Press Release

Digital Mortgage Solutions Improve the Loan Process New Ellie Mae Survey Finds

Survey of Mortgage Borrowers Reveals How They Use Technology to Get a Purchase Loan or Refinance Their Existing Mortgage

PLEASANTON, Calif. – August 28, 2018 – In the 10 years since the 2008 housing crisis, digital mortgages have notably improved the mortgage loan process, according to the recent Connecting with Borrowers Online study from Ellie Mae® (NYSE:ELLI). Online activity has become common in every phase of the mortgage process, from research and discovery to application, qualification and approval. Ellie Mae is the leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry.

The Connecting with Borrowers Online study found the trend toward online research and discovery has accelerated over the last decade. In the last year, 92 percent of borrowers did online research prior to reaching out to lenders, compared to only 57 percent of borrowers who took out mortgage loans between five and 10 years ago. Borrowers are conducting online research to find out where they can get the best rate (72 percent), how much they qualify for (59 percent), and where to find a lender they can trust (48 percent). Purchase borrowers were twice as likely to spend more than 10 hours in online research than re-fi borrowers.

The Ellie Mae survey also found that borrowers are increasingly going online to initiate contact with a lender. Among all borrowers, the most common means of first contact was online (34 percent), followed by phone (30 percent), and in-person (18 percent). Online first contact is trending upward (46 percent within the last year vs. only 20 percent between five and 10 years ago). Refinancers were 21 percent more likely to reach out to a lender online than purchase borrowers.

The most common online loan activities among all borrowers were:

Most Common Online Activities
Compare loan options 59%
Upload bank statements 51%
Upload application data 48%
Fill out the full loan application 43%
Start the loan process 43%

Additionally, the top tasks borrowers did not do online, but wish they had, or were open to doing in the future, included:

Online Activities with Unfulfilled Potential
Order/pay for an appraisal 48%
Prequalify without a credit report 44%
Prequalify with a credit report 41%
Get a pre-approval letter from lender 40%

Generational Preferences Amongst Borrowers

As might be expected, the survey showed generational differences in how borrowers research and interact with lenders. Across generations, borrowers went online to complete nearly every phase of the loan process from comparing options to application and qualification.

Millennials were twice as likely as Boomers to make initial contact with lenders online (43 percent vs. 24 percent). Boomers, on the other hand, preferred more in-person interactions with their lenders. One-third (35 percent) of Gen Xers first reached out to their lender online, falling in between Millennials and Boomers.

More Interaction Between Borrowers and Lenders Happens Online

The preference for online tools to communicate with a lender cuts across all generations. Web self-service was the preferred means of research and discovery (34 percent), as well as the most common way borrowers interacted with their lenders. The phone (20 percent) and email (18 percent) were the second and third most preferred channels during the research and discovery stage, respectively. The human element remained important across age groups; all generations of borrowers indicated at least some desire to speak with a loan officer in person, especially during the application phase.

Seventy-one percent of borrowers worked with lenders who provided an online portal for sharing documents, of which 33 percent of borrowers shared they liked the online portal and 49 percent loved it. Interestingly, borrowers who were provided an online portal were two-times more likely to say technology improved the loan process. They were also 41 percent more likely to rate their overall loan experience excellent or above average, and 18 percent more likely to say they would turn to the same loan officer for another loan.

"The digital mortgage is an idea whose time has come," said Joe Tyrrell, executive vice president of corporate strategy at Ellie Mae. "Borrowers today expect a simple online application that guides them step-by-step through the loan process. But high-tech and human-touch are equally important. Borrowers still want to speak with someone knowledgeable when they have questions or concerns."

A complimentary copy of the full eBook on Connecting with Borrowers Online is available at


Ellie Mae surveyed more than 500 consumers who took out mortgage loans over the past ten years (2008-2018). Generation X borrowers (ages 35-54) comprised the largest group of survey respondents at 43 percent, followed by Millennials (under 35) at 29 percent and baby boomers (55+) at 28 percent. A majority of respondents obtained a purchase loan (53 percent), while most others refinanced (44 percent). The remaining survey respondents took out a reverse mortgage (3 percent). Of purchase loan consumers, 43 percent were first time homebuyers, 22 percent were relocating, and 13 percent described themselves as "move-up" buyers.

News organizations have the right to reuse this data, provided that Ellie Mae, Inc. is credited as the source.

About Ellie Mae

Ellie Mae (NYSE:ELLI) is the leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry. Ellie Mae’s technology solutions enable lenders to originate more loans, reduce origination costs, and shorten the time to close, all while ensuring the highest levels of compliance, quality and efficiency. Visit or call 877.355.4362 to learn more.

Ellie Mae Media Contacts

Erica Harvill
Ellie Mae, Inc.
(925) 227-5913

Caitlin Coffee
(312) 635-8204

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© 2018 Ellie Mae, Inc. Ellie Mae®, Encompass®, AllRegs®, Mavent®, Velocify®, the Ellie Mae logo and other trademarks or service marks of Ellie Mae, Inc. appearing herein are the property of Ellie Mae, Inc. or its subsidiaries. All rights reserved. Other company and product names may be trademarks or copyrights of their respective owners.

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