As the mortgage industry shifts from a refinance market to a purchase market, “boots on the ground” marketing and networking will account for a much larger percentage of leads and ultimately, loans. Local branch teams are the best suited to effectively generate leads and convert them into closed loans, but to ensure success, lenders need the ability to monitor branch productivity and profitability in real-time — or at least near-real-time — in order to establish and maintain a competitive advantage.
Real-time online reporting capabilities make it easier for branch managers to oversee items like applications today vs. yesterday, or applications last week vs. this week. Managers can also see the mix of purchase vs. refi activity based on loan officers, branches and/or loan types; as well as the BPS per loan earned and the reconciliation of the loan behind it. This type of live reporting (where managers can drill through the graphs and reports to the P&L by loan in detail) helps managers direct their most precious resource – their loan officers’ time.
Managers have more to manage than just LOs, however. With proper reporting tools, branch managers can oversee items like rent, payroll and vendor invoices and more quickly recognize if something has mistakenly been coded to the wrong branch, for example. The real-time, collaborative nature of today’s accounting and reporting tools allow for the correction of duplicate and erroneous data while maintaining audit records of the corrections made. At the loan level, by more easily verifying that each loan is in balance with itself, managers gain the ability to better monitor their loan volumes, ensuring that their branch and its staff are being compensated accurately based on the correct loan volume.
Increasingly, lenders have also begun to leverage cloud-based technology from large companies like Amazon (AWS), Google (Google Cloud Platform), and Microsoft (Azure), making cloud deployment of software a priority in their strategic technology investments. The cloud allows far greater levels of capability, reliability, flexibility and security to lenders and their branches because these established technology companies have the budget and resources to scale to support the rapid growth of a mortgage firm.
Perhaps most importantly, however, is the real-world, operational impact that cloud-based technologies provide at the branch level. By leveraging browser-based, cloud-supported solutions, managers and loan officers are better positioned to operate in the mobile, digital environment that their borrowers now occupy, and branch managers gain access to true, real-time reporting regarding their branch and loan portfolios.
Additionally, cloud-based technology supports flexibility in work location for branch managers and LOs, something that is especially relevant as many lending professionals continue to work from home in response to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. No longer confined to the proximity of a physical, on-site core system, lenders can now effectively, securely manage internal procedures from virtually any location.
In a purchase market environment characterized by increased competition for leads, branch managers will simply not be able to rely on monthly, bi-weekly, or even weekly P&L and loan level reporting. The market is changing too rapidly. Rather, they need access to truly actionable data that provides them the ability to accurately manipulate and see how their branch is performing at any point in time. Those that do will realize greater success in what looks to be a dynamic year for the mortgage industry.
Joe Ludlow is the Vice President for Irvine, Calif-based Advantage Systems, a provider of accounting and financial management tools for the mortgage industry. Ludlow can be reached at [email protected], and more information on the company can be found at www.mortgageaccounting.com.