PERSON OF THE WEEK: In order for mortgage companies to thrive in today’s market, they must be highly selective in terms of the third parties they partner with.
It might be said that any mortgage company is merely the sum of its parts – but considering that practically all mortgage companies – lenders and servicers alike – depend on third parties in order to operate, it would seem obvious that having the right partnerships in place is a major key to success. Yet, so many organizations somehow end up in partnerships that aren’t mutually beneficial.
During a recent interview with MortgageOrb, Tom Ciulla, senior vice president, enterprise alliances for mortgage and housing services at Equifax, explains why strategic alliances are so important for mortgage companies to succeed in today’s environment.
Q: Why is it so important for organizations to have strategic alliances and partnerships in place today?
Ciulla: The ability for organizations to forge strategic alliances and partnerships has always been important, but in today’s rapidly changing and hyper-competitive mortgage environment, it is now critical to success.
Partnerships help enable expanded distribution and allow companies to reach into target markets that they may not otherwise be able to fully penetrate through their own sales efforts. With this expanded reach comes access to net new customers and revenue channels that can help to grow your organization. Partners can also offer unique insights, relationships and technology to allow more end-user options sometimes not available through direct sales. They can also offer advice and market insights based on their experiences that can help you to make the right investment decisions on future go-to-market strategies.
Having the right partnerships and alliances in place can also increase an organization’s brand awareness, credibility and profile within the industry – something that can directly impact your organization’s bottom line through more referral business and higher levels of allegiance among platform providers, lenders and borrowers.
Q: How can organizations ensure they form successful alliances?
Ciulla: Organizations must be creative, strategic and pragmatic in choosing their alliance partners while also finding the path to mutual benefit. Organizations should share the same objectives of bringing value to the consumer borrower; identifying future market or product differentiators; and collaborating on forward-thinking ideas that capitalize on core organizational strengths.
Transparency and trust are crucial. Partners should establish open lines of communication. They should also be prepared to act as an extension of your organization and be well trained in working together as a unified and cohesive team. This includes a detailed, documented understanding of mutual objectives, required roles and responsibilities, expectations, and an evaluation process.
Every relationship will experience a bump in the road at some point. How you address these challenges when they arise is important. If there is a breakdown in performance, it should be addressed, corrected quickly and treated as if it were an in-house issue where the partner team is valued no less than your own team. Proactive, open communication is the key.
Q: What are some trends you’re seeing as far as forming partnerships and fostering relationships in today’s mortgage industry?
Ciulla: More than anything, the evolving mortgage landscape is requiring organizations to take a fresh look at how they do business. Many things have changed in 2020 and we’re faced with the market reaction to COVID-19, increased levels of consumer protection, lower interest rates and evolving compliance and regulatory concerns. Increasingly, we’re seeing organizations partner as a way to pool resources needed to address changing market demands. They’re also partnering to leverage assets to cut costs, streamline processes and retain talent.
Growth in our alliances business has driven additional innovation in sales, product marketing, training, technology and go-to-market strategies. We guide all of our relationships with open, honest communication at every step. This increased transparency enables both us and our partners to jointly benefit from productivity gains, creativity and collaboration. We fully understand that we are stronger together and that each of us brings unique expertise to the table.
Strong partner strategies can help you thrive in any market. Working together with clearly documented plans and spirit of transparency can create a more seamless and efficient mortgage experience for everyone involved.
The opinions expressed are that of the author, and not necessarily of Equifax Inc.
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