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Rapid re-scoring vs. credit restoration

National Mortgage Professional
Apr 28, 2005

Despite web advances, customers prefer face timeJoe Amorosocustomer service, consumer preferences, personal, electronic J.D. Power and Associates recently released information from their first quarter 2005 financial power study, which examined, among other things, consumer preferences and actions when applying for a home mortgage. With all of the public relations hype and serious television advertising dollars behind major online lenders who are targeting consumers, you may be surprised to learn what this study uncovered. By an overwhelming majority (64 percent), consumers still prefer in-person contact with their originator throughout the mortgage process. The next most preferred method of contact is by telephone (21 percent) followed by mail (18 percent). Web interaction and e-mail are tied for last place at two percent. Two percent. The authors of the study attribute these preferences to the extensive paperwork and complexities of the application process. I believe they should also include the complexities of the mortgage products themselves. Consumers prefer a personal dialogue with their originator to make sure they're selecting the loan program that best meets their needs. What does this mean for our industry that's invested millions in new technologies to deliver online mortgage applications and approvals? Simply stated, for the immediate future, it means we should make sure we're using technology dollars to invest in operations tools rather than sales or origination tools. The right technology in your back office helps you deliver faster approvals and on-time closings. Your storefront should continue to be staffed by knowledgeable human beings who are trained in delivering personalized customer service. The broker-lender relationship is an interesting parallel. You are now able to price and lock a loan online and take advantage of automated underwriting engines. Many lenders also offer other value-added online services to help you sell loans. Marketing services and product matrices are among these tools that help you learn the loan programs and sell them to the consumer. And since not all brokers are comfortable with the technology, most of these programs are opt-in. Lenders have made serious investments in technology, yielding terrific benefits for brokers. But a positive personal relationship with a sales representative is still the cornerstone of the broker-lender relationship. The most successful sales reps in our business are the ones who are very hands-on with their brokers. Whether training rookie originators at a growing broker's company or personally meeting with brokers to structure loans, a lender's educated sales force is just as valuable as the latest whiz-bang pricing engines. That tells me that the broker population isn't much different than the consumer population. In this industry, we use people where they matter mostto listen to what our customers are saying and help them find the right loan program. Our challenge is to use technology to deliver faster and, at the same time, more personal service. Fancy Web sites are nice, but people are still the face of our business. Joe Amoroso is a senior vice president with Opteum Financial Services. He may be reached by e-mail at jamoroso@opteum.com.
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