The mission of Universal Lending has always been people helping people achieve their dreams, and the dream of homeownership is real and alive in America. Knowing the power of home ownership, TJ and his team build true long-term relationships with their clients through education and delivering real value throughout the homeowner’s journey. ULC is the longest standing privately-owned mortgage company in Colorado at 40 plus years, with no plans of stopping anytime soon.
Coming out of the Refi Boom and having weathered many down-markets in the past, the team at Universal Lending is no stranger to adversity. However, the recent fluctuations in the world of real estate and lending have been a particularly strong challenge, noting the drastic shift from low-touch client needs to high, all within several months. The turbulent tides rose quickly, and yet, with an incredible tenure of half a century in the business, ULC adapted.
“The current market is pretty interesting. In my 30 years in the industry, and those that I’ve talked to that have been in this industry a lot longer than me, they’ve never seen a market like the one we’re currently in. And I’ve seen some different ones over the years. But, this one’s unique. We came off the highest of highs… but this is a drop and a sudden slow-down like we’ve never seen before. So you have to be ready to pivot and focus a little differently.”
Loan Officers with Universal Lending continue to find success by really focusing on the value they provide to not only clients, but also their realtor partners, making sure homeowners are receiving quality information about their home and what options they have beyond.
“We’ve got to make sure that we are still providing good information because it’s still a good time to buy a house, it’s still a great time to sell a house. There are fewer transactions happening, and so therefore market conditions and market competition is as strong as it’s ever been. So we’ve got to have the right tool to help us with that.”
Rated highest in the nation through Stratmor Group and number one in customer satisfaction and NPS in the Mortgage CX category for mid-market sized companies, ULC has installed their values around the customer journey. When a client of Universal Lending is successful, so are they, and this rings true as they seek out an industry-leading tech stack to help make that happen.
TJ and Joel, ULC’s Director of Marketing Technologies, had these values in mind when initially partnering with Homebot, only a year after the client engagement tool entered the market. Homebot’s founder, Ernie Graham, paid a visit to ULC’s Colorado office in early 2018 with no more than an idea and a concept for a test pilot group. TJ and his team were immediately on board, seeing both alignment with their mission, and significant potential as a way to build client connections well after close.
“We were very excited from day one. We saw the potential that it had, and so it’s one of our feathers in our cap. We’re very proud to say that we’re the first [enterprise] customer of Homebot.”
Having successfully tested and partnered with Homebot in its early days, ULC became instrumental in identifying and defining their success over the years. Since then, over 90 ULC loan officers have signed up for Homebot, noting its remarkable open rate and ability to drive conversations with clients on a regular basis, and for the long term. Even more importantly, Homebot has become a staple in building relationships with referral partners across the country.
“Our Loan Officers see the value in all markets, but especially the one right now. The co-sponsoring is the relationship building, [Homebot’s] allowing us to connect and develop and strengthen those relationships with our referral partners.”
Throughout the past year Homebot has been directly driving conversations that lead to transactions, citing 10% of all closed loans being attributed. Overshadowing the ROI of other tools in their tech stack, it’s simply become a must-have.
“About 10% of our loans last year came right from Homebot. That's a big number. That's a large number. And so it's number one in our tech stack as we look at the tools that we use to source business to provide value to our Loan Officers, Homebot’s number one.”
Where outdated email marketing campaigns prioritize quantity over quality, Homebot focuses on the meaningful information homeowners care about, their home, their equity, and their options to build wealth. Each month 37% of ULC clients are actively looking through their Homebot Digest, finding key information about how they can leverage their home, what’s happening in their market, when they should refinance, and what course of action is in their best interest on their journey as homeowners.
“We’ve seen that on average, the client that’s done a loan with us has had 20 clicks or 20 times that they've engaged with Homebot. That shows you how active they are. It shows you that it's not an overnight decision. That they are participating and engaging with Homebot over a period of time, and that gives us great information.”
Staying connected with clients while forging new ones can be a daunting task, add in the complexity of an ever-changing market and the need for scalable solutions, and suddenly you’re out of time to manage it appropriately. There’s a growing need for marketing tech that cuts through the noise and earns the attention of homeowners, a reality many lenders and agents know too well. Homebot has risen to the challenge, sparking conversations and funneling questions to LOs while offering clients information they look forward to receiving every month.
Homebot handed off nearly 500 potential borrowers in the last year alone for Universal Lending, all of which closed. The impact of engagement in a Homebot Digest proves incredibly valuable as homeowners come back to the table with their lender, informed and ready for next steps, on a daily basis.
“We're seeing as soon as they start to engage, that's going to turn into more business, that's going to turn into an opportunity for us. So the more we can engage with them, the better. That's one of the key features of Homebot.”
Since adding Homebot into their tech stack, TJ and his team have discovered a simplified means for educating the market. With information, clients are empowered to make the decisions that best serve their interests, paving the way for families to achieve their dreams.
“It really is the tool that every professional should use because it's better for our industry, it's better for our homeowners of America to be better educated, to know what value they have. It's all about good information and Homebot provides that.”
The customer journey is always evolving in our field, and to stay on top of the game, Universal Lending has it figured out. Solutions like Homebot help define and drive that experience, bringing value to loan officers at ULC, and the clients who depend on them.