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Mortgages going digital .. the march of the robots

To have a mobile proposition is a given for lenders today. In a 2017 mortgage efficiency  survey 80% of lenders provide affordability calculations, 66% can process a decision in principle and over half of lenders support the entry of a full mortgage application and case tracking.

Digital offerings are on the increase with half of the lenders in the same survey offering or are about to offer digital self-service mortgages, aimed at the re-mortgage market. Millennials in particular are driving digitalisation and the take up of robo-advice.

Other recent surveys indicate millennials have a trust in technology, even with mortgages, one of the largest financial transaction that most people undertake.

41% would use an app to buy a mortgage and 1 in 4 would be happy or very happy to take out a mortgage using online AI robo-advice.

And it is not just lenders going robo – according to Panacea advisor research, up to 1 in 5 brokers are set to launch a robo-advice proposition, which they believe will provide cost & time savings.

On a lighter note, in a HSBC report on trust in technology, surveying 12,000 people in 11 countries, including the UK, one set of question they asked was about trusting a robot. Two answers stood out for me.

Would you trust a robot to …

…give mortgage advice? 11% said yes.

…set you up on a date?  11% also said yes.

Make of that what you will.      

Going digital – the Canadian way

Could the Canadian experience inform our digital thinking?

"Hey Siri or Alexa, what's the best mortgage rate?"

According to a recent Canadian mortgage article that's how millions of Canadians will someday begin the mortgage shopping journey.

The author cited three reasons why 95% of Canadians will turn to robo-advice or chatbots for mortgage advice.

Chatbots provide instant answers and can automatically source the best deals - asking mortgage questions to Google or a chatbot yields instant answers – without salesperson Smalltalk and bias. Who doesn't want to compare dozens of mortgages and get tailored mortgage recommendations in less time than it takes to get a coffee at your favourite coffee shop?

The view is that chatbots can be more accurate and faster than any mortgage banker or broker. The tipping point will be when the quality/objectivity is proven.

It is already happening in Canada with Alterna bank already live with a digital end to end mortgage platform.

Consumers can be pre-approved (effectively a full offer) in 10 to 15 minutes, with no paper and no conversations. They reversed the traditional Canadian sales process by allowing the user to create what if scenarios for the property and loan required without having to register so they become comfortable with the system. Then when they want to proceed they register and provide further information but where possible the data is filled out automatically for example with remote income verification.

Will robo-advisers some day surpass humans for delivering one-on-one mortgage advice?

Paul Mullins head of customer experience at HSBC in Canada said “I can see it happening”, but "there's still a long way to go before people get that confidence level."

The march of the robots continues.



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Henry Woodcock

Henry Woodcock

Principal Consultant


Member since

30 Oct 2018


Milton Keynes

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