Mortgage Innovation Roundtable

Synopsis: Join this powerhouse of industry leaders from Salesforce, Ellie Mae, and EMS as they discuss insights and forecasts that are unique to their positions and perspectives in the Mortgage industry. They will discuss evolving technologies, platforms, and solutions. Tune in and hear about how to scale your mortgage operations through smart automation and strategically prepare for the unknown

Speakers: Geoff Green, Global Head, Mortgage & Lending at Salesforce | Stephanie Durflinger, VP of Product Management at Ellie Mae | Linda Reid, Chief Innovation Officer at EMS Consulting

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Complete Transcript

0:00:06.1 Taylor Richardson: Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you so much for joining our Mortgage Industry Innovation Roundtable with Salesforce, Ellie Mae and EMS Consulting. My name is Taylor Richardson, I’m facilitating our conversation today. I’m so honored to have three guests with us today who I’d like to introduce. First we have Stephanie Durflinger, Vice President of Product Management at Ellie Mae. She has been in the mortgage industry for the past 20 years and has been blazing the mortgage technology and innovation trail both having been on the mortgage institution side as well as on the technology partner side. She brings a wealth of experience and wisdom to the conversation today. We’re so honored to have you, thanks for being here, Stephanie.

0:00:49.7 Stephanie Durflinger: Thank you.

0:00:51.5 TR: We also have with us Geoff Green, Global Head for Mortgage and Lending at Salesforce. Geoff works with leading financial organizations around the world, spanning mortgage, consumer lending, FinTech and process optimization. He has a focus on borrower experience, borrower-driven strategies, AI and regulatory compliance. Thank you so much for being here, Geoff. We’re so excited to have you.

0:01:15.1 Geoff Green: Thank you, Taylor, I appreciate it.

0:01:17.7 TR: We also have with us Linda Reid, Chief Innovation Officer at EMS Consulting. Linda has been a CIO for more than 30 years, and leads product and industry innovation here at EMS. She’s helped countless mortgage lending teams transform their processes and borrower experiences, and she is the brain power also behind EMS’s Encompass Salesforce Connector. So thank you so much for joining us today, Linda.

0:01:44.9 Linda Reid: Yeah, absolutely, looking forward to it.

0:01:47.4 TR: Great. And I’m Taylor Richardson, it’s nice to be here too. I’m a Senior Marketing Cloud Consultant here at EMS Consulting. For the past twelve and a half years of my career, I actually got my start also in financial services, working face-to-face in the branch, working all the way over to marketing and website territory, and now I’m over here on the partner side. So I’m happy to be here today as well.

0:02:12.2 TR: Real quick before we get completely rolling, a few housekeeping items that I want to go over is we will be taking some questions during the presentation, we will not be answering them live. We encourage you please to use the Q&A button in the Zoom interface. Simply type in your question. And if it is directed towards one of our speakers here today, please feel free to refer to them in the question so that we can get it to the right person. With any time that we have left over by the end of the hour, we may go through those questions, and if we can’t get to anything that might be left over, we will follow up via email, of course. So definitely get those submitted throughout.

0:02:51.6 TR: So as we sort of get started here, first I wanna say that we really asked Linda, Geoff and Stephanie to be here with us today because all three of you are thought leaders in the mortgage space specifically, you all know really what it takes to really move the needle in this space, especially when it comes to improving the borrower process, but also improving things for the back-end employees, the ones who are actually processing those real estate loans. EMS Consulting is a proud partner of both Ellie Mae and Salesforce, and our partnership together is really a testament to the commitment that both Salesforce and Ellie Mae have towards offering scalable, flexible frameworks to support the entire mortgage loan life cycle. So it’s a really, really powerful combination of platforms here.

0:03:47.4 TR: So to kick off our conversation, first I wanna say too that all of us have been in financial services for a long time, but all of us care very deeply about making things better for the mortgage processors and for borrowers alike. Stephanie actually, as we were signing on, was just talking about a recent mortgage transaction where there was multiple layers to it, and so it’s really important that LOSs are able to keep up with growing demands and growing complexity of those real estate transactions. But we know if it were easy, everybody would have done it by now. It really is a complex space to be in. I think for the guests that we have today, we’re on the innovation side and we find it very exciting because of how complex it is, but I can definitely empathize too with our mortgage lenders who might be on the call today that it is quite complex and demanding and challenging to keep up with. So my first question for our guest speakers today, and I wanna ask each of you, we’ll start with Stephanie, what do you think makes the mortgage space so exciting and complex?

“What makes innovation in the Mortgage space exciting and complex?”

0:04:58.8 SD: Well, I think that there’s much to it, and that’s part of the excitement and the complexity, of course. There’s challenges because we’re in a regulatory environment and that regulation comes from federal, state, municipality levels across 50 states, so there’s elections and lots of changes that come in and make interesting challenges along the way. So we’ve got some challenges there, and that in of itself is exciting because we need to understand how to solve those real problems that we face and bring our best foot forward for our borrowers in that scenario.

0:05:35.5 SD: Part of the excitement is that the mortgage industry over the past couple of years is finally embracing technology. I remember attending an MBA event five, six years ago, and we were talking about digitizing checklists, that was our big innovation. And as an industry, our mindshare has moved so much forward and our ability and willingness to embrace technology has just increased and there’s so much opportunity there. And the complicated pieces of it is just the number of pieces of it, and that no one part of the industry is incredibly difficult, but there’s so many pieces to it that maintaining the integrity and technology use through that entire process, that is certainly complex.

