So this is our 100th Deeper Thoughts. Almost two years of content. LodeStar Reports is even older than that. Hopefully, you’ve seen the quality of content grow as our company and subscriber/readership base has. The more we’ve listened to you, the more things we’ve written about and the more, hopefully, we’ve all learned. Over the past couple of years, we’ve talked little to none about our humble closing cost calculator, penalties for TRID violations, mortgage compliance or TRID guidelines. And yet, our sales leads have grown, and you appear to know us a little better as well. Maybe this is a bit of proof that content marketing—much like relationship building—is the way to go in the mortgage industry? Whether that hypothesis holds or not, we certainly do we owe you, our dedicated readers and viewers, a huge thank you for your support and interest.
This week, we’d like to talk about the third “C” in our “3 C’s” vision: connectivity. It’s something we don’t talk about enough in our industry, and yet, it’s one of our biggest challenges, especially from a CX perspective. Instead of connectivity, however, we talk about the symptoms: communication and productivity silo’s; slow (or non-existent) reporting on status; confused consumers; missing data or errors. It’s evident in the semi-feudal mindset we see among the many different companies tasked with making a single mortgage transaction work: real estate professionals, title agents, title underwriters, mortgage lenders and/or brokers, appraisers, notaries, inspectors and so on. And we’ve talked ad length about integrations (or lack thereof) or solutions that vie for the “alpha” position in a tech stack (e.g. production software or LOS which require any other technology to adapt to it to remain useful).
While connectivity tends to be used almost more as an adjective than a noun, we believe it’s also a concept our industry needs to focus on more, and not just the technology providers. If our respective markets, whether mortgage lenders or title agents or real estate brokers, demand technologies and solutions (especially from a communications standpoint, but also from a production perspective) that functionally connect without expensive integrations or workarounds and hacks, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the fifty-something day average for closings could be cut, even if just by a few days?
As many of you know, LodeStar has its roots in a successful, family-owned title agency. We work with title agents every day. Most of the time, the title agent has a mysterious function few outside that segment perceive: the job of taking numerous, disparate means of data collection and transmission as well as numerous, disparate means of communicating (email, call, fax, letter, portal, app, carrier pigeon…you name it, someone’s likely using it to ask a question or send information) and somehow cobble them together into a single transaction. And they have to do that hundreds (if not thousands) of times a month. Yet the title agent is the easy target when a call is slow to be returned or an email is forgotten.
We’re not saying that title agents don’t have their faults or challenges. But they provide an ideal example of an industry that lacks connectivity, or even the urgency to improve that connectivity. But we’d bet that, at the root of many of our deepest challenges, you’ll find that a lack of emphasis on connectivity has played a role. Isn’t it time to change that?
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