Introducing URLA: The New Mortgage Loan Application

February 25, 2021
The mortgage loan application has been updated to enhance operational efficiencies and take steps toward a completely digital mortgage.

Recently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the mortgage industry’s government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs) redesigned the Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) to help support the shift to a robust digital mortgage experience. The new application includes an updated format with dynamic forms and additional fields to gather important information.

Essentially, the old mortgage application form (known throughout the industry as “Form 1003”) had been used unchanged for more than 20 years, and it just got a few tweaks to bring it up to speed with our current landscape.

These changes not only aid in the digital transition, but also promote greater efficiency, transparency, and certainty throughout the mortgage lending process.

Benefits of the New Loan Application

The biggest benefit to the home loan application is that it now uses a completely digital, dynamic format – no more shuffling through papers or filling out forms by hand.

Some of the other benefits include:

  • Dynamic forms to ensure borrower information always stays in context, making for less reliance on out-of-sequence continuation pages
  • Cleaner overall look and feel, making it easier for both lenders and homebuyers to navigate the application
  • Clearly defined separation of borrower and lender information, which streamlines the process and helps avoid confusion
  • Clear, upfront instructions that enable homebuyers to self-service
  • Updated demographic information
  • Shortened amount of time to approve and close a loan due to the application gathering more specific information

How Waterstone Mortgage has Implemented the New URLA

One word can be used to describe the URLA roll-out here at WMC: proactive.

The new URLA has an industry-wide implementation date of March 1, 2021, but we actually started the implementation and training process much earlier. By February 1, we were using the new URLA company-wide.

One of our Regional Vice Presidents and host of The Loan Officer Podcast, Dustin Owen, sat down with another one of our Regional Vice Presidents and top producers, Mike Smalley, to chat about the new application. The good, the bad, and the ugly – they break it all down.

First and foremost, the implementation process started with training leading up to our company-wide roll-out on February 1. We relied on ICE Mortgage Technology (formerly known as Ellie Mae) for their expertise and resources; our proactive approach wouldn’t have been possible without our great relationship with the folks at ICE. Our Training team held sessions to go over things like how to use the new application, how to handle in-process applications amidst the transition, and how to approach the shift with customers.

Once we launched the new URLA company-wide, the training didn’t stop. Both our corporate support and loan origination teams have worked around the clock to keep the lines of communication open, identify bugs, and troubleshoot any issues we’ve encountered. ICE Mortgage Technology has been an outstanding partner post-implementation as well, and we’re grateful to have such undivided support (considering most mortgage lenders aren’t rolling out the new URLA until March 1).

Visit our Careers page to learn more about the “Waterstone Mortgage difference.”

What This Means for Homebuyers

The good news for homebuyers is that these changes won’t have much impact on the mortgage lending process on their end. If anything, the application has only become easier to complete.

Plus, the mortgage professionals here at Waterstone Mortgage have become absolute experts at understanding the loan application. If you’re in the process of applying for a home loan or want to learn more, find a loan originator in your area to chat.