Envoy Mortgage: Riding the disruptive wave of modernization
Founded in 1997, Envoy Mortgage is a national retail mortgage lender, operating in 49 states and originating approximately $3bn annually. Envoy Mortgage focuses their efforts in the distributed retail sector in order to best serve customer and referral partner needs.
Two years ago, Envoy Mortgage was bought by a private equity investment firm. Envoy CIO, Dan Mulberry, describes the firm as a “very committed partner.” The firm provides a strong capital base for Envoy and maintains a forward-thinking vision as it embraces change in order to remain viable in present and future markets.
Mulberry ensures that Envoy also adapts to a forward-thinking mindset when it comes to their technology ventures. He is the key component to Envoy’s shift from older core technology to defining a transformative path for the company, integrating processes and updating cybersecurity. These technological advancements have allowed Envoy to adapt for the future.
“Culturally the mortgage industry has a history of being very slow to make changes. This was partially driven by the financial crash as new regulations came into place and took precedent to ensure compliance with federal, state and local governments. After the Financial Crisis, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) really stepped up and added new regulations and increased enforcement. However, in the last couple of years these regulations have loosened and were replaced by increased scrutiny from state regulators,” said Dan Mulberry, Envoy’s chief operation officer.
Envoy Mortgage currently operates in 49 states across the United States, resulting in strict mortgage requirements from each of those states. Therefore, it is imperative that Envoy remains at the forefront of evolving technology in order to diminish the ongoing challenge of catering to multiple complex regulations.
“Over the years, when businesses invest in modernization, it is usually for front-end developments. This advancement gives consumers the ability to complete business online,” said Mulberry.
With continuous entrants into the market space, Mulberry believes it is crucial to remain ahead of the curve when it comes to any modernization. “We haven’t been disrupted yet, but it is only a matter of time. Because of this, we need to be at the forefront of technology. Improving our tools and processes makes it easier for our loan originators to improve efficiency,” said Mulberry.
Currently, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and OCR for data conversion are being used for front-end services. However, Envoy’s goal is to also utilize these applications for back-end processes.
“One of the main issues faced within the mortgage industry is the manual processing of multiple statements and third-party data, opening up the possibility for human error. We want to eliminate glitches to increase the integrity of data with automation,” said Mulberry.
In recent years, Envoy focused on RPA to integrate its front and back-end systems, which was a “very beneficial, quick win” that eliminated manual processes. Since then, Mulberry and Kim Hoffman, Envoy COO, have implemented Cloudvirga, an advanced point of sales system, as part of a two-fold modernization process of integration and automation. Once fully operational, the system will give customers a powerful self-service option, allowing Envoy to automate pricing, rate locks, generate disclosures and payment of appraisal fees, removing these manual tasks from loan originators and making it easier for them to conduct business.
Additionally, Cloudvirga will give loan originators a simple platform to view all applications and uploaded documents in one central location, with clear indication of any outstanding documentation needed to increase submission efficiency to underwriters.
“Ultimately, Envoy’s shift towards modernization is about helping loan originators conduct business efficiently in the way that best fits their marketplace and the product mix they are going after, while ensuring its processes are standardized and automated where possible,” said Mulberry.
Mulberry believes that human interaction will never cease but is continuously evolving. With the use of automation, the way loan originators, assistants and processors interact will change to become more consumer focused. Eventually, in the next three to five years, Mulberry wants to see a process where AI pulls most data required and consumers provide minimal information.
“The mortgage process will never be like an auto dealership where you walk in, apply for the loan and sign the papers within an hour, because compliance does not work like that, but we do believe that the process can be automated for the bulk of loans where consumers are only required to schedule the closing within the compliance time period,” said Mulberry.
Looking to the future, Mulberry’s vision for Envoy is that the company becomes a leader in adopting new technologies as they become readily available. “We want to be sure we offer our loan originators the best tools in the industry, so we are focusing on ensuring we have a core open architecture platform that allows the integration of tools and capabilities we need to achieve our journey towards automation, transformation and modernization,” said Mulberry.
In addition, Envoy is planning out modern capabilities, such as, intelligent workflow, real-time data analytics, predictive analytics, block chain and automation for its underwriting processes. Simultaneously, Envoy remains hyper focused on stimulating innovation by identifying pain points within the business to improve its offerings to the mortgage industry and ensure precise time management.