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The emergence of new and varied lenders over the past several years has driven competition in the mortgage market to new heights. And while, since the second quarter of 2020, there has continued to be plenty of origination and refinance activity to go around, lenders need to prepare for volume to level off. Those who will prevail in the crowded field, continuing to win new borrowers and increase loyalty among their current clientele, will be those who understand what consumers want and deliver it seamlessly.
How competitive will the market become? Well, let’s look at how willing consumers are to move from one lender to another as new needs emerge. The April 2021 ServiceLink State of Homebuying Report reveals that only 43 percent of homeowners would first consider their current lender when planning to refinance. About 30 percent say they’re not sure who they would use, and 28 percent say they would use a new provider. There’s clearly a lot of room for lenders to strengthen loyalty among these homeowners, as well as a lot of potential to pick up new customers who aren’t all that committed to their current lenders.
With consumers so open to exploring new financial partners, differentiating your brand and offering is essential. Instant title can be that differentiator, as it helps you create an extraordinary customer experience that builds loyalty and new business.
How Instant Title Changes the Game
While many lenders have acknowledged the potential value of instant title to streamlining their internal processes, few have as yet recognized the dramatic positive impact it can have on a borrower. EXOS® Title, for example, enables lenders to deliver instant clear-to-close title commitments that help get the borrower to the closing table faster. This is an important point of difference, based on consumers’ desire for a faster mortgage process. Fully half of the homeowners surveyed for the ServiceLink report said speed was an important factor in their refinance process. In fact, speed was one of the top three factors (besides a lower rate) respondents said they look for in a refinance partner.
Empowering borrowers to engage in the process is important, too. For example, EXOS Title provides the borrower with the option of scheduling their closing immediately, from their own mobile device. Given that 83 percent of respondents said they were at least somewhat likely to self-schedule their closing appointment if the option were available to them, smart lenders will strive to engage them by providing that option.
Overall, EXOS Title enables you to provide borrowers with a quick commitment, set their expectations for the timeline and empower them through technology to engage in the process. “Consumers often become frustrated because they don’t know what to expect; a lack of visibility leaves them feeling like they don’t know what’s going on as the process moves forward,” says Sandeepa Sasimohan, assistant vice president, ServiceLink. “When the lender is able to set expectations, by telling the borrower the process is expected to take a specific number of days, for example, that’s tremendously helpful to the consumer and a huge win for the lender.”
Data Quality Is Critical
Although speed is what typically attracts lenders to embrace instant title, Phillip Petrie, Vice President, Product Development, ServiceLink, points out the importance of the quality of the data.
“With instant title, you’re leveraging alternate methods to produce a title decision instantly as opposed to relying on more traditional methods that take much more time,” says Petrie. “This requires having the right technology, reliable data sources and title fulfillment capabilities on the back end to ensure nothing was missed.”
Adds Sasimohan, “The industry as a whole is trying to move into the instant title space, but lenders really need to ask about the quality of the data that’s being delivered. We’re all racing toward the same goal, but the methodologies we’re using to get there—whether technologies, processes or risk assessments—is where ServiceLink stands apart. We’re setting a new standard by focusing on title-grade data as our primary source, meaning the data is more accurate and more aligned toward the true condition of the title.”
ServiceLink’s technological advantage includes its use of proprietary localized machine learning rules and logic, natural language processing and OCR technology, which facilitate instant title searches and policy production. Cloud-based automation engines access millions of previously examined parcels of land, which can eliminate the need for reworks and post-closing claims processing. The end result is standard ALTA title commitments and final policies that meet lender and secondary guidelines.
ServiceLink has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in innovation and spent 10 years perfecting and connecting EXOS Title. “We developed instant title capabilities a decade ago, but it has taken time for data providers to build their repositories—millions and millions of data records—and invest in their technology,” Petrie explained. “The sheer volume of data they’ve had to accumulate and digitize, along with the need for national coverage, has made this a massive undertaking. But today, we have many years of data available to us electronically; that expands the potential and scope of instant commitments exponentially.”
The Support of the Nation’s Largest Title Provider
In addition to delivering speed and transparency, a lender’s title services provider should also help them instill confidence in their borrowers. ServiceLink can provide such assistance with its EXOS Title solution.
For starters, ServiceLink and Fidelity National Financial, the United States’ leading provider of title insurance and settlement services to the mortgage industry, collaborated on the development of one of the industry’s first instant title offerings. This product was built on ServiceLink’s foundation of more than 50 years of title experience. Since its creation, EXOS Title has been used to process millions of transactions for the nation’s top real estate lenders.
“Title services providers tend to have either the technology or the industry knowledge. ServiceLink is unique in that we have this great mix of technology and national underwriting supporting all of our decisions,” says Sasimohan. “Our lender partners know that we understand the business and are evaluated by a national underwriter. We provide a level of assurance, and a scope of coverage, that smaller title partners simply can’t.”
In addition, ServiceLink provides a level of service that goes above and beyond its peers in the field. Dedicated client teams provide each lender with a consistent point of contact and ensure that workflows are customized to meet any particular needs. Proactive transaction-level reporting helps ensure that borrowers’ expectations are met or exceeded. And ServiceLink continually monitors volumes, market nuances and industry trends to consistently deliver the most valuable products and services to lender partners.
Explore EXOS Title
Today’s borrowers want to work with a lender with the technology and insight to close fast, meet their desire for self-service and provide transparency throughout the mortgage process. Partnering with ServiceLink can provide you with the support you need. EXOS Title can help you close more loans, faster, whether volume is up or down. It is one of the industry’s longest-standing, most trusted instant title products, and it now includes the option for immediate digital closing scheduling, clearing the way to the closing table.
Want to learn more about EXOS Title? Discover all that ServiceLink’s instant title solution has to offer.