February 08, 2021
This past year has pushed us to examine and embrace new technologies like never before. In the modern world, those enhancements tend to come in the form of technological advancements. Whether holding video calls to coordinate with colleagues or storing electronically-signed loan documents on a server for convenient access, technology has allowed for increased productivity despite the current challenges. Its value will continue to rise as we advance further into the digital age.
Below are some examples of how technology is powering our industry through these times.
In 2020, virtual inspections became a true necessity for lenders and staff during the pandemic. As companies grounded business travel, producers and underwriters needed a safe way to get the crucial information and photos from site visits. Freddie Mac had the pieces in place to make this happen seamlessly with Optigo Happy℠. With three different executions that integrate seamlessly with one another, the platform became the perfect way to input data about a property, no matter the situation.
In fact, more than 800 virtual inspections took place in 2020 using Optigo Happy. CBRE was one of the early adopters from the lender side.
“As the #1 lender in the Optigo® network, we were proud to help pilot the virtual inspection program for our Freddie Mac Multifamily loans in 2020,” said Jeff Hurley, a senior managing director of Capital Markets for CBRE. “This allowed us to continue to provide multifamily borrowers with capital during a challenging year.
Hurley added, “Looking forward to 2021 and beyond, Optigo Happy will allow CBRE to save money and time on employee travel to properties. It also allows more people to join in virtually on the inspection, and we receive much richer documentation of the site visit than we would through traditional reports and photos.”
The next wave of technology for the Optigo network is myOptigo, our one-stop loan platform. While it launched for our Conventional and Targeted Affordable Housing loans in 2020, other business lines are being rolled onto the platform over time, with Small Balance Loans integration to come.
Through various features in myOptigo, we’re enabling more automation and reducing duplicative data entry. Take the Property Condition Assessment form for example: With the use of document digitization technology, the form entries are being fed and read right into our systems. And this is just one piece of innovation – we’ve already delivered real-time deal tracking, buildable borrower org charts and underwriting task lists.
We will be further expanding our technology to include more Optigo lenders and servicers.
Our lenders have begun implementing cutting-edge technologies that benefit end users as well. CBRE recently released CBRE Loan Flow, an online commercial mortgage experience that allows borrowers to compare loan options, share documents securely and track their loan status 24/7 right from their computer screen.
To get started, borrowers just answer a few basic questions about their property. From there, they are ushered into a digital portal where they can watch the whole loan process happen from application to close.
“In developing CBRE Loan Flow, we looked at our lending process to see where technology could improve our clients’ experience and eliminate the time lags that can all add up to a big delay,” said Hurley. “The workflow automation that’s baked into CBRE Loan Flow keeps the loan process moving forward no matter the time of day or even night that, say, a required document is uploaded. And our clients will always know where they are in the process without needing to wait for a reply from us.”
Sometimes it takes time for people to adapt to new technologies, but the global pandemic has dramatically reduced adoption timeframes due to necessity. Let’s all capitalize on this momentum and optimize our technology efforts as we power into 2021. It’s in our industry’s best interest to adapt and find ways to use it effectively to serve our customers and markets well.
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