Contemporary borrowers want to be able to price, decide. and act on loans from their phones.
Make no mistake: Quicken Loans’ 2018 Super Bowl commercials with Keegan-Michael Key had its sights on lenders who might be a lot like you.
Quicken Loans wants to peel away young, affluent customers who judge the aptitude of lenders based on their ability to answer their questions and deliver a product through a language of graphics and swipes.
The ads have a young couple sitting in an office across the desk from a bald, middle-aged loan officer. “Yeah,” he says, “you can get a mortgage that avoids PMI, but there’s no way to avoid MIP on an FHA. Now there’s—“
Mr. Key rolls out on a desk chair from behind the couple and shows them a cell phone. “Hey, this will help.”
The next frame shows the Rocket Mortgage home page, as the narrator intones, “Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans makes the complex, simple. Understand the details and get approved in less than 8 minutes.” The message here is clear, your competition understands that borrowers want clarity and convenience, and your challenge is to be sure that you are meeting those expectations.
The reality for some credit unions and community banks is that they can’t afford to adapt their processes to fit into the palm of a smart phone user’s hand. But the costs of avoiding the expense can be even greater than a line item in an operations budget. Lenders risk their reputation. A bad mobile experience tells your customers that their needs aren’t your priority. How many of those customers can you afford to lose?
Technology is not about being trendy. It’s a requirement to stay ahead of the market and meet your customers expectations. Lenders with online lending programs optimized for mobile phones are following advice their grandparents might have given: Meet people where they are—not where you want them to be. Does your loan origination system maximize your customers’ online experience, allowing you to lend anywhere and at any time? This is something you need to consider when starting or improving your online lending experience.
Mobile Lending and Smart Phone Usage
Mobile lending has become the method of choice for many young affluent customers who will soon be the backbone of your portfolio. A Federal Reserve Study found that 38% of all bank customers in 2015 were using mobile phones to at least get information about their accounts. The base for that comparison included customers who didn’t even own a phone, and other Fed studies indicate that number surpassed 50% in 2018.
A 2018 study by the Pew Research Center found more than three quarters of adults have a smart phone. While distribution is roughly even between men and women, and among racial and ethnic groups, the distribution by age, income, and education shows wide gaps. Smartphone ownership is:
- 94% of ages 18-29
- 89% of ages 30-49
- 73% of ages 50-64
- 46% of ages 64 and over
Those with college degrees or annual incomes over $75,000 have smartphone ownership rates exceeding 90%, while those without any college education or incomes below $30,000 have ownership rates below 70%.
A 2018 study by the University of Southern California’s Center for the Digital Future found that more than one in three bank customers under age 45 would switch their primary bank for “better online/mobile services.”
Among most age groups, interest rates and fees were by far the biggest reason to switch, but among those ages 25 to 34, the gap was narrow: 47% would switch for online/mobile services, compared with 54% for lower fees and rates. If you require a driver’s license as a stipulation for a loan, these borrowers expect to be able to take a picture of it with their phone and send it to you within a few seconds. It would not be wise to expect them to stop by your branch or even scan-and-email stipulated documents.
Maximizing customer convenience is just as important as advertising low rates and fees. And while age matters, these studies are also showing that mobile usage is increasing sharply among all age categories and incomes, including older consumers. Your institution’s future is at stake if you’re not keeping up with the convenience borrowers expect, and providing that level of service requires advanced technology. You want to meet your customers where they live. And if they’re moving, you want to be the first to greet them.
These trends are clear. How are you addressing them?
Written by Jim DuPlessis. First published at TCI Credit.
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