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An Originator’s Guide to COVID-19 Communications

By Mike Seminari April 2020

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Regardless of where you stand on the current debate about when we should reopen the economy, one thing is clear – there is a great deal of confusion around how the pandemic is affecting the mortgage industry. According to some of STRATMOR’s clients, the recent Fed rate cut caused droves of borrowers to call in and see if they could get the “zero” rate, or to see if they could re-lock their in-progress loans at even lower rates.

Adding to the confusion, with unemployment at an all-time high, many borrowers are now facing anxiety about their ability to make their coming mortgage payments. Thankfully, the CARES program and stimulus checks are providing some relief, but with the continued uncertainty about how long quarantine measures will be in place, “forbearance” has become the latest buzzword as borrowers ask their lenders and servicers about relief options.

Often, in the stress brought on by the quarantines and economic shutdown, a borrower’s first call for answers is to the originator who helped them with their loan. Rather than immediately suggesting the borrower contact their servicer, originators have a unique opportunity to go the extra mile by guiding their clients through questions and potential options in a scary and confusing time. This is how you build loyalty that lasts.

What to Say to Borrowers

Preparing your originations team to have informed, valuable conversations with their borrowers starts with having good short-hand information. Here are a few talking points that will elevate every originators game and provide immediate value to an inquiring borrower:

Also, loan officers should consider reaching out to their communities and influencers with offers of educational help. The more real estate agents know more about this process, the better prepared they will be to help consumers, and they will appreciate the information provided when they think of who to refer their next loan too.

Here are three things you can do right now to educate your staff and be prepared to talk with borrowers:

  1. Have your staff share this 30-second video from the Mortgage Bankers Association with your customers. You’re not a servicer? It doesn’t matter. This is about showing your customers, past and present, that you care about them and that you continue to be a valuable resource for them.
  2. Share this 3-minute video from the CFPB with your staff. For a little more in-depth information, the CFPB made a great informational video for borrowers on forbearance. It’s the perfect introduction to the topic and will get your staff up to speed quickly.
  3.  Create a shareable PDF. Have your marketing team take the above talking points and create a PDF graphic that originators can easily share as an email attachment. This can be shared not only with past and present borrowers, but also with referral partners. Consider including graphics like the one below that shows borrowers where servicers are in the loan process. Everyone likes being in the know!

How Can We Help?

STRATMOR works with bank, independent and credit union lenders on strategies to solve complex challenges, streamline operations, improve profitability and accelerate growth. To discuss your mortgage business needs, please Contact Us.

The most successful lenders live by their numbers; they embrace change and create a culture of accountability and transparency.


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