PERSON OF THE WEEK: Scott Stein is vice president of sales for Roostify, which provides Web-based software for automating the mortgage process from application through closing. MortgageOrb recently interviewed Stein to learn more about how Roostify’s software is streamlining the mortgage process and helping boost customer satisfaction for mortgage lenders.
Q: Why would a lender use Roostify instead of developing its own mortgage application-processing platform in-house? Is your product/service mainly geared for smaller lenders that don’t have large IT teams and that lack the budget for in-house development?
Stein: Though creating a platform in-house is possible for a large IT team, Roostify’s integrations would be very difficult to recreate. The Roostify platform works seamlessly not only with loan origination systems like Ellie Mae’s Encompass, but it also allows the borrower to extract both data and documents from trusted data sources, such as online tax preparation services and bank accounts.
By providing services such as automated underwriting and employment verification, Roostify adds a whole new level of efficiency to the online application process. We have invested years in creating a platform that serves the needs of all lenders to enhance and simplify the mortgage loan application process. It would be very difficult to build from the ground up, especially for an organization whose core competency should be lending, not software development. As evidenced by the fact that we are working with two of the top five banks in the U.S. and two of the top five independent mortgage lenders, even those who have the wherewithal to develop these capabilities themselves are opting to partner with a market leader and innovator to be able to more rapidly offer this unparalleled level of borrower experience.
Q: What are the advantages for lenders in automating the mortgage application process?
Stein: There are three main advantages to automation:
1) Length of time to close a loan: The entire mortgage process takes less time because the Roostify platform makes it simple – from collecting documentation, to communication, to sharing of actual documents. Just having the ability to e-sign within the platform cuts down the length of the process from start to finish.
2) Customer experience: Customers love transparency and simplicity.
3) Efficiency for loan officers: Loan officers are able to close more loans, in less time.
Q: What are the pitfalls for lenders in automating the mortgage application process?
Stein: The only pitfall would be less face-to-face interaction with the customer, as much of the application is done online. For some customers, who prefer the old fashioned face-to-face interaction, they may still prefer the old way of doing things. But most borrowers today prefer the quick and easy option that Roostify provides.
Q: One of the key aspects of automating the overall home purchase process is to allow Realtors, lenders, title companies, escrow officers and others involved in the transaction to better communicate throughout the process. How are you tackling that problem?
Stein: We agree that this is one of the keys to improving the borrower experience, resulting in greater borrower satisfaction. Borrowers want a more transparent process that is easier and much less frustrating. To that end, we provide a collaboration timeline that allows all parties to the transaction (within the bounds of the limitations of their defined role in the platform) to add documents, review documents, e-sign documents, add notes and post status updates.
This begins with the Realtor. We recently announced a partnership with zipLogix that will allow any of the hundreds of thousands of Realtors across the U.S. who use zipForm software to automatically import all of the purchase documents associated with the transaction into the Roostify platform, so they can then be viewed by all parties to the transaction.
In addition to including Realtors, the borrower and/or the loan officer may invite title officers, escrow officers and even observers into the collaboration process. This allows everyone to track due dates, deliverables and communications – resulting in enhanced visibility and accountability. This “virtual closing room” allows the team to work in lockstep from contract-to-close, ensuring that nothing drops through the cracks during this critical phase of the transaction.
Q: One of the challenges presented by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rules is that lenders must generate the loan estimate form as soon as they have the six main pieces of borrower data needed to constitute an “application,” as defined by the CFPB. As such, lenders now want to have greater control over how and when they collect those six pieces of information. Because your platform controls the flow of data coming from the borrower to the lender, can Roostify help lenders with the timing of when those pieces of information are received? If so, how, exactly, does that occur within the platform?
Stein: Absolutely. Within the Roostify administration panel, there is a series of simple check boxes that allow the lender to specify which pieces of information will be collected from the borrower during the online application process and which will be left to the loan officer to collect at a later point.
In addition, Roostify offers an unlimited parent/child hierarchy that allows for the customization of several instances of Roostify to be deployed for various segments of a borrower population. For instance, a lender may decide that for its direct-to-consumer channel, it wants to allow the borrower to provide all of the required information in order to automatically pull credit, run Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter (DU) and present a pre-approval letter to the borrower. For its retail channel, the lender may choose to suppress the collection of one or more of the six pieces of data and not create an application that triggers the RESPA rules. Each of these experiences may be further customized to reflect a different branding and “look and feel” – possibly for a co-branded application experience or to reflect the theme of the marketing program that directed the borrower into the online experience. All of these instances of Roostify share the same administration panel and reporting capabilities in order to capture data across the enterprise.
Q: Roostify recently announced that it has integrated with Fannie Mae’s DU automated underwriting system. Tell us why this integration is important to the company and its clients.
Stein: Integration with Fannie Mae’s DU enables our customers to deliver applications directly into DU for pre-approval and to obtain DU findings and conditions upstream in the origination process – with the outcome being a quicker timeline for processing loans with Fannie Mae. Considering the number of loans Fannie processes, this is a key integration for our lenders.