Automation & technology

Episode 1: Get to know your borrowers when every loan matters


From the series:
What borrowers want series with Shred Media

Rates are up. Volume is down. Winning every potential borrower is more important than ever. Are you delivering the experience they prefer? In this new series, we’re sitting down with industry leaders from ICE Mortgage Technology® to discuss the latest insight into borrower expectations. In episode one, we’re joined by Sara Holtz, VP of Demand Marketing and Communications at ICE Mortgage Technology, to share an overview of their 2023 Borrower Insights Survey. Tune in to learn how borrower preferences have evolved over the past year and what lenders need to do to deliver an exceptional experience and drive repeat business in a shifting market.

Download ICE Mortgage Technology’s free “What Borrowers Want” eBook to access more valuable data.

What is up, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Shred Show. I am so excited to be sharing a brand new series with all of you in partnership with Ice Mortgage Technologies. And it could not be more timely because this series is all about what borrowers want and truly, how to get to know your borrowers when every loan matters. Ladies and gentlemen, we know it. Rates are up, volume is down, winning every single potential borrower, every single deal.

Is more important than ever Are you delivering the experience that they prefer? In this new series we're sitting down with the best of the best leaders from ICE Mortgage Technology and we're discussing these insights in the borrower expectations and of course in episode one who could be better than the one the only Sarah Holt, VP of Demand Marketing and Communications at ICE Mortgage Technology to share an overview of a of the survey that they did a 2023 survey.

All around Borrower Insights, TuneIn and Learn what borrowers want, what their preferences are and what lenders need to be doing right now to deliver an exceptional experience and continue to win repeat business. Ladies and gentlemen, Are you ready? Are you ready? It is time to shred.

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning and welcome to the Shred Show. I cannot tell you how excited I am to truly have one of the best, one of the brightest, one of the absolute incredible leaders of the mortgage industry, Sarah Holtz, hanging out with me this morning. And like I mentioned, Sarah, we are launching a brand new series called What Borrowers Want and I could not think of a more timely time to be launching it. We're the beginning of April. The market is crazy and we want to serve our community. We want to help all of our mortgage family out there continue to do well.

And you and the mortgage, our ICE mortgage team have put together a brilliant survey and I cannot wait to dive into it before we do. How are you, my dear? Hi. I'm fine, Josh. Thanks for having me again. Now, I think we're starting to make a habit out of this. And I love coming on the show. I'm so grateful for you and what you're doing for the industry. So thanks for having me.

You are far too kind. I I know the community all everybody in the industry loves hearing from you. You always have so much value to share and this is just one of those opportunities. Again, the ICE mortgage technology team has come together and they have based, they literally put together an ebook which we're going to be talking about into borrower insights. So tell us a little bit about what borrowers want and the survey behind all of this.

Yeah, absolutely. So I do feel pretty passionate about this. You may see some of that come through in my former life, which we've talked about before, I actually was a marketer for a credit union. And so it's intrinsically built in you to help members when you're part of a credit union. And that definitely carries through now as marketing for ICE in the ways that we're able to help our customers with technology and help get more borrowers and homeowners into homes.

And so as part of that, you know coming out of the pandemic, we know technology is necessary. We know borrowers expect it, but how and where And it certainly isn't a replacement of people. And now is the perfect time even with the market as it is to take a look for lenders to take a look at what their process is and where they're implementing technology, what they currently have that they could leverage more and optimize and what they might need in terms of gaps.

So then on the flip side, you also have we're in the purchase market right now because of the high rates for refinance and the purchase market is complex and the process is emotional, right. Rates are up. In fact, I checked today, it was in 7% for 30 year. Fixed volumes down and borrower emotions, you know, are a factor in this. So we're at a perfect storm. We're winning every borrower, every potential borrower matters.

And it's more important than ever for our lenders. And so how do, how do we look at that, How do we do that? Well, we think understanding and knowing what borrowers want is the first step. And so we partnered in a third party survey that asked really pointed questions about what borrowers are looking for in the process. And one thing allowed is keep in mind because two years from now every borrower you're working with now is going to look to refi.

And you want to be the first person they call. So it's even more important than ever to have that great experience. This is something you mentioned so many key points in there, Sarah, that I really like the human emotion. Like sometimes I think we discredit that in this survey really is one of those things that it it makes us think about that. It's like you know what right now more than ever, like you said, that is such something. We hear the word experience a lot in the industry. It's almost become one of those like.

