The Smart Lender's Guide to Modernizing Home Equity
Today, home equity customers expect digital experiences that offer the same intuitive design and seamless functionality of the consumer apps they use every day.
When lenders start looking beyond the point of sale toward solutions that comprise a holistic view of each borrower, they are able to design meaningful experiences that satisfy their borrowers. They turn customers into lifelong fans, unlocking new sales opportunities and sustainable lifetime value.
However, most organizations lack the in-house resources to build their own solutions. And, truth be told, not every digital lending platform on the market can promise that.
If you want to digitize the home equity lending process, below are seven important questions to ask a potential vendor. Download our guide to quickly assess if a vendor meets your basic needs early on in the vetting process.
1. How do you approach data security?
These days, it can seem like every time you read the news there’s a fresh story about companies mishandling their customers’ private data. In fact, the number of significant data breaches - those impacting 100,000 or more people - is rising fast.
According to Forbes, businesses suffered 50% more cyberattack attempts in 2021 compared to 2020, with ransomware being the leading type of attack. This period saw massive data breaches in some of the world’s largest private organizations. For example, in April 2021, the phone numbers and account details for an estimated 533 million Facebook users —about a fifth of the entire social network’s user pool— were published on a publicly accessible cybercrime forum. A few days later, an archive containing data from 500 million LinkedIn profiles was put for sale on a popular hacker forum.
Governmental organizations are also vulnerable to these types of attacks. In January, 2021, a leak in a Brazilian government database exposed the name, date of birth, and individual taxpayer number of 220 million Brazilians - 94% of the country’s total population. Surprisingly, malicious actors aren’t solely to blame for these damaging events. A lack of proper cybersecurity governance, policies, procedures, and systems in organizations play an essential role here too.
A single data breach could forever tarnish your organization’s reputation. Furthermore, the average cost of a breach is $4.24 million. In an industry obsessed with privacy, it pays to work with home equity software vendors that take security seriously.
2. Does your platform integrate with essential software?
While digital home equity solutions should have a robust set of features and functionalities, no single platform can do everything on its own. To truly serve the borrower's needs, a home equity software must be able to integrate with the systems that are crucial to your team and organization.
For example, a digital home equity solution that doesn’t integrate with the most-used and best-in-class loan origination systems and crucial verification systems to pull data from various sources will, most likely, not suit all of your needs. As you’re screening a home equity software, ask them if their solution integrates seamlessly with:
- Loan origination systems (LOS)
- Customer relationship management platforms (CRM)
- Product pricing and eligibility solutions (PPE)
- Verification services
- Government-sponsored enterprise entities (GSE)
- eSign and document delivery solutions
Roostify’s home equity platform integrates seamlessly with leading lending technology solutions, creating a simple and modern experience from beginning to end.
3. Do you conduct ongoing usability testing?
Just a few years ago, a good user experience would be considered good enough if users could make their way through a menu system without encountering a bug. There was little concern for the user’s time or resources. Those days are long gone.
The proliferation of smartphones, personalization, and on-demand digital experiences has created a competitive arena in which companies must create amazing user experiences or risk losing customers. The modern consumer expects their digital experiences to be easy to navigate. When they use a new piece of software, it should just work.
This point is extremely relevant to lenders, considering that a Mortgage Bankers Association survey revealed that consumer adoption of internet-based mortgage applications is on the rise. According to the survey, homeowners who used an online application valued a simpler application process (55%), a faster time to close (53%), and fewer in-person interactions (49%).
So when you’re speaking with digital home equity lending providers, it’s not enough to assess that their solution works well today, because user expectations are constantly evolving with the market. You need to ask about their understanding of user-focused design as well as how they incorporate real user feedback into their UX.
4. What does your development roadmap look like?
Organizations that value innovation don’t wait to react to changing market conditions or competitive disruptions. They use the data and tools available today to get ahead of the curve. They don’t just rise to user expectations; they set new standards.
As user needs change, new technologies emerge and compliance standards evolve, you should be able to trust that your vendor has a roadmap to stay relevant. After all, if your digital home equity lending platform is continuously improving, your organization will gain new benefits over time. This could include the ability to consult on important projects as well as regularly updating their product.
When you’re screening a home equity lending software vendor, don’t be afraid to ask them for their product roadmap - for the current year and the upcoming one. Do they have a good vision for the future? Are they going to be able to keep up with ever-changing demands and expectations?
5. Can you promise enterprise-grade uptime?
One of the primary customer benefits of a digital home equity lending process is the ability to complete tasks whenever it’s convenient. Home equity borrowers should be able to submit information and respond to messages whenever they wish, whether that be late at night, early in the morning, or during their lunch break.
If a home equity lending platform isn’t available when customers want to use it, they might never come back, and that costs your organization time and money. According to Gartner, the average cost of network downtime is $5,600 per minute, or $300,000 per hour. In today’s world of cloud computing, there are very few excuses for unnecessary downtime.
During the vetting process, ask the vendor what level of uptime they can promise, if there are any SLAs, and any extra fees incurred with “premium” uptime levels.
6. Is your solution ADA compliant?
Increasingly, business websites are at risk of disability discrimination lawsuits. In 2021, more than 11,400 people filed ADA lawsuits - a 4% increase from 2020 and 320% increase since 2013.
To comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, websites must be accessible to disabled people in the following ways:
- Written content must be coded in a manner that screen-reading software can produce an audio translation.
- Video content must include descriptions for deaf users.
- Interactive functionalities should have a keyboard equivalent command for users unable to use a mouse.
Though federal guidelines pertaining to website accessibility are vague, experts agree that following the Web Compatibility and Accessibility Guidelines ensures that people of all abilities are able to share the same level of user experience.
7. What are your customer satisfaction metrics?
You can’t really say you’ve done your due diligence until you check your potential digital home equity provider’s reputation. Take a look at their client roster and customer service reviews to determine if you’re ready to move forward with a partnership. Remember, their digital lending platform may be one of the first things your customers interact with, which means it will be heavily associated with your brand.
Do they provide a simplified and engaging user experience for borrowers? Do they provide the necessary support to the lending team? Your partnerships are a reflection of who you are, so take the time to check their references and business history before signing a contract.
As you uncover the answers to these crucial questions, think about how a digital home equity platform supports your organization’s goals, such as:
- Providing a captivating user experience
- Gaining a complete picture of each borrower
- Identifying new sales opportunities
- Reducing time-to-close rates
- Increasing application completion rates
Choosing the right digital home equity platform is the key to delivering an intuitive experience that will delight your borrowers. We’ve put together a quick guide that you can use to help you streamline this process.
If you want to learn more about Roostify’s home equity and HELOC platform, reach out today.