The Covid-19 was a nightmare for the mortgage industry that impacted and disrupted every aspect of financial services. Finally, with the containment of the crisis and the launch of vaccines, the industry has got the much-needed breather. One of the lessons the mortgage industry has learned from the disaster is that it needs to pursue digital transformation.
Technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) were never a priority for lenders in the pre-Covid-19 days; the ones that did pursue it confined it to specific tasks and subtasks such as customer query ticketing, documentation, communication, and the like. It was only during the crisis that most lenders realized that automation, analytics, and the like could influence the industry in a big way.
|Did you know? Around 90% of lending executives believe that the Covid-19 crisis is a powerful catalyst for digitization of the mortgage processes in their firms.|
The few players who had already embraced automation were the least affected ones by the economic blows of the virus, as digitization eased lenders’ transition into the remote work model. As lenders step into a new world after the crisis and cash in on higher possibilities, digital technologies such as automation stand as the determining factor of their success.
Use Cases: Proving the Efficacy of RPA in the Mortgage
Robotic Process Automation is the implementation of software robots to repetitive, manual, and tedious processes that do not require cerebral skills. These robots can replicate human actions on a particular task and execute those without requiring human intervention. The benefits associated with RPA include improved accuracy (robots do not make mistakes), higher productivity (robots can function round the clock), and reduced costs (robots do not need to be paid).
|By implementing RPA, a mortgage provider automated the high volume and repetitive tasks in its loan set-up, boosting agent productivity by 250%.|
Solid Defense Against Fraud
Mortgage fraud has always been a grave concern for lenders. Monetary losses can push lenders into bankruptcy and legal issues, besides tarnishing their image in the market. And the real worry is that the recent months have witnessed a sudden spike in the instances of fraudulent activities, adding to the worries of lenders.
RPA Fights Financial Malpractice
Bots can be configured to obtain system security insights in a predefined manner and execute continuous account monitoring to detect any unusual activity. They can raise timely alarms when integrated with IoT systems to notify about anomalies. Fraudulent activities in mortgage accounts can be identified and blocked with the right RPA mechanisms.
|Around 80% of the leaders of financial enterprises have either implemented RPA or are planning to implement it. Fraud risk assessment demands data sourcing from multiple systems; RPA can be used to engage the conditional ‘if-then’ algorithm to retrieve information from silos and highlight anomalies (if any) in financial profiles.|
Executing repetitive and rule-driven tasks such as accessing borrower data, checking information on websites, reviewing comments on loans, and updating the Loan Origination System through bots helps in preventing illicit activities.
Augmenting Borrower Engagement
The success of lending businesses is determined by the quality of the customer experience it offers. The competition in the initial days after the pandemic would be intense, with multiple lenders targeting the relatively small number of home-buyers. With the offerings of lenders largely identical to one another, customer experience will be the magic wand for the businesses that taste success.
RPA Redefining Borrower Experience
The mortgage loan origination process comprises manual tasks that involve touchpoints requiring human intervention. This requires frequent communication between the lender and applicants. But lenders have now started responding to the expectations of borrowers by introducing automation to approval processes such as lock requests, initial and closing disclosures, and service review.
The presence of multiple repetitive steps, such as data verification data review in these processes, make them ideal candidates for automation. Smart use of RPA enables lenders to eliminate delays throughout the loan cycle, allowing them to offer on-time closing guarantees to customers.
A Relief to the Customer Support Team
As delineated in the previous section, lenders and third-party mortgage loan processing services have to reimagine the way they extend support to their customers and prospects. Today, the customer is busy and doesn’t fancy sparing hours or even minutes on calls with the support agent who’s handling their queries. Technologies such as RPA have made it possible for lenders to streamline, simplify, and expedite their service workflow in line with the demand of the customer.
RPA Injects Efficiency into Mortgage Customer Service
With customer-facing RPA, service agents no longer have to navigate between multiple systems during calls to access stored data, record information, and answer questions; the bot does that. RPA can sync service data across systems, facilitating auto-transfer and instant retrieval of information.
Besides boosting operational speed, RPA enables call center agents to auto-answer frequently asked questions. Features such as chatbots and self-service tools extend problem-solving capabilities to customers, cutting down on their need to bother the support agent.
Ensuring the Health of Business Relations
Every lender needs the services of different vendors and mortgage processing services to carry out various processes of their ecosystem. In the past, lenders used to manage their relationships with vendors in the manual way with data stored in a local system and communications carried out through phone calls and emails. But the pandemic has changed everything, making it imperative for lenders to restructure their relationships with vendors and push for transparent workflows.
RPA to the Rescue of Lender-vendor Equation
RPA can streamline communications between the two sides through features such as auto-reply to emails and relevant alerts and notifications. Another aspect where RPA finds relevance is vendor invoice reconciliation. It can be used to replace manual reconciliation, which often includes assessing multiple spreadsheets received from vendors for billing details, making the process time-consuming.
Robots can take over the reconciliation task by assessing the various internal applications and then processing the information in spreadsheets in MS Excel, saving time and money for contract mortgage processing services and lenders.
RPA for Data Entry
For lenders, data entry finds place throughout the mortgage lifecycle, right from the borrower’s application to loan disbursal and repayment follow-ups. Although a substantial portion of the operating costs goes into managing data entry, the outputs are usually low and erroneous. At a time when every business is exploring new ways of reducing costs while maintaining productivity, RPA seems to be a no-brainer for lenders to tackle their data entry and data extraction pain points.