0:06:23.5 TR: Definitely. Awesome. I appreciate that so much. Thank you. Linda, I would love to hear from you as well. What makes the mortgage industry and innovating within it so exciting and complex for you?

0:06:36.3 LR: Well, I think it’s more… There’s so much opportunity, it’s an industry that hasn’t had too much innovation until more recently, so it’s almost like the sky is the limit, so we definitely have a lot of areas. But really the challenge that I see when we work with clients is they’re trying to themselves pull together pieces to talk to each other, which is a big undertaking for a mortgage company or a mortgage division within a bank. And typically, they’re not really that successful. So that’s a challenge. And how do I get all of the pieces that I need to run my entire business, not just the loan underwriting and closing, but what about marketing, what about lead prospecting, what about marketing campaigns to customers after they’ve closed their loans? So the challenge is how do you pull that together yourself? Most of our clients don’t have large IT groups, they try to find different partners to do different pieces, and so it ends up not being the unified and streamline process that they really need. So that’s really, to me, the most challenging part, when they’re trying to do it themselves.

0:07:53.7 TR: Definitely. And Geoff, I would love to hear from you too on the Salesforce side, especially with what Linda has shared, what do you see on the Salesforce side, what is that complexity and what makes it so tough to do this?

0:08:08.8 GG: Yeah, sure, I appreciate the question, Taylor. And first, thanks to EMS Consulting for having me here today, and thrilled to be on with Stephanie and Linda, and sort of echo their comments. I think this… What’s so exciting right now is this idea of getting end-to-end is for real, and that’s pretty exciting. That’s all the way from top of the funnel lead management, all the way through the LOS to servicing and contextually what might be next as a result of that transaction. So that’s exciting. And I like what Stephanie said, we’ve been a long way since the piece-part nature of thinking about that and thinking about individual innovation, and maybe one of those sub-functions or those sub-slices. So that is great. And at Salesforce, it’s just a thrill. We bring a lot of core values as a core value-driven company into a platform approach for bringing borrower experience and loan officer experience together on one platform, and the ability to have the types of bidirectional sync with LOS providers like an Ellie Mae, like Encompass, and to have really great SI shops like EMS Consulting get in there and help in that LOS CRM sync, or that POS CRM sync or lead management sync, or really thinking about what’s next. It’s a super exciting time for helping everybody, help borrowers get into homes and create wealth, and help customers get it done quicker and faster and really think about a platform approach to that. So it’s a great time to be in the business, for sure.

0:09:48.0 TR: I love that so much. And you’re absolutely right, we’ve been talking about this and pushing for this for so long, and now really is the time for it to finally all come together. And speaking of, I would like to zoom in for a moment and talk about specifically how Salesforce and Ellie Mae Encompass work together to support the entire mortgage loan process end-to-end. Salesforce FSC, Financial Services Cloud, being the CRM that’s handling the client relationship piece of it, and then Encompass, for those who may not be as familiar, Encompass is the mortgage loan origination system there. Because these two systems work so well together, EMS Consulting as a partner has actually been able to build an Encompass connector that seamlessly integrates FSC with Encompass. So Linda, I would love to hear you talk about the Encompass connector and how it gives our mortgage lenders that best case scenario when working between FSC and Encompass.

“What is the EMS Encompass Connector and how it does it give mortgage lenders a best case scenario with FSC and Encompass?”

0:10:49.9 LR: Sure, absolutely. So the EMS Encompass Connector, I’d like to say it’s not only the real-time integration between Salesforce and Encompass, which is extremely important, and it truly is real-time, but it’s also building out the best practice of your full life cycle for your mortgage processes all the way from lead prospecting all the way to closure and then post-closure. So it has the way to work the lead, it has some pre-screening capabilities before you actually click the button and say, “I’m ready to create the loan.” As you know, not every consumer is ready to start a loan when you talk to them. They may have where they’re just not ready, they haven’t found a property, however, they are an opportunity now and you have pre-screened them, so we built nurturing campaigns out within the Salesforce platform, which is really a missing piece a lot of times within a loan origination system because they want the loan to be created. A lot of times you’re not really ready for the loan to be created. But the real-time data updates that occur between Salesforce and Encompass, it really allows the loan officer to work within Salesforce only, and that’s really important. And this is where we’ve had the most success because the LO is able to take all of the actions anytime, anywhere on their mobile device, no matter where they’re at, and that has been extremely successful.

0:12:18.4 LR: And we’ve also built out the automation. So different updates that are occurring in real time into Salesforce on what we call the loan detail are things that the system is looking for, automations that will create a priority task for that LO to see right on their phone that they have to take action on that. It might be that there’s underwriting conditions, it might be that the appraisal has been received, it might be that it’s hit a certain milestone stage within Encompass. So not only is it the integration, but the workflow automation and collaboration features that is so strong within Salesforce have been built out so, again, that loan officer or the LOA, whoever is in more of the front-end process, they can work within Salesforce. And then even like we said, after closing of the loan, the abilities within Salesforce around marketing, you can send out those campaigns to keep in contact with your consumer, the birthday and anniversary, but also those upsell opportunities that you wanna be able to contact them with.

0:13:23.6 LR: So when I think about what we’ve built, it’s really a unified process that you really only have two systems in play. So as a CIO, I’m always looking for the least number of platforms and systems to support an entire business line or process, because this is gonna result in less cost, less system costs, it allows for a more unified experience and process, and less issues with data syncing and integration issues. So we’re really proud of it. We’ve had a lot of success over the last so many years with it, and we continue to build on it and innovate on it.

