Residential Magazine

Hold the Map Right Side Up

Use relevant data to build a practical, actionable business strategy

By Alex Levi

In 1996, was launched, forever changing the way people traveled. The website allowed people to type in an address and obtain directions to anywhere. At the time, people printed out detailed directions to go on vacation or to find a new restaurant. The technology was amazing, and little did anyone know, but it would get better.

Google entered the space and then came the iPhone. People have continued to leverage technology to find where they’re going and identify the best way to get there. There are alerts to traffic jams, police presence, road construction and collisions. People have a fantastic amount of data at their fingertips to find the closest coffee shop or best burrito. The incredible thing is that it’s nearly limitless — you can travel the world with a sense of direction. Map technology allows people to go anywhere and do anything they want with an unbelievable amount of efficiency and accuracy.
How then do originators navigate through all the data resources in this new era of mortgage technology? The adoption of technology in the mortgage industry is a peculiar challenge. There are dozens of data houses, machine learning tools, artificial intelligence platforms, etc., providing service to help an originator grow their business.
Many companies provide data as a service or regularly publish different types of data perspectives. In the current mortgage environment, it has never been more important to leverage data to improve the accuracy and efficiency of a business. Mortgage lenders may have analytics and data-focused professionals to help them understand this information, but what about originators? How can front-line sales professionals leverage these mounds of data?

Overwhelming proposition

Access isn’t the challenge, but how to break down the data to make business decisions can be an overwhelming proposition. There are some areas of focus that will guide you to enhance your mortgage origination business.
For one, there is personalization. Mortgage originators likely have a general understanding of their loan volume and quantity. If you can find technology that offers a more granular breakdown of the products you sell, where you sell them, average loan amounts, active and inactive months, and even client demographics, you can open a whole new world that you may not have known about. Measuring growth must start with a baseline. Once one can understand the nuances of an individual’s sales activity, it can be easy to identify areas of improvement.
Many mortgage originators receive business through their referral partners. But information about the approximate number of loan referrals received does not help clarify whether business is gained or lost due to loan programs, loan product type, rates, competition or the quality of the relationship.
Granular tracking of prospective referral partners will help you understand which partners are active in your market and who deserve your attention. Once a referral partner match is identified, it is much easier to engage and provide a precise value proposition that will be mutually beneficial.

Personalized data

When it comes to originations, understanding your loan volume and quantity — and the locations where your business is concentrated — is a great place to start. Similarly, understanding your competition’s loan volume, quantity and where they do business is the way to measure the opportunities available. In the current mortgage environment, the name of the game is market share.
It is essential to know who is playing, what they are selling, how much is selling and where. This intel can help craft your strategy and position your business to take action where it is most impactful so that you gain market share.
Home listings and demand metrics are likely on the radar of most originators. Again, having general knowledge of which neighborhood is hot and which areas are about to explode with growth doesn’t mean a specific action is evident.
Market trends will have a new meaning when armed with personalized and referral partner data. Aligning these strengths with potential opportunities positions an originator to be responsive instead of reactive. Early engagement is proven to win the business. Suppose an originator can align their personal business strengths and their referral partner’s strengths to create an opportunity. In this case, the probability of success is exceptionally high. Referral partners will be grateful for the insights as well.

Ideal opportunities

Access to data and marketing information without context or direction can make you feel like you are holding the map upside down. Mortgage originators need to find a source of relevant data that allows them to build a practical and actionable strategy.
When personalized business data is unlocked, a new understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual mortgage professional emerges. Referral partner and prospective referral activity must be monitored to discover how to engage partnerships that grow your business efficiently.
Lastly, aligning the strengths of both personal and partner data to optimize the ideal opportunities in the market is the route to growth and success. Thank goodness holding your phone upside down doesn’t impact the viability of your map application. But you still need the information to arrive at the right destination. ●


  • Alex Levi

    Alex Levi is managing director for the product line at CognitiveScale. With more than 20 years of experience as a technology business executive, Levi started focusing on mortgage tech in 2015 when he co-founded AI Foundry, a mortgage documents recognition company that was subsequently acquired by Guaranteed Rate. Currently, Levi is focused on enabling mortgage loan officers and executives to leverage the power of data and the latest artificial intelligence technology to perform at the highest level. Reach Levi at or (617) 276-2137.

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