The Power of Human-First: A 2021 Year in Review and 2022 Forecast

By Total Expert Founder and CEO Joe Welu

2021 was a year of rapid growth, both for the mortgage and banking industries and for Total Expert. As consumers conducted more of their lives online, they demanded digital, personalized experiences. We launched dozens of new features and capabilities to help our customers deliver.

We also hosted our largest customer event to date, Accelerate 2021: Elevate the Journey. The conference featured expert insights from thought leaders at Total Expert customers, including American Pacific Mortgage, Assurance Financial, CIVIC Financial Services, Fidelity Bank, Finance of America Mortgage, Horicon Bank, Motto Mortgage, Paramount Residential Mortgage Group (PRMG, Inc.), Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC, and United Community Bank Mortgage Services.

2022 will bring a tightened mortgage market and continued shift to digital banking. Powered by a platform that enables deep human connections at every stage of the customer journey, Total Expert customers will be positioned to stand out in this increasingly competitive environment.

2021: A Year of Transformative Growth

2021 was another banner year for mortgage, and Total Expert powered $1 trillion in loans, or about 25% of total mortgage production in the US. Our customers achieved that remarkable feat by sending millions of emails and SMS messages, gathering insights, and leveraging them to connect with customers at the right time, in the right channel, with the right message.

In banking, we saw clear signals that the neobanks are maturing. In Q2 alone, 88 fintechs secured VC rounds of $100 million or more. Players like Coinbase, Paypal, and Uber are now offering banking services. And legacy banks are circling the wagons: through September, we saw $54 billion in mergers and acquisitions.

What’s obvious to everyone is that customers have changed. The pandemic condensed six or seven years’ worth of evolution into 18 months.

To compete in 2022 and beyond, financial institutions have to deliver not only the products and services their customers need but also the kinds of experiences that make customers feel seen, understood, and taken care of – on their own terms.

2022: Experience Is Paramount

Lenders expect to fund just half as many mortgages next year as they did this year, meaning they’ll have to find ways to deliver value that don’t involve working inbound leads – and be more diligent than ever about making sure the leads they do have don’t fall through the cracks.

On the banking side, 67% think they’ll lose market share in the next two years if they don’t digitally transform – and 58% believe they will cease to exist if they don’t change their business models in the next five to 10 years.

Simply serving people who come in the door – physical or digital – is no longer a viable model for financial institutions. To stay competitive in 2022 and beyond, banks and lenders will have to anticipate customer needs, proactively reach out to them about those needs, and offer actionable nudges. How? By leveraging marketing automation to operationalize empathy.

We know this works:

  1. Marketing automation boosts our customers’ lead conversion rates by 10%.
  2. When users adopt Total Expert, their retention rates double.

How Total Expert Will Power Financial Institutions in 2022

The prospect of anticipating the needs of every customer may seem daunting – and it’s not easy. It’s not even as “simple” as writing the perfect algorithm or hiring tens of thousands of relationship managers.

To truly deliver relevant, valuable, personalized service at scale, an organization has to combine the power of data and technology with the experience and compassion of its human employees.

When financial institutions do this, they’re able to help customers achieve their purpose. When that happens, customers experience joy, confidence, peace of mind, and other positive feelings. They create incredible value for the financial institution that helped them via revenue, share of spend, and increased loyalty.

Total Expert facilitates this scaled personalization. What’s more, we are constantly improving the platform to meet the evolving needs and expectations of our customers and the people they serve.

Toward a Financially Healthier World

Regardless of market conditions, Total Expert is focused on empowering financial institutions to build human-first connections with their customers to create a financially healthier world.

I am humbled that our platform is a part of so many incredibly personal experiences that our customers enable, and I am so proud of the work the Total Expert team does every day to deliver ever better outcomes to the people and communities our customers serve.