Case Study

Multifamily Housing: Envisioning the Next Generation of a Lending Platform

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About the Client

For 30 years, this well-known mortgage backer has served the secondary mortgage market as a reliable source of mortgage capital in every market, every day. They provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the multifamily market in a disciplined fashion while maintaining their credit standards and minimizing losses.

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At a Glance

Transforming a legacy platform into a simplified, guided experience.

One of the country’s largest mortgage backers realized they needed a faster, more automated way to handle underwriting loan requests from multifamily housing lenders. Through user research, rapid prototyping and a Salesforce Lightning transition, LookThink has provided guidance to get them on the path to transforming this legacy system into an accelerated solution.

Project Overview

Primary Goal

Spearhead a large-scale transformation initiative, streamline the UX for both internal and external users, and be the catalyst for a department-wide shift to User-Centered Design and agile methodologies.

Audience / Users

The credit and pricing teams determining the details of the loan and institutions lending money to real estate investors

Related Technologies

Salesforce Service Cloud, Salesforce Communities, Salesforce Lightning

The Challenge

After decades of providing mortgage backing services, the institution was beginning to lose market share to competitors. In order to stay ahead, they recognized they needed to process their loans faster and more reliably in order to keep borrowers from going elsewhere for their multi-family home loan underwriting.

Our Approach

Identifying and Unifying Disparate User Needs

Our work with this group began primarily as rapid prototyping and user research with both internal and external stakeholders. Over the course of a few months, we identified critical user needs on both sides, and worked to create multiple prototypes. 

LookThink accelerated one of the most time-consuming parts of a lender’s day: creating a new deal. We identified an opportunity to replace a clunky, confusing process with a more streamlined, guided experience. Lenders were thrilled to see that what used to require weeks of training was now simple and intuitive. The new experience retains the flexibility that power users require, but with guidance to reduce onboarding and training costs. In fact, many lenders commented that they might not need to train new users at all. 

For internal users, we first focused on the pricing desk – users specifically tasked with determining the pricing of the lender-submitted loans. Working with stakeholders, we prototyped the framework for a new automated pricing workflow. This functionality speeds the response time from days to minutes for lenders submitting more straightforward deals. Prior to this automation, 80% of all deals required manual pricing desk review. With more of these deals moved off of the pricing team’s desk, they have more time available to understand the nuances of more complex deals and price them accordingly. Automated pricing will allow lenders to receive pricing for their deals days sooner while reducing throughput times for internal users and allowing the mortgage broker to be more competitive in the market.

Sprinting Towards Transformation

In order to truly help the team, we had to become a part of the the mortgage broker’s team. They had been working in Scrum development teams, but had not yet fully embraced either Agile development or User-Centered Design methodologies. LookThink was brought in as an introduction to these concepts and an example of how they should strive to work. We worked together to gather user feedback, prototype quickly, iterate through ideas, and create MVPs. LookThink front-end developers were also brought on to augment existing scrum teams and focus specifically on creating optimized, reusable components that can be leveraged across their Salesforce platforms. 

We worked and learned alongside the team, ultimately transitioning into a more agile style that brought transformational results. As this transition to Agile and SAFe software development occurred, LookThink attended dozens of trainings, program increment planning sessions, and agile ceremonies (and even a few Happy Hours) alongside the team. All of this was critical to understand the development team’s day-to-day and embed ourselves in a way that led to a seamless partnership.