Mortgage Women Magazine – By Dawn Sherbeyn
Technology innovation and its impact on our personal and professional lives is accelerating faster than ever. Mortgage lenders and real estate brokerages are deluged with new technology options daily, but at the core of change is the mobile device. These mobile devices have become the lifeline for mortgage originators and Realtors to market their services and personal brands and remove complexity from the homebuying process. Let’s take a moment and review what has led to the digital transformation happening in the mortgage industry and the role that women have and are playing in paving the way.
In early 1973, an engineer at Motorola made the world’s first mobile phone call, but it wasn’t until ten years later that a cell phone would be commercially available to consumers. Jump to 1995 when the first smartphone hit the market that supported a full keyboard for sending SMS text messages. Most people at that time didn’t think text messages would catch on let alone have a 98 percent read rate within two minutes of receipt and 100 percent over 24 hours, which is in comparison to email, where the average read rate is 20 percent over the lifetime of the email.
In 1999, the BlackBerry hit the market, enabling users to read and respond to work emails through a simple email service on a mobile device. It took over ten years for the first Apple iPhone to appear in 2007 and the Android in 2008. Soon after the iPhone launch was the introduction of the App Store, which launched with 552 apps, one of which was Facebook. The native phone app quickly made Facebook the social media giant it is today and laid the foundation for a mobile social media feeding frenzy.
Around 2010, some of the most popular social media platforms appeared, including Pinterest, which didn’t take long to jump into the top 10 list of social networks. Pinterest was perfect for women who, by nature, are more social, stay in contact with family and friends, and enjoy sharing relevant content, inspiration, and ideas. Women were accessing, creating, and sharing pinboards over lunch, in the office, or in a text. While men are typically perceived as leading the adoption of new and innovative technology, women jettisoned the mobile and social media industries into motion with apps like Pinterest.
With hundreds of apps being added daily to app stores and the technical power of the mobile device, —with voice, data, voice transcription, instant messaging, and high-quality digital photos and video, —this device not only has transformed the way all consumers conduct daily personal and e-commerce interactions, but it’s also completely transformed the way business is done today. Business users possess more than a phone; they now have a mobile office they can run their business from no matter where they are, and it is definitely transforming the mortgage industry. Today, mortgage lenders are engaging with their customers anytime, anywhere, sharing loan options through reports and video, and then updating them in real-time based on customers’ needs. Technology has both improved and shortened the closing process.
It’s no wonder mobile devices and social apps were quickly adopted by the Realtor community, which are 60 percent women. Social media is the perfect channel for a Realtor to create relationships and promote brand value, build trust, and share informative content and high-quality photos of homes.
The Zillow app, which introduced a whole new model for the business of homebuying, was the first business app to engage Realtors. The app joined the Realtor, home shopper, and mortgage lender in a single, collaborative social community. With the phone and app in hand, home shoppers shop for homes in the comfort of their living room, while Realtors virtually showcase properties for sale, and mortgage professionals get leads without cold calling.
It’s only been in the last two to three years that mortgage lenders have begun to fully realize the potential mobile and social media offers the industry, but they are now taking it by storm. Facebook, in particular, is the new email, and industry leaders like Cindy Ertman, Jen Du Plessis, Lori Richardson, and Michele Town are using Facebook today to stay connected with their customers and referral partners. YouTube also has become a huge vehicle for both communication and training for leaders like these who spend a significant portion of their time working to inspire others.
As the entire industry shifts, mortgage technology vendors have stepped in to lead in the pursuit of digital transformation for the sole purpose of engaging the customer in a home mortgage experience that provides more insight and value and shortens the timing of the lending process. The line-up of vendors includes tech veterans and brand new fintech providers that know the industry is ripe for an overhaul.
Mortgage Coach, an app that has been available for 20 years, helps mortgage professionals improve both conversion and increase production. Through their mobile device, the borrower receives a full loan analysis presentation delivered to them anytime, anywhere, and the originator can update loan options in real-time as part of the conversation. For example, Kelly Zitlow of Cornerstone Home Lending, says “My mission is to deliver an honest, well-communicated, knowledge-based lending experience. If you want a client for life you need to deliver a Mortgage Coach Total Cost Analysis for life.” Kelly adds a personal video with narration to explain the total cost of loan options over the life of the loan which includes fees, monthly payments and closing costs. With a simple text, she sends a complete analysis represented in clear and concise charts and graphs directly to the borrower’s phone.
In addition to building relationships with existing customers, today there is a huge opportunity to leverage mobile and social apps for reaching new customers and engaging untapped demographic markets. Influential women in the housing industry have emerged to drive the path to change. Take, for example, Tammy Butler, owner of Mortgage Currency and CEO of Fair Lending Diversity who consults with mortgage lenders on how to implement compliant social media strategies and origination processes.
This is just the tip of an iceberg of women in the mortgage industry who are driving important change during these exciting times. As we all become more comfortable and curious about digital and social media, new ideas will continue to pour out, and you can be sure that women will be at the forefront of the next generation of technologies that move the mortgage industry forward. After all, if a real estate or mortgage professional doesn’t embrace the world of mobile and social media, they are sure to get lost in the crowd.
Dawn Sherbeyn, responsible for innovation strategy at Mortgage Coach, drives creation and execution of product and marketing strategies to propel the company forward with digital transformation solutions for the mortgage industry. Dawn has an extensive background in mortgage strategy and technology solutions. She is also a fitness enthusiast whose energy and spirit touches all facets of her personal and professional life.
Lenders interested in adding Mortgage Coach to their technology platform email firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation. Mortgage professionals looking to learn more about our apps, sign up for a live demo hosted weekly here.