Solving the issue of customer data intake in mortgage servicing
Mortgages are a complex financial product. Customer data must be collected at every point of the mortgage lifecycle, from customer acquisition to customer onboarding and throughout the loan servicing period.
There are various customer data sources - from paper application forms to online customer portals - and it can be difficult to manage and integrate all this data into a single customer view. That is why a streamlined customer data management is critical for the success of any mortgage servicing organization.
When data collection relies on manual touchpoints, it introduces inefficiencies and errors. This often leads to customer frustration and a poor customer experience.
It is crucial to have a customer data management strategy in place that can address these challenges and streamline customer data intake across the entire mortgage servicing process.
The trouble with manual data collection in mortgage servicing
Human error is unavoidable in manual processes, especially when a great deal of paperwork is involved. Data entry and operations teams must reenter and upload customer data into multiple systems, doubling their workload and often generating duplicate copies of the same data.
In mortgage servicing, manual data collection and entry flood the back office, sapping significant resources. Manual data processes cause delays and tie up valuable mortgage officer time that could be better spent on tasks that require human interaction and drive business value.
Manual data collection introduces a number of points of failure into the mortgage servicing process, including:
- Incomplete or bad quality data: When customer information is collected manually, there is always the potential for important data to be lost, left out, or incorrect.
- Data entry mistakes: One of the most common problems with manual data entry is simple human error. It’s easy to mistakenly transpose a digit when inputting customer information manually.
- Inconsistent data: Another issue with manual data entry is that it can lead to inconsistency in the customer data that is collected. This can make it difficult to properly service the mortgage and may ultimately lead to customer frustration.
- Inefficient processes and workflows: The manual data collection process is time-consuming and inefficient. This can lead to servicers’ workflows becoming bogged down, which can further delay the mortgage servicing process.
Negative impact of manual data collection on customer experience
Banks and financial services firms surveyed by Forbes shared that improving their products and services, the experience of their customers, and their ability to innovate are a leading priority.
[.emph]While customer experience (CX) has been a priority for some time, the mortgage industry has historically been terrible at customer service, often ranking last in customer satisfaction surveys.[.emph]
The customer journey starts with the origination of the mortgage and continues through post-closing servicing, and at every stage, customer data is collected. This data must be accurate and up-to-date to properly service the mortgage and provide a good customer experience.
For many years, the mortgage industry has relied on a customer data intake process that is paper-based, slow, and error-prone.
Manual data collection frustrates customers who are used to streamlined interactions with businesses. Any mistakes or discrepancies mean that a customer service representative must get back to the customer to fix the issue, adding more time and work hours to the process.
The problem is compounded by changing compliance regulations that require meticulous data management. Financial institutions must take extra care to protect customer information, which means even more document handling and data entry. Incomplete or inaccurate customer data can result in hefty fines from regulators.
Compliance requirements in turn force customers to provide the same information multiple times to various customer service reps, lengthening contact center wait times. It is not surprising that the changing compliance regulations have also led to a rise in lending and mortgage servicing costs.
Today’s Millennial and Gen Z home buyers are savvy digital natives who prefer doing as much as possible online, as can be seen by their eager adoption of neobanking. They expect to be evaluated and approved for a mortgage by uploading their information digitally, without the hassle of paperwork. Filling out mountains of mortgage paperwork is outdated, time-consuming, and frustrating.
The problem with current data collection methods
One of the main reasons customer data collection is so difficult and time-consuming is because most mortgage servicers still rely on call centers and PDF forms to gather customer information.
Call centers are expensive to operate, and they often require customers to repeat the same information multiple times to different customer service representatives. This is not only frustrating for customers, it also creates opportunities for human error.
PDF forms are also a common customer data intake method, yet they have serious limitations.
Although fillable PDFs are an improvement over paper forms and are more efficient data collection tool than pen and paper, fillable PDFs are not digitally native.
PDFs also aren’t customer-friendly – they’re difficult to fill out on a mobile device, and they can be difficult to navigate, edit, and update. Data in fillable PDFs is not validated in real-time, and it’s easy to make mistakes that require customer service reps to follow up. And when customer service reps do have to follow up, it takes even more time to fix the issue.
Moreover, fillable PDFs are file based, so they have to be fully updated every time there’s a change to the mortgage, requiring the customer to answer the same questions over and over again.
On the back-office side, transferring customer data from PDF forms into bank systems is a tedious and error-prone process, because customer service representatives have to manually enter customer information.
Digital data intake is the first step for intelligent automation
Automation is becoming an increasingly integral part of the lending industry. Digital data intake is the prerequisite for intelligent automation of customer communication and customer service processes involved in mortgage servicing.
Collecting data through digitally native methods such as a web form or a digital process significantly reduces the risk of error, lowers costs, and improves efficiency. It streamlines the data collection process, verifies it for accuracy, and integrates with internal systems. Digitally collected data is verified at the point of entry, which reduces unnecessary interactions and eliminates the need for back-and-forth communication to correct inaccuracies.
Streamlining and automating the lending process with digital data intake allows you to overcome the challenges of accuracy and efficiency while delivering maximum customer satisfaction. A streamlined digital journey brings down overhead costs, enabling you to pass the savings on to your customers and become more competitive in the market.
When you automate customer data collection, any amendments to a mortgage’s structure or customer details are carried out quickly and efficiently.
Customer experience is critical to overcoming new challenges
During the pandemic, mortgage relief programs helped many people handle financial challenges. As some of these relief programs have recently come to an end, mortgage servicers expect a sharp rise in forbearance requests, with many progressing to default. Millions of customers will need assistance over the coming months, which will mean a huge spike in mortgage modification, along with an ensuing paper trail.
Additionally, the recent increase in interest rates and the expected slow-down in economic activity will likely lead to more defaults and necessitate more interactions with customers. Complicating matters, many lenders and servicers have started cutting down on headcounts in mortgage departments due to decreased lending activity.
In order to meet customer needs and expectations in this rapidly changing landscape, lenders will need to rethink their customer data intake strategy. A seamless, digital customer lending experience will lead to expedited processes, skyrocketing growth, and record rates of customer satisfaction.
A better way forward
Digital data collection and workflow automation are critical to transforming the lending process into a smooth digital customer journey. Building digital interfaces for seamless customer data intake from scratch is a complicated, costly, and time-consuming process.
Fully digital end-to-end journeys can best meet your mortgage servicing needs and the needs of your customers. EasySend’s no-code platform allows you to develop, automate, and maintain digital customer journeys for customer data intake. It takes just minutes to create personalized customer journeys, without the need for any coding knowledge whatsoever.
Several companies who were struggling with a manual customer data intake process have brought their customer data collection methods into the digital age by partnering with EasySend,
- Iowa-based insurer VGM met the needs of their customers by bringing them better technology. Thanks to EasySend, the company was able to transition from manually processing data and completed the goals of their five-year digital plan in just three months.
- Worldline, Europe’s leader in digital payment and transaction solutions, turned to EasySend to accelerate the digitization of its manual, paper-based processes for customer data collection. Rather than struggle through the process themselves, which would have involved significant cost and manpower, Worldline relied on EasySend’s expertise and no-code technology. As a result, Worldline’s first data intake process for complex B2B contract workflow was digitized in just 10 days.
- Israel’s largest and most prominent bank, Bank Leumi lagged behind in the mortgage market. Cutting back on mortgage approval processing time and reducing friction was key to changing their position in the market. EasySend’s multi-platform data intake interface catapulted Bank Leumi into the future by allowing customers to obtain mortgages through a simple, intuitive, and unique digital customer journey, the first of dozens the bank has since launched with EasySend.
- Meridio has customers across all 50 states, and each state has unique regulations and tedious manual processes. Meridio turned to EasySend to create a smart digital journey for customer data collection that automatically adjusts for each state, allowing employees to onboard customers quickly and without hassle.
If you’re ready to take your customer data intake process to the next level, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us today to schedule a demo.