4 of our own home lending stories amidst the pandemic
Over the past few months, our homes became our shelters against an invisible health threat, our offices, and our kids’ schools. Our makeshift bar for virtual happy hours. Our gyms, restaurants, hair salons, therapist office, and personal bakeries. It became the base of everything. Separate areas for work, learning, and relaxation are increasingly important while stuck at home.
To better understand how the pandemic is affecting home lending on a personal level, we sat down with four Roostify employees who went through home buying and refinancing processes during the early days of COVID-19.
Moving from coast to coast
A move from San Francisco to Boston would be stressful at any time, but when Gina Roffo, Senior Director of Marketing, made the journey, COVID-19 created month-long shipping delays. With social-distancing mandates in place across the country and bank lobbies closed, the process of getting a mortgage could have been incredibly frustrating.
Fortunately, Gina worked with TD Bank, a Roostify customer that had digitized its mortgage experience before the pandemic, allowing Gina to complete her entire application online. She communicated efficiently with her loan officer and checked her loan status and tasks online and on-the-go, making the transcontinental move much less stressful.
By the end of the move, getting the mortgage was the easiest part of the process — much easier than working with a moving company. With just two and a half weeks from application to close, Gina got her dream home seamlessly, even with the pandemic and cross-country complications.
Getting a mortgage while on vacation
Ashley Burnstad, Head of People, didn’t feel comfortable going into a crowded bank branch to apply for a mortgage during the pandemic. At the same time, she wanted the option to converse with her loan officer when she had questions about the process. So, she was pleasantly surprised to learn she could complete the entire process online, even as she and her partner were traveling across Montana by car.
Due to some delays, Ashley had to meet with a notary and sign paperwork on top of her car’s trunk under the blue Montana sky. She was able to communicate with her loan officer via text, which saved time for other stages of the process. The experience wasn't exactly what she would have expected from her first time getting a mortgage, but the digital tools available made the experience a positive one.
Refinancing with a new lender
When the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates at the beginning of the pandemic, Raj Wagh, Senior Implementation Manager, immediately saw the opportunity to save money on his monthly payments.
Compared with his past experiences refinancing, the process this time around was slower, taking almost two full months to complete. Raj’s credit union was slammed with refinance requests, and its loan officers were still relying on paper-based documentation. Although he could review some of the paperwork electronically, Raj had to sign physical copies of his disclosures and closing documents. His long-standing relationship with his lender kept him from going to another lender, but he was surprised that many parts of the process still hadn’t been digitized.
Building a new home for a growing family
Tasia Johnson, Client Success Manager, had been through the process of building a new home before, but this time she was doing so during a pandemic and with a new baby on the way. The build began in September of 2019, and Tasia expected to close on the mortgage in May 2020. That said, in contrast to our other stories, Tasia’s lender had a less digitized experience.
As the pandemic reached a peak in Arizona, Tasia’s intended closing date of May 24th drew closer. Unfortunately, she didn’t know that the bank had told her loan officer that there was no way the mortgage would close before June 1st. That communication got lost with everything going on with no centralized digital portal for loan information.
Thanks to some swift maneuvering at the bank, Tasia’s loan officer managed to close the loan on May 29 — just five days after the projected date. The builder was understanding of the delay, but Tasia and her family had to spend five days in a hotel and endure a few nail-biting moments. In the end, they were able to rent out their previous home and move in before the new baby arrived. But the whole experience was a bit too close for comfort.
Roostify supports lenders and mortgage consumers
As we can tell from these stories, it stands, without question, that an end-to-end digital mortgage experience benefits lenders and consumers alike. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly exacerbated and illuminated some of the gaps created by poorly implemented or missing digital experiences. Digital Mortgage Platforms (DLPs) increase pull-through rates, keep consumers engaged, and introduce productivity gains; which is more important than ever with distributed workforces and increased volumes. Consumers get to enjoy a much more intuitive, transparent experience keeping stress levels low in an already challenging time.
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