Consumer-Direct Connect

Marketing directly to borrowers lets lenders flex their brand's value muscle. Surefire CRM helps lay the framework for seamless automation with consumer direct lenders.

Consumer-Direct Lending

As the lending industry continues to evolve, customer demand for digital services will only increase. Consumer-direct lenders provide lending options to a higher volume of borrowers using mortgage CRM software and other apps to provide a web-based lending experience, while traditional retail lenders use loan officers to work directly with the borrower on their loan.

This Article Covers:

  • The key differences between consumer-direct lenders and other types of lenders
  • How consumer-direct lenders rely on technology to close more loans per year
  • Integrations consumer-direct lenders need to flourish
Consumer Direct Mortgage Lender

Consumer Direct Mortgage LenderWhat is a consumer-direct lender?

Consumer-direct divisions of mortgage origination companies offer a quick, efficient online experience for completing the entire loan process digitally. Typically, these loan originators rely on broad marketing campaigns and programs to bring inbound leads to consumer-direct loan officers.

Originally, consumer-direct lending was thought of as a novelty. But during the post-crisis housing recovery, low-interest rates created an environment where tech-savvy home buyers and refinance customers could dominate the market. These customers wanted to engage with the loan origination process digitally.

With some estimates indicating that more than half of home buyers complete their mortgage process digitally, many lenders are looking to adopt the structure of a consumer-direct model.

What challenges do consumer-direct lenders face?

Consumer-direct lenders continue to face challenges when it comes to providing borrowers and referral agents an equal or better level of customer service that home buyers expect from retail lenders.

Loan officers who deal in consumer-direct lending face the difficulty of a much higher volume of prospective clients than a traditional retail lender. They need specialized toolsets to respond within the aggressive follow-up protocols laid out by their organization’s leadership. Essentially, a powerful Mortgage CRM can create those nearly instant responses to borrowers responding to inquiries required in the consumer-direct model. This can be accomplished through automated marketing tools built into the CRM across SMS texting, email, or web channels or even through integrations with inbound call center systems that enable round-robin calling through open data APIs.

Luckily, as technology continues to improve, the gap that once existed is beginning to narrow.

The key for consumer-direct lenders to continue their growth with new home buyers is to have open and clear lines of communication.

How do consumer-direct lenders generate a higher volume of leads?

To achieve a high volume of prospective customers, consumer-direct lenders use a diversified approach incorporating technology to take conventional forms of marketing to the next level. These strategies include:

  1. Direct Mail Marketing:
    This classic marketing strategy ensures that marketing materials are delivered physically to a prospect’s mailbox. In addition to the marketing and co-branding opportunities they provide, postcards, flyers, and letters all offer a method for consumer-direct lenders to save busy loan officers precious time by sharing written information with prospective borrowers quickly, easily, and accurately. Ultimately, what makes direct mail marketing most effective is properly using demographic data to appropriately target audiences.
  2. Digital Media Ads:
    With the increase of technology in our daily routines, digital ads have become one of the primary methods for businesses to connect with their audiences. Digital ads can include paid search advertising, social ads, and banner ads that incorporate imagery, text, and even video marketing content. Whatever the medium used, the goal of any digital ad is not to fully educate prospects, but to convert them to leads. Through careful search engine optimization (SEO), mortgage marketers can fine-tune their company’s website and paid search ads to include relevant SEO keywords that maximize traffic from high-intent borrowers who are actively searching for loan products or services. For this reason, SEO should be a priority in any digital marketing campaign.
  3. Broadcast Marketing:
    Broadcast marketing includes any advertisement distributed through television, newspapers, or billboards. While this type of ad marketing does reach a vast audience, the information usually is minimal, requiring additional lead qualification post initial inquiry.
  4. SMS Text Message Marketing:
    Short message service (SMS) marketing is a form of marketing that is used to send promotions to leads and customers via text messages. Automated SMS texting tools enable lenders to instantly respond to prospective borrowers’ inquiries by triggering the delivery of branded responses, educational materials and even video marketing. Automated SMS texting provides potential borrowers with the prompt attention they expect from their future lender and increases lenders’ chances of winning new business by being the first to respond.

