While members want a personalized digital experience when obtaining mortgages, in the background of any discussion about mortgage software is now the most talked about member segment: millennials.
"Millennials have had a dramatic impact on how financial institutions conduct business," says Stephen Hewins, senior vice president at CU Members Mortgage. "People from ages 23 to 38 are now this country's largest demographic cohort, and also the prime prospects for homeownership.”
Millennials expect to deal with financial institutions primarily through the internet and mobile devices, he says, citing research that indicates 92% use the internet to research or access financial products, and 72% use mobile technology for banking, including loan applications.
“Credit unions have to reach out to millennials digitally,” Hewins says. “If not, they are losing that market.”
Tonya Coon, executive vice president of operations at myCUmortgage, calls millennials "a driving force. They want ease of use and an easy to follow, guided experience on their devices.”
Other common characteristics among millennials are social consciousness and struggles with financial management, Hewins. “The goal is not to approach them with a direct sales offer but to provide them with a useful, trusted source of information and guidance that actually makes a credit union part of their social circle."
While millennials have changed the banking landscape with their reliance on technology, he adds, they haven't lost the desire for the personal touch. "They are also willing to go offline and meet face to face with a credit union loan officer."
‘The goal is to ‘provide [millennials] with a very useful, trusted source of information and guidance.’
Marketing is another important piece of the mortgage puzzle.
"We offer extensive marketing help," says Coon. "This includes access to different marketing campaigns that involve all of the touch points a credit union wants to cover in its outreach to members."
"We do a lot of branding for our credit union clients," says Joe Dahleen, executive vice president and chief strategy officer at MortgageHippo. That can include advice about a branded site's format and color scheme.
"Something we sometimes run into is a client's desire to use a certain color, until we point out that it will not appear well on a mobile device,” he says. “To avoid that, we present clients with a grid of usable colors we've learned from experience work well.”
Another essential feature to consider, Dahleen says, is giving members the “ability to roam around the mortgage website and to use such features as chat bots."
This cements member loyalty, he says, because members see no need to go elsewhere. "Consumer expectations are constantly rising. Thanks to technology, credit unions can meet those expectations by creating a great experience for members."
‘Consumer expectations are constantly rising.’
Next steps in mortgage technology include:
► Predictive data. Hewins says this where a credit union's data can be gleaned to see where members are in terms of life stages. It can also provide messages along the lines of "You have been preapproved for such and such a loan."
► Digitalization of mortgage origination, decisioning, and maintenance software. This is a bigger challenge, but one vendors are starting to address.
"This year, the focus is on the loan closing process," says Dahleen. "Video notarizing is now available in 22 states, which allows all parties to an application to formalize the loan even though they’re physically far from one another."
The next frontier for vendors, says Coon, is offering creating a custom digitized mortgage closing capability for each state in the U.S. "The problem is that closing is a process that can be very different from state to state because of different title companies' requirements," Coon says. “Address that and you will have closed in on an almost-perfect mortgage program.”