It’s a tough time to be a lender, especially at a community bank. An ever-changing rate environment can make some potential borrowers hesitant to make such a large purchase. In addition, banks of all sizes, lending houses, and other financial institutions offer numerous mortgage options to homebuyers. While the competition is fierce and the environment is unpredictable, there are a few ways to stand out from the crowd and attract and retain borrowers. Here are a few ways you can turn a promising lead into a closed loan.
Simply the Processes
Many new borrowers dread the unending paperwork and other time-consuming processes that come with applying for a mortgage. But, it doesn’t have to be full of dry numbers and legal jargon; after all, as a community bank, part of what sets you apart is your personal touch. Try simplifying the process by making it interactive and direct. Adopt interactive touches like giving out milestones in the application journey, using easy-to-understand infographics and accomplishment badges for completing each step, or show them how much closer they are to the final step. These small touches will keep your borrowers motivated to complete the application process.
As a local lender, you have an advantage over the too-big-to-fail banks around you: the trust factor. Your customers are comfortable with face-to-face interactions with you and your staff. Still, digitization is also fast picking up in the mortgage industry, allowing people to fill out applications at their convenience. As your customers grapple with increasing demands on their time and energy, the gift of convenience goes a long way. More of your customers are looking for mortgages with a low-interest rate, easy applications, shorter phone calls, and 24/7 support than ever before. So, creating a balance between having a strong local presence and having an optimum web experience will ensure you cater to all types of customers in your community.
Create Better Customer Experiences
In the competitive market of lenders, timing is everything; you must be quick in approaching your potential customers. The key is to personalize wherever possible. Customers want a convenient process and a feeling of trust from the mortgage advisor. Providing customized solutions, appropriate appointment facilities, timely completion of tasks, and regular status updates by sending out personalized messages and meaningful value will help build your credibility and genuine customer relationships. Find automation tools that work for your institution, and use them to follow up with your potential customers regularly. For example, don’t let prequalified borrowers slip through the cracks—follow up within 60 days to keep the line of communication open.
With so much effort put into acquiring new customers, it is easy to forget the existing customers and take steps to keep them happy. Personalization goes a long way in customer retention too. The tools mentioned above can also help you analyze your customers’ current financial situation, so you can suggest improvements and optimization.
Use the Right Communication Strategies
81% of first-time home buyers are between the ages of 23 and 31. Communication and other strategies should be adapted to suit the mindset of the Millennial and Generation Z cohorts entering the home-buying market. Convenience is key in this respect too; these age groups overwhelmingly prefer messages and emails to phone calls. So, using phone calls as a last resort would be ideal.
Ultimately, homebuyers are looking for lenders they can trust to provide them with a seamless customer experience and build their confidence. You as their local lender are uniquely positioned to give them just that. If you want to improve your strategies and strengthen your customer relationships, contact Independent Correspondent Bankers’ Bank about our