Digitizing mortgage servicing with a "people first" approach


Servicing is complex. It’s almost as wide-reaching a field as medicine when you break it down into its many granular details. Seeing it in that light, you get an idea of not only how many disciplines servicing covers, but also how much expertise each discipline requires.

Bankruptcy demands a different skill set than foreclosure, which is different from collections, and so on. The deep technical knowledge required at nearly every juncture of the long-term servicing relationship invites opportunities for snags, complications and slowdowns. However, it doesn’t need to be that way – ICE is actively moving servicing forward through digitization of the consumer experience and streamlining back-office operations.

Technology built for the bigger picture

Mortgage technology providers work to help servicers digitize their processes and make day-to-day tasks simpler, but that isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. You can put the most incredible technology, the slickest user interface, the easiest-to-use solution in the hands of the consumer, but without streamlining all those complex operations on the back end of the process, it just won’t be effective.

There are two sides to the servicing equation—the front-end customer experience and the back-end employee experience—and servicers need to think about both. Their mortgage-holder customers want – and need – tools and education to help them more easily navigate the homebuying and ownership process. With the right tools and back-end integrations, servicers can give clarity to consumers on everything from the full cost of homeownership to non-traditional income sources that can be used towards a home purchase.

But the simple fact is that none of that can happen without automating processes in the back office and providing servicer employees with the necessary capabilities to effectively handle every point of the consumer journey. It may be a simple fact, but it is an inordinately difficult task to accomplish.

The goal is to satisfy both sides of the equation with integrated technology, while making servicing simpler for everyone involved.

Digitizing from the outside in

Key to our vision for servicing (and the mortgage industry as a whole) is improving the experience of the American consumer, throughout the entire homebuying and ownership life cycle. One way we get there is by making the interactions along the customer journey central to product design and development, and mapping it from their point of view. You can’t do this without digitizing servicing from the outside in.

You start with the customer in mind, but the development work isn’t done until you bring the same level of convenience to those working in the back office. Each side of the equation should be a mirror for the other. If you’re offering your customers self-service options, for example, loan officer teams and customer service representatives also need a view into those capabilities so they can proactively offer support as needed. Everything should work in harmony.

Engineering with empathy

Some software developers think it’s just about the code, but at ICE we take an empathy-driven approach, which means we think about the end user first, before a single line of code has been written. Truly impactful technology is designed to integrate with people’s real-life journeys, and to provide easy assistance at any point along the way.

For example, our Servicing Digital solution lets borrowers who are facing challenges making their monthly mortgage payments self-initiate hardship assistance requests to their servicer at any time. The homeowner can ask any sensitive questions in privacy, authorize an income analysis, and even upload and review required documents. This is proactive support – the homeowner doesn’t yet need to be in default to leverage these services. Rather, say they’ve recently lost their job and are concerned about their future ability of paying their mortgage. They can connect with their servicer in the moment to understand the options available to them.

At ICE, we strive to help people achieve – and then maintain – the dream of homeownership. The homeowner is central to every efficiency we bring to servicers, and lenders, real estate agents, settlement service providers, and so on. And what we’ve found is that when you approach solutions development from a place of empathy and act with integrity, you can be proud of the impact you’re having on people’s lives. As an industry, we all want to help more Americans become homeowners and stay homeowners, and the best way to make that happen is with the thoughtful use of proven technology.

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