time not only for existing customers, but also to positively influence potential customers.

Internal Challenges

Within a mortgage origination entity, a CRM system should be viewed not just in technology terms, but also an integral part of understanding the needs of today’s mortgage consumers.

CRM systems link up all the known information about a particular customer from a broad range of sources.  This information comprises a data set that can be used to analyze consumer and market trends.  It is also essential in order to pinpoint the services and products that potential customers want.  Without this information, no organization can possibly expect to market and sell services and products that customers actually would value.

Sorting through various data points for analysis is impossible at scale for an organization without the benefit of software.  There are too many potential points of interaction to be handled efficiently and accurately.  To improve business processes, the whole picture must be visible in one place to better understand consumer needs and effect a successful strategy.

The sales function within a mortgage origination company is of critical importance.  Attracting and keeping the right sales staff is facilitated through the use of CRM software.  Software generated data helps to understand customer behavior, a customer’s value to the organization, their needs and how to meet those needs with best-in-industry services and products.  Sales personnel can use this information to close more deals based on an intimate knowledge of their prospect’s stage in the sales process.  Having these facts and figures at their fingertips gives salesmen and women the right tools to make the sale.

A sales staff without these tools is at a competitive disadvantage.  Mortgages are a financial product without many brandable features.  What sets one loan origination company apart from another may come down to the skill of the salesperson and his or her ability to target the right potential customers and meet their individual criteria for building a trusting relationship.

Customer interactions, whether by phone or online, should be personal and secure.  Yet, they should also demonstrate a familiarity with the customer’s exact relationship including the types of products they consume and their history.  Customers have the expectation that when they call their mortgage provider, the person helping them has access to all data that will enable them to answer questions and provide help if needed.  Data integration between departments is expected by consumers and a requirement in order to provide the level of customer service that is demanded today.

The goal of any CRM strategy and software is to make sure the organization is poised for growth with the right tools to retain profitable business and the associated relationship.  The software can be both an internal tool and a customer-facing tool that ensures an exceptional customer experience from first contact and throughout the lifetime of the relationship.