In recent years, mortgage lenders have warmly embraced technologies that reduce manual processes and eliminate redundancies in loan production. They have made tremendous headway in improving the borrower experience by investing in sleek digital loan applications, branded mobile lending apps and marketing automation. And they have rapidly adopted back-office technologies that facilitate efficiency, expedite loan production and reduce costs.
While this is excellent progress, true transformation requires lenders to address a persistent stumbling block that frustrates borrowers and back-office teams alike: manual verification of assets (VOA) and verification of income and employment (VOIE). Because manual submission of VOA and VOIE documentation is unpleasant for the borrower, it bottlenecks the lending process at best and generates negative brand association and borrower fallout at worst.
The good news is that the solution — borrower-permissioned data verification — is proven, easy to implement and delivers immediate results. This white paper outlines how borrower-permissioned data verification streamlines lending and delivers a delightful experience that improves conversion while saving lenders money and expediting time-to-close.
POINTS OF FRICTION: BORROWER EXPERIENCE
In an era where customer experience is king, consumers have come to expect intuitive user interfaces that guide them through milestone transactions in easily digestible sessions. This standard of easily navigable, digital self-service is especially important for helping usher consumers through the home financing process, which is complicated and confusing for many. According to a Homes.com study, 40% of new homeowners say that buying a new home is the most stressful experience in modern life, with 33% of those surveyed divulging that they cried at some point in the homebuying process.(1)
While lenders have no control over the stressors of shopping for a home in a cut-throat market, they can at least facilitate a smooth home financing experience. And key to that is eliminating points of friction.
For borrowers, friction occurs any time they must exit the lending portal to complete a task associated with completing their home loan application. The more time-intensive and tedious the task, the more frustrating the experience. Even what lenders may perceive as a minor inconvenience has a strong impact on application completion rates and borrower fallout.
The chief source of borrower friction during the application process is collecting verification documents, whether they are paper or PDFs.
Requiring borrowers to submit physical proof of assets, income and employment – that is, to chase down and then print, fax, mail or hand-deliver documents – is a significant inconvenience. Even electronic document gathering and submission is often an unpleasant experience. Navigating payroll, bank and asset accounts to locate and download historical account information is challenging for many borrowers. After saving PDF files, borrowers must then log back into the lender’s system to upload files. What’s more, the borrower will have to repeat the process for certain types of verification again before closing.
This time-consuming and tedious process amounts to an unpleasant experience that may be enough to drive many in search of better options.
POINTS OF FRICTION: LENDER EXPERIENCE
The bottleneck created by manual VOA and VOIE requirements is more than a burden for borrowers; it is a detriment to lenders.
In mortgage lending, time is money, especially when it comes to staff. That’s because staff is the most costly component of production expenses. According to a 2021 Mortgage Bankers Association performance report, total loan production expenses in Q4 2020 were $7,938 per loan, with personnel accounting for a whopping 68% (or $5,426) per loan.(2)
The more time LOs spend coaxing borrowers to submit the correct documentation, the less time they spend bringing in new business. What’s more, the paperwork and data entry associated with manually submitted verification data slows turn times and decreases lender capacity for new volume.
Slower turn times can result in delayed closings, which have been shown to impact Net Promoter Score, an index that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company to others. According to STRATMOR Group, failure to close a loan in the expected timeframe is enough to turn a Promoter — someone who will recommend a service provider to their friends and colleagues — into a Detractor — someone who will badmouth the service provider.(3) And since consumers are more likely to tell others about a negative experience than a positive one, operational efficiency and on-time closing should be top priorities for lenders.(4)
The rise of home delivery services exemplifies the importance of convenience to today’s consumer. In fact, a late 2020 study found that 97% of consumers have backed out of a purchase because it was inconvenient.(5) Each time a borrower is required to exit a mortgage lender’s borrower platform or perform actions that appear unrelated to the home loan increases the likelihood of fallout or creating a frustrating borrower experience.
The tedious, time-consuming process of requiring borrowers to furnish physical or electronic asset, income and employment documentation ultimately results in a poor experience for borrowers and translates into increased fallout and longer closing cycles for lenders. So why do lenders continue to subject borrowers and employees to a painful, manual process when there is a simple, secure way to verify a borrower’s ability to pay that saves time and money?
BORROWER-PERMISSIONED DATA VERIFICATION
Borrower-permissioned direct-source data frees borrowers and lenders from the burden of hunting down, submitting and processing paper and PDF financial statements. Using a borrower’s permission, data providers electronically gather direct-source asset, income and employment data from institutions such as banks and payroll companies. From there the borrower’s direct-source data is encrypted and delivered to lenders.
When compared to manually collecting and reviewing information from bank statements (whether physical or electronic), the combination of direct-source data aggregation and straight-through processing provides greater purchase certainty, yields a more accurate assessment of applicants’ ability to pay and minimizes delays, the opportunity for error and fraud risk.
What’s more, a recent Fannie Mae study shows that the rising generation of first-time homebuyers is even more likely to authorize electronic access to records than repeat homebuyers, who are already comfortable with online and self-serve mortgage processes.(6)
A BETTER WAY: ACCOUNTCHEK 3N1
FormFree® is the creator of AccountChek® 3n1 (3n1), the mortgage industry’s premier combined digital asset, income and employment borrower-permissioned data verification solution. 3n1 offers borrowers an alternative to submitting paper or PDF bank statements and pay stubs when qualifying for a loan at a fraction of the cost of other popular solutions. Borrowers simply authorize their bank and payroll provider to transmit digital employment and income data along with the borrower’s six most recent pay stubs and most recent W-2 to their lender via separatable VOA and VOIE reports. The whole process is fast, and lenders can easily refresh the verifications within 10 days of the loan closing.
With dozens of native plug-and-play POS and LOS integrations, lenders can embed 3n1 directly into their branded digital loan applications so borrowers never have to leave the lending portal or open new windows to complete the verification process.
3n1 is also available for borrowers who prefer to verify their data via mobile device through Passport®, FormFree’s mobile app. Passport collects asset, income and employment data through a simple interaction that takes just minutes. With Passport, borrowers can opt in to receiving push notifications, which helps them stay connected to the verification process while on the go.
Using borrower-permissioned verification, 3n1 saves lenders time and money by providing accurate data and universally accepted supporting documents upfront. This makes for a faster, cleaner underwriting and closing experience and prevents lenders from having to go back to borrowers to chase down more documents.
Lenders who proactively adopt borrower-permissioned verification position themselves to succeed in any market with scalable processes that improve the borrower experience, maximize efficiency and improve margins