Bringing Intelligent Mortgage Lending To The Masses

Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, Tavant is a digital products and solutions company that provides impactful results to its customers across North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Founded in 2000, the company employs over 3000 people and is a recognized top employer. Tavant is creating an AI-powered intelligent lending enterprise by reimagining customer experiences, driving operational efficiencies, and improving collaboration. Our editors sat down with Brad Sivert, Head of Marketing and Proptech at Tavant, to get his take of market conditions and what’s next for Tavant.

Q: How did you get into the mortgage business?

BRAD SIVERT: Honestly, it was not intentional. I joined ING Direct, a startup, just after undergrad. At first, I was in general sales, then moved up to mortgage sales. My boss, however, pushed me towards Marketing, so in my mid-twenties, I accepted an entry-level role in Mortgage Product Marketing. As things progressed and my knowledge of the mortgage industry expanded, I soon realized the value of the American Dream – that everyone should be able to purchase their dream house.

My first “dream house” was a big-time fixer-upper. My second “dream house” was a short sale, and the owner was actually in prison… crazy story. I’ve actually lived in too many homes… But my mission, my personal mission, for the past decade, has been to use tech to make home-buying easier… whether home shopping when I was head of Product at realtor.com or home buying, which is a significant strength of Tavant’s.

Q: How has the mortgage industry changed since you first got involved in this space?

BRAD SIVERT: I started in early 2000, and technology existed, albeit not great technology, but it existed. At ING Direct, we developed the second mobile mortgage application in 2006 (behind USAA, who did it first). But it was simply a digital application built on top of layers and layers of band-aid technology. So, while it looked impressive, operationally, it was far from that.

Fast forward to 2020, and the pandemic completely changed people’s homebuying journeys. Whereas in the past, people would visit many potential homes before making a purchase, buying one sight unseen became a bit more of the norm. People wanted larger homes and home offices, and the backyard tree house for the kids added a lot of appeal.  

Q: In terms of current events, The Fed is expected to continue to raise rates. What impact do you expect this to have on mortgage lending going forward?

BRAD SIVERT: Rising rates will change the course of lending. Home Equity loans have made a wild comeback. For rental properties, 1031 exchanges will boom, essentially allowing you to buy and sell rental properties tax-free. And companies like Plenti Financial, which focus solely on those, have seen growth. But this isn’t the first-time mortgage rates have been high. My parents had an 18% mortgage rate in 1982. Just think about that, 18%. Sure, it was on a $34k house, but 18% – Wow.

Q: Further, much has been made of rising inflation. Where do you see inflation going from here, and what impact will that have on mortgage lending?

BRAD SIVERT: Inflation is never really a good thing. Think about it. Gas above $7, home prices going up 20% year over year in some markets… but it’s driven by our demand as Americans. We all want a nicer, bigger home. Then we need to add the backyard pool, and we do all of this even when the price of lumber and labor is astronomically high. So, we, in theory, create the demand which drives inflation. I hope that things stabilize, but 7% mortgage rates are scary.

Q: What technology strategies do lenders need to embrace in order to thrive in the current mortgage space?

BRAD SIVERT: Honestly, this is the million-dollar question.

Lenders have spent too much of the past few years riding the refi wave, but now they need to honestly streamline operations. It sounds boring, but optimizing middle and back-office procedures ultimately do improve front-end consumer experiences. Dramatically. Having a good point-of-sale today is tablestakes for lenders. Those who use data and AI to optimize their workflows will see the most reduction in cost, which translates to more revenue and more jobs for their employees.

Q: Tavant has had great success with the Touchless LendingTM offering. Can you explain what that is and how it benefits lenders?

BRAD SIVERT: Touchless LendingTM is the signature Lending brand for Tavant’s Fintech business. It includes our full line of Fintech software and solutions, including VELOX, with plug-and-play access to each product within the Touchless Lending suite. Touchless lending is an AI-powered platform that fully automates mortgage processing. We like to call it mortgage manufacturing… It is next-level stuff, and so is what it can do for cost savings.

Reduce production time, reliance on inefficient manual procedures, processing and operating costs, improve loan quality, processing time, you name it- Touchless Lending can do it all. Customers can see a measurably significant improvement immediately after integration and long-term benefits in the first year alone. I mean, saving close to $2k per loan in the real deal.

Q: Tavant touts that it can “deliver sustainability and transparency through AI.” What does that mean, and how is it possible?

BRAD SIVERT: Sometimes people ask if these are marketing words, but they are metrics for how a business should work.

Start with “sustainability.” Being sustainable means you, as a lender (or a tech enabler like Tavant), can weather changing market conditions by implementing AI-powered software to make better decisions faster and reduce redundancies and costs.

Next is Transparency. AI testing and analytics can look at any business, provide a clear and concise picture of all internal processes, highlight redundancies and bottlenecks, and recommend ways to optimize those procedures. AI is transparent because it is unbiased and all-inclusive. And that transparency allows leaders in the space to make the best decisions based on data.

Q: Tavant announced a significant expansion of its product and services. Describe what’s behind that decision.

BRAD SIVERT: Tavant, like all other businesses, is in it to win it. We have an amazing culture of product and business leaders who want to be the best of the best. And it is working. That is why Tavant is able to expand so rapidly. Tavant is a privately-held company, but a profitable one. We reinvest our annual profit into growing the business without having to go out and raise funds. That is our difference and what makes Tavant so strong. Tavant just announced that we are also expanding in Europe with two new offices in the Netherlands and Portugal. Exciting times for everyone at Tavant!

Q: What’s next for Tavant?

BRAD SIVERT: No matter how you slice it, market conditions are not favorable for prospective homebuyers. There is massive pressure on all corporate entities within the housing industry to adjust and pivot accordingly. Tavant has always stayed strong in the face of shifting market conditions. We pride ourselves on being resilient and consistently capable of expanding the application of our immense experience in AI-powered software solutions to other domains.

When conditions aren’t right in one direction, you look around and find opportunities elsewhere. Take Healthcare, for example. More than thirty percent of the world’s data is being generated from healthcare companies. At the end of the day, Fintech is and will always remain core to Tavant’s future and success. It’s our bread and butter… When people decide to start looking for and buying their dream homes, Tavant will be right there along the way, improving experiences for all parties involved. However, it is hard to look at the Healthcare industry and not want a slice of that cake. What’s next for Tavant? We keep doing what we’ve been doing, just targeted to help more people.

INSIDER PROFILE

Brad Sivert leads the Fintech public relations and marketing initiatives at Tavant. He oversees the company’s marketing strategies and branding. Brad is a growth focused individual, with a passion for building out products and marketing solutions to help companies enhance their brand awareness.  His knowledge of the financial services and mortgage technology industry and the benefits of strategic marketing initiatives has led him to be selected as a presenter at leading industry events and conferences. He has shared information on the effect of Fintech on lenders. Brad has also authored several articles for industry publications to share his keen insights. It is his passion for Fintech and Proptech that has spurred his much-needed leadership beyond his role at Tavant.