All-digital mortgage company accelerates claim processing with a cutting-edge platform
Taking your business online is a challenge, and the mortgage industry isn’t the most digital-friendly to begin with. But an Illinois-based mortgage originator has overcome struggles traditionally associated with online loan applications and was on its path to digital transformation.
Founded in 2001 as a retail originator, this mortgage company developed strong partnerships across 13 states and expanded into the wholesale channel in 2008. In 2017, the brand announced a strategic hiatus due to the lending market being oversaturated with independent brokers and slipping lending standards — and today they’re back with a reimagined online-only approach to loan borrowers’ experience. The catalyst for change was the now available technology-driven model that shifted the way customers apply for and secure their mortgages.
To meet the demand for home loans (which has been on the rise for the last 11 years) and expand its presence to all 50 states, the mortgage provider needed to advance from third-party services to a custom document processing system with an integrated CRM. Therefore, the company teamed up with Forte Group software delivery experts and engineers to make its business transformation a reality.
The industry disruption coupled with increased demand paved the way for more borrower-friendly and friction-free proprietary loan management. With the appropriate innovation in place, I aimed to cover both B2B and B2C domains, bringing together local and national-wide brokers and individuals seeking loan application assistance.
The crux of the matter was the inability to accept and process complex borrowers’ data, and track the application journey to the bank and back to the claimant within a short time frame. The business-essential operations were scattered all over multiple add-ons that clogged workflows both ways. The third-party SaaS system the brand adopted earlier to collect and process claims was no longer cost-effective and didn’t satisfy the originator’s growing business needs.
The second hurdle involved a lack of concise UI and coherent architecture in the legacy solution, making it functionally inconsistent considering the current company’s business model.
Given the original goal of wholesale and soon-to-be-launched branded retail offering, the mortgage company in collaboration with Forte Group experts identified the following project objectives:
- To enable broker partners and loan originators to operate efficiently on the platform in a fully customizable workspace
- Cut application processing time by streamlining borrowers’ data validation with a robust document management system and optimized submission forms
- Provide top-notch user experience in both customer-facing and admin-facing interfaces
- Eliminate resource-intensive dependencies on third-party applications and integrations, empowering the company to fully own the solution
Based on extensive research and discovery results, Forte Group assembled a team of software development professionals with cross-disciplinary skills to collaborate and put forward a plan to design the solution’s infrastructure. The company’s leadership team communicated their vision of the desired product, based on what their experience with the previous system lacked.
Previously, there wasn’t a single admin panel with unified access to data like pending loans, claims, bank-claimant communication, and analytics. Since a home purchase is a time-sensitive activity, in-platform asset management needed to be effective for the loan approvals to arrive on time.
Forte Group built a full-fledged corporate portal connected to a CRM with document management software from scratch, using an advanced cutting-edge technology stack. Restructuring the legacy code allowed implementing new features and ensuring greater system stability.
From the customer-facing point of view, the process of applying became intuitive and more error-proof. Before an application is submitted, the system verifies users’ initial input using technologies such as machine learning and character recognition to highlight inconsistencies and typos.
What’s more, Forte Group integrated several lead-generation and sales automation tools into the platform, enabling uninterrupted and streamlined client management.
During the year and a half of working on the project, the team expanded from 10 to 35 people and continues to grow.
On the updated platform, brokers and partners are now able to conduct business in an easy-to-use, client-oriented digital environment. Loan borrowers get a seamless application experience and timely delivered bank decisions. With a state-of-art system in place, the mortgage originator can extend its service offering beyond processing standard loan applications. Loan borrowers can benefit from the aggregator search to browse mortgage proposals from thousands of vendors and find the most suitable offers.
- The speed of processing a single claim has increased by 20% thanks to redesigned system architecture and fixed UI inconsistencies in document processing interfaces.
- The re-built admin system allowed implementing smart document processing and fully automating all minor processing steps.
- As a result of server-side rendering implementation, the customer-facing website is now more reliable and easier to maintain.
- The system maintenance costs are cut significantly thanks to a fully-owned solution.
“Given the team’s rapid expansion since last year and the immense trust the company put into Forte Group’s engineering, we’ve been able to build a product that is competitive and of great quality. We were not only focusing on the technical side of the project, but also designed the solution to be customer-first and maintainable”.
— Maksim Paseniuk, Team Lead at Forte Group