Mortgage Lenders Say Staff Safety, Supply Chain Disruption Are Biggest Pandemic Challenges

Mortgage lenders said their biggest challenges due to the pandemic include the health and safety of their staff, supply chain disruptions and a lack of clarity on loan eligibility and forbearance programs, according to a new report by Fannie Mae that surveyed more than 250 senior mortgage executives.

Among institutions originating mortgage loans, health and safety of staff was cited by 20% of respondents as their biggest pandemic-related challenge and 18% said getting clarifications from secondary-market investors on loan eligibility guidelines was their top challenge. “There is so much information to review and convey to employees. Policies need to be changed daily to keep up,” a mid-sized respondent said.

Other top origination challenges included liquidity issues, supply chain disruptions and having adequate capacity to handle inquiries and update borrowers on their origination status. Among loan servicers, understanding and navigating post-forbearance options and gaining clarifications on forbearance programs were the biggest challenges.

Banks reported that due to COVID-19, the use of digital products such as video, online applications and electronic verification in the mortgage process has increased. The use of video meetings has increased significantly for 33% of respondents and 32% said online applications have increased significantly. Electronic verification increased somewhat for 58% of those surveyed and 33% said online chat increased somewhat.