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Todd Duncan recently chatted with Jungo’s founder and CEO, Mike Gulitz to discuss the future of the mortgage industry, and how loan officers can adopt technology to best leverage their capabilities.
Todd: Hey guys, Todd Duncan coming at you with one of our many Mastery Moments and we are super excited about our partnerships and friendships that we have in the industry, and one of the longest running friendships I have is with Mike Gulitz. He is the CEO and founder of Jungo, and Mike has been a steadfast Sales Mastery attendee. He and Jungo have been there from the very start that he and I met each other. Mike, I want to welcome you to our Mastery Moment.
Mike: It’s great to be here. It’s good to see you.
Technology in the Mortgage Industry
Todd: We go way, way back and you go back further in technology than our actual friendship does. You’ve been in the technology business and building tech companies for 21, 22 years or so. What’s in terms of the loan business and mortgage professionals and in all that you’re seeing, what is the key from a technology stand point for the mortgage industry going further in 2020 and beyond.
Mike: Yeah, it’s great to see what’s happening. I almost feel like, finally, our industries decided to take a technology and the things that you can do with apps in the cloud and mobile very seriously, and I think we’d have to give a ton of credit to the advent of technologies like Optimal Blue, and and probably more importantly, what Rocket Mortgage has brought to the equation. I think it’s accelerated the need for what has to happen at the consumer level in a way that I think compliance issues sort of teetered around it five years ago, trying to push enterprise towards thinking about enterprise level tech.
The Consumer Experience
But I think Rocket Mortgage will put everybody back on their heels, improving the consumer facing experience in such a way that now you’re seeing companies like Blend, get into the space and offer up a white labeled version or a stand alone version for your company to be able to try to be competitive with Rocket Mortgage.
So Navy Federal Credit Union uses Blend, and you can basically do almost the entire loan process before you even need to talk to a loan officer and they can work on the documentation and what you have filled out. So I think that consumer facing experience where it doesn’t feel like a chore, it doesn’t feel like you’re going to get a root canal, or that you’re being punished to do a loan, has completely changed the way that the orientation towards what can be the best overall experience is what each lender and loan officer wants to provide to their borrowers. I think that that’s the era that we now find ourselves in.
What’s that best case scenario? So the consumer will do that home purchase, they’ll enjoy that experience, they’ll keep coming back to that loan officer, if they did enjoy that experience, and bring those referrals with them. I think that changes the nature of the game in a way that we haven’t seen before.
Todd: Yeah, it’s good commentary. And you know, one of the things that we’re studying is, you mentioned Blend as an enterprise. But just the whole idea of blending technology and trust and touch. I think that the front end process is going to get more and more streamlined as we’re already seeing, right?
We’re going to have less labor drag on pipelines, and you’re going to have more optimization of a document acquisition. But at the end of the day, that’s just efficiency. It doesn’t necessarily replace the knowledge piece and relationship piece that comes alongside that.
So with all this new technology available, what are you seeing loan originators and managers, large companies, small companies, what are you seeing from them in terms of acclimation and adoption? What are some of the hurdles you see with the adoption of technology?
Mike: Well, I think that the challenge for the lenders and the loan officers is that they think they need to have everything figured out before they start using tech. I think that one of the most important things they can do is really try to identify in basic terms, if you don’t know what tech you need or you don’t know what the tech completely can do, and you don’t want to wait to do a two year evaluation on what the best path is, at least understand clearly what your document management flow should be.
So if you’re using a product and pricing engine, a LOS, a CRM, a digital marketing platform, you’re using all these different technologies, really being able to define the marketing, generating the lead, the lead qualification process. Some of those end up in a loan application through the loan application process to completion or not completion.
Then the followup marketing to a client or to someone who could become a client. If the lender can define that data flow on a whiteboard, or with a team and then be able to identify how they want that technology to manage that data flow, it makes it a lot easier for them to understand the moving parts. Is the data flow one way or two way, and how do they want their loan officers and branch managers and regional managers to effectively be able to use all those technologies? What’s going to be their go to?
Committing to a Platform
And the single most important thing that I think the industry needs to do is, if you’re going to spend the money and time to have a technology in place, then put a policy and procedure behind it that says, this is the tech that we have chosen. This is the tech we’re going to use. Because if you make it optional, you’re always going to have adoption problems. Adoption is going to be the key component of whether or not you get a defined return on investment for the technologies that you bring in house. So don’t just buy something you’re not going to make people use.
The Importance of Follow-Up
Todd: I think your message is, you got to start, right? You have to look at two things. Whatever technology you have, you just make a huge point that you have to use it, right? How many LOs today and really, how many companies don’t have that kind of flow figured out yet. I was recently doing an event with 80 mortgage professionals. It was our four day event and it was white labeled for one of our clients, and it was amazing to me to see how illegitimate the concept of follow up is. You make a point on what does that flow look like from lead, to lead capture, to application, to all of that. Then the ones that don’t qualify or can’t do something right now, or maybe you reached them soon enough that now they’re not going to be doing something for a month or two or three. Blew my mind how few people actually have a legitimate follow up program.
I know that you guys in Jungo are really big on follow up and campaigns, and so forth. What do you see as the best practices of both lead and referral kind of aggregation, maturation, and ultimately conversion when you start to think about the start to finish type equation?
Defining the Sales Process
Mike: Well, I think that if we’re defining milestones, for every sales process, whether you’re selling software like I do, or selling coaching programs and nationally recognized events, we all have a sales process and we have milestones. For a loan officer, the first major milestone may be the inquiry from the website or from a referral partner. And then the next major milestone may be just getting them on the phone, getting them to do something. So as long as they’ve identified the major milestones in their sales process, it gives them the bookmarks to work towards.
What Automation Can’t Replace
All the technology is really supposed to do, is it supposed to do the jobs that don’t require a human. So, if you look at your entire process and go, yeah, a machine can do this for me, a computer could do this for me, a tech could do this for me, but it’s really better if I do it. Then you’ve really started to touch on why we’ve always got job security in the FinTech space because no matter how high tech we get, there still needs to be a loan officer there to handle those complex situations. A robot doesn’t answer it as well. I mean, you and I have received those emails, we’ve received those communications, we know when it’s automated and in some cases, you think, this is appropriate that it’s automated, it’s no big deal.
But how much do we appreciate when we talk to the loan officer? I mean when I talked to Jeremy Forcier, my loan officer for 22 years or however long it has been, and he’s done seven or eight mortgages for me. All due respect to the Rocket Mortgages of the world, I already have given them a lot of respect, I appreciate what they’re doing, but I would never leave a Jeremy Forceir to go deal with somebody in a call center because I know what I need to get my loan done.
As simple as they may make the process, there’s an assurance level, there’s an expert level, there’s a confidence that I have in my mortgage professional that you can’t machine learn what this guy knows. There’s no way to data entry solve, the kind of things he comes up with working with the underwriters and figuring out ways when the IRS delays those tax returns arriving on time for us to buy the house, and Jeremy goes to bat and does his magic.
When we’re talking about the kind of loan officers you deal with, and the kind of loan officers that we typically deal with here in Jungo, I believe that technology is only going to provide a path for them to do more of what they do well, because the face to face, the belly to belly interactions is the magic. The knowledge base they have can never be duplicated with technology.
Technology Enhances Human Expertise
Todd: I think back to a three and a half years ago, I got the call nobody ever wants to get that I had cancer. I ended up having a prostate surgery, a radical prostatectomy. The guy that was my doctor was one of the the champions when he was a teenager of the video game kind of competition around the world. It was amazing that there was four doctors involved in the surgery and all technology did was radically assist how they did what they needed to do. They still needed to have the knowledge, they still needed to understand the organs, they still needed to understand the nerves and the nerve bundles and things like that. And yet the technology made my recovery so much better, and to be cancer free for almost four years now and to have no side effects. In fact, I left a doctor and did not allow him to do anything because he did it the old fashioned way. I just figured technology assist is what we’re looking for in this business.
There’s no replacement of the knowledge base Jeremy has, or any advanced originator has. Yet, for the brand new originator, there’s nothing more important than to get skilled as fast as you can on knowledge and disclosures and guidelines and all that stuff because technology is not going to replace what we are going to do. It’s going to assist how we do it. I think that’s what makes companies like yours really so special to pay attention to. So I agree 100%.
What Makes Jungo Unique?
What sets you guys apart from other technology solutions in the industry? From your vantage point, what makes you most proud, as a founder of Jungo as you watch your clients thrive?
Mike: Well, I think about whether this serves the longterm goal or not. When Juliana and I, my business partner and I, decided to build this, we didn’t think about this as a three to five year plan and then see you later, like a lot of the technology companies you see rushing into our space from the outside. They got an A round, they’re going on a B round and they’re doing that Silicon Valley thing. I don’t even know if those companies asked the questions about what it would be like to be around in 20 years cause they know they’re not going to be, they’re just going to sell this thing before it becomes obsolete.
We never really went down that path. We always thought of Jungo as a business that would be here for the very long term.
When we’re doing our meetings and when we’re doing our strategic planning, we think 10, 20, 50 years out. When you’re looking at technology and you’re considering what’s hot today, and you have a longterm plan like that, you take a different viewpoint than how you can capitalize on something that’s happening today to try to generate some business. What’s the longterm impact?
Best In-Class Technology
Between our vision and how we deploy business, we are technology snobs. We deploy on Salesforce, not the cheapest platform in the world, guys. I mean, there’s a lot of cheaper ways to do it, but 13 years after we partner with a company like that, and they have 5,000 applications you can plug into Jungo. I didn’t even have a relationship with these companies, and the fact that I can deploy an integration partnership with Ellie Mae and Optimal Blue, and Blend coming up in the future, you name it, we can tie into it, because we have a platform that doesn’t break. It makes us, in retrospect, look really smart.
But you were around back when it was still, are you sure you want to choose the most expensive platform on the planet to do this, Mike? Cause if you’re hot, you’re more expensive than other solutions. We look smart today because we’re able to compete on a level with companies that are raising tremendous amounts of capital. Try to figure out what they’re going to do when they grow up. But the reality is the platform and the vision is what differentiates ourselves.
Top Producers Use Jungo
I think that’s why you find that of the 5,200 or so loan officers that we work with in the United States and Canada, a large portion of them tend to be top producers in their organizations, and they’re the kind of loan officers that go and are constantly attending Sales Mastery to get those nuggets and see what other top producers are doing from the stage, from that breakout session.
We don’t lose a lot of clients. We built our business on mostly referrals, we don’t do a lot of marketing. Jungo comes to your event, but we don’t do a lot of traditional marketing like you see the other players doing. So it’s word of mouth of people saying, have you used Jungo, or being at your event, Todd, and saying, you need to come over to this booth and meet the team at Jungo. That’s who I use for my database.
Todd: It’s been awesome to watch you guys thrive, and we’re excited that you’re back at Sales Mastery this year. You guys have a good reputation. Your clients and users are fitting right into our theme this year, which is Fit, Fast Forward. So good chatting with you. We’ll see you in October at Sales Mastery.
Mike: Thanks, Todd. Always a pleasure.