SOURCE: Mortgagebot

Mortgagebot

December 11, 2009 10:00 ET

Smaller Lenders Increasingly Use Multi-Channel Point-of-Sale Technology to Grow Mortgage Business

Smaller Banks, Credit Unions Adopt Mortgagebot's Integrated Point-of-Sale (IPOS) Platform as "Must-Have" Solution for Mortgage Application, Pricing, and Approval Automation

MILWAUKEE, WI--(Marketwire - December 11, 2009) - As the economy improves, homes remain affordable, and interest rates hover at historic lows, more of America's smaller banks and credit unions are adopting online, integrated point-of-sale (IPOS) technology from Mequon, Wis.-based Mortgagebot LLC (www.Mortgagebot.com) as a "must-have" solution for efficiently automating the mortgage application, pricing, and approval process. And those lenders are not only increasing their loan volume and reducing their costs, they're delivering a faster, more efficient, and more satisfying borrower experience.

With over 900 bank and credit union clients nationwide, Mortgagebot has been the leader in online, consumer-direct mortgage POS technology since 1997. Its software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based Mortgagebot PowerSite® solution enables lenders to quickly take applications, price loans, and deliver instant approvals and immediate disclosures through every mortgage business channel: consumer-direct via Internet, through the branch or call center, and by professional loan officers.

Mortgagebot President/CEO Scott Happ cites the company's 2009 new-client mix as proof that -- despite the nation's economic challenges -- smaller lenders are investing in multi-channel mortgage POS technology. "For years our clients have been almost evenly split between financial institutions with under $500 million in assets and those with over $500 million," he said. "But through October 2009, we've seen a 33 percent increase in new clients with less than $500 million in assets."

Mortgagebot clients cite substantial increases in mortgage volume

Mortgagebot carefully tracks the mortgage activity of its clients, which together represent a significant fraction of American financial institutions that do mortgage lending. "Today's smaller banks and credit unions understand the mission-critical benefits of multi-channel mortgage lending," said Happ, "and they're seeing their investment in IPOS technology pay off."

Perhaps the most significant lender payoff is a substantial increase in application volume. Happ said that from January through September 2009, application volumes increased (vs. the same period in 2008) by 105 percent for banks with assets under $99 million; by 84 percent for banks with between $100 million to $249 million in assets; and by 72 percent for banks with $250 million to $499 million in assets -- an average increase of 87 percent.

According to Linda Boe, Mortgage Supervisor at Louisiana Federal Credit Union (LFCU) of LaPlace, La., her $125-million-asset, three-office credit union is an excellent example of how the power of multi-channel online lending technology can completely transform a smaller lender's mortgage business.

Several years ago, LFCU management concluded that offering members a "smart" online mortgage application would not only enable the organization's two-person mortgage team to increase their application volume, but would also help LFCU become a bigger player in the local mortgage market.

The result? From 2004 to 2009, LFCU has used Mortgagebot's PowerSite technology to triple its annual mortgage volume without having to add staff -- a noteworthy achievement, considering that during the same time period the average Louisiana credit union increased its mortgage volume by only 60 percent.

"Lenders who are looking to grow their mortgage business need to look at online application technology," said Boe. "It's the quickest, most efficient way to grow your business."

Smaller lenders, bigger volumes

Illini Bank, a $248-million-asset commercial bank with 12 locations near Springfield, Ill., had actually exited the mortgage business -- until realizing that a lack of mortgage products was costing them business to competitors.

"Mortgagebot PowerSite was vital to our plan to re-enter the mortgage business," said Gregg Formigoni, Illini Bank VP and Mortgage Department Manager. "We needed an innovative, online solution to grab customer attention -- a full-service solution that would clearly demonstrate we were serious about getting back into mortgages."

After carefully shopping, the bank implemented PowerSite Consumer as its direct-to-consumer mortgage Web site -- enabling "self-serve" borrowers to quickly apply for mortgages "24/7/365." Later the bank deployed Mortgagebot's PowerSite Pro for its loan officers and branch managers, so they could take quick, complete, and accurate "walk-in" applications.

