Lenders rely heavily on title companies in multiple touchpoints throughout the mortgage process, but most don’t optimize their working relationships with those firms, according to a new study by Qualia and advisory firm Stratmor Group.

The study, Quantifying Inefficiencies in the Mortgage Settlement Process, examined how this could be a missed opportunity to improve efficiencies in the mortgage process as well as boost lenders’ bottom lines. 

The study found that lenders “juggle” a lot of title companies—one in four lenders works with more than 100 title companies in a month. Three in four respondents interact directly with title companies in their role and one in four spends more than 75% of their time communicating with title companies. 

The numbers point to a “massive opportunity” for lenders to save costs through a combination of process and technology improvements to streamline and standardize interactions with title companies, according to the report. 

The study also found that a lack of end-to-end integrated tools contributes to an over-reliance in manual processes, such as email.

Almost all lenders—98%—agree that coordination with title companies is “important” or “very important” for borrower experience. When asked to rank which factors have the greatest negative impact on borrower experience, lenders most often ranked “unexpected closing delays” as the number one contributing factor, the study found. 

Lenders are significantly more pleased with title companies they work with on a regular basis, underscoring the impact of relationships and partnerships.

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