The challenges facing the mortgage market today can be summed up in a few words: the Millennial market.
“They are the future of this industry,” says Gina Cosculluela, vice president of American Bancshares Mortgage. “We are working diligently with data processors and computer engineers, because what we are trying to do is to get the applications, disclosures and other industry documents that have to be received and acknowledged in an app so that we can deal with the new generation of consumers, which are millennials.”
The millennial cohort – those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s – have a different mindset, Cosculluela said and there is a definite generation gap from previous those who have been in the loan process and these twentysomethings who are now buying homes.
“We want to be in that space to market to that particular demographic, because they are our future – and they have been born with computers (smart phones) in their hands,” she says. “We need to make sure we are getting the technology to them as quickly and as efficiently as they are used to doing everything else.”
It is a quantum leap for an industry that has relied heavily on signing and approving everything on paper documents, and has required days and weeks to wrap up a home loan.
Today’s new homebuyer, the Millennial, expects to be able to purchase goods and services with a tap or a swipe of a thumb on a smartphone – and they expect it to happen in minutes, not months.
“Those are the challenges that we as an industry are facing right now,” she says. “But it doesn’t just stop at the customer. We want to not only serve Millennials, but to hire them. The average age of a typical loan officer is somewhere in 50s. We need a fresh infusion of blood to meet this Millennial market.”
While the new focus is embracing the Generation Y consumer, the traditional focus on customer service and engagement remains at the forefront for ABM as it expands its business footprint.
“Our industry is very homogeneous, and there isn’t much separating one company from another,” says Cosculluela. “We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel here, just perfect the ride – and we see customer service as giving us that edge.”
Providing assistance and support at every level is crucial to the company’s business model, she says, and that includes gauging satisfaction and encouraging feedback all along the chain.
“We’ve been able to be proactive and stay ahead of those challenges currently facing the marketplace, like greater transparency and ensuring the loan-approval pipeline flows smoothly,” says Cosculluela. “We also have a survey that is part of the end of every transaction, which helps us better understand customer needs.”