Just a soft word if you will, that every's thrown around, but it truly matters. The emotion like and I'm so glad you mentioned emotion because it really is an emotional roller coaster buying a house, especially with rates where they are, people are like, Oh my gosh, what is going on? They're so used to the years of past like, oh, incredibly low interest rates. But now it's educating our borrowers, really understanding these things that again you guys have put together for all of our industry professionals to really help them out. And recently you guys released the What Borrowers Want.

Ebook all of you can go. We're gonna put a link below. Go get a copy of this ebook cuz it's going to help you when you guys are free. It's free it intentionally to help our customers. So it's yes. So go get a copy all of you. You want to get a copy of this because again, it's going to help you understand what borrowers want. And I have to ask Sarah, as you and the team are putting this together, were there any results that surprised you as you were doing this?

The two things really surprised me, particularly in the results. First, I was really surprised at the difference in response for what I like to call. And you're gonna laugh when I say this because you just used the word but experienced mortgage borrowers, so those who've had, you know, 456 mortgages in their life versus those who've only taken out one to two or this is their first time.

There was a huge difference in what they expected in terms of technology and in person interaction. And I don't think we've seen that in the past, primarily because we're past the pandemic where people realize the digital options that were available to them. But also we get really caught up in the genic the Gen. X, Millennial Gen. Z, etc.

And it didn't matter when it came to how many mortgages somebody had taken out. If they had taken out more than four or five, they wanted a particular experience that came through. Then I mentioned the millennials, Gen. Z, etcetera. The thing we have to remember and this surprised me completely and also made me feel kind of old, is that millennial for this survey in this year is actually age 27 to 42.

Which is what a gap of life experiences. And so I don't think it's right for us as an industry to generalize that all millennials want a particular experience when you have that much life going on for that category. And so there was some deep dives we did into that data that I think were surprising that that's so. And again, I want everybody to remember what I just said and what Sarah's talking about this experience, this word of experience, I I think we just have lost sight of what it actually means and this survey is exactly.

Experiences, everything like you mentioned this, this millennial gap, they want an experience. Even the older demographics want an experience. So it's up to us to create a memorable one. It's up to us to really to get get to what their needs are. And and so I'm so excited and I, I love the word experience. I think it's truly one of those things that we again we we have been so transactionally based there in this industry for so long.

And it's like, OK, let's focus on this is the new, this is what people are now wanting. They're wanting that experience, They're wanting to enjoy it and it can be, it could be a difficult experience as they go through it. So give us a few sneak peeks, if you will. What are some of the key takeaways that you found as you guys put this entire survey together? So as you saw, there's a ton of insight. So there is way too much for us to talk about today. However, I will highlight a few things. So one, flexibility.

Absolutely matters. We talk a lot about affordability, lending and how to get more people into home ownership. There's also different things about different types of loans, different types of down payment options. Now 53% of our respondents named flexible loan options as the most important reason they were financing a mortgage or looking for a lender and 85% of millennials in that.

Indicated flexible down payment and loan options is most important compared to 70% of what we call boomers. So flexibility was huge. Savings was another thing that came out. So you're looking at 2/3 of our respondents saying that saving money overall.

Was one of the most important options when financing their their mortgage. And when you look at that and you kind of go into what that actually looks like, 90% of boomers said rates were the driving factor for saving money, but only 42% of millennials and Gen. Z said rates were that factor. So savings comes in a lot of different, you know ways and how you can help somebody save money through the mortgage and then.

Education was another huge thing that came out, and this one's a passion project for a lot of people in the industry. Because 73% of renters believe that owning a home is beyond their reach, 73 percent, 50% of those renters think you would need more than 10% of a down payment. We know there's programs to address down payments, and 50% of renters also would be more likely to purchase a home if there were programs.

That addressed high home prices or interest rates. And we know some of the regulation that's coming out is to help people get into homes. Imagine you educating potential borrowers how much business that would also drive for you and of course, with the passion and purpose of putting more people into home ownership. And then I'll give one final bonus stat for this highlight reel is that 1/3 of current homeowners plan to take out a home equity product loan this year.

