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Articles

4 Reasons Mortgage Servicers Should Take Back Control of their Borrower Communications

BY Pam Mugford

The time has come for mortgage servicers to change their approach to borrower communications. They no longer need to be at the mercy of a print service provider’s schedule: today’s technology enables mortgage servicers to easily take back control of the borrower communications process. By bringing more of the borrower communications process in-house, mortgage servicers will save valuable time, cut costs, face noticeably less risk, and ultimately improve the borrower experience.

A shifting technological landscape enables a change in approach

Recent years have seen many types of business software advance to make it possible for business users to take on what was formerly only possible by technical experts. Software used to manage borrower communications is no exception, with today’s modern solutions empowering business users to create, edit, and manage complex, personalized customer communications largely independently from IT.

However, some mortgage servicers, or their service providers, are still tied to outdated legacy systems, which makes the entire process cumbersome and costly. In those situations, the content for borrower communications are authored by business teams – usually in Microsoft Word® or Excel® often with some pseudocode representing the business logic for some variations required to accommodate different state regulations or scenarios the communication is meant to support. Then the content is passed along to a programmer or the service provider who builds a template that incorporates the content, layout, and customer data to produce the finished product. If in-house expertise is lacking or if technical schedules are too crowded, the implementation of the finished communication is often outsourced to an entirely separate third-party print service provider (PSP). The process is costly and time-consuming and gets even more complex when multiple channels of communication are required.

But today’s mortgage servicers don’t need to rely on programmers or third-party PSPs to create or update their borrower communications. Much of the labor that was previously only possible with highly technical composition tools, such as creating layouts or applying targeting rules, can now all be accomplished by business teams using modern Software as a Service (SaaS) CCM solutions. Here are four reasons why now is the right time for mortgage servicers to take back control of their borrower communications process.

Reason 1 – Gaining control over communications creation and accelerate change cycles will save time and ensure compliance.

Mortgage servicers who rely on third-party PSPs can face lengthy delays in their process. Minimum turnaround times are often two weeks at best, and often run into timeframes of six weeks. Not only do mortgage teams have to wait for stakeholder approval for in-house draft creation, but they also have to wait for the PSP to schedule, code, and test the draft, then return a proof for final authorization. Any changes or tweaks to content only extend the process. This can pose a problem, especially if a change in regulations requires all mortgage servicers to create and send borrower communications at the same time. Depending on where you rank in the PSP’s queue, you might be waiting for your work to be scheduled. No mortgage servicer wants to be at risk of missing an important regulatory deadline.

Managing the entire process in-house using modern no-code SaaS solutions means that business teams can accelerate and control the entire process, from creation to proofing to testing. By leveraging a solution that empowers the business users with control over content, rules, layouts, proofing and testing without writing a line of code, teams can produce files that can be leveraged by their printing partner. This way, any updates or changes are implemented on the mortgage servicer’s schedule, not when the printer finds time to fit them in.

Reason 2 – Building a stronger, more cohesive digital experience strategy is the way forward.

Digital is the way of the future. It’s already evident that mortgage servicers who offer innovative digital experiences receive high marks from borrowers. Digital communication options are key when it comes to borrower satisfaction. The pressure is on mortgage servicers to digitally transform.

Flexibility is vital to mortgage servicers, who must constantly adapt to regulatory shifts. That flexibility will make it easier for mortgage servicers to go digital, where new technologies and channels will ensure a cohesive experience for borrowers.

Some third-party providers, including PSPs, position themselves as innovators with the latest and greatest software stack; the reality is their expertise still lies with traditional print and mail. Other digital-first sub-servicers have arisen. But working between both types of third parties leaves mortgage servicers managing channels in siloes. Borrower communications and content management becomes inefficient, fragmented, and prone to error with each channel handled by a separate implementation team.

Instead, mortgage servicers should seek solutions that enable them to centralize their content for all channels into a single cloud-based, omnichannel hub that powers every borrower communication touchpoint. Centralizing control of their content means they can re-use the same content across all channels, without the need to manage it in disparate, siloed systems and by different teams. This not only drives efficiency in managing and creating communications, but also ensures consistency and greatly reduces the risk of error and non-compliance. It also future-proofs mortgage servicers should they decide to add new communication channels later, since content stored in a cloud-based content hub can easily be shared to a new or different digital endpoint. It’s critical that these modern systems support both composed communications (such as letters, emails, documents) and content components that can be delivered to digital endpoints via APIs to support Web site and mobile app requirements.

Reason 3 – Having a risk-free disaster recovery plan is critical.

Some mortgage servicers operate under the requirement to have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place. They need to be able to move critical borrower communications over to another provider at a moments notice in emergency situations. For example, if their PSP is located in a city knocked out by a hurricane, they must be able to immediately pivot to another.

If the mortgage servicer is tied to the PSP’s sofware environment, technical composition templates, and production process, the handover during disaster recovery could be seriously delayed. The mortgage servicer would need their communications coded into the new printer’s composition tool. Then new composition templates would be created, then proofed and finally tested before they could be sent out. The time taken to transfer production from one PSP to another would interrupt the flow of communications to borrowers. If that were to happen, servicers could find themselves at risk of fines, since there are strict guidelines set by the CFPB for what must be communicated when, particularly during the loss mitigation cycle.

Instead, if mortgage servicers take control of the process with a cloud-based system, they would be able to switch between printers easily and produce print-ready files on their own. In the event of a hurricane or other major disruption, the process of transferring from one printer to another would be as simple as entering a new email address.

Reason 4 – Bringing processes in-house would allow you to spend less on printing and images

It’s a simple truth that bears repeating: less time spent managing borrower communications, including authoring, approving, proofing, and testing – and the time and effort spent to ensure widespread silos are performing consistently — means fewer dollars spent too. But labour is not the only cost savings mortgagers can expect when moving borrower communications in-house.

Before documents can be produced, either as a printed letter or for a digital channel, an image of that document must first be created. PSPs charge mortgage servicers a fee for every image created. A small fee, usually a fraction of a cent, but those fees add up quickly given the quantity of communications sent to borrowers. By managing borrower communication content in-house, mortgage servicers would be able to produce their own images for both print and digital channels instead of paying a third-party a flat fee per image. With multiple channels and many communications, mortgage servicers would likely realize considerable cost savings over a comparatively short time.

This is particularly true when using a modern solution that enables mortgage servicers to target content to recipients based on state. Borrowers often receive communications with an additional one to two pages attached that cover all the various state level disclosure requirements, instead of just seeing the disclosure relevant for their region. With a modern SaaS CCM solution, the servicer can get the right content to the right recipient, saving on not only printing costs, but image costs as well.

Time for change

Mortgage servicers who continue to rely on third-party PSPs to manage borrower communications for them risk being left behind by more technologically adept and forward-thinking mortgage servicers who do not. This is especially true if those third-parties use outdated technology and processes. It’s time for mortgage servicers to reduce their risks and costs by taking back control of their borrower communications process.

Today’s technology makes it possible for mortgage servicers to fully manage their borrower communications process internally. By bringing the entire borrower communications process in-house, from authoring all the way to production, mortgage servicers can lower costs, reduce operational risk, and set themselves up for a thriving digital future.

Contact us to learn how Messagepoint can help mortgage servicers take control of borrower communications.

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