Automation & Technology
How to build a culture of innovation and automation
Author: Keri Rogers, SVP, Strategic Planning at Lennar Mortgage
Shift your workflow into overdrive
Maximizing margins is always top of mind for mortgage professionals. We’re constantly looking for new ways to drive efficiency, do more with less, and keep borrowers happy and engaged. This is no small feat! Recently, I’ve noticed an industry-wide shift toward how we approach day-to-day activities in the mortgage workflow. The secret sauce here is automation. It’s rapidly transforming the efficiency of skilled associates and driving significantly better borrower experiences.
For Lennar Mortgage, automation is at the center of everything. For instance, we organically began tasking things out using automation and RPA bots to complete tasks that humans used to do. Now, with the help of ICE Mortgage Technology, we’re transitioning to a more sophisticated, automated, and task-based workflow model. This enables us to easily orchestrate, delegate, and automate the completion of tasks across any user, at any stage of the loan lifecycle, at any time. We can now complete tasks across multiple stages in parallel, within tailored workspaces that contain everything a user needs to do their job. And you can too!
A major driver for our adoption of task-based workflow automation was to help our employees. When bringing in new people, the amount of training necessary can be overwhelming. Getting new employees up to speed is much more efficient with the help of automation tools. Using a task-based workflow, our associates can master specific tasks over time, instead of having to quickly learn an entire job at once. Automation also allows us to dedicate our skilled associates to the tasks best suited to them, and helps them learn new tasks that can take them to the next level of their job.
Another automation driver was the shift to remote workplaces. The events of 2020 demanded this shift, and it’s now our new normal. With this change, however, we’ve identified new challenges that weren’t evident in the office-centered workplace. Transparency is more important now than ever before. Productivity is also key, and we can leverage automation through a task-based workflow to measure how remote workers are performing (for instance, the time it takes to complete a task, number of tasks completed per day, etc.). Automation is clearly the way to go, and is a pretty easy sell from operations and leadership standpoints, especially when going remote.
Introducing automation into the mortgage workflow
When implementing mortgage workflow automation, we started with operations. This includes leveraging the new Encompass task-based workflow to bring our automation strategy and vision to life. We can quickly pivot on work that needs to be done and prioritize tasks. For example, depending on the volume of loans closing at month-end, a group of associates can focus solely on appraisal reviews, instead of the entire process. Automation gives us the flexibility to do that.
What it really comes down to is data, and how we use it. To streamline mortgage loan workflow, lenders need to understand the big tasks, when they need to happen, who will do what, what has been completed, and any new tasks that may be driven by the outcomes of previous tasks. Managing and deciphering all of this information is very difficult. Using an automated task-based workflow allows us to easily gather this data, and instantly know which tasks have been completed and by whom. By making this shift, we’re gaining confidence, accountability, and answers.
Leave no task behind
We’re always looking for new ways to automate, and every metric counts in our quest to optimize our workflow. Even eliminating a 30-second process in every loan can equate to huge volume savings. By integrating the Encompass task-based workflow with our existing automation tools (such as RPA bots), we can now streamline many tasks, including:
- Automated delivery and retrieval of initial disclosures
- Automated delivery of appraisals to borrowers
- Real-time data monitoring to determine when closing docs might need to be redrawn and other critical actions
- Building a closing doc bot, which generates and sends closing docs to borrowers
Using technology to streamline these tasks effectively reduces our team’s workload by half. This enables them to be more efficient and remain focused on what’s most important – our customers.
Join the automation nation
So, how do you start your own automation journey? First, don’t try to over-engineer this out of the gate. You’ll need to build a clear and thoughtful strategy and timeline, according to your existing SLAs and workflow. Start at the highest level, and identify the big tasks that must get done on every loan. Granular levels of logic can come after figuring out those big pieces, and after you’ve shifted your organization’s way of thinking toward this new solution. Moving to an automated, task-based workflow can be a big lift, but the benefits quickly make any challenges worthwhile.
Learn more about how automation is helping lenders do more with less effort by joining the ICE Mortgage Technology AI meets HI Community.