Guest Editorial for Mortgage Professional Network - Oct 2014
Gadget-buzzed lines wrapped every Apple store last month made it clear; the computer in your pocket is the one you care about. The size, particularly the 6 Plus, make it equally clear that being a “phone” isn’t that important anymore. Screen size, CPU, graphics and network speed have no bearing on voice calls, but they’re what matter to consumers.
Between Apples, Androids and others - also terrific computers - consumers have also passed a little invisible line. They now have a bigger, better, faster computer in their pocket than the PCs corporations put on most desks. If you’re at work peering at a crappy 800x600 VGA monitor, hooked up to an archaic PC, nod your head. You know it’s true.
Does that mean anything for the mortgage industry? Yup. None of the excuses about not having a mobile strategy and a media strategy hold up any more. Here’s why.
The iPhone 6 Plus has as many pixels as your big-screen TV - 1920 x 1080. Its little brother isn’t far behind. Your web site, documents, loan-processing screens are now legible on-the-go, and hiding behind “we haven’t finished our responsive design” doesn’t hold up. Those folks with pocket-sized big-screens want to see what’s happening, in pretty close to real-time.
I can order a $50 iPhone case from the iPhone itself. I receive the confirmation text, check the transaction status, and track the shipping, including “Package left at 8AM, out for delivery”, on the iPhone.
But a $500K mortgage drops me through the wormhole back to the 80s. Long gaps of silence. Voice calls that amount to “we’ll let you know when we know.” The occasional digital surprise - oh, look, honey, it’s an EMAIL - followed by the search for a working fax machine.
Uh...dude. That iPhone in your hands? You can scan and fax with that. No, really.
Yes, there are regulatory complexities. Consumers don’t care.
Yes, there are budget constraints. Consumers don’t care.
They’re too busy watching their $50 iPhone case delivery from a satellite (well, maybe in about 3 years) and wondering why their $500K mortgage is handled so jerkily by comparison.
Shopping for a new case is mainly a media experience; high-res pictures, zoom-in details, official videos, even fanboy video reviews. They look great on that big screen.
Shopping for a mortgage is mainly an eye test. The big screen helps, but seeing a scan of a photocopy of a fax on it does ring of the absurd. Images? Video? Not much, yet.
Some smart entrepreneur(s) will seize the opportunity and turn the mortgage process into an actual consumer-friendly cooperative process. They’ll find that involving those big-screened consumers actually lowers costs and speeds up results. They’ll invest in helping consumers understand (probably with video) and find that informed customers are happier customers. People might even wait in line for that kind of service.