Denver, Colo. – March 28, 2016 – As I read the recent HousingWire article by Ellie Mae CEO Jonathan Corr, http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36563-ellie-mae-ceo-initial-discomfort-of-trid-now-over?eid=325027205&bid=1345934, I was thrilled to see the software provider’s statistics from February indicating that closing times are once again contracting and pull-through rates have increased month over month. This is the first sign of pipeline velocity improvement since the impacts of TRID implementation were first felt, and it’s the best of news for lenders, industry partners and borrowers alike.
However, the article’s subsequent conclusions do not reconcile with the reality I have experienced working side by side with lenders and their staffs as they stretch to get their arms around the systematic changes needed to comply with TRID. The article implies that technology and automation alone have created a magic elixir responsible for the improvement of performance statistics. Further, it suggests that elapsed time to close is, in itself, a sufficient measure of industry “comfort.” More than twenty years in operations management — and my current perspective from the trenches — tells me that the improvement in turn times cannot be explained by the enhanced use of technology and automation alone, as essential as they are.
It Takes a Village
Multiple factors have contributed to performance improvements. To imply otherwise demeans the time, monetary investment and backbreaking effort lenders and their staffs have invested — and continue to invest — in assimilating the requirements of TRID into their operations. This work persists as staffing enhancements, training and fine-tuning of programming, processes and controls continues. It is no exaggeration to say that these endeavors require heavy lifting!
The Pain Is Real
My perspective has also provided me ample familiarity with the wide array of pain points experienced during operational changes. I believe “distress” would be a much better descriptor for the impact TRID implementation has had on most companies. To describe the pain as “discomfort” trivializes the profound ramifications this regulatory change has had on the mortgage Industry. Both frustratingly unclear and counter-productively rigid, TRID has reduced market appetite for certain products (like jumbo loans), introduced profit-eroding implementation costs, extended times to clear warehouse lines and created ongoing angst regarding the possibility of future enforcement actions or litigation.
No, the distress isn’t over. Yet we will continue to adapt and overcome, because our borrowers and their families are counting on us.