0:14:00.8 TR: That’s fantastic. Thank you, Linda, and thank you to Salesforce too, Geoff, and Stephanie at Encompass because it really is a testament, I think, to the strength of those two platforms that partners like EMS and Linda spearheading it can really bring those two together and make them work seamlessly together like that. That’s incredible. So Geoff, I would love to hear from you, kind of piggybacking on that, on the Salesforce side, obviously we know not everybody has the EMS Encompass Connector, but there are many ways that Salesforce and Encompass can play together and work together. So I would imagine a number of your clients on the Salesforce side have both platforms and that a number of them don’t. What advantages have you been able to see with your clients that do have those two platforms versus those that don’t?

“What are the advantages to having both Salesforce FSC and Encompass together?”

0:14:51.6 GG: Yeah, I appreciate the question, and I think you’re starting to see more evidence of where the ecosystem approach within Salesforce is really starting to shine. And I think a lot of folks, maybe a couple of years ago, would have said, “What does CRM and mortgage have to do with each other?” Almost in that same evolution of technology, which traditionally has been in a sub-functional view, lead management, POS, CRM, LOS, servicing onto the next thing, more of the platform approach brings that across Customer 360. We are the record of record of customer experience, the record of record of loan making is the loan origination system. A ton of our customers are Encompass customers, and so this has just come up a whole bunch, where figuring out how this works best together is something that our customers need us, both companies, ICE and Salesforce, to get their arms around to help install bases do what they do best, crush that and then help their customers build wealth.

0:16:05.4 GG: So it’s come up a bunch and the consulting partners, again, EMS, with a connector being known for being able to stitch this together is something that’s out in the ecosystem. Thinking about the ISV approach, about how this is simpler. Again, this is another way, I think, this is coming up in the ecosystem. And I think it’s another sign where the Salesforce approach to borrower experience, and the Salesforce approach to having a unifying place where loan officer experience in borrower experience comes together is working pretty well. And so this is evidence here that here’s another one where we have one of the biggest LOS providers on the planet, and a couple of ways to really think about a true integration to help loan shops and mortgage shops really do well when it comes to end-to-end and do it as fast and as cost-effective as possible, so they can in turn help their customers get into homes as quickly as they possibly can, even homes out in Oregon on 40 acres with running water going through as everyone’s getting into a net new situation. So it’s a great time and it’s something we’re really proud of. The ecosystem and the growing ecosystem is something we’re very, very proud of.

0:17:26.5 TR: Both platforms can master and focus on both ends of that. Like you said, it’s end-to-end, but Salesforce is really the customer relationship management platform, Encompass is the LOS in the real estate space. And so absolutely, those two platforms need to work together and I’m so glad that they do. Stephanie, when you and I spoke the other day, actually a lot of what Geoff just said, I think your sentiments echoed the same thing. I loved what you said about Ellie Mae having a spirit of “coopetition”, you definitely get credit for that phrase. And that is to say that Ellie Mae plays nicely with competitors and would-be competitors. Can you expound on how that approach has helped Ellie Mae stay at the forefront of innovation in the real estate industry?

“How has the spirit of ‘co-opetition’ helped Encompass lead innovation in real estate?”

0:18:26.6 SD: Yeah, happy to. Thanks for the question. And I just wanna make sure that folks know that Ellie Mae was recently acquired by Intercontinental Exchange, and so the ICE reference that Geoff made, we’re ICE Mortgage Technology now, Ellie Mae is a part of ICE Mortgage Technology. So I wanted to make that connection for folks, if it wasn’t apparent already. But in terms of the coopetition, it’s fantastic because we can have combined mindshare. Years ago, more than a decade ago, when Ellie Mae was Ellie Mae, they created their first network and it was a partner network that was open and bringing together service providers in the technology world that helps lenders do their jobs.

0:19:12.1 SD: So bringing everybody together. And it’s become more and more valuable over time. It isn’t just about, “How do I get a credit report or how do I do this function, these discrete functions?” It really becomes, “How do I have an end-to-end solution where lenders have choice and they can take advantage of different opportunities?” In the case of Salesforce, Salesforce supports things that Ellie Mae does not, and what they’re offering in their other aspects of the offering that they have, and so a lot of our joint customers have built processes surrounding Salesforce. And so being able to have our two opportunities integrating into one another and taking advantage of the best of both, it just raises the game for the lenders and creates that end-to-end solution for them in the way that they wanna do business, especially true on the financial institutions side of the plan, where Salesforce might be pretty well-ingrained in everything that’s happening on the front end of the business, and connecting that with what’s happening on the operations side and the back end of the business is just hugely important, not only to the lenders, but to the borrowers.

0:20:23.7 SD: At the end of the day, we’re all in this industry trying to put borrowers in homes, and so the way that we can work together to do that, super important. And from a competition point of view… I said coopetition because we cooperate, we wanna make each other better because we both win, lenders win, consumers win, we all win when that happens, and there’s nothing the matter with a little competition to help edge that along. That’s okay. And then the other thing about that is that the mindshare that we can disseminate is… We all know what a network effect is, it has the network effect and everybody wins. So I can’t say that enough, that that’s how… Sometimes we are, in a couple of cases, the leading distribution channel for a partner who is our primary competitor in a space. Wrap your head around that. That’s the reality of it, and we enjoy that and we welcome it. We wanna be a part of what brings the win to the industry as a whole.

