Purchasing high-end loan origination software (LOS), electronic signature programs or other important mortgage technology tools can become costly and quite involved for brokers to absorb. However, there are a number of wholesalers that offer broker-oriented technology tools for free. If you are an originator or a broker/owner, you’ll want to partner with lenders that offer you free tech-savvy programs and tools. It isn’t necessary to buy applications, pay for software licenses, incur service fees and other costs when you can lean on a lender’s technology applications to eliminate additional overhead and gain efficiencies that result in greater success.
To maximize your success and efficiency, there are a number of things to consider before developing a relationship with a lender. Whether you’re an independent originator, or you own a broker business, you’ll find the below checklist valuable to assist you in navigating through the different bells and whistles that lenders provide. The following tools will ease your job as an originator, processor or broker owner:
Product qualifying tools
This is essential to allow a broker to input minimal information from the borrower to determine specific products they qualify for. As a broker, this tool reveals product options and the associated payments for fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, government or conventional loans, with or without monthly mortgage insurance to cover with your borrower. These tools can also show you what your compensation is with the lender.
E-sign or e-consent technology
With more borrowers on the go and having limited time to actually sit down and complete an application, e-sign technology is becoming priceless in a fast-paced world. Some lenders may also allow borrowers to e-consent the Truth-in-Lending (TIL). This saves time and allows the originator to collect money for the appraisal right away.
Accessibility to scan, upload and track your loan package and conditions online
There is no reason to waste time with lenders that require a package to be mailed, or even worse, a package to be faxed. If lenders give you the ability to electronically upload a package, it becomes much easier to see exactly what is attached and track your documents. It also alleviates playing the blame game of if or when a package or conditions were actually submitted.
Some lenders allow their brokers to log in to a secure Web portal and take the entire application online. This is a huge benefit, not only due to the expense of most origination software systems, but because it is not a thick-client application which must be downloaded and installed on a broker’s desktop. Instead, the 1003 is taken via a secure Web site, thus enabling brokers to take a borrower’s application from any location, on any computer, laptop, smart phone, iPad or tablet that has Internet access.
The more tools you can utilize from a lender the better. You need to be focused on selling and working with your borrowers, not spending time and money on tools that your lender could be offering you. Make sure you align with lenders that complement your abilities with technology.
Brokers should also look for additional lender offerings available via their Web sites that considerably cut down your application time to clear and close. Some key functions to consider include:
Online Case Number accessibly
Working with a lender that provides an online Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Case Number system which ensures you can speak with a live person to order your FHA Case Number within 48 hours is crucial. As we all know, the originator that pulls the case number first wins. As a broker, once you have a Case Number ordered, it means you have a commitment from the borrower and control to order the appraisal and move forward with the loan.
Is it easy to order the AMC appraisal with your current lender?
It should be as easy to log into your pipeline via the lender’s Web site. Typically, a link resides within the broker's pipeline that swiftly takes them straight to the appraisal management company’s (AMC’s) site to order an appraisal. Service-oriented lenders make it as convenient as possible to order appraisals and secure a commitment with their AMC for standard four to seven day turn times. Another feature that saves you and your processors time is an AMC that e-mails you and your lender the appraisal the minute it is complete, thus avoiding lag time.
Time is money … we all know that
Another benefit that can save you and your processor hours is an Automated Findings Help Desk. It can be nearly impossible to know what the coded errors on automated Desktop Underwriter (DU) findings mean. This could take hours to figure out just to get your approved findings. If a lender offers help interpreting DU findings, it means they have specialists who know exactly what each and every error is, and these errors can be fixed within minutes. This is a huge benefit if your lender provides free DU assistance.
Length of time in the wholesale business
There are wholesale lenders in operation today that have either closed their doors and started new companies, or existing retail lenders that have re-started wholesale channels. As a broker, when you’re evaluating lenders to partner with, it’s important to take into account the length of time they have been in the wholesale business. Some retail and start-up lenders that have recently jumped back into the wholesale arena are light in their technology offerings and processes. From a business and technology perspective, it behooves you to thoroughly understand the type and depth of broker-facing technology they offer.
In summation, there are important technology-based features, benefits, services and more that will help you be more successful and enjoy a competitive advantage. If the lenders you are currently working with do not offer you these types of technological tools, then it’s time to research lenders that do. In a cut-throat lending landscape where is it is paramount to close purchases and refinances as quickly as possible, it’s imperative to be aligned with lenders that offer these type of broker-facing technologies for free.
Kristina Bennett is the business manager for United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM). Kristina is responsible for representing UWM at mortgage and real estate seminars throughout the country, along with rolling out new lending products and programs for UWM’s broker network. She may be reached by e-mail at [email protected]