Pamela Stahl: Mortgage Lenders Must Prioritize the Protection of Personal Financial Data


PERSON OF THE WEEK: Mortgage lenders are increasingly using technology to streamline the lending process – however, as adoption grows, security issues remain a concern.

Personal financial data are shared back and forth between mortgage lenders and consumers during the application and underwriting process – and lenders can run into trouble if they aren’t being careful. For example, personal data and documents could be at risk if they are sent through non-secure channels such as email.

Due to the pandemic, many mortgage lenders began working from home. However, this raised security concerns, as the lending process cannot be tracked and monitored as easily in someone’s private home.

As a result of the pandemic, many lenders also began to make greater use of technology – in particular automation – to collect and verify borrower information and walk borrowers through the process – all the way to closing. This was done to adhere to social distancing mandates – with an aim toward finally achieving a “contactless” mortgage. 

Because most mortgages are now processed using some automation – including in particular automated employment/income/asset verification – it has actually lowered the number of “defects” encountered during the underwriting process. To learn more about how lenders can be vigilant when it comes to protecting borrower information, MortgageOrb recently interviewed Pamela Stahl, chief technology officer at VirPack.

Q: What are some best practices when it comes to keeping personal financial data safe and secure? 

Stahl: As technology continues to evolve, consumers need to regularly check to see if their devices are up to date and to understand the details of those updates. A straightforward way to secure one’s data is to create strong passwords for all accounts, especially for accounts used to send personal financial data. It is also important to reduce or eliminate completely the use of email and social platforms for transmitting documents and data. These platforms are not secure and should not be used to share personal financial data. 

Keeping all personal financial information stored in safe and trusted software or database is the best way to protect confidential documents. Regularly checking accounts to track activity is an effective way to make sure there isn’t any information missing or messed with. 

Q: How can mortgage lenders give their customers confidence that their personal data is safe? 

Stahl: Mortgage lenders need to position themselves as a trusted partner by using software that streamlines the lending process in a safe and efficient manner. Mortgage lenders need to have the capacity and organization to store all their clients’ personal documents/data, past and present, in one consolidated and secure platform. Incorporating a library of document recognition features can ensure an accurate and automated index of documents. Some lenders are too comfortable allowing their customers to share very private financial information via email. That process is not safe at all. Ensuring that lenders and customers alike are sharing information through secure channels will help reinforce the message that the security of the customers financial data is top of mind. 

Q: How does your passion for customer financial data protection influence your work as Chief Technology Officer? 

Stahl: As CTO, I take all measures necessary to avoid any potential risks of fraud or theft. I believe building trust and credibility with customers is the best way to gain their loyalty. Purchasing a new home is a big step for families, so providing them with a trusted lender with an organized and safe digital platform makes a complicated process as smooth as possible. 

I understand how the mortgage lending process can quickly get complicated by requesting many documents like tax returns, pay stubs, account statements, etc. Making sure our consumers have a seamless experience, from starting the pre-approval process to holding the keys to their new home, is my priority, which is streamlined by efficient and safe technology for all our processes. 

Q: How can technology play an important role in enabling Mortgage Lenders to protect personal financial data? 

Stahl: Almost all mortgage lenders have shifted their application and loan process to online platforms, which requires technology and automation to handle all the documentation and conversions happening between both parties. Mortgage lenders have the opportunity to use technology to their advantage by creating efficient point of sale (POS) software solutions that create an online space for a seamless application process and documentation submissions. Automating the loan process does all the heavy lifting on the back end for mortgage lenders and ultimately keeps data safe by taking out the human element.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments