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The record-low interest rates of the last two years have been exciting for consumers. Spurred on by financial experts extolling the virtues of home ownership, many people saw an opportunity to make a purchase or save money by refinancing an existing mortgage. 

Two years of successively lower rates created tremendous growth for everyone who works in the mortgage industry. But this growth has not been without challenges.

From loan originators and insurers to servicers and solution providers, demand has often outweighed the resources available to process loans. Booming business means long hours and overwhelming workloads. The need to manually process loan packets of 300 pages or more contributes to slow turnaround times and bottlenecks that can cause companies to miss critical service deadlines.

When volumes become too high to handle, some firms outsource work to offshore business process outsourcing companies. But whenever consumer financial data is involved, outsourcing can raise concerns about personally identifiable information (PII) and data quality. 

Economic cycles demand elasticity

The pandemic raised even more issues for the mortgage industry. The growth in remote employees led executives to wonder whether their firms could reliably deliver the same products when knowledge workers weren’t coming into the office. As months passed, increased demand coupled with reduced productivity created tremendous backlogs.

Economic conditions are never static though. When interest rates rise, consumer demand for new loans will invariably fall. At that point, many mortgage industry companies will have more employees than needed to handle reduced workloads. And then business leaders will face another problem: deciding whether to lay off skilled workers. 

If this cyclical rise and fall reminds you of a roller coaster ride, you’re not alone. For years, the industry has been seeking ways to become more flexible. To meet the changing demands of an uncertain economy, companies need solutions that will make staffing more elastic so firms can be more responsive to consumer demand. The alternative is to become less efficient and profitable than the competition.

Intelligent automation minimizes human touchpoints

Fortunately, a new generation of technologies is coming to market that can help the mortgage industry develop essential resilience. Using advanced computer perception techniques, intelligent automation software offers the speed and accuracy mortgage operations and IT teams need to succeed in today’s dynamic mortgage market.

For mortgage operations, intelligent automation software quickly converts documents to data, supporting underwriting decision-making. The software also includes robotic process automation technology that automates tedious tasks for loan officers, such as ordering flood insurance.

Cloud-based processing provides an easily accessible, secure database – ensuring that data is continuously backed up and protected. Together, these capabilities support faster, more efficient, and more secure mortgage operations processing. 

These advanced technologies minimize human touchpoints, completing most processing with no human in the loop – allowing for touchless automation. Machine learning bots assess and validate data correctness and alert users when human review is required. By supporting provable correctness, the technologies not only ensure the accuracy and efficiency of converting docs-to-data but also enable elastic scaling of workloads. 

For IT teams, advanced solutions eliminate the complex maintenance tasks typically associated with traditional optical character recognition (OCR) technology. Unlike legacy solutions, which require cumbersome templating toolkits and production of vast training sets, today’s offerings deliver out-of-the-box coverage for hundreds of documents and thousands of fields. Professional services can help companies meet any additional needs, allowing IT teams to focus on their core tasks. 

Scale dynamically to compete successfully

By enabling touchless automation, today’s mortgage technology solutions can improve companies’ resilience and help them better meet the challenges to come. 

Dynamic scaling enabled by cloud-based mortgage processing helps firms seamlessly handle shifting loan volumes. Docs-to-data features accelerate loan processing, often reducing the time needed to “stare-and-compare” documents by 85% to 90%. And cloud-based servers allow remote workers to easily access data while securely safeguarding the PII contained with loan documents. 

The mortgage industry’s economic roller coaster isn’t likely to end soon. But the rising adoption of intelligent automation technologies can make the ride more profitable and less stressful for us all.