As you say a little, a little insight there, There's some some things to come for sure. And again, that's what this survey is all about. It's giving you the insights, It's giving you all the results that you guys have found, which again is so incredibly helpful to all of us mortgage professionals, all you listening out there. This ebook is completely designed to help you to give you these insights. And I want to even give a sneak peek myself because you mentioned we don't have time to go over this entire ebook today. But that's what this entire series about what borrowers want, we're going to be bringing on other leaders from around.

On ice mortgage technology and we're going to be deep diving into a lot of these segments and one of those things that you even mentioned, I want to kind of double click if you will, dive a little bit deeper into technology and human interaction cuz you mentioned technology a little bit earlier. What do we need to know about how to leverage technology and and really that person to person, when does making that person to person connection actually matter most?

So this is a huge topic and there's, you know, I'm very excited for the episode that dives into this topic on your show. I'll say two things in that for today. One is that we absolutely found that technology has a critical role to play when it comes to convenience, speed and a process that feels easy to borrowers.

So I like to say insert, don't make me upload it again, right. And so when you have like for example what what people are looking for is the technology in the back end of the process as we at ICE like to

say. So automated underwriting things that can help you in the process part of the mortgage ecosystem.

But this is still the biggest financial decision a person is going to make or one of them. For me, it's been the biggest that a person's going to make in their lifetime. And so the human element cannot be discarded and really technology has to augment and supplement your human interaction with the person. And so 45% of millennials expect their mortgage lender to have flexibility to work with them digitally and in person and 60% of borrowers.

Say they want their recent mortgage experience to have been easy, but 30 percent, 36% of that only said that it was a good online digital experience. So there's a huge gap in how we're leveraging technology in terms of that with that human interaction. And so that's the biggest thing I think to take and we're going to deep dive into that more. So we'll we'll go into to more what that means.

But for now what I would reiterate to lenders, you know listening is to really understand that the technology is critical when it comes to the parts of the process that you don't need to be present for your borrowers and human interaction is still a critical component of the process.

Oh, Sarah's out here dropping bombs, ladies and gentlemen. She's sharing the real This is what I like to hear. Technology is a tool. We need it. It can be. It can help really streamline the experience that we're talking about. But that person, the person, that human interaction is still a critical piece. With all the talk of AI and Chachi, BT and all these things going on, it's like, oh, the world is becoming automated. But Sir, as Sarah, just drop with us, that human interaction is more uncritical than ever. And in today's market, and we've been talking.

About this or creating a great experience especially during the loan process, how is it helping drive repeat business? Did you guys uncover any insights when it comes to lenders and how they can provide really that experience to create loyalty within their borrowers? So I love this question, great question. Thank you for asking it. The thing that we have to remember is right now it's every borrower matters, volumes down, let's get the business, let's be successful.

But in the very fact that rates are what they at are at, as I kind of mentioned in two years or even less somebody is going to be refinancing to get that rate down. And what the survey showed is that 78% of people who've recently taken out a mortgage in the last two to three years who are going to be your potential borrower, right 78% of them consider no more than two lending institutions now.

Who do you think one of those is going to be, the one they went to before. So the experience you're giving somebody now is actually generating repeat business for you to make them a customer for life, which at ICE is one of the things like Tim talked about it at our ICE experience. Again, that seems to be the word of the day and you know he talked about it as being a very critical component for what our team is trying to do is create that customer for life.

The other thing that we found in this which is super interesting is 63% of borrowers were referred to their most recent lender from a friend or family member or their realtor. So you're looking at referral business, which means somebody was happy with what you did and so they're referring you to somebody else or repeat business because their experience was so great. So this, this really had some great insight into how to set it up for the future for our lenders.

I think this is such incredible and especially right now because so many people and you and I have seen this as some of the events we've been to so many especially mortgage professionals right now they want to go get the new business and they forget about the old, the old. That #63% is like referral repeat business that is huge. We have to stop forgetting about those people that again as long as we've created the as our buzzword of the day is an amazing experience for our past clients and even current clients.

We're gonna get new opportunities, we're gonna get that referral which is way more important, which we all know that's what we all want. We always want that new referral. So this is such incredible insights and now again more timely than ever, especially as we just we just got half or just got done with the first quarter of the year going into the spring, now's the time to be focusing on these things.

