It’s that time of year again! Well…yes, it’s spring—although you’d never know it here in the Northeast. But it’s also tech conference time. Between user groups and the annual MBA Tech show—especially after a year or so of virtual or postponed conferences—it’s great to get out and see friends, partners and colleagues. It’s also great to see how tech, on the whole, is advancing in the mortgage lending industry. We got a great look at the trend toward integrations—or, at least, away from tech silos—a few weeks ago at the ICE Mortgage Technology event, as we shared with you. So now we’re looking forward to seeing what else has transpired during the past year or so across the industry. And with that, a few thoughts on the state of mortgage technology as we pack for our trip to MeridianLink Live! and The Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference for MBA/MW & MMBBA
We saw a lot of familiar faces at the MBA Tech event. But we’re also expecting to see plenty of newcomers and selective function technology providers at upcoming conferences, too. Yes, there are solutions out there that do just about everything pretty well. But we’re seeing increasing success on the part of back office technologies, electronic disbursement platforms and yes, even closing cost calculators. We expect to see these brands out in force, via exhibit booths, sponsorships and attendance.
From this, we can draw a few conclusions about the state of mortgage technology as a whole. First, lenders are spending more on tech. Even with overall origination volume to drop, the overall forecasted volume is still high. The challenge is that the space expanded dramatically to accommodate the mountainous refinance market. But we don’t see a lot of lenders packing it in and preparing to go belly up now that they know they’ll have to compete for share. Far from it. Lenders are gearing up to battle margin compression, streamline their processes, and otherwise use technology to get leaner and meaner as they go after the opportunities that do exist.
Second, this rising demand for more selective technologies could very well mean that lenders don’t want to spend unnecessary dollars for technologies that do more than the lenders actually need. We’ve talked about silos, but what about lenders in the past who’ve invested in technologies only to find out they paid extra for functions within the Shiny New Solution they already had locked down with other technologies. Yes, there’s still a demand for enterprise and global level platforms. But for those who have already made those investments, the trend is evolving toward building integrated tech stacks that cost-effectively address specific pain points in the operation.
Finally, we’ve seen this in our own business and expect to hear about it from our friends in Baltimore, MD and Huntington Beach, CA. When it comes to lender expectations for their tech investments, especially for big-ticket items like LOS or POS technologies, originators are demanding customization as part of the package. The term “plug-and-play” is as dated as the concept. Now, especially as we enter a competitive purchase market that will force lenders to customize things like product mixes, target markets and sales approaches, it’s not going to be enough for any technology provider to sell “take-it-or-leave-it” solutions.
On the flip side, lenders are no longer willing to tolerate lengthy or disruptive integration or implementation periods as well. The onus is on us, as technology providers, to be nimble with our solutions and have them customized, operational and ready to use as soon as possible.
And we think that, among the other things we hear at tech conferences, we’ll be hearing that we’re all ready to get to work under those expectations.
Hope to see you out there!