NAMB president's corner: 2008-2008 President Marc Savitt, CRMS
Mortgage technology and beyond: LoanMagic V4.0John D. Svirskymortgage technology, mortgage software, marketing comparison reports, point of sale So many readers call or e-mail me asking what contact manager I use and if it helps with marketing campaigns. Brokers are finally awakening to the power of working their database. I have found most of us are really good at selling, assuming we still have a product to sell and an institution who will buy it. Over the next several months, I will be reviewing programs that help us get the lead, turn the lead into a client, close the deal and market to that client for years to come. Each program has its own respective strengths and, from what I see, no one program will be right for everyone. Rather than bemoaning the market and my lack of closings, there are actions I can take and software available to help me do it now. LoanMagic V4.0 is point-of-sale software for the rest of us. The company that makes DocMagic introduced it about a year ago. That is important because they know the industry, they know just what the lenders and brokers want and need, and they have been providing closing docs and doc preparation for more than 20 years. Now they have expanded to help the broker get the loan and move it to closing. I was not thrilled with the previous version; hence, I did not review it. LoanMagic 4.0 is now definitely worth a try. It is a good program. According to their public relations people, they have been adding between 300 and 600 new licenses a month ... quite impressive numbers! LoanMagic is a nifty program at a phenomenal value. It is only $395 a year, and you can try it for a month for free. It is like a Swiss army knife, it does so many different functions well. LoanMagic is easy to use and intuitive, and although it is not as robust as some of the standalone programs, it just might be the one program you use, replacing ACT! or Outlook, your lead management software like Leads360, your loan comparison software and your marketing software. When times were affluent and promising, I would buy any software that looked good, rationalizing my purchase by stating that if it helps me close one deal, it is worth it. The problem became that I rarely used most of the software; it was either too complicated, too sophisticated or did not work with my other software. It was not intuitive, nor user-friendly. So I would have several great programs that would do more functions than I would ever use and, to make matters worse, they didn't talk to each other, sound familiar? So they sat on my hard drive, unused. LoanMagic combines a calendar program and contact manager software with David Bartels' Selling Smarter interview scripts, pre- and post-closing marketing modules, 27 different calculators and loan comparison software, which includes a full interview and comprehensive analysis and written plan of action for those who are into mortgage planning. Most importantly, it works well with Point and Encompass. LoanMagic and your loan origination software might be the only programs you use on a regular basis. A great feature, for example, is that when you buy a license, it works on all your machines. So if you do some LoanMagic work on your home computer, take your laptop to a client's office to take an application using LoanMagic and then go to the office and work some more on your office computer, LoanMagic's server syncs the data from all three machines; therefore, you will have the same data online and offline. Enough talk, let's look at the components. The initial screen is the dashboard, which shows the calendar, the "My Tasks" component and the pending marketing campaigns. The mortgage market indexes can be defined from the last seven days to the last 30 years; so I can graphically, and in color, show how an index has fared in comparison to other indexes, a pie chart showing the breakdown of contact status, and a pie chart showing the source of my new loans and leads, referrals, business partners, etc. The dashboard navigates to the following options: calendar, loan comparisons (arguably the most powerful feature of LoanMagic), interviews (based on David Bartels' Selling Smarter, which helps you ask the lead or prospect the correct questions to bring it from lead to close), leads (if you are buying lists or using a call center, this is the place for you), contacts (a full-featured contact database with all the information from the 1003 so that it is more than names and addresses, it has all the financial information also, which can come in useful later on, plus a place to track all your loans in process), marketing (a built in marketing module with a whole bunch of templates that run at the frequency of your choice based on your criteria). There is no limit to the number of campaigns that you can be running simultaneously. Within the marketing module, there are also 27 different financial calculators to easily show "what if" scenarios; you can get these at a lot of sites, but it is very helpful to have them as part of your marketing point-of-sale software. There is a helpful section called "Community" where you can go online with questions and get support from other users, as well as from LoanMagic peoplenice tool. There is a reference section, which provides Web sites for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Mortgage Brokers, National Association of Realtors, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Federal Housing Administration. It is an easy portal to get to, but you don't really want to go. (Sorry, I am just being cynical.) The training section is really good. I like it because it is not just words; they are automated tutorials and Webinars35 of them to datewhich help you through most of the user questions you might have. For example, there are two 12-minute tutorials on how to prepare advanced reports for strategic equity. There is a 10-minute tutorial on doing loan payment comparisons, 12 minutes on customizing reports and & you get the idea. And of course, there is a frequently-asked questions section. They also have live help online and via telephone. As with any all-in-one program, you will use certain sections more than others. If you do a lot of cold calling and dealing with new clients, the interview section is great. The Selling Smarter sales process is incorporated directly into the interview, giving you the scripts and letting you fill in the blanks. When you are finished going through the script, you have most of the 1003 complete, and the borrower felt that you were more than an order-taker. A great selling tool is marketing comparison reports. Prepare a report with various options; I usually do threeone I know is an automatic no, one is a definite maybe and one, I think, is best choice based on client's input. While the client is on the phone, I e-mail or fax them the comparison report, and we review it instantly on the phone. This breaks through a tremendous amount of resistance. In the past, I would send it to the client and wait for a response. Sending it while I am on the phone permits the client to digest the information, ask different questions, which many times leads me to sending different reports, and then coming to a conclusion right then and there. The client visually sees the options, then makes his own decision. My next question to them is, based on your decision, may I send you an application package along with the disclosures and estimated closing costs? I can do this in four seconds with LoanMagic and e-mail a hyperlink to the client while they are still on the phone. They log in, and I help them through the process; they sign and return. It is instant, eliminating a chance that another broker could steal my deal. There are some flaws in the program that I know they are working on, and hopefully by the time you read this review and try LoanMagic they will be fixed. I would love to see seamless integration between Point/Encompass and LoanMagic. Presently, you take the application, export it to Point/Encompass and after you close, you update the final closing information back into LoanMagic for the marketing campaigns. Eventually, you won't have to do that, but today you do. Also, getting your previous information and closed loans into LoanMagic requires exporting all your files into Excel and then into LoanMagic. If your files are already in Fannie Mae 3.0 or 3.2, then you can import right in. There is a good import feature to bring your ACT!, Outlook or Mortgage Coach contacts directly into LoanMagic. Bottom line, I like this program and recommend it. It is a no-brainer since you can use it for a month for free. I suggest you try out its various features and see for yourself if it works for your personality. Some will prefer having several programs that go into depth in their respective area. For most of us, LoanMagic provides everything we need, without going too deep or being too overwhelming. All the features we need are in one program that works together, making this an excellent option as a point-of-sale, loan comparison, marketing campaign, database and calendar program, all in one. If you want something that is easy to use, intuitive and, most importantly, something you will use, LoanMagic is worth a try. John D. Svirsky has been a Mortgage Broker for more than 25 years, doing both commercial and residential mortgages. He is also a volunteer firefighter, avid cigar enthusiast and cook. He may be reached by phone at (845) 424-3388 or e-mail [email protected] Product Summary Product name: LoanMagic V4.0 Web site: www.loan-magic.com. Make sure you use the hyphen; otherwise you will go to a Mortgage Broker's site. What is it: Point-of-sale software. One program that combines a contact manager, calendar, interviewing client scripts, marketing campaigns, loan comparison reports, financial calculators, lead management system and more. Do I like it: Yes, I think this is a remarkable software program, and for the price, it is phenomenal. It is truly worth many times the price. Most importantly, it is easy enough that you will want to use it, and as it makes you money, you will use it more and more. Price: $395 a year. There is a one-month free trial; so if you don't like it after a months use, no charge.