Philly’s surge in new bank branches reveals lesson for mortgage lenders

Downtown Philly’s revitalization push in its Center City district seems to be attracting more business and workers to the area. In fact, there’s buzz about a surge of bank branches opening up there. The reasons are many, of course, and speaks to the evolving way banks – and any lender for that matter – look to achieve operational efficiencies.

Right now, in the mortgage space, we are all dashing for a digital finish line, so it’s natural that our retail lenders are moving more of their customer conversation online, often through chatbots. For those who work in bust downtown Philly, that strategy doesn’t exactly work for them. So why add more branches?

“A few big national banks, especially JPMorgan Chase & Co., are betting they can interest electronic customers and new ones in buying more products by sticking branches in high-traffic locations,” according to this article in The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Even small branches can function as billboards, flashing the brand name from bright new signs.” 

A veteran banker wrote in to help explain the trend:

  • Business borrowers need to come in to see lenders in person, present their case for a loan, with financials, a business plan (and other docs)
  • Customers with problems need to talk to a banker in person. Phone contact is frustrating (even with — or because of) Artificial Intelligence
  • Internet-connected customers (still) aren’t all adept at remote banking.

The second and third reasons should give us for thought. Today’s savvy mortgage lenders fancy themselves as digital natives. We’ve gone to great lengths to digitize our products. But have neglected the user experience?

Right now it makes sense that consumers hesitate with the full adoption of AI and the like. So perhaps Chase has got it down. The best strategy looks to be offering both online and in-person services. However, the article notes there is a downside to opening up more branches. Three of those branches were robbed last week. 





Docutech integrates with Origence mortgage tech platform

Bank branch openings aside, progress towards a truly digital mortgage experience continues. Docutech announced an integration of the Origence mortgage lending platform with Docutech’s ConformX and Solex platforms. This integration will allow lenders to generate dynamic loan documents and enable those documents for eDelivery, eSignature, and eClosing.

“Origence’s ability to digitize everything from document processing, compliance checks and being more paired with Docutech’s industry-leading doc gen, eSignature and eClosing technology creates a unique and compelling solution for loan origination,” said NEXT alum and past speaker Amy Brandt, president and CEO of Docutech, in a statement. “With lenders competing to offer a true digital mortgage to their customers, this integration brings the industry one step closer to delivering an amazing customer experience.”

The Origence platform can reduce loan cycle time by upwards of 10 days, increase lender productivity and decrease costs per loan. So now the pitch goes something like this: The Origence promise to lenders is not just to reduce time to close, which reduces costs but also speeds up the signing of the documents, through the integration with Docutech,

Roger Hull, president and chief product officer of Origence said the integration is a “strategic alignment” to help fulfill growing borrower demand for a better mortgage experience.

Questsoft offers freebie, upping its RegTech game

Mortgage compliance software provider QuestSoft Corporation announced it is expanding service to its customers – for free.

According to the company, all customers can now have multiple users simultaneously access data in various licensed modules, including HMDA RELIEF, CRA RELIEF and Fair Lending RELIEF, at no additional cost. The included SQL Express database can be installed on any machine that acts as a server, which prevents private customer data needing to be stored in the cloud.

“With the continued and proposed changes to HMDA and CRA regulations, we pointed our development team towards establishing enhancements for future development needs,” Leonard Ryan, president and founder of QuestSoft said. The product development team states the multi-user service was also a big ask from their customers.

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