Maxwell Aims To Extend An Arm To Hispanic Buyers

New point of sales platform makes mortgage process automatically bilingual.

Sarah Wolak Headshot
Sarah Wolak
Wrinkled hands hold a sign reading ¿HABLAS ESPAÑOL?

Basic Spanish

Dave said that so far, Maxwell is testing Spanish as its first language launch, then they will move on to other languages if there is success with this program. The application is primarily binary questions, according to Dave, but other questions will translate automatically. “We’re using basic Spanish currently,” Dave said. “[This system was] built with input from Maxwell’s in-house group of Hispanic American staff. By 2030, more than 50% of mortgage applicants will be Spanish-speaking. We decided that we needed to get a head start.”

Dave and his team define “basic Spanish” as the form commonly used for legal documents like the Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA). However, Dave said that Maxwell’s Hispanic staff “designed the layer of translation, and were also able to capture and incorporate industry-specific nuances and context into the language.”

Ralph Rosynek, senior vice president at Moneyhouse, said Maxwell taking the first step in Spanish POS systems was a good move. However, Rosynek also said that there are multiple Spanish, Mexican and Hispanic languages that are all subject to different individual dialects. Of course, every customer will prefer their own native dialect. 

“Many United States-born Hispanics have learned their own variations of their language via social matters and social media, both which have an effect on dialect and language influence,” Rosynek said. 

“They should be lauded for this, but I think if they want to have a sustainable global product, they have to commit to language interfaces and realize not everyone is going to be happy,” Rosynek said. “Automatic interfaces are great if there’s no compliance factors. In our litigious society, you have to be sure that what you commit to financially is fully complied to and understood. For this reason, AI can be dangerous.” 

‘Game Of Telephone’

Rosynek compared multi-language mortgage processes to a game of telephone: concepts that are loaded with unfamiliar dialects and acronyms can cause confusion between lenders and customers. “In order for this to work, concepts need to be fully understood in languages by both the customer and loan officer in order for this approach to work,” Rosynek said. “At Moneyhouse, we give our customers one copy of their forms in English and one in Spanish.”
Dave said the platform will help Maxwell users adjust to the times of diversified lending. “The second biggest challenge for mortgage applicants is no Spanish support, second to credit score,” Dave said. “We’re likely the first to give support.” (Dave added that Maxwell does not offer a dedicated credit score program.)

McCarthy said Maxwell has made universal applications more borrower friendly in terms of the language used, such as changing the word “dependents” to “children.” Additionally, McCarthy said that using synonymous, more understood language is also easier to translate. “We have a spreadsheet with all translations we needed for our beta test,” McCarthy said.

The spreadsheet translations were generated by four Hispanic loan officers and underwriters on Maxwell’s team. McCarthy said that they started to translate applications last year to be internationalized and translated to Spanish. In April 2022, they began beta testing.

Following a successful beta trial, McCarthy says that Maxwell is advertising this new feature with their current customers, organizations and lending teams. In order for Maxwell clients to access this new feature, McCarthy says that there will be a spanish speaking prompt available to Maxwell lenders under the apply now section. “So far the banks [we’ve worked with] are excited to support their borrowers, this is a huge need we have in this industry.”

Sarah Wolak Headshot
Sarah Wolak,
Staff Writer
This article was originally published in the Mortgage Banker Magazine September 2022 issue.
Published on
Sep 20, 2022
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