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Article

Managing Mortgage Market Cycles with GeniusWorks

By Linda Bomar, SVP, Strategic Partnerships and Marketing

When you are a mortgage lender the “market seesaw” effect is inevitable. One minute you are looking at low rates, record volumes, and increasing revenues, trying to keep up with demand. And, the next minute —like this very minute — your volumes are declining, rates are rising, and you are stuck with all the costs you incurred when trying to keep up with production.

Indeed, in the current market cycle, lenders are experiencing revenue decline, rapid volume fluctuations, and rising per-loan costs to the tune of $10,600, according to the MBA’s Mike Fratantoni in this National Mortgage News article. And, that number is expected to rise.

For those who have lived through the ups and downs of the mortgage industry, you likely have perpetual déjà vu and have found yourself asking the same question you have asked yourself many, many times before: “How can we better ease in and out of market change so we may reap the benefits of a strong market and survive a down market without drastic impact to our people and operations.”

This is one of the questions that drove our executive leaders and product strategists at Indecomm to develop GeniusWorks, an automation-enabled workflow model designed to help lenders thrive in any market. In addition to addressing the problem of market cyclicity, our product strategists also wanted to solve mortgage “middle-office” inefficiencies; those lagging processes and bottlenecks that so often derail front-office borrower experiences, turnaround times, and pull-through rates.

So, what is GeniusWorks and why does it matter?

To answer this question, we’ve outlined points made during our recent webinar but if you prefer to watch, the webinar is available on-demand here: “GeniusWorks: The Genius Behind Better Borrower and Back-office Lender Experiences.”

What is GeniusWorks?

GeniusWorks is an automation-enabled workflow that combines powerful mortgage-specific automation and technology solutions with Indecomm’s experienced mortgage talent to streamline origination operations and processes in the middle office.

On the surface, this might think that GeniusWorks sounds like a traditional mortgage outsourcing engagement with some automation tools. But, this is not the case. Here are some key differences:

GeniusWorks covers three functions in one.

Traditional engagement models often state that they can automate pieces and parts of your mortgage operation. While traditional engagement models can provide a targeted solution for a specific function, they are often used in silos. A lender might use one outsourcer for processing and another for underwriting, or leverage automation tools for a certain function that cannot “talk” to the tech and automation used in another.

The end result of these siloed components (be it outsourcing solutions or automation solutions) is that it lacks a cohesive orchestration of tasks flowing smoothly between humans and automation, resulting in a fractured workflow.

Through extensive research and process analysis, we discovered that some engagement models contribute to the problem of a fractured workflow by increasing complexity and cost, fragmenting operations, adding unnecessary manual rework, or creating technology burdens. This is not the solution that lenders need in the current environment or any environment.

Indecomm set out to reduce the burden on the lender so they can get the benefit of automation and talent, without all the hassle and drawbacks. Imagine, the repetitive tasks, the cumbersome review of documents, and other complex but necessary parts becoming a bit more hands-free and seamless.

The answer wasn’t to throw automation or people at a specific function. It was to step back and think strategically and holistically about the problem. In doing that, we discovered that all the pieces to a streamlined middle-office origination function were available at Indecomm. We just needed to connect them.

GeniusWorks doesn’t just cover one function. It doesn’t use automation like a band-aid or throw people at a process. Instead, it tackles three functions in one (loan set-up, processing, and underwriting), keeping them connected and flowing at every phase. Here is how it works from the lender’s perspective:

  • The lender sends loan files to GeniusWorks at loan set-up
  • The lender receives loan files back, clear-to-close at underwriting

That’s it. Indecomm’s automation guides loans through all three functions. And, at times when human intervention is required, our team of processors and underwriters manage those pieces.

GeniusWorks is a modern automation-led workflow solution.

The automation first principle used in GeniusWorks maximizes the utilization of automation solutions to minimize the number of human touches required to process exceptions.

GeniusWorks packages Indecomm’s innovative mortgage automation solution with Indecomm’s processing underwriting talent to remove as much off your plate as possible. However, where human touches are required, Indecomm’s expert talent addresses those to deliver a fully underwritten file. It is a pragmatic approach that gets lenders closer to that elusive straight-through processing ideal.

This automation-first principle covers the spectrum of routine, repeatable tasks, tasks requiring complex calculations and close to human judgment, and exception notifications and alerts, which account for about 70% of the tasks in the middle-office value chain.

To bring the automation-first concept into reality, GeniusWorks incorporates three core automation solutions from Indecomm’s genius suite, which integrates with your LOS to do the following:

1.     Automate your repeatable tasks at processing, and underwriting: BotGenius

2.     Simplify income calculation, even for those self-employed borrowers:  IncomeGenius

3.     Drive faster, better underwriting and loan decisions: DecisionGenius

There are significant benefits to an automation-first approach.

While most engagement models have a people-first, automation-second approach, GeniusWorks leads with automation, ensuring that multiple functions, processes, and tasks are cohesive so that “one hand knows what the other one is doing.”

Practical benefits to this approach include greater operational alignment, transparent decisions, and a reduction in manual reviews. By leading with automation, GeniusWorks eliminates the mundane and simplifies the complex. This is great for your employees as they can prioritize high-value tasks such as borrower communication.

Leading with automation offers our lender-clients significant cost and time savings benefits. Using the GeniusWorks model, Indecomm projects that our clients will achieve an estimated 35% reduction in costs, 50% fewer touches per loan, and 70% of middle-office tasks being automated, leaving your team free to work smarter, not harder.

Additionally, in the context of market cyclicity, lenders will be able to drastically reduce the hire/fire rush that occurs when the market shifts. Using GeniusWorks’ automation-led, variable-priced approach, lenders can better predict staffing needs and normalize staffing requirements.

In addition to lender benefits, an automation-first model also enables better borrower experiences by giving loan officers and associates faster access to data and decisions. Your customers get faster response times, increased attention and service, and expedited closing times, which translates to revenue increases and reputation improvements for you.

With GeniusWorks, human intervention is strategic.

While GeniusWorks’ automation can handle a large portion of middle-office tasks and processes, some aspects of the workflow require human intervention to address the tasks that automation cannot handle, such as exceptions and outlier scenarios.

When a process requires human intervention, Indecomm’s experienced staff of processors and underwriters can pick up where automation leaves off. Our team serves in an oversight and management capacity in the GeniusWorks process, giving you an extra layer of review to make certain your results are quick and reliable.

You can easily get started with GeniusWorks.

By automating common tasks and removing human error you gain an advantage over your competition. While your competition’s processors and underwriters are slogging through forms and documents, your team will use GeniusWorks to skip those steps and focus on what matters most: increasing leads and pull-through rates.

Learn how GeniusWorks can help you lower your costs, normalize market fluctuations, and improve your middle-office lending and front-office borrower experiences. Watch the webinar or schedule a meeting today.