Mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate has established a reputation for ground-breaking online technology within an industry that has largely adhered to the paper-based mortgage process. Though VP of Software Development Stephen Prosser is primarily concerned with driving innovation throughout Guaranteed Rate’s engineering department, the ever-important, ever-evolving customer is never far from his mind. Making their lives easier, after all, is the foundation of the company’s success. It’s what drives his efforts and those of his teams, so though he’s not in the field originating and closing loans, he is just as invested as any loan officer in helping customers navigate a sophisticated, often intimidating transaction
Prosser credits ITA Technologist of the Year Martin Logan, Guaranteed Rate’s CIO, with implementing a multi-language coding environment and opening new doors between the tech team and business development in order to bring exciting, customer-friendly products to market incredibly fast. Guaranteed Rate’s Mobile App allows customers to find home loans anytime, anywhere, from any hand-held device.
“The Mobile App gives customers a full complement of products to price loans based on any scenario,” says Prosser. “When borrowers can compare pricing and products and receive pre-approval, all from a smartphone or tablet, it empowers them like never before during the mortgage process. And unlike other apps, it doesn’t come with restrictions and obligations. There are built-in assumptions and baselines, but we let people adjust those for a more granular search of products. And if there is any special situation to discuss, the app gives customers the full contact info of a qualified loan officer so they can talk it through. We designed it to have no strings attached, no hoops to jump through. That was important.”
Mortgage rates are fluid, literally changing overnight due to any number of variables. Stephen and his team knew it was imperative that the app consistently conveyed the most recent mortgage rates available. “Our rates are essentially real time,” he says. “The app has high functionality in this sense, returning constantly updated information. No rate will be older than 15 minutes.”
Though the central concept behind any mobile app is convenience, when it comes to finding a home loan, the need for simplicity and transparency is also essential. These elements are lost when a separate calculator or piece of scratch paper is required to populate data fields. “At Guaranteed Rate, we pride ourselves on transparency through the entire process,” says Prosser. “The built-in mortgage calculators will figure in homeowner’s insurance, taxes and fees, and customers won’t need a separate pen and piece of paper to do math. The idea is simple: let customers use their phones in a simple, intuitive manner when buying or refinancing a property. Putting that idea into effect takes a lot of technical skill and collaboration, but more than anything it’s about thinking like the customer. I think our team does that better than anyone.”