Buying a home or an apartment can be the biggest transaction of a person’s adult life, far outpacing the bill, even, for college.
And according to Geoff Green, global head of mortgage and lending at Salesforce, the experience is ripe for change.
As he described it, applying for a mortgage is a process that is known for how much paper is involved, the expense, and the time one spends finding documents, uploading and downloading forms, and of course keeping track of it all.
“You can get wrist pains from writing your signature over and over again,” he said.
Green’s comments came after Salesforce said last month that it had debuted mortgage-focused features as part of a series of updates to its Financial Services Cloud offering. The firm said upon the announcement the features include guides and tools designed to streamline the mortgage application process across stakeholders including lenders and borrowers.
The company’s Financial Services Cloud, geared toward financial services companies, traces its genesis back to 2016.
And in the latest iteration, according to Salesforce, the mortgage-centered tools include a “pre-built” process with step-by-step actions and recommendations meant to guide consumers along the way toward approval. Mortgage firms get 13 pre-built mortgage objects, which Salesforce has said makes it easier to capture applicant data spanning information such as addresses, income and places of employment.
Green said that such efforts, including Salesforce’s, can shorten a long cycle – as it can take as long as 46 days to close on a mortgage, and can cost upwards of $9,000, up roughly 40 percent from a decade ago. .
The need to digitize the mortgage experience, according to Green, comes against a backdrop where a number of FinTechs and tech saving firms such as Rocket have gained at least some momentum against traditional mortgage firms.
The cloud-based tools, he said, reinforce the idea that it’s important to automate and digitize as many of the steps as possible upfront — especially if a financial institution hopes to draw younger consumers, like millennials.
“The millennial borrower,” Green told PYMNTS, “expects to be able to go as far as they can with self-service. But the moment they need help, there are capabilities that sit right by that self service that almost feels automatic as well. This particular demographic would rather go to the dentist than call in, and be put on hold.”
He said cloud-based tools can bring various parts of the mortgage application continuum together — regardless of whether a particular part of the process was done over email, phone call or text. Records are updated across channels in a way that brings a fractured ecosystem together, he said, bringing various lead management solutions, point-of-sale solutions, CRM and loan origination solutions onto one platform.
And, he said, it’s increasingly important that data, and the application, can be accessed, viewed and populated on mobile phones and tablets. He said applicants can get as far as the pre-approval process on mobile devices.
Financial services delivered through the cloud also allows for streamlined document collection with templates featuring checklists and automated approval management. For example, a loan officer and borrower can collaborate by following the checklist and ensuring no document or task falls through the cracks. If a document such as a W-2 is missing, borrowers can easily upload these files through a secure portal.
A Holistic View
The cloud-based model, said Green, also has the advantage of helping financial services firms track customers across key financial activities beyond mortgages.
In this respect, a financial services firm might be able to cross-sell products such as wealth management products, 529 savings plans or home equity lines of credit. The company’s data model allows the firm to view information across a range of financial accounts, gathering a 360-degree view of the customer.
Through cloud-based offerings, mortgage firms can offer a seamless process, said Green, and institutions can offer “a broader journey-based relationship with their customers over a lifetime.”