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Mortgage Atlanta was launched in 2009. Its mission: Get to know clients and their needs on a granular level, and then deliver a customized, client-focused home finance experience. Mortgage Atlanta services a range of clients, from first-time homebuyers to current homeowners seeking financing to renovate their property into the home of their dreams. A boutique agency, Mortgage Atlanta prides itself on offering service that is innovative, flexible, personalized, and always accessible.
For a three-member team to provide quality service for 300 transactions with an estimated value of more than $100 million USD per year requires a consistently and reliably high level of organization. Brian Berman, Mortgage Atlanta’s president and senior loan specialist, entered the industry in 2004, when clients either faxed their information to the brokerage or used an overnight FedEx label to submit their signed documents. Then came email, but since scanners and smartphones had not yet become ubiquitous, clients had to either send in their hard copies or go someplace with scanning equipment. When email was used, the messages were often unwieldy, with huge files attached, which Berman recalls as “very clunky” because the era of terabytes had yet to dawn.
Berman says the rules changed when emailing non-public information (NPI) back and forth began to be considered dangerous and not professional. Under pressure to stay current, he began using secure email. That method of document collection, however, turned out to be equally clunky and not at all user-friendly. Secure emails were sent to clients with a bulleted list of what documents were required. Clients would then attach 40 documents and return the secure email, but because the information was encrypted, Berman and his team had to manually open each attachment, identify it, rename it, and place it in the appropriate folder. With client volume growing, the amount of manual labor required just to manage document collection was simply not realistic for a team of three.
Berman, who says he was shocked by how quickly the industry went from fax machines to digital mortgages, rigorously tested a number of solutions in his quest to reduce both the time and frustration associated with collecting documents required to apply for a mortgage. Since Mortgage Atlanta has only three employees, the firm needed technology that could expedite the process of putting documents into their appropriate folders and following up as needed. With some mortgage applications requiring more than 80 documents, automating the collection and organization processes is critical. Providing an intuitive, hassle-free experience for clients was also important to the Mortgage Atlanta team.
Millennial buyers think document collection is the worst part of the mortgage process, so this technology is a huge opportunity to accelerate that pipeline.
Mortgage Atlanta chose to implement FileInvite – a decision Berman says has already dramatically changed his life for the better. The solution centralizes and manages the document collection process, automating steps such as keeping track of what’s been submitted and what’s still missing and sending reminders. He says the addition of e-signature capabilities also boosts efficiency, not to mention convenience for clients. Everything pertaining to a client’s application is in one place, eliminating the need to search through emails. When Berman does need to speak with a client, he can screen share the client’s FileInvite folder via Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
He reports that with the help of FileInvite, the system was set up to his specifications in one day, as compared to other solutions he’s used, which took days if not weeks to activate. The solution, which FileInvite gave Berman permission to co-brand, is perceived by clients not as a bot but as an extension of Mortgage Atlanta. It has eliminated the issue of documents that somehow get lost during the process of emailing them to Berman and his team. And, unlike software offered by many lenders, the FileInvite solution does not track and monitor the Mortgage Atlanta team’s activities.
Berman estimates that the FileInvite solution almost immediately made him 70 percent more efficient in document gathering. Based on his specifications, FileInvite set up templates for each type of transaction handled. Now, he simply clicks on the type of transaction – W2 borrower, for example – and a listing of all the required documents is generated along with a welcome note for the client. The client clicks on the name of the document – such as her 2020 W2 form – and uploads it. If she accidentally uploads her W2 from the wrong year, Berman simply clicks the down arrow and writes her a note requesting the correct year. When a new document is added to the list of requirements for a particular type of transaction, Berman types it into the template for the corresponding loan type so that he never has to type a request for it again.
I can manage 300 transactions a year and I don’t have an assistant.
FileInvite’s ability to keep track of what documents have been received is another huge time saver. Since deploying the solution, in fact, Berman says he’s almost never asked by a client to confirm that he’s received a document: The green arrow beside the item confirms that it has indeed been received. In addition to driving efficiency, Berman believes the transparency of which documents have been received has turned out to be an accountability tool of sorts.
If a couple is applying for a mortgage, and one has uploaded the necessary documents and the other has not, Berman can simply remind them and they have the information needed to hold each other accountable.
Berman estimates that the FileInvite solution almost immediately made him 70 percent more efficient in document gathering.
Berman cites FileInvite’s follow-up capabilities as yet another time-saver. He sets the due date and programs in follow-ups as needed, eliminating the need to type separate emails. He also is able to focus more on service and less on nagging clients about their missing paperwork.
Finally, Berman says FileInvite makes it possible for Mortgage Atlanta, a three-person firm, to compete with enormous national companies. Mortgage Atlanta and the large companies may have streamlined technology in common, but Mortgage Atlanta excels in the one thing the chains seem to struggle with – delivering consistently superior customer service. The issue of applicants’ documents that they’ve sent to three people at a large company six or seven times still being missing does not happen at Mortgage Atlanta.
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