While each of the marketing strategies listed above can generate any number of leads, it is essential to remember that these leads usually are unqualified. Not everyone who expresses interest in a home loan or refinance will be at the appropriate stage to take the next step. Lead qualification is an essential step to categorize which prospects are the best sales targets.

Fortunately, the lead qualification process is a step that can occur naturally as a part of a lead management system.

How do consumer-direct lenders manage their leads?

To ensure that their loan officers are not consistently overwhelmed with non-qualified leads, consumer-direct lenders need to develop rules for how new leads are qualified and managed throughout the loan process.

Since lead qualification is a quantitative, data-driven process, consumer-direct lenders will often devote entire departments or third-party support teams to ensure that this process is properly completed. These teams will add the information to the lender’s mortgage CRM and pass the Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) to the loan origination team when ready.

What technologies can improve the consumer-direct process?

Communication is key to closing more loans. This is why many consumer-direct lenders choose the Surefire CRM tool from leading mortgage industry provider Black Knight over other mortgage CRMs. Centralized marketing, eye-catching paid search ads and content for messages direct from the lender to the consumer allow for a seamless stream of communication for any number of lending scenarios.

This, paired with lead distribution algorithms and open data interfaces to connect with inbound round-robin calling systems offered by Surefire, helps customer inquiries and new leads to be given the same level of customer service provided by a retail lender.

Round-robin calling refers to automated inbound call routing software that directs each inbound call from a new lead or inquiry to a different user’s phone. Round-robin calling is an excellent method for consumer-direct lenders to distribute leads fairly among their loan officers because it ensures everyone is assigned an equal number of leads and inquiries. Once everyone on the round robin calling list receives a call from a new lead, the round robin is repeated. With this call routing technique, consumer-direct lenders and their mortgage advisors can worry less about the logistics of lead distribution and focus more time on converting inquiries into loans.

Since many of today’s borrowers prefer to research mortgage options and communicate digitally, it’s important to choose a mortgage CRM that meets borrowers where they are. Usually, that’s on their mobile device.

Surefire’s Power Messaging SMS texting solution helps consumer-direct lenders automate and streamline the loan origination process by automatically triggering loan updates and reminders – from inquiry to closing and beyond. The messages are personalized and actionable, contain lenders’ unique branding, and can feature eye-catching imagery and video marketing content that keeps borrowers informed and engaged.

Surefire’s Power Messaging is one of the few SMS texting technologies that can help organizations scale the reach of those behind the loan process so that loan officers can meaningfully engage consumers while growing their sales pipelines and maintaining mortgage marketing compliance.

Additionally, while a strong SEO strategy can help make sure prospects find lender websites, a powerfully integrated mortgage CRM can mean the difference between site views and full-fledged leads. When a prospect completes a loan inquiry form on a lender’s website, that information is automatically populated into Surefire CRM’s omni-channel mortgage marketing database. In this way, consumer-direct lenders’ SEO strategy can directly create leads that build out their pipeline and CRM database.

Technologies that permission access for referral partners also help ensure that real estate agents can monitor the loan origination process and assist with keeping their buyer’s transaction on track to close.

Why is Surefire CRM the best system for consumer-direct lenders?

As the leading mortgage marketing software provider, Surefire CRM keeps consumer-direct lenders top of mind and allows creative freedom for customer marketing and engagement with award-winning creative content backed by industry-leading compliance. Surefire also helps lenders:

  • Close more loans through the implementation of customer recapture and retention campaigns
  • Provide multi-media brand integrations that engage and retain customers with customizable journeys
  • Increase the number of new prospects with marketing automation that lets mortgage professionals understand each customer’s needs
  • Ensure compliance by automating the administrative review of all marketing materials and campaigns
  • Strengthen referral partner relationships with co-branded communication
  • Expand the available branded content vs. other lead management tools
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