The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed businesses that want to succeed into unfamiliar territory with no choice but to adapt. Sometimes those adjustments have been (fairly) seamless, other times, haphazard and sloppy. One thing’s for sure. The mortgage industry is undergoing changes that will forever alter the way business is conducted.  

NEXT is doing a series of exclusive interviews with mortgage and tech market leaders to help executives get – and stay – ahead of the impact.

Today we’re speaking with Bob Jennings, CEO of ClosingCorp to get his take on the question on everyone’s minds: What are the three ways the global pandemic has changed the way we do business?

Here’s what Bob has to say.

1. Sales and marketing mortgage lending services is never going to be the same

They say “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” and this pandemic has established a real necessity for the industry to adapt. And adapt fast. We’ve been talking about the digital mortgage for more than a decade. Don’t get me wrong, there has been profound advancement with the point-of-sale experience; instantaneous transmission of data and analytics into the underwriting and processing streams; expanded automated underwriting; and the new thinking that the hundreds of fintechs have brought to the table. However, the pandemic has forced our industry to focus on what with some call “the last mile,” namely, the closing process. Our industry, regulators and county and state governments have stepped up in a variety of ways to enable non-contact, faster and more efficient remote closings. eClosings aren’t in perpetual beta testing anymore and are making real inroads. We now have at least 43 states where remote online notarization (RON) is accepted. MISMO has created a national RON certification program. And what’s most important is we don’t see the industry going back to business as usual when this unfortunate crisis is behind us.

2. Appraisals will no longer be a pain point in the process

The word “appraisal” has long been one of the accepted bumps in the road in the origination process.  However, record low interest rates could potentially fuel demand through all of 2021. In light of the dwindling traditional appraiser workforce we’ve seen an enlightened view from the GSEs on reducing the need for full appraisals for every loan or property. In addition, technology has also helped to advance appraisal data automation and scheduling tools. The pandemic has hurried the transformation of appraisals from a potential roadblock to a quick step in the process in the not too distant future.

One recent major move from federal regulators, allows appraisals to be completed as much as 120 days after the loan closing. The required shelter-in-place and social distancing policies have increased the number of drive-by and desktop appraisals.  Virtual appraisal tools are now available so that the borrower can actively provide precise room measurements and detail upgrades made over time. The expanded use of exterior-only and desktop appraisals will contribute to speeding up workflow leading to better experience for both the borrower and originator.

3. Technology-advanced borrower communications = a more satisfied consumer and compliant lender

Just think back a few years ago when TRID was first created and implemented. It caused our industry to issue an “all hands-on deck” response due to fear of potential fines and loss of brand reputation. But the industry adapted quickly. Comprehensive compliance technology and data automated much of the process and provided borrowers with a more precise and informed Loan Estimate with less surprises on the Closing Documents.

Here at ClosingCorp, we’re proud of what we’ve built to support both the borrowers and originators and we’re committed during the current crisis to continue providing excellence, especially in these trying times. It’s a win – win with peace of mind for both a happy customer and a happy originator.

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