The Mortgage Banker Magazine Article, January 5, 2021 – Based on the year we just experienced, I suspect the common phrase “hindsight is 2020” will become faux pas for a time. Kidding aside, there are significant takeaways from the dreadful pandemic year. Incredibly, even in 2020, many organizations were caught completely unprepared to handle the unintended byproducts of a pandemic situation and the need to go completely virtual or digital. Among the hardships that abounded, there were some good consequences, but still those good things caused extreme frustration and struggles in most organizations for a variety of reasons. I am speaking, of course, the lowered interest rates and the steep incline and year-long steady hold of the refi market.
It is ironic that out of a terrible situation also came a boom for the mortgage industry. Interestingly enough, that very gift caused extreme discomfort with present processes and workflows resulting in long delays and extended loan closures. One of the primary reasons this occurred is the utilization of the same processes and technology that was in place years ago. This can be said of just about every component of the loan process, but it became obvious to all, including borrowers, when it was time for the collateralization of the loan. The sheer numbers of appraisal orders were almost too much for most organizations to manage in a timely manner.
As I’m considering my next thought, I’m literally shaking my head, because here we are in 2021 and yet there are still numerous manual processes coupled with emails and spreadsheets being used to manage entire lines of business. Organizations justify this because ‘it is how they’ve always functioned’ or their need for manual control supersedes the desire for automated efficiencies or outright fear of change. What is truly sad about this is that technology is ever evolving and is easier and easier to manage, even for us slightly older than the millennial age group. I am hopeful organizations that were plowed under the last year with high volumes take the time to consider how they can utilize technology to make their workflows more efficient and thereby increasing their profitability. While this is true for each of the numerus processes needed to complete a loan, let’s focus on the appraisal process specifically.