LLL recently had the pleasure of visiting with Chuck Cain, SVP, National Agency Division with the FNF Family of Companies. Chuck is also the host of the popular FNF Unplugged podcast.
In fact, Chuck has worked with podcasting for about two years. The FNF Unplugged podcast brings in roughly 15,000 opens/listens per month, which includes international listeners.
To Chuck, the beauty of the podcast is access. The listener isn’t stuck in front of a video screen and can listen at her convenience.
In terms of content, Chuck and the team at FNF do their best to keep things crisp and current. That includes bringing not just “in-house” personalities, but thought leaders from throughout the industry, including FNF agents. In fact, Chuck told us that some of the podcast’s most listened-to episodes have involved those agents, indicating that listeners do have a taste for peer-to-peer information.
As to the biggest challenge to successful content marketing? Just get it done. Repeatedly and routinely.
Chuck suggests that “If you skip two months, forget about it. They’ve moved on to something else.” When it comes to content marketing, a podcast isn’t just competing with other industry pods. In fact, it’s competing with anything that could take up the spare time and attention of listeners.
During his 40 years in the industry, Chuck has run title agencies, built affiliated business arrangements (AfBAs) and worked with large underwriters. He’s seen quite a bit. Chuck joked with us that the single biggest change in industry he’s seen was the transformation from mortgages on stone tablets to papyrus. But in all seriousness, Chuck feels technology has been the biggest lever for transformation.
While we still do things the same way in the industry, in terms of our roles in completing the mortgage, how we do it is changing rapidly. Chuck recalls a time when lenders and service providers alike used typewriters, copy machines and fax machines (and couriers) to move a file along. While things didn’t start to change dramatically until the end of the 90’s, with the introduction of email and the routine electronic production of documents, they are moving rapidly now.
Chuck sees an opportunity for lenders and other firms to differentiate by better reaching out to consumers and educating them about the mortgage process. That includes marketing efforts and increased transparency. He also noted that the industry has begun to change when it comes to business models. As he joked, “You can’t find a Redfin office to stop in and drop off bagels anymore!” He also mentioned that he’s expecting significant consolidation in the industry in 2022 as well.
Chuck also predicted an increase in electronic closings and transactions for 2022. It’s becoming clear that lenders can no longer afford to do it the old way, and consumers don’t want it that way. He also refused to blame the Millennials for no longer being willing to drive to a specific destination simply to sign closing documents when they can buy cars online. In 2022, nobody wants to drive across town to sign documents—it’s an antiquated process.
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