Super Bowl Ads 2016: No, it’s not Housing Apocalypse 2.0

Super Bowl Ads 2016: No, it’s not Housing Apocalypse 2.0

It’s difficult to say who walked away with the biggest limelight: Von Miller or #puppymonkeybaby or “Here’s what we were thinking”. No, the last one is not Housing Apocalypse 2.0. It is Rocket Mortgage’s sheer convenience, nothing less, nothing more.

 

Quicken Loans’ first Super Bowl Ad begins with a rhetoric: “Here’s what we were thinking: what if we did for mortgages what the internet did for buying music, and planes, tickets, and shoes? … “If it could be that easy, wouldn’t more people buy homes?”. It sparked an immediate backlash all across the country, and the Detroit-based company had to come out and clarify that the ad was meant more to showcase the convenience of applying for a mortgage than anything else. Indeed, that was the goal. But it got lost in what may now be construed, in retrospect, as a poor script and an ambitious attempt to save a housing economy through a funneling effect just because it’s now convenient to buy a home. Even CFPB could not help. CFPB’s tweet, though completely precise and pertinent, came in at a time that did little to alleviate the fears. At least, it did not mislead. You have a right to Know Before You Owe!

So how fast is too fast a mortgage? To all those that found the advertisement a little unsettling, please be assured that you are not going to get your mortgage funded in 8 minutes, irrespective of who says what. It still takes way more than four weeks in most of the cases and maybe 3-4 weeks in some exceptional cases.

And to all those lenders and other participants in the industry, here are five key things that we should remember:

1.    Let’s not confuse a potential home buyer: The borrower wants to buy a house and that alone is the end product. Mortgage is just the means. So it doesn’t matter whether it’s a “Digital Mortgage” like Guaranteed Rate’s or it has a “7 day processing” like Movement Mortgage’s or it can be “approved in less than 8 minutes” like Quicken’s, this kind of messaging may be great achievements for the mortgage industry or even greater marketing vehicles, but is not helping solve the confusion in the borrowers mind and we, as an industry, are leaving a door wide open for an alternative lending and disruptive company to come in and swipe the market. What matters to an end consumer is how soon and how conveniently you can close a loan end-to-end from the initial touch point.

2.    Digital Mortgage, nothing to brag about, it’s an expectation: A digital solution is a challenge to the mortgage industry. Neither do people outside the mortgage industry know why it’s a challenge nor do they care. It is an expectation that you provide as much of a digital solution as you potentially can. But in the end, what matters is how you have helped them through the process, doesn’t matter whether the help was provided through a purely digital channel or partly digital channel. Strike the right balance so as to create a great customer experience.

3.    Let’s not downplay the role of advisors in an otherwise intimidating process: The mortgage process is perceived to be cumbersome, arduous and intimidating. There are some people that know it all and are willing to take a mortgage process completely on their own through digital solutions. But most of us, know very little to make an informed decision. We need to talk to someone experienced to ensure that we are taking the right course, selecting the right products and leveraging our profile to ensure the best deal. The process is so documentation heavy that most of us do not want to go through those endless pages. Having someone to talk to during this process still plays and will continue to play a big role in such a lifetime investment. And that’s what CFPB was trying to do in their messaging of Know Before You Owe.

4.    Leverage the entire eco-system: What matters most is how you leverage all the possible touch-points in a rehearsed and well-orchestrated manner. It does not have to be completely digital if you cannot provide a good experience. The focus should be on how we are bringing together all our micro-channels to project one brand to the customer when she tries to reach the loan officer, realtor, call center or her mobile device. Companies that are able to tie all these dynamic pieces into one will be able to create compelling user experiences. The journey to a house still takes more than 30 days for all practical purposes. It’s a long process where communication and transparency is key.

5.    Focus on streamlining operational efficiencies: The behind-the-scenes operational aspects of a mortgage process require tremendous focus and attention to the details. The cost of producing a loan has been skyrocketing and we are still unable to put a real time countdown to how many days are truly remaining in a typical mortgage application-to-funding life cycle. It’s kind of unsettling that we haven’t gotten our arms around this as yet. Lenders probably need to invest a little more on leveraging business analytics to detect and eliminate those operational inefficiencies. This will be critical to getting a tight grip on the underlying processes, providing transparency and real time status update to the end borrower and thus help create a great customer experience.

So, in short, lets demystify the mortgage process and make it as easy for the end borrower as possible, which was anyways the real intention of Quicken’s Ad. So let’s move on to the real Super Bowl. Even though the Super Bowl may not have been the most gripping, it was one of the classiest displays of defense. But if you still cannot unsee the #puppymonkeybaby, please have a gatorade while you are thinking deep, then kiss Papa John and then drink Budweiser till you crash. Yes, those were the 3 masterstrokes of the evening!

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Tavant Technologies

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