Clara is a mortgage lending company aiming to help home buyers and refinancers by adding technology, transparency, and clarity to the process.
I felt drawn to Clara for two reasons: First, I had just bought a home and was shocked at how stressful, antiquated, and messy the entire process was. 90% of my communication with my loan officer was handled over voice call or email. The second reason was because mortgages are a complex problem. Constantly changing financial ecosystems, heavy regulations, and ill-informed clients make for quite the challenge.
In order to cut down on loan costs at Clara, we had to decrease the amount of hand-holding time that LO’s had to spend with each of their clients without making them feel completely on their own. In order to do this, Clara has created a backend system that triggers tasks and work blocks whenever different events occur. This allowed for a client-facing product that would keep them notified on what was going on with their loan, if they had to upload documentation, or to just tell them what we were doing on our end. This allows there to be 24 hour progress monitoring without having to increase the amount of loan officer hours.
Clara Mortgage Application (AKA Form 1003)
The first hurdle of identifying when and where and why people drop off during an mortgage application. We found problem pages in which questions were worded in an obfuscated way and we replaced legal jargon with friendlier microcopy. We broke down chunks of the application into much more digestible bits. We also later added a guidance layer with a info icon (hover on desktop) that showed a popover defining the differences between a condo, multi-family, or single family home for instance. We saw noticeable increases in application completions that resulted in more loans closed.
Clara Purchase Portal
When people are purchasing a home for the first time, it can be overwhelming. Amortization, rates, APRs, LTVs, Down Payments, PMI… terms and complex financial concepts can be a big hurdle to letting people feel comfortable with the biggest financial decision of their lives. We designed a portal that empowers people to go through this decision, step-by-step, and to feel good about locking themselves into a long term financial commitment. We designed a way for users to discover affordability on their own, and also to explore different kind of loan products without showing them an overwhelming number of options. We also built in calculators that allow users to see how a different down payment amount or adding a co-borrower can affect their buying power. All of these different variables would take multiple conversations with a Loan Officer. With Clara, the power is all on your computer or smartphone.
Clara Brand 2.0
I recently did a brand exploration because our team was having difficulty using our previous color system within the user interface. Text was illegible and colors were a bit too loud to use more than one at a time. This resulted in an ecosystem that felt sterile and un-delightful. In order to maximize both delight, accessibility, and brand voice, I executed a new color and brand system throughout. We are eagerly awaiting the release of our new website with the updated brand system.