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Although regulatory pressures are some of the most important ones facing the entire mortgage industry today, lenders surveyed in a recent project by National Mortgage News are focusing their attention away from defense focused compliance goals, into opportunities to improve their competitive advantage in the marketplace instead. Although regulatory compliance is still a key issue for lenders across the country, the shift on compliance is now moving towards maintenance.

This gives servicers and lenders some breathing room in order to focus on business oriented initiatives and those initiatives designed to improve their competitive advantage. 2016 strategic sites for mortgage companies are focused on two primary goals; improving customer service levels and optimizing internal operations. During 2015, compliance and regulation were some of the top concerns shared by lenders and will still bleed into 2016, but 44% of lenders in this recent survey also indicated an interest in gaining a competitive advantage as one of their primary firm goals for 2016.

This is an increase from 19% in 2015, underlining a major shift in strategic thinking. That swing comes about as the focus on meeting compliance requirements as the number one focus for new technology purchasing decrease from 73% to 42% in 2015. Lenders will be focusing on internal improvement by adding new resources such as staff and investing in technology. Improvements in quality control will also be a key focus for improving customer service engagement and streamlining business processes for 2016.

Lenders who want to remain competitive or increase their share of the market are looking to integrate technology more effectively. Although the industry as a whole has been slow to adapt to changes, that appears to be changing now. More borrowers, and especially those in the millennial age range, are hoping to have access to all kinds of data during the home buying process in a familiar way: through web or mobile.

This means that lenders have to provide exemplary service as they always traditionally should, but also make it easier for borrowers to tap into information in a more updated format. The lending industry is now thrust into the forefront of needing to adapt very quickly and to be prepared for years of adjustments and adaptability ahead. The most successful lenders will be those who focus not just on serving the market for what is demanded now, but also thinking about how future borrowers may act.