Tech wave addressing a drop in retention to historic low

When it comes to retention some large players are making headway but smaller ones who have fewer resources are still struggling. That’s where the latest wave of servicing technology comes in.

“The bad news is customer retention for U.S. mortgage servicers is at a 16-year low of 11% per the latest MBA data,” Julian Hebron, founder at lender and fintech consultancy The Basis Point said, commenting on the statistic at the Mortgage Bankers Association servicing conference in Orlando.

“The good news is a rising innovation wave in servicing fintech can help grow this to industry-best levels of tech-forward servicers like Mr. Cooper and Rocket, which currently have retention rates of 83% and 90%, respectively,” he added.

Companies demonstrating technology addressing this at the conference include Willow Servicing, which has a cloud native platform and functions supportive of originators aiming to retain customers; and Homebot, which sells technology aimed at optimizing repeat business and referrals.

Optimal Blue, which uses real-time product and pricing engine data to make targeted retention offers to borrowers, also demonstrated its automation as did Haven, a company that aims to constantly engage customers with automated reports on loan status, equity and eligibility for other products.

In addition to the major announcement released by servicing tech incumbent Sagent and one shortly before the show by competitor Intercontinental Exchange a week earlier, other relatively new tech products that vendors were marketing during the conference included Autopilot.

The white-labeled automated underwriting system from Ardley Technologies, in line with the retention theme, aims to help servicers provide new mortgages or home equity products to customers identified as prospects.

The system handles underwriting for the new loans through conditional approval, after which loans may go to the end investor’s AUS, said Tim McLuckie, chief technology officer. It’s designed to accommodate compliant loan officer involvement.

It’s part of a broader set of products the company has to help with borrower retention, including pre-existing portfolio analytics designed to identify such new origination opportunities for existing customers.

“We do millions of calculations per night for the servicers, dozens on each borrower. That servicer knows what value they have, and they decide how they want to market. That’s where Autopilot comes in,” McLuckie said.

Other companies were focused on technologies accommodating interim servicing. These aim to help facilitate a lender’s handoff to a servicer after origination without disrupting the relationship with the borrower.

For one, cloud-based lending technology provider Blue Sage Solutions was in Orlando marketing a product in this area that it launched last month to improve what David Aach, chief operating officer, describes as a “painful manual process for many originators.”

“If you don’t have your own servicing system, which a lot of originators do not buy, you have to figure out how to process that initial payment,” he said. “The borrower may call up and ask, ‘Did you get my check? Am I going to get my statement? Where can I go online to pay?'”

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