0:21:32.9 TR: And that’s a great segue too, because now more than ever mortgage lenders and financial institutions alike and consumers too, would-be real estate purchasers, are under pressure unlike what we’ve had before. They’re under this pressure to deliver smooth digital experiences across the board. Digital is no longer a luxury, it’s sort of a mandate for both businesses and consumers who maybe resisted it before or saw it as a choice, but maybe preferred to do business face-to-face. Now, we all have to get comfortable with contactless interactions. So it’s no longer enough to just be digital, the process also needs to be smooth. And as we’ve laid out today, that takes a lot to pull off. So I would really love to hear from all three of you, we’ll start with Geoff. What does that mounting pressure mean for mortgage lenders and institutions who are maybe still bogged down with non-digital processes, disparate systems and systems that maybe aren’t integrated or working optimally?

“How can mortgage lenders without smooth, digital processes quickly catch up?”

0:22:49.9 GG: Yeah, I appreciate the question, and I really… Following up on what Stephanie said ’cause really it makes a lot of sense to me, we offer Marketing Cloud capabilities. We have an API super highway in MuleSoft, we have Tableau for Visual Analytics, we have service cloud for the call center, we have FSC as the hub of the wheel on mortgage innovation, we have lead management capabilities, and we have a great ecosystem for connectivity across. But it doesn’t mean… And I call it sort of emotional intelligence, it doesn’t mean that it has to be us for everything. And I think building the business case for where crawl/walk/run comes on site with individual implementations and why, and I think great SI partners like EMS Consulting can come in and help you really think through where and why you wanna start that journey and what pieces. But I do think, I do think if you’re not thinking about an end-to-end vision, these are the days where it really has to be, you have to be thinking about an end-to-end vision.

0:23:55.1 GG: I meet with a lot of customers that say, “We just kinda wanna do this one thing and we wanna do it really well,” and then you’ll come back and they’ll say, “But we do have this sort of long range view of where we wanna be. Can you help us kinda crush it in the interim and think through the long term at the same time?” And we’re proud of a platform that enables both. And it doesn’t… You don’t have to start with this idea of getting end-to-end as quickly as possible, but we know in this business that LOS sync, the customer experience linkage, the record of record of customer experience to the record of record of the loan is critical to that. Owning borrower experience is critical. If you don’t have great borrower experience, someone’s gonna go with somebody that does. But how do you link these pieces up together and start thinking about it end-to-end? ‘Cause now you can. Whereas before, it might have been a pipe dream or somebody’s science project. So I like this notion of seeing customers focus on some very short-term things, but also try to link that up with their long-term vision. We see that a lot as the winning strategy.

0:25:02.8 TR: That’s awesome. And it speaks volumes for you to say too that, “We’re Salesforce, we want you to have it all end-to-end, but realistically you do just need to start somewhere.” And I know that on the EMS Consulting side, we definitely can help you sort that out, like you said. Thank you. Stephanie, I would love to hear from you real quick too. How do you think the surmounting pressure to innovate will continue to affect our mortgage lending groups who are maybe not quite there yet or are maybe overwhelmed about where to start?

“How will the pressure to go fully digital continue to affect mortgage lenders who don’t know where to start?”

0:25:33.3 SD: Yeah, I think they’re gonna continue to get squeezed. I’m sure they’re already feeling the pressure. I mean, relative to just the environment we live in today with COVID and the work from home and all that kind of stuff, disparate systems are causing problems that folks are having to find temporary solutions to solve for, and they’re gonna need to go to longer term solutions over that. And to Geoff’s point, the borrower experience gets directly impacted there and you have to start trying to piece together solutions maybe with some hot glue and some duct tape to try to get past that challenge that you have, as opposed to lenders who’ve already had a little bit of forward thinking on a digital solution and may have pieces out there that function wholly for the domain in which they function, that now they just need to knit together to make that cohesive data and document transition all the way from point of thought for a borrower to end-of-life servicing a loan, for example. So it’s gonna continue to happen, so I would encourage folks to be aware of that and looking around to understand what options are there that already have that cohesive integration.

0:26:53.3 TR: Awesome, thank you. And Linda, I would love to hear from you as well about this pressure. I mean, it sounds like it’s not gonna get any better. What advice do you have for those mortgage lending groups out there that are trying to make that first step?

0:27:07.8 LR: Well, I tell you, we hear from our clients all the time that it’s becoming a very competitive market, and the consumers are much more digitally savvy than just five years ago, so their expectation is to have a smooth, quick and seamless digital experience. If they don’t, the word gets out, and it gets out around their consumers and their referral partners, their brokers. So if you have a disjointed experience, parts are still manual, the communication was lacking, we have seen these mortgage companies lose market share. We’ve been able to turn them around as we put them on the new solution, but where we have the traditional retail mortgage, they’re all coming to us and saying, “We need something really quick. We can’t be the process that we’ve been ’cause we’re not as competitive.” Especially with more the digital consumer direct where these leads are coming in from all different channels very quickly. We were able to take a customer in California that was literally getting 1000 leads a day and losing 50% of them on to Salesforce, where they lost none. So if you take whatever the revenue would be based on one lead that didn’t turn into a loan, that’s a lot of money, so it definitely justifies for that. But many more of our clients are trying to get into that consumer direct side of the business, and they’re not gonna be able to do it on their systems the way they are today.

