Companies like WebMax, a digital mortgage solutions company, say that they’ve been able to weather the storm in a downturn. Kelcey T. Brown, WebMax’s chief strategy officer, says that right now, attrition is a large trend as mortgage companies start to look at and slash their budgets.
“The first things they usually cut are website services or point-of-sale platforms,” Brown said. “But on the other hand of that, some companies make the choice to engage more with technology companies because they understand that by leveraging the technology [for automation], they can save money internally.”
Brown says that WebMax offers multiple products and one of them, enterprise website solutions, is usually what gets dialed back the most during a downturn. “Companies are deciding that maybe they don’t need websites for every user,” he explained. “So they’ll drop their 100 licenses down to 40. But we’re still there in the background because everyone needs a website. It’s just fewer licenses and less business.”
Curt Tegeler, CEO of WebMax, says that customers are simply asking for relief. “We’ve seen customers that we’ve had for 10-15 years asking for extra time for their payments,” he said. “And we’ve had other customers get acquired by other companies, but they’ve been helping us get our foot in the door by recommending our services. It’s a time where tech is helping each other out.”
Competition is involved, too. Tegeler says that all tech companies are competing for mortgage companies’ limited budgets. “We’re putting our name out there and making sure to highlight our product differentiators,” he said. “And now we’re advertising that it’s a good time to check out our company: we can meet their budgets, we can defer payments. … We’re smaller and nimble.”
Brown and Tegeler also acknowledged the loan officer pool shrinking as a factor contributing to a tight market and tighter budgets. “Companies have lower production than they did a year ago. It costs money to hold on to a loan officer, and many officers are leaving on their own,” Tegeler said. “We’re all affected by [the market]. It’s the same sandbox we’re playing in.”
Tegeler acknowledged that WebMax, too, has scaled down to fit the needs of the current market.
“We’ve had to decrease our physical space, our marketing dollars, the amount of conventions and conferences we’re going to, how much we’re going to spend at said conferences. .. We’re looking at everything,” he said. “And we haven’t been bashful in calling up our vendors and asking for help and relief. We’re a young company, we were a start-up in 2015, and we have partners who have been kind enough to help us. Anybody that tells you that they’re insulated from the market, it’s not true.”