As interest rates continue to climb higher, the real estate and mortgage industry is further settling into a purchase-dominant market and more consistent volumes. Amid this down market, lenders and title companies are looking closer at their collaborative operations to identify opportunities to combat margin compression and execute more efficient closings. 

In a refinance market, lenders had more choice related to which title companies they worked with and as a result, they could more efficiently collaborate on closings. According to a recent STRATMOR Group study commissioned by Qualia, lenders rate their efficiency with title companies they regularly work with significantly higher than their efficiency with “unfamiliar” title companies. 

So how can title companies and lenders replicate “familiar” relationships with one another when choice is no longer a constant? 

During Qualia’s 2022 Future of Real Estate Summit (FORES22), Qualia Manager, Lender Sales, Ty Cieloha, discussed lender-title operations with Mark Young Jr., Principal at American Federal Mortgage Corporation and Allied Title LLC. Young, who has deep experience on both the lender and title-side of the business, believes both sides must better understand one another in order to deliver on a common goal: an optimized customer experience. 

Lenders must consider the usability of their technology for title companies

One of the biggest downfalls of many collaborative solutions on the market is the lack of usability for title companies which ultimately results in a lack of adoption. Young explained that title companies are often working with dozens to hundreds of different lenders who each require different logins and portals. “I’ve heard a few settlement providers refer to this as portal wars,” Cieloha said. “Some title agents are managing up to 100 unique logins.” 

Young explained that while title companies should aim to “buy in” to the lender’s technology, it’s also up to lenders to make sure that their technology is easy to use for a settlement provider. Systems that seamlessly integrate with the title company’s primary software are the best bet for ease-of-use and collaboration. 

Easy-to-use software not only helps to reduce bottlenecks, it also limits the likelihood of loan processors defaulting to  more familiar yet less secure and manual systems, such as email, to exchange information with title companies. “I often hear that it’s ‘so much easier to just send an email’ but that [default] is not good for the long term,” Young said. 

“[Using automated tools] may not feel like the easy way at first, but eventually it will be the easy way,” Young said. He pointed to a company culture that invites predictability through consistent process and automation as a path forward for lenders to help their staff avoid defaulting to email.

Title companies must lean into technology & automation

As margins tighten on both the lender and title side of the equation, title companies that can guarantee efficient throughput will stand out to lenders. “Anything you can automate in the initial order and during CD matching is really big,” Young noted. “Title companies have limited opportunities to prove themselves, so anything they can do to make a lender’s job easier will help them secure new business.” 

Young noted that “buying in” to lender technology is also critical. Title companies who are willing to opt-in to the lender’s technology will go further in advancing their relationships with lenders. This will be made easier over time as lenders invest in technology that integrates seamlessly with title companies’ systems. 

Young also encouraged title companies to be more open to trying new technologies. “Being open and saying ‘we can do eSign’ can put you far ahead to win accounts,” Young said. He explained that by embracing new technology,  title companies can demonstrate a commitment toward delivering an improved end-customer experience. 

A solution that works for lenders & title companies 

Qualia, the system of record for thousands of title companies across the country, is making lender and title touchpoints easier, streamlined, and more consistent. Our platform brings the many points of interaction between lenders and title companies (from order opening to post-closing) into one common system without requiring the lender to leave their LOS or the title company to leave their TPS. 

To learn more about our solutions designed to bring about greater collaboration between lenders and title companies, click below to schedule a time with one of our product specialists. 

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