MORTGAGE APPLICATION
CASE STUDY

In this project my goal was to improve the agent mortgage application tool (OMP) that mortgage brokers use to review, edit and submit customer mortgage applications to lenders. I spent a lot of time understanding our internal users (agent workflows mostly). I was able to apply contextual inquiries, user interviews, and usability testing methods to uncover unmet needs. Ultimately, the redesign of the application tool improved the agent’s customer service and workflow efficiency.

1.

Project

Agent Mortgage Application

Redesign the mortgage application via broker/agent vs customer self-service  to improve the workflow and  better overall customer service.

2.

Stakeholders

CEO, Underwriting officer (SME)

3.

Team

Multidisciplinary team breakdown

Lead UX designer (1), product manager (1), QA (1) and full stack developers (2)

4.

My Role

Lead UX Designer

5.

Objectives

Increase the the application adoption rate and improve workflow efficiency. 

6.

Users

Mortgage agents from CanWise Financial (a Ratehub affiliate company) located throughout Canada.  

THE
CHALLENGE

When customers apply for an online mortgage application, there is no easy way for an agent to review the customer’s application details like property valuation or history before submitting the application to mortgage lenders. Another issue is that customers had difficulty answering questions, accessing or submitting the correct information required for loan given the complex list of lender information requirements. As a result agents struggled to provide prompt service, were unable to complete or correct or complete missing information from the customers application resulting in submission and approval delays. 

The scope of project is to redesign following the brand guidelines and some existing elements.

DESIGN
PROCESS

First Steps: I set up interviews with mortgage agents along with a contextual inquiry to observe workflow, how agents interact with customers over the phone, review customer applications, use CRM, and the lender network platform. From the observations, 90% of agents don’t use the agent application designed for them because they believed it was not helpful and did not align with or simplify their workflow.

OBSERVATIONS

With the interview and observe how agents use the application, here are some additional observations.

1. The agent application tool is simply a mirror that has the same functions as the customer application tool with no other features, insights which provided value to agents or their workflows.

2. No upload feature for additionally required documents by the lender in the either the customer or broker application tools. Supporting documents required by lenders were submitted by customers outside the application tool by email separately to the agent and from the agent to the lender. In fact all application and additional documentation were assembled and sent manually by the agent to the lender by email.

3. No tool or function to pull data for additionally required information by the lender like property valuations which customers had difficulty understanding or gathering, slowing the submission and approval process.

4. No snapshot of the customer in agent application tool that included history or basic contact and address details.

RECOMMENDATIONS
FOR IMPROVEMENT

Overall, improving the agent application tool was a reasonably simple task requiring basic functions and integrations to improve utility and usability. Ultimately this led the creation of a robust new agent application tool with integrated dashboard with customer profile/view snapshots, document upload/download and organization and lender submission API.

1. Adding a document upload feature for both the customer and agent to eliminate separate email process and gathering by agents and customers

2. Adding and integrated document gathering, easy review and lender submission tool API (Filogix)

3. Adding an automated integration of property information API (iClarify) required by lenders

4. Applicant profile and information snapshot within agent dashboard

THE
WIREFRAME

Here you can see the wireframe I created that resolves the key issues outlined earlier, prioritizes the core functionalities and content hierarchy. You can see a snapshot of the wireframe to the right or a full page wireframe here.

USABILITY
TESTING

Before pushing to final design and development, I adjusted the design solutions and ran a usability testing with agents, particularly for the “Push to Filogix” button where applications and associated additional documentation could be immediately.  Overall, the design was well received requiring little further change.

DESIGN
SOLUTION

Here are the solutions we added to the final design: 

  1. Top functional bar: Push to Filogix, Pull iClarify, Download documents, Customer View
  2. Application Ownership
  3. Download documents section
  4. Application
    • Property Details
    • Pull from iClarify form
    • Application Type
    • Mortgage Needs
  5. Contact Details
  6. Employment History
  7. Existing Property & Mortgage
  8. Financial Details

See a snapshot of the final design to the right and the full page here.

PROJECT
OUTCOME

Immediately after the launch, the adoption rate was close to 100%. After a month, we collected information about how agents used the new application. The results are below.

1.

Filogix

45% of Agents pushed to Filogix at least once

2.

Agent Application

2/3 of Agents used Agent Application at least once

40% of Agents used the Customer View at least once

3.

Doc Upload

40% of Agents clicked on the ‘paperclip’ link to docs at least once