The Covid-19 pandemic altered life as we knew it for most people, their normal routines at work and home were disrupted without warning and everyone had to adjust on the fly. Those who were not impacted by job reduction or loss found themselves working from home, many sharing their make-shift workspace with children who were schooling remotely. Regardless of the impact, everyone was spending more time at home. When it became evident that there was not going to be a quick resolution to the pandemic-crazed environment, consumers were inspired to seek alternatives, thus the “let’s move” frenzy began. Being forced to stay at home and having limited social outlets, people opted to think bigger and broader when house hunting than they may have previously in an attempt to fulfill social and personal needs other than simple housing. City dwellers were relocating to the suburbs, new home construction was popping up everywhere so buyers could customize their living spaces and there was a flurry of upgrades and renovations to existing homes.
The urgency for mortgage lenders to accommodate the influx of requests was abrupt and they responded with what might have been considered temporary fixes. There was a sprint to meet the new demands and deliver interactive technology that would accommodate the changes. We saw the introduction of borrower-friendly self-service platforms, user-engaged communication outlets, AI-enhanced applications to delivery processes, all while the mortgage industry workforce was simultaneously acclimating to a remote or hybrid work environment supported by digitization. Wow, that was a lot to undertake. But the desired results were there and the general success was overwhelming. So how does the mortgage industry proceed once the pandemic precautions ease, what are the takeaways?
The realization that virtual lending is no longer an experiment, it is the new standard, is very apparent. It is the optimum way of the future for the mortgage industry. Lenders and consumers found that the self-service alternative was actually preferred, regardless of the external influences. The go-green environmentally friendly impact due to digitizing document storage is definitely a plus and enhanced cybersecurity and automation has created necessary protection to prevent human oversight. As for concerns that human collaborations that once connected all of the moving pieces of home-buying would be lost, these have been put to rest. Prior business relationships that were dependent on the person-to-person 360-degree referral process, such as real estate and insurance agents, surveyors, appraisers, or movers can now rely on these referrals to be just a click away. Borrowers that are curious about their new school districts, restaurants, parks, and social activities can just click and learn. The new normal in the mortgage industry is just a click away.
Written by Kourtney Manley, Business Analyst at OnlineApplication