0:28:45.4 TR: Definitely. I think that’s actually a perfect segue into our next section here. We’ve been talking a lot about that… Stephanie calls it the spirit of co-opetition, but really it’s the importance of partnerships. No one system can really do it all. We do need to take the time and work through and evaluate what are the right systems for our organization? So I actually wanna direct this next question towards Stephanie. Stephanie, you’ve said that partnerships in the mortgage industry really are the key to innovation, specifically on the technology side. We all know that Salesforce is the world’s number one CRM platform with an interface built for customer first experiences, and Encompass is the industry’s most recognized loan origination system. So both of these are open platforms, which means that they easily connect to and support other solutions like credit sourcing apps, appraisal tools, document management connectors, like you said before, even when they’re from would-be competitors. So how does the openness… And I’m sorry, actually I said to Stephanie and I meant to Geoff. So Geoff actually, how does the openness of Salesforce allow mortgage lenders to continue innovating on their borrower experience, maybe even after their initial implementation?

“How does the Salesforce open platform allow mortgage lenders to innovate their borrower experience beyond their initial implementation?”

0:30:13.9 GG: Yeah, it’s a great question. And again, going back to this theme of the ecosystem, I think, is huge. And traditionally, you’ve seen a very siloed set of, I don’t even know if disintegrated is a word, but things out on an island, where lead management and the record of record from a CRM perspective, and LOS and servicing and third party call-outs to VOE or VOI or appraisal or pricing engines are all kind of living in their own world, GSC, interaction with the GSCs as well too. And so, again, I think we’re uniquely positioned and somewhat disruptive actually for being able to have that almost sort of plug-and-play aspect of choose what you want. And we need to, again, have the emotional intelligence as a platform company for you to bring what you wanna bring to that. In a lot of cases, we all know these mortgage shops tend to build their own stuff, so if you wanna future-proof on some of our pieces, you can do that as well too.

0:31:22.4 GG: But for me… And I’ve been saying this a lot lately in forums like this, because a product like Financial Services Cloud becomes a record of record of customer experience in a house-holding data model, and a 1003 set of data is more instantiated in the data model, we’re trying to help our customers have a stickier relationship that goes past mortgage and helps families regardless of color or creed or orientation or where you live build wealth through housing equally, consistent with the core values of our company. And so it’s another way that Salesforce is somewhat uniquely positioned is because we can help that record of record find its way across the institution, within the institution, from one line of business to the other, or where partnerships have been cut from one sub-vertical to other sub-verticals, to help instrument… To ensure that there’s a lengthier, stickier relationship between that customer and that institution, and that’s a big thing. It’s a big thing, especially now coming out of a refi boom, where you really need to know that you can count on having customers and offering them something next, contextually what that might be consistent with their needs.

0:32:42.9 GG: And does AI drive what might be next in that relationship? What are the attributes that help an institution regardless of size? I think sometimes on the Salesforce side, I think there’s this perception out there that you need to be a certain size institution to rank for Salesforce or afford Salesforce or have it be in your shop, which spending a lot of time this fiscal year kind of creating myth from fact on that. We can help you scale faster, and every institution that’s done a lot of business has aspirations to scale. We’re just a very good scaling mechanism. It doesn’t mean that you have to be a certain size shop to get started with Salesforce. Scaling happens in a democratized way regardless of size. So again, I think the ability to bring your own, for us to be emotionally intelligent when it comes to that platform, and then use us as a scaling function and then integrate with the best of the best, where you need that by what traditionally are in siloed places in one platform that brings it together. A lot of words there, but all true.

0:33:48.6 TR: That’s fantastic. I know on the partner side of things, we’ve done implementations for one team at a time that eventually does scale into the rest of the organization. Usually what happens is you start small, which is a very great way to start, like Geoff said, and as soon as you see successes, other departments, other pieces of the business want some of that as well, so that’s how it grows and that’s what it’s built to do. Thank you so much, Geoff. That’s great. So now I would actually like to ask Stephanie… You spoke earlier about the spirit of co-opetition and how that’s helped Ellie Mae Encompass (now ICE Technologies) stay ahead of the innovation curve. I also know that you spoke previously with me about your experience with other platforms outside of Encompass that maybe weren’t as open. Can you tell us what you learned from those experiences? How does Encompass really compare with those other platforms that are maybe not as connection forward?

“How does Encompass, an open platform, compare with other real estate loan origination systems that are not as connection-forward?”

0:34:48.2 SD: Sure. I was with another technology before coming to Ellie Mae, and I remember thinking about the two technologies kind of like a Good To Great type of a story. They were… I don’t know if you’ve heard of that book or not. But they were in the same position with about the same funding and a lot of similarities in where they were, and Ellie Mae went here and the other went here. So the trajectory of Ellie Mae was certainly over the top. And when I looked at the technologies, the main driving force, I think, was that network. I think that network opened up because you can have that effect that is the multiplier in all ways.

0:35:34.4 SD: And if we’re not working now with a company that has extensibility in terms of its platform and doesn’t have the mindset language Geoff was talking about when he said that it fits in alignment with Salesforce corporate values, that they are putting people and helping them build wealth regardless of whatever other components come into play there, that is completely aligned with how ICE Mortgage Technology thinks about things. We wanna put people in homes, that’s what we’re doing, we’re trying to make the industry a better place. That’s what we want. So when you have partners that are aligning like that and have platforms that are extendable and have an open mindset, you can’t help but win in that regard. So when I’m with other technologies that are closed, it just limits. It limits the success of that company, it limits the innovation that we can do, and it limits the lender’s success using those technologies.