Formigoni says that Illini Bank has benefited significantly from its online IPOS solution, citing an average annual increase in application volume of 71 percent over the last three years.

Garry Benfer is SVP of Loan Administration at Mifflinburg Bank and Trust, a $300-million-asset bank with five locations in the Mifflinburg, Pa. area. "With 'smart' application technology on the Web and in the branch, we've made the mortgage process simpler, faster, more convenient, and more meaningful for our customers," he said.

"With Mortgagebot PowerSite," Benfer noted, "we've doubled our application volume -- but with no increase in staff."

Facing down mortgage challenges with innovative technology

A recent study by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Cornerstone Advisors has determined that when compared to larger financial institutions, smaller lenders have no choice but to spend more on technology. A separate study by the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) confirms that to effectively compete against larger rivals, today's smaller banks have no choice but to boost their investment in technology.

"Yet while smaller lenders must invest more in technology," noted Happ, "their personnel budgets are decreasing, so it's vital for them to adopt technology solutions that can help them grow their businesses without adding staff -- which is where our cost-effective IPOS technology comes in."

"For example," said Happ, "with our PowerSite Pro solution, a loan officer isn't forced to spend 60 to 90 minutes working with a borrower to complete a paper- or PDF-based mortgage application. Instead, PowerSite Pro's 'smart' application process enables the loan officer to take a complete mortgage application, select the best loan product for the borrower, get conditional approval, and generate fully compliant and accurate disclosures -- all in as little as 20 to 30 minutes."

Happ noted that recent technology developments at Mortgagebot are enabling lenders to open up an entirely new mortgage business channel: branch and call-center associates. "With our PowerSite Advisor solution," he said, "branch associates and call-center representatives can take accurate and complete mortgage applications from walk-in or call-in borrowers -- and associates need not be mortgage experts. They can simply follow the intelligent, interactive application process of PowerSite Advisor to take complete, accurate applications -- and even provide fully compliant disclosures -- in well under half an hour."

A "new world" for mortgage lenders

"The world truly has changed for America's mortgage lenders," said Happ. "Loan-pricing complexity and sweeping regulatory changes have created significant business challenges -- especially for smaller lenders. To compete with larger lenders, they need to streamline, simplify, and accelerate the lending process; which is why more and more of them are using our PowerSite platform to grow their businesses by opening up new mortgage-application channels enterprise-wide."

Happ cites Manteno, Ill.-based HomeStar Bank, a $457-million-asset bank with seven locations. HomeStar implemented PowerSite Consumer as its direct- to-consumer mortgage Web site, and uses PowerSite Pro to accelerate the application process for its loan officers. "PowerSite has helped us more than triple our volume," said Chris Friis, HomeStar's SVP over mortgage lending. "Our CEO said, 'I wish we'd done this a long time ago.' It's been a phenomenal experience."

About Mortgagebot

Mortgagebot LLC (www.Mortgagebot.com) is the industry-leading, "Inc. 5000" company that provides the unique, award-winning Mortgagebot PowerSite family of integrated point-of-sale (IPOS) solutions for taking mortgage applications from every mortgage channel: consumer-direct via the Internet, in the branch or call center; or through professional loan officers. Mortgagebot blends extensive mortgage experience with leading-edge "software-as-a-service" (SaaS) technology to create scalable and affordable Web sites for more than 900 banks and credit unions nationwide.

Mortgagebot also offers Mortgage Marvel® (www.MortgageMarvel.com), the award-winning, ad-free, online mortgage-shopping service that delivers accurate, anonymous, real-time rate quotes in seconds from a nationwide selection of lenders. But unlike other Web sites, Mortgage Marvel enables borrowers to link directly to their preferred lender -- where they can complete an application and are pre-approved with full disclosures, all in 20 minutes or less.

Mortgagebot, Mortgagebot PowerSite, and Mortgage Marvel are registered trademarks of Mortgagebot LLC.

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