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Leadership – May 11, 2020

Virtual Interview on COVID-19: Marie Imanaka, Market Manager, PrimeLending

What has been your company’s latest pivot or innovation?

In April, PrimeLending implemented a new Loan Origination System, Blue Sage, an industry-leading platform that enables our loan officers to deliver homeowners a seamless, secure and superior mortgage experience. With Blue Sage, our loan officers are empowered to manage every aspect of the home loan process remotely through superior digital tools – a feature that was quickly put to the test with stay-in-home mandates. In fact, Hawai‘i was the first market in the West region for PrimeLending to close loans using Blue Sage, and has been successfully working remotely as needed ever since.

PrimeLending also launched a new hybrid eClose experience that is revolutionizing the closing process and allowing homeowners to complete most of the closing signatures digitally, which significantly speeds up and streamlines the closing day process. Using eClose with PrimeLending, the homeowner can now review closing documents in advance, securely sign most of the documents in a few clicks, and yes, close faster. Best of all, given today’s environment, it requires less physical contact along the way.

Although it was selectively used in Hawai‘i since mid-2019, the COVID-19 pandemic provided added incentive for PrimeLending to accelerate the national roll out in mid-March. And the results have been tremendous. Since then, all closings used the new eClose technology unless the borrower requested a traditional closing.

What has been your company’s latest opportunity or opportunities?

Extreme market volatility and historically low interest rates continue to provide extraordinary opportunities for PrimeLending to be of service to homeowners. For customers who already own their homes, we have served a vital role helping them refinance into lower rates and realize payment savings, something that will take on increasing importance in the months ahead. For customers looking to buy a home, we offer a broad range of mortgage solutions to help them achieve their financial and homeownership goals. As a mortgage-focused lender with more than 30 years of experience navigating the uncertain conditions, customers can count on PrimeLending for strength, expertise, and wise counsel when it comes to making the important financial decision to buy a home. 

How has your company’s experience been with any level of government during this crisis?

As a company, we pride our self on our agility. Working with the government during this time certainly calls for that. Scheduling regular conference calls and team updates regarding changing regulations, PrimeLending loan officers have been equipped with the information to provide timely and transparent updates to our customers. With changing policies and guidelines being announced sometimes daily, it’s imperative that homeowners who may be experiencing financial hardship stay in close connection with their mortgage lender.

Keep in mind that every lender and loan program are treating the situation differently and guidelines vary. PrimeLending has dedicated professionals assigned to coordinate with the various government entities which have mortgage programs or guidelines which may be impacted during this challenging time.

That’s why homeowners should rely on their mortgage servicer to help assess options. For instance, many loan servicers and programs offer borrowers facing financial hardship loan forbearance, a temporary suspension or reduction of monthly mortgage payments for a set period of time, though this period will vary lender to lender.

In what ways do you think your business will be different at the end of this year?

As a company, we offer all our customers the option to receive service by technology, such as email, text messaging, online application and our new eClose experience. Regardless of whether stay at home mandates are lifted, we anticipate we will continue to be able to provide seamless service to our customers. Our talented team powered with innovative technologies like Blue Sage are well positioned to maximize productivity and respond as needed to changing business environments, including market fluctuations or work from home requirements. We will continue to stay true to our core convictions and operate with the best interests of our customers, our employees, and our partners in mind.

What advice for other companies?

Be diligent and proactive at all times to ensure you have the right technology tools, team-oriented culture and robust strategies in place to weather whatever storms come your way. That way, you are well positioned to be agile and responsive when a national crisis like the pandemic occur. PrimeLending places the highest priority on fostering a healthy, people-centric culture and providing the resources and tools our team needs to enable success no matter the market conditions.

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