Blaine Rada likens the mortgage industry to the Titanic.
“It hit the iceberg because it couldn’t turn quickly,” he says. “It’s the same with our industry—we don’t turn quickly; we react when we have to. We focus on doing what’s right, not on doing the right things.”
He offers 12 steps to ensure smooth mortgage transactions.
While regulations govern much of what mortgage lenders can do, there’s still room to innovate.
“I’m not saying we should discard the rules,” Rada says. “But when we focus solely on doing everything correctly, we don’t always find ways to do the right thing.”
He suggests engaging in “extra disciplinary thinking,” or looking to other industries for ideas. “Ask yourself how you can apply what they’re doing to what you’re doing.”
Sometimes you’ll need to hold members’ hands during the mortgage process; other times you need to take control and push members to move the process forward.
“The mortgage process can be stressful for the average person,” Rada says. “These aren’t just transactions; they’re relationships.
“But as much as the member might want to control the process, you need to tell the member what you need and take control.”
Get the loan off to the best possible start. “Put time and attention on the front side of the process to ensure it goes well,” he says. “Taking shortcuts early on will make it more challenging to keep the loan together and keep everyone happy.”
Also, set realistic expectations. Let members know how long the process will take and what they can do to speed it along.
‘Look at lending through the eyes of a member.’
The three biggest main stumbling blocks in the mortgage process are time—it takes too long; documentation—there’s too much of it; and poor communication.
Ask members about their communication preferences (i.e., email, phone, text), and let them know when you’ve met certain milestones in the process. “This is what drives satisfaction,” Rada says.
He wants borrowers not to be merely satisfied, but ultimately “amazed.” That happens when lenders anticipate members’ needs and problems that occur along the way.
Look at the loan process from the member’s perspective. “They think it’s an interrogation, not an interview,” he says. “Be respectful and empathetic. Remind yourself: These are families, not files.”
Also, don't use jargon members won’t understand. This creates a divide, not a bridge, Rada says.
“Stop looking at lending through the eyes of a lender. Look through the eyes of a member. What are they going through and what are they thinking?”