Pamela Stahl: Mortgage lenders must prioritize the protection of personal financial data
PERSON OF THE WEEK: Mortgage lenders are increasingly using technology to streamline the lending process – however, as adoption grows, security issues remain a concern.
Personal financial data is shared between mortgage lenders and consumers during the application and underwriting process – and lenders can run into trouble if they’re not careful. For example, personal data and documents could be at risk if sent through unsecured channels such as email.
Due to the pandemic, many mortgage lenders have started working from home. However, this has raised security concerns, as the loan process cannot be tracked and monitored so easily in someone’s private home.
In the wake of the pandemic, many lenders have also begun to use technology more – particularly automation – to collect and verify borrower information and guide borrowers through the process – all the way to closing. This was done to meet social distancing mandates – with the aim of finally achieving a ‘contactless’ mortgage.
Since most mortgages are now processed using some automation – including in particular automated employment/income/asset verification – this has actually reduced the number of “defaults” encountered during the underwriting process. To learn more about how lenders can be vigilant when it comes to protecting borrower information, MortgageOrb recently interviewed Pamela Stahl, Chief Technology Officer at VirPack.
Q: What are the best practices for protecting personal financial data?
Stahl: As technology continues to evolve, consumers should regularly check to see if their devices are up to date and understand the details of those updates. An easy way to secure your data is to create strong passwords for all accounts, especially for accounts used to send personal financial data. It is also important to reduce or completely eliminate the use of email and social platforms for the transmission of documents and data. These platforms are not secure and should not be used to share personal financial data.
Keeping all personal financial information stored in a safe and reliable software or database is the best way to protect confidential documents. Checking accounts regularly to track activity is an effective way to ensure that no information is missing or corrupted.
Q: How can mortgage lenders assure their customers that their personal data is safe?
Stahl: Mortgage lenders need to position themselves as a trusted partner using software that streamlines the lending process in a safe and efficient way. Mortgage lenders must have the capacity and organization to store all of their clients’ personal documents/data, past and present, in one consolidated and secure platform. Integrating a library of document recognition features can ensure accurate and automated document indexing. Some lenders are too comfortable allowing their customers to share very private financial information via email. This process is not safe at all. Ensuring that lenders and customers share information through secure channels will help reinforce the message that the security of customer financial data is a priority.
Q: How does your passion for protecting customer financial data influence your work as CTO?
Stahl: As CTO, I take all necessary measures to avoid any potential risk of fraud or theft. I believe that building trust and credibility with customers is the best way to earn their loyalty. Buying a new home is a big step for families, so providing them with a trusted lender with an organized and safe digital platform makes a complicated process as smooth as possible.
I understand how quickly the mortgage process can become complicated with many documents required such as tax returns, pay stubs, account statements, etc. house, is my priority, which is streamlined by efficient and safe technology for all our processes.
Q: How can technology play an important role in enabling mortgage lenders to protect personal financial data?
Stahl: Almost all mortgage lenders have moved their application and loan process to online platforms, which requires technology and automation to manage all documentation and conversions between the two parties. Mortgage lenders have the opportunity to use technology to their advantage by creating effective point-of-sale (POS) software solutions that create an online space for a seamless application process and documentation submissions. Automating the lending process does all the work backwards for mortgage lenders and ultimately protects data by eliminating the human element.