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Lionel Urban is CEO, founding partner and chairman of the board for PCLender LLC, a
leading provider of mortgage-application software, loan-origination software and data-security solutions for the mortgage industry. He has more than 30 years of experience in
the mortgage banking industry. Prior to founding PCLender, Urban served as co-founder
and CEO of Navigator Lending Solutions Inc. (NavPros), a fulfillment services company
specializing in mortgage banking services. Reach Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Execution is key
Keep in mind it’s not just what you do, but how you do it that matters, too. An
online lending platform can have state-of-the-art technology, but if it looks outdated, borrowers will flee. To appeal to the current generation of borrowers,
your platform must be mobile-friendly so the application will size and scroll
accordingly when borrowers use their laptops, tablets or smartphones. A single
glitch can cause borrowers, and especially millennials, to lose confidence.
In addition, forms should dynamically support different application scenarios
and only ask for information that pertains to a specific applicant. If the borrower
is a veteran, for example, the system will ask about years of service. If the applicant is purchasing a home, it would ask questions about the house, but a refinance applicant would get a different set of questions. This keeps the number of
questions to a minimum depending on the type of loan and each scenario.
A dynamic portal also can present options and features based on the requirements and status of the loan. The portal should be built on a rules-based engine
as opposed to templates, and require only the information specific to that applicant. Different information would be required from a self-employed applicant,
for example, versus one who is salaried.
Finally, online tools must be 100 percent integrated into your loan origination
system, or LOS. This ensures that two-way updates are synchronized, consents
are properly managed and, of course, disclosures, tasks and file documentation
are effortlessly coordinated.
Remember GSEs and vendors
It’s critical that an online platform integrates the latest technology from Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac. Lenders that don’t accommodate the government-sponsored enterprises’ (GSEs) latest enhancements — such as Fannie Mae’s
Day 1 Certainty — into their online strategies are making a big mistake. Why?
Because their newest automatic underwriting system (AUS) options streamline
the approval and workflow processes by supporting automated asset, income
and employment verifications. This is a game changer for everyone.
A lender’s online platform also should support the vendors approved by
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and provide AUS findings based on those approved
vendors. Doing so will streamline the process and save time.
Speaking of vendors, an important — make that vitally important — consideration for lenders is determining who will coordinate the multiple vendors needed
for an online strategy. It’s probable that a lender could have separate vendors
for marketing; identity verification; credit, income and asset verification; AUS;
pricing; imaging and so on.
This is a critical part of the strategy that lenders must address to give originators
confidence in the system. The best-case scenario is finding a single vendor that
can pull it all together with a cohesive plan and strategy for vendor coordination.
Typically this would be the LOS provider.
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Looking for the features and tools described here in lender digital platforms will
help originators ensure that they are providing an excellent online borrower
experience. This in turn will drive sales and boost referrals among borrowers and
In the sales world, there’s an expression that says, “He who gets there first wins.”
A well-designed online lending platform will almost always get you there first
because you will consistently be available to applicants and customers around
the clock. And being accessible to borrowers can make the difference between a
so-so originator and a great one. Take the first step. Choose the right partner to
put together and manage your online platform, and you’ll quickly see results. n