RPA Upgrades Data Entry and Extraction
Bots can be integrated with OCR (optical character recognition) software to pull data from the digital documents, store it in a spreadsheet, and create a record of processed applications. Bots can enter data from documents, databases, or public websites to core mortgage processing systems.
They can also log in to external portals and perform data copy and paste functions. The processed data can be sent to the intended recipients using FTP and HTML emails.
|RPA with OCR for data entry Confirmations and pre-/post matchingAccount openingCustomer onboardingLoan applicationsReceipt processingCompliance-related processes|
RPA in Mortgage – Revisiting the Advantages
Enhanced Productivity and Accuracy
- Once the market gains pace in the post-Covid age, there would be a rush of buyers wanting to get in their homes. RPA would be the secret tool for lenders to handle this high spike in operations efficiently.
- The customer has always wanted to get through the mortgage formalities quickly. RPA speeds up loan origination processes such as document filing and routing, reminders, data synchronization, etc., to enable quicker approvals and disbursements.
- Mortgage workflow automation is also a welcome change for employees who want a break from their repetitive, boring tasks; and want jobs that require the application of their cerebral capabilities.
|How does RPA deliver higher output? RPA can commence processing applications and documents the moment they are submitted, even at 7 p.m. on a Friday. Bots can run tirelessly, 24/7/365.|
Improved Value Chain
- RPA is the cost-saver for critical mortgage functions, including loan origination, processing, quality control, and servicing, where the underlying processes are rules-based, repetitive, and frequent.
|For financial services, RPA can provide savings ranging from 20% to 60% of the baseline FTE costs. RPA can cut down on labor-intensive tasks by 80%.|
- Bots can be scaled up or down at will, depending on the work volume or user requirements. They obviate the need to hire, train, or trim the human workforce, which are resource-hungry practices.
- As repetitive processes are taken over by bots, the core team can use the employees for critical tasks such as improving relationships with stakeholders, devising better financial products, and the like.
Better Prepared for Future Calamities
- A long-term benefit of using RPA is that lenders can build resilience to face future crises. With reduced dependency on manpower, quick onboarding, improved management, and efficient reporting, lenders would be less impacted by industry or economic setbacks.
- Once the pandemic is gone, more lenders would push for an online presence. RPA can be used to streamline this transition by carrying out menial, routine jobs, including filling in online forms, scanning documents, etc. while employees focus on the higher-value ones.
- With most tasks automated and errors reduced to the minimum, the core team of the management gets enough time and resources to plan and improve their customer service and products.
|Did you know? Over 25% of financial services business processes are likely to be automated in the next few years.|
The Critical Question: How to Choose the Right RPA Partner?
Owing to the growing popularity of RPA, there are countless RPA service providers out there who catering to all types of clients and industries, making it difficult for lenders to choose one for their digital transformation. Selecting the right RPA partner is critical to realizing the full benefits of the move, and lenders must carry out a thorough evaluation of the capabilities of the vendors before zeroing in on one. Below is a list of some key traits of competent and reliable RPA partners.
|According to a study, 75 percent of lenders work with a third-party provider for implementing RPA in their business processes.|
They Are Obsessed with Technology Innovation
A committed RPA service provider looks for more than just implementing the bots on the client’s environment. They would constantly strive to advance their RPA offerings and add more value to the client’s business. For the client, requesting the vendor to share their product development roadmap that includes plans for improving their technology in the near future should give helpful insights.
Customer Support is Their USP
As most mortgage companies possess an understaffed in-house technical team that’s already overburdened with daily firefighting, a vendor that delivers round-the-clock implementation and technical support is essential for automation success. Also, considering the non-IT background of the majority of the client staff, the vendor must arrange one-on-one demos throughout the RPA journey.
Services are Tuned to Optimize Scalability
For lenders expecting a spike in work volume in the future, working with a vendor that offers a scalable RPA platform is crucial. This enables the lender to optimally utilize the bots across processes without worrying about fluctuations in process volumes. The RPA firm should help the lender to scale the automation permanently to align it with the client’s long-term growth.
Today, RPA is a necessity for mortgage lenders, rather than an option or a luxury. While businesses are already familiar with its possibilities in a generic sense, the few that implemented it were among the least troubled entities during the catastrophe. As the mortgage industry prepares for good days after a year of turbulence, the role of technologies such as RPA only gets bigger.
|By implementing RPA, a commercial bank realized the following benefits 6.3 Days quicker appraisal ordering 84% Mortgage orders within 2 hours of finalizing the sales contract100% Elimination in errors2.6 Days reduction in mortgage cycle time|
Who We Are and Why We Are an Industry Authority
This article is brought to you by Expert Mortgage Assistance (EMA), a popular name with mortgage organizations across the U.S. Over the years, we have established ourselves as a service provider that adds value to our clients’ business by streamlining their lending process from end-to-end. Besides vastly experienced industry professionals, we bank on our unique service framework that is based on cutting-edge technologies such as AI, ML, RPA, and the like. Our results-driven processes enable our clients to save substantially on operational overheads, expedite loan approvals and disbursements, and enhance customer support. Our wide array of engagement options make it easy for lending organizations to join forces with us to turn their business profitable and future-ready.