0:36:35.1 TR: That makes perfect sense. Thank you so much for sharing what you’ve learned there. And Linda too, I would love to hear from you because you work with countless other mortgage lending teams too and financial institutions who maybe are on other LOSs that are, as Stephanie said, more closed off or don’t connect as easily to those other systems that they need to, so can you expound on what that means for them? What are they missing out on by not choosing a more open CRM and LOS?

“What are mortgage lenders missing out on by not choosing open platforms like Salesforce and Encompass?”

0:37:05.7 LR: Sure. Yeah, we’ve worked with a number of legacy LOS systems that don’t have open APIs where we can push the date in real time between Salesforce and the LOS, so it’s been a challenge. These types of systems, you have to fall back on older methods like a nightly flat file of loan updates, or at best you might be able to pull the database from a data mart since you can’t really write to their database directly. So we weren’t able to provide that real-time unified experience that we pride ourselves in when the LOS system has those types of limitations. It worked, but it’s definitely not the best experience for the client, and there’s really not anything that we can do. We made it the best we could.

0:37:52.1 LR: So even some of the LOS systems that we have worked with recently have started having maybe one or two APIs that they’re opening up, but we’ve found them to be not well thought out and prone to errors. So we are beta testing a couple with a couple of the LOSs now, and it’s not going real well, and we’re helping them work through the issues which I would not have expected to have to do.

0:38:22.0 LR: So really, an LOS is really not built to be a full CRM, and a CRM is not built to be an LOS, but the key is to finding the LOS that has an open architecture that allows you to create that unified and seamless process. So we’ve worked with many, but we’ve not really had one that we have had as much success with as Encompass.

0:38:49.0 TR: Awesome. That’s a really… That paints a vivid picture. I know any mortgage lenders here listening are probably quite familiar with trying to do the best that we can with what we have, but we definitely should be looking forward to the future and prioritizing, I think, moving towards those more open platforms. So Stephanie, as we’ve spoken about, we know one platform can’t do it all. As Linda just said, CRMs are built to be CRMs and manage customer relationships, Encompass and other LOSs are built to handle the loan processing. So for those mortgage lenders and groups out there that maybe have a more closed platform, is that something — given everything that we’ve talked about today — is migrating to an open platform like Encompass is something that they can really wait on? Or is that a 2021 priority in your opinion?

“Should migrating to an open LOS platform be a ‘this-year’ priority?”

0:39:47.0 SD: Well, I would definitely say it’s a 2021 priority for a couple of reasons. One, the volume is expected to be a little lower. No better time to look at what happened in 2020 and how you can do better for when you have an up market or a down market in the future. So a little less volume means perhaps a little more time to do a retrospective and understand where you are and plan ahead. That said, it is really difficult for a closed platform to open itself up. That is not a simple task. And as Linda was speaking to, when folks are trying to do that, it comes at a cost in terms of time, and sometimes even just the folks that are working and their knowledge, they might have knowledge for what they’re doing in the domain upon which they’re organized, but not have the external knowledge necessary to create that open platform. So time to market becomes an issue.

0:40:43.8 SD: Technology is changing and the market is adapting to that change and borrowers are expecting more. And when Linda was talking about the CRM and the overnight batch uploads, way too late. There’s studies out there that say if you don’t respond to a lead in the first 10 minutes, you’re likelihood has gone down 50%. So now you’re talking overnight, that’s crazy. How can you do that? So I don’t think… I think time is of the essence. I think that you have got to get yourself in a place where you have options, at the very least where you have options, and you can make the connections between your different systems and have that continuity of data and documents all the way through empowering everything that you’ve got going on from lead generation, all the way to selling or servicing your loans.

0:41:37.0 TR: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Stephanie. And Geoff, kind of similarly, based on how Salesforce has been prioritizing, really very recently, Salesforce has been prioritizing mortgage innovation over the past several years, for any of our real estate lending executives who might be listening, can you give us any insight about what Salesforce maybe has in store for the mortgage industry in the near future?

“What does Salesforce have in store for the mortgage industry?”

0:42:05.8 GG: Well, I would just… Before I go there, I would just echo the comments of my colleagues on the call. I think I really heard Linda say, and it’s great for Salesforce, we are not a loan origination system. We crush customer experience and we can provide that platform and we can provide optionality, to Stephanie’s point. As an open platform, we’ve got optionality, we have solutions for you to consider across end-to-end on that platform, but if you wanna use MuleSoft and think about different third party APIs for a particular way that you grab a sub-functional piece in the value chain, then go do it. So I think my colleagues really said the right stuff when it comes to an open platform, the dangers of once it’s closed, how difficult it is really to open it up. And I think in the case of us, I don’t think we’re trying to extend past our core competency of a customer 360 view and crushing integrations to some of the key functions in the value chain, like the LOS, like POS, if you wanna choose your own and bring it, like using an API approach for product and pricing or any of the other third party service calls that you need to do.