Sarah, as we start, as we start to kind of wrap this up here, like I've mentioned it and both of you or both you and I have talked about is we're just diving into this, that we're going to continue to deep dive through this entire series. We're going to deep dive into so many of these things that we've talked about. But to kind of wrap things up for today, what advice do you give to all of our mortgage family, all the mortgage professionals out there who are trying to reach more borrowers, who are trying to close more business, especially right now? So I would break that down into three pieces of advice.

The first is when you know right now we're about to launch our virtual experience. So for those who weren't able to attend ICE experience back in late February, I do recommend if they're our customer that they take advantage of what we do for virtual experience. And if you're not our customer to be able to access, please become our customer and then you can access.

The second piece that I would say is download this ebook and take a take a look for yourself right. Only you know what your martak, your Martec stack looks like to be able to say, OK we've got this relevant data and how do we match now what we know these different segments of people want with what we are able to offer now and you're of course team is analyzing where they might have gaps for the future.

And then the final part that I actually recommend for every loan officer and this of course also comes back from my, from my days working directly with those home borrowers is ask I would say to every loan officer if you're not asking what their mortgage experience is and what their expectations are

individually in terms of how many times they want to be contacted, where they feel the technology would be convenient for them.

You're missing an opportunity to a know how to deliver a great experience but be really connect and make that relationship with your borrower. And I think the value of knowing that mortgage experience is now a thing like people who I mean think about investment properties, multiple homes, refinances, I mean we have people who've taken out five to seven mortgages. They're pretty experienced in the process. I would want to know that if I was going to, if I was working with the potential borrower.

These are absolutely brilliant. And again, that's why these insights, all this data is incredibly important. You, you and the ICE Mortgage technology team have put this together for us as industry professionals so that we can ensure that we're delivering on that experience. Every experience matters right now, Sarah, and that's exactly what you and I are talking about and that's what this ebook is specifically designed for. And that's why in these future upcoming episodes, we're going to be diving deeper with the leaders of ICE Mortgage Technology.

Some of the executives are going to be bringing on. We're going to be focused on focusing on what borrowers want. So stay tuned. We're going to be talking about flexibility like you talked about, about cost savings, about technology, about the human interaction and so many more additional resources that you are not going to want to miss out on so you can continue to become that trusted partner for all home buyers in the future. Sarah, this has been incredibly insightful as all you always do, such an amazing time, every time. I again the community loves Sarah. They're like Sarah. Sarah.

No, thank you for that. That's great. But really it's just the passion I feel you know it's we say every borrower matters and we you talk about that in the in the vein of the market now and we made it till now before my dog started barking. So that's awesome. But really The thing is, is that every borrower always matters.

And for for every borrower getting into a home or or securing their home right through a refinance is why we do what we do and it's certainly is what drives me. And so you'll see that passion and both helping people that I work with. I have an amazing team, I love working with that team and then also helping lenders and helping the home borrower. So I appreciate the the comments you're making, but it's coming from that, from a place of really wanting to to help and change an industry and and be part of an industry.

What an incredible way. You gave me goosebumps there. So your passion comes through like that's it is. You can see it from you the way that you have shared everything today to everything your team does, that ice mortgage technology. You're truly focused on serving this industry. So thank you to you and your team for putting out this incredible ebook, ladies and gentlemen. Like we mentioned, click the link below so you can get your free copy of this today so you truly can go out and serve your borrowers better and create the experience that they are wanting. Ladies and gentlemen, huge shout out to Sarah Holtz in the entire ice Mort.

Technology team, This has been absolutely incredible and we can't wait to deep dive and future episodes on what borrowers want. Until then, we hope you all continue to shred, show up, hustle, repeat every day. See ya.


Information contained in this audio was obtained in part from publicly sources and not independently verified. Neither ICE Mortgage Technology nor its affiliates, make any representations or warranties, express or implied as to the accuracy or completeness of the information and do not sponsor, approve or endorse any of the content herein. All of which is presented solely for informational and educational purposes. Nothing herein constitutes an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy any security or a recommendation of any security or trading practice. Some portions of the preceding conversation may have been edited for the purpose of length or clarity.

Read more from The Connection Point

Data and analytics  

How Waterstone Mortgage became a mortgage data champion

Automation & technology  

Unlock scalability and innovation with mortgage automation

Data and analytics  

Unlocking the power of mortgage data: Proven use cases from industry leaders

Be the first to see new content

Receive updates when we release new articles, industry conversations and more.