Automation & technology

Automation Insider: Automation in action


In our last few blog posts, we’ve shared insights from our eBook series, "Creating a Culture of Automation in Your Organization," detailing how to embrace, create and execute a clear automation strategy. So, what does all of this look like in the real world? In this blog, we’ll share stories from lenders who have successfully embraced mortgage process automation for the benefit of their businesses and borrowers.

Real-world automation success stories

Lennar Mortgage

Through the adoption of mortgage automation technology, Lennar Mortgage has seen huge increases in loan volume. “When a customer submits an application, credit is ordered automatically, and then the bots review some specific data points on the credit report to determine whether that application can move on to the next step,” said Keri Rogers, Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning, Lennar Mortgage. “From there, the application automatically goes out to the pricing engine to see if that borrower is eligible for one of three designated products, and if they are, they’re assigned a product.” According to Rogers, this upfront prequalification process saves loan officers about 40 minutes per loan.

Using Encompass® by ICE Mortgage Technology, the Lennar team can also ensure greater loan accuracy by extracting information from flood reports, fraud reports, and appraisals from a single location. “We can look at all of the critical data and identify where there are discrepancies, without the human stare and compare.” Rogers said. Lennar is also utilizing APIs, third-person webhooks, integrations, and bots to get the right data into the right system, without human intervention. Continues Rogers, “If we eliminate our margin of error, then our closing docs are correct, we’ll have fewer post-closing conditions, our loans are more salable to investors, and our title company is happier with us because they didn’t have to redraw documents.”

Lennar also used Encompass mortgage automation technology to lessen the load on closers. “Closing documents are complicated and it takes them a while to generate,” Rogers explained. “Instead of having our closers wait, with multiple screens open, we built a bot that took that process out of their role.” Now, instead of manually generating docs, Lennar’s closers simply check a box in Encompass, and everything is generated automatically. Said Rogers, “We saved about 10 minutes per loan, per closer, by eliminating a repetitive process and the waiting that went with it.”

American Pacific Mortgage

American Pacific Mortgage (APM) utilized Encompass automation software to streamline its to-be-determined (TBD) property underwrites, in which the lender issues a conditional approval with a dollar amount. “Within 24 hours, we can do an actual credit approval for a borrower, with a score that is also financially backed from an insurance policy from the provider, without ever having an underwriter touch that file,” said Michele Buschman, Senior Vice President, Information Systems, American Pacific Mortgage. “Basically, that one change gets a whole chunk of underwriting for purchase transactions taken care of.”

As part of their automation initiative, leadership at APM thought hard about ways to create change within their organization. As a lever of change management, they infused the environment with a culture of Kaizen, a Japanese business philosophy meaning “change for the better”. In the Kaizen world, every voice is heard: “We’re trying to get people to vocalize and come up with ideas on how one change or two changes to something they do every day could benefit the overall process,” Buschman said. “We’re creating a culture in which it’s okay to say, ‘We should do something different.’ You just have to encourage them to vocalize what they’re thinking; to recognize that they can be change makers—that innovation doesn’t only happen in the C-suite or in IT.”

Bringing a culture of automation to life

Each of these individual successes are part of a greater mission: transforming the traditional mortgage lending process. 

“The ultimate goal is making processes so efficient and well understood that you can start moving from the old assembly line process into one where every functional area can start doing things in parallel to shorten loan cycles,” said John Ashley, CIO, PRMG. “We want to get to the point where we are underwriting the loan as we’re taking the application.”

Creating a culture of automation is a process fueled by employee engagement, capitalizing on the victories, and recognizing that automation isn’t an IT initiative. In short, automation is a business initiative that benefits the entire organization. Said Ashley, “It becomes less about disruption, and more about continually finding a better way.”

Download Creating a Culture of Automation in Your Organization - Part 2, now.

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