0:43:31.0 GG: On this question of roadmap, of course I would first say make buying decisions on what’s generally available to just keep myself out of trouble and just knock that out right there. Thank you. And then the other thing that I would say is, look, we wanna get better and better at enabling, at enabling the end-to-end experience for our lenders so that they can go and serve borrowers better and create a stickier relationship with them. That’s what we wanna do. Then on top of that, we’ve got great stuff on lead management, we’ve got great stuff on what you’re able to do in some of the piece-part links across that, from an API perspective, from a marketing cloud perspective. We’ve got great stuff all the way along those lines on Tableau with Visual Analytics, but that really has to align with what your individual journey looks like to help you get end-to-end and where you wanna try to make investment and think about getting better. I definitely think the COVID experience has taken that last part of the value chain, particularly on Marketing Cloud, and required you to be able to contextually take all that data and put an offer into somebody’s inbox and say, “Have I got a deal for you that’s contextual.” So I think seeing the marketing aspect of the end-to-end journey really come out strong has been something that’s been noticeable.

0:44:56.4 GG: I would say one other thing also, which is that we almost end the year where we started, where we got very aggressive on making sure we had a forbearance solution, if necessary, and what we needed to do to help customers scale in the call center and help customers sort of all the way through. And I do think on a reemergence here before life after a pandemic, which is hopefully coming with the vaccine, and looking at the life after COVID, there’s more to be thought here on really helping have seamless customer interactions and make sure that it leads to the rights and outcomes for customers. So it’s almost kind of… Almost a little bit feels like March and April when we were having those conversations about getting ready to service customers on their own terms, and feels like that work continues. So I appreciate the question.

0:45:51.8 TR: Thank you so much, Geoff. And I can say too, when you speak about the pressure that it also puts on marketing, but also the opportunities that it really opens up for marketing, I’m a little biased as a Marketing Cloud consultant myself, but I can speak to with a platform like Salesforce being at the center of everything, with the customer relationship, it is so easy to find those signals with a marketing platform like Marketing Cloud and do an incredible amount of customer outreach and engagement with it. So I can’t speak enough good things about the magic that starts to happen when everything starts to fall into place. Thanks so much, Geoff. Linda, from the consulting partner perspective, can you share any success stories of mortgage transformations that EMS has helped clients achieve? What kinds of results are they seeing?

“Can you share recent mortgage transformation success stories and the results?”

0:46:47.6 LR: Sure. Well, we’ve been honored to be able to transform many mortgage companies, mortgage divisions within banks and credit unions, from small to large over the last few years. Really the benefits, the most common benefits have been more around no more lost leads. I was very surprised with many of our clients, how many leads they were losing because they were coming in email, they were coming in however, phone call didn’t get marked, just having all those leads coming into an electronic queue so nothing’s lost. So that increased revenue, we’re seeing most of them are recording 20% to 30%, and no more lost leads. The other thing really is around that completely mobile experience for the loan officer who stays within Salesforce, so they’re able to really quickly respond to leads, complete all these different actions to keep the loan moving and transacting that business a lot quicker. Many of our clients are telling us their increased productivity is between 30% and 40%. There’s definitely significant improvements in customer collaboration and communication, which is increasing their consumer satisfaction scores. A couple of clients just let us know recently that they, on a scale of ten, they were averaging around a five. Now that they’re in this new unified experience, they’re averaging more around eight and nine. So that was great to hear from them.

0:48:19.8 LR: And really the last item from a benefit standpoint is really looking at the platform’s ability to scale, so when they want something new or some new capability it has that, and it’s easy to put that new capability in. So they see that as really, really a big benefit of the Salesforce platform. Things like marketing campaigns, customer call center support. A lot of times we’ll go in and do the mortgage division and build out lead prospecting through closure, but they quite often want marketing, they want customer call center support, maybe not at the same time, maybe we do that as a phase two. But also advance BI analytics and even some of our clients that have been on for a while, we’re working on really some artificial intelligence things like bots that can respond to things without having to have a person on the call.

0:49:22.4 LR: So those have been really the success stories, they kind of all fall within these areas. I can’t name any names obviously, but the most important thing I have to say is our successes have been really around how much the actual client puts into a project. And those that are very committed and they commit the resources to work through this, we’ve been very successful, and those that haven’t, it’s a challenge. So for those on the line, that’s something to think about when you take on, you’re gonna have a transformation, make sure that you have the resources dedicated to making it successful on your side also.

0:50:04.3 TR: That’s such important advice. Thank you so much, Linda. We are getting close to our time today, so I am gonna kind of cap us off. Before I go though, I wanna thank all three of our speakers. Linda, Geoff, Stephanie, thank you so so much for being here today. The insight and the experience and just the forethought that you all have is just invaluable and really gives, I think, a lot of us a lot of excitement and things to look forward to. I hope it also gives some of our mortgage lenders who are maybe listening and maybe scared about making the step towards true innovation and stepping into a CRM or an open platforms, I hope it gives you some comfort that you’re in good hands with these three partners here on the call today.

0:50:52.5 TR: And so with that, I will give us a closing question, I will give us all the same question. We’ll start with Linda, since you just spoke. I think the question really speaks for itself. As an innovator, we get a lot of ideas. That’s kind of… We’re the idea is central. And I know in financial services too, a lot of our mortgage lenders on the call and maybe other CIOs too get a lot of feedback from their internal organization about what problems we need to fix, what challenges we need to solve, what things we need to overcome. So as an innovator yourself and giving this advice to our listeners today, how do you choose what to say yes and say no to? Linda, let’s start with you.

“As an innovator, how do you choose what to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to?”

0:51:35.4 LR: Well, obviously I’ve had to do that many times in my career with different organizations, but the most important thing is to look at the return on investment and how the solution will solve the tangible and intangible issues as well as the benefits of the solution. As a CIO, I was always looking out for, how can we improve the business? Not so much on the technology. I wanted to see how does the business tell me this would improve it? And I would make them go back and do this exercise. And then most mortgage teams, they can put this together because they know how much revenue, the average revenue they get on a closed loan, so they can tell you what the lost revenue opportunity would be if we lost those leads, for example. They can put a number around low customer satisfaction scores or lack of repeat business, for example. So usually once you push that back on the business team, they’re ready to go and they’ll get that number back to you.

0:52:36.5 LR: And then really finding the right partner, it’s important to look at their experience in the industry and their experience in the platform, also what their customer satisfaction scores are from their clients, and that they can actually demo their solution in a live org, not just a PowerPoint presentation. So you wanna make sure that the solution is actually there. It’s also important that they provide a couple of clients you can call to ask how their experience was with the consulting company. So those would be things that I would offer no matter what the platform or what the project would be. I would say all of those are things that you have to look at. And if the numbers are there, it’s gonna be an easy decision.

0:53:25.2 TR: That’s really solid advice. Thank you so much, Linda. Stephanie, I’ll pivot over to you. As an innovator, how do you choose what to say yes and no to within your organization?

0:53:35.9 SD: I think I take an approach that says, you really have to identify what’s most important to the business first. So for example, in my world, we think consumer first. And it doesn’t matter that our customers might be B2C or B2B2C, at the end of there, there’s a C, there’s a consumer at the end of it. So regardless of what we’re doing or how far down it sits in the technology stack, is what we’re doing going to contribute to a better borrower experience? Criteria number one. Criteria number two, is it going to improve the quality of loans? Is this manufacturing processes, is this change going to improve that manufacturing process so that at some point we have more liquidity in the market and we have better portfolios that are performing and inherently able to have more available to lend? So that’s two. Third, does it reduce the time and cost to originate?

0:54:32.2 SD: So we’re of course always interested in our lenders being able to do more at a lower cost, more streamlined, and from a technology point of view, there’s many directions you can go with that. But when we have something new that we’re looking at, and I would suggest that lenders when they have something new, ’cause there’s a lot of shiny things out there that are super cool words of the day or whatever, that are they really doing any of these three things? And if they are, fantastic. And I think Linda’s evaluation is spot on with all of the things that you need to vet with the potential partner. And I would add on to it that corporate culture is huge too. So is this partner of the mindset that they are going to be willing to work with others in the ecosystem, and do they have the heart to do that? Because that’s not always the easiest thing to do. Sometimes we’re selfish people and we don’t want to do that. So making sure that the culture aligns along with everything that Linda said, and really understanding what your priorities are from the top level, I think, will help you understand which projects you say yes to and which you decline.

0:55:36.9 TR: Awesome. Thank you so much, Stephanie. Really, really appreciate that. Geoff, we’ll end it with you. As an innovator yourself and a thought leader in that space, how do you choose what to say yes and no to?

0:55:49.9 GG: Well, yeah, and I’d kind of pick up where Stephanie just finished, in particular on culture. As a leader, as an innovator, as a company, we’re not a no place. Starting with no, and I’ve seen this a lot in my career back to the days that I had hair, is if you have a reputation as being a no person, people don’t come to you with the innovative ideas, they don’t think that you can help them get there with any innovation. So as an individual, as a business unit and as a company, in particular for Salesforce, we’re sort of code word for innovation. Now, no doesn’t mean BS though. If you say yes to everything and it’s not within your core competency, or you’re not truthful about what you’ll be able to do if you say yes to everything, on the other side of that equation you can have the reputation of being a stuffed shirt, you can bear the reputation of someone who’s just trying to sell something as opposed to help them fix a business problem.

0:57:00.0 GG: So I think we do a very good job in our company culture, and we call it Ohana culture which is really almost a family approach to things, is we do really well at qualifying what it is we think we can do. So your definition or someone’s definition of yes coming in, or what they thought yes would be, could end up being a lot different when you really sit down and you qualify it and you think through it as to what’s executable. And so I think it’s a big takeaway for folks is you don’t wanna lead with no, but you also wanna get to the right sized view of what yes can be.

0:57:38.3 GG: And you hear Linda, you can obviously tell Linda’s been around the block and has had to make some tough calls on things, and you can tell EMS Consulting has got a good grip. And I do agree, if you’re gonna run at this thing without an SI partner, are you running outside of your core competency when you try to do that? If you’ve picked the wrong loan origination system, what are the consequences of not necessarily being best of breed? And certainly, if you don’t think customer experience is important, or you don’t think a platform approach or an open platform approach to that is important, okay, well, what are the consequences of those types of decisions gonna be? So again, you can’t lead with no, but you gotta find out what the right balance of yes is, and people will come to you and work with you when you help them have the confidence that you’re the right person to go to to work through those types of problems with.

0:58:34.6 TR: Thank you so, so much. I know we are at time. Unfortunately, that means we don’t really have call time to go through our questions that may have rolled in. However, we will go through those and make sure that we follow up individually with anybody who is looking for an answer. Real quick before we go, thank you so much to Geoff and Stephanie for being here. And Linda, thank you also for representing EMS in this here. If you want to learn any more about the platforms that we’ve talked about today, you can of course do a Google search or you can visit any of these URLs here and definitely get in touch with us that way. Thank you everyone for attending and we will see you soon. Have a great day.