Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Automating Sales Is Key to Growth

Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Automating Sales Is Key to Growth

Article excerpt

AN INDUSTRYWIDE CRISIS IS ENDING, notes Chris Backe, who is director of financial services at Velocify Inc., El Segundo, California. Mortgage company business models were threatened both by shrinking loan volumes and stringent new regulatory guidelines after the 2007 housing downturn.

But Backe says a Velocify survey of 500 lenders done in the first quarter of 2016 indicates "the hangover since the mortgage crisis" has ended. "We've finally weathered that storm," he says.

Mortgage companies now are focusing on expanding their businesses, he explains. After wading through a thick marsh of compliance challenges, they're ready to invest for growth.

Technology vendors are finding opportunity in this renewed lender mindset. Velocify LoanEngage[TM] is being introduced this month to help retail lenders automate their mortgage sales process.

Encouraging sales staff to work effectively while also ensuring regulatory compliance makes Velocify software appealing, Backe adds. He believes that paying attention to loan officer work habits before an application is taken translates into "a higher conversion rate and greater customer satisfaction."

Salespeople typically call borrowing prospects after receiving a lead from a real estate agent or other referral source, notes Backe. Often they'll leave a voice message and send an email stating when they'll try calling again.

Velocify LoanEngage not only guides loan officers through those steps, it also creates a "presentation tool" that lenders can offer to consumers, according to Backe. By downloading a mobile app, the potential customer receives rate and product comparisons to review.

The app is a flexible tool that lenders "can introduce at any time" in the loan process, notes Backe. Personalized contact is established with retail borrowers via Velocity's mobile app.

Once an application is taken, that app is updated to reflect the terms and status of the borrower's deal. Establishing "a direct channel between the loan officer and borrower" enables ongoing communication that can lead to future refinancing business, Backe adds.

High-pressure background

Eleven years ago, Velocify designed sales management software to assist loan officers based in call centers. Today Velocity's software is a cloud-based system available on a subscription basis, with firms of all sizes as customers.

Automation boosts call-center lead conversion by 40 percent, according to Backe. Efficiencies are produced as loan officers are guided by a "contact strategy that's consistent across an organization," he says. Buy-in from loan officers is accomplished through the system's ability to send higher-quality leads to reps who are following sales guidelines and gaining acceptable results.

Call-center activity continues to grow within the mortgage industry, Backe notes. Many borrowers prefer working online today, and that's helping call centers move "from a niche to a mainstream channel," he says.

Establishing a call center requires significant lender investment--but it can pay off by expanding a company's market reach to the national level. Getting return on the investment demands a disciplined approach, however.

Research done by Velocify finds that call-center sales reps can more than double their conversion rate by calling leads within a minute after they've made an online query. …

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