How COVID-19 is Exposing Flaws in the Mortgage Process – May 6th, 2020

Issue #22: How COVID-19 is Exposing Flaws in the Mortgage Process

I don’t know about you, but if I see one more COVID-19 related article…well, I’ll probably read it. As long as it’s not one of the same few articles that seem to have been regurgitated for the past seven weeks. Nonetheless, we’re talking about a once-a-century event. It’s hard to ignore it.

One thing I’ve tried to do here is reflect upon the pandemic’s impact on our own industry, both short term and long term. The headlines have careened from despair to hope repeatedly the past six weeks. I guess we won’t really know what happens until we get there.

But I do know what I’ve seen with my own eyes. And I’ll say this: COVID-19 has really put a harsh spotlight on the actors and impediments that have worked to hamper, slow and complicate the mortgage process for decades. I’m looking at you, State Bar Associations and local governments who continue to battle the concept of remote notary and other modern closing techniques for the stated (and overblown) purpose of “fraud prevention” even as our industry battles to find effective and innovative ways to keep borrowers and closing agents safe without thwarting home sales. There are many, many ways to use technology to avoid closing fraud. Sticking with parchment and quill is not the best way anymore. It’s time to give up that ghost.

I’m also extremely excited to see some real business leadership in our industry recently. I see companies like United Wholesale Mortgage of the industry and others actually finding ways to keep staff and make efforts to maintain and even grow. But I still see the outdated business “strategy” of cutting FTEs and product lines the second there’s any uncertainty in the market. I know it’s the typical CFO’s favored method, and there are admittedly times when it’s necessary. But I also think it has become a knee-jerk reaction. We need to think it through.

I’m also pleased to see some of our most innovative thought leaders questioning the all-too-common “strategy” in the mortgage world—from lender to vendor—of careening from having all hands on deck to catch every fish in the water when times are good (investment in infrastructure and systems be damned—there’s no time!) to a process of cutting to the bone and hunkering down when the market dips (investment in infrastructure and systems be damned—there’s no money!). We’ll never grow or innovate if we don’t give ourselves a little time to think. It’s time for us to grow beyond simply being reactionary to the market.

It is also encouraging to see state and national regulators coming to the plate to allow remote work for loan officers, remote online notarization, drive-by appraisals and other practices necessary to business in the time of COVID. Hopefully, these improvements to the closing process are here to stay and will make the industry more efficient in the years to come.

These are just a few of the examples I’m seeing. Send me yours and I’ll compile them here in a future Deeper Thoughts! Just email me at jpaolino@lssoftwaresolutions.com.

Stay safe, everyone!

Until Next Week,

Jim

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