Michael Danlag is VP and Global Head of Service Delivery with Sutherland Mortgage Services, Inc. Danlag joined Sutherland in April 2015 with over 28 years of proven success in the financial and mortgage industries. His experience includes managing multiple departments within the post-closing and loan servicing functions such as servicing transfers, escrow administration, default administration, customer service, custodial document control, and cash management/payment processing. Prior to joining Sutherland, Danlag has held positions with PHH Mortgage, Bank of America, American Express, and Countrywide Home Loans.
What role will technology play in mortgage servicing going forward?
Technology will move the needle in transforming processes for mortgage servicing. Process transformation will continue to play a critical role in modernizing the way in which we service mortgages, just as it has for other industries. As an example, process transformation has forced entirely new markets to form in order to build and support applications on mobile devices, used by consumers in countries around the world. Many industries leverage technology to enhance their customer experience, reduce expenses, and place a stronger focus on adherence to complex regulations–we expect this to also impact mortgage servicing.
What’s more, technology will serve as an indicator of market leaders in the mortgage and loan servicing industry. As consumers become more tech-savvy, we will see increased demand for enhanced technology, and service providers will be expected to keep up. Enhancing technology is more than just upgrading antiquated systems. Rather, new and evolving technology will completely reshape how a loan is serviced in this continuously evolving age of savvy consumers and innovative technology.
How will leveraging advanced technologies reshape the servicing of a loan?
Advancing technology to improve the overall mortgage servicing experience is a top priority for the industry. With industry thought leaders blazing the trail, the landscape will be reshaped to a new paradigm. With this paradigm shift, the mortgage customer experience after loans close should be world class and on par with customer service interactions received from other industries. For example, servicers will leverage analytics to proactively identify customers eligible for reductions in interest rates. Doing so will enhance the refinance process, drive higher customer satisfaction, and extend the life of customers with their mortgage servicer.
From the customer’s point of view, they would ideally be alerted of eligibility for a lower interest rate via a smart phone application. The customer will then indicate their interest via the app to initiate the refinance process. Finally, the app could establish customer payments and serve as a hub for their mortgage servicing information.
Beyond data and analytics, machine learning and robotics will greatly support mortgage servicing by processing high volume, repeatable tasks. By handling recurring functions, machine learning and robotics will reduce costs and increase the quality of tasks being performed, enabling employees to focus on complicated items or exceptions. Not to mention, servicers will better manage volume fluctuations given their ability to turn robots on or off instead of headcount.
What specifically can technology do to improve mortgage servicing?
During the life of a loan, any customer interaction with a mortgage servicer outside of making normal monthly payments is often due to an issue or error. With technology, the servicer will be able to better anticipate these issues, be proactive in avoiding and solving the issue, and communicate back to the customer as quickly as possible in their preferred method of communication. Customers are usually forgiving and if the servicer responds quickly and resolves the issue for the customer completely without delay, the servicer can turn around a negative situation to a positive experience.
Bottom line, improving mortgage servicing technology greatly moves the needle when it comes to delivering outstanding customer service. This ultimately helps servicers retain customers, improves the servicer’s reputation and improves profit margins across the board.
Where do you think technology in mortgage servicing will go from here?
The entire mortgage industry will leverage data-driven insights to offer a more customized customer experience. Data analytics will play an integral role in driving processes and activities in the future. Specifically, mortgage servicers will use data and analytics from external sources to better understand customer behavior and preferences. From that intelligence, servicers will develop tools and applications to ultimately enhance the overall customer experience.