Issue 12: On the importance of changing perspectives.
Maybe it’s time for us to rethink how we deliver mortgages. After all, the Millennials are challenging some of our most traditional views.
Many of us have come to believe that homeownership is the American Dream. That may be true. But quite a few Millennials watched their parents lose their homes in the housing meltdown of 2008. Right or wrong, some of them believe they were “oversold” on their home loans. Others felt deceived in how they were treated. So for many in this generation of homebuyers, a mortgage isn’t necessarily a great thing.
We can debate this, but in the end, it’s irrelevant who’s right and who’s wrong. Pretty soon, if not now, Millennials will be our target market. And they’ve proven to be reluctant when it comes to taking on a mortgage. To the older generation, a mortgage is a pathway to homeownership. To a number of Millennials, a mortgage is debt; not the pathway to a dream. Maybe, just maybe, we as an industry are not trusted. That’s unfortunate. But if it’s true, I’d rather focus on how to fix it than how to discredit them.
Here’s the point. I’m not trying to attack the mortgage industry. I’ve been a part of it for decades. It’s a part of my family. It’s paid my bills and empowered my business. I’ve made countless friends in my work. Rather, I’m trying to get us to take the Nordstrom’s approach to customer service and marketing. I’m confident most of you have heard the old story about what was once the Cadillac (insert your comment about that here) of department stores accepting returned auto tires…even though they’ve never sold them. No, sometimes the customer really isn’t right. But we have to take that approach.
If Millennials are telling us they don’t trust us, why do we continue to ram the same old approach down their throats? Why is it somehow a “victory” when one of 35 antiquated steps in the process is slowly and painfully automated? Today’s consumer can go to Amazon on his phone; buy a 90-inch smart UHD TV and have it installed within 24 hours. All without having to pull out a wallet and maybe even while standing in line at the DMV. And yet, we expect that same consumer to understand it’s a “victory” that they don’t have to come to an office to sign the closing documents…after waiting 20 days from the time the loan was approved until the point they get the keys or the check.
Maybe it’s not our fault. But it’s our duty to start eliminating chokepoints and knocking down obstacles. Because the people who buy our products, ultimately, are demanding it.
Until Next Week,
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