PERSON OF THE WEEK: Especially since the pandemic, mortgage lenders are adopting new technologies to automate and accelerate the mortgage process – in a personalized manner – while at the same time providing the option to do business the traditional way (i.e., face to face).
A relatively new technology known as robotic process automation (RPA) is one approach that can help lenders automate simple tasks and thus increase efficiency end-to-end, while at the same time delivering a personalized customer experience. To learn more, MortgageOrb recently interviewed Joseariel Gomez, founder and CEO of Shastic.
Q: What is RPA, and how is it used for financial services?
Gomez: RPA is simply taking individual menial tasks that a lending team is doing today and automating them by using a program to reproduce the same steps they take to complete the task.
RPA tends to be limited to simple individual tasks and it becomes brittle when attempting to automate entire financial processes end-to-end. That is where Intelligent process automation comes in. It combines RPA, operated in the cloud, using artificial intelligence (machine learning) with a lot of real-time data (big data) to highly personalize every automated action as part of a larger process from end-to-end.
Q: Why/how will automation become important to the mortgage industry?
Gomez: The mortgage industry is about to take a downturn. Mortgage providers, be they financial institutions or mortgage companies, need to become more efficient.
Properly implementing RPA and intelligent process automation (IPA) in mortgage lending will be the difference between funding loans in 15-20 days versus 4-6 weeks, which has a significant impact on a lender’s bottom line.
Q: Aside from current economic factors, what other challenges does the mortgage industry face in implementing automation?
Gomez: Other automation solutions tend to be designed to automate single individual tasks at one specific point in the process and lack a high degree of personalization that financial institutions require to serve members and customers. This makes it technically challenging for the institution to figure out the best way to “stitch” all of these individual automations together into a holistic, highly personalized automated workflow. It also makes the workflow brittle, prone to breaking constantly, which hogs a lot of resources to constantly maintain it.
Q: What are some best practices for mortgage providers who are looking to implement automation?
Gomez: Before all else, a lender must lay out its existing mortgage process step-by-step, then determine which steps it wants to automate. Mortgage professionals, like other financial services workers, spend much of their time calling customers or moving documents across legacy systems that cannot communicate with each other.
However, as mentioned earlier, traditional RPA is not sufficient for these types of blockers. Mortgage professionals need an additional technology layer, which includes big data, machine learning and instant communication channels that can process massive amounts of data in real-time across multiple systems to deliver a personalized automated experience This use of evolution to better automate financial processes is what we mean by IPA.
Q: What does effective communication look like in the mortgage industry? What are some examples of RPA applied for automating mortgage processing?
Gomez: Mortgage processing encompasses many tasks that can be automated to free a lender’s existing team, starting with automatically approving or declining an application based on lending criteria, sending initial disclosures to comply with TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) rules, collecting documents required by stipulations from members and customers, sending the DocuSign agreement for signing when all stipulations have been met, etc.