What better way to start a blog series than to point out something seemingly counterintuitive? Here goes: Mortgage business process outsourcing (BPO) companies should be willing, dare I say eager, to automate their full-time employees (FTEs) out of the process.
You may be thinking: “Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of an outsourcer?”
The answer: only if you are afraid of change or you are reluctant to put your lender partner’s or servicer partner’s needs first. Let me break it down for you.
The good ol’ outsourcing model
It’s no secret: Most lenders and servicers procure outsourcing services to reduce overhead costs. The model is simple: send all your repetitive, admin-heavy, back-office processes and tasks to your outsourcing partner for completion by an onshore or offshore services team at a fraction of the cost. To be fair, this tried-and-true model does work. Onshore and offshore outsourcing teams offset some of the financial and productivity pressures facing the mortgage market, especially when loan volumes rapidly shift.
As a 25+ year provider of mortgage outsourcing, Indecomm knows this model inside and out, and we respect it.
But, we’ve also outgrown it, and we think lenders and servicers should, too.
Before I go further, I want to point out that Indecomm values the talent comprising our mortgage service teams. In fact, we’ve built extensive training programs to develop critical mortgage skills and provide new hires with a professional growth trajectory across all facets of mortgage: fulfillment, processing, underwriting, quality control, post-closing, servicing, and more.
While our teams know mortgage operations inside and out, we also want them to be future-ready and able to help our partners become tech-forward to embrace “emerging tech” before it becomes “standard/should already have it tech”.
Keeping up with technology is no longer enough.
Here’s the thing: Technology has come a long way, with rapid innovation occurring even within the last three years. Today, if mortgage companies are not leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and machine learning to get things done better and faster, they are already behind. That said, drastic market changes can make it difficult for mortgage companies to invest time and money into these technologies, and so many return to the tried-and-true outsourcing model as a solution.
A side note: While outsourcing offers a reliable alternative, it also contributes to the industry’s painfully slow adoption of emerging technologies. Moreover, there is some irony here: the right technologies can help mortgage businesses normalize their response to drastic market changes.
That is why Indecomm flipped the script on the traditional outsourcing model.
If there was one lesson to learn from Blockbuster’s demise, it is that there is no room for technology complacency. Mortgage businesses that turn a blind eye to technological change may one day find themselves questioning the relevancy of their business in the modern, digital world. Indecomm recognizes that unique business and market challenges can make it hard for mortgage companies to invest in automation and technology. But rather than capitalizing on the industry’s overreliance on outsourcing solutions, we’ve flipped the script on the entire model.
Here is what I observed:
Having worked with a range of mortgage outsourcing companies, I was shocked to see how differently things are done at Indecomm. Its mortgage services model was like nothing I had seen before: it was a technology- and automation-first approach. There was no inclination to hang on to the hem of the old outsourcing model, where “more bodies” meant more revenue. None whatsoever.
It turns out that Indecomm has spent the last decade pairing industry operations experts with product and tech developers to break down mortgage processes on a granular, step-by-step basis. The original purpose of these intensive exercises was to build technology and automation solutions that eliminate or simplify steps for our teams and, in turn, provide a more competitive service offering.
Indecomm’s services teams interact daily with the tech solutions Indecomm built, supercharging productivity, expediting timelines, and reducing costs even further for our lender and servicer partners. It also makes work more enjoyable for our teams. Accomplishment looks very different in Indecomm’s service model than it does for other more traditional outsourcers. The skill of using technology and automation to improve work outcomes is celebrated. And let’s be honest: even the most talented team members are only humans. By that fact alone, they are prone to mistakes. Using technology to improve data integrity, quality, and accuracy throughout the mortgage lifecycle greatly reduces unnecessary errors and improves employee morale.
Beyond its service offerings, Indecomm has gone on to create a full product line (the Genius Suite) that mortgage lenders and servicers can use in-house. What’s amazing is that Indecomm’s in-house application of the Genius suite of solutions within our underwriting and QC services teams serves as our first successful use case.
Automating FTEs Out of the Process: The Indecomm Way.
So why should outsourcers embrace Indecomm’s model? Doesn’t this model eliminate jobs?
Well, let me clarify a few things. To start with, Indecomm’s approach isn’t to automate people out of jobs; it is to automate FTEs out of the mortgage process. There is and always will be a need for mortgage talent at Indecomm, and when we successfully help one client embrace automation, there is always another client who needs this type of support. Frankly, it helps Indecomm have a consistent and longer-term team of mortgage professionals at our side and reduces turnover.
What it comes down to is that Indecomm recognizes that lenders and servicers need to evolve and modernize to join the rapidly changing digital world. Our partner’s needs are a priority, and there is no way around it: technology and automation are essential components for mortgage lenders and servicers to stay competitive. But, achieving that in such volatile market conditions requires true partnership, and that is what Indecomm offers: true partnership. The added bonus? Indecomm is providing the technology and automation capabilities that lenders and servicers will need to remain relevant, competitive, and efficient in the future mortgage market.
The Indecomm mortgage services model gives its partners a pathway to automation and tech adoption. Think of it as baby steps: Indecomm designs a service model that incorporates its Genius solutions, such as mortgage bots, intelligent automation, and loan decisioning solutions. While Indecomm’s team will oversee many of these solutions, the solutions will become part of the client’s process.
Here’s where the shift is: Indecomm welcomes the opportunity to help the client’s team members gain experience using its solutions. As familiarity and comfort with the solutions increase, the need for Indecomm oversight decreases. The strategy allows Indecomm partners to slow-walk their teams toward modernization, building confidence and comfort with these types of technologies. When all is said and done, Indecomm waves goodbye to the “one-trick pony” outsourcing model. Instead, it offers:
- Expertly trained mortgage talent who are enthusiastic about the promise of technology and automation.
- Modern mortgage automation and technology solutions can be transferred over to the client for direct use when they are ready and have full comfort with the technology
- A holistic strategy for enabling mortgage lenders and servicers to modernize without the risk
- The ability for FTEs employed by Indecomm or our lender/servicer partner to focus on more important work and gain valuable tech skills
Taking FTEs out of a process by automating it isn’t a death sentence; it’s an improvement. It’s about keeping up with a world that changes quickly and giving the best help you can to your partners. Also, your workers will appreciate it. Ready to talk about the Indecomm services model? Reach out to me at [email protected] or visit Indecomm.com to learn more.