As mortgage originations, particularly refis, skyrocketed in 2020, so did growth in the mortgage broker sector – one that hasn’t been this active in over a decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of mortgage brokers has jumped to a 10-year high, exceeding 100,000 in the workforce.
The ultra-low interest rate environment that drove a record-breaking $4.3 trillion in mortgage originations in 2020 lured many new brokers into the industry, hoping to capitalize on a hot real estate market and the low-hanging fruit of millions of high-quality refinance candidates.
But now, competition is growing ever more fierce and the market is changing seemingly week to week. Newly-licensed brokers may find themselves in a struggle to survive – unless they leverage technology that can give them an edge.
Brokers wear many hats in terms of finding leads, courting clients and processing loans. With only so many hours in a day and a never-ending list of responsibilities, brokers need all the help they can get – without breaking the bank.
The most effective approach is a comprehensive – and broker-specific – technology ecosystem, where different solutions that meet these many needs work together seamlessly and securely under one convenient and reliable environment. Something quick to access, easy-to-use, and that supports optimal borrower service and finds new customers.
And, this should all be hosted and supported by a trusted provider, so that brokers can safely remove “tech support” from their job requirements.
The Cloud-Based Broker Toolkit
A cloud-based broker system where different technologies and data are all integrated can make all the difference.
A loan origination system (LOS) in the cloud provides fast, consistent, and powerful connectivity to devices – whether it’s a computer being accessed from the broker’s home office or a borrower’s mobile device to upload documents or check their loan status. The vendor would be responsible for all hosting, software updates, system security, technical support, storage, and operational power requirements – so brokers can focus on building their business and providing the level of service that brings in referrals.
By using technology to digitize the lending process, brokers can begin to realize better performance and see a positive impact on their bottom line. Additionally, Brokers can scale their operations when faced with growth opportunities – without adding more to their own plate or hiring staff.
Automation reduces risk, saves time, and drives down costs that ultimately lead to a better borrower experience. Performing critical tasks, such as pulling credit reports, calculating fees, establishing underwriting conditions, and running compliance checks provide brokers the critical support they need during the processing and underwriting stages.
Integrations That Make Life Easier
The more value brokers deliver to their clients, the less likely it is that a competitor can lure them away. Unique integrations with an all-in-one cloud-based LOS not only makes the borrowing process easier but can set brokers apart from the competition.
For example, application programming interfaces (APIs) support the functionality brokers need via enabling integrations with other solutions. APIs drive digital mortgages, and with the demands from borrowers in today’s market – APIs are fast becoming the backbone of successful lending operations.
Fast, accurate loan pricing is critical to both borrowers and brokers. Brokers need the best available product, pricing, and eligibility engine (PPE) to access the most current, eligible loan offerings and quote borrowers in seconds – shaving time off the overall loan production process.
Integrations with customer relationship management (CRM) tools allow brokers to engage the borrower on an ongoing basis to keep that relationship “sticky.” By tying together social media and marketing capabilities with robust content loaded into a CRM tool already integrated with the LOS, brokers can provide valuable, ongoing information to clients for a better chance to earn repeat business or referrals.
Essential Technology Tools for Success
With the right system, brokers can stop searching for and piecing together technology, remove their “tech support” hats, and focus on being brokers again. Virtually everything is integrated with the LOS, so there’s no confusion when it comes to managing multiple platforms or where to find the data.
A provider that invests and enhances its products allows brokers to focus on their own workflows and pipelines, see new opportunities and eliminate the pitfalls of disparate, pieced-together technology. And again, as more borrowers expect – and come to demand – fast, mobile-friendly technology to complete their mortgage, brokers will need the best tools to retain and gain customers.
Recent market conditions certainly changed the lending landscape for borrowers and brokers, how they think, and which tools are essential for completing deals. Brokers who want to grow their business now, and in the future, must turn to best-in-breed technology, a first-rate LOS with digital capabilities and effective integrations to work smarter – not harder. Having the right technology ecosystem offers the best opportunity for a broker’s business to grow and thrive – no matter what comes next.
Learn more about how technology is filling a critical need and helping brokers thrive in today’s market by registering for Black Knight’s webinar on Sept. 15, hosted by the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.