A global pandemic and historically low interest rates bring a rare mix of uncertainty and opportunity to the mortgage industry. Today, many companies can leverage analytics in ways never before possible to scale operations and maintain momentum during this challenging and unpredictable time.
In March 2020, the country went into lockdown. Many homes on the market were pulled. Employees were working from home. The government required lenders to defer loan payments on many loans. It looked like the economy was headed for a tailspin.
Interest rates went down. And down. And even further down. They were hitting new record lows eight times during the year. With this, homes started hitting the market again, and buyers scrambled to get in on the low rates. At the same time, eager homeowners were jumping on the opportunity to refinance. Demand soared!
This is good for business, right? Yes, of course! If you're prepared.
Mortgages are generally fungible, with consumers caring more about the interest rate than the specific lender. So lenders have two choices:
1) Raise interest rates to curtail demand (but lose out on potential clients), or
2) Increase capacity to handle more loans.
So let’s focus on how to handle more loans….
Business Intelligence - Tipping the Scale
With dramatic swings in demand, lenders may be reluctant to invest in new technologies or additional employees to meet current needs just to be overburdened when the next correction hits. Effectively scaling up operations also means the ability to scale back down, if necessary. The key to adjusting to demand is maximizing your capacity with existing technology and personnel resources, which is only accomplished with a comprehensive business intelligence solution.
Empower Your Data
How do you scale your mortgage operations amidst a global pandemic? Your data may already contain the answers. Unlocking those answers and implementing an action plan starts by combining data sources and automating the analysis, making the insights available and consumable to your entire organization. Once your data emerges from the silos they’re stored in, the cycle of “measure, prioritize, cut” can be implemented to refine the insights continuously.
Combine Data Sources
Our business intelligence solutions allow you to process more loans more efficiently, all while helping you adjust to a remote and disparate workforce.
The mortgage industry employs a wide range of software suites. From loan origination software and point-of-sale systems to customer relationship management and client portals, there is useful information spread across many systems. The first step to scaling your operations is to bring the data together and analyze it with a comprehensive 360-degree view.
The key indicators impacting loans can change by the minute - and your data analytics needs to keep pace. Traditional analytics will not work in this environment. If you have employees processing data manually - even if they can process it the same day - it's already old news. Scaling requires automated analysis, which occurs through the efficient use of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques capable of measuring and prioritizing raw data.
Decentralize the Insights
Building efficiency and scalability require your data insights to be available to the masses. Empowering your data means empowering the people who can use it and make the most out of it. This becomes especially important as demand increases because if the insights are maintained only by elite data experts, it is likely that information bottlenecks will stimy operational flow. Data security is a necessary concern in the mortgage industry, but there is an essential distinction between access to the data and access to the insights. With current technology solutions, access to the data is easily controllable through granular privileges while permitting widespread dissemination of the measured insights.
Make it Consumable
With many employees working from home, you can’t rely on upper-level management or managers conducting the analysis and spreading the word - the insights need to be consumable and actionable by your entire workforce. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to develop a visualization tool for the data to be easy to understand at every level. Data scoring, interactive dashboards, and customizable reports are capable tools for making insights consumable.
Maximize Remote Employees
Working from home and flexible schedules has become the new normal for many businesses. Even if your operations have returned, or eventually do return, to a traditional office setting, much of what we have learned during the pandemic still applies: we can still get work done from home! Building your operations and technology to accommodate remote employees not only helps if your employees cannot return to the office, but it also provides an opportunity to reach out to a vast, remote workforce to help scale up your operations in time of need. No location barriers. Limited commitment. Endless flexibility and talent to supplement your operations.
Invest in the Right Technology
Once you have empowered your data and maximized employee productivity, you will assess where technology can be employed to increase scalability further. There are numerous tools for monitoring remote employee productivity and tools to overcome tech challenges in the new normal. In the context of mortgage operations scalability, the most critical criteria for selecting the right technology is that it fits your unique needs and helps achieve your objectives. This is only possible when you have a comprehensive view of your operations, so what are you waiting for? Start making data-driven decisions and action plans that align with your priorities.