July 25, 2019
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Ernie Graham

What the Lending Market is Telling Us About Customer Retention (Part 1)

Markets, and the companies within them, can get stale from time-to-time - and that is when a spark of innovation can change everything. Thank you, Amazon.

A stale industry is not necessarily a bad one - if anything it’s quite the opposite. Once an industry becomes stable - it works well enough, people adapt to it, and contributors get what they need from it - there is little incentive to strive for continuous improvement. As the quote goes, “good” is the enemy of “great,” and once something is “good enough” improvement tends to go through a drought. 

The lending and real estate market is no exception to this. People are able to successfully navigate and buy homes, which is the goal within the real estate and lenders business, and that is what matters. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t improve. 

One of the biggest droughts within the market is customer retention. Without a shift or technology change that empowers or helps consumers, lenders are facing an all-time low with keeping their customers. 

According to Cison, servicers retained just 18 percent of customers post-refinance in Q1 2019 alone, which is a 13-year low. There are multiple factors influencing this, mostly in regards to the refinance market. With the refinance market being particularly volatile, causing a dwindling pool of those who qualify as refinance candidates, there is a ramp up of competition among lenders - making retention difficult. As this pool continues to shrink in favor of home sales and cash-outs, there is less ability to use to retain customers, as refinances typically yielded better retention rates. 

However, when these factors add up, that is a sign that the market is ready for change. 

When a market goes through these lows, there is an opportunity for a new company or idea to ignite change and reinvigorate consumers in a new, exciting way. The modern technology/app revolution is a huge player in this (just look at what Uber and Lyft did for the transportation market), and this technology can give consumers new options like never before.

“Technology has improved and streamlined our day-to-day activities, disrupting the status quo and making things easier,”  said Chris Morris, a specialist to CNBC in the article, ‘The Rise Of Mobile: How Mobile Apps Have Changed Our Lives’ on Digital Turbine. 

Apps like Homebot are uniquely poised to be that necessary technological shift in the lending and real estate market. 

While there are certainly new tools and devices impacting the market, such as Zillow, and changing how business is done, these devices are not changing the market - they’re merely adding to it. 

Home buying and home ownership are not easy to navigate, especially when the market is volatile. People need more than just a new tool to thrive. Homebot is different, because it is more than just a tool - it’s a conversation starter, it empowers consumers, and it builds relationships. Most importantly, though, is it evolves. Instead of adding to the real estate market, Homebot is changing it and helps lenders and agents retain customers through its benefits.

Where technology advances like Zillow may start plenty of conversations (Who has not driven through a neighborhood and immediately opened Zillow to see the market of the area?), they’re not great at building relationships and empowering users.

With constantly updated data, valuable insights, and empowering guidance, Homebot isn’t just providing information, it’s providing ever-evolving knowledge, and this is pivotal for customer retention. While the real estate and lending market is benefiting from countless new apps, ranging from improved customer experiences and easier scheduling, they’re not providing the same services as Homebot, which can save users significant money and generate unexpected long-term wealth with its guidance and content that helps lenders and agents stay in touch with their customers. 

Adding to a market is valuable. When apps in the transportation industry helped people find taxis easier, the technology brought convenience like never before. But when Uber was released, the transportation market changed forever.

Homebot isn’t just another tool to use, or simple addition to the market. It is a source of evolving knowledge and empowerment for users, and gives people a newfound understanding of homeownership that creates long-lasting impact and change to the real estate and lending market right at just the right time. 


About the Author

Ernie Graham

Ernie is a life-long technology entrepreneur that has been a leader at multiple startups and public companies. He took a year off from the technology world in 2001 which turned into a 10-year real estate career. He's been a top producing agent, a brokerage owner, and MLS director. In 2011, his startup SocialBios was acquired by Realtor.com where he led their consumer innovation lab to build the largest agent search experience on the web. In 2015, he co-founded Homebot to revolutionize the way Lenders and Realtors grow their business by empowering consumers to build wealth with the largest asset they will ever own.


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