Consumers Uneasy About Going Paperless

July 17, 2017

Many mortgage lenders are phasing out physical paperwork in favor of electronic documents. While that may make organization easier for consumers, they still find an element of peace of mind in physical documents, according to a new survey.

Digital Risk, a mortgage outsourcing solutions firm, surveyed about 1,000 homeowners and 509 renters and found that while borrowers say they seek a more streamlined process to buy or refinance a home, they are leery of technology eliminating physical paperwork altogether. Seventy percent of homeowners and two-thirds of renters say they would not be comfortable managing the entire mortgage process via a smartphone application.

However, two-thirds of homeowners and 59 percent of renters say they would be willing to complete an application online. But about half of all respondents say they would prefer to speak to a bank representative in person during the process.

Thirty percent of homeowners and 25 percent of renters surveyed say they are less likely to take advantage of paperless options. Further, only 22 percent of homeowners say they would store personal information in an online account to make borrowing easier, while 24 percent were unsure, the survey shows.

“Today’s challenge for lenders is to harness technology to make the process safer, more convenient, and faster without losing sight of the need for human touch,” says Jeff Taylor, cofounder of Digital Risk and a board member of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “While they trust smartphone apps to find a good restaurant, get directions, or event hunt for a home, many borrowers still want contact with an experienced person to help guide them through the mortgage process.”

Paperless or not, survey respondents show optimism in the overall housing market. Ninety-one percent of homeowners and 83 percent of renters say they view homeownership as a good investment. Confidence in the housing sector is increasing due to the rise in housing values, as more homeowners see their appraisal value holding steady or increasing, the survey notes.

“There’s no question that the housing sector continues to be a major driver of growth and recovery in the U.S. economy,” Taylor says. “It’s important to remember how far we’ve come in a decade. The fact that the American dream of owning a home is once again considered a smart investment suggests the housing market has years of strong performance ahead of it—provided that more borrowers clearly understand the criteria and pathway to obtaining a mortgage.”

Source: Digital Risk LLC