How Are Today’s Borrowers Finding Their Lenders?

In our digital era, technology is often used to help lenders build a deeper and longer-lasting relationship with their clients that goes beyond the mortgage application process. Even when generating leads, technology can play a big role in delivering borrower communications that are both high-tech and human touch.

Ellie Mae’s recent lender and borrower insights surveys sought to uncover what’s most important to borrowers during the loan process and how lenders are truly performing based on borrower feedback. Per the survey findings, more than one-quarter (27%) of small lenders convert over 80% of their completed applications into closed loans, compared to 15% for larger lenders. By investing in digital mortgage solutions that allow for high-touch borrower communications, large lenders can also deliver the personalized approach offered by smaller institutions.

However, thoughtful communication is only part of the equation for lenders looking to boost their closed loan volume. Lenders must also have a robust pipeline and consistent follow-up from loan officers even before an application is submitted. According to the lender survey, the majority of lenders report that on average, 50% of online applications are started online, but never completed. It’s clear that lenders are leaving revenue on the table by not converting more leads into closed loans. By leveraging digital solutions that flag abandoned applications, and let loan officers operate on the go and outside of standard office hours, lenders can deliver more efficient communication with borrowers, better-manage pipelines and increase loan origination.

Lenders often rely on referral partners to generate new leads, indicating that 41% of prospects arrive through their referral partners channels. However, the borrower insights survey showed only 13% of borrowers found their lender through this source. In fact, 39% of today’s borrowers are finding their lenders online via a website or SEO, a channel which lenders report finding only 16% of new prospects.

With this in mind, it is prudent for lenders to spend more time and resources to stand out online and drive traffic to their websites. For example, by starting a blog and creating content that is valuable to borrowers, lenders can increase site visits and target specific keywords that can help drive referral traffic from search engines.

In addition to better online promotion, once a borrower finds your site, it’s critical that there is a clear conversion path to turn a site visitor into a lead, then into a completed application and financed loan. It’s no longer a tale of two separate mortgage experiences — online and offline or consumer direct and retail —  and loan officers have an important role to play in the online conversion process, regardless of lender size or channel.

Now explore the comprehensive survey results.

Check out our new “The Digital Mortgage Opportunity: A Perspective from Lenders and Buyers” eBook to discover all the survey findings and get actionable tips to help bridge the divide between homebuyer expectations